Monday, December 26, 2011

Dance in Toronto: NextSteps January through May 2012

From a media release:

NextSteps - Winter 2012
at Harbourfront Toronto

Here's a look at dance performances coming up this winter and spring at Harbourfront.

Dance Ontario
DanceWeekend 2012

Presented in association with Harbourfront CentreDance Ontario's stunning winter showcase features more than 26 superb companies and hundreds of dancers, live musicians and much, much more. Come celebrate the diversity of the city's dance companies in this unique weekend experience.
January 20-22, 2012

Janak Khendry Dance Company

Time creates itself, maintains itself, and ultimately dissolves itself – along with the universe – when the time cycle is complete. This fascinating production centres on the history of time and how it came into existence and our connection to it.
January 26- 28, 2012

COBA: Collective of Black Artists
Les Rythmes de la Forêt

The traditional dance forms from Guinea and Senegal will move you through an incredible and vibrant experience of folklore and storytelling. Dance and rhythm represent rites of passage, initiations, harvest and moments of pure joy and celebration.
February 3-5, 2012

Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra

Raw abandon, vibrant life and energy are at the centre of Arabesque's newest production. Fourteen dance artists, led by Yasmina Ramzy, are accompanied by a live Arabian orchestra alongside the rich voice of Bassam Bishara.
February 9-12, 2012

dance Immersion
TRIBUTE: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks in Dance

The 17th edition of dance Immersion's annual showcase celebrates black dance artists who have contributed to the Canadian and global dance ecology using dance, film and spoken word.
February 23-25, 2012

DW193 | Sylvain Émard Danse
Fragments – Volume 1

The first part of a diptych that places the dancer at the very heart of creation, Fragments – Volume I is a collage of miniatures – a veritable patchwork of insistent urgency.
March 3, 2012

Ballet Creole

This production celebrates and highlights the dance life of Almond Small, principal dancer for OMO Dance Company. A diversified programme to send off one of Canada's memorable dancers!Fleck Dance Theatre
March 8-10, 2012

The Chimera Project
Fresh Blood

Presented in association with Harbourfront CentreAn evening of fresh dance! Fresh Blood presents interesting, innovative and surprising dance works of tomorrow's contemporary dance superstars who have less than five years experience.
March 16-17, 2012

The Chimera Project
The Calm Before...

Known for delivering superb ensemble work, Nowacka investigates the fear, fight and success of the human condition in the face of unpredictable darkness as she blurs the lines between theatre, urban and contemporary dance.
March 19-25, 2012

Badass Dance Fun
Presented in association with Harbourfront Centre

Join Lady Janitor (a.k.a. Eroca Nicols) and others for a mini festival featuring site-specific play, unapologetic fun and really loud music.
March 28-31, 2012


A multiracial cast of 10 bare-chested men mash the Navarasa, or nine archetypal moods popular in Indiandance, into a techno-hip, strutting declaration of freedom from the constraints of tradition and conventional sexuality.
April 12–14, 2012

DW194 | Bboyizm

Choreographer-dancer Crazy Smooth explores the street dance tradition of hip hop dance styles, rocking and b-boying in a modern production setting. This programme pushes current popular boundaries of the dance spectrum.
April 13-14, 2012

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
Celebrating 30 Years

Flamenco is a living, ever-evolving art, inspired and influenced by the world around us. The company is joined by guest dancer Juan Ogalla and singers from Spain.
April 19- 22, 2012

Toronto Dance Theatre

Toronto Dance Theatre presents the world premiere of a bold new work by Christopher House set to Rivers, the beloved masterpiece of the late Canadian composer Ann Southam.
April 25-28, 2012

DW195 | BoucharDanse

Histoire d'amour
Our undying search for love and understanding of its meaning is the basis for this full-length trio that marries dance and theatre.
May 3-5, 2012

Kaha:wi Dance Theatre

Co-produced with Harbourfront Centre's Planet IndigenUs
World premiere!
TransMigration is inspired by the paintings and life of iconic Ojibwe shaman-artist Norval Morrisseau, known as the "Picasso of the North."
May 10-13, 2012

Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre

This programme features six contemporary dance works, including two premieres by 2012 resident guest artist Sylvie Bouchard and artistic director Deborah Lundmark.
May 25-26, 2012

Raagini Dance / Bageshree Vaze
Damaru / Mudra

The tandava and lasya – masculine and feminine – aspects of Indian dance are highlighted through two new exciting dance works.
May 25-26, 2012

Menaka Thakkar Dance Company

Canada's premiere Indian dance company presents a dance weekend of three productions choreographed by Menaka Thakkar based on the Ramayana.
May 31 – June 3, 2012

Menaka Thakkar Dance Company
Prince Rama in the Wilderness

Canada's premiere Indian dance company presents a dance weekend of three productions choreographed by Menaka Thakkar based on the Ramayana. - May 31 – June 3, 2012

Janya: Traditional Korean Music Meets Western Vocals Jan 6 in NYC

From a media release:

January 6, 2012
Drom - New York, NY

- The East meets West band JANYA is inspired by Korean Traditional Music and the music of Ornette Coleman and John Zorn.  Korean-American Singer Lola Jung Danza went in search of her Korean ancestry, what she discovered was a whole new world of music.   All About Jazz calls JANYA a “Communion with the divine.”  JANYA will perform at Drom on Friday, January 6th 2012 at 9pm.  Tickets at the door are $15 and $10 in advance.

JANYA is a daring, unique and captivating world music group that incorporates traditional Korean instrumentation (Gayageum- Korean Zither, Daegeum- Bamboo flute, and Janggo- Drum) with western vocals.

Singer Lola Jung Danza with her four-octave range and vast array of vocal technique, summons her ancestors through this music taking the listener on a journey to the far off land of Korea, laying beautiful poetry over traditional Korean instrumentation.

Janya is an all female group, Seungmin Cha- Daegeum and voice, Eunsun Jung- Gayageum, and Woonjung Sim- Janggo and percussion.  Janya celebrates women in music and culture.  The music ranges from meditative to the dramatic—it’s something you’ve never heard before and it’s as if these women are speaking directly to the heavens.  Janya is paving new ground in music.

Please join us in a beautiful evening of music.

01/06/2012, Fri
85 Avenue A
New York, NY 
Tix: $10 - $15, Doors Open: 8:30 pm, Show: 9 pm
Ph: 212.777.1157

2012 New York City Winter Jazzfest January 6 & 7

From a media release:

BOOM Collective + Search and Restore
:::proudly announce:::

Friday, January 6th & Saturday, January 7th, 2012
Arts Presenters Showcases (APAP)

Tickets On Sale NOW!

BOOM Collective and Search and Restore are pleased to announce the lineup for 2012 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST.  The festival is to be held on January 6th & 7th, 2012 in New York City.  On both nights the festival will take over five West Village venues, (le) Poisson Rouge, Sullivan Hall, Kenny's Castaways, Zinc Bar, and Bitter End.  This marks the eighth year of the annual NYC WINTER JAZZFEST, and the continued mission to showcase top quality jazz to industry professionals, avid jazz fans, and new audiences.

The 2012 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST will feature over 60 different jazz groups during the Arts Presenters (APAP) conference.  Similar to past years the festival will provide an opportunity for artists to showcase in front of presenters, promoters, talent buyers, educators, musicians and avid fans. Over 5000 arts professionals will be in New York City for the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference from January 6-10.  As there will be hundreds of showcases scheduled throughout the weekend around the city both at the Hilton Hotel and in alternative venues, Winter Jazzfest offers APAP conference attendees, and the general public, the opportunity to experience the best of today's new live jazz and experimental music in club venue settings.

Once famed as the focal point of New York City's rich jazz and live music scene, Bleecker Street and the Village provide for an ideal festival experience with jazz and experimental music groups performing all night at five of the neighborhood's esteemed venues within close proximity of each other.  On this night the 2012 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST will continue to redeem the rich jazz heritage of the Village and again will bring jazz fans back to Bleecker Street.  The 2012 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST includes over 60 of today's most interesting jazz groups from New York, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Switzerland, Israel, Cuba, Morocco, Turkey, and Italy.

Currently new jazz groups are under represented, yet they are culturally essential to the continued development and future of jazz and the cultivation of new audiences for jazz.  Jazz artists need support and exposure to the significant institutional booking forum that the Arts Presenters conferences represent.  Winter Jazzfest is pleased to offer a forum for presenters and music enthusiasts to experience and support the future of jazz.

Last month Winter Jazzfest organizers announced the recent labor agreement with Associated Musicians of Greater NY Local 802 which guarantees every artist performing at the 2012 festival a minimum fee with the opportunity to earn additional fees as the festival raises financial support through sponsorship and private donors.  With this landmark revenue sharing model in place festival organizers hope to attract interest from potential funders to support the world class jazz festival for the mutual benefit of the greater jazz community. 

Winter Jazzfest founder Brice Rosenbloom explains, "We felt that especially in this current economic climate it was important to devise a model whereby we all benefit when the festival succeeds.  It is the overall health of the greater jazz community that is at stake here and if we?re able to raise sponsorship dollars for the festival than its only appropriate that we share it directly with the musicians who inspire us to produce this festival."

The 2012 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST features curatorial input from Meghan Stabile of Revive Music Group and Adam Schatz of Search & Restore.  In line with the mission of Winter Jazzfest, Stabile and Schatz continue to invigorate NYC's jazz scenes in their own ways by promoting and supporting young and deserving new jazz artists while bringing increasingly growing audiences to the music.

The 2012 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST welcomes all Arts Presenter conference badge-holders to RSVP and reserve a single Full-Festival Pass to the 2011 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST by emailing, RSVP required.  Only 2012 APAP Conference attendees are able to RSVP.

• Cindy Blackman-Santana's Another Lifetime
• David Murray's Cuban Ensemble
• Lionel Loueke
• Allison Miller BOOM TIC BOOM

Single-Day Festival Passes are available to the General Public for $35
Two-Day Full-Festival Passes are available to the General Public for $45

Five West Village Venues:
(le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street
Sullivan Hall, 214 Sullivan Street
Kenny's Castaways, 157 Bleecker Street
Bitter End, 147 Bleecker Street
Zinc Bar, 82 West 3rd Street

*On sale NOW!

Love is a Poverty You Can Sell: Part of Next Stage Theatre Fest in Toronto

From a media release:

January 5th to 15th, 2012 @ The Factory Theatre - Part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival

Check out the rest of the Next Stage schedule here

Join us for a night of song, story, and sin! Soup Can Theatre is proud to announce that - after taking the 2010 Fringe Festival by storm - its critically acclaimed show, Love is a Poverty You Can Sell, is returning to the stage as part of the 2012 Next Stage Theatre Festival! This condensed “highlights” version of the show will be part of the Next Stage Festival’s inaugural Ante-Chamber program, and will be performed in the upstairs bar area of the Factory Theatre.

Love is a Poverty You Can Sell pays tribute to the timeless music and musical influence of German composer Kurt Weill with a production that marries the bold and naked theatrical style he and writer/director Bertolt Brecht pioneered with the bravado of traditional musical theatre - all with the ambiance of a 1920's Berlin cabaret.

Love is a Poverty You Can Sell includes musical selections from some of Weill’s best known works, like The Threepenny Opera, as well as numbers from shows shaped by Weill’s artistic legacy, such as Sweeney Todd, Cabaret, and Chicago. Emcees ‘Hans’ and ‘Jodel’ add a dash of levity to the proceedings with their corkscrew brand of banter. Elegant, decadent, and irreverent, Love is a Poverty You Can Sell promises an evening to remember.

Dates and Start Times: January 5th - 6:30pm, January 7th - 4pm & 6:30pm, January 8th - 8:45pm, January 10th - 7:15pm, January 14th - 8:15pm, January 15th - 4:15pm & 6:15pm

Factory Theatre Ante-Chamber (Upstairs Bar), 125 Bathurst St.

Tickets: $10. Available at or 416-966-1062. In person sales are available during the festival at the Next Stage Festival box office located at the Factory Theatre.

Cast and Creative Team:
Starring: Dayna Chernoff, Alex Dault, Christian Jeffries, Natalie Kulesza, Hayley Preziosi. With Ryan Anning and Scott Dermody as ‘Hans’ and ‘Jodel’.
Director: Sarah Thorpe
Music Director: Pratik Gandhi
Emcee Segments Written & Co-Directed by Justin Haigh
Orchestra: Ruhee Dewji, Pratik Gandhi, Cory Latkovich, Terrence Vince

12 Bands, 3 Stages: globalFEST January 8 2012 in New York City

From a media release:

All-Access Planet:
globalFEST 2012 Opens New Spaces for Traditions Transformed
January 8, 2012 at New York City’s Webster Hall  

Malian roots rap and sensually fresh samba. Eerily avant jaw harps and 21st-century tarantella. Heritage never sounded so cool.

NEW YORK CITY - Whether continuing famous musical lineages or pushing forward on new paths, the artists of globalFEST show how world music has matured from a quaint, catch-all niche to a meaningful, deeply rooted challenge to the musical status quo. Artists are crafting history into new sounds.

Though many of this edition’s artists have taken up the torch from family members or musical mentors, they are reaching into new sonic territory, whether they are funkifying cumbia or transforming the role of the spike fiddle or jaw harp. globalFEST, as America ’s vital world music springboard event coinciding with the annual Arts Presenters Conference (APAP), aims to bring musicians to ears and even into venues once closed to global artists.

“In addition to summer rock and folk music festivals, we’ve started to see an embracing of world music throughout the performing arts field, including more traditionally classical venues,” explains festival co-organizer Bill Bragin (Acidophilus: Live and Active Cultures). “Many of this year’s globalFEST artists are performers who would be appropriate in more traditional concert halls, which are responding to the desire to diversify their programs.”

The goal of access has been at the heart of the festival’s mission since it was founded post-9/11, when dedicated global music presenters looked to restart the stalled influx of international music at a crucial moment. globalFEST remains committed to supporting exchange—both cultural and economic—and has emphasized artists of note from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and from Haiti since the earthquake that struck there in 2010.

“globalFEST needs to constantly be aware of its mission,” continues co-organizer Isabel Soffer (Live Sounds). “We spotlight artists we believe presenters will want to book, will be successful in their venues and will bring new audiences. Our curatorial decisions are made with this in mind, and in this way, we feel we can encourage presenters to rethink artists that are on tour.”

2012’s festival promises to indeed be great, filling the multiple, varied performance spaces at Webster Hall with irresistible dance sounds, reflective beauty, and singer-songwriter intensity. globalFEST’s emphasis on access—access to the U.S. market for innovative musicians, continued access to new global music for music fans through reasonable ticket prices supported via globalFEST’s  Kickstarter campaign—now extends beyond good times in the early January cultural doldrums.

This year’s edition of the annual world music showcase and all-night party includes three U.S. debuts, as well as several fresh programs and approaches from a bevy of respected global performers. Here's the line-up:

BélO : Haiti’s acoustic innovator and social activist channels his home’s deep and diverse Afro-Caribbean roots with catchy, reggae-inflected songs.

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino : Southern Italy’s hottest band revitalizes the ancient ritual pizzica tarantata, said to cure the deadly spider’s bite with frenzied trance dances.

Debo Band : Boston-based crew reinvents the Golden Age of Ethiopian and East African funk and jazz. (Image above  by Amael Tesfaye)

Diogo Nogueira : Brazil’s red-hot samba (and television) star adds a contemporary twist to the beloved rhythms of Rio.

M.A.K.U. Sound System : Queens, NY-based Afro-Colombian underground band’s roaring guitars, bold brass, and hard-hitting Latin beats and vocals bring down the house.

Mayra Andrade : Golden-voiced Cape Verde-born singer brings a Parisian and Brazilian flair to her island roots with a new acoustic trio.

SMOD (U.S. Debut): Malian folk rappers, featuring the son of Amadou and Mariam, work serious lyrical flow to create Afro-Rap, wrapped in Manu Chao’s signature globe-trotting production. (Image below by Guillaume Gozel)

The Gloaming (U.S. Debut): Irish and American roots supergroup (Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Iarla Ó Lionaird, and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh with NY’s indie pianist Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), marries edgy but harmonious, sparse yet beautiful elements to age-old and new tunes.

The Silk Road Ensemble : An international collective of virtuoso musicians from around the globe, this ensemble carries on the cross-cultural legacy of founder and artistic director Yo-Yo Ma, drawing inspiration from the historical Silk Road and contemporary musical crossroads. (Pictured above)

Wang Li (U.S. Debut): France-based Chinese jaw harp master-improviser creates wildly unexpected and deeply meditative melodies, discovering the infinite nuances that breath, tongue, and throat can make.

Yemen Blues: Yemeni-Israeli electrifying singer and his global band make Mediterranean sounds rock and soar.

Zaz : French street sounds meet quirky global influences in young singer's plush bluesy voice. (Image right by Laurent Cleument)

globalFEST, Inc. is a not-for-profit production presented in association with Live Sounds, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, Acidophilus: Live & Active Cultures and The Bowery Presents. Support provided by The Ford Foundation and The Cultural Services of the French Embassy with additional support from the French Music Export Office, recognizing France’s pre-eminent role as a hotbed of global music activity. The globalFEST media sponsors are WNYC Radio and Artist visa services are provided courtesy of Tamizdat. Publicity services are provided by rock paper scissors, inc.

World Music, Classical Music & Jazz Meet: Listen for Life Jan 8 at Carnegie Hall

From a media release:

Listen for Life
8 unique instrumentalists performing
January 8, 2012
Carnegie Hall, New York City

NEW YORK CITY - Join eight specially-chosen instrumentalists from the genres of world music, classical music, and jazz, as they bring you on a tour “Around the World in 80 Minutes” instead of 80 days.

The program will include two premieres, “Walk within Winter” by California-based world music composer Brent Heisinger and a new work commissioned for this event from award-winning Israeli film composer Avner Dorman.National Vietnamese champion Van-Anh Vanessa Vo will perform on three traditional instruments, Hawaiian slack-key guitar will have its own rare spotlight in Carnegie Hall, Oud masters of two different cultures will share contrasting solos, a multi-genre violist will “jam” with different combinations, and Western Classical traditions of piano playing will contrast with the phenomenal jazz improvisations of Grammy nominee Taylor Eigsti to close out this special celebration of music’s power to act as a force of nourishment, unity, communication and peace building in the new year ahead.

• Tickets are $35 and up, with children, students and seniors all 40% off with proof of ID at the Carnegie box office.

This special event is designed as a holiday gift for groups of friends or families to experience the magic of these exotic sounds and cultures together, while gaining an awareness of Listen for Life and its powerful mission to support musicians, sustain their cultures and share their music worldwide. The Carnegie event is now the centerpiece of cross-cultural concerts going on around the globe on January 8th, to celebrate Listen for Life Multicultural Music Day worldwide.

• Tickets and further info on the event and the artists:

Info on the Listen for Life founder, Donna Stoering (former Artistic Ambassador for both the UK and USA):

01/08/2012, Sun
New York, NY          
Carnegie Hall
154 West 57th St.
Tix: $35.00/$55.00, Doors Open: 7:30 pm, Show: 8:00 pm
TIcket info: (212) 247-7800

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ontario High School Writers Wanted: Contest Deadline Feb 1

From a media release:

IFOA Ontario & Open Book: Ontario present a unique writing competition for students

TORONTO, December 2011
— The International Festival of Authors’ (IFOA) touring programme, IFOA Ontario, is proud to present Write Across Ontario, a creative writing competition for high school students across the province. The competition is generously supported by Open Book: Ontario. Students in grades 9 to 12 are encouraged to choose a story-starter provided by three of this year’s IFOA and IFOA Ontario participants, award-winning authors Ian Rankin, Johanna Skibsrud, and Miriam Toews. The story-starter is used as a place for students to begin their story, but where the story goes from there is in the hands of each individual.

• Stories should be no longer than 500 words including the story-starter. 
• One submission per student will be accepted until the contest closing date of February 1, 2012. 
• Entries will be judged by Authors at Harbourfront Centre in conjunction with Open Book: Ontario.

One winner will be chosen from each grade for a total of four (4) winners who will each receive $500 and the opportunity to have their work published online in the Open Book Magazine.

&bulll; Students can submit their entries online via

Write Across Ontario is inspired by a similar contest presented by one of the IFOA’s Word Alliance partners, the Melbourne Writers Festival. The Word Alliance is a collaboration between literary festivals around the world, which aims to present the best authors to international audiences at events around the globe.

• For complete rules, submission requirements and prizing info, visit

About Open Book: Ontario
Open Book: Ontario celebrates Ontario's vibrant literary scene. Open Book is committed to showcasing the outstanding range and quality of contemporary Canadian writing in Ontario. Through features and profiles, Open Book invites you to get to know the places and people connected to reading and writing in the province.

About IFOA Ontario
The International Festival of Authors (IFOA) touring programme, IFOA Ontario, partners with libraries, bookstores, universities, and community organizations across Ontario to help provide areas with access to IFOA’s world-renowned events and the Festival’s roster of best contemporary writers from around the globe.

Call for Proposals: Aboriginal Digital Media Artists - Jan 9 Deadline

From a media release:

imagineNATIVE and the NFB Renew Digital Media Partnership with Call for Proposals for Innovative Interactive Works

– The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) have renewed their digital media partnership for a second year of collaboration, and are inviting Canadian Aboriginal artists to submit proposals for innovative interactive digital media projects. Proposals can be for works in any digital medium and genre, including interactive documentary, mobile and locative media, interactive animation, interactive photo essay, data visualization and physical installation.

De Nort, an online locative video, photo and auditory journey into life on a northern reserve by Winnipeg’s ITWE collective, was selected through last year’s call for proposals and is now in pre-production at the NFB’s Winnipeg production studio. It’s slated to launch at the 2012 imagineNATIVE Festival.

“We’re thrilled to be renewing our partnership with imagineNATIVE and deepening our connection with artists in the Aboriginal digital media community,” says Cindy Witten, Director General of the NFB English Program. “It’s a fantastic collaboration, bringing together imagineNATIVE’s curatorial smarts and commitment to the digital arts and our role as a creative laboratory working with talented artists to explore the creative application of technology to interactive storytelling.”

“As we continue to expand and develop the presentation of Indigenous media arts at imagineNATIVE, we’re pleased to partner once again with the NFB,” says Jason Ryle, Executive Director of imagineNATIVE. “Interest in last year’s project was incredibly high, and we all look forward to this year’s applications. This project is a fantastic opportunity to create an innovative work and continue our fruitful partnership with the NFB.”

One project will be selected jointly by imagineNATIVE and the NFB for production, with the NFB serving as creative and administrative producer and imagineNATIVE providing creative input at key stages throughout the production.

• The project will be presented at imagineNATIVE 2013.
•l The chosen project must be realizable within a $30,000 to $50,000 budget range.

• The submission deadline is January 9, 2012.
• All Canadian Aboriginal artists are eligible to submit their proposals.
• Full submission details can be found at

imagineNATIVE has been active in the programming and commissioning of digital media work by Aboriginal artists since the early 2000s. The NFB is Canada’s leading producer of internationally acclaimed innovative interactive digital media works, and has been producing audiovisual works by First Nations, Métis and Inuit directors since the late 1960s. The NFB works with a range of artists to reflect Canadian perspectives through film, video and interactive digital media projects.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Heavyweights Brass Band

Heavyweights Brass Band
Don't Bring Me Down (2011)

Chris Butcher, trombone
Jon Challoner, trumpet
Paul Metcalfe, saxophones
Rob Teehan, sousaphone
Lowell Whitty, drums

TORONTO - They charm the crowd of school age kids gathered in the lounge at Roy Thomson Hall before the main concert, playing and talking up their instruments and jazz in general. A crowd of the young admirers follows their impromptu New Orleans style parade around the room and after, a group of girls come up to them to tell them they love jazz just because of hearing them play.

The Heavyweights Brass Band has a musical and personable appeal that transcends generations and genres. I've seen them wow crowds that ranged from university kids to retirees with their fresh and energetic approach to the genre. There's an equal attention to musicianship and entertainment that results in their winning formula.

The band has been together about two years exactly and released their first CD - Don't Bring Me Down (2011) - earlier this year. Some of the members have a connection to Humber College and the now defunct Dark Park Brass Band. "I was playing classical tuba and looking for something more. I answered a craigslist ad," laughs Rob Teehan. What they shared is an entertaining approach to jazz and a democratic approach to assembling their repertoire, with each member bringing favourite songs and arrangements. "I was the one that arranged Justin Bieber," Rob claims, pointing out the eclectic nature of their set lists. Along with jazz and classic funk, Heavyweights plays arrangements of current pop tunes. "It's all those tunes you can't really escape from," laughs Jon Challoner. "Bands in New Orleans play pop tunes all the time," Lowell Whitty points out. "Jazz was really born of popular music," adds Chris Butcher. "Quite often, modern jazz is removed from that."

They've certainly brought popular back and the appeal of their live show is undeniable. They all seem a little surprised that their audience should be so diverse; it's the combination of having the chops and the taste to put together a cool repertoire. It's about bringing jazz to a wider audience by bringing it back to the basics. "It's just to bring people great music," Jon says. It's infectious and danceable and if you're in Toronto there are a couple of dates coming up.
Friday, December 23rd, 9:45pm
The Rex Hotel
194 Queen St. W.
Special guests: Alexander Brown, trumpet, Kelly Jefferson, saxophones

Friday, January 27th, 9:00pm
Hugh's Room
2261 Dundas St. W.
With Jane Bunnett and Hilario Duran

A Night of Dirty Songs with Jessica Delfino - Dec 24 at Joe's Pub NYC

From a release:

A Night of Dirty Songs
Featuring Jessica Delfino
Joe's Pub  - New York City
December 24, 2011 at 9:30pm - $15

Tired of the same old annual Christmas carols we hear every year? Do you like a little ha ha ha with your ho ho ho? Then get your jingle bells down to Joe's Pub on Christmas Eve for A Night of Dirty Songs, featuring Jessica Delfino, dubbed “The Lower East Side Queen of Obscene” by the Village Voice.

"Her performance included the showing of an obscenely titled video banned from YouTube that features her rapping about her vagina, complete with obscene pictures flashing in the background. None of this was without malice. And at a time when radical Muslims are accusing Americans of harboring a depraved understanding of liberty, it only provides ammunition to the enemy."
-Willliam Donohue, Catholic League 

The evening includes guest stars you’ll recognize from Comedy Central, Conan O'Brien and The Late Show with David Letterman singing songs that are unusual, funny and just plain wrong. See for yourself why Delfino has been publicly denounced by the Catholic League and do something else besides order Chinese food this Christmas Eve!

The 8th Annual People Stll Gots Ta Eat Concert December 21

From a media release:

HOTCHA! Presents the Eighth Annual


Benefit Concert Extaordinaire! with prizes, noisemakers & down-home cookin’

The Cameron House, (front room) 408 Queen Street West in Toronto
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011. Music starts @ 8:30 pm - midnight

TICKETS: No Cover, but generous donations (suggested $10) are welcome. Draws for prizes.

All proceeds go to the Daily Bread Food Bank

TORONTO – Toronto duo HOTCHA! is pleased to announce a stellar lineup of local indie talent for “PEOPLE STILL GOTS TA EAT”, an eighth annual benefit concert for the Daily Bread Food Bank. Roots Music Canada’s ANDY FRANK will be our MC for the event. There is no cover but generous donations (suggested $10) are most welcome as this is a fundraiser and all proceeds will go directly to the Food Bank. Those who donate will also automatically be entered in a raffle draw for many exciting prizes.

The tradition began eight years ago with HOTCHA!’s former band Solstice and the desire to help nurture the marginal communities of Toronto by celebrating the return of the nurturing sun on the winter solstice. Top notch performers volunteer their time and talent to this worthy cause as we celebrate eight years of success in helping to generate towards a healthier and happier community. Our wish of course would be that these types of services will in the future not even be necessary at all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Gift for Jazz Lovers: Montreal Jazz Fest 2012 Tix On Sale Now

From a release:

The 33rd edition of the Montreal Jazz Festival: a tantalizing teaser!
Esperanza Spalding, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Tangerine Dream, Get The Blessing, the Dorantes/Garcia-Fons/Theodosii Spassov Trio, Gianmaria Testa, the Eliane Elias Brasileira Quartet, CéU, Chris Botti, Strunz & Farah and Van der Graaf Generator
Music for your Christmas stockings!
Tickets on sale Saturday, December 10 at noon

Info-Jazz Line
514 871-1881
Toll free: 1 85JAZZFEST

MONTREAL - Concerts include Esperanza Spaulding, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Tangerine Dream, Get The Blessing, the Dorantes/Garcia-Fons/Theodosii Spassov Trio, Gianmaria Testa, the Eliane Elias Brasileira Quartet, CéU, Chris Botti, Strunz & Farah and Van der Graaf Generator:

* A funk evening with Esperanza Spalding and her Radio Music Society - June 29, 8:30 p.m., Métropolis (Rythmes series)
* Wayne Shorter Quartet - June 29, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)
* Eliane Elias Brasileira Quartet - June 30, 6 p.m., Club Soda (Jazz Beat Hyatt Regency Montréal series)
* Tangerine Dream - June 30, 7:30 p.m., Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, PdA (Événements spéciaux TD series)
* CéU - June 30, 10 p.m., Club Soda (Couleurs SAQ series)
* Chris Botti - July 1, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)
* Get The Blessing - July 1, 10:30 p.m., Gesù - Centre de créativité (Jazz dans la nuit series)
* An evening with Van der Graaf Generator - July 3, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)
* Strunz & Farah - July 3, 10 p.m., Club Soda (Couleurs SAQ series)
* Gianmaria Testa, Vitamia - July 4, 9:30 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA (Grands concerts Rio Tinto Alcan series)
* Dorantes, Renaud Garcia-Fons and Theodosii Spassov, Free Flamenco Trio - July 7, 7 p.m., Maison symphonique de Montréal
* Flamenco Hoy by Carlos Saura - June 27 to July 1, 6 p.m. (7:30 p.m. for the June 27 premiere), Théâtre Maisonneuve

Puppetmongers Holiday Show Dec 17 to Jan 1 in Toronto

From a media release:
Puppetmongers proudly presents
Bed & Breakfast
December 17, 2011 - January 1, 2012
Created by Ann Powell
Performed by Ann Powell and David Powell
Directed by Sue Miner

Toronto, December 12, 2011
- Puppetmongers' beloved winter holiday performances are just around the corner. They have been a tradition for families and theatre-goers in Toronto since 1990 and this year, Puppetmongers presents Bed & Breakfast, an entertaining and charming tale for the whole family, aged 5 years and up. 

Bed & Breakfast runs at Tarragon Theatre's Extra Space from Saturday December 17, 2011 to Sunday January 1, 2012 (no shows December 19-25).

Under the direction of Sue Miner (co-artistic director of Pea Green Theatre), Bed & Breakfast is a whimsical new version of The Princess and the Pea in which clever servants conspire against their bumbling employers in the service of true love, while the hero and heroine dodge hilarious disaster along the road to happily-ever-after. Set in a magnificent miniature mansion of the Edwardian era, older children are intrigued by the captivating detail - tiny working period light fixtures and a teeny steaming bathtub - while younger children are entranced by the story, transfixed by the power of make-believe. Adults appreciate the abundant humour and everyone is delighted by the happy outcome. This magical and witty production, perfect for children aged 5 to 12, has not been seen in Toronto since 2008.

Ann Powell premiered Bed & Breakfast at the Puppeteers of America Festival in Los Angeles in 1985, where it received a Citation for Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from l'Union International de la Marionette, USA. Since being reworked to its current two-hander form, it has twice earned Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for Outstanding Production in the Theatre for Young Audiences Division, and it was shortlisted for the Chalmers Award for New Canadian Play.

The brother and sister team of Ann and David Powell, aka Puppetmongers Theatre, have been bewitching audiences for nearly 40 years with their extraordinary creations. At the forefront of puppetry arts in Canada, the award winning Puppetmongers have created 11 original shows, both for young audiences and adults, and have toured throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Their puppetry was featured in the 2007 film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman.

Puppetmongers Theatre proudly presents Bed & Breakfast
December 17, 2011 - January 1, 2012 at Tarragon Extra Space
Created by Ann Powell - Performed by Ann Powell and David Powell - Directed by Sue Miner
Tarragon Theatre Extra Space, 30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto
Suitable for Family Audiences: Ideal for all adults, and children aged 5 and up.
Daily matinees: December 17 & 18 at 2:30pm;  2pm thereafter (except no performances December 19-25)
Added shows Thursday, December 29 and Friday December 30 at 4:30pm

Tickets: Child/senior/student $20. Adult $25 (except Jan. 1 - see below).
Discount Deal: Family bundle of four tickets - $75

SPECIAL NEW YEAR'S DAY GALA & PARTY: Jan 1 at 2pm. All tickets $40 ($15 charitable receipt)
Booking Tickets: Tarragon Box Office at 416-531-1827, online at or by e-mail to

EXTRA Post-show Puppet Making Workshops
December 26, 27 and 28 only - Duration 1 hour (3:30pm to 4:30 pm)
Suitable for children aged 5 to 12, at $10 per child, with an accompanying adult.
Very limited enrollment. Please book your place at the Tarragon Box Office: 416-531-1827
More info: or 416-469-3555

Monday, December 12, 2011

Common in NYC December 19 - Just A Few Tix Left At Show Time

From a media release - it's officially SOLD OUT but there will be a few tickets left at the door at show time for the lucky:

at the Highline Ballroom - New York City
December 19,2011


Concert starts @ 9PM
Doors open @ 7PM
$40.00 day of show.

NEW YORK CITY - With his multi-Grammy-winning music career, continued work in film and television, and multiple written works, Common has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men. His numerous accomplishments in film and music include starring on the silver screen in films such as Smokin' Aces (2006), American Gangster (2007), Wanted (2008), Date Night (2010), and Just Wright (2010). In 2004, he partnered with Chicago native and rap music megastar Kanye West to produce the album Be, which went on to garner four Grammy Award nominations. In 2007, he released his critically acclaimed seventh album Finding Forever, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart and went on to earn a Grammy Award. His eighth album, Universal Mind Control, was released in 2008 and was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rap Album category.

Prior to acting, Common rose to prominence as one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists, having recorded over eight albums and garnering multiple Grammy Awards. His highly anticipated ninth album, titled The Dreamer / The Believer, dropped earlier this December and features the singles "Ghetto Dreams" (ft. Nas), "Blue Sky," and "Sweet." Common will also star alongside Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank and more in the upcoming film New Year's Eve, directed by Gary Marshall.

Common is also a regularly requested guest speaker known for motivating and empowering collegiate minds while speaking at prestigious universities across the country. In 2000, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to the empowerment and development of disadvantaged youth in urban communities by mentoring in three areas: character development, creative expression, and healthy living. He's also the author of numerous books, including The Mirror and Me (2005), I Like You But I Love Me (2006), and his memoir One Day It'll All Make Sense, released earlier this year. Whether inspiring audiences through music, movies, television, books, or his foundation, Common continues to break new ground and remains one of hip-hop’s most innovative, positive voices.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spanish Cinema Now: December 9 to 22 in New York City

From a media release:

Spanish Cinema Now
December 9 to 22, 2011
Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York City

NEW YORK CITY - Spanish Cinema Now is one of the Walter Reade Theater’s longest-running series, first presented in October 1992. Since then, annual film production in Spain has moved from about 40 movies per year into the triple digits. Audiences in Spain are not only growing, they are considerably younger nowadays, while the links between Spanish and Latin American cinema are stronger than ever. Latin American actors, directors and technicians are enriching the Spanish industry, and co-productions are at an all-time high.

Our series opens with the new film from Nacho Vigolondo (Timecrimes): Extraterrestrial, his smart, much-anticipated take on the alien invasion movie, in which a man and a woman wake up to a Madrid dotted with spaceships, the night after a tryst. Regional cinemas continue to produce strong work, as seen in the fascinating Catalan documentary Barcelona Before or the magic realist Galician film Crebinsky. A new generation of Spanish comedy is well represented in the selection, with everything from box-office superstar Santiago Segura’s latest Torrente film to Daniel Sánchez Areválo’s guy comedy Cousinhood. Don’t miss the Spanish-Portuguese co-production José and Pilar, an engaging, revealing portrait of the final years of Nobel Prize winner José Saramago and his Spanish wife Pilar del Rio.

We also offer a 10-film tribute to Luis García Berlanga, one of Spain’s greatest directors, who sadly passed away in November 2010. Together with Juan Antonio Bardem, Berlanga revolutionized the Spanish cinema in the Fifties and early Sixties with such masterworks as Welcome Mr. Marshall!, Plácido, and The Executioner.

Luis García Berlanga Retrospective

Together with Juan Bardem in the early Fifties, Berlanga shook up what had been a fairly dormant Spanish cinema with a series of works—That Happy Couple, The Rocket from Calabuch, and especially Welcome, Mr. Marshall!—that revealed uncomfortable truths about the rigidly controlled Francoist society. Even as the regime began to ease up a bit in the early Sixties, Berlanga, often working with screenwriter Rafael Azcona, became if anything even more barbed in his criticisms in works such as Plácido and The Executioner. Yet beyond being important documents of the growing social resistance to Franco, Berlanga’s films are treasures because their extraordinary humor always seems to propel his often madcap tales into more general, timeless observations on the human condition. There are rarely villains in his works—only characters with greater or lesser levels of self-delusion.

Luis García Berlanga, who was previously featured in Spanish Cinema Now, passed away in November 2010 at age 89. We are proud to present this special tribute in memoriam.

Spanish Cinema Now is presented by the Film Society in collaboration with the Spanish Film Institute (ICAA) in Madrid and the Instituto Cervantes in New York. Special thanks also to the Spanish Consulate General in New York.
Community Partners
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at NYU

Spanish Cinema Now
December 9 to 22, 2011
Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York City

NuDance Festival 2011 December 9 & 10 in New York City

From a release:

NuDance 2011
December 9 & 10, 2011
Riverside Theatre, Harlem, New York City

- Join us for two evenings of fabulous new dance works featuring some of the best young choreographers and dancers. You'll experience the next generation of pioneering dance artists as NuDance presents new, innovative dance works by Opus Dance, Dance Iquail, Xodus Dance, Brenda Neville Dance, Rhapsody James Dance, Dana Foglia, Kelly Peters, Neil Schwartz & Jared Jenkins and Maverick Dance Experience (a few of these newly listed and not described below).

• Special Appearance by Generation X on Saturday only

Each performance evening starts with Choreographers in Creation, an intimate dialogue about their process with a chance for you to learn a dance section.

Dance Iquail!
Choreographed by Iquail Shaheed

Equality for Us 2
A powerful duet that celebrates the recent success of the New York GLBT Community fight for marriage equality while showcases the dynamic ebb and flow inherent in these and all relationships. 

Opus Dance Theatre
Choreographed by Pedro Luis

Concerto del Plata (A Work in Progress)
The work reflects a fusion of Spanish, Latin and Afro-Cuban dance styles, depicting a physical expression of emotions. This work expresses a moment in time-offering up through music and dance a spirit of expectant hope and joy.

NEVILLE Dance Theatre
Choreographed by Brenda Neville

Terra Nova Exerpt-Shift
The forces of mother earth come to life through this exploration the ecological phenomena of tectonic plate shifts.

xodus dance collective
Choreographed by Karen Gayle

Wishing Well
Strangers arrive at a Wishing Well, with hopes of fulfilling their secret fantasies.

Motivating Excellence
Choreographed by Rhapsody James

INSTINCT: The Animal Within
Mark your territory in the belly of the beast, either be the hunter or the hunted. Journey to a world where the role of prey and preditor are clearly defined.

Maverick Dance Experience
Choreographed by Toni Renee Johnson

If You Knew Me...You Would  Know
Journey through a dynamic movement discourse and dance theater experience that unearths binding and affecting philosophical perspectives on relationships, solidarity, radicalism and institutionalization.

Dance Iquail! (Photo Credit: Rachel Neville)
NEVILLE Dance Theatre (Photo Credit: Leah Brizard) 

xodus dance collective
Motivating Excellence

NuDance Festival
Friday, December 9, 2011  7:00pm
Saturday, December 10, 2011  7:00pm
Ticket Price
General Admission: $18/person
The Riverside Theatre
91 Claremont Avenue (120th St)
Take the 1 to 116th or 125th
Box Office: (212) 870-6784

Holiday Fare for the Family: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Toronto

From a media release:

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
December 13 - 30, 2011
Lower Ossington Theatre, Toronto

- Just in time for the holidays: “A crash of drums, a flash of light”...and the Lower Ossington Theatre explodes with the Andrew Lloyd Webber spectacular: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Hailed for its family-friendly storyline, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat plays December 13-30, 2011.

The Narrator (sung by Shannon Dickens, Rebecca Perry, and Jada Rifkin in 3-part harmony) guides us along this lively, comic and colourful journey through the Biblical story of young Joseph (Jeff Hookings), sold into slavery by his brothers after his father favours him with a gorgeous coloured cloak. Joseph’s gift of prophecy saves him from an uncertain fate and helps him rescue Egypt from famine.

Directed by Robert Wilkinson with assistance from Seanna Kennedy, and Choreographed by Amelia Hironaka, JOSEPH combines a high-energy mix of music and dancing - everything from country to calypso to rock 'n' roll - in a series of memorable musical numbers. JOSEPH is a high-voltage extravaganza which includes such classic songs as the contemplative "Any Dream Will Do," the Caribbean infused "Benjamin Calypso," the dazzling "Jacob and Sons/Joseph's Coat," the rockabilly sensation "Song of the King" and the unforgettable "Go, Go, Go Joseph."

The Lower Ossington Theatre is dedicated to providing performance opportunities for Toronto's best and brightest emerging talent. The LOT is also home to the Toronto Youth Theatre, a non-profit organization that gives young performers the opportunity to work in a professional theatre atmosphere.

With this production, the Lower Ossington Theatre continues its transition from a flexible multi-use arts venue to a full scale producing company. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the third of four exciting musicals to be mounted by the company this season. Keep an eye out for Avenue Q to kick off the New Year in 2012.

The Lower Ossington Theatre
100A Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON (Ossington just above Queen West)
December 13 to 30, 2011   
Week 1: Tues-Sat @ 8pm, plus matinee Sun @4pm
Weeks 2 & 3: Tues-Fri @ 8pm, plus matinees Tues & Wed @1pm
$45 (Regular Seating) / $60 (Premium Seating). School Groups $20/Student.
via or 416-915-6747