Bluesmen David Gogo and Steve Marriner are headed to the Duncan Showroom. (Submitted photo)

Bluesmen David Gogo and Steve Marriner are headed to the Duncan Showroom. (Submitted photo)

A&E column: Books are back; music, art, and theatre are too

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts community

Heads-up book lovers, it’s back!

We’ve got good news for everyone who’s read through their entire library thanks to the pandemic and is ready to add some new titles to their collection.

The massive Garden House Charity Book sale is ready to go, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at George Bonner School in Mill Bay.

The pandemic cancelled last year’s sale, but Garden House says that the donations continued, leaving the charity with 20,000 books to sell this year.

Browse through bins of free books, 50 cent children’s books, soft and hard covers of all genres for $1 to $3, DVDs and a silent auction of higher quality books with bids starting at $20.

“As always, purchases will continue to support families and animals in crisis in the Cowichan Valley forever through annual grants from the permanent fund,” said a press release for the event. “Despite the 2020 sale being cancelled, grants continued to Cowichan Family Life, Cowichan Women Against Violence and the Duncan and District SPCA.”

To date $37,000 in grants have been given, and the fund itself is now worth more than $183,000. Garden House aims for the fund to reach $200,000 by the end of December.

Garden House also thanks Ten Old Books, Mission Thrift Store and other local businesses, private donors, student and adult volunteers, the Cowichan Valley School District, Brentwood College, and all of the book lovers who make the sale a success every year.

Proof of vaccination will be required for everyone 12 and older to enter the sale. Attendees will also be required to wear masks.

To donate books, call 250-743-4627. For more information, check out


Live music continues at the Duncan Showroom on Oct. 10 with well-known blues artists David Gogo and Steve Marriner.

Both artists have released new albums, a press release for the show says, with Gogo’s Silver Cup out on Oct. 8 and Marriner’s Hope Dies Last out on July 2.

“Steve Mariner is one of Canada’s busiest and bluesiest artists,” the release says. “Much sought-after producer, songwriter and versatile musician Steve is constantly creating and performing as a solo artist or as part of the Blues trio Monkeyjunk.

“Fiery guitarist and world-class slider, David Gogo has made a name for himself as a soulful singing Blues troubadour whose equally at home performing a heartfelt ballad as he is with a groovin’ blues rocker,” the press release concludes.


If you want to check out some art, the Cowichan Valley Arts Council has a show for you at their gallery in the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan.

Surrounded by Water continues until Oct. 28 during gallery hours, Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

So what’s it all about? Here’s CVAC’s description:

“The title is the definition of an island — but that doesn’t mean the work has a marine theme. Our goal is to celebrate regional artistic talent from Sooke to Cumberland. The 21 artists involved, some with national and international art pedigrees, each have unique perspectives on living on the coast.”

“CVAC has the professional gallery space and the central location to make it the logical place for this kind of regional art show,” said Susan Down, managing director. “And the quality of the pieces will be a draw for art buyers as well and art appreciators.”

“The resulting show is a powerful amalgam of creative talent from Natasha van Netten’s wire Superpod orca installation and David Goatley’s whimsical parade scene to work by other well-known artists including Anouk Hartwell, Laurel Hibbert, Dorothy Friesen, Jo-Anne Westerby, Bonnie Stebbings, Claudia Lohmann, Pattiann Withapea, Michael Dean, Pauline Dueck, Gill Riordan, Catherine Taron, Susan Purney Mark, Ilka Bauer, Carole Finn, Sue Smith, Maureen Walker, Robbie Stroud, Darin Corbiere and Rory MacDonald.”


There was some sad news for theatre-goers this week.

The Mercury Players Society announced that they have cancelled their planned production of Women of Lockerbie.

Originally scheduled for two different dates in spring of 2020, but cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the show has now officially been called off.

“We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to the production from the cast who spent many hours in rehearsal to the crew who helped with rehearsals, assembled costumes and props, prepared sound and lighting, and built an amazing set and took it down,” the Players said in a press release.

If you bought tickets and haven’t yet gotten a refund, email

But don’t despair. The group has now set their sights on a comedy to bring to the stage in December.

The Mercury Players will be presenting The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery.

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