Some cheerful hopes for 2021

Counter gloomy fears with cheerful aspirations by cheerful people!

By Byron Toben

As we slouch toward the year 2021, many (including me) fear what rude beast will be born (to use W.B. Yeats’ famous phrase).

However, it is uplifting to counter these gloomy fears with cheerful aspirations by cheerful people.

Take, for instance, the artist Avy Loftus, the clown duo Morro and Jasp and a whole host of well-wishers at the New York Irish Arts Center.

Avi Loftus Peace, Love, Hope

One of Avi Loftus’ batiks

Avy Loftus, a Montreal based landscape architect by trade, is also a master maker of silk batik images with which she has arranged an exhibit each year for 13 years. Entitled Peace, Love and Hope, it has toured the province and elsewhere at live exhibits for 12 years but was forced in 2020 to go digital.

You can view it at

Morro and Jasp, a Toronto based clown duo who impressed us with their act based on John Steinbeck’s great novel, Of Mice And Men, at a clown festival at Montreal’s Mainline Theatre last year, have adapted to the new normal by creating a digital clown cabaret, Send In The Clowns.

In a twice-weekly show until the end of the year, they have featured such clowns as Rebecca Northan of Blind Date fame and others as far-flung as Newfoundland, Vancouver, Yukon, Calgary and Winnipeg.

You can watch them at

The New York Irish Arts Center based in Queens, NYC (not to be confused with the Manhattan-based Irish Repertory Theatre), has made available until the end of the holiday season an hour long celebration (and who can celebrate better than the Irish?)

I often close my Christmas season by invoking Tiny Tim’s plea “God bless us, everyone!”, but am impelled to update this year’s quote to “God save us, everyone!”

Feature image: Morro and Jasp, courtesy of Morro and Jasp

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Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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