City Something: Monday’s Top Picks for arts and entertainment for Jan. 17-23

Chris Ho releases debut LP City of Dust, Human Rights Film Fest, Capital City Synchopators and more

Local singer-songwriter Chris Ho is releasing his debut LP City of Dust Fri, Jan. 18 at Victoria Event Centre

Local singer-songwriter Chris Ho is releasing his debut LP City of Dust Fri, Jan. 18 at Victoria Event Centre

Chris Ho: City of Dust


Vancouver-raised, Island-based singer-songwriter Chris Ho has come a long way from his “reclusive years” writing and recording music at home and handing it out to friends.

With an EP under his belt and his first LP on the horizon, 2013 could be a time of harvest for Ho.

City of Dust is a 12-track collection of songs by a confident Ho, taking charge and taking chances with a more complete sound.

Ho released the single “No Connection” months ago, but don’t let its upbeat folk-pop sensibility fool you — it’s not an album full of pop songs. “No Connection” is a more mature follow-up to “Depending on the Day” and his Answers EP (April 2011), with bleak lyrics matched with a sense of sunny optimism. I was singing along halfway through my first listen.

The album also offers a wide range of melody-rich genres and sincere depth of verse (some of which are available to read at

It takes a community to make anything substantial, and this album is no different. Ho (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass percussion, harmonica and typewriter) relied on a team of local musicians to help realize his musical vision, including co-producer Sam Weber on keys, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, wurlitzer, lap guitar, toy organ and backing vocals; Allexei Paish on percussion, Glockenspiel, backing vocals and “Hamster Bells”; Kiana Brasset on violin, Annie Glasgow on piano, Rob Phillips on drums, Chellsea-Lyne Heins on backing vocals and Taz Eddy on trumpet.

Ho is heading out on a Western Canadian tour that will take him as far west as Regina. But first, he’s releasing his album to a hometown crowd this weekend. Don’t miss the chance to take in City of Dust in the City of Gardens.

CBC Radio is streaming the whole album here: M


Chris Ho City of Dust LP release party

Fri., Jan. 18

Victoria Event Centre

(1415 Broad)

With Good for Grapes,

Towers and Trees

Doors 8:30pm

$10 advance

at Ditch Records


$12 at the door



Prohibition Era Jazz


Join the Capital City Synchopators for a modern take on prohibition-era jazz, country and swing, Sat., Jan. 19 at Hermann’s Jazz Club, with guest Louise Rose (8pm, $15).

Not only do these swell gentlemen play prohibition-style novelty songs with a vintage sound, they also take hits from the ’80s and take them back in time. They bring the excitement of the Roaring ’20s to every stage they play.

The Capital City Synchopators are a collection of some of Victoria’s finest musicians, with Avram Devon McCagherty on tenor banjo and vocals (The Stomp Club), Reuben Wier on guitar and vocals (Mark Atkinson Trio), Christopher Herbst on lap steel guitar and vocals (The Moonshiners), Matthew Pease on washboard and drums (Lee Aaron) and Marcus Hissen on tuba and vocals (Victoria Symphony).

You can also catch the Capital City Synchopators every Tuesday evening (9pm) at Swan’s Brewpub (506 Pandora). There’s no cover charge and pints of freshly brewed craft beer are only $4.50. M







Human Rights Film Festival


Amnesty in Victoria, our own chapter of Amnesty International Canada is gearing up for its 11th annual film festival Hidden Truths: Amnesty Human Rights Film Festival, Sat., Jan. 19 at the Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad).

The festival features four films in two seperate screening sessions. At 2pm, Umoja: No Men Allowed (pictured left), tells the story of a group of women in northern Kenya who create their own village; and The War No One Sees examines the role of journalism in armed conflict.

At 7pm, catch Third World Canada, which highlights the traumas of a family of First Nations children whose parents committed suicide; and  Ai Wei Wei Never Sorry, a biography of the irrepressible Chinese artist and activist.

Guest speakers will encourage discussion during breaks. Admission is by donation ($10 suggested). Music by West My Friend at 1:30pm. M



Preview: In Organic We Trust



Traveling from California to New York, In Organic We Trust director R. Kipling Pastor explores the confusing and often frustrating system of organic certification in the United States. The result is at times disheartening and at others hopeful as America’s food system is shown to reflect larger cultural values — and they’re changing.

As we learn, certified organic products in the U.S. require a minimal level of compliance with farming practices, including the absence of pesticides. The philosophies associated with organic farming, however, may not be met. Philosophies like crop rotation, sustainable land use and minimal food travel distances are not necessarily held by the organically certified to be self-evident.

These are some of the points explored by Pastor’s personal exploration of our changing world of food production. What the experts in his film advocate is simple. We need a food system of the people, by the people and for the people. As always, that begins with education.

Open Cinema and Foodroots present In Organic We Trust on Jan. 23 at the Victoria Events Centre (1415 Broad) for a suggested donation of $10-20. Those who can’t make the event can watch online at iTunes and Warner Brothers, Jan. 22.

Post screening discussion and panel includes farmer and author of The Zero Mile Diet, Carolyn Herriot; co-founder of Saanich Organics and co-author of All the Dirt, Heather Stretch; Mason Street Urban Farm’s, Angela Moran; and MediaNet Executive Director and moderator for the evening Peter Sandmark. Filmmaker Kip Pastor will join from L.A. Join the discussion at #opencinema.

Doors open at 5:30pm with screening at 7pm.

— By Colin Cayer