Thursday, April 17, 2014

12 Hours of Jazz: The 2nd Annual New York Hot Jazz Festival May 18 2014

From a media release:

THE 2nd ANNUAL
NEW YORK HOT JAZZ FESTIVAL
Twelve Hours of Nonstop Hot Jazz, Stride Piano and Film at
The Players Club - 16 Gramercy Park South, Manhattan
Sunday, May 18 - 1:00pm to 1:00am

Featuring

VINCE GIORDANO AND THE NIGHTHAWKS with CATHERINE RUSSELL, KEN PEPLOWSKI'S NEW SWING w/ special guest, THE HOT SARDINES, FRANK VIGNOLA & VINNY RANIOLO, DAVID OSTWALD'S LOUIS ARMSTRONG ETERNITY BAND,
ADRIAN CUNNINGHAM'S OLD SCHOOL, THE XYLOPHOLKS, BRIA SKONBERG'S BRASS KICKER - plus another dozen bands, surprise special guests, films and other entertainment to boot!

TICKETS ON SALE NOW
EARLY BIRD - $30 for Half-Day Passes / $50 Full Day
ADVANCE - $35 for Half-Day Passes / $60 Full Day
AT DOOR - $40 for Half-Day Passes / $70 Full Day


 
NEW YORK CITY - Hot Jazz, once the 20th century's dominant pop music, has found a 21st century home in New York City. As Will Friedwald notes in Vanity Fair, "Hot Jazz is so prevalent now that New York has almost become like New Orleans in the fin de siecle period ... These musicians are working to prove that jazz can be popular music all over again. It seems to be working." Known by many names -- New Orleans Jazz, Early Jazz, Trad Jazz -- Hot Jazz is still a vital genre as younger audiences and performers continue to re-embrace these roots. From the revolutionary innovations of Louis Armstrong to bands that represent the legacy of Django Reinhardt, who show how American jazz was embraced by cultures all over the world, from the rough-and-ready funkiness of crescent city street bands to the smooth, polished swinging sounds of Benny Goodman, from ragtime to stride piano, from dirty little blues numbers that concern themselves with matters anatomical to the sophisticated words and music of the great poets of Tin Pan Alley ... you'll hear examples of all of this at the 2nd New York Hot Jazz Festival.

Building on the success of last year's sold-out inaugural festival, this year's show, produced by Michael Katsobashvili, performer/producer Bria Skonberg, and producer/composer Patrick Soluri (of The Salon) promises even more all-star players, multiple rooms filled with live Hot Jazz, Ragtime and Stride piano, and the Hot Jazz Film Festival. NY Hot Jazz Fest will feature Grammy Award-winners VINCE GIORDANO AND THE NIGHTHAWKS with special guest vocalist CATHERINE RUSSELL; star swing clarinetist KEN PEPLOWSKI and his NEW SWING quartet (with a special surprise superstar vocal guest); Gypsy Swing guitar god FRANK VIGNOLA, joined by VINNY RANIOLO; one of the Hot Jazz Renaissance leaders, trumpeter, and a co-founder of the New York Hot Jazz Festival BRIA SKONBERG leading BRASS KICKER brass band; and, the only returning band from last year's Festival, the exhilarating HOT SARDINES. To go along with the vanguard, audiences will be treated to up and comers like 2013 Sarah Vaughan Vocal Rising Star award-winner KATE DAVIS, Gypsy Swing violinist ADRIEN CHEVALIER with the HOT CLUB OF NEW YORK, as well as 22-year-old "eloquent trumpet prodigy" MIKE DAVIS and his NEW WONDERS.

Also joining in this year's festivities will be Birdland regulars DAVID OSTWALD'S LOUIS ARMSTRONG ETERNITY BAND, banjo virtuoso CYNTHIA SAYER & SPARKS FLY with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's own Vincent Gardner, swing stars DAN LEVINSON'S GOTHAM SOPHISTICATS with rising star vocalist MOLLY RYAN and wunderkind vocalist / multi-instrumentalist JERRON "BLIND BOY" PAXTON, exciting Hot Jazz reedman ADRIAN CUNNINGHAM with PROFESSOR CUNNINGHAM AND HIS OLD SCHOOL (who will be joined by tap dance star ANDREW NEMR), alongside many more. The night will be capped by an all-hands-on-deck jam session led by DENNIS LICHTMAN, a multi-instrumentalist founder of the storied Mona's hot jazz jam sessions. This year's NY Hot Jazz Festival will include a multinational contingent of young musicians that have embraced Hot Jazz in recent years, with players hailing from Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Brazil, Sweden, and beyond. All told, The Festival will give the audience a rare chance to hear the entire breadth and scope of early jazz, from the beginnings in New Orleans, through the music's glorious migration to Chicago and then Harlem, up through the Roaring '20s, Prohibition, and into the beginning of the Swing era.

This year's festival will also devote more stages for continual live music. Two rooms will host featured bands, while another room will be dedicated to Ragtime and Stride Piano music, featuring pianist (and host of NPR's Piano Jazz) Jon Weber, alongside musicians Ehud Asherie, Mark Shane, Dalton Ridenhour, Jesse Gelber, and Peter Yarin. In yet another room, The Festival will showcase a pair of special film showings, curated by Louis Armstrong scholar and archivist of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, Ricky Riccardi. The first -- THE SATCHMO-THON -- will be six hours of footage of vintage Louis Armstrong performances. During The Festival's second half, THE HOT JAZZ CLIP FEST takes over the projector, featuring all things Hot Jazz as presented in film.

The Players Club is the new home of The New York Hot Jazz Festival. Overlooking Gramercy Park, this clubhouse holds more than a century of social club history, boasting founding members such as Mark Twain, Laurence Hutton, and William Tecumseh Sherman. Today, the venue's goal is to cultivate an ambiance of conviviality, culture, history and comfort; in other words, a perfect setting for the New York Hot Jazz Festival.

After the music ends, it starts right back up again with a jam session at the Late Night Supper After-Party at Mona's (224 Avenue B, b/t E. 13th and E. 14th Street) from 1am - 4am.

• Keep up with The 2014 New York Hot Jazz Festival via our Facebook invite page: www.facebook.com/events/856127397747756

Contemporary Dance: Japan Society New York City Presents the North American Premiere of Pleiades May 2 & 3 2014

From a media release:

AS PART OF CURRENT 60TH ANNIVERSARY PERFORMING ARTS SEASON
JAPAN SOCIETY PROUDLY PRESENTS
PROJECT IX - PLEIADES
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Inspired by and featuring the music of IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001)
Performed by KUNIKO KATO (percussion) and MEGUMI NAKAMURA (dance)
Direcetd and Choreographed by LUCA VEGGETTI

FRIDAY, MAY 2 and SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014
Both Shows at 7:30 PM
at JAPAN SOCIETY - 333 EAST 47TH STREET

Buy Tickets

New York, NY - 
As the culminating event of the 60th Anniversary Performing Arts Season: Japan, the U.S. & Beyond, Japan Society presents the North American Premiere of Project IX - Pleiades, an innovative interpretation of the music of daring 20th-century composer Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001). Performed by two distinguished Japanese artists, percussionist Kuniko Kato and dancer Megumi Nakamura, this tour de force collaboration is directed by internationally renowned Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti. Performances are Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 PM at Japan Society (333 East 47th Street).

Hailed for his stage direction of works by Xenakis, choreographer Luca Veggetti weaves together two of Xenakis' most mesmerizing percussive scores in Project IX - Pleiades.  The evening-length piece begins with Pléiades, driven by Xenakis' ambitious composition for six musicians, presented as a sound installation by Kuniko Kato who performs all six parts through a multiple video projection to dancer Megumi Nakamura's crisp yet subtle live solo.  The evening culminates with Xenakis' whimsically-rhythmic Rebonds a. and energetic Rebonds b., performed live by Kato on an array of drums, with Nakamura, who dances with and against her projected double. 

Project IX - Pleiades concludes Japan Society's 60th Anniversary Performing Arts Season, which has focused on Japan-U.S.-International collaborations.  Kato, a resident of Nashville, is one of the most globally active Japanese percussionists and was praised by Steve Reich as a "first rate percussionist." Nakamura is an internationally known Japanese dancer since her days with Jiří Kylián's Netherlands Dance Theater.  The stage works of Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti, known for his love and knowledge of Japanese traditional noh theater as well as interpretation of Xenakis' music, has been praised on both sides of the Atlantic.

"In addition to the commanding artistry, and refreshing innovation of the creative team, this work is chock full of 21st-century state-of-the-art technology that challenges the music of one of the greatest composers of the 20th century," says Japan Society's Artist Director Yoko Shioya.  "As the culminating event in our anniversary season, this project demonstrates the type of creative courage that I so admire and absolutely embodies one of the directions that the Society's Performing Arts Program is headed for in the future."

Before its North American premiere at Japan Society, Project IX - Pleiades will have its world premiere at Kanagawa Arts Theatre (KAAT) in Yokohama, Japan on April 19, 2014.

VENUE AND TICKET INFORMATION
Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between First and Second Avenues, easily accessible by the 4 / 5 / 6 trains via the 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E / M at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street.  Performances are Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 PM. May 2 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet the Artists Reception. Tickets are $30/$24 Japan Society members. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (212) 715-1258 or in person at Japan Society (M-F 11:00 AM-6:00 PM and Sat-Sun 11:00 AM-5:00 PM).  For more information call (212) 832-1155 or visit  http://www.japansociety.org/performingarts

Two More Picks from Hot Docs '14 - World Premieres: Mugshot & Write Down, I Am An Arab (April 24 - May 4 2014)

From a media release:

Two More Picks from Hot Docs '14 - World Premieres:
Mugshot & Write Down, I Am An Arab
Hot Docs '14 runs April 24 - May 4, 2014


Mugshot
Directed by Dennis Mohr
Language: English
(Canada)

Mugshot is a feature documentary directed by Dennis Mohr investigating the cultural significance of the mug shot.  Originally a law enforcement tool, the mug shot has deviated from its fundamental purpose as a source of criminal identification. It has been sensationalized through celebritydom, exploited by the leniency of freedom of information, and has captivated the attention of the art world. MUGSHOT explores the personal stories of those whose lives have been transformed by these iconic photographs.

This world premiere is accompanied by art exhibition of vintage mug shots, curated by Stephen Bulger at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

Screenings:
Isabel Bader Theatre - Mon, April 28 - 7:00 pm
Isabel Bader Theatre - Tues, April 29 - 4:00 pm         
Scotiabank Theatre, 3 - Sat, May 3 - 1:00 pm           



Write Down, I am an Arab
Directed by Ibtisam Mara'ana Menuhin
Language: Arabic, Hebrew
(Israel)

Directed by Ibtisam Mara’ana Menuhin, Write Down, I am an Arab tells the story of controversial poet Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) and his defiant proclamation of his Palestinian identity through his iconic 1964 poem of the same name. It is also the first film to document Darwish's love affair with a Jewish woman. This world premiere is Mara'ana-Menuhin's first documentary to focus on a male subject.

Screenings:
Scotiabank Theatre, 3 - April 27, 2014 - 6:30 pm
ROM Theatre - April 29, 2014 - 1:30 pm
Scotiabank Theatre, 4 - May 4, 2014 - 1:30 pm

The NFB at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto April 24 to May 4 2014

From a media release:

The NFB at Hot Docs 2014
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto
April 24 to May 4, 2014

Toronto –
Seven National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentaries will be featured at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, taking place from April 24 to May 4, 2014.

This year’s selection includes two world premieres in the Canadian Spectrum program: Sundance award-winning filmmaker Julia Kwan makes her feature documentary debut at Hot Docs with Everything Will Be, while four-time Emmy winner and Hot Docs favourite John Kastner is back with a new NFB co-production, Out of Mind, Out of Sight

Two documentaries are making their North American premieres: Guidelines (La marche à suivre), directed by Jean-François Caissy, and Where I’m From (D’où je viens), directed by Claude Demers, along with three films making their Ontario debuts at Hot Docs: Jutra, directed by Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre; Absences, directed by two-time Hot Docs award winner Carole Laganière; and Self (less) Portrait (Autoportrait sans moi), directed by Danic Champoux.

Everything Will Be
As dawn breaks, the long-time merchants of Vancouver’s Chinatown are hard at work preparing for what they hope will be a busy day. But this once-thriving neighbourhood is in flux as new condo developments and non-Chinese businesses gradually move into the declining hub of the Chinese community. Everything Will Be captures this transformation through the intimate perspectives of the neighbourhood’s residents, merchants and new entrepreneurs, who offer their poignant reflections on change, memory and legacy.

The film is written and directed by Vancouver director Julia Kwan, whose 2005 feature Eve & the Fire Horse won the Special Jury Prize for World Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival and the Claude Jutra Award for best first feature film. Everything Will Be was produced and executive produced for the NFB by David Christensen.

Out of Mind, Out of Sight
What happens to people who suffer from mental illnesses and commit violent crimes? Out of Mind, Out of Sight is the second of two NFB co-productions by John Kastner shot at the Brockville Mental Health Centre, where he was granted unprecedented access for 18 months as 46 patients and 75 staff shared their experiences with stunning frankness. His previous film, NCR: Not Criminally Responsible, premiered at Hot Docs last year. Now, in Out of Mind, Out of Sight, Kastner takes audiences back to Brockville to follow treatment processes normally hidden from the public, profiling four patients—two men and two women—as they struggle to gain control over their lives, so they can return to a society that often fears and demonizes them.

Out of Mind, Out of Sight is produced, directed and written by John Kastner. The film’s producers are Deborah Parks, with Silva Basmajian as producer and executive producer for the NFB. The film is produced by J.S. Kastner Productions and the NFB, in association with TVO.

Guidelines (La marche à suivre)
Guidelines explores the world of adolescence through a series of tableaux that illustrate the occasionally trying existence of young people at a rural secondary school. During closed-door meetings, the teens interact with various authority figures whose job it is to “set them straight.” Outside classroom hours, though, they regain control of their world, the natural surroundings becoming a playground where they can test the limits of their temporary freedom. A work of patient observation relying mostly on uninterrupted long takes, Guidelines gradually reveals the interior drama of adolescence, with its shifts from fragility to reckless abandon.

Guidelines was written and directed by Jean-François Caissy and produced for the NFB by Johanne Bergeron. It screens in the festival’s Canadian Spectrum program.

Where I’m From (D’où je viens)

It all starts in darkness, with a child who does not know where he comes from. In a quest that is both personal and universal, director Claude Demers revisits the locales of his childhood and probes the mysteries of his origins and his formative years, which were marked by trauma and abandonment. The film is an intimate chronicle that unfolds in the working-class Montreal neighbourhood of Verdun, seen through the eyes of the narrator’s two alter egos, Bastien and Cédric: two young boys who are just discovering the world around them. The town and the magical banks of the Saint Lawrence River serve as a backdrop for this coming-of-age story that is also a profound inner journey. Between past and present, birth and death, Where I’m From traces the course of one man’s redemption.

Written, directed and narrated by Demers, Where I’m From is produced by Colette Loumède for the NFB, and screens in the World Showcase program.



Jutra
Based on an assembly of archival footage and animated sequences, Jutra is a skillful and ingenious portrait of the great Quebec filmmaker Claude Jutra, director of the NFB classic Mon oncle Antoine. In this film, Jutra is seen in dialogue with himself at various stages of his life, becoming the spirited narrator of his own biography. Continuing the undertaking she began in 2006 with McLaren’s Negatives, devoted to Norman McLaren, Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre refines her pursuit of a unique animated documentary form, encapsulating the life and career of another cinema giant. Excerpts from home movies, interviews and well-known works by the filmmaker artfully blend and overlap to tell the story of a life devoted to creation. Jutra is at once a tribute, a love song to filmmaking, and the retelling of the tragedy of a brilliant artist who died much too young.

Jutra is produced by Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre (MJSTP Films) in co-production with the NFB (Marc Bertrand), and screens in the Canadian Spectrum program.

Absences
Absences presents four protagonists, each of whom is dealing with a form of absence in which feelings of loss and resilience coexist. Ines is an immigrant who has returned to Croatia to look for her mother, who abandoned her in 1993 during the war in former Yugoslavia. Deni is a Canadian-American author  who sets out in search of his Quebec roots to reconstruct his family story and fill the void in his uncertain, fragile identity. Nathalie is desperately searching for her sister Marilyn, who disappeared suddenly more than five years ago. And lastly, there is the personal drama that director Carole Laganière herself is living through as watches her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, slowly slip away. Out of this chain of lives built on loss, a work emerges in which multiple voices express the endless subtlety of human emotions, both intimate and universal.

Produced by Colette Loumède, Carole Laganière’s Absences was developed through NFB French Program’s Filmmaker-in-Residence program. It screens in the World Showcase program.

Self(less) Portrait  (Autoportrait sans moi)
In an age of social media, 50 people forego their need for privacy and discuss a multitude of personal subjects on camera, ranging from the funny to the heartbreaking. From their stories, a human mosaic emerges one with which we can all identify, that celebrates the diversity of life. An atypical, free-form ensemble film, Self(less) Portrait breathes new life into the documentary genre as it serves as a fascinating compendium of raw emotions.

Self(less) Portrait was written and directed by Danic Champoux at the NFB, and was also developed through NFB French Program’s Filmmaker-in-Residence program. Produced by Colette Loumède, Self(less) Portrait screens in the Canadian Spectrum program.

ADIFF TC Cine-Club Black Leaders Film Series April 25 to 27 2014 in New York City

From a release:

ADIFF TC Cine-Club
Black Leaders Film Series
April 25 to 27, 2014
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 West 120th Street - Room 263 Macy

• TO PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE CLICK HERE


NEW YORK CITY -
The African Diaspora International Film Festival NYC (ADIFF NYC) is pleased to present the Black Leaders Film Series at Teachers College, Columbia University from April 25 to 27, 2014. Here's the line-up of films:

Friday, April 25, 2014
6:30pm Marcus Garvey
Free Screening!

MARCUS GARVEY: LOOK FOR ME IN THE WHIRLWIND, the first comprehensive documentary to tell the life story of this controversial leader, uses a wealth of material from the Garvey movement-written documents, film and photographs-to reveal what motivated a poor Jamaican to set up an international organization for the African diaspora, what led to his early successes, and why he died lonely and forgotten. Among the most powerful sequences in the film are articulate, fiery interviews with the men and women whose parents joined the Garvey movement more than 90 years ago. Together they reveal how revolutionary Garvey’s ideas were to a new generation of African Americans, West Indians and Africans and how he invested hundreds of thousands of black men and women with a new-found sense of racial pride. (2000, 90min, USA, Stanley Nelson, Dir.)

Saturday, April 26, 2014
2pm Wangari Matai

TAKING ROOT is a compelling documentary narrative about the first environmentalist and first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1977, Maathai suggested rural women plant trees to address problems stemming from a degraded environment. Under her leadership, their tree-planting grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, defend human rights and promote democracy, and brought Maathai the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. (2008, 80min, USA, Alan Dater & Lisa Merton, Dirs.)

4:00pm Paul Boggle & Thomas Sankara
CATCH A FIRE tells the story of Deacon Paul Bogle, often described as a 19th century Malcom X. 30 years after the end of slavery in Jamaica, the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 provoked outrage in Victorian Britain shaping race and land attitudes. The story is constructed using extensive interviews with Paul Bogle’s grand son as well as archive material. (1995, 30min, Jamaica/UK, Menelik Shabazz, Dir.)

CAPTAIN THOMAS SANKARA was the leader of the Burkinabe Revolution. In the former Upper Volta known today as Burkina Faso, a group of men decided to launch a revolution that would enable the country "to accept the responsibility of its reality and its destiny with human dignity." Thomas Sankara belongs to the group of African leaders who wanted to give the continent in general and their countries in particular a new socio-political dimension. (1991, 26min, Democratic Republic of Congo, Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda, Dir.)

5:30pm Amilcar Cabral & Frantz Fanon
Portrait of two leaders of the Pan-African Liberation Movement: Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral.

Using rare archival footage, AMILCAR CABRAL accurately chronicles both the personal and public sides of an African icon in Amilcar Cabral. The founder of the African Party for Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Amilcar Cabral led the Liberation Movement against Portugal for those countries. (Cape Verde/ Portugal, 2001, 52 mins., Ana Lucia Ramos Lisboa, Dir.)

In the documentary FRANTZ FANON: HIS LIFE, HIS STRUGGLE, HIS WORK uncovers and interviews scores of former associates of Frantz Fanon, a psychiatrist, philosopher and political leader. He became a spokesman for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism, and as the author of Black Skin, White Masks, Fanon documented the effects of colonialism and racism on the people of colonized countries. (Algeria/France, 2001, 52 mins., in French and Arabic with English subtitles, Cheikh Djemai, Dir.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014
1pm Patrice Lumumba

LUMUMBA: DEATH OF A PROPHET offers a unique opportunity to reconsider the life and legacy of one of the legendary figures of modern African history. Like Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba is remembered less for his lasting achievements than as an enduring symbol of the struggle for self-determination. This deeply personal reflection by acclaimed fimmaker Raoul Peck on the events of Lumumba's brief twelve month rise and fall is a moving memorial to a man described as a giant, a prophet, a devil, "mystic of freedom," and the "Elvis Presley of African politics. (France/Germany/Switzerland, 1992, 69mins, Raoul Peck, dir.)

2:40pm Alex Hailey
This inspiring portrait recounts the transformation of a college dropout into one of America’s most powerful writers. In one of the few in-depth conversations filmed before his death in 1992, Alex Haley describes the dynamic collaboration that produced The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the quest for identity that yielded Roots. (USA/Switzerland, 1992, 50 mins, Matteo Bellinelli, dir)

4pm Audre Lorde - the Berlin Years 1984 to 1992
1984 to 1992 documents Audre Lorde's influence on the German political and cultural scene during a decade of profound social change, a decade that brought about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-unification of East and West Germany. This chronicles an untold chapter of Lorde's life: her empowerment of Afro-German women, as she challenged white women to acknowledge the significance of their white privilege and to deal with difference in constructive ways.  (USA/Switzerland, 1992, 50 mins, Matteo Bellinelli, dir.)

WHERE:  Teachers College, Columbia University - 263 Macy
525 West 120th Street, NY NY 10027
PLEASE NOTE: PHOTO ID required to enter the building
Free parking on Saturday and Sunday

TICKET PRICE: 
Friday, April 25: FREE
Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27: $10 regular price; $8 seniors and students
WEEKEND PASS: $35

TO PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE CLICK HERE

BLACK LEADERS FILM SERIES AT A GLANCE
Friday, April 25, 2014
6:30pm Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind (FREE)

Saturday, April 26, 2014
2pm Wangari Matai: Taking Root
4:00pm  Catch a Fire & Captain Thomas Sankara
5:30pm Amilcar Cabral  & Frantz Fanon: His Life, His Struggle, His Work

Sunday, April 27, 2014
1pm Lumumba: Death of a Prophet
2:40pm Alex Hailey
4:00pm Audra Lorde

www.NYADIFF.org
212-864-1760212-864-1760


DVDs of films from Africa and the African Diaspora will be on sale at the venue. $15 per DVD; $25 for 2 DVD; $30 for three DVD and $10 for each additional DVD.

Fly on the Wall Theatre Toronto Presents: Cold Comfort April 24 to May 4 2014

From a media release:

Fly on the Wall Theatre Presents:
Cold Comfort
Thursday April 24 2014 to Sunday May 4 2014
Near Studio (Tarragon Theatre)
30 Bridgman Ave
Toronto ON M5R 1X3

Get Tickets

TORONTO -
Kevin Toner returns to Belfast to confront his father after a 15-year absence. He has a bone to pick, and he is determined to have a conversation that will leave no stone unturned. There's only one problem. His father is dead. And lying in a coffin in the front room. Fly on The Wall Theatre’s critically acclaimed FRINGE hit COLD COMFORT plays April 24-May 4, 2014 at the Tarragon Near Studio. Tickets are available via 416-531-1827416-531-1827 or  tarragontheatre.com/tickets

Awarded Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Direction (NOW Magazine), and Staff Pick (Mooney on Theatre) during the 2013 Toronto Fringe, this remount of the “must-see” solo show is making a triumphant return. COLD COMFORT features  “an electrifying performance” by David Mackett (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Touchmark Theatre; Half Life, Rose Theatre; The Good Thief, The Weir, MacKenzieRo; plus performances with the Tony-nominated Willow Cabin Theatre Company, TheatreWorks/USA, and Kentucky Repertory Theatre), under the direction of theatre veteran Rod Ceballos (God of Carnage, Sudbury Theatre Centre; My High Heeled Life & Inge Snapshots, Toronto Fringe 2013), Shakespeare Festivals of Chicago, Cincinnati and Idaho; Virginia Shakespeare Festival; Rose Theatre/Flower City Theatre Festival; and BirdLand Theatre). It seems the conversation is not yet over.

Laced with dark humour and littered with Belfast idiom, expletives and drunken ramblings, award-winning Irish playwright Owen McCafferty’s COLD COMFORT is a stark, tragic, and compassionate masterpiece. It is a powerful and compelling tale of one man’s search for inner redemption, a reconciliation of past wrongs, for light shone on missing moments in his life and relationships …at the one moment none of it is possible.

[Fly on the Wall: An unnoticed observer of a particular situation. Alludes to the position of being able to freely observe.] - Based in Toronto since 2012, Fly on the Wall Theatre produces plays of high quality which have seldom been seen, in small, intimate theatre spaces in order to maximize the sense of connection between performer and audience. For more information: www.flyonthewalltheatre.ca.

COLD COMFORT
Tarragon Near Studio - 30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto
April 24 - May 4, 2014
Tuesday – Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2:30pm
Tickets: $20 General Admission (Sunday only: Limited Rush tickets $13)
Via 416-531-1827416-531-1827 or tarragontheatre.com/tickets

Monday, April 7, 2014

CD Release: Acclaimed vibraphonist Tyler Blanton channels the grit and energy of New York into Gotham (April 22 2014 on Ottimo Music)

From a media release:

CD Release:
Acclaimed vibraphonist Tyler Blanton channels the grit and energy of New York into Gotham, his new groove-inflected album featuring saxophonist Donny McCaslin, drummer Nate Wood and bassist Matt Clohesy
To Be Released April 22 on Ottimo Music

Buy the CD

NEW YORK CITY -
For a young jazz musician willing to put down roots in the metropolis, New York City can be as unforgiving in its daily tribulations as it is nourishing to the adventurous artistic spirit. On his new album, Gotham (released April 22 on Ottimo Music) vibraphonist Tyler Blanton molds reflections of his now seven-year residence in New York into a mesmerizing musical portrait that is as captivating, aggressive and challenging as the city itself.

With indispensible support from tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, drummer Nate Wood and Matt Clohesy on acoustic and electric bass, Blanton invests Gotham with potent influences from the worlds of rock, fusion, techno and new jazz. Those who know Blanton primarily as a swinging in-the-tradition jazz virtuoso are in for an ear-opening, thoroughly invigorating, surprise. Blanton's extraordinary command of his instrument and his acumen as a composer are as pronounced as ever; what has changed is the expansive nature of his musical vision.
Attentive listeners most familiar with Blanton's work from his critically acclaimed 2010 debut album Botanic will now find that the expert, swing-informed instrumentalist of that period has since expanded his vistas considerably. Others who have enjoyed Blanton's more recent live performances with his own ensembles or as a prized sideman will recognize how this risk-taking musician has rapidly moved beyond the boundaries of conventional post-bop jazz, incorporating the innovative rhythmic ploys and sonic experimentation that are the calling cards of Blanton's audacious peers in the New York alternative jazz scene.

With the leader encouraging (and matching) the slamming energy of his cohorts - while also making imaginative use of the Malletkat, an electronic vibes-like instrument that triggers a Midi for a wide swath of sonic colors - Gotham bursts with a grab-you-by-the-collar attitude that owes much to the assertive texture of New York City itself. "This album is specifically more eclectic than my earlier work," Blanton says. "It's edgier, more hard hitting, assertive and rhythmic. You can hear echoes of groove music and rock, even heavy metal! It's an intense album, in the way that just living day-to-day in New York can be intense."



The year-plus period before the recording of Gotham - which found Blanton cementing both the compositions and the group sound - can be easily detected in the quartet's ease with the often fiendishly challenging arrangements as well as the creative give-and-take that highlights each track. Gotham's opening salvo - "Never Sleeps," "Freaky Dream," "Gotham" and "Cogs" - is a burst of jubilant energy with equal displays of musical muscle, pinpoint ensemble accuracy and improvisational discernment. The extended "Tunnels," with its enthralling rhythmic vigor and riveting solos, is a prime example of the (in Blanton's words) "epic quality" that he strove to capture when he was first conceptualizing the textural architecture of Gotham. Blanton chose his ensemble with the specific skills of each member in mind: the invaluable contributions of the seemingly tireless McCaslin, the ever-supportive Clohesy and the relentlessly inventive and phenomenally skillful drummer Nate Wood are especially evident throughout.

The concluding track, "Breaking through the Clouds," is a stunning ballad that acts as a declaration of ultimate hope and affirmation, stating in sound that while New York can often threaten to break you, its vitality can, in fact, offer an artist uncommon inspiration. Which in Blanton's case, it emphatically has: "I wanted Gotham to announce that my aesthetic had changed, that here was something different and worth checking out. Whether you like it or not, this album is an authentic statement of where my music is now at."

Tyler Blanton grew up outside Los Angeles, California, where he switched from drums to vibraphone at the age of eighteen. After graduating from Sonoma State University with a degree in jazz studies, Blanton moved to New York where he has worked with such significant jazz instrumentalists as the saxophonists Joel Frahm, Seamus Blake and Donny McCaslin, and the drummers Matt Wilson, Ari Hoenig and Richie Barshay, among many others.  Blanton has performed and conducted workshops throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.