Artsbeat: Doctor curling into his big role in Oklahoma!

The cast of Oklahoma! is hard at work preparing for the premiere early next month. - Andrew Leong
The cast of Oklahoma! is hard at work preparing for the premiere early next month.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

A weekly compilation of facts, figures, and fascinating Cowichan culture:

• I’m looking forward to seeing South Island Musical Society’s version of Oklahoma! next month. Of special note is Dr. Graham Brockley who got into his lead part by having his hair permed to play — who else? — lead Curly.

• Nice seeing Cowichan actress Ali Liebert continuing her starring role as Betty McRae on Global TV’s prime-time war-era series Bomb Girls. The Frances Kelsey grad — taught by former drama teacher Roger Carr — depicts a troubled, homosexual factory worker in the series second season, that also stars Oscar-nominee and former Cowichanian Meg Tilly.

• Valley songsmith Paul Ruszel, of Jane’s Way’s band, plays a Nanaimo house concert Jan. 26, featuring his award-winning tune Love This Town. Ruszel’s number Little By Little is a flagship fundraiser for the What If? Foundation, helping feed folks in earthquake-ruined Haiti. Ruszel has opened for local visitors Stephen Fearing, Ken Hamm, Ian Tamblyn, and the late, great Willie P. Bennett. Call 250-591-4530.

• Cowichan watercolour queen Jennifer Lawson has packed her brushes for a three-month artist-in-residence stay in Bermuda. The noted painter was tickled to hear my late dad, William G. Rusland, was a bartender at the pink-sand isle’s landmark Princess Hotel in the early ‘50s. Jennifer’s Facebook page will sport updates about her working trip. Fruits of her semi-tropical sojourn will also grace her Log House Gallery, April 26 to 28, during the Cowichan Valley Artisans’ Tour.

• Valley artists of every stripe and genre should register their efforts on the arts council’s first artist census called Cowichan Culture Counts. Visit culturecounts.ca. Also, call 250-746-1633.

• Shawnigan artist Irene Fedun is working on a watercolour version of a threatened elk herd shot with a camera last year by News Leader Pictorial master lensman Andrew Leong. Fedun, owner of Duncan’s Vanity Hair, expects to complete her horizontal work this year.

Peter W. Rusland has been covering Cowichan’s arts and entertainment community for two decades. If you’d like to add to this column, reach him at arts@cowichannewsleader.com.

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