Saturday, July 31, 2010

Calling All Alumni of Vancouver's Theatre Under the Stars

Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) - Vancouver
Calling All Alumni

Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS), one of Vancouver’s most  iconic theatre cmpanies, is looking to get the word out about the launch of its alumni association. TUTS has produced 10,000 alumni over its 64 seasons, and some of you out there may be TUTS alumni or know someone who is, and could help them spread the word.

TUTS’ alumni association is open to anyone who has ever been involved in a TUTS production over the past 64 seasons – on stage, back stage, front of house, etc. Through this association TUTS will reach out to the thousands of former alumni with a newsletter, annual alumni nights, fundraising events and other activities and services.

More about TUTS at this link

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Acting on the World Stage - Conference in NYC

La MaMa ETC presents:
Acting On The World Stage: Theatre and Peace Building In Conflict Zones
by Theatre Without Borders
New York - September 23 - 26, 2010

New York City's La MaMa ETC will play host to an interesting conference this September that looks at the role and possibilities of using theatre as a tool to build peace. There is an address for Theatre Without
Borders in New York too, but its members are typically scattered across the world - as I found when I went to ask for an interview. I eventually did get hold of Catherine Filloux, a Fulbright Senior Specialist and playwright, and one of the group's co-founders.

"After September 11, a group of theatre artists founded the group," she says, "we were working internationally. I worked a lot in Cambodia - work to do with genocide and human rights. I'd been embraced before, but after that, there was a chill." She cites a growing list of visa problems for artists trying to collaborate and work abroad, including up to the present day, trying to iron out paperwork for Cambodian artists attending the conference.

At its heart, the group is about maintaining global connections in their art. "It came from a desire to create collaborations," she says. "It's a completely volunteer run, grassroots organization." It's an informal, non-partisan group that's connected in the virtual world if not always by geography. "Projects can be initiated by a person or group," she explains. The website includes resources, international contacts, projects and news, among others.

The conference has a number of co-presenters, among them Brandeis University. "One thing we've been working on with Brandeis University is a book on theatre and peace building in conflict zones." That book will be presented to kick off the conference's opening night on September 23, along with a screening of the documentary film of the same name.

You can check out the trailer here.

The book of case studies culminates many years of work, and she cites Cynthia Cohen and the Coexistence Program at Brandeis as being key to the project. Offerings at the conference will take a variety of forms, including speakers, workshops, and panel discussions like Catherine Filloux's own roundtable - Aftermath: Human Rights and Recovery, where she'll be the Facilitator. And never fear, there will be many performances sprinkled throughout as well. Delegates, speakers and performers are scheduled to come from many of the areas of the world where TWB is active, which include Rwanda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Sudan, South Africa, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Cambodia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Argentina, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestine - among others. There will also be an exhibition of Burmese art.

"It's needed in the world," she says of both the conference and its message. "reaching both the theatre and pace building communities. The goal is to reach the largest number of practitioners in either field, and offer things that work."

More detailed information about the conference, including an agenda, at this link.

Peace image courtesy of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oliver Mtukudzi, Tichaona Maredza and a little Bana y'Afrique

Oliver Mtukudzi, Tichaona Maredza and a little Bana y'Afrique
July 24 & 25 - Toronto

There were so many African events in Toronto this past weekend it was hard to decide what to take in, but having missed seeing Oliver Mtukudzi in concert last time around, I couldn't pass up the chance to make up for that now.

You'll see my interview piece at the link, actually from that last time he was in town in November 2009.

Opening up for the Zimbabwean legend was the Tichaona Maredza Quartet, formed by self taught Zimbabwean born Tichaona Daniel Maredza. Based on the acoustic guitar, his music combines the rhythms of his native country with Afrojazz. His lyrics are inspirational and hopeful, and this was his band's second tour opening for Oliver Mtukudzi. The remaining members of the band are Larry Lewis on lead guitar, Andrew Mark on drums and Tichaona Gombiro on bass. His set started with a slower, more laid back tempo, but soon had the audience dancing along with him.



I have pics of Oliver but no video because he made it quite clear he wanted none taken. In fact, I err... seem to have him on video saying that filming wasn't allowed. But, it's a video that will remain forever private out of respect for the man's wishes.

You'll just have to take my word for the fact that, after all these years and despite the recent loss of his son - which he mentioned in passing, his son having played with him on his last visit to the city last fall - Tuku is still having fun playing music. He danced with the members of his band like nobody's business, singing with that trademark full, warm baritone, and had the huge, packed, sweaty and dancing crowd at the Opera House in the palm of his hand.



On Sunday, I went downtown to Metro Hall for the Bana y'Afrique Festival, just to have an ice cream, enjoy the perfect weather and listen for a while. (And someone caught me on camera!)

One of the acts was delayed in traffic, so in true African fashion, they threw together an impromptu collective of drummers and dancers to keep the stage lit up. I'll leave you with a little bit of it - the dancers are Coco, Simbo & Jahmez, drummers Amadou Kienou, Amara Kante, Nation, Mohamed Diaby, and one other whose name I don't know (but if you do, pass me a note and I'll add him too).

The Hubert Gallery - New York

The Hubert Gallery
1046 Madison Avenue, New York, NY

If you're lucky enough to be able to afford shopping on Madison Avenue, or just strolling by, there's a quick and refreshing art break to be had in the Hubert Gallery.

You'll have to buzz to get them the open door, and make no mistake, this place is focused on sales of its impressive collection of contemporary original art and modern masters in lithograph and prints, but the elegant ladies who preside over the small rooms of treasure will let you walk around for a bit and browse.

Their collection of Modern Masters includes the likes of Marc Chagall,


Henri Matisse (what someone can do with just line!)


and Picasso


among others, such as Francis Bacon, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Raoul Dufy, Alberto Giacometti, David Hockney, Fernand Léger, Joan Mirò, Gino Severini & Tom Wesselmann.

Contemporary artists include Paul Chojnowski, Ben Freeman, Linda Holt, Manuel Hughes, Hyena, Geoffrey Johnson, Louise Lawton, Robert Mars, B. Narduzzi Rex, Melody Postma, Shelly Safir, Janos Schaab, Jeff Schaller, Michael Scott & Manolo Valdès.

So buy if you can, but also stop and enjoy, and here's another thing I couldn't help but notice - even if you can't afford more than window shopping when it comes to Madison Avenue fashions, La Maison du Chocolat is only a few doors down.

(Please note these images do not represent works in their collection or available for purchase.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

enRoute Film Festival Showcase & Jury Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 22, 2010

Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival announces 2010 jury

Canadian short films showcased in-flight

Toronto, ON– Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival today announced it will showcase emerging Canadian short film talent on Air Canada flights around the world from August to November. All 12 selected shorts
will compete for awards for Best Short Film, and Achievement in Direction, Cinematography and Animation.

Millions of Air Canada passengers will be able to view the selected short films on their personal entertainment system with 8.9-inch wide digital in-seat monitors and touch-screen controls offering hours of audio and video-on-demand programming at every seat.

Once again, a star-studded jury will select the winners, each of whom will receive an all-inclusive trip for two to the Whistler Film Festival courtesy of Air Canada. The grand prize winner will also receive $5,000 courtesy of presenting sponsor Cineplex.

This year’s jurors include:
  • Alan Cumming, actor/director
  • Carlo Rota, actor
  • Denis Villeneuve, director
  • Jason Priestley, actor/director
  • Jeremy Podeswa, director
  • Kari Skogland, director
  • Sheila McCarthy, actor
A FREE public screening will take place at Toronto’s Scotiabank Theatre on Wednesday, October 13, followed by an awards celebration at The Drake Hotel.  

About Air Canada enRoute Magazine: Air Canada enRoute Magazineis published by Spafax, one of the world’s leading custom publishers and providers of in-flight media, with offices in eight cities around the world. Spafax is a part of the specialist communications division of WPP.

About Air Canada: Air Canada was named Best Airline North America in a worldwide survey of more than 17 million air travelers conducted by independent research firm Skytrax for their 2010 World Airline Awards.

Kubasonics & Kozak Rock in Edmonton

Edmonton will see an album release and the return of Kozak rock July 27 - from a media release:

KUBASONICS RELEASE NEW ALBUM WITH UKRAINIAN KOZAK ROCKERS HAYDAMAKY JULY 27

Recreating traditional Ukrainian melodies with a twist, Edmonton’s Ukrainian folk-fusion band The Kubasonics celebrate their latest album, Kubasonics IV: Play, with a CD release party July 27 at the Edmonton Event Centre (2556 West Edmonton Mall). Tickets are $35, on sale now at the Ukrainian Bookstore (10215 97 Street), online at www.ticketweb.ca and by calling 1-888-222-6608.

The Kubasonics rely on a large variety of instruments, including the tsymbaly, drymba, violin and bass, to create their sound, a unique blend of traditional Ukrainian folk, garage rock, ska, pop, punk and polka. Eight of Edmonton’s finest musicians contribute to Kubasonics IV: Play, including a brass and a percussion section, as well as back-up vocalists.

The evening features a rare appearance by Ukraine’s Carpathian ska band and Kozak rockers, Haydamaky, returning to Edmonton for a Night of “Kozak Rock”.

Haydamaky, Ukraine’s famous Carpathian Ska band and EastBlok Music recording artists, fuse the sounds of reggae, ska, punk and traditional Ukrainian music – Haydamaky have cleared the path for a new wave of Ukrainian music dubbed “Kozak Rock.” Hailing from Kyiv, Haydamaky have been entertaining European audiences for over a decade. Named after the historic rebellions of the Kozaks and peasants in the 18th century, Haydamaky share the same rebellious spirit of their namesakes in their music.

The first Ukrainian band to sign with British recording label EMI, Haydamaky released their eponymous debut album in 2001 and have since recorded numerous other critically acclaimed albums. The huge success of Bohuslav, released in 2004, expanded the reach of Carpathian Ska through Central and Eastern Europe.

Following 2006’s Perveziya (Perversion), Haydamaky signed with EastBlok Music, where they released Ukraine Calling. Kobzar, released in 2008, furthered the band`s distinct sound, mixing rap, dub, reggae and ska, with the rich authentic sounds of the bandura. Haydamaky have toured throughout Europe and North America headlining many festivals (including the 2009 Toronto Bloor Ukrainian Festival) and are scheduled to perform at the Calgary Folk Festival July 22-25, 2010.

Check them out here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Works Theatre Fest - Free Preview July 24 (Toronto)

I'll have more on SummerWorks Theatre Fest coming soon, but in the meantime, you can catch a FREE (like gratis!) preview of All of Him, an interactive biography as theatrical experience - from a media release:


All of Him - FREE preview before SummerWorks opening!

July 24, 2010, 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Location: Wise Daughters Craft Market, 3079-B Dundas St. West (Toronto, ON)

Written and performed by Tanya Pillay
Directed by Jajube Mandiela

All of Him – An interactive biography of a jovial father with a dark past…a live, local talk show! Cheer and smear collide as you consider and discuss typically taboo subjects without fear of provocation or injury.

Patron Warning: This show contains nuts and sexual content in the narrative.

Watch the trailer here.

Theatre peeps - you will likely appreciate the full design @ SummerWorks, but come to this preview if you might not have $10 to spare between August 5-15.

NO COST but donations toward production costs always welcome.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS PERFORMANCE WILL BE FILMED AS PART OF A DOCUMENTARY FOR TELEVISION. THERE WILL BE SEATING PROVIDED FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO BE FILMED.


More about the piece:

DOES THE TELEVISION EVEN TRY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS?

TORONTO, ON (2010/07/22) – Those who choose television over theatre may need to revisit that choice: a genre of theatre that really upstages the old tube can be found in Tanya Pillay’s All of Him.

Meet a jovial father with a dark past who asked, “Is that all there is to me?” All of Him is a live biography of Tanya’s father, Pat Pillay’s life and death. This  “relational” storytelling, reality/documentary theatre piece treats the audience as a community, with open dialogue throughout the piece.

This evolution of collective meaning rather than the usual consumption of television and traditional theatre bypasses the artifice and demonstration of theatrical performance. All of Him is more real than reality TV because Tanya narrates the story as her self (no acting!) in complete honesty based on real-life events, and audience members may interject at any time if they feel something needs elaboration or clarification.

The story chronicles Pat’s entire life as reported by him through humourous, relatable anecdotes. With the rules of interaction being imposed on Tanya rather than the audience, all interaction is completely voluntary and left up to the discretion of audience members. Tanya provides rare transparency as the audience receives increasingly personal family information such as birth defects and criminal accusations.

Tanya says her favourite thing about the show is “the way each audience can take it in a completely different direction. For example, when I presented the piece to a personal development group, they were especially interested in my perspective as a hypnotist. In contrast, a group of young newcomers to Canada became very focused on discussing spirituality and bereavement.” That’s right. Tanya is also an NGH-Certified Hypnotist for motivational purposes. But not to worry, there will be no hypnotism in this show.

Programmed in the SummerWorks Festival (Toronto, August 5-15, 2010,) the largest juried festival in Canada featuring predominantly New Canadian plays and FemFest (Winnipeg, September 25-Oct 2, 2010,) an annual celebration of transformational theatre by women for everyone, All of Him has garnered tremendous support and exposure since it’s inception and first presentation at rock.paper.sistahz 2009 festival thanks to the mentorship and co-production with b current performing corps, the only professional Canadian company which develops original theatre works reflecting voices from the Canadian Black diasporic communities.

If you can’t catch the Summerworks 7-show run at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, the show is easy to tour to any gathering space for groups interested in opening discussion about difficult topics for community growth. Tanya and director Jajube Mandiela have even designed a follow-up emotional-awareness workshop, Broach It!, in response to past audience requests for practical tools to manage difficult situations.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hitting a New York Stage Soon - Part II

Hitting a New York Stage Soon - Part II

Here's a look ahead at this fall and beyond to what you'll find on stage in New York City, from new works and débuts to rumours of what may come.

Part II - Off Broadway & Down the Road:
Off Broadway:

Gatz
This 6 1/2 hour theatrical extravaganza delivers F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - word for word - as spoken by a group of low level office denizens in the middle of their workday. The cast of 13 features Scott Shepherd, and it's directed by John Collins. Bring a cushion - the play will be presented as a marathon with two intermissions and a dinner break. A production of Elevator Repair Service at the Public Theater, opening in previews September 13.

The Language Archive
Julia Cho's new play about a man consumed with preserving and documenting the dying languages of far-flung cultures, oblivious to the emotions of those close to him. A Roundabout Theatre Company production, in previews at the Laura Pels Theatre September 24, opening October 17. Directed by Mark Brokaw.

Middletown
Golden Globe nominee Linus Roache and Heather Burns star in this World Premiere of Will Eno's play about life in a small American town, and the friendship that develops between a longtime resident and a new arrival. Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, it opens in previews October 6 at the Vineyard Theatre.

The Break of Noon
Ex-X-Files star David Duchovny will make his New York stage début in the world premiere production of Neil LaBute’s The Break of Noon at the Lucille Lortel Theatre from 28 Oct 2010. Produced by MCC Theater, in a co-production with the Geffen Playhouse. Playwright LaBute takes George Bernard Shaw’s quote: “All truths begin as blasphemies” as a starting point for this story about a man who hears the voice of God during a horrific office shooting. After its New York run the production will play at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles from Jan 25, 2011 featuring a different cast. (Image of David Duchovny from October 2007, courtesy of Ford Motor Products)

The Coward
A production of LCT3, the Lincoln Centre Theater's programming initiative, this brand new play - a period comedy set in the 18th century - was written by Nick Jones and will be directed by Sam Gold. Limited run from November 8 to December 4, 2010, (opening night November 22) at The Duke on 42nd Street.

Rosmersholm
The Pearl Theatre Company presents the American Premiere of a new version of Henrik Ibsen's play, adapted by Mike Poulton. Directed by Elinor Renfield, its limited run goes from November 12 to December 19, 2010, (opening night yet to be announced) at New York City Center Stage II.

The Great Game: Afghanistan
UK's Tricycle Theatre Company and The Public Theater at the NYU Skirball Center present this New York premiere that comes in three parts, in the form of plays that examine the culture and history of Afghanistan since the beginning of Western involvement in 1842 right up to the present day. "The Great Game" was a term first popularized by Rudyard Kipling, and refers to the strategic tussles between the Russian and British Empires for supremacy in the Middle East. Directed by Nicolas Kent and Indhu Rubasingham, previews begin November 30, 2010.
 
Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake
Oct 13 - Nov 7, 2010
New York City Center plays host to this revamped version of the classic ballet that took the theater and dance worlds by storm when it arrived on Broadway in 1998 and went on to win three Tony Awards®. It's become the longest running ballet on Broadway, as well as in London's West End, turning the beloved fairytale on its head.

Of Special Note - BAM's Next Wave Fest
There's much more to this Festival's programme of arts from around the world, so be sure to check out the links and their website, but these piqued my interest from the first glance:

Laurie Anderson's Delusion
This new work opens the Next Wave Fest with short mystery plays that create a "phantasmagoric" world to music performed by Laurie along with other musicians and inspired by the haunting music of Tibetan temple horns and Arabic strings. September 23 - October 3 (Image of Laurie Anderson from a benefit in her honour, 2007)

Vollmond (Full Moon)
This piece by the late legendary dance-theatre icon Pina Bausch is performed by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in this mesmerizing work that includes running  water, rain, drenched dancers and Bausch's trademark sensual athleticism. An American premiere. September 29 - October 9

The Deer House
This US premiere of a piece by Flemish Belgian Jan Lauwers & Needcompany features a family of deer breeders who clash with the ravages of war. The multimedia piece features text, dance, music and visuals in a kind of surrealistic fairytale. October 5 - 9

Julia Stiles in Persephone
Composer Ben Neill, singer/actor Mimi Goese, Tony Award-winning playwright Warren Leight and Ridge Theater retool the classic myth of the beauteous Persephone, her capture by a lovestruck Hades and her mother's quest to bring her back to the world of the living. It features Julia Stiles, along with rock, electronica and stunning visual effects. Octber 26 - 30.

Marriage of Maria Braun
This adaptation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film, directed by Thomas Ostermeier, brings the sexually manipulative title character to life in a modern setting, cast with only one woman and four men in multiple roles. A US Premiere. November 17 - 20

Metamorphoses, with music by Nick Cage
Adapted and directed by David Farr and Gísli Örn Gardarsson from Kafka's iconic novel about a man who wakes up one morning to discover he's been turned into a giant bug. A production of Icelands's Vesturport Theatre in a US Premiere.

Down the Road - News and Rumours:

Good People
Tate Donovan and Frances McDormand will star in the World Premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire's play Good People, directed by Daniel Sullivan, at the Friedman Theatre, opening in previews February 8, 2011.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe stars in this revival of the 1961 musical, opening in previews February 26, 2011 at the Al Hirschfeld Theater. Directed by Rob Ashford.

Beauty
This new version of Tina Landau's Beauty, an adaptation of the Sleeping Beauty legend that's definitely not for kids, features music by Regina Spektor. Directed by Tina Landau, the production is said to be hitting Broadway for the 2011-2012 season.

Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark
With Tony Award winning director Julie Taymor, a book by Glen Berger and music and lyrics by Bono and the Edge, this family friendly musical about Peter Parker and his arachnid-ish transformations was set to open in previews at the Hilton Theater in February 2010 - but the dates are still yet to be announced, and critics and rumour mongers hint at a colossal flop. Hot off the presses - the Rolling Stone says rehearsals are set to start in August, although an opening date has yet to be announced.....

If you missed him last season in A Steady Rain, Hugh Jackman may be returning to Broadway in 2011 to star in Stories About McAlary, a new play by Nora Ephron that's based on the life of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mike McAlary. The story goes that he's already read for the role. Details yet to come! (Image of Hugh Jackman by Franz Richter, 2009) 

Love, Loss and What I Wore Official Opening

Love, Loss and What I Wore


Premiere Cast: Paula Brancati, Andrea Martin, Sharron Matthews, Louise Pitre and Mary Walsh.
Directed by Karen Carpenter

Love, Loss and What I Wore comes to Toronto after making a big splash on New York's stages, including an off-Broadway run and then on Broadway in fall of 2009, where stars like Tyne Daly, Rosie O'Donnell and Brooke Shields have been in rotating casts. It official opening is tonight (July 21) after being in previews since last Friday. While the cast is a Who's Who of experienced Canadian actors, the creative team, including director Karen Carpenter, come directly from the New York version.

In a nutshell, it's a series of monologues (with some dialogue I should add,) that tell the stories from the lives of women via clothes, and it began with Ilene Beckerman's 1995 book of the same name. She grew up in Manhattan in the 1940's and 50's, married twice, had six children (one of whom died in infancy) and ended up as V-P of an advertising agency. Ilene was approaching sixty years old when she, as a mother and grandmother, began to write and illustrate a series of memoirs/vignettes on her life based on the clothes that became attached to the memories. While she only intended the piece to serve as a keepsake for family and friends, one of those friends submitted it to a publisher, who offered her a contract.

As the story goes, Nora Ephron - she who penned Sleepless in Seattle and so many more - read the book and was enchanted with the idea, enlisting both sister Delia and about 100 of their friends to add their own reminisces to Ilene's gentle storyline. While there are plenty of laughs - like the line that goes Sometimes I buy something that isn't black…and I am so sorry! along with poignant moments, like the death of Ilene's mother, and the story of a breast cancer survivor. In the premiere cast, Ilene's story is handled by stage veteran and recent Dora winner Louise Pitre, with the other four actors handling a variety of voices.

Staging is simple - just the five ladies seated on stage, more or less - but you don't need much with a cast that has a collective resumé like this. I think most women will immediately connect with the stories, from our mothers' voices questioning our taste (and the horrible outfits they made us wear!) to remembering a prom dress or what you wore on your first date with the love of your life. And while it's certainly female friendly, any man who's
had a relationship with a woman (including his own mother) can relate to it too.

Portions of the proceeds go to Dress for Success, a registered charity that gives low income women professional clothes and career development tools.

The premiere cast continues until August 10, when a new cast takes over, including Cynthia Dale, Wendy Crewson, Lauren Collins, Margot Kidder and one actor yet to be announced.

Performances continue to Sept. 4 at the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto. For tickets, call 416-872-1212 or visit mirvish.com.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brazil - Visual Arts & a little Samba

Brazil: Many Eyes, Different Visions
Part of Expressions of Brazilat Harbourfront Toronto
July 16-18, 2010

I haven't really given much focus to visual arts lately, so I thought that's what I'd do at Expressions of Brazil - with a little samba and a couple of chicken tostadas thrown in too, naturally.

Emilio Boschilia
This artist's work is easily likable.With a preference for bright, saturated colours and motifs from the natural world as well as those of the indigenous people of Brazil, the eye catching compositions have a universal kind of appeal, and one that you'd definitely associate with Brazil.

Chris Harrison
It was Chris Harrison's work that I first saw when I went into the exhibition, and Chris himself that I more or less stumbled upon. He said he was quite honoured to be the only Canadian included in the show, and his documentary style photographs capture two contrasting cities - the moody and impersonal architecture of Sao Paulo, a city of 18 million, and the carefree beach vibe of Salvator, Bahia.

Renato Soares
This photographic artist's work really intrigued me. The subjects of his images were indigenous people in their entirely unselfconscious nudity, painted with yellow, green and red symbols and geometric shapes. Part documentarian, the images were "cropped", faceless and abstracted into the shape of limbs and coloured lines, making contemporary art out of a timeless aesthetic.

Soraya Montanheiro
This photographer's work has been widely publishedin her native Sau Paulo, and features a fashionista's sense of style with a very Brazilian flavour. The colours are hot and bright, and her models wear designs inspired by the regios - orchids, berries, an African headdress and so on.

Ivana Panizzi
This multimedia artist often uses unconventional materials. Her series of photo montages set people in flickering motion inside bottles of various shapes, the transparencies and motion playing against each other.

Gabriela Greeb
This artist's video installation is described as "water and receptables in a continuous flow", and the results are both poetic and mesmerizing. Water is really a fascinating subject in visual arts, and here it's mainly the motion that is central to the experience of the piece.

Avi Neto
Born in Brazil but now Toronto based, this artist's paintings are figurative with a surrealistic bent to them, and a bit of a humour too. "Scent of a Woman", for example, features a classic seated woman with a flower for a head, her foot a root  coming up from the ground.

I'll leave you with a clip of Sambacana, a Toronto based ensemble whose music is rooted in the traditions of samba and northeast Brazilian. They mix traditional folkloric elements with jazz and an urban pop sound, featuring singer Aline Morales along with John Yelland, Wagner Petrilli, Luis Guerra and Alan Hetherington

Hitting a New York Stage Soon - Part I

Hitting a New York Stage Soon - Part I

I know it's still summer, but here's a look ahead at this fall and beyond to what you'll find on stage in New York City.
Part I - On Broadway:


A Little Night Music
After Catherine Zeta-Jones won a Tony for her role in this Stephen Sondheim music,  Little Night Music resumed July 13 with new leading ladies Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. Performances continue at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 W. 48th Street).


Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
There's a lot of talk about this 'emo-musical', a Public Theater production that had a sold out run at Public LAB in 2009, receiving an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, a Drama Desk Award for Best Book of a Musical and a Broadway.com Audience Award for Favorite Off-Broadway Musical. When the show closed on June 27 after three extensions, BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON was the second highest grossing show in The Public Theater's downtown history.
The show transfers to the Bernard Jacobs Theatre (242 W. 45th Street) on September 21, 2010. Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson, Producers Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel (Hair).

A Life in the Theatre
The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street) will host the Broadway premiere of Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, starring Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight for a limited run from 21 Sep 2010 to 2 Jan 2011, opening on 12 Oct 2010. Directed by Neil Pepe.

Time Stands Still
This fourth collaboration between Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies and Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan returns to Broadway with a stellar cast, including  Eric Bogosian, Laura Linney, Christina Ricci and Brian D’Arcy. It's the story of a journalist and photographer, a longtime married couple used to the thrill of documenting war zones and their struggles to go back to a conventional life in New York. Previews start September 23, 2010 at the Cort Theater (138 W. 48th Street), with an opening night of October 7.

Lombardi
This  new play by Academy Award winning playwright Eric Simonson is about the life and times of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi. Based on the best-selling biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, by Pulitzer Prize winning author David Maraniss, it stars Dan Lauria and Judith Light as Vince and Marie Lombardi and is directed by Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail. In the venerable organization's first foray into Broadway production, the National Football League joins Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser as a special producing partner.
The show opens in previews September 23 at Circle in the Square (1633 Broadway) with an opening night of October 21.


The Scottsboro Boys
This musical is based on the two decades long struggle for justice of  nine black teenagers accused of gang raping two white girls on the Southern Railroad freight run from Chattanooga to Memphis on March 25, 1931. It was a case that ignited passions and changed lives in its wake, and the powerful story got its off-Broadway debut at Vineyard Theatre to high acclaim. It moves to Broadway's Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street) with previews beginning October 7. Opening night is October 31.
Kander's and Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys, directed & choreographed by Susan Stroman with a book by David Thompson.

Driving Miss Daisy
The recently announced and much anticipated Broadway premiere of Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Driving Miss Daisy, starring stage and screen veterans James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave, takes place at the John Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street) from 7 Oct 2010. The play opened off-Broadway in 1987.

The Pee-Wee Herman Show
I know you are, but what am I? Join in a day in the life of Paul Reubens as Pee-Wee Herman, complete with visits from your faves from his show "Pee-wee's Playhouse," including Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis and Chairry. Previews start October 26, 2010 at the Stephen Sondheim Theater (124 West 43rd Streeet - formerly the Henry Miller’s), with an opening night of November 11. Closing December 5 in a limited run. Directed by Alex Timbers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life Is Horrible - Opening in Toronto Aug 5

from a media release - looks like fun:

Team Awesome presents...

LIFE IS HORRIBLE.
DEAL WITH IT.
A revue of sketch-comedy and nihilism.

Featuring:  Taylor Katz, Matt Nadeau,  Paloma Nunez, Mandy Sellers,  Richard Young
Directed by Stephen Kew
Sketches Written by: Whitney Hewitt, Stephen Kew, Chris New, Aaron Peever, Andrew Smythe

Bread & Circus Theatre
 299 Augusta Ave., Toronto, ON
(One block SW of College and Spadina)
August 5/6/12/13/19 @ 7:30pm
(Doors/Bar: 6:30pm)

Let's be honest: Life Is Horrible. And it's not just the big stuff,  like Wars, Recessions, or Death. It's also in the everyday, like your  low self-esteem sabotaging your date, your boss continually taking credit for your work, or your six-year old son telling your  mother-in-law all the creative names you have for her. But rather than cry about the unfairness of it all, let's Deal With It. By making fun of it! This collection of comedy sketches captures and celebrates the diverse loads of crap dumped daily at our doorstep. Because laughter is the best medicine, and we're all in need of a cathartic “fix”...

SPECIAL IMPROV GUEST STARS every show!
  • Aug. 5: SLAP HAPPY (Kerry Griffin, Sandy Jobin-Bevans, Dave Pearce)
  • Aug. 6: DEATH RAY CABARET (Kevin Matviw and Brad Sayeau)
  • Aug. 12: PUNCH IN THE BOX (Ashley Botting, Karen Parker, Leslie Seiler)
  • Aug. 13: ILLUSTRATED MEN (David Huband, Bruce Hunter, Adrian Truss)
  • Aug. 19: MANTOWN (Bob Banks, Jason DeRosse, Rob Norman)

Musical Director: Chris New
Lighting/Sound Operator: Andrew Haggith

Tickets:
$10 in advance, $15 at the door
Box Office: Phone 416-336-3399 or www.breadandcircus.ca or at the door.


Hook up via their Facebook Event page

Susan Boyle Song Contest on Youtube

I'm a bit late getting it up - but from a media release:


Susan Boyle Launches International Search To Find A Singer To Duet On Her New Album

“Last year my dream of becoming a recording artist came true after auditioning on Britain's Got Talent. Since then, I’ve had an absolutely fantastic time. It’s been a real gift to me and now I would like to pass on the gift to someone else.” Susan Boyle

(July 9, 2010) – Susan Boyle today launches her international search to find a new singer.

At the end of a phenomenally successful year which saw her debut album smash records and sell over 9 million copies, Susan decided that she wanted to offer someone the opportunity to make their debut in the music industry.

The winner will have the opportunity to duet with Susan on her upcoming second album, The Gift.

The competition is being run through her official website  and her YouTube channel. The competition is open from Friday, July 9th and runs until Friday, July 23rd 2010 with the winner being announced on Monday, July 26th 2010.

Entrants can upload videos of themselves singing “Silent Night” and Susan Boyle will be viewing all entries and then pick a winner.

Susan said; “There are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t have the confidence or perhaps the means to enter a big competition like Britain’s Got Talent. So this might be a lot less daunting for some people as they can record the song in the privacy of their own home. I’m hoping that people who have always wanted to sing will give it a try. I wish you all good luck.”

Image:
Susan Boyle speaking to Britain's Got Talent Judge Piers Morgan about her international search for a singer to duet on her new album The Gift.
Photographer Credit: Syco/Charlie Gray.

*Notes on Susan Boyle:
  • 500 MILLION YOUTUBE HITS
  • AUDITION PERFORMANCE IS THEIR MOST WATCHED YOUTUBE VIDEO OF 2009
  • MOST PRE-ORDERED ALBUM IN AMAZON'S HISTORY GLOBALLY
  • THE FASTEST SELLING DEBUT ALBUM GLOBALLY
  • 9 MILLION ALBUMS SOLD WORLDWIDE
  • #1’S IN 21 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE! (US, UK, CDA, OZ, NZ, JAPAN, SWITZERLAND, ARGENTINA, HONG KONG, KOREA, MIDDLE EAST, ISRAEL, IRELAND, NETHERLANDS, GREECE, BELGIUM, MEXICO, GERMANY, THAILAND, SINGAPORE, SOUTH AFRICA)
  • ALBUM CERTIFIED PLATINUM (OR MORE) IN 16 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE
  • PERFORMED ON SOME OF THE BIGGEST TV’s IN THE WORLD INCL: OPRAH, AMERICA’S  GOT TALENT, DANCING WITH THE STARS IN US AND SPAIN, SAN REMO (ITALY), GERMANY’S GOT TALENT, LE GRAND JOURNAL (FRANCE), NHK RED/WHITE SONG CONTEST (JAPAN)
  • #1 ON AMAZON US, UK, CANADA, FRANCE, JAPAN
  • #1 ITUNES US, UK, IRELAND JAPAN, CANADA, FRANCE, PORTUGAL, SPAIN, SWITZERLAND, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, MEXICO
  • NUMBER ONE CHRISTMAS ALBUM OF 2009
  • THE FASTEST SELLING UK DEBUT ALBUM OF ALL TIME
  • HIGHEST ONE WEEK SALE FOR A FEMALE ACT IN CHART HISTORY

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mr. Nobody - Opens July 16 in Toronto, Montreal

A young boy stands on a station platform. The train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? An infinity of possibilities rise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.

Every life deserves to be lived.

So says the PR info for this film. I haven't seen it myself, but it does sound interesting - opens in Canada this Friday.


E1 Entertainment presents
MR NOBODY
A Film By Jaco Van Dormael
A co-production France – Germany – Canada - Belgium
Starring Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diana Kruger, Rhys Ifans, Linh-Dan Pham, Natasha Little

* North American Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2009
* Nominated for Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival 2009

Opens in Toronto and Montreal this Friday, July 16, 2010
Opens in Vancouver July 30th

The present day, more or less. Nemo is 35 years old, married to Elise, with two children. An ordinary man.
But life¹s turning strange: billboards flash messages addressed only to him; on the streets, he passes strangers with his face; behind the facade of a half-constructed building, he sees helicopters lifting enormous blocks of the ocean... Nemo wakes to find himself trapped in his car, drowning. He wakes again, and dies again. And wakes again... by a swimming pool in the grounds of an opulent mansion. With a new wife and new children, whom he does not recognize. Another dream?

It¹s the year 2092. Mars is the number one holiday destination; genetic advances have rendered natural death obsolete. In hospital, as the world's media looks eagerly on, an old man is dying. The last mortal on earth, he is 120 years old. He doesn¹t know it, but his name is Nemo. His memory has gone, wiped clean by age. But slowly, under hypnosis, fragments of the past begin to emerge.

As Old Nemo recalls his pasts, an infinity of lives is revealed - he has been a thousand men, and no one. He has lived a thousand lives, and none at all. "Everything could have been anything else and it would have just as much meaning", he tells a young journalist. "We live in the imagination of a seven-year-old child who is faced with an impossible choice".

A Pan- Européenne production, co-produced with Integral Film, Alfred Hürmer – LagoFilm, Marco Mehlitz – Christal Films Productions, Christian Larouche – Toto & Co films, Jaco Van Dormael
138 minutes
Drama, Romance


Images courtesy of E1Entertainment
Jared Leto as Nemo Nobody.
Linh Dan Pham in Mr. Nobody

Monday, July 12, 2010

Afrofest Scrapbook - Toronto July 10 & 11

Afrofest 2010
Queen's Park, Toronto
July 10 & 11 2010

I'll let the pictures and video clips do most of the talking for this past weekend of dancing and music and oh so much food! It certainly doesn't cover everything that took place, but here's a smattering of what I was able to take in, hopefully with a glimpse at the sheer variety of what was on offer.



Mohamed Diaby and Manding Foli Kan Don
A native of the Republic of Guinea in West Africa, Mohamed Diaby has been playing the jembe since the age of seven, when he was taught by his brother.At age 15, he began performing professionally, first all over West Africa, moving to NYC and then Atlanta. He now calls Toronto his home base, and has formed Manding Foli Kan Don, a troupe dedicated to bringing the traditions of Manding culture to the world. Their high energy show has a universal appeal.



Doody le Tigre, aka Fritz-Edwin Jocelyn
Born in Montreal, Doody spent his childhood in sunny Haiti. Today his band members come from around the world and his music combines the sounds of Caribbean, Latin and African music - all influences he finds in Montreal. He's a very charismatic performer, and a great dancer too - much to the ladies' delight.



Soul Influence
Their members come from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya and Ghana, and the group sings African spirituals and gospels in Zulu, Shona, Ndeble, Bemba and more along with contemporary gospel. They were really impressive, and it's not surprising they've performed for dignitaries and with artists like Nelly Furtado, Alicia Keys and Thomas Mapfumo (my hero).



Kae Sun
I only caught the end of his set, but liked his assured stage presence and a style that blends his Ghanaian roots with North American influences as diverse as Neil Young, Bob Dylan and hiphop.




Occidental brothers Dance Band International with Samba Mapangala
This Chicago-based band is led by guitarist Nathaniel Braddock, an instructor at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. Their acclaimed CD Odo Sanbra gives the nod to infectious Ghanaian highlife, and for the last couple of years they've teamed up with Congolese singer Samba Mapangala. We were lucky enough to hear them both with and without the East African legend. I love that highlife!



Muna Mingole
Sunday's programming had a distinctly - and I think welcome - feminine thread to it in two very strong acts that closed the show. Muna was born in Paris, and then came to Toronto at age 2. She returned to Cameroon with her family later, where she discovered her musical roots. Based in Montreal these days, her band includes members from Québec, Senegal and Algeria in mixed genders, and her talents include both singing and dancing. She has a tireless and charismatic stage persona.



I missed the end, and Zimbabwe's Chiwoniso, so in apology I'm including a vid of my favourite song of hers, Wandirasa.



To close, here's a pic of the tree whose branch fell down (I think just after Doody le Tigre's set on Saturday) - minor injuries to several people from what I hear. I was nearly in that very spot not two minutes before it fell, completely spontaneously. This was taken Sunday, after the authorities had obviously had a go at it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Quick Guide to Free Music in NYC

Music (Mostly) Outdoors in NYC


From jazz to global beats to classical and pop, here's a look at just some of the music you'll be able to catch gratis in the great outdoors in NYC this summer - by no means an exhaustive listing, but hopefully a handy one with more to come.


July 25, 2010
52nd Street Association Jazz Festival
This re-creation of Bourbon Street in Manhattan celebrates the birth of jazz on Swing Street. You'll find more than 400 international food, restaurants, art, craft, antique and merchandise exhibitors create a midway along 52nd Street from Lexington to Seventh Avenue. Several pocket stages feature jazz and entertainment for all.
52nd Street, from Lexington to 7th Avenue
Admission is free.
Infophone - 212--809-4900
Email - info@nycstreetfairs.com
Hours: 10am-6pm

NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC IN THE PARKS
July 13   NY Philharmonic Central Park Great Lawn  8:00pm
Andrey Boreyko, Conductor  ·  Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Long Yu, Conductor  ·  Lang Lang, Piano  ·  Ying Huang, Soprano  ·  Changyong Liao, Baritone
July 14 NY Philharmonic Central Park Great Lawn  8:00pm
Andrey Boreyko, Conductor  ·  Branford Marsalis, Alto Saxophone
July 15      Cunningham Park Queens  8:00pm
Andrey Boreyko, Conductor
July 16      Prospect Park Brooklyn  8:00pm
Andrey Boreyko, Conductor
July 17      CUNY Center for the Arts Staten Island 8:00pm
New York Philharmonic Brass and Percussion Ensemble  ·  Daniel Boico, Conductor
July 19      Hostos Center for the Arts Bronx  7:30pm
New York Philharmonic Brass and Percussion Ensemble  ·  Daniel Boico, Conductor

METROPOLITAN OPERA RECITALS IN THE PARKS
July 12   Central Park SummerStage  8:00pm
July 15   Crotona Park Bronx  8:00pm
July 20   Brooklyn Bridge Park  7:00pm
July 22   Tappen Park Staten Island  7:00pm
July 27   Queensbridge Park Queens  7:00pm
July 29   Jackie Robinson Park Manhattan  7:00pm

PROSPECT PARK CELEBRATE BROOKLYN
July 11  OkayAfrica with The Roots / Talib Kweli / Sahr Ngujah from the cast of Fela! / Rajah The Dry Eye Crew / Blitz The Ambassador / and more!  4:00pm
July 17  African Festival: Konono No 1 / Omar Pene & Super Diamond / Meta & The Cornerstones / Djarara / and more!  2:00pm
July 22   The Chaplin Mutuals: Carl Davis & The Brooklyn Philharmonic / The Two Man Gentleman Band     7:30pm
July 23   Bomba Estero / La Secta Allstar / Rita Indiana  7:00pm
July 24   Field of Dreams: Andres Levin & The Bruce High Foundation  4:00pm
July 27   The National / Beach House 7:00pm
July 29   MI21: Mother India 21st Century Remix with DJ Tigerstyle / Falu   7:00pm
July 30   The Swell Season / The Low Anthem   7:30pm
July 31   Sonic Youth / Grass Widow / Talk Normal  7:00pm
Aug 5     Metric / Joan As Police Woman / Holly Miranda  7:00pm
Aug 6     House Of Usher: Marco Benevento / White Magic  7:30pm
Aug 7     Daptone Review: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings / Budos Band / and more!  7:00pm
Aug 8     Brady Rymer / Elizabeth Mitchell  4:00pm

MADISON SQUARE PARK OVAL LAWN SERIES
July 14   David Bromberq Quartet  7:00pm
July 21   SOMI / John Ellis and Double Wide  6:00pm
July 28   The Wailin' Jennys  7:00pm
Aug 4     The James Carter Organ Trio  7:00pm

STUYVESANT TOWN MUSIC ON THE OVAL
Wednesdays; concerts start at 7:3pm,  DJ at 6:00pm
July 14   Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens / DJ Greg Caz
July 21   Easy All-Stars / DJ Wrong Tom


WASHINGTON SQUARE MUSIC FESTIVAL
Tuesdays in July at 8:00pm
July 13  Washington Square Chamber Ensemble:  Hartmann/Haydn/Dubois
July 20  Washington Square Chamber Ensemble:  salon music, cabaret and American musicals
July 27  Washington Square Chamber Ensemble:  Charles Mingus


CENTRAL PARK NAUMBURG BANDSHELL ORCHESTRAL CONCERT SERIES
All shows at 7:30pm
July 20   Time For Three
Aug 3     The Knights

The Kreutzer Sonata, Ted Dykstra & Tolstoy in Toronto

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


SummerWorks Theatre Festival presents an Art of Time Ensemble
and Prairie Ocean Inc co-production
The Kreutzer Sonata
Featuring Ted Dykstra in his adaptation of
Leo Tolstoy's novella of the same name
(Lyev Nikolayevich Tolstoy is pictured right)

Toronto, July 8, 2010 - SummerWorks Theatre Festival will present The Kreutzer Sonata, Tolstoy's passionate novella adapted for the stage and performed by multi-award-winning actor and director Ted Dykstra, at Theatre Passe Muraille from August 5-15, 2010.  Tickets go on sale July 12.

Originally commissioned and produced by Andrew Burashko for Art of Time Ensemble in 2008, The Kreutzer Sonata was presented as part of a multi-disciplinary evening to sold-out houses for two consecutive seasons.

Underscored by Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata (Sonata for violin and piano No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47), the story explores the dark side of male-female relationships as it tells a tale involving marriage, love, hatred, sexual jealousy, and madness.

Ted Dykstra is an actor, director, writer and composer who hails from Edmonton and lives in Toronto. He has won numerous awards for his varied disciplines and has performed on every major stage in Canada. He is a founding member of Soulpepper Theatre. Music nerds best know Ted as the co-creator of 2 Pianos, 4 hands which he has performed and directed around the world.

Founded by Artistic Director Andrew Burashko, the Art of Time Ensemble is entering its 12th season. Art of Time provides a unique musical experience that breaks down barriers between artistic and musical disciplines, and reveals the vibrancy of classical music as a contemporary artistic expression, appealing to a range of audiences. Its concerts are provocative, engaging and accessible to people unfamiliar with classical music, but also immensely fulfilling to aficionados.

SummerWorks prides itself on producing work that represents Canada's thriving cultural aesthetic. The festival pays special attention to work that is thoughtful, provocative and challenging. Over the last decade alone, over 25 SummerWorks shows have gone on to other major local, national and international productions.

"Dykstra is masterful at retelling the story in an hour-long monologue, he doesn't let our attention falter for a single minute" - Toronto Star

The Kreutzer Sonata
Presented by SummerWorks Theatre Festival
Co-produced by Art of Time Ensemble and Prairie Ocean Inc.
Featuring Ted Dykstra
Thursday August 5 - Sunday August 15, 2010
Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace | 16 Ryerson Ave
Tickets: $10    Box Office: 416.504.8980

The image of Tolstoy is the only colour photograph of the novelist, shot at his Yasnaya Polyana estate in 1908 by Prokudin-Gorskii, a pioneer of colour photography.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mary Walsh, Margot Kidder & Sharron Matthews join Love, Loss and What I Wore

MORE STARS ANNOUNCED
FOR CANADIAN PREMIERE OF
" L O V E, L O S S, A N D   W H A T   I   W O R E "


MARY WALSH, MARGOT KIDDER & SHARRON MATTHEWS
JOIN ANDREA MARTIN, LOUISE PITRE, PAULA BRANCATI,
CYNTHIA DALE, WENDY CREWSON, LAUREN COLLINS
Tickets on Sale NOW through SEPTEMBER 4


Toronto, July 6, 2010
- Producers Michael Rubinoff and Daryl Roth announced today that Margot Kidder, Sharron Matthews and Mary Walsh are the latest Canadian stars to join the cast for the Canadian premiere of the award-winning New York smash hit Love, Loss, and What I Wore, an intimate collection of stories by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron that won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience. This exciting stage event runs July
16-September 4 at Toronto's Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge St.) and features a cast of five that rotates in four-week cycles. Tickets are on sale now.

Eighteen-time Gemini winner Mary Walsh ("This Hour Has 22 Minutes", "CODCO") and Toronto cabaret diva Sharron Matthews (Sharron's Party) will be part of the premiere cast beginning Friday, July 16 and performing through Saturday August 7. They join previously announced Gemini and Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee Paula Brancati ("Degrassi: The Next Generation," "Being Erica"), Emmy and Tony Award-winning comedy legend Andrea Martin ("SCTV," My Big Fat Greek Wedding, My Favorite Year, Fiddler on the Roof), and Tony nominee / 4-time Dora Award winner Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!, Les Misérables, Annie Get Your Gun, The Toxic Avenger) for the first cycle. (These opening cast members are pictured in the order of mention.)

Genie Award winner Margot Kidder (Superman, "Brothers and Sisters") joins the August cycle along with previously announced Gemini nominee Lauren Collins ("Degrassi: The Next Generation"), five-time Gemini Award winner Wendy Crewson (Away From Her, "24," "ReGenesis"), and Dora Award winner / Gemini nominee Cynthia Dale (Stratford Festival leading lady for 10 seasons, "Street Legal") that runs August 10-September 4.

Love, Loss, and What I Wore is a collection of stories based on the best-selling book by Ilene Beckerman, as well as on the recollections of the Ephrons' friends. Like the popular book, it uses clothing and accessories and the memories they trigger to tell funny and often poignant stories that all women can relate to.

Love, Loss, and What I Wore opened Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre on October 1, 2009 to rave reviews and continues to play to sold-out houses. New York casts have included Rosie O'Donnell, Kristin Chenoweth, Jane Lynch, Samantha Bee, Tyne Daly, Rhea Perlman, Carol Kane, Brooke Shields, Melissa Joan Hart, Fran Drescher, Caroline Rhea and others. A Los Angeles company opened at the Geffen Playhouse on May 13, 2010; also earning raves, and an extension.
Additional casting for the August cycle will be announced shortly. A portion of the production's proceeds will benefit the Toronto chapter of Dress for Success.

July 16 to September 4, 2010
Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge Street, Toronto
Tuesday-Saturday 8pm, Matinees Wednesday & Saturday 2pm
Additional Performances: Sunday, July 18 at 2pm and 7pm
Tickets: $35-$65. Premium seats available.
By Phone 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333 or online at www.ticketking.com
 For groups of 8+ contact The Group Tix Company 647-438-5559 or 1-866-447-7849

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

NEeMA Watching You Think CD Release

NEeMA
Watching You Think
Sony Music Entertainment (2010)
Produced by NEeMA in association with Leonard Cohen and Pierre Marchand

On stage, her presence is as charming and unaffected as an intimate vocal style that ranges from soft and girlish to a hard edged alto. The lyrics betray her roots as a poet, thoughtful and insightful of the nuances of life and love.

If the music of Montréal's NEeMA is hard to categorize - rootsy pop with shades of global and jazzy beats -  you can most likely credit it to her wide ranging resumé and a life spent largely off the beaten path. Born in MTL to a family of Egyptian and Lebanese decent, she includes working with street kids in Egypt and with Tribal elders managing Wekweti, an isolated First Nation community in the far north in her work experience. Still, there was one thread that ran through it all.

"Writing was always a part of it. I've been writing poetry since I was 7, then I wrote my first song in grade school - words and melody," she says. "I wrote intensively at different times in my life, then came back to it. If anything, I've always considered myself a writer."

The family background was in the sciences, an environment where writing for a living is looked on as something of a frivolous fantasy. "I did a management degree," NEeMA says. A certain creative restlessness had begun to take hold, though, and loving travel, she arranged to complete her last year in Australia. Even while busy with other endeavours, the pieces gradually began to come together. "In the mid-1990's, I learned to play guitar while I was in Australia." She's also studied dance, theatre and photography. "I took photography as an elective, and I spent days in the darkroom."

Once finished her management degree, the idea had been to return to Canada, and law school. By this time, however, she knew that a corporate lifestyle was not for her. "I'm interested in stretching the limits of what's possible. We don't really know what we're doing here, but we have great potential. I don't like to see my life all planned out."

And so the roundabout path to a musical career continued. "While working in Egypt with street kids, I got heavily into music. I found a wonderful voice teacher, and a guitar teacher," she says. Finally back in Canada after a few years, she then took a detour to the Northwest Territories and Wekweti. "I would go hunting with them," she remembers, among many other aspects of life in the north. With a natural curiosity for discovering other people's way of living via culture, it often left little time for writing or music. 

"I never thought I'd grow up to be a musician. Music, doing it seriously as I am, I know it's a hard life. I tried doing a lot of different things, but I kept getting drawn back to it." Her 2006 debut album Masi Cho was independently released and garnered a lot of attention, fueling a growing career that led her to two sold-out shows at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2009 (pictured) - and the attention of her next producers, Leonard Cohen and Pierre Marchand. "These people really inspire me."

Her second CD, just released features musicians Howard Bilerman, Tim Kingsbury  (Arcade Fire), Tom Mennier (Martha and Rufus Wainwright), Joe Grass and Miles Perkin (Lhasa de Sela), and Gurpreet Chana (Nelly Furtado). "With my second album, I thought - this is my craft. I have a very deep desire, an obligation almost, to keep pushing further." The music and lyrics reflect all her influences, with writing itself continuing to be a major focus. "It's almost like a therapeutic thing - my way of trying to untangle what goes on inside me. I think that's why people connect to it." The unforced and unpretentious directness of her lyrics is quite affecting - I have to confess she had me at the song she wrote for her dog. (How could I not fall for someone who wrote a love song for their dog?) "With Leonard's influence, I work on it until I'm saying what I really want to say - going as deep as I can."

This summer she'll be found crossing the country supporting the new CD - some dates are listed below, but check her website for more details.

July 8    Calgary, AB - The Marquee Room - opening for Ramblin' Jack Elliot
July 9    Edmonton, AB - Haven Social Club - opening for Ramblin' Jack Elliot
July 12   Vancouver, BC - Media Club
July 14   Victoria, BC - St Ann's Academy
July 25   Guelph, ON - Hillside Festival
July 27   Toronto, ON - The Dakota Tavern
July 28   Ottawa, ON - Zaphod Beebelbrox
July 29   Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa

Noah Reid Stars in Score: A Hockey Musical, Soulpepper’s Jitters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 22, 2010

Noah Reid stars in Score: A Hockey Musical, Soulpepper’s Jitters


Toronto, ON – Toronto-born actor Noah Reid is set to star on the big screen this fall with a lead role in the Canadian-directed, musically driven comedy Score: A Hockey Musical. The film hits theatres in October 2010, and is anticipating acceptance at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Set and shot in Toronto, writer/director Michael McGowan (One Week) tells the story of 17-year-old Farley (Reid), a quirky home-schooled teenager who shoots from obscurity to a hockey phenom in a matter of weeks, and then struggles with his new-found fame. Reid stars, and sings, opposite Olivia Newton John (singer/actress) and Marc Jordan (composer), who play his highbrow parents, reluctant about their son’s zero-to-hero hockey stardom.

“Hockey has been such a huge part of my life. I grew up playing the game and cheering for the Leafs.  To work with such an amazing cast and crew on a film about my favourite sport was a pretty incredible experience,” said Reid.

Score: A Hockey Musical features guest appearances from a talented ensemble cast including Nelly Furtado, Stephen McHattie (Maurice Richard), Dru Viergever (Would Be Kings), Hawksley Workman (The Real Howard Spitz) and more. Barenaked Ladies also lend their musical talent to the film’s soundtrack.   

This summer, Reid is also performing in Soulpepper Theatre Company’s latest production, Jitters, by David French. This Canadian classic is about a play-within-a-play that gives a behind the scenes look at the comedic catastrophes of opening a new show. It runs from Thursday, June 24 to Saturday, July 24 at the Young Center for the Performing Arts (55 Mill Street, Building 49).

An actor since the age of eight, Reid is a veteran of the small screen. He was the original voice of Franklin on the popular animated series Franklin the Turtle. After lending his voice in various other animated series (Jane and the Dragon and Pippi Longstocking), he went on to star in the television series Strange Days at Blake Holsey High. Reid played the role of Darrell Fox in Terry, about Terry Fox’s marathon of hope. Other film and television credits include Degrassi: The Next Generation, Soulfood and In Love and War. 

Reid holds impressive theatre credits that include roles in the world-renowned Stratford Shakeskpeare Festival, the critically acclaimed Soulpepper Theatre, Blythe Festival and Theatre Aquarius. Reid also portrayed Chip in Disney’s theatrical performance of Beauty and the Beast, which ran in Toronto and on Broadway. He was also a recipient of the prestigious John Hirsch Award given to the most promising actor in the Stratford Festival (2009).  

Reid attended Etobicoke School of the Arts (Toronto), and is a graduate of the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada (Montreal). He currently lives in Toronto. Reid is also classically trained in piano and casually plays the accordion.