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steve's blog
  steve  2005-10-15 10:29   Many of our American friends have commented on the lower prices for brand name drugs in Canada. There is a company that searches the world for brand name products.
Visit the online Canadian Pharmacy and save between 40 and 90% off the cost of your prescription medications. All products shipped from a Licensed Pharmacy and can have it to your door, anywhere in north America, within 3-14 business days!
  steve  2005-09-30 13:56   As per Media Release Shaw Festival Announces 2006 Season Media Release #22 from Shaw Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, September 27, 2005 . . . Shaw Festival Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell today announced the 2006 season. Contemporary work, a world premiere and fresh adaptations share the Festival’s three stages with classics from The Shaw’s mandate.

Connect to Shaw 2006 for tickets and the schedule or read on for an overview of the season.

In making the season announcement, Ms. Maxwell noted: “There is so much to celebrate in the 2006 playbill. It represents for me what the Shaw Festival is really about: exploring the many worlds of our mandate, taking full advantage of the diverse talents and imaginations of our brilliant Ensemble, commissioning new plays and adaptations, and celebrating the wit and wisdom of Bernard Shaw, whose irreverent spirit is at the heart of all we do.”

The 2006 playbill includes ten productions, which will run from March 30 to November 19 in the Shaw Festival’s three Niagara-on-the-Lake theatres: the Festival Theatre, the Court House Theatre and the Royal George Theatre. Two plays by the Festival’s namesake are reexamined this season. Jackie Maxwell will direct Shaw’s comic skewering of heroism and “higher love” Arms and The Man, while Jim Mezon explores the extravagant Too True To Be Good.

As well as Arms and The Man, the Festival Theatre season includes High Society, the musical adaptation of The Philadelphia Story, featuring the memorable tunes of Cole Porter and directed by Kelly Robinson, and Arthur Miller’s stunning drama The Crucible, directed by Poland’s Tadeusz Bradecki.

Joining Too True To Be Good on the Court House stage, the world of Eva Peron’s Argentina is explored with the contemporary play The Magic Fire, written by American Lillian Groag and directed by Jackie Maxwell. Associate Director Neil Munro will direct his own refreshingly modern adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Rosmersholm. Also at the Court House, Toronto writer Morwyn Brebner adapts two of Chekhov’s romantic farces, The Bear and The Proposal, with Love Among the Russians, a lunchtime delight to be directed by Eda Holmes.

Ruth and Augustus Goetz’s poignant and mysterious love story The Heiress, adapted from the famous Henry James novella Washington Square and directed by Joseph Ziegler, will share the Royal George stage with Michael O’Brien’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ scientific adventure The Invisible Man, a world premiere commissioned by the Festival and directed by Neil Munro. Morris Panych returns to The Shaw to direct Noël Coward’s provocative love triangle in Design for Living.

New this season are three special weekends exploring chosen features of the programming. Shaw, his world and his politics will be examined in a sesquicentennial weekend celebration. Henrik Ibsen’s plays, poetry and world share the focus on the centenary of his death. A weekend of Argentinian culture, from tango to Jorge Luis Borges, sheds light on The Magic Fire. Each weekend will feature speakers and meals, as well as a performance, a coffee concert, and a reading. Each weekend’s events will be available as a package or individually.

Regular ticket prices for the 2006 season range from $45 to $86 including GST. For Special Matinees, student tickets are $22 and senior tickets are $35. Lunchtime ticket prices are $25. Sunday night performances are available all season for $45 and, for patrons under 30, $30 tickets are available for most performances. Preview prices are $45 - $57.

Tickets for the 2006 season go on sale to Shaw Festival Members on November 16 by mail, fax, or online; on November 26 by phone or in person. Tickets go on sale to groups on January 3. For the general public tickets go on sale January 9 by mail, fax or online and on January 14 by phone or in person.

The 2006 Season is proudly presented by HSBC Bank Canada/HSBC Bank USA, and generously supported by Court House Season Partner Acura.
  steve  2005-09-30 13:17   It is never to late to take in a Shaw play or two. This season has had excellent audience feedback and there is several "Don't miss" performances. Here is the star rating (by those stayed with us and who paid to see the plays) for the various Shaw plays that are still in production, some until late November 2005.

Bus Stop 8.5
Constant Wife 9
Gypsy 7
Happy End 5
Journey's End 9.5
Major Barbara 6
You Never Can Tell 7.5

Visit the Shaw Festival website for information and tickets.
  steve  2005-09-28 07:09   Someone has figured a way to fight gas prices in the Niagara region. See this gas prices link for the current prices in our region.
  steve  2005-06-13 05:46   It has been a while since a play has created an emotional impact like Journey's End. It is a very moving and a very well acted piece. Directed by Christopher Newton, the retired Artistic Diredctor of Shaw, it gets kudos from everyone.

On a scale of 1-10, it is a 9.5 from my perspective. For reviews by art critics and comments on those reviews, go to May reviews in Review the Reviewers. I believe that most of the critics often write reviews that do not match at all with the average theatre-goers reaction. The reviews here do not match the hearty recommendation that we have gotten from all our guests.

Another must-see! Visit the Shaw Festival website for information and tickets.
  steve  2005-05-14 06:37   Isn't it quite incredible that a musical set about 80 years ago can create enough controversy to keep a couple of cocktail parties going?

First of all, Shaw struggled for many years with the notion of a musical on the main stage (all the while producing some gems on the smaller stages). A contorted defense of this policy included the notion that "musicals were not real theatre". This flew in the face of an audience that was gobbling up musicals in Toronto and Stratford. Finally, a main stage musical at Shaw and a very good one at that.

Gypsy was done in a style that you would expect from Shaw. A style that accentuates superior acting, professional production and good story telling. This leads to the second controversy. Some of the reviewers, while generally complimentary, seem to expect a huge spectacle-type production with a tendency for loud singing and poor acting. Fortunately, a couple of these reviewers have an almost perfect record of putting down plays that audiences love.

Forget that nonsense. This is a must see. Visit the Shaw Festival website for information and tickets. Let "it" Entertain You!
  steve  2005-05-09 18:07   Stratus has taken an very upscale approach to wine making, with J.L. Groulx as their head wine maker. Their Stratus white is "a blend of 5 different white grapes" and I found it quite enjoyable. The Stratus red is another blend of several grapes and is very tight but shows excellent potential. The people in the winery have taken the novel approach of not divulging the exact varieties or percentages, creating a bit of mystery... and a healthy price.

The Gamay Noir is a knockout! I really liked it and found it comparable to the equally superb 13th Street Gamay Noir.

Stratus is well worth a visit as are many of the established local wineries.
  steve  2005-04-30 23:24   I really enjoyed this play, "The Constant Wife", by Somerset Maugham. It is very well cast, with beautiful costumes and an elegant set. There were many superb performances, as one would expect from the excellent cast.
What surprised me most of all was the the edge to the play itself. The play's premise would titillate society today. It must have created quite a stir in 1926. All of our guests have very much enjoyed it and I think it will be one of the highlights of Shaw 2005.
It is well worth seeing. Visit the Shaw Festival website for information and tickets.
  steve  2005-04-21 08:56   Imagine how pleased we were that the April issue of Gourmet magazine chose Lakewinds Country Manor for the "Stay There" section of the article on Niagara-on-the-Lake. We love great food and some of the Gourmet magazine recipes are divine. We try to make every breakfast at Lakewinds an experience, highlighted with delicious food.
  steve  2005-03-11 13:44   A guest just asked me if Lakewinds was on a television program about gardening. Indeed, we have been on several:
- the only Canadian B&B on The Best Of..., an American program about the best of food experiences, when they did an episode on B&Bs in North America.
- our gardens were featured on HGTV's Gardener's Journal, a home gardening program.
- Lakewinds was featured on Images of Homes, a program about home restorations.
  steve  2005-03-03 08:51  

We love Niagara-on-the-Lake because of the country feel and the clean air and the beautiful , historic surroundings. Yet we still have many of the urban centre benefits of culture, fine food and wine and the very interesting people that these attributes attract. We would love to hear your thoughts.

  steve  2005-03-03 08:33  

Lakewinds gets some wonderful compliments and we very much appreciate them: "I wanted to say thank you for your hospitality last weekend. You run an absolutely wonderful manor. Your style and elegance surpassed many places we have stayed before. You made us feel welcome and it was really appreciated." Wafa and David

  steve  2005-03-02 17:12  

What do you look for in a good B&B? Here are some important thoughts:
- always look for lots of details and pictures on their site
- when talking to the Hosts, be sure they are knowledgeable and hospitable sounding
- postive referrals are can be reliable
- make sure that the B&B is prepared to meet your needs