The Hootenany: Still Crazy After All These Years

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Six years ago, Monday Magazine published a piece by a young writer who boldly attempted to capture the essence, and history of a long-standing musical tradition.  In the minds of many Victorians, the subject the writer wrestles with in his piece verges on sacrament.  His story is too wordy, however, and the language engaged often gets in the way of the lofty sentiments he obviously feels, yet fails to express concisely.  From the vantage point of my new-found Editorial perspective, I would give the piece a B—I may have published the review, but I certainly wouldn’t have drawn attention to it via social media.  The writer of said piece is me, and the subject, of course, is Carolyn Mark’s World Famous Hootenany.

On Sunday afternoon, I had a chance to revisit the Hootenany.  Many of the musicians mentioned in the piece Monday published all those years ago are still at it, honing songs both new and old to states of further perfection.  This Sunday Grayson Walker, the guest-host of the Hootenany featured on “The MonBlog”, played the piano with a little help from a friend.  Mike Wren is still in fine form, playing both originals and Elvis covers to a crowd comprised of some of Victoria’s finest musical talent.  Wes Borg is still hilarious.  Dane Loucks does a mean Little Richard.  And Carolyn Mark hosted the show this time with her preternatural charisma, generosity, and grace.

The Hootenany is at once predictable and unpredictable.  While the initiated can easily guess who will perform, and in some cases, what songs they will perform, the Hootenany’s stage is much larger than the 40 square feet of space in front of J. McLaughlin’s iconic blanket.  On Sunday afternoons, all of Logan’s becomes a stage: the audience, unwitting characters in a play of Brechtian stature—at once contrived and Dadaist, irreverent and welcoming, The Hootenany remains a rare glimpse into the functional dysfunction of Victoria, BC’s music scene.

The Hootenany happens every Sunday afternoon at Logan’s Pub.  4:20 til whenever.  Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already done so.

words: Nick Lyons