MARTYS Celebrate the Great Talent in Mississauga

 

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the MARTYS -- a high-end award show hosted by the Mississauga Arts Council (MAC). 

The MARTYS, though somewhat unpolished in some ways, are certainly not informal. The spacious and elegant venue, the Living Arts Centre, was decked out in red carpets and filled to capacity with local actors, musicians, visual artists, media, politicians and guests. The attendees sipped wine, mingled while enjoying a performance by Andre Anthony Reid and showed off their finest Oscar-inspired attire. There were gowns, suits and even a few fascinators (the fancy hair pieces popular among royalty and royal enthusiasts). There were also hor d’oeuvres, professional photographers and rustic wooden trophies (quite uniquely Canadian) given to those who excelled in their craft. 

The show itself, hosted by John McAneney of the Johnny Max Band and Stephanie McKenzie, a local media personality, featured opening remarks by Bohdan A. Shulakewych, the president of MAC and a brief speech by Madame Mayor herself, Hazel McCallion. Prior to the show starting, a keynote address was delivered by Ernie Singleton, CEO of Singleton Entertainment. Singleton offered warm words of encouragement to the city's budding and veteran artists, telling them to grow their careers and to remember the positive impact community arts organizations have on developing artists. 

The hosts did their best to keep the show on-trend and ahead of the curve in terms of technology and pop culture references. Guests were encouraged to Tweet vociferously (and there was a slightly over-long act that centered around McAneney's lack of Twitter literacy) and numerous Oscar gags were re-done, including Ellen's now-famous pizza and selfie bits -- although, sadly, no pizza came. 

The musical performances were as varied and diverse as the city itself, with the surprise opening act being a group of new, young Canadians performing Pharrell's Happy. Other performers included the Davor Jordanovski Band, Indian music aficionado Naqi Ali Khan, Leslie Carney and Christine McMahon of the Clarkson Music Theatre, Trip Hop Soul fusion singer/songwriter Shyann. Michael Ursini, who fronts the rock/alternative band UFORIA, entertained guests at the after party. 

Ultimately, the MARTYS are a celebration of great (and often underappreciated) talent in a city that grows bigger and more diverse every year. While some of the host's gags are a little cheesy and presenters are sometimes cut off by the booming electronic voice representing the various companies who generously sponsor the awards, the award show invites honorees and attendees to dress up and eat, drink and be merry. It also reminds them that their city is supporting them and appreciates the difficult and rewarding work they do.  

The 2014 MARTY winners are:

Creative Community: Frog in Hand

Hazel McCallion Volunteer of the Year: Arlene Paculan

Laurie Pallett Patron of the Arts: Eleanor Calbes

People’s Choice: Monster Rock Orchestra

Literary Arts:
Emerging: Larissa Fleurette Ho
Established: Anna Yin

Visual Arts:
Emerging: Amanda Baron
Established: Irene Monique Salehi

Media Arts
Emerging: Nick Name
Established: Michael Kennedy

Performing Arts Group
Emerging: Ballroom Babies

Media Arts
Emerging: Nick Name
Established: Michael Kennedy

Performing Arts Group
Emerging: Ballroom Babies
Established:Clarkson Music Theatre

Performing Arts
Emerging: Frank Anthony
Established: Carol McCartney

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