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Critics’ Picks: 4 Events to Stream or Attend This July

Summer may finally have arrived, but the event calendars are still decidedly quiet while the province continues to move towards a gradual reopening. As of June 30, Hamilton will enter “Step Two,” meaning that outdoor concerts and performances can go ahead, albeit with a very limited capacity and reserved seating only. Indoor shows are still not able to have live audiences, but livestreaming (something which has not been allowed since April) will be allowed to resume. A mix of in-person and virtual events are presented as our picks this month, and we’re excited at the prospect of experiencing live arts with other people soon enough.

the cut, the tear & the remix: contemporary collage and Black futures (McMaster Museum of Art)

July marks the last chance to experience this virtual group exhibition at the McMaster Museum of Art that launched in April and closes on July 22. Curated by Hamilton artist and educator stylo starr, the exhibition showcases eight individual artists, each deeply engaged in exploring their connections to the African and Caribbean diaspora through collage. The result is as varied as their individual experiences, but all strikingly powerful in their storytelling and curation. Don’t expect to see your usual art class collage here; these artists use techniques that are both traditional and new to combine new media, video and digital art into the exhibition. 

Hamilton Fringe Festival

The annual festival is, without a doubt, the premiere local stage event of the summer. While the Fringe Festival as we know it may be heavily modified due to the pandemic, the spirit of the Fringe- as an unjuried, uncurated theatre festival- will live on again this year in an online format. Over thirty shows, many featuring local artists will be presented for ondemand viewing over the ten-day period from July 15-25. For those craving an in-person performance, two “Skip the Glitches” offerings provide the opportunity for a live show to be delivered and presented on your driveway or front lawn. Those craving even more connection can find it in the Fringe Club patio; a licensed area at the Gasworks where small groups will be able to congregate according to government regulations at select times.

Broadway Heroes (Brott Music Festival)

In a traditional concert venue, it would be considered rude to loudly sing along to your favourite show tunes with the performers. Enter the drive-in concert- where you can keep your windows rolled up and pretend that the orchestra onstage is your own personal accompaniment. Presented as a result of the pandemic regulations, and the inability to have indoor concerts with audiences, the Brott Festival is bringing its annual concert series to the Ancaster Drive-in. Broadway Heroes, presented on July 22, promises fan favourites from hit shows including West Side Story, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and more. 

Paint Nights on the Patio (MD Studios)

Locke Street’s newest event space opened during the pandemic to little fanfare, and the promise that its owners, MD Studios, would transform Hamilton into a city known for culture and inclusiveness. So far, this has translated into paint nights, mixology events and more on their spacious patio (the site of the former Naroma Pizza). Outdoor events promise to continue throughout the summer, including two paint nights on July 24, with Hamilton-based You and I Paint leading new creators from a blank canvas to a work of art. Time will tell if this venue is a suitable music, theatre or presentation space- but it’s transformation is worth checking out early, while performance space continues to be at a premium.

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