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FIRST FRIDAY: Seriously, Mike Blackmore is one creative guy

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Cathy Dobson  

Sarnia’s Mike Blackmore is as eclectic as they come.

He’s a songwriter, a singer, an artist, photographer and woodworker.  His latest photography show is inspired by everything from an ice storm last December to a Mud People Festival he hosted in Bright’s Grove one hot summer day.

And the CD he plans to release on First Friday combines a bit of blues with some old-time Celtic music he calls folk rock.

None of it is easy to explain.

“You really need to come out and see what I’m doing,” says Blackmore, 58, who has fronted a number of local bands but is performing solo this year. “It’s all so different. Whatever I do, I make it my own.”

Last December, he captured a series of photos after high winds and snow pummeled Bright`s Grove. Blackmore digitally enhanced them, added unexpected elements like planets and flowers, and posted them on his Facebook page.

Soon afterward, his photos were noticed by Mary Anne Peloza, owner of downtown`s Cheeky Monkey, who invited him to showcase them at her music store at the March 6 First Friday.

Blackmore will also play acoustic and perform songs from his new CD called “…Seriously?” that he wrote and recorded over the last two months.

He’ll be at the Cheeky Monkey (corner of Cromwell and Christina) from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. His photos will be available for sale through to April.

First Fridays are a downtown tradition with more than a dozen shops, restaurants and galleries playing host to local artists.  As of press time, Mike Blackmore at the Cheeky Monkey is scheduled along with:

* SPRING SPECTACULAR, an art show and sale featuring paintings, pottery and crafts by members of The Sarnia Artists’ Workshop. Music by Cathy & Dale. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.  The Lawrence House, 127 Christina St. South.

* GROOMBRIDGE X 3, an exhibition of paintings by Mary, Morgan and Rachael Groombridge in the newly-refurbished R.W. Lawton Gallery at 168 Christina Street North. Grand opening 6 p.m.- 9 p.m.

* FUNK EH! live band entertaining at Ups N Downs 9:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 226 Front Street North.

* CAILEY & THE GIANT play a mix of classic rock, modern adult and a little pop on acoustic guitar. 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Coffee Culture, corner of Front and Lochiel.

* TWO VIEWS: CANADA’S NORTH, art show at the Judith & Norman Alix Gallery, corner of Christina and Lochiel.

* HALL OF FAME and DJ BLAIR provide live entertainment at Limbo Lounge, starting at 10 p.m. Christina and Lochiel.

* MAD PURSUIT POTTERY presented by One Tooth Active Wear. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at 155 Front St.

* IMAGINE IMAGERY BY PHOTOGRAPHER JAMIE BABCOCK (6 p.m. – 10 p.m.) AND MUSIC BY CATACOMB CASTAWAY (7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.) at Memorable Moments, 148 Front Street.

* VINTAGE SOULS plays at Liquid Johnny’s. 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. 117 Christina St. North.

* LIFE SIGNS performs at the Sarnia Legion, 286 Front St. North.

And here’s to one retailer thinking outside the box!  Audrey Kelway, owner of Audrey Paris at 174 Christina St., is recruiting donors for Canadian Blood Services at her clothing and accessories shop.

After her hubby had serious health problems in January, he required 40 blood transfusions while he fought for his life. Audrey is bringing blood services reps to her store from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. to get more donors on board.

The First Friday cultural walkabout, held monthly along Christina and Front streets, is generally well attended with lots of last minute surprises. Expect additions and changes to this list.

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If you have a suggestion for The Arts Journal, contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.

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