Two local performers take the virtual stage in B.C. in support of mental health

By Lindsay Advocate

Darryl James. Photo: Megan Ward.

It’s been more than two years since two area touring performers have been able to tour. But this Thursday will see musician/producer Darryl James and standup comedian Denis Grignon entertain audiences in British Columbia – albeit via computer screens.

The two professional entertainers were recruited to be part of a live-streamed fundraising show in support of mental health initiatives for young adults. Billed as a “light-hearted variety show,” Laugh is produced by Third Space Charity, a Kelowna-based organization that offers high level training for next generation mental health care practitioners, as well as free care counselling to people aged 18-29.

“Supporting mental health, especially amongst young people, is something I’ve been actively involved in through my work with the Strumbellas and long before,” says James the bass player for the international recording artists.

“So, agreeing to be a part of this event was a no-brainer.”

James, whose solo project Close Kicks launches a music video with local hip hop artist Louwop this Saturday at the Pie Eyed Monk, will perform two of his own songs on the broadcast – “This is the House We Built” and “You Made It Home.”

“These are the first two songs I released into the world with my vocals on them,” says the married father of three. “It was terrifying, but the response has been overwhelming and I’m excited to perform both these songs for such an incredible event.”

Denis Grignon, comedian.

Grignon, married with two adult sons and who lives a farm near Dunsford, has been featured on CBC Radio’s Laugh Out Loud and The Debaters.

But he admits he was, at first, reluctant to participate in this event.

“Sure, supporting its cause was an easy decision,” says the 25-year standup veteran, who also produces The Advocate Podcast. “But I’ve turned down several live-streamed shows during the pandemic because they usually look like clumsy hostage videos.”

Both performers, however, were asked to pre-record their individual segments, using professional equipment and lighting – (in fact, James, a videographer in his own right, recorded and edited Grignon’s two 12-minute standup sets) – in their respective homes.

“That certainly allowed for a more polished performance,” says Grignon, adding with a laugh, “if you don’t include me pausing my act at one point to acknowledge my dog walking up to me.”

The show’s producer, Third Space Charity executive director Karen Mason, says, “To have someone of Denis and Darryl’s talent and calibre support our efforts to raise money for our mental health initiatives is such a gift, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

“Things have just been so heavy for all of us this past year-and-a-half,” adds Mason, who’s known Grignon socially for almost 30 years. “And we’re really looking forward to bringing people together online to let off some steam and just have a fun time with lots of laughter and silliness.”

People outside of B.C. will be also be able to take in the show this Thursday. Start time is 10 pm locally, (7 pm in B.C.). Tickets and information at Third Space Charity

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