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November 16, 2018I have a few regrets in my life. One is not buying nine doughnuts for a pound in Cleethorpes; another is never buying art by Jay Russell, who incorporated vinyl records into his jazz paintings. And a third regret is that, in all the years I lived in Toronto, I never went to Hugh’s Room.
Throughout the 2000s this venue has hosted pretty much every legend of folk and acoustic music I could name: Pete Seeger, Maria Muldaur, Janis Ian, Eric Andersen, Ian Tyson, Judy Collins. I didn’t come when Richie Havens, a Woodstock icon, played here the year I moved away; now he’s gone. And I wasn’t there when Odetta played what turned out to be her last concert on earth, in October 2008. (She was supposed to perform at President Obama’s inauguration, but didn’t live to see it.)
   
We are now living near Roncesvalles Avenue, and I was thrilled to find that Hugh’s Room is still alive, just up the street. Like so many great arts-related spaces, it closed for financial reasons, but unlike many it reopened last year as a non-profit community venue. Hugh’s Room Live was welcoming back Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and I was going to be there.