It might not be a lie to say that this month, there’s something for everyone out there happening in Hamilton.
New Play Festival? Red Beti has you covered. Film Festival? Check (Hamilton Film Festival). Live comedy taping? You bet. Needless to say, there were a lot of great events to choose from- but our favourites, that we think are the best bet for a memorable experience- are below.
For more details on other events happening in and around Hamilton this month and great shows to check out, stay up to date with our full event calendar.
Library After Dark
Libraries have developed a reputation lately as a place for more than books. Printing? Tools? Museum passes? They’ve had you covered for years. And now, the Burlington Public Library is adding party space to their list. On November 4, the multi-level Central Branch on New Street stays open after dark to celebrate all things 1980s with neon lights, drinks, burritos and a few surprises that will only be revealed to those in attendance. The Library even promises a cover band, Born in the Eighties, to play a number of hits (that they encourage you to sing along to). Tickets available here, and include a welcome drink and walking taco.
Day of the Dead Storytelling
The Day of the Dead combines the ancient Aztec custom of celebrating ancestors with All Souls Day. Traditionally celebrated on November 1 and/or 2, it’s a family reunion- except dead ancestors are the guests of honour. The Staircase is taking this holiday and giving it a twist, promising a Day of the Dead storytelling event on November 5. Featuring local comedians Heather Fudge, Ryan Sim, Greg Dobroski and more, stories will focus on remembering funny events and anecdotes about those who have departed. In addition to comedy through storytelling, the night also promises live music, featuring singer Maricel Perez. Tickets available here.
One of Canada’s busiest actors, Shawn Wright has had multiple appearances from coast-to-coast, including the Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival and currently plays Lord Voldemort in Toronto’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Wright brings his premiere play, Ghost Light, to Hamilton’s Conservatory for the Arts PASS series on November 6. The one-man show is inspired by the final months of Wright’s mothers life, where the actor travelled from Toronto to a nursing home in the Maritimes. During that time, his mother would spin stories of her life during commercial breaks of Murder She Wrote. Wright chronicled those stories to develop his 80-minute play about the relationship between a mother and son, growing up in New Brunswick and finding a love for life. Tickets available here.
Celebrating Resilience in the Arts
Artists and arts workers spent much of the pandemic trying to determine how the sector would change. As venues have been able to reopen and artists are able to present their work, there are many questions that still remain. The Celebrating Resilience in the Arts Survey was conducted in October/November 2021 and received 107 responses from local artists. From this, the City of Hamilton and its Arts Advisory Commission are inviting artists and arts workers to come together at the Cotton Factory on November 18 to discuss creative pandemic pivots in the Canadian arts scene. While admission is free, registration (managed by the Hamilton Arts Council) is still required. Sign up here.
Fresh Up R&B Festival
If there’s one thing that Sonic Unyon does well, it’s music. The organizing force behind Supercrawl is bringing another music festival to Hamilton- this one focused solely on some of the best up-and-coming R&B offerings; with many from Ontario. The first Fresh Up Festival, held at Sonic Unyon’s flagship Bridgeworks location will take place on November 19 and 20, with tickets available for one day or both days. Headliners include Savannah Ré; Dylan Sinclair; Justin Nozuka and Witch Prophet, with featured acts including TRP.P; Whitness; Duckai; Jamila B; Ro Joaquim; Queen Cee; Luckystickz and Julianna Jones.