Murray SawChuk (Murray the Magician) from ‘Pawn Stars’ visits mom, Arlene Sawchuk, and uncle, Robert Murray in Youbou recently. (James Stevens photo)

LEXI BAINAS COLUMN: 40th of July update, a panto casting call, Las Vegas celeb, Island Star Party

Summer is winding down, but there’s always lots to do and see in the Valley

BREAKING NEWS: Longevity John has emailed and let me know that he’s found a replacement for Salsahall to wind up The 40th Day of July show on Sept. 1 at Duncan City Square.

It’s Funky Lowdown, which he describes as “a five piece, more R&B than salsa but definitely on the danceable side of things. Regrettably Salsahall Collective had to cancel but will be coming to the Duncan Showoom on Sept. 19.”


Tonight (Friday) and tomorrow night (Aug. 31) it’s time for the 24th annual Island Star Party, hosted by the Cowichan Valley Starfinders Society.

It all happens at beautiful Bright Angel Park in Cowichan Station.

Brian Robillard of the Starfinders is urging everyone to “Come look through telescopes, listen to astronomy talks and workshops, and learn to observe the night sky. Visit our website for details and event schedule.”

The date of this event is a bit of a moveable feast, because they want a moonless night, but it’s always fun. Take the kids. They really enjoy looking through the big telescopes.



The Shawnigan Players present Beauty and the Beast as our Christmas Pantomime this year.

Ooooh. Ahhh.

The show will take the stage at the Mercury Theatre on Brae Road in Duncan. Performance dates will be Dec. 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30. As I always say: that time when your visitors are just as anxious as you are to get out of the house.

There are great performance opportunities for children between the ages of 10 and 18 years of age, of course.

But, says Maggie Sullivan, “let’s not forget the rest of you thespians 18 and upwards. Please come out and audition if you want to act, sing and maybe do a little dance and be involved in this hilarious pantomime.”

Auditions to be held on the following dates:

Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Mercury Theatre, 331 Brae Rd., from 2 p.m. till 4 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 8 at Shawnigan Lake Community Centre, 2804 Shawnigan Lake Rd., from 2 p.m. till 4 p.m.

Audition packages are not necessary.


Reader James Stevens shared a neat story this week:

“A cool entertainment tip for Lake Cowichan or Youbou was this past weekend.

“Murray SawChuck, aka Murray The Magician from History Channel’s Pawn Stars and a Las Vegas headliner, was in Youbou hanging out with his mother Arlene Sawchuk (aka Arlene Murray) and her brother Robert recently.”

Born in Burnaby, “Murray grew up in Youbou and spent the summers here in Youbou at the home of his [family] (Bob and Babe Murray) who used to work at the mill and post office. Murray spent time at both the cafes, the new bar and dropped by the old bowling alley, where his mother and uncle both worked as pin setters.”

You never know who’s going to drop in on a Cowichan Valley community at this time of year.


Katie Daniel, from Imagine That! has sent along a forward looking email.

“Our feature artists in our display windows from Aug. 30-Sept. 27, is Finding Joy: Laurel Hibbert.

“The artist says, ‘Growing up in Lachine, Quebec, along the St. Lawrence River, I spent my childhood as the last of five children in almost complete freedom and joy. I believe these carefree days allowed me to develop an imagination that has carried me through life. I had parents that allowed messes and experiments. I grew up on stories told by my grandmother of her childhood in the prairies and found myself overwhelmed by the beauty of these lands when I saw my first wheat field. My heart is tied forever to little houses, strong women and their daily tasks and the sheer vitality of children. I am grateful that I can capture some of these feelings in my images. I am untrained but not, I think, unskilled. I hope that my work can lift the spirits of those who see them’.”

In addition, Imagine That! is showcasing Enamels and Silks by Margot Page and Lorraine Taylor.

“Well-known in the Cowichan Valley, they combine their creative talents for a joint exhibition of their work this month. Margot enamels on copper and steel, and Lorraine hand-paints on silk scarves. The two met when the Imagine That! Artisans Designs co-operative in Duncan began some 26 years ago. Lorraine was one of the founding members and Margot joined a few years later.”


A day or so after publication, I found out that the Shady Grove square dance for September is cancelled. Look for it in October at its new location: the historic Girl Guide Hall on Cairnsmore in Duncan.

I bet that’s not the first time that hall has heard “a la main left, and corner swing!”


Also, early this week, I learned that the Tour de Rock Show & Shine, scheduled for Lake Cowichan Aug. 31, has also been cancelled, unfortunately.

However, the 75th Anniversary/ A&W car show is still on for Lake Cowichan Sept. 8.

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