City Something: Top Picks for Nov. 29 – Dec. 5

Under the mistletoe with Ken Lavigne, Mike Edel celebrates roots and AIDS awareness week launches

Mike Edel will celebrate his roots this week.

Under the mistletoe

The Island’s favourite crooner, Ken Lavigne, is inviting you Under the Mistletoe this week, with his fifth annual Christmas concert at the Royal Theatre.

Of the nine-piece band he’ll be performing with Lavigne say, “I’ve had the good fortune of performing with many great musicians in Victoria, some for 10 years, some longer. It’s so comforting that they just know, they know me and I never have to worry about what they’re going to do.”

This concert will be his biggest Christmas show yet, with “more music and less talk. I’ve gotten used to telling stories during the show, but I’m like a windup doll, once you get me going … I have no off switch.”

Lavigne and the band will perform contemporary, classical, Celtic, and some traditional Christmas songs, as well as a few “Sanatra-esque numbers.”

He’s also asked that the Royal Theatre be dressed for the occasion.

“We’re dressing the stage to make it into a winter wonderland,” says Lavigne.

“I want it to snow on the stage. I’m not sure if that’s going to happen or not, but let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

The concert is also a fundraiser for C-FAX Santas Anonymous.

“It’s a big part of the show,” says Lavigne. “I want people, if they can, to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the kids. There will also be opportunities for people to learn more about the program, get the Chirstmas donations going, and think about some of the other families in Victoria that are less fortunate.”

Mike Edel celebrates roots

Local singer-songwriter Mike Edel is celebrating his roots with a new single, “The Country Where I Came From.”

Edel spent September among the wheat fields of his family’s grain farm in Linden, AB, helping his father with harvest and spending solitary time writing songs.

“I’d take an old guitar out in the truck, for me it’s normal to be moving that way, spending time on the farm and being home — and still music is the priority of what I’m doing. Being on the farm is super grounding and gives me time and the ability to write some new music,” he says from the road somewhere between Saskatoon and Edmonton.

Edel left on tour with Jordan Klassen in late October, just after the Peak Performance Project showcase where both performed as part of the top 20 finalists. The two drove as far east as Montreal and were in Sault St. Marie when they learned they both finished in the top 5 — Edel in fifth winning $5,000 and Klassen in the top 3. Edel celebrated by going streaking.

He also released a new video for “The Country Where I Came From,” featuring the gorgeous prairie landscape. “The landscape is one of the primary characters,” says Edel. “It’s super beautiful … The song is about home for me, which is a very nice, consistent and concrete place.”

“The Country Where I Came From” was released on 7” vinyl, accompanied by its B-side, “More than Summer.”

While home, Edel made frames for the vinyl out of old barnboard he found on the farm. Hopefully there will be a few left for the last night of the tour, Fri., Nov. 30 at Lucky Bar. Doors are at 7pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and are available at Ditch Records or brownpapertickets.com. $15 at the door. M

AIDS Awareness Week

“My story is pretty dramatic,” says AIDS Vancouver Island’s chairman Andrew Beckerman, one of the authors in the We Are Here project.

“I was infected  [with HIV] in 1980. I’ve lived through the entire North American epidemic and survived.”

With only 1,400 Crixivan trials slots available, Beckerman was one of the lucky, despite the side effects of treatment. He, along with other authors, share these intimate details to make it clear… We Are Here.

“We [HIV positive people] are contributing members of society and doing it despite the fact that we have an illness.”

The We Are Here: HIV positive stories of resilience project teams up with the Greater Victoria Public Library to share the stories of those within Victoria’s community living with HIV.

The inspirational journeys of these activists and pioneers can be seen until mid December at the downtown GVPL (735 Broughton). M

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