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December 2020 Update

Hey folks! I hope everyone is well and surviving as best they can in these strange times. I am relocated back to Dundas, Ontario for the Winter. Walking in snow and ice is an issue for me, so Montreal isn’t the ideal place in the colder months for personal mobility.

Things are moving along slowly but surely with the final stages of work on: When The Luck Runs Dry. I am hoping for a March 2021 release, but with the pandemic situation that is a bit fluid at the moment.

Here is a small synopsis of the novel:

Given up for dead, Patrick Farley returns home to pay a gambling debt to the mob but finds he’s been framed for murder. His luck’s run dry, so he makes his own; and it becomes a dangerous game filled with sex, drugs, violence and betrayal. Can he hold on to the beauty he also finds waiting for him here in the heart of this broken down city, and follow its path back home?

Currently Laura Boyle is working on the interior design and typesetting of the manuscript. She’s done many cool book and cover designs including for Dundurn Press. London artist Jeremy Bruneel is currently working on cover art work. He has a unique style which he hopes to meld with a retro pulp detective novel look. You can take a peek at some of work on his Wixsite: https://jeremybruneel.wixsite.com/illustration

Speaking of taking a look at things, When The Luck Runs Dry is based on my script and 2011 feature film : Lucky 7. The film was selected for the 2012 Shanghai International Film Festival, and went on to North American distribution wth Factory Film Studios. You can rent or purchase it in North America on I Tunes so take a look : https://factoryfilmstudio.com/portfolio-item/lucky-7/

I’ll be updating again early in January with more news, and a little feature on my cousin Bob Hayes. He is a retired Wolf Researcher turned writer and he has just published his 4th book. Till then take care and think good thoughts.

Stephen

Photo Credit- Sabrina Armani

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Cinema Fever takes hold on Sherman Ave. North in Hamilton

After a long drought it now seems Hamilton has not just one, but two repertory cinemas in the lower city.  This March saw the rebirth of two of Hamiltons  movie palaces to their former glories: The Westdale Cinema and the Playhouse Cinema.

John and Wendy Tutt have a long history with repertory cinemas. In Waterloo ON in 1985, when your humble writer was just entering Film Studies at U of W, Tutt took a gamble and opened the Princess Cinema at the back of an almost derelict Kent Hotel in Uptown Waterloo, ON.

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The Kent (Heuther) Hotel in Uptown Waterloo

The  cinema blossomed through the  years, and also was an early anchor in the revitalization of the entire hotel building complex through the years. It now contains a brew pub, pool hall, cafe, jazz club, bar, and deli.

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The Original Princess Cinema in Waterloo

Later, the Tutt’s took their success down the street, and  purchased an old furniture store on King Street in Uptown Waterloo. Here they had a chance to build & retrofit from scratch a twin screen cinema, w cafe, restaurant and wi-fi lounge, which opened in 2005.

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The Princess Twin-opened in 2005

In the Fall of 2017, I received a call from Terrance Odette, a local filmmaker about a “For Sale” sign he had seen on Sherman Ave. N. in Hamilton. I knew the real estate agent of the listing,so put them in touch. The property in question, was an old vaudeville hall/cinema from 1914 . It had been used by a church group for many years, and was now sitting vacant.

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The Playhouse Cinema circa 1970

After a few visits, and a thorough inspection, the Tutt’s took another gamble on a down on its luck building and neighbourhood. They purchased the property on Sherman Ave. in the Winter of 2018, and  recent business school graduate and cinema buff Jacob Tutt came on board to help  handle the task of much needed renovations; and to become the General Manager upon the cinema’s opening in Spring 2019.

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John & Wendy Tutt w filmmaker Terrance Odette

 

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Jacob, Wendy, andJohn Tutt

The renovations tuned into much toil and trouble, but with the help of the local trades the Tutt’s were able to honour the legacy and design of this wonderful building ,while bringing it into the modern era.

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Renos under way @ the Playhouse – Fall 2018

With excellent acoustics, a renovated theatre fly system, and a retractable cinema screen (is this the only one in Canada? ); The Playhouse is primed not just for film but as a new concert and theatre venue as well.

But film is at the heart of The Playhouse, and that was very much on display with the sold-out opening night screening of Cinema Paradiso on Friday March 1, 2019.

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Opening Night @ The Playhouse-A soon to sold out theatre opens it’s doors on March 1-2019

With a full printed monthly schedule, and membership card in hand, I enjoyed every aspect on this “new” cinema. From the excellent accessible seating and washrooms, to the snack bar (soon to be licensed), to the comfortable seats, layout, and projection image; it was a great night to revel in the joy on cinema.

Plus, it was a great occasion to catch up with some old friends and maybe meet some new ones. I even had the chance to see Jan Uhde ,my Film Professor from the University of Waterloo, which was really cool.

And it was nice to see the old Westdale Theatre manager Geoff Tressider as part of the new staff at The Playhouse. He spent many years keeping independent cinema screening alive in Hamilton-and hat’s off to him for that!

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Reno Relief Detail @ The Playhouse Cinema

If you want more information on the cinema and their current schedule go to: https://playhousecinema.ca

Plus here are a couple links to some interviews with Jacob on 93.3 CFMU-FM

http://cfmu.ca/episodes/13542-soundtrack-episode-for-2019-03-06

Episode 262 (Mar. 15/19)

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General Manager Jacob Tutt at CFMU Radio

See you at the  the movies!

 

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Back In The Saddle

 

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Hey folks, it has been a while since I have been blogging, but it is time to return to it on a more regular basis . I’m working on some blogs now for he next few weeks, so stay tuned. I am also sprucing up the site ,and updating my bio and contact info. Currently, I continue to host Soundtrack on CFMU 93.3 Wednesday’s  from 10:00-12:00 EST; although there may be a change of station and city later in the year.I will keep you posted on that. Otherwise film festival wise; last October I attended some screenings at the Festival De Nouveau Cinema in Montreal. Hopefully I will be attending this years Fantasia Film Festival in July and blogging about some of the cool screenings there. Also there is a graphic novel project in the works based on a recent script I penned called Diggers...so there are a lot if things happening ,and coming down the pipe. I will be ack soon with some new blog material. Tschuss.