Make your own music and memories in Big Pink

The famous house in southeastern New York state was once used by The Band. Now it's available to the public for overnight stays

Make your own music and memories in Big PinkIf you’re a fan of The Band, I have great news for you. You may be aware that this summer marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Music From Big Pink, the group’s first album. But you may not know that the remote house the musicians and their mentor Bob Dylan gathered in to record…

Quality sound for a modest price

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers offer functionality and high-fidelity in a retro package

Quality sound for a modest priceSpeakers come in all shapes and sizes. And you don’t need to look far to find some pretty far-out designs. But if you’re in the market for a new high-fidelity pair with a retro flair, the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers would be a good bet. The R1280T keeps with the traditional bookshelf design: a…

Visiting Liverpool in search of John Lennon’s first muse

Sixty years ago, John Lennon’s mother Julia was killed. He never got over the loss and you can find echos of her influence in Liverpool

Visiting Liverpool in search of John Lennon’s first museThe city of Liverpool has intrigued me ever since I heard my first Beatles record and my youthful idolization of John Lennon always made me want to go there. But what tipped the scale was reading the 2007 book Imagine This by Julia Baird, his younger sister, and seeing the 2009 movie Nowhere Boy, made…

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic genius

And a full dose of air-conditioned museum comfort certainly doesn't hurt the appreciation of Picasso

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic geniusLast week, thousands of Montrealers began to experience what I expect will gradually become a new phenomenon in global art gallery visitation – viewing art to get out of the heat. The heat wave (CBC news referred to it as “a heat event”) really descended on the city on the previous weekend, with Saturday’s temperatures…

Movie musical Grease turns 40 this summer

Forty years after its release, the movie poses a conundrum for those disposed to view everything through an ideologically-tinted lens

Movie musical Grease turns 40 this summerBelieve it or not, the movie musical Grease turns 40 this summer. It’s no exaggeration to say that it took the 1978 box office by storm. Indeed, the radio-ubiquitous title song caught the mood of the moment perfectly: Grease is the word. Alas, the simple joys can never stay simple. In the fraught temper of…

Music’s power to improve the challenges associated with autism

Music interventions are evidence-based with positive results – so why don’t we use them more often?

Music’s power to improve the challenges associated with autismMy son is practising the piano as I write this and it’s the sweetest sound. He’s spent two years working slowly through the same level but it doesn’t matter; he’s improving and the benefits of both music therapy and music lessons have been clear and measurable. My only wish is that I had started sooner.…

The Beatles just might have been right

Love may not be all we need, but it's a key ingredient to leading a well-lived, meaningful existence

Life is filled with challenges and we’re always looking for answers. The Beatles told us, “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.” The difficulty with this credo is that love has many meanings and interpretations. It can be directed at one person or at all of humanity. Love can be selfless…

Silent Night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright

For 199 years, this beloved Christmas carol has resonated. More than 26,000 versions have been recorded and it enticed soldiers to lay down their arms

Silent Night, holy night, all is calm, all is brightSilent Night, which is probably the most famous Christmas carol of all, will be 199 years old this Christmas Eve. It was first performed at the parish church in the Austrian village of Oberndorf during midnight mass on Dec. 24, 1818. And, fittingly, the performers included the two men who’d written it. The words had…

A B.C. coastal community orchestrates a new role in the global economy

Powell River's PRISMA on the Beach is part of a global movement of summer music festivals in towns that love to organize, fundraise and volunteer for the arts

A B.C. coastal community orchestrates a new role in the global economyA local history of volunteerism and love for the performing arts have given Powell River a cultural base for its second coming. Every year for the past five years, this community on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast has hosted the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy – PRISMA. The whole experience is festival-like and runs for…