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The Weather Network
Jun. 15, 2019 | Saturday
Entertainment News
Shaw film series regulars at somewhat of a loss
The venerable Stagecoach restaurant enjoyed a bumper day last Saturday. Downtown NOTL was a bit more crowded than usual on Saturday afternoons, now that the 2018-2019 Shaw Film Series is over for the year. (Ross Robinson/Special)

Countless psychologists and self-help gurus have told us that if we do the same thing over and over again at least nine times, it becomes a habit. Dale Carnegie, Dr. Phil, Billy Graham, Freud and now Doug Ford espouse this concept. The same is true for good habits as well as bad habits.

This is certainly the case on Saturday afternoons in Niagara-on-the-Lake during the less warm months of the year. For some fifteen years now, the Shaw Film series has provided entertainment and cocktail fodder for hundreds of local residents and visitors to “our towne.” So much more than just a movie, the films selected by Stephen Levy expand our horizons, introduce us to the real world out there, and allow us to enjoy the cachet and comfort of the Festival theatre.

We all have certain anchors in our weekly activities. The faithful sitting in church at 10:30 Sunday mornings, a haircut every four or five weeks, a coffee group at Tims or Willow or Sweets ‘n Swirls Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. Perhaps a choir practice each Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Queenston, or a cold, frothy Oast House or Silversmith ale at 4 p.m. each Friday.

When one of these activities is not available, it causes a certain disorientation. We need to readjust, to find something new to do. We drift for awhile, until we find a substitute for the cat-cuddly comfort of our regular routine. We wander a bit, trying to get our feet solidly on the ground.

For over a month now, many NOTLers have found themselves walking on Queen Street on Saturday afternoons. A bit out of sorts, disoriented, something is not normal. After five months of knowing that they would be with friends enjoying a film at the Shaw Festival Theatre, the season ended in late February. Our comfort zone had us in the foyer by 1:30 or so, enjoying a light lunch from Gooddine Catering, and a glass of Niagara’s finest. Casual conversations, commenting on the frightful and wonderful weather outside, waiting for Stephen Levy to introduce the day’s film.

Now, what to do? Window shopping, a tuna salad sandwich at the Stagecoach, a pint at The Harp or The Sporty? Our comfortable old cardigan had gone missing. We took a long walk along the Niagara Parkway path, but something just wasn’t right. Finding something else to do was disconcerting.

The Shaw Film selections this year were so enjoyable and educational. Leave No Trace, Can You Ever Forgive Me, I Feel Pretty, BlacKkKlansman – it’s a real world out there past the vineyards and Q.E.W. And the last film, A Star is Born, what a story.

I remember back a few years when we watched The King’s Speech. What a story of determination and bravery. The fake speech therapist from Australia, and then the elation we all felt as the King delivered his speech flawlessly, without a stutter.

Now, we wander, we find other things to do on a Saturday afternoon. By April, we will have adjusted our behaviours. Stephen Levy and Carol Walker and their team will put together another great series of films for us to enjoy next winter. We will enjoy the cold, crisp days, the coziness of the Shaw Festival Theatre, the comfortable casualness of watching a film and learning something new. Being reminded there is a real world out there, beyond our beautiful Niagara Peninsula.

So much more than a film. Long live the Shaw Film Series.

We are so fortunate to live in Canada in 2019.