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Chronicle 17-18 Issue 08

18 The

18 The Chronicle March 6 - 12, 2018 Community The Regent Theatre's legacy The land where we stand is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. Uncovering the hidden stories about the land our community is built on is what the Chronicle's new feature series, the Land Where We Stand, is about. Michael Bromby The Chronicle “Oshawa in the 1920’s was never fancy,” says Louise Parkes a former city councillor. Then the Regent Theatre opened. Louise Parkes is one of many individuals who contributed to the history of the Regent Theatre throughout its years of operation. The elegance and magnificence of Hollywood came to Oshawa when the doors opened to the Regent Theatre in 1921. Famous Players Canadian Corporation opened the Regent Theatre in the rural town of Oshawa, which lead to the town becoming a city in 1924 due to the popularity of the Regent Theatre. In 1921, the Regent Theatre saw sold out shows almost every night because of the celebrities who were performing. Judy Garland performed various shows at the Regent Theatre, but she was not alone. Other celebrities such as Lucille Ball, Charlie Chaplin, and Bob Hope performed at the theatre. Jennifer Weymark is the archivist at the Oshawa Museum, she says the Regent Theatre brought in a sense of community. “It gave them opportunity, it had a chance to do musicals and movies,” says Weymark. “Those who came got the chance to be part of the larger world in ways they couldn’t before.” Leon Osier was the general manager of the theatre during the 1920’s and into the 1940’s. Frederick Kinton was hired to be the first projectionist in Oshawa after he returned home from the first world war with wounds which later caused his death. During the second world war, Osier began playing videos and clips about the second world war on the big screen. Communities across Canada sent materials to make guns and ammunition which included tin foil, and scrap metal. Osier helped the Canadian men by allowing people to donate their recycled metals which were sent overseas to help the war. “They collected tinfoil for the war efforts, so it became a community hub,” says Weymark. As the times changed, more brand name cinemas such as Cineplex moved into Oshawa. This took business away from the historic theatre. Throughout the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, the Regent Theatre struggled to make money. The theatre closed its doors in 1989, but was given an adrenalyn rush in 1997. In 1997, four local business men purchased the theatre from Famous Players Canadian Corporation and turned it into a night club. The night club, Adrenalyn Rush, never took off, despite being in the heart of downtown Oshawa. In 1999, the owners closed the night club and applied for a permit to have the theatre demolished. “The theatre was threatened with demolition and supposed to be a parking lot,” says Parkes. The historic building was almost replaced with asphalt but Heritage Oshawa got involved. Louise Parkes, a member of this committee, decided this was not going to be the end for the Regent. “We all have passion projects and this is one of mine, saving the theatre,” says Parkes. Parkes moved to Oshawa with her family in 1988 and remembers seeing shows at the Regent throughout her childhood. The theatre became a passion in her life and she wanted to see it grow. Parkes is the owner of Parmac Relationship Marketing in downtown Oshawa. She also helps her husband Darryl Sherman run Wilson Furniture in Oshawa. Parkes wanted to have the old theatre turned into a performing arts centre. The city turned her down and sold the theatre to Mike Burley, a 21-year-old man who was given a five-year contract in 1999. Burley owned Hourglass Theatre Productions and used the Regent Theatre as a space to host his group. “The opportunity was lost, which motivated me to come onto council,” says Parkes. Parkes was elected as a city councillor in 2000, she continued to advocate for the theatre. She brought in Janis Barlow, who specializes in the design management of theatres across North America. Barlow wrote a report to the city explaining how this was the best location in Oshawa for a performing arts centre. However, the bad luck continued for the Regent as the city council voted no. Parkes became frustrated with the city council and began working with councillor Kathy Clarke to find a different approach in saving the theatre. “You have to do things eventually or else people are going to leave the city,” says Parkes. “When I came on council there was not a new public building in Oshawa for 26 years.” Burley failed to keep the theatre open due to the cost of running it. The city bought it back in 2001. It remained closed because the theatre needed construction work before it could be re-opened. To bring life back to the theatre in 2007. Parkes and Clarke got the city to negotiate a deal with theatre expert Glyn Laverick of Toronto. Laverick was the CEO of the Danforth music hall in Toronto. He has worked with Oshawa theatre company Dancyn Productions which is run by Joan Mansfield. Photographs by Michael Bromby (Top) Former city councillor, Louise Parkes, in the Regent Theatre. (Bottom) View of the Regent Theatre stage. Laverick made her his artistic director at the Regent Theatre in Oshawa during his time of ownership. The city agreed to give Laverick $700,000 to re-construct the entire building, but it had to be complete by the end of 2008. “Glyn Laverick restored the front and made it into what we see today,” says Parkes. The theatre opened in October of 2008, however, Laverick failed to meet his deadline. During the movies or live performances, construction equipment was visible throughout the theatre. The Regent failed to take off once again, and it closed in January 2009. Laverick failed to complete work on the theatre and contractors were left without money. Lawsuits were filed against Laverick. Complainants owed the contractors money for work, many said they lost up to $200,000. Parkes decided to focus on her business, which she shares with her husband Darryl Sherman, and gained the courage to go back to school. “It bothered me every day of my life not finishing school, so I decided if not now when?” says Parkes, who completed her degree in history at Trent University in Oshawa. She is planning on going back for her master’s degree in history later this year. While Parkes was furthering her education, a new owner took over the theatre. The city was in possession of the Regent Theatre and decided to sell it to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). The remaining construction was completed and the theatre opened once again in 2010. “The city and the University have made an effort to change the downtown and bring culture and art back,” says Weymark who has been with the Oshawa Museum since 1999. UOIT uses the Regent for lectures and educational studies for students, while also putting on throwback movie nights featuring “Barefoot in the Park”, and live performances such as “Abbamania and Night Fever.” One of the live performers coming to the Regent Theatre is Canadian singer Shania Twin, she has spent 20 years of her life impersonating Shania Twain. However, this is her first time performing in Oshawa. Donna Huber currently lives in Cobourg Ont. but is on a tour across North America. She is performing at the Regent theatre on March 4th but this show is going to be special for Huber. “It hits close to home, I have a ton of friends who are always asking me when I am going to play close to home, and now I am,” says Huber. “I am excited and I hope we pack the place.” Shania Twin is just one act you can see at the Regent Theatre. Follow us @DCUOITChronicle and use #landwherewestand to join the conversation, ask questions or send us more information. March 6 - 12, 2018 The Chronicle 19 Entertainment Bringing bands to Riot William McGinn The Chronicle Durham College student Jeremy (Jay) Hartwell, 20, is in his fourth semester studying video production, but has been a fixture on Riot Radio the entire time, where his hard work and exuberance for music and independency is on display in his show ‘Sub-Terranean.’ The point of the show is to bring underground music to life, introducing local Ontario rock bands who are performing in restaurants and contests as they build up their reputation. He was inspired by independent music station Indie88 bringing artists together and the band A Fistful of Vinyl. The bands perform live on his show at Durham and talk about their origins, inspirations and lives. Whenever Hartwell is unable to find someone, he instead plays some of his favourite tunes and talks about them. However, more than 80 per cent of the time, Hartwell has managed to have a guest on his show. During his 38 episodes, he has successfully managed to have 28 individual bands on his show since he began in 2016, three of them returning for encores. Some of the bands Hartwell has brought to his show are: Ghost Town Architects, Death by Carl, Backyard Riot, Scudfux and Xephyr. He also occasionally brings independent performers. His favourite guest performers are The Cardboard Crowns, coincidentally the first one to perform live on his show. “They’re good friends of mine at this point. I [even] drove out to Kingston to see them at one show.” How does he find out about all these bands? “Finding different shows and stuff is moreso about finding venues where those bands perform,” he said, citing the Hard Luck Bar, Photograph by William McGinn Durham College student Jeremy (Jay) Hartwell has brought dozens of local bands to perform live on his Riot Radio show. Smiling Buddha, Atria Bar and the Moustache Club as examples. “I usually average five contacts [of bands] at one time. Planning up to two months ahead sometimes,” said Hartwell. He once travelled to Ottawa for one of these concerts. In addition to video production, he was also in the game development program at Durham. “It's always been hard balancing all aspects between the concerts going to shows getting home at 2 a.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. for an 8 a.m. class, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't worth it.” Hartwell is also a musician. He plays the violin, trombone and is now learning how to play the drums and has worked for bands in the past. During one episode, Hartwell and Billy Oyster a.k.a. Dustin Kornegay, a guitarist who has been on the show twice, had a discussion on songwriting. “In order to write a song, there’s a singularity of intent that carries through the whole song and then you expand it like an accordion into a particular image, and you have to have that continuity the whole way through,” said Oyster. What Hartwell does is make up lyrics that appear in a situation and with the help of the band, ‘Frankenstein’ it together. One example is the chorus: “My reckless behaviour, something to savour” and then you patch another lyric on top, such as “just like your last cigarette” or “just like the whiskey on your breath.” If all goes according to plan, Hartwell will graduate this semester and go on to make music videos, most likely for a film studio. Warcross novel a great tech and economy story New York Times bestselling young-adult author Marie Lu’s Warcross, released in 2017, is set in a world situated around a virtual reality game of the same name. This world Lu has come up with does not feel far-fetched. It feels realistic. For starters, how does the game work? It all begins with the Neurolink: wireless glasses with metal arms and earphones. You know how whenever you have a dream you believe it’s real? Hideo Tenka uses this premise to create virtual reality. The Neurolink glasses help your brain render virtual worlds that enable you to do things like fly around and travel through ice caves. Jobs are also created through Neurolink. One character, named Hammie, explains that because of her Ma being good at playing Warcross, she is able to buy a house and send her daughter to university. The protagonist of Warcross, Emika Chen, lives in New York and tries to make a living by locating hackers of the Neurolink. This is a real job because there are so many hackers in the world, officers are too busy to locate all of them. The Neurolink also allows downloads, kind of like how we William McGinn have Netflix and iPhones. But the dark side is a network called ‘The Dark World’, which allows people to trade notes for drugs, weapons and even illegal power-ups to the game, some of which were invented by outside coders. A sophisticated set of code is needed for your character to be invisible or else your entire profile on your Neurolink, from your name, address and even bank information can be compromised. There are also auctions for assassins, promising reward money for contract killers, sometimes for personal reasons like revenge, or for authority figures like politicians. [SPOILER ALERT] Tenka found out the brain capabilities of the glasses are able to locate when someone might have a violent desire and manipulate the brain to prevent it, and Tenka would dictate what constitutes this manipulation. Not only would an abusive past give a person the desire to make crime preventable, but if this idea came up in politics there would be two sides that would oppose the other’s side entirely. This is because there are some who prefer freedom of expression over violence, and vice versa. For example, when Chen was in high school, she fought back against a classmate who was bullying a friend of hers but if the technology were to be implemented, the desire to save her friend would be negated. Photograph by William McGinn The Warcross cover, next to other novels for teens that William McGinn recommends. Marie Lu’s Warcross creates a realistic technological world that channels the desire of humans, creates understandable jobs, and has a hidden evil. You can find Warcross in the teen section at your local library or bookstore.

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