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Arts Briefs

An evening of inventive musical comedy with Al Simmons



A musician, inventor and all-around nut, Al Simmons is a one-of-a-kind entertainer: whether he's the innovative Dr. Simmons, the optometrist, engaging kids with his musical eye chart, or Explorer Al leading a safari with the "Cry of the Wild Goose," his shows are fun for the whole family.

Simmons grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and his childhood was filled with storytelling, music and good fun, coming as he did from a family of performers, pranksters, and eccentrics. As a child, he studied comedians on The Ed Sullivan Show and cherished the stories his dad told him about the golden days of vaudeville, and was inspired to stage impromptu circuses, magic shows and parades. He loved the spotlight so much that he decided to find a way to stay in it! Today, Simmons has performed solo in variety shows, a comedy rock band Out to Lunch, and vaudeville acts at fairs, folk festivals and children's festivals. He's also produced the television show, All For Fun , and made appearances on Fred Penner's Place , Sesame Street, YTV, Nickelodeon and The Learning Channel.

Simmons is bringing his inventive act to Whistler's Millennium Place on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.,  as part of the Whistler Arts Council's annual performance series. Tickets are $16 for WAC members, $21 for non-members, $10 for children, $16 for students and seniors, and are available at Millennium Place or by phone at 604-935-8410. And for the first time, WAC will be holding a craft workshop to encourage kids to get creative and make something wacky to wear or bring to the show. The workshop takes place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. the day of the show (Saturday), and is free for all ticket holders.


Bands Against Hunger CD in the works

The Bands Against Hunger Society, a registered non-profit organization made up of local musicians and music lovers, has been hosting events in the Sea to Sky community since its inception in 2005. Through artistic collaboration, the organization holds events that raise funds and awareness for humanitarian issues locally and abroad.

Most recently the group has gathered the resources to create a BAHS compilation CD, which should be completed and released by February. They're now in the process of collecting music for the project, and are on the lookout for about 20 artists from throughout the province who are interested in contributing to the album. Any artists who are interested in helping out with the project should send a copy of their CD or song to: BAHS Compilation CD, P.O. Box 1384, Whistler, B.C., V0N 1B0, by Dec. 1. For more information, contact janamarie_music@hotmail.com .