Arts in the winter semester

Cultural highlights for the new year


Slippery walkways, biting wind and the trek through snow and slush to lectures might make you want to hibernate, but don’t be fooled — Kingston is serving up lots to get excited for this winter season. 

Lumina Borealis: Fort Henry until Feb. 19

 Rediscover the spirit of the season at Lumina Borealis, an interactive multimedia experience that has returned this winter to transform Fort Henry into a living storybook. It’s an immersive experience, complete with shimmering lights, roaring fires and glowing Canadian wildlife that dwell among the trees on the old fort’s walls.

Offering interactive games and stunning moving displays, this enchanting exhibition attempts to return the wonder of winter back into our hearts and minds. A local must-see, Lumina Borealis is open Thursday to Sunday nights until Feb. 19, and is accessible with a free shuttle service across from City Hall.

The Sheepdogs Changing Colours Tour: Ale House March 7

 Saskatchewan rockers The Sheepdogs are coming to Kingston to kick off the Eastern leg of their 2018 cross-country tour. They’ll be supporting their Feb. 2 release, Changing Colours as they take to the stage at Ale House on March 7. 

Known for their big guitar riffs, warm vocal harmonies and classic 70s sound with the shaggy beard/hair combos to match, The Sheepdogs stride the line between retro and fresh. The band keeps producing refreshingly fun tunes, run through with a welcoming familiarity that is never dull. 

The much-loved band — with three Juno awards under their belt —  is a guaranteed good time for anyone who loves loud music, catchy hooks and feel-it-in-your -bones rock and roll.

The 2018 Focus Film Festival: Filming over Jan. 12-14 and Screening Feb. 1 Isabel Bader Centre

 The Focus Film Festival, now in its 15th year, kicks off on 

Jan .12, when both first-time and experienced filmmakers will receive the theme of this year’s festival. Participants will have 72 hours to write, film and edit their entry in the guerilla filmmaking competition. It has steadily grown since its inception, attracting almost 100 students each year. 

The finished films are then judged by professionals in the industry, with the event culminating in a gala and public screening at the Isabel Bader Centre on Feb. 1. 

The Reelout Queer Film Festival: The Screening Room Feb. 1-10

 A Kingston art-scene staple, Reelout returns to the Screening Room this February for its 19th year of celebrating queer Canadian stories in film. The festival stays true to its mandate of breaking down the barriers of age, ability, religion and culture within the LGBTQ+ community by “serving up reelness” — the theme of this year’s gala. Returning to Kingston each year, Reelout is meant to showcase the diversity of everyday Canadian life.

Highlights this year include Porcupine Lake, a dramedy about teen girls coming-of-age in cottage country, which was filmed three hours outside of Kingston. 

Additionally, a series of short films exploring Indigenous LGBTQ+ stories sponsored by the Queen’s Department of Cultural Studies will appear in the festival’s roster.

Finally, Venus, the gala’s closing film tells the story of an Indian-Canadian transgender woman juggling her boyfriend, her recent coming out to her family and her newly discovered 14 year old son.

The festival will be running from Feb. 1-10, and features an exciting mix of feature films, documentaries, shorts and panel discussions. Reelout presents a unique opportunity to catch an indie gem, and to support the local Kingston art scene. 

Letterkenny Live!: Grand Theatre March 9

Letterkenny Live!, the cross-country road show grown out of online series Letterkenny, is coming to Kingston’s Grand Theatre with two shows on March 9. 

The live show will be a mix of stand up, sketches and unseen videos, perfect for longtime fans and those newly introduced to the series. This may be the best time to dive into the show, which won Best Comedy Series at both the Canadian Screen Awards and the Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriter’s Awards in 2017.

The series takes a look into the lives of the “hicks, skids and hockey players” of Letterkenny, Ontario and is known for its rapid, winding monologues, raucous fights and unapologetically thick Canadian accents. Letterkenny is a little universe unto itself, and the live show brings it right to our doorsteps for some perfect escapism, and a little taste of home.

Whether you love film, art, comedy or music, there’s something going on for everyone this winter semester. So make the most of the season, and head out to explore what Kingston has to offer.


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