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heart to heart with mother mother

JANUARY, 2010 • VOLUME 1.10


Fix Magazine 105 S. Christina St.

P.O. Box 111 Sarnia, Ontario N7T 2M6 519•384•3491


A new year is upon us. A new beginning. A fresh start. When 2010 arrived, I celebrated it out with friends all over the city making my way from place to place to photograph the events around town. Hearing others talk of their resolutions made me wonder what my own would be. Resolution of friends included everything from eating healthier to losing weight to finding a good man. Thinking of all the stress that comes from running a business and raising children made me realise a few things - that even though I am forever worrying about work, work, work and keeping my little ones on the right path, I am very lucky to live where I do and have the life I have. I am lucky to live in Canada and to have access to a healthcare system that’s not perfect but is much better than those in most other parts of the world. I am lucky to have the help I have from family and friends with work and with my children. It is my resolution this year to be happier and to count my blessings far more often. To try to put a smile on my face even when the stress

level rises. To remember each day that I have a life to be happy about and that I am a very fortunate person. And while this is my goal for 2010, I feel that it is not something that will end when the ball drops next January 31 but rather for every year that is ahead of me. I wish you all the best of luck in making your resolutions a reality and that you have the happiest of new years. Cheers to new beginnings! Yours truly,

Jessica Pedlar, Publisher/Editor

Our Contributors:

photo fix 3 - 4 in the gallery5 - 6, 11 - 12 write fix6 - 8 music fix9 - 10, 15 - 22 fix reviews20 - 21 happy new year13 - 14 calendar of events23 - 24 theatre fixation 25

Graphic Design Writers and Layout Ian Alexander CCI Studios Margaret Bird Darryl Graham J. Cole Annette Hovey Adam Miner Kevin Murphy Wolf Paul Jessica Pedlar Jessica Pedlar Bryan Reid Lily Plumptre STiRLING Melissa Upfold Photography Special thanks Ian Alexander from Jessica to Levent Cimkentli My family Ashley Faulkner The Upfold family Peggy Fletcher The Alexander family Tiffany Freitas Our wonderful printer Andrew McNaughtan Everyone who has Jessica Pedlar helped to make Fix Erin Percival possible Mike Robinson Congratulations to Melissa Upfold Jody and Kathy Hull Cover Art on the birth of your first Melissa Upfold grandchild, Joshua Technical Support Justin Bedard


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13 1 - Sarnia’s Santa Claus Parade 2-3 - The Painted Cat on First Friday 4 - Book Launch with The Painted Cat at Stardust Book Lounge and Rhapsody Glassworks 5-8 - Matt Good at the Industry Theatre, Sarnia 9, 12 and 14 - Andrew Borek’s photography opening at Coffee Culture with the Brothers Pus and b. burroughs 10 - The Urban Nature Centre 11 - Blackwater Coffee and Tea 13 - First Friday Gallery Lambton video art screening


Melissa Upfold


Michael Waterman makes music at Gallery Lambton Melissa Upfold Visual and audio artist Michael Waterman’s focuses mainly on sound, installation, improvisational performance and radio art. Michael’s work has been showcased in galleries and at festivals throughout Canada and the United States. Most recently, however, Michael’s art made its way to Sarnia’s own Gallery Lambton. Michael wowed his fans with his artist talk and jam using instruments created with everything you can imagine (just check out these photos to see for yourself). If you missed Michael performing at the gallery, you can check him out on the Männlicher Carcano Radio Hour that he created at Trent Radio in Peterborough. The show, now in it’s twelfth


year, links participants from Los Angeles, Berkeley, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Guelph and Peterborough through teleconferencing and web streaming where they perform audio improvisations live. Visit http://mannlichercarcano.blogspot. com for more.

John Wing Jr.

live at the Imperial Theatre for Lawrence House fundraiser

Levent Cimkentli



Comedian John Wing Jr. will be back home in Sarnia to the Imperial Theatre on February 21, 2010. This is sure to be a treat for all in attendance as this funnyman brings with him a lot of experience performing on The Tonight Show, Late Night With David Letterman, Just For Laughs, Comics and CBC radio. John told Fix that he has played many shows and gets a great sense of gratification to know that people are happy to see him perform in Sarnia. He went on to say that “very few good or great shows are memorable. They tend to blur into one. I had a set in Montreal at the St. Denis Theatre once that was so good I realised half way through ‘wow, this is going very well.’ Normally, that would kill the rhythm but in that case, the show was great all the way through.” “The memorable shows,” he added, “are, sadly, the ones that were bad or very difficult or something weird happened.” John then detailed how he had been telling someone about all his experience doing shows and went as far as to say “what could happen that could fluster me?” That same night, a partron sitting in the front row ordered a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket. The cork blew off spontaneously and hit John right on the forehead. “That was new,” said John. As for John’s material, his motivation is to seem clever, be applauded and make enough money to live and topics are all aspects of his life - his age, kids, wife, travels and more. When asked if there was anything readers should know about him, he said “I am a devout Virgo and I am trying to lose a little weight.” Everyone knows the key to weight loss is accountability from friends. So let’s hold Mr. Wing to that, readers. I’m sure that with our support, he can shed a few pounds by February 21.

Museum London

exciting exhibits in months to come

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Humour. Laughing. Crying. Sometimes, things that one person finds funny aren’t exactly another person’s cup of tea. Sometimes it is one’s misfortune that brings a smile to another’s face. Maybe you like bathroom humour. Maybe you think it’s hilarious when someone is projected 50 feet of a speeding motorcycle. Or maybe you let out a little chuckle when you see someone’s grocery bag bottom out across the street. You look away quickly though, hoping they won’t see you laughing (well, some of you) while they, embarrassed, bend down to pick up their things all the while thinking over in their head “I wonder if anyone saw that. I hope no one saw that.” On January 16, 2010, Museum London opens I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Work in the exhibit is by Bas Jan Ader; Iain Baxter; David Blatherwick; Michel de Broin; Wyn Geleynse; Adrian Göllner; Rodney Graham; Ken Lum; Sandra Meigs; Yoshua Okón and Peter Rose & Jesse Jane Parker. The group choose different methods to convey their messages including light-hearted jokes, slap-stick comedy, satire and dark humour all in attempts to understand, change or reflect on the world we live in. Museum London is located at 421 Ridout Street in London, Ontario. For more information, contact them by phone at (519) 661-0333 or visit them online at


Black history. Since the start of the 19th century, African-American people have been arriving in Middlesex County. Some men and women arrived as United Empire Loyalists, former slaves seeking a new life and sense of freedom from oppression from their homes in the southern United States. Despite the countless obstacles including prejudice and inequality that these people had to overcome, they began their own businesses, attended school and church and made a positive impact on our society. While new immigrants continue to arrive, now even from the Caribbean and Africa, hardships are still present though perhaps now in different forms. Often, friends and families are left behind as new Canadian citizens seek freedom, education, health care and overall, a better life. Museum London is currently putting together an exhibit to celebrate and display artifacts for Home, New Home. This show will explore the places and cultures current London residents left behind by showing contributions from members of the black community such as photographs, ticket stubs, artifacts from trips through the Underground Railroad and more. If you wish to contribute to this show, please contact Museum London’s curator of regional history, Maya Hirschman, by calling (519) 661-2500, ext. 4263.


A Night of Spoken Word Melissa Upfold In 2000, a group of passionate writers took to the microphone to share their love for the written word through spoken word performances. Over the years, this group has changed, expanded, divided and come back together in a new series. Each month, a reading will be held at the Urban Nature Centre on 184 Christina Street, Sarnia where people are encouraged to participate in any way they choose. The options are endless: poetry reading of yours or someone else’s writing, performance art, music, short films (preferably incorporating the written word in some way), rants et. al. The reading, which is supported by the long-running Variations Zine hopes to demonstrate the importance of writing and performance in the community. In the future, we will be featuring readers from across Ontario and are open to any suggestions. You can reach us on facebook at: or at myspace at You may also contact us by emailing Melissa Upfold or Don Alexander at The next reading will be held January 15, 2010 at the Urban Nature Centre from 8:00-10:00pm. Donations are accepted to defer the cost of the rental. Make sure to come out and listen and participate.


book review

Lily Plumptre • Books generously provided by The Book Keeper.

What The Dog Saw

Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown and Company)


Hours Monday - Wednesday 9:30-5:00 Thursday & Friday 9:30-9:00 Saturday 9:30-5:30 Sunday 12:00-5:00

Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, What The Dog Saw, published in October, 2009, presents 19 brilliantly researched and provocative essays that exhibit the curiosity his readers love, each with a graceful narrative that leads to a thought-provoking analysis. The explorations here delve into subjects as varied as why some people choke while others panic; how changes meant to make a situation safer — like childproof lids on medicine — don’t help because people often compensate with more reckless behavior; and the idea that genius is inextricably tied up with precocity. “You don’t start at the top if you want to find the story. You start in the middle, because it’s the people in the middle who do the actual work in the world,” writes Gladwell in the preface to What The Dog Saw. In each piece, he offers a glimpse into the minds of a startling array of fascinating characters. “We want to know what it feels like to be a doctor,” he insists, rather than what doctors do every day, because “Curiosity about the interior life of other people’s day-to-day work is one of the most fundamental of human impulses.” Like no other writer today, Gladwell satisfies this impulse brilliantly, energizing and challenging his readers. What The Dog Saw is organized thematically into three categories: Part One contains stories about what Gladwell calls “minor geniuses,” people like Ron Popeil, the pitchman who by himself conceived, created, and sold the Showtime rotisserie oven to millions on TV, breaking every rule of the modern economy. Part Two demonstrates theories, or ways of organizing experience. For example, “Million-Dollar Murray” explores the problem of homelessness — how to solve it, and whether solving it for the most extreme and costly cases makes sense as policy. In this particular piece, Gladwell looks at a controversial program that gives the chronic homeless the keys to their own apartments and access to special services while keeping less extreme cases on the street to manage on their own. In Part Three, Gladwell examines the predictions we make about people. “How do we know whether someone is bad, or smart, or capable of doing something really well?” he asks. He writes about how educators evaluate young teachers, how the FBI profiles criminals, how job interviewers form snap judgments. He is candid in his skepticism about these methods but fascinated by the various attempts to measure talent or personality. Malcolm Gladwell selected the essays in What The Dog Saw himself, choosing the stories and ideas that have continued to fascinate and provoke readers long after their publication in The New Yorker. The book is an invaluable gift for his existing fans, and the ideal introduction for new readers.

Poetry 4:38 pm./

( melissa upfold.)

there is snow on cedars, a dusting of white promissory notes for later avalanches the molecules of blizzards preparing the landscape the side of the road, a cluster of northern trees, thin white skeletal birches long spindly beams of local homes; the dead remains of roots surround you in the walls a blue highway sign, I wonder what style of font they chose for optimal clarity, & who decides how close the reflectors around the curves are placed together, were there any deaths on snowy nights on the bends that are razor-sharp curls through rock. who decides which ones are the sharpest turns, who decided we all wanted to be risk takers, I keep my eyes closed as we pass through icicles dripping through the rock shelves, the minerals the water passes through compose kaleidoscope colours of blues & green and I want to run my hands down them,

through their blue and their cold green like the sea simply leaks onto the 416. I have travelled four hours and forty five minutes. through statues of the local population, hidden behind forests and forests and hills i cannot comprehend. & this is the time I travelled for hours to reach my family, with my family to reach the end, to reach a destination; our movement is a hazard, we are in jeopardy still we drive my father bobs his hands on the steering wheel, my mother dozes next to me with the window open, sweat dripping and sliding down her neck, my brother stares out the window and I stare out the window with him. I have travelled 6 hours and thirty nine minutes, my grandmother is home and my parents say hello, I drink a pint in the only bar in an empty town, population: 3000 in how many kilometres? later that night: my parents watch me leave, after my brother is in bed, they say they will leave the door open, in the car I travel through the night with my uncle and cousins, foreign strangers who share my blood and we travel the roads at 130 km an hour and my blood that is their blood rushes, but the rest of it just stops.

John Drage

a lambton county farmer whose literary crops are the woven words of agriculture)

Margaret Bird Peggy Fletcher John Drage was born in Euphemia Township, Lambton County. After graduating from the Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, he farmed from 1951 – 1981. Piloting, acting and writing were to be the next phase of John’s interesting life. John has a very dry sense of humour and was inspired to write the following article for the Bothwell Times: “Sydenham Crocodiles – An interesting fact was discovered when a Sarnia group was talking to three lifelong residents of the Shetland area. Crocodiles are reported to be in the Sydenham River. This seems to be an unusual species of crocodile, the main diet of which is snakes. There is some suspicion that a dog and several cattle lost by people living nearby may have been eaten by the crocodiles. There is no proof of this. One thing that must be stressed is that there is no danger to people swimming in the river. Because of the dog and cattle, anyone swimming should not be wearing a fur coat.” Drage joined the Canadian Authors’ Association (CAA) in 1974, was a founding member of Shetland Literary Society, and helped organize the only Municipal Poetry Day in Shetland Park in 1974. He is also one of the long-time members of the WritersIn-Transition (WIT) Group of Sarnia. John’s life events always seem to happen in ‘threes.’ “I was livestock valuator, by-law enforcement officer and drainage commissioner for Euphemia Township (all at once) and when I married, in 1975, I became husband, father, and grandfather (in just a few minutes).” John Drage has written two books of short stories, two chapbooks and one history book. He has also published articles on The History of Euphemia Township, Shetland Church and Community 150 years, and ‘Heart and Soul’ columns in The Sarnia Observer and Daytripping, as well as separate pieces in anthologies and other newspapers.


Jann Arden brings her tour to London to promote her new album and aid Children’s Literacy Andrew McNaughtan Lovely Canadian recording artist Jann Arden got her start on her mother’s giant Yamaha guitar back when she was a child. She spent her days learning entire albums by The Carpenters, Bette Midler and Olivia Newton John. She began writing her own music and realised that she had a knack for song-writing and became “obsessed with all things guitar.” “It would take me an entire book to cover what’s happened between then and now, that perhaps will be at another time,” she told fans in her biography. Jann’s discography speaks for itself. She has just released her tenth album. Titled Free and in stores on September 29, 2009, the album’s first single, A Million Miles Away, is a top 10 on radio stations across the country. Back in November, Jann began her tour across Canada to promote Free. The tour started in Nanaimo, British Columbia and has since stopped in Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax just to name a few. She will be making her way to London on January 20, 2010. Her show is being held at the John Labatt Centre.


Partnered with Jann on her tour is the Raise-AReader program. This program benefits from every ticket sold and was started to help artists give back and support family literacy within Canada. Since their launch in 2002, Raise-A-Reader has raised over $15 million. For more information on Jann Arden, please visit For London show details, visit or call 1-866-455-2849.

Nick McKinlay Vampire Police album release party Erin Percival and Melissa Upfold



at the Rocketship Production house

A packed house swarmed with Nicholas Doubleyou McKinlay’s biggest fans at the Vampire Police album release party on December 28. The album echoes with sounds of vocals by both Nick and friends, guitars, drums, harmonicas, noisemakers and containers filled with bottlecaps. The night featured guest appearances by Brenden McGovern and Jennifer Brace. Starting with live acts, the night ended in a crazy motown dance party complete with outrageous moves by all in attendance. For more information, visit Albums can be purchased at Cheeky Monkey or by emailing

Whiskey River back on stage J. Cole Melissa Upfold A few years back, country band Whiskey River played the first Bayfest with Prairie Oyster and Alannah Myles. After taking a seven year break, the band, now with a few new members, is back at it again and was happy to answer a few questions for Fix. Fix: Could you introduce your band to our readers? Whiskey River (WR): Sean Robbins is on vocals, Denise Chaulk does vocals, keyboard and guitar, Dave Chaulk plays bass, keyboards and guitar, Randy Wilson is our drummer, Jack Dowell does vocals and guitar and Shane Gallagher is on vocals, lead and rhythm guitar. Fix: Congratulations on a very successful New Years Eve show! How many people came out and what did the band think of the crowd? WR: The New Years Eve show was a sell-out at almost 300 people at The Lazy Duck. The crowd was amazing. It was only our second live show for the new band and we had them dancing from the first to the last song. The seven-year-old cobwebs are getting cleaned out. Fix: What has been your greatest accomplishment as a band? WR: Our greatest accomplishment thus far has been making thousands smile and dance. We have done nine Canada Day performances, seven Mackinac shows and we played Bayfest in 1999. Thats a lot of folks that we have seen singing along or dancing to our music that’s the biggest reward we could ask for. Fix: Where did you record your songs that we currently hear on the radio? WR: We do our new recordings in London at The PA Shop studio. We have great connections with the owners of this state-of-the-art studio. Andre Doucette mixes and helps produce our new songs written by the Canadian team from Frozen North Music in Oshawa. The PA Shop does all the sound for many festivals we have played so when they opened a studio, we just had to use this incredible



facility. Fix: What are your thoughs on people being able to download music on the internet? Has this effected your desire to record in any way? If so, how and if not, do you think it will in the future? WR: The internet has been an amazing tool for the re-launch of WR. It’s an incredible way to share your music with the public. Whiskey River has hundreds of members on its Facebook page and thousands on our new website We will soon be able to sell our singles online. Then we can reach thousands of buyers. I think its a great thing to download the tunes and just pay us a bit for the service.  Fix: What has been your biggest hurdle to overcome as a group? WR: Our biggest hurdle to overcome as a group has been finding the time to apply to the band. We are a six-piece group and all the members have careers. We have a dozen children between us with busy schedules. Doing all the radio interviews and performances, rehearsals etc. has been taxing. We hit the road with our Got Whiskey? tour in February in London at Norma Jeans.. Most of our dates are in the A club circuit taking us from Sarnia to Toronto and back several times. Its hard to do with careers and family commitments. For all of Whiskey River’s performance dates and music go to for more details. Also check for details about Whiskey River’s upcoming Pandemonium show.

Mike and Isabelle Robinsona thousand words Mike Robinson and Melissa Upfold Jessica Pedlar Husband and wife Mike and Isabelle Robinson have a lot to be proud of. Mike, a talented photographer and Isabelle, a singer with a beautifully powerful voice are having a show together on January 8, 2010 (First Friday) at Stardust Book Lounge and Rhapsody Glassworks. Isabelle will be singing and playing guitar and Mike opens his photography exhibit A Thousand Words that will be on display for the month of January. Mike, originally from Kincardine, Ontario attended Lambton College’s Media Fundamentals program and then moved to Hamilton for Broadcast Journalism. After school, Mike worked for the Kincardine Independent newspaper where he did reporting, photography and layout and design work. He developed a reputation as a good photographer and was hired on to do some work for Communities in Bloom Ontario, Bruce County Tourism and Steelback Brewery. Multitalented Mike also worked as assistant curator for the short-lived Harbour Street Art Gallery where he helped art displays and in the publishing of a book by Dana Boettger, a Toronto artist. After the gallery closed (just 10 months after opening), Mike landed a job as lead videographer and supervisor for horse racing nights at Hiawatha Horse Park and Dresden Raceway. He also did some freelance work for the Sarnia Sun. Mike also did videography for a friend’s wedding and that is where he met Isabelle. When they first met, Isabelle asked Mike if he did any form of art and he replied that he was “interested in just the art of trying to make people feel good and hopeful and happy to be alive.” Isabelle has been interested in various art forms since high school. During her high school years, she spent a lot of time doing visual art, competing in her school’s improv league and acting in school plays. When she was 13, her mom finally let her take guitar lessons. “She [my mom] let me take guitar lessons with Jim Chevalier because he had a French last name,” said Isabelle. She began writing and playing more and more and several people told her she had a great singing voice. After writing some lyrics for a boyfriend’s music and playing a few gigs, Isabelle fell in love with performing. She played


Pat Davidson, MP Sarnia-Lambton

Telephone: 519•383•6600

We are fortunate to have such a vibrant arts community in Sarnia-Lambton!

mostly at home for her own enjoyment. Isabelle got married and had two daughters (Zoe and Mia) and life was hectic. “I played for the girls all the time but discontinued my attempts at song-writing due to a busy schedule,” she said. At 21, Isabelle was divorced from her first husband and at home with two babies. “I soon found plenty of ammunition for songwriting,” she said. “I wrote about 60 songs in two to three years. My friends suggested I play open mic nights. I did and soon began finding gigs at Coffee Lodge and Blackwater Coffee & Tea. I signed up to play ArtWalk 2005 and have played every year since then.” Isabelle found that people were often asking her where they could buy her CD so she decided to record a compilation of her best material at DNA Music with Adam Miner. The album was a great success. “I was pleased [that the album did so well] as I was only doing any of this for my own form of therapy,” added Isabelle. “It seemed like a good outlet for my frustrations.” Now, with a lot of happiness in her life thanks to her two girls and Mike, Isabelle hasn’t been writing many songs lately but hopefully that will come back. Mike and Isabelle fell in love and were married this past summer. We hope to see you out at their show on First Friday at Stardust Book Lounge and Rhapsody Glassworks.

Photographer Tiffany Freitas pretty in punk Ian Alexander Tiffany Freitas Sarnia’s local photographer and founder of Sophia Lane Photography, Tiffany Freitas has been taking quite the eye-catching and attractive photos since highschool. Only recently has she wanted to take things to the next level and make her photography more than just a hobby. “[I] picked up my first DLSR in highschool and just couldn’t put it down.” says Freitas. “I’ve chosen photography as a way to express myself because I can show people how I see the world.” Tiffany says her current photographic focus is people. Among her apparent re-occuring theme of live band photos, mostly being captured at local Sarnia Scene shows, a consistency can be found of touring artist Marty Oblak, tattoo artist Kari Cook and model Katie Gibson. “You can get so many different shots at a live show,” Tiffany says. “There’s always intense energy so it’s


more exciting taking live shots.” Freitas has a natural talent and eye, using a Canon Rebel XS and is hoping to upgrade soon. She can be spotted easily at Sarnia Scene shows, standing out from the punk-kid crowd with a stylish sense of fashion, softly floating in and out of moshes between flashes. Later, when you check her photos on her Facebook page, amongst the recognizable self-portraits, it will all make sense, as you will see a punk or metal show captured in a very crisp, cool way and with an overall pretty feel. Tiffany captures more than you think. “I just want to thank the people who got me started with photography and inspired me to be better and never stop what I love doing.” says Freitas. “They know who they are!”


happy new year Ian Alexander, Ashley Faulkner, Jessica Pedlar and Melissa Upfold

norm’s pub & grill

the stubborn mule Melissa Upfold

puck around


Melissa Upfold

paddy flaherty’s


adam’s apple

the lazy duck

the dante club


Pandemonium! 6 Jessica Pedlar


Melissa Upfold

As many of you know, Pandemonium is Fix Magazine’s monthly concert series. This month, we took a slightly different route with our concert and, while it’s usually a fundraiser for the magazine, this month it was instead a fundraiser to help Fix photographer Melissa Upfold’s family. Melissa’s brother Derek was diagnosed with brain cancer four years ago. Derek’s wish was to travel to Muskoka to spend Christmas with his extended family and thanks to everyone who showed their support, Derek’s wish came true and nearly $5000 was raised. Local businesses donated items for the silent auction and bands Crow Jane, Nicholas Doubleyou McKinlay, Boy In December and A Huron Union donated their time at the Polish Hall on December 19, 2009. Thanks to Chris Richardson for keeping the sound under control, Doug Murphy for watching over the auction on show night, Andrew Borek for carting everything everywhere and helping to run the event, Adam Miner at DNA Music for donating use of the sound gear for the evening, Voyageur Transportation Services for making sure Derek could attend the event and the Upfold family for being so strong.


Muskoka snow at Chrstimastime


thanks from the Upfold family for making a holiday wish a reality

Melissa Upfold During the second last week in December, our community came together to show their support and care for my family and my brother Derek who is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. Through donation from several local businesses, from local artists and through ticket sales at Stardust Book Lounge and Rhapsody Glassworks, The Lawrence House, Rhumba, East Street Firehall and Giresi’s Pizza, an amazing thing was able to happen for my family. On December 23, we began our trip up north, staying in the beautiful Beauview Cottage Resort, whose owners Gord and Nancy Bell donated five free days in a handicap accessible cottage after reading Paul Morden’s article in The Observer detailing our story. My brother was able to get out and see our whole family, going to my Nana’s to celebrate her birthday on Christmas Eve and to have dinner with many other family members on Christmas Day. His wish was to see snow and I can account through these photos that the wish for the white stuff came true, many times over. It was a wonderful week and my parents and my brother could not be happier. Thank-you from the bottom of all of hearts to those who were able to come out to our show on December 19th , to those who donated and thank you to the bands: A Huron Union, Crow Jane, Boy In December and Nicholas Doubleyou McKinlay for all pulling together to make the fundraiser an amazing show.

2010: An Empty Space Odyssey Ian Alexander Melissa Upfold Alright. Here we go. Empty Spaces is my absolute favourite thing about this town. There. I said it. You all knew I was going to say it. Deal with it. Okay, moving on. Empty Spaces (ES) has been going on in Sarnia downtown for almost two years now. Founded by Sarnia native, Torontonian Eric Woolston and Sarnhood homeboy, Danny Alexander, ES has literally (and proven so) put Sarnia on the map of live Indie-rock shows in Ontario and in some cases, Canada. Starting off as a way of creating unique and innovative venues out of vacant buildings that once held businesses that never seem to be filled with another, ES quickly became so popular among the downtown crowd and young concert-goer crowd, that it moved to the Trinity Lounge where it has stayed for most of the 20+ shows had. The Trinity has become iconic among Sarnians and the bands who have passed through as the absolute perfect venue for ES bands and fans. Big names that have come through Sarnia to play at, mostly Trinity, new and old Energy Exchange, a house show, a patio show, Blackwater Coffee & Tea, theStory and Adam’s Apple, to name a few are: Hooded Fang, Spiral Beach, Green Go, Forest City Lovers, The O’Darling, Words Around The Waist, Great Bloomers, Ruby Coast and many more. Members of all bands (some frequent returning acts) have all commented on the huge difference between playing shows in Toronto and the like, and an Empty Spaces show in Sarnia. Being a devoted Empty Spaces fan, (ahem, as you all roll your eyes) let me explain. Or try to. You see, there is going to a show, seeing a band never hearing them before, getting into it, maybe dancing a little, chatting with the cool band members after, having a beer, buying an inexpensve album or EP, going home and telling a few buddies about it; THEN, there is going to the Trinity Lounge to an Empty Spaces show, immediately noting the very unique layout and perfection of the venue for the band on stage, usually with a million different instruments you’d never expect to hear together, enjoying a Bohemian (an element that makes up the Trinity-Empty Spaces compound formula), getting so into the band that you have to crowd the front of the stage with all the other Empty Spacers with Boh’s in hand, sweat in eyes, taps in toes and DANCEROCK in the SOUL and something explosive and amazing happens, that leaves everyone needing a smoke. Empty Spaces should advertise for Bohemians and Belmonts. To summarize: There’s dancing. And then...there’s Empty Spacing Out. There are a lot of bands playing at Trinity who have never seen anyone dance to their music. This is the complete opposite of not dancing. During last April’s EmptyFest, before a Forest City Lovers show, earlier in the day I watched a laid-back, beautiful set at the new Energy Exchange that warmed the hearts and souls of everyone filling the room, sitting in chairs and on the floor. Later that night they played a lot of the same songs but were forced to quadruple the ante and those same folk-rock Indie songs were being stomped and pumped and screamed out with rock-love dance-brilliance. Some, nay, all of us, have never been the same. Neither shall thee. Something else amazing about the shows is the fact that they are allages shows which brings out wide-eyed, excited highschool kids as hardcore dance-lovers but also pretty impressive musicians. Empty



Spaces has magically managed to bring so many different crowds of Sarnia-Lambton and Ontario together under one roof. ES has kind of created this very unpretentious but matter-of-fact Indie scene in Sarnia that, as far as I’m concerned anyway, is making celebrities out of us all. Sarnia bands that may not have made it far out of Sarnia and Ontario have held just as much legend as their headliners; The Macho Tutu Orkestra, MC Huey and the Collection Of Cups, Plume Balloon, Nicholas Doubleyou McKinlay, Sound of Fans, Funk a la Frog, Thief, The Tree Streets and The Chocolate Robots to name a rock-and-roll fistful. Celebrities, maybe, but more importantly, great great friends and fellow lovers of music and show energy. Happening this month - guess where - are “Toronto heavyweights” Wilderness Of Manitoba and Donlands & Mortimer. Eric and Danny are looking for highschool bands to play upcoming shows, and also DJs. Contact them if you’re interested. Join the Empty Spaces Facebook and MySpace group and stay tuned for the upcoming website! Contrary to popular belief, the spaces are never empty...

M He t r O y H a OMother e r M H y a y a t Mother e M O Heart r O M He tO My H y a O y e y M H r a t a e M M He t O y ear O H F O y r O M H rt My ea a M He t H y a O e y O y M H r a t a e M M He t O My ear O y H O y a r O t H e a M M He t My ear O y H r O y a t H a e M M He t O My ear O y H r O O y e t H a M yH r M He t a y O e O y M r e M t H a M He t O My ear t O y H O y r O e M t r H a ar O y H M He rt y a e M yHHe rtt M O y ea e O H r a O y y M H rt a e M e M t H O y ea e t M O r H M H rt O Myy eeaar O y H O y ea M t H t H O r M H rt O Myy eaar O My H O y ea e M t H t r H O M H rt O yy eaar O M He O y ea t M y e M t H M H r O M t H r O y H r a y O y ea t O a e M He t y M H ar OOM M H r H y a O My e y y O e M t t t t M t M t H H r r r r H r O r a O a O y y a a O a a e e y e e e e M H M H H M H H H H O My y yO y My O y M M M M My Melissa Upfold

Five-piece Canadian Indie-rock band Mother Mother calls Vancouver their home. Sarnians were lucky to have them spend a little time here when they opened for Matt Good at the Industry Theatre on December 12. Originally, the band consisted of lead singer Ryan Guldemond, his sister Molly Guldemond and friend Debra-Jean Creelman as an acoustic act. They then added drummer Kenton Loewen and bassist Jeremy Page. Kenton was later replaced by Ali Siadat. Most recently, in December of 2008, the band announced that Debra-Jean was leaving the band and in January of 2009, vocalist/keyboardist Jasmin Parkin joined the group. The band celebrated great success in the short time they have played together (the band started out in early 2005). Past shows have included the Virgin Festival in Vancouver and the Regina Folk Festival and Mother Mother has shared the stage with the likes of Metric, The Killers, Do May Say Think and (one of Sarnia’s favourite outof-towners) Hey Ocean!. As Mother Mother took to the stage at the Industry, the crowd went wild and sang along to hit tracks off their second album O My Heart (2008). Ryan, Jasmin and Ali all agreed after their Sarnia show that they were very pleasantly surprised to see that people were just as excited for their set as they were for Matt Good.


“We didn’t realise people here knew us,” said Jasmin. “We certainly weren’t expecting such a warm welcome. This was a great show and hopefully we’ll be back through Sarnia again.” Mother Mother’s tour with Matt Good came to an end on December 19, 2009 but we hope they’ll be on the road and back our way sometime soon. For more information, please visit

a a a e e e e e



Recording Kicking Souls Adam Miner

Part two


Melissa Upfold

a three part series

Microphones are amazing in their ability to translate a wide dynamic range, even at higher sound pressure levels. In contrast the human ear begins to compress the dynamic range when confronted with a very loud source. That compression can beneficially impart a sense of excitement, especially if it’s a live concert by your favourite band. Since microphones generally don’t compress in this manner, sound engineers recreate the sensation of natural ear compression by using devices called compressors in clever ways and employing production tricks that help a limited media deliver as much of the story to the listener as possible. I saw Kicking Souls play Adams Apple a while back, they sounded great in that four-story atrium. The combination of natural reverb and ear compression it sounded like a 3D Phil Spector recording. My captured sounds in the studio didn’t sound like they sounded that night. They need to be juiced. After recording Kicking Souls drummer it was time for us to start working on guitars and bass. I don’t often compress as I record but once it’s recorded I generally use a lot of it, especially on drums. In particular I use something called parallel compression. Parallel compression is a technique wherein the engineer blends a natural sounding source with a copy of the same source that is usually aggressively compressed. Most modern drum mixes employ something like this, whether it’s Green Day, Interpol or Taylor Swift. I usually mix as I go and on this session I have a lot of compression happening in

the drums. What I’m going for is that sensation I would get by standing right in front of the kit or on the drummers throne. The next step beyond drums was to recreate the excitement of the guitar sound. For their particular sound we decided to record the guitar part eight times. Four of these would be what guitarist Don Beckett plays live on his regular guitar while the other four would be simplified supporting parts. The eight takes were spread out over four different amp set-ups using amplifiers by Fender, Mesa Boogie and Marshall in different combinations with his usual guitar and other appropriate selections from the studios inventory. Some set-ups had guitar pedal gizmos between the guitar and amp and other sounds we achieved by turning the amp up until it started to distort appropriately. By blending these different sounds together one can approximate the excitement of hearing the band play live at stadium levels in a package that can fit in your iPod. Music production is like trying to squeeze elephants into a phone booth and it takes a lot of planning to pull that off.


Monday Morning Retrospective Lindsay Dana Wolf Paul Monday Morning Retrospective features the songwriting of Lindsay Dana, a sultry alto of considerable talent evocative of artists like Amanda Marshall and Sarah McLachlan. On the record she is supported by local indie rock luminaries from The Chocolate Robots, Astronaut and the Death of 8. Producer Adam Miner and Lindsay worked together on the record every Monday for a full year. The hard work shows on tracks like Fate Laughs and Borrowed Time where she wrings every ounce of emotion out of the lyrics with her ample dynamic range. Besides the dependable musicianship of her collaborators, several songs also feature electronica programming and acoustic guitars. Down-tempo songs like Follow Me Here showcases her ability to deliver a story against quiet and dreamy soundscapes. Nameste, penned by Miner, Dana and Nic Swales (who also performs) is a haunting spiritual reminesient of mid-80’s groups like The Cocteau Twins with it’s strange atmospherics. It’s a fitting close to a record that seems to thrive on contrasts. 20


Song Doctor Adam Miner celebrates changes at DNA Music J. Cole


Melissa Upfold

For as long as he can remember, music has been a huge part of Adam Miner’s life and he discovered early on that it was not just a hobby but a career. Adam watched his father, Dave, play and record music and soon learned that recording in a commercial studio was an expensive option - home-recording was the only way to go. This writer remembers helping (as much as a nine-year-old could) while Adam and Dave put together a tiny soundproof studio in the basement of the Miner’s Camlachie home. A lot has changed since the first recording with one microphone and a pair of VCR’s. Adam moved up to a oneroom apartment that doubled as a studio. It was at this apartment that he first recorded an album for another artist (Dave Puzak’s Yesterday Was Just A

Dream). They had complaints from the neighbours when the sound from the giant speakers they were using actually knocked all the artwork off the wall in the neighbouring apartment. Adam has since moved out of the one-room apartment and now owns one of the most successful and biggest studios in this area. DNA Music is complete with all the bells and whistles. An accomplished musician himself, Adam has tired of life on the stage and feels much more at home helping other artists create albums both professionally and affordably. He has worked with many local favourites like Kicking Souls, The Chocolate Robots and most recently, Lindsay Dana. Known to some of his clients as The Song Doctor, Adam is happy to announce that DNA has undergone a complete facelift recently and an event to show off the studio at a date to be determined is in the planning stages. Check out past issues of Fix for recording advice from Adam and visit the DNA website at DNA Music is located at 141 Christina Street North in Sarnia and can be reached by phone at 519-466-6685.

Make Me Young Make Me Young

Ian Alexander This album goes by very quickly. But you need to make sure you catch it. The self-titled CD is a concept album with no consistency. Except for the consistent inconsistency. It’s difficult to peg a genre, as the whole time it seems like it can’t decide what it’s going to be. And it ends before it gets close. But nonetheless, the album is, quite frankly, fantastic. Probably the most inaccessibile album i’ve heard with a tracklist full of accessible sound. The titles seem to be the only thing that is consistent, with tracks divvied up throughout called The Materialist, The Optimist, The Nihilist, The Receptionist and The Narcissist. Then two songs called Trainwreck Samantha and Samantha Darling which both have the exact same lyrics except one is 100 times slower and bigger and longer. None of the songs seem to carry any sort of connection musically or lyrically, except that half of them are ridiculously short and simple and at times, almost unpoetic. The other half are beautifully crafted rock power-ballads with complicated and almost condescending lyrics. The album starts out with the first three minute-long songs that immediately make whether or not the band takes themselves seriously, questionable. Especially with the very silly, weird and awkward, lo-fi opener to the record Fat Worms for which all the lyrics are as follows: “The fat worms get eaten by the fat birds get eaten 21 by the fat cats.” It totally prepares listeners for absolutely noth-


ing on the rest of the album. Probably their intention, and it totally works. None of the songs follow any sort of standard song structure, lyrically or instrumentally, which is counter-balanced by how normal and good-sounding it suddenly becomes without the listener realizing until the song is there and then immediately over. Listening to the whole thing front to back is essential, as, even through the inconsistency, the powerfully big songs make the tiny nothing-haiku songs fit on the album nicely.

545 Murphy Road, Sarnia 519•330•6973

• studio equipment includes 24 track 2” analog recording, pro tools and all pro gear • competitive rates • top notch studio musicians

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald Ian Alexander Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, known as “MBF” to his fans, friends and people who are about to become one or both of those who need to say his name really fast while excitedly talking about him hails from Vancouver, is someone to pay extreme close attention to, and is coming back to Sarnia. During his tour with funky-fun band Hey Ocean!, MBF stopped in at Paddy’s to rock everybody’s socks with songs on and not on his album The MBF Love LP and ended it with a folksplosion, funlovin’ medley including a cover of TLC’s Waterfalls for which the members of Ocean! rocked out along with him. It was awesome, to say the very least. To be honest, I showed up at Paddy’s toward the end of his set which he did mostly solo, and it wasn’t until his finale that I decided I needed to buy his album. Now this album is something extra-special. You have to immerse yourself right in it to know what I’m talking about. This is something that you cannot capture at a live show. With every song on the album, you fall in love with this guy more and more. I’ll admit it. What? You cannot only hear that it was tracked perfectly and brilliantly in a studio but you can almost FEEL the studio. As MBF’s soulful-moan vocal stylings stay the same, every song changes drastically as far as instrumentation goes and also mood. The use of VASTLY different instruments is quite impressive, with an extra mention on the frequently unique choices of different percussion, which this author totally appreciates, beyond belief. Take a song like Can’t Be Done With You, the album opener which starts before you realize it has started, which is such a fun song with rockin’ piano, a horn section, a galloping acoustic guitar and a very feelin’-it vocal track. THEN, go to a song

like Brand New Spaces. This song features a ukelele and a huge gym full of about 50 people stomping and clapping. Feel extra ashamed of yourself if you don’t check out the video here: as it’s absolutely fantastic and will make you smile. After that, travel to a song called Reach You which is available as a free download on MBF’s website which, by the way, can be found through about 14,000 different methods:,, myboyfriendmbf. com or just (no matter who he is to you in your life or no matter how much you want to type in your address bar, MBF is there for you, just the same). The track mentioned could possibly have any other sound in the world, but really, when you think about it, can’t be any other way. With only and I mean ONLY, piano, triangle, MBF, cymbals, marching band snare and harmonization, this song will groove you sump’n else, lemme tell you. After you check out the rest of the tracks on the album, including some of my favorites, Suzie (I Love You) and Movie Life which you can find with beautifully shot videos on MySpace, prepare and I mean PREPARE yourself for something that will make you giggle and cry, smiling like a little girl and proudly at that. Check out the video for Care For You, which, I think, might be the absolute greatest thing in the world that I watch, unhealthily at least four times a day. Just sayin’. Please watch for more details about the MBF Pandemonium show booked for April 3, 2010 at The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts, Sarnia.




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brought to you by


• Live entertainment at Boomerangs, Sarnia • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Saturday Matinee (4:00pm) and live entertainment (9:30pm) at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia • Funk-Eh at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Open Mic with Rick Steeves at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Open Mic at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Art Hratchian & Friends at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia (9:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • A Thousand Words featuring Mike & Isabelle Robinson at Stardust Book Lounge and Rhapsody Glassworks • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Saturday Matinee (4:00pm) and live entertainment (9:30pm) at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia • The Balconies at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Open Mic with Rick Steeves at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Open Mic at Two Amigo’s Sarnia (10:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Art Hratchian & Friends at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia (9:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • A Night of Spoken Word at the Urban Nature Centre, Sarnia (8:00-10:00pm) • Empty Spaces featuring Wilderness of Manitoba, Donlands & Mortimer and more TBA at Trinity Lounge, Sarnia • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Will Currie & The Country French with Pat Robitaille at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia • Rayjon fundraiser featuring the Chocolate Robots and more at Norm’s, Sarnia • The Last Five Years at the Grand Theatre, London (until February 6) more listings online • Saturday Matinee (4:00pm) and live entertainment (9:30pm) at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia


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• Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Open Mic with Rick Steeves at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Open Mic at Two Amigo’s Sarnia (10:00pm) • Open Mic with Rick Steeves at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Art Hratchian & Friends at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia (9:00pm) • Jann Arden at the John Labatt Centre, London • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Rod Stewart and Bryan Adams Tribute Show with Doug Varty & the Combination at the Imperial Theatre, Sarnia (8:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • The Waxbills at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia • Saturday Matinee (4:00pm) and live entertainment (9:30pm) at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia • Hot Rocks Rolling Stones tribute band at the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia (8:00pm) • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Open Mic with Rick Steeves at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia

25 • Open Mic at Two Amigo’s Sarnia (10:00pm)

• Puss N’ Boots by the Theatre Sarnia Youth Group at the Imperial Theatre (6:30pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm)


• Art Hratchian & Friends at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia (9:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Penderecki String Quartet & Dance Theatre with David Earle at the Imperial Theatre, Sarnia (7:30) • Gentleman Husbands at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia • Celtic Cultured by the International Symphony at the Imperial Theatre, Sarnia (7:30pm) • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • The Decade of Sleep at Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia • Saturday Matinee (4:00pm) and live entertainment (9:30pm) at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia • Live entertainment at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm) • Open Mic with Rick Steeves at Ups N’ Downs, Sarnia

February 1 2

For event details and updates, visit To submit a listing, email

• Guitar Hero at Puck Around • Karaoke at Two Amigo’s, Sarnia (10:00pm)

Details may change. Before you travel, please check with venues to confirm events are still taking place.


Rod Brown Jr.

the rise, fall and return

former Mama Mia star takes to the Sarnia stage as Jonathan Harker in Vampire Heart


Ian Alexander

Since childhood, it has been Rod Brown Jr.’s dream to be an actor, performer and singer. As a young boy, Rod was involved in many Sarnia Theatre groups including S.T.A.G.E., the Sarnia Little Theatre, the Glee Club, Bluewater Musical Productions and more. For the Sarnia native, the dream of working in theatre full-time became a reality when he was, after a gruelling audition process, cast as the role of Sky in Toronto’s original cast of Mamma Mia. “It was so rewarding because I landed the role about six months after I graduated from school,” said Rod. Rod attended the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts where in his third year he was awarded the Bill Wong Scholarship for performance. At the same time as he was cast in Mamma Mia, he landed a small role on Showcase favourite Queer As Folk. He chose to stay with Mamma Mia rather than take on a bigger role on Queer As Folk

Lola’s Lounge

because generally, theatre is more stable than television especially when a tv show is just starting out. Local papers called him “Sarnia’s Son” however Rod found that success came with a high price. Rod’s growing popularity and involvement in theatre and television meant party after party and drink after drink. “I was already part of the gay community,” said Rod, “but once people saw me in a scene with a main character on Queer As Folk, I had a special place among them.” Being the life of the party just made going out to social events that much better and easier. Unlimited funds and a predisposition to alcoholism would soon take it’s toll. “You can only go to work smelling like alcohol so many times before people start talking,” said Rod. “You know it’s bad when other members of the cast play a game called ‘what did Roddy drink last night’ based on what alcohol I smelled like that day.” Two weeks after his contract with Mamma Mia was up, Rod’s agent fired him. Rod soon realised that his drinking was beginning to ruin the life he had worked so hard to build for himself. Rod decided he needed help and is now proud to say that he is 17 months sober. He is happy, healthy and after a seven year absense from theatre, he is returning to the stage on February 18 in PWR Productions’ Vampire Heart. Cast as the lead role of Jonathan Harker in the Dracula rock-musical, Rod’s comeback is sure to be a triumphant one. Visit and check out the video section to see a sneak preview of the show that airs at the Imperial Theatre from February 18 to 20.

The Last Five Years

at London’s Grand Theatre

January 16 to February 6, 2010

O you got me spinnin’ round & round

110 Christina St. S. • Sarnia • 519-336-8088


One act musical The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown premiered in Chicago in 2001. Since that time, it has been produced on stages all over the world. From January 19 to February 6, The Last Five Years runs on stage at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. The show tells the story of the five-year relationship between rising writer Jamie Wellerstein and struggling actress Cathy Hyatt. Travelling backwards through time, the show starts at the end of the couple’s marriage and works it’s way back to just before the couple meet. Only at one point in the show do the pair directly interact - during the middle of a wedding song where their time-lines overlap. Inspired by the real life experiences of playwrite Brown’s own failed marriage, the show flaunts a score that is worth checking out. The Last Five Years has had rave reviews from The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and more. Visit for more details.

Pandemonium march 27, 2010 aT The sTubborn muLe, sarnia

Whiskey River with Shelly Rastin

apriL 3, 2010 aT The Lawrence house, sarnia

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and more to be announced

please visit for more details on these and more upcoming pandemonium shows

Rocketship Productions Film and Media Art 226-932-0994

Fix Magazine - January  

Sarnia-Lambton's only source for local arts and entertainment.

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