Thursday, September 27, 2012

Calling All Toronto Area Dachshunds

From a media release - and I'm totally jealous because I don't own a dachshund!

Harbourfront: World Stage 2012/13
Looking for Dachshunds

TORONTO (September 26, 2012) -
May I have your attention please!

World Stage, Harbourfront Centre's contemporary performance series, is looking to recruit a slew of dachshund dogs (and their owners) for an upcoming performance installation.

While details are being kept tight-lipped until the World Stage season is announced, dachshund owners are encouraged to call 416-973-4237 or email us at for information on how to participate in what is sure to be one of the most buzzed-about events of the year.

Stay tuned! The 2013 World Stage season will be announced October 23, 2012.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CD Review: Don Kikas Regresso a Base

CD Review: Don Kikas
Regresso a Base

Angolan artist Don Kikas made a visit to Toronto last week, playing a couple of gigs for the Angolan community courtesy of Massemba Productions. I ran into him at a party and got a copy of his latest CD, Regresso A Base.

Don Kikas, aka Emílio Camilo de Carvalho, was born in the city of Sumbe in the southern Angolan province of Cuanza Sul and grew up in Brazil and Portugal, where he began his musical career.

The music of Angola has a lot in common with that of Brazil due to its shared Portuguese colonial past and the music is a seamless blend of influences.

The CD is full of irresistable rhythms and Latin-flavoured grooves, topped by his expressive vocals and nimble guitar lines. It ranges from big band Latin jazzy tunes to softer dance material to more traditional Angolan sounds.

He tells me that from his beginnings in dance music, he has a renewed interest in the traditions of his native Angola. "I'm getting old!" he laughed (not that you'd notice).

Angolan music isn't well known in North America but consists of various styles, including semba - often called the roots of Brazilian samba - and kizomba, a style akin to Central African zouk or a mixture of jazz and Caribbean influences underpinned by a relentless beat. You'll also hear Cuban rhythms, occasional accordion and harmonica (common in the style known as rebita) and naturally, all of it is danceable.

The album features a few guest artists, including Zoka-Zoka on Semba de Largada, Os Tenuza in N'gaieta and Yannick on Novo Mwangolé. I had trouble picking favourite tracks, but I loved Semba de Largada and the Central African drenched N'gaieta.

He'll be back in town in November and there are hopes for a live gig.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Canadian Art Icon Tom Thomson Celebrated in Film & Online

From a media release:

White Pine Pictures presents
The Vision of Tom Thomson
Directed by Michèle Hozer & Peter Raymont

West Wind Interactive –
Launches Monday, September 24 2012

World Broadcast Premiere of the feature documentary on BRAVO
Thanksgiving Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 10pm (ET)

Like the poems of Leonard Cohen, the novels of Margaret Atwood, and the ballads of Gordon Lightfoot, the paintings of Tom Thomson have shaped our country’s view of itself.

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson, the award-winning feature length documentary, and its innovative on-line companion,, shines a spotlight on one of Canada ’s most beloved artists.

The Film
After a year of sold out screenings in theatres, galleries and film festivals across Canada, with invitations to venues in the U.S., England, Norway and The Netherlands, Peter Raymont and Michèle Hozer’s definitive West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson has its world broadcast premiere on BRAVO, Thanksgiving weekend, Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 10pm (ET) – an apt time of year for fans of the artist described as Canada’s “greatest colourist” and “our Van Gogh”.

Based, in part, on Roy MacGregor’s best-selling book “Northern Light: Tom Thomson and the Woman Who Loved Him”, West Wind explores Thomson’s life and mysterious death, reveals his paintings in stunning detail, includes long lost audio recordings of those who knew Thomson, the authentication of his earliest known oil painting, and offers insights from Canada’s foremost curators and collectors.  Actors Gordon Pinsent, Eric Peterson and Susan Coyne bring the voices of Thomson’s colleagues to life. John Welsman’s evocative music score reminds us of Thomson’s extraordinary gift to all Canadians. (Painting - left - Sunset, 1915 - at the National Gallery of Canada)

Raised on the shores of Georgian Bay, Thomson led his Toronto colleagues, future members of the Group of Seven, to the north and Algonquin Park in 1914, where together they experimented in painting rivers, lakes, trees and skies in a bold new way, with raw and vibrant colours.

On July 8, 1917, just when he was reaching ascendancy in his craft, Thomson paddled across Canoe Lake and disappeared. His body surfaced 8 days later.  The cause of his death remains a mystery. As is the mystery of his final resting place… until new research reveals in West Wind.

West Wind Interactive –

Prior to the October 7 broadcast, viewers can wet their appetites beginning September 24, by logging onto where intriguing details of Tom Thomson’s life and work can be discovered.  This comprehensive interactive site is a visual array of photographs, letters, documents, maps – and – paintings!

Follow Thomson’s biographical trail. His childhood home in Leith, Ontario, his years in the gold-rush frontier town of Seattle, Toronto, the place of his artistic coming of age with those who became known as the Group of Seven, to Georgian Bay and Algonquin Park, the northern wilderness that inspired him to paint.

Those who continue to wonder about the mysterious death of Tom Thomson can read eyewitness accounts, the coroner’s report and other documents to draw their own conclusions. And vote on what they think happened that fateful day in July 1917.

Tom Thomson is brought into the 21st century with the reflections of contemporary Canadian artists, who share their fascination and personal connection to Tom Thomson: David Blackwood, Kim Dorland, Mendelson Joe, Charlie Pachter, Kurt Swinghammer and Diana Thorneycroft,

The highlight of is of course the paintings!  Thanks to the support and generosity of the Art Gallery of Ontario, The National Gallery of Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Tom Thomson Gallery, Canadians will see 182 of Tom Thomson’s sketches and paintings together for the first time in's spectacular online collection.

Curators of The Art Gallery of Ontario, The National Gallery of Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection and The Tom Thomson Gallery take visitors on a personal tour through their collections.

There are very few photographs of Tom Thomson, so it is extraordinarily exciting that 2 new photographs have been discovered in a private collection. And even more exciting that the family has generously given permission for these photos to be shared for the first time on (Arthur Lismer & Tom Thomson at Algonquin Park, 1914) is more than a companion piece to the feature film, it is a stand alone treasure trove for educators, students, curators and historians to fans of Thomson and art lovers everywhere.

West Wind Interactive – is produced by White Pine Pictures, with the participation of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, Bell Media, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson is produced by White Pine Pictures in association with BRAVO, Knowledge Network Corporation, TV Ontario, Saskatchewan Communications Network, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and the Rogers Documentary and Cable Network Funds.

West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson: Bravo broadcast Oct 7
Running time:  94 minute
West Wind Interactive: Launch date Sept 24

RCM Toronto: Koerner Hall 4th Season Kicks Off with Bach September 23 2012

From a media release:

Special Glenn Gould Birthday Celebrations
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

This September, to start the season on a truly celebratory note, The Royal Conservatory is thrilled to be commemorating what would have been the 80th birthday of its most illustrious alumnus, Glenn Gould, with two unique concerts.

On September 23, pianist/harpsichordist (and Conservatory faculty member) David Louie celebrates Johann Sebastian Bach and Glenn Gould with a full Bach program featuring solo and chamber pieces with colleagues Alison Melville (traverse), Kathleen Kajioka (violin), Steven Dann (viola), and Margaret Jordan-Gay (cello). The program includes The Musical Offering, BWV 1079; Italian Concerto, BWV 971; and Selections from Partita No. 4, BWV 828.

The following evening, September 24, marks the opening night of the Koerner Hall season, with “Glenn Gould’s Birthday BACHanalia.” This special concert, presented in association with The Glenn Gould Foundation and Small World Music, will follow Gould’s tradition of innovation and improvisation with another all-Bach program, featuring some of the most intrepid artists on the music scene. Harpist Sylvain Blassel plays excerpts from Goldberg Variations, harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy performs the E Minor Flute Sonata, violinist Mark O’Connor offers up Bach-inspired fiddle improvisations, and Oscar Peterson’s Salute to Bach is played by a jazz trio featuring Oscar’s long-time bass partner Dave Young. Also on the program is a capella jazz by Retrocity, a South Asian jam session featuring Autorickshaw Trio and Trichy Sankaran, and some of The Conservatory’s most talented current students. For dessert, an unforgettable treat that Gould would have loved ... hear Gould himself play ‘live’ at the end of this special evening. Gould memorabilia will be on public display and a new Gould-inspired music composition app, Piano Invention, will make its public debut.

The two concerts are being presented in association with DREAMERS RENEGADES VISIONARIES: The Glenn Gould Variations, an affordable festival of musicians, directors, artists, philosophers, dancers, writers, and scientists, which runs on September 22 and 23 at Convocation Hall, University of Toronto.

Following the Glenn Gould extravaganza, The Conservatory once again participates in Scotiabank Nuit Blanche on September 29. Starting at 7pm on the Koerner Hall stage, Sylvain Blassel plays the complete Goldberg Variations by Bach on harp, followed by students from The Glenn Gould School showing off their musical skills. From 11 pm to 1 am, high energy klezmer meets Balkan brass at the hands of Toronto’s audacious Lemon Bucket Orkestra. The 14-piece band plays two sets, plus a folk dance lesson where audience members can expect to be invited to dance on stage! Small Wooden Shoe, a theatre company based in Toronto, “Reads Difficult Plays and Sings Simple Songs” between 1:30am and 4:00am – the performance features various readings of Gertrude Stein and songs that the audience can sing along to. Finally, a Yamaha Disklavier plays muisc in Koerner Hall for the remainder of the early morning hours. During all of these events, visual artists, led by John Coburn and Travis Shilling, will make live art of the proceedings on stage. The artists will be on stage and their real time work will be projected on a screen. In addition, art students from select Toronto schools will be encouraged to make their own drawings inspired by the music that they will hear in the atrium and lobbies of The Conservatory that night.              

September Performances and Events at The Royal Conservatory
• David Louie celebrates Bach & Gould (Mazzoleni Masters): Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 7:30pm (MCH); $32
• Glenn Gould’s Birthday BACHanalia (Special Event): Monday, September 24, 2012 at 7pm (KH); starting at $35
• The Royal Conservatory’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (Special Event): Sat., September 29, 2012, 7pm - 7am (KH); Free

Tickets are available online at, by calling 416.408.0208, or in person at the Weston Family Box Office
Create your own package: select any 4-6 concerts and save 10%; select any 7+ concerts and save 15%
A limited number of $10 BMO Rush Tickets are available starting 90 minutes before all performances presented by The Royal Conservatory.
All concerts take place at The Royal Conservatory
TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto

NYC Pop Rock Collective Dog Society CD Release: Emerge (September 25 2012)

From a media release:



Dog Society, the renown pop rock collective from New York City, will release their latest full-length album Emerge on September 25, 2012. Emerge is the anticipated follow up to Dog Society's heralded major label debut release Test Your Own Eyes via EastWest / Atlantic Records (1993).  If good things come to those who wait; imagine what can happen after a patient decade and then amplify that with electrifying guitar riffs, soul stirring vocals and passionate lyrics destined to pull at every single one of your heart strings. However, Dog Society's latest album release is anything BUT a comeback story.

Dog Society released their acclaimed debut album Test Your Own Eyes in 1993 via EastWest / Atlantic Records. In support of this debut release, the band toured the nation opening for major acts such as Sheryl Crow, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones which earned them a loyal fan following of their own. It is this very dedicated and wholehearted legion of fans that has been the pulse of Dog Society's well versed music career and has continuously propelled their pursuits, both on stage and in the recording studio, over the past decade.

Not only has Dog Society remained ever present on the NYC rock circuit, they have also stayed at the forefront of the wildly capricious rock movement with their consistently innovative fusions of contemporary and classic rock influences. Influenced by classic pop-rock artists such as The Who, and The Beatles, the songs are tightly constructed, big on melody with clean polished production. The band show their natural love of the best radio-friendly songs of the 70’s, updating this genre and giving fans of this popular realm some great new songs to love. Fans of Semisonic, Local H, Everclear, Collective Soul, and Our Lady Peace will all gravitate towards the gritty yet hook-laden sounds on Dog Society's newest album Emerge, which still manages to emulate a refreshing pop-rock undertone.

Dog Society's first single off of their new album is titled The Fuse Before and is an undulating introduction to the band's fresh and infectious sound.

• Emerge is Dog Society's first independent release and will be available digitally on September 25, 2012.

Alan Thicke to Star in Queen for a Day: The Musical - Sept 26 to Oct 7 in Toronto

From a media release:

ALAN THICKE to Star as icon Jack Bailey in Queen for a Day: the Musical
12 Performances - September 26 to Octber 7, 2012
at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts

Toronto, ON -
April 30th Entertainment is thrilled to announce that seven-time Emmy nominee and “America’s Dad” (Growing Pain’s) Alan Thicke will be starring as iconic TV personality Jack Bailey in the world premiere of Queen for a Day: the Musical. The 12-performance run begins September 26, 2012 at the brand new state-of-the-art Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. Thicke is scheduled to perform in 10 shows only.

Inspired by the first-ever reality show and number one daytime hit – Queen for a Day – which originated in 1945 and aired on radio and television for 20 years, the Broadway style musical comedy will take audiences back to the fun and glamour of Hollywood in the 1950s. Featuring an all-Canadian cast and creative team, with music and lyrics by Linda Barnett and Book by Chris Earle, Shari Hollett, Paul O’Sullivan with additional dialogue by Timothy French and directed by French, Queen for a Day is packed with sensational songs and lots of laughs.

“I am thrilled to be joining such an amazing all-Canadian cast and creative team for the world premiere of Queen for a Day,” said Thicke. “The original series was a smash success during its run and I am looking forward to creating the character Jack Bailey, a man who enriched the lives of so many women throughout the years.”

Producer Jeffrey Latimer said “the women of the 50’s and 60’s loved Jack Bailey and I know that audiences this September will fall in love with Alan Thicke.”  Thicke’s musical theatre credits include; Chicago (Broadway debut), and Promises, Promises, in which he received rave reviews opposite Jason Alexander (Hollywood Bowl) as well as Mame (Hollywood Bowl).

Producers Jeffrey Latimer and Natalie Bartello are excited to showcase the production which has been in development for several years, “With a cast of 22 and a live orchestra, this show has all of the elements for a fantastic night out!” says Bartello. “Queen for a Day is a musical comedy for everyone, it will make you dream, make you dance, and make you feel like you’re on top of the world.” says Latimer.

Queen for a Day takes place in the Hollywood of 1953, where fortunes can change in a heartbeat. The outgoing and independent Claribel Anderson (Blythe Wilson; Mary Poppins, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music) and her fellow waitress Lana (Marisa McIntyre; Mama Mia!) find themselves at the glitzy Moulin Rouge Theatre, where “Queen for a Day” airs live daily. Claribel’s 15 minutes of fame send her down a funny and touching road, forcing her to re-evaluate her dream of being the perfect ’50s housewife.

Reliving her glory days, Old Claribel (Stratford Festival veteran Denise Fergusson) reflects on her encounters with people from her past. She amuses Felicia (Camille Eanga-Selenge) with tales of Birdie (Lisa Horner; Wonderful Town), a scheming waitress at Scully’s Diner; Esther (Angela Teek; Rock of Ages), a contestant who hopes to win leg braces for her son with polio; her attractive and immature husband Ned (Jay Davis; Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon); up and coming “Queen for a Day” producer Dwight (Cory O’Brien; Mary Poppins, Cabaret); and her chauvinistic boss Scully (Sheldon Bergstrom; The Sound of Music, The Producers, Guys and Dolls).                 

DATES: September 26th – October 7th, 2012DATES that ALAN THICKE is scheduled to perform; Sept 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, Oct 3,6 &7
VENUE: Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge Street
TIMES: Wed at 2pm, Thurs-Sun at 8pm, Sat & Sun at 2pm
TICKETS: $35.00- $59.50
PURCHASE:  905-787-8811  or at Great discounts for groups of eight or more by calling  416-259-1625  or  1-855-259-1625 .

About April 30th Entertainment
April 30th Entertainment is comprised of a group of well-seasoned theatre practitioners who believe there is a great need to develop and produce high quality family entertainment. The company collaborates with the best in the business for the development and advancement of innovative product for the commercial stage.

CD Release: Wahid's Road Poem (September 25 2012)

From a media release:

The Path of Nuance:
Wahid Finds New Ways to Make Age-Old Instruments Speak on Road Poem
Release: September 25, 2012

The oud (Middle Eastern lute) and its frequent companion—delicate, tuneful percussion—can simultaneously evoke subtle moments and intense drama: the reflections of a conqueror, the joy of an eloping bride, the faded beauty of an island village.

The California-based instrumental duo Wahid has taken full measure of this subtlety, thanks to a keen sense of their ancient instruments’ sonic possibilities.

Wahid unites two seasoned jazz, rock, and world musicians—Dimitris Mahlis (oud) and Chris Wabich (frame drums, percussion)—who have performed and recorded with a veritable who’s who of the Los Angeles music scene. After crossing paths many times, the two sonic explorers found new ways to make their instruments speak. Together, they draw on deep layers of delicate expertise laid down over centuries.

Captured live on Road Poem (release: September 25, 2012), their dynamic dialogue embraces improvisation and contemporary ideas, while gracefully reflecting Eastern Mediterranean traditions. These roots, expressed with worldly flair, find full expression in duo’s purposefully intimate arrangements.

"With larger ensembles, you often face a density problem,” explains Wabich. “Traditionally, our instruments have a lot of nuance. You have to have enough space, enough stillness to really get at that.”

Wahid takes this poetic nuance on the road, performing in late September and early October on the West Coast, including the Bay Area and Napa, CA.

check the website for details

1st Annual Concert for Wangari Maathai September 25 2012 in Toronto

From a media release, but one I wrote myself - I'm helping to spread the word about this event:

September 25, 2012 in Toronto
November  9 – 24, 2012 in Italy & November  30 – December 3, 2012 in Nairobi Kenya.

Wangari Maathai was a force of nature. (Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations' environmental program)

TORONTO - Brave, outspoken, visionary and forward thinking - these are just a few of the qualities that made Wangari Maathai a remarkable figure both at home in Kenya and across the globe. She was a political and environmental activist who understood the deep connections between environment, poverty and peace and who suffered for her strong convictions through political persecution and sometimes even physical abuse.

To be held in Toronto on the first anniversary of her passing, this Celebration of her life and work has been developed to keep the flame of her passions - environmental protection, peace, democracy and equality for women - alive even as her beloved Africa needs those elements more than ever.

"In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now."

Wangari made the statement when she became the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her "contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace".  In fact, she lived a life of firsts. Born during colonial days in 1940 in a small village in Kenya, she took advantage of government programs and U.S. funding to attend school in the United States, where she studied biology.
  • In 1971, she was the first East African woman to receive a Ph.D. in Anatomy from the University College of Nairobi
  • Later, she was the first woman in Nairobi to take the position of senior lecturer, associate professor and chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy

Her commitment to social issues grew and developed alongside a budding career in academia, where she excelled. She lobbied for improved rights for women workers. She founded the Green Belt Movement to preserve local flora, in particular the forests of Kenya that she saw being cut down. The organization paid women a small stipend to find seeds and seedlings and replant them.

Celebrated outside her own country but not appreciated by the regime, she was divorced by a husband who said she was too strong-willed and arrested, tear-gassed and beaten unconscious during various protests for democracy under an oppressive one-party regime in Kenya. Yet, she continued to advocate for peace and the advancement of African women. The Green Belt Movement spread throughout African and led to the Pan-African Green Belt Network.  United Nations figures estimate that the Green Belt Movement has planted over 30 million trees in Africa and employed nearly 900,000 women.

The movement’s basic activity - tree planting - helps to combat desertification, avoid water crises and the rural hunger that arises from these issues. Wangari’s work and her activism are needed even more today.

The Celebration is just one of the efforts being made to keep her dreams alive. A theatrical production - HUMMUNGBIRDS - is in the works, with a planned staging in November 2013 in Toronto.

African women in general need to know that it's OK for them to be the way they are - to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence. (Wangari Maathai)

At the Celebration, Sonia Aimiuwu (Aimy) a Nigerian- born via Italian songwriter, singer, actress and cultural/activist will launch African Women Acting (AWA), an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering African women to act positively for the betterment of our motherland African without the distinction of nationality. AWA is founded by Sonia Aimiuwu in collaboration with Isoken Ibie & Wangari Muriuki.  “To Empower African Women Artists and African Cultural Heritage through African Arts & Female Artistes.”

This event initiated by Sonia Aimiuwu (Aimy) is produced in partnership with AWA and African Theatre Ensemble (ATE)

AfriCan Theatre Ensemble (ATE) was founded and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in Toronto in August 1998 by Prof. Modupe Olaogun with a mission to make African theatre accessible to the public through performance, education, community outreach, and professional development of classic and new creations originating from or inspired by Africa.  Managing Artistic Director of ATE Muoi Nene was born in Nairobi Kenya to a family of story tellers and artists. Muoi has enjoyed a front row seat from both an African and now a Canadian perspective as he celebrates a decade in Toronto.
WHAT: The 1st Annual Celebration of Prof. Wangari Maathai
WHEN: September 25, 2012 - TIME: 6.00 – 11.00 PM ï ADMISSION: $35
TICKETS:  - Toronto’s Official One-Stop Ticket Shop at 5 Dundas Square East Toronto ON M5B 2R8 - Open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00pm to 6:30pm


TWITTER:  (@AWAtweet)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dance in Toronto: NextSteps Fall/Winter 2012

From a media release:

Harbourfront Centre NextSteps 2012/13 season
presents an incredible spectrum of Canadian dance
Fall 2012 - from Season Opening September 20, 2012 to December 2012

– Harbourfront Centre is pleased to announce the 2012/13 season of contemporary dance series, NextSteps. Running from September 2012 to May 2013, NextSteps features 24 companies, each one showcasing a diverse spectrum of dance from Toronto and beyond.

For almost 30 years, Harbourfront Centre has been passionate about dance and the seventh season of Harbourfront Centre NextSteps reflects that zeal with Flamenco, hip-hop, contemporary, Afro-Caribbean and Indigenous dance. The 2012/13 season features outstanding dance festivals, including: Rina Singha; Latin American dance from Vanguardia Dance Company; Dance Ontario’s Dance Weekend; and the CanAsian International Dance Festival. Families can also experience magical holiday season performances by Ballet Creole’s Soulful Messiah and WinterSong from Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre.

"I am extremely proud to have so much diversity of talent on the stages of Harbourfront Centre and to know that dance is a part of Canadian Culture," says Lynanne Sparrow, Artistic Associate - Dance. "NextSteps offers solos to large scale, in a huge range of forms that is rare to find in a single season."

Tickets for all NextSteps 12/13 performances are on sale through the Harbourfront Centre box office; the public can call  416-973-4000  or visit the website. Harbourfront Centre also offers a NextSteps Flex Pass, saving up to 50% and available until October 9, 2012; the Culture Break programme for students and those 25 years and under; and additional discounts are available for seniors and dance industry professionals.

NextSteps Fall 2012 Lineup
First half of the 2012/13 Season

Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization - Kathak Mahotsav 2012
Sept. 20-23, 2012 (Studio Theatre)

Tickets: $25-$30.50
Now in its fifth year, the festival of Kathak dance is a gathering of Canadian Kathak artists in celebration of the art of Kathak, showcasing the adapability and relevance of classical Kathak styles, adapting its temple origins to the present. The programme features four concerts with different artists performing each night. There will also be a special pre-show lecture demonstration on Sunday, September 23rd at 3pm by Guru Rina Singha. (pictured above)

Julia Sasso dances - SLoE
In association with Harbourfront Centre
Sept. 27-30, 2012 (Enwave Theatre)

Tickets: $25-$35
SLoE envelops the audience in an intimate and deeply compelling world of sound and movement imagery. Taking great physical and emotional risks that celebrate the quality and transformation of the body in motion, Julia Sasso’s robust choreography cascades across the stage in counterpoint to the music’s magically suspended resonances and stillnesses. In concert with celebrated pianist, Eve Egoyan, Sasso’s stellar dancers deliver a striking, virtuosic interpretation of Ann Southam’s masterwork, Simple Lines of Enquiry.

ProArteDanza Performance – Season 2012
Oct. 3-6, 2012 (Fleck Dance Theatre)

Tickets: $20-$39
ProArteDanza returns with a highly-anticipated evening of breathtaking dance featuring three critically acclaimed works and a world premiere by award-winning choreographers Roberto Campanella and Robert Glumbek. (pictured below)

Native Women in the Arts - I'm Not the Indian You Have in Mind
Oct. 11-13, 2012 (Enwave Theatre)

Tickets: $20-$28
What does it mean to be Indigenous? This new work, inspired by writer Thomas King’s eponymous short film, I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind, explores stereotypes existing within Indigenous North American and Indigenous Latin American cultures. There are many points of intersection where social, race and gender stereotypes collide across cultures. It is through this intersection and collision where stereotypes and preconceived ideas of what it is to be Indigenous can be transformed. In association with The Chimera Project and the Thunderbird Aboriginal Arts, Culture & Entrepreneur Centre. (pictured below)

DanceWorks DW196 Susie Burpee/Linnea Swan – Road Trip
Oct. 18-20, 2012 (Enwave Theatre)

Tickets: $19.50-$34
Susie Burpee and Linnea Swan – two physically fierce contemporary dancers – are caught in the spotlight like deers in headlights. Has something awful happened? The rollercoaster movement of this tragicomic face-off takes the audience on an unforgettable road trip. (pictured below)

Toronto Dance Theatre – Rare Mix
Nov. 6-10, 2012 (Fleck Dance Theatre)

Tickets: $19-$40
Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT) unleashes 12 extraordinary dancers in a rare – and radical – showcase. Mining the gems of TDT’s vast repertoire, Rare Mix, features masterworks by company co-founder Patricia Beatty, Montreal maverick Jean-Sébastien Lourdais and TDT’s Christopher House, who the National Post hails as “one of Canada’s most gifted and enduringly inventive choreographers.”

Vangurdia Dance Company - Vanguardia Dance Festival 2012: A View on Latin America
Nov. 8-11, 2012 (Studio Theatre)

Tickets: $17-$25
Six artists, from different countries of origin and with varying approaches to contemporary dance, explore aerial dance, aboriginal contemporary dance, dance theatre, and technology. Vanguardia Dance Company is a Canadian-Latin American collective founded by Norma Araiza and Olga Barrios in 2010 with the purpose of promoting contemporary dance works.

DanceWorks DW197: RUBBERBANDance Group – Gravity of Center
Nov. 16-17, 2012 (Fleck Dance Theatre)

Tickets: $19.50-$34
Performed by five powerhouse dancers to a soundtrack by DJ Lil'Jaz, Victor Quijada’s Gravity of Center channels the ferocity of hip hop in a perfectly refined choreographic language. Los Angeles born Victor Quijada is deeply influenced by hip hop culture and has re-imagined, deconstructed and applied choreographic principles to the hip hop ideology of his youth. Quijada formed RUBBERBANDance Group in 2002. His work, which examines human relationships through a seamless marriage of classical, contemporary and urban aesthetics, is performed internationally. From 2007-2011 he was artist-in-residence at Cinquième Salle of Place des Arts de Montreal.

Sampradaya Dance Creations – Alchemy
Nov. 22-24, 2012 (Enwave Theatre)

Tickets: $20-$35
Award-winning artistic director Lata Pada, of Sampradaya Dance Creations, has assembled an eclectic and imaginitive programme – including works created by Canada’s Natasha Bakht, England’s Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant, Aakash Odedra and India’s Santosh Nair – that promises to redefine Indian dance. Showcasing bharatanatyam, kathak and chau-based choreographies performed by Sampradaya Dance Creations dancers and guest artists, Aakash Odedra and dancers from India’s Sadhya lead you on a remarkable discovery of contemporary Indian dance.

Ballet Creole – Soulful Messiah
Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, 2012 (Fleck Dance Theatre)

Tickets: $ 20-$45
This performance is a Ballet Creole signature piece, which breathes the universal language of spirituality and pure happiness that we all yearn to share, especially during the holidays. Soulful Messiah infuses tap, African-Caribbean, ballet, jazz and modern dance into a unique celebration of life through dance and music.

Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre – WinterSong – dances for a sacred season
Dec. 14-15, 2012 (Fleck Dance Theatre)

Tickets: $22.50-$38
Now a 25-year tradition, WinterSong returns to warm the hearts of family audiences with its breathtaking tapestry of seasonal dance. Come celebrate the holidays with some of Canada’s most exciting choreographers, dancers and musicians inspired by the world’s rich solstice traditions. Includes favourites by Santee Smith, Carol Anderson, Colin Connor, Kim Frank and Deborah Lundmark.

Harbourfront Centre is passionate about dance. NextSteps, Harbourfront Centre’s national dance series, brings the very best in Canadian dance to Toronto audiences, showcasing the depth, energy and diversity of established and emerging choreographers and companies. The 2012-13 season, running September to May, offers an incredible spectrum of dance. Harbourfront Centre supports Canada’s I Love Dance manifesto.

Live@365 2012-2013 Global Concert Series in New York City Kicks Off September 20 2012

From a media release:

Live@365, 2012-2013 Concert Series (NYC):
Full Tour Schedule
September 20, October 24, November 27, 2012
March 12, April9, May 7, 2013

Tickets for all events can be purchased here

From the gathering of New York’s many West African bards on a single stage, to the magical performance of sung Persian poetry, and the fresh and contemplative jaw harp of Wang Li, Live@365 is bringing both contemporary and traditional artists to New York audiences.

Live@365 is a new world music series curated by Isabel Soffer and produced by the CUNY Graduate Center. Bringing diverse and compelling artists to the Elebash Recital Hall gives audience members a chance to experience these performers in an intimate yet acoustically superior venue.

Celebrating its second season, Live@365's first performance this year presents Emeline Michel from Haiti (pictured), Martha Redbone from NYC, and Vlada Tomova from Bulgaria—three artists who are crossing boundaries of traditional and contemporary music. Vlada Tomova, a “vocal sorceress,” creates haunting, otherworldly sounds with influences from Bulgaria and the Balkans, the Middle East, India, and Sephardic Spain, recalling Bulgaria’s cultural origins shaped by ancient migrations.

Internationally renowned singer, songwriter, producer, and dancer Emeline Michel, the "Joni Mitchell of Haiti,” merges Haitian compas and rara with jazz, pop, bossa nova, and samba. Martha Redbone, of Shawnee, Choctaw, and African American descent, performs music that flows equally from Native American elements, soul, R&B, funk, and her deep roots in Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues.

September 20, 2012
New York, NY
Opening Night (Vlada Tomova, Emeline Michel & Martha Redbone)

Elebash Recital Hall (The Graduate Center) @ 365 5th Ave. at 34th St.
Tix: $25; $20 for Graduate Center Members and Students, Show: 7:00 pm
Ph: 212.817.8215

October 24, 2012
New York, NY
Bachata Legends Unplugged (Edilou Paredes with special guests Take Out with Joan Soriano)

Elebash Recital Hall (The Graduate Center) @ 365 5th Ave. at 34th St.
Tix: $25; $20 for Graduate Center Members and Students , Show: 7:00 pm
Ph: 212.817.8215

November 27, 2012
New York, NY
West African Griot Summit

Elebash Recital Hall (The Graduate Center) @ 365 5th Ave. at 34th St.
Tix: $25; $20 for Graduate Center Members and Students, Show: 7:00 pm
Ph: 212.817.8215

March 13, 2013
New York, NY
Ancient Persia: Songs and Stories (The Shahnameh: Naqquli and Zoorkhaneh)

Elebash Recital Hall (The Graduate Center) @ 365 5th Ave. at 34th St.
Tix: $25; $20 for Graduate Center Members and Students, Show: 7:00 pm
Ph: 212.817.8215

April 9, 2013
New York, NY
Budapest Bar

Elebash Recital Hall (The Graduate Center) @ 365 5th Ave. at 34th St.
Tix: $25; $20 for Graduate Center Members and Students, Show: 7:00 pm
Ph: 212.817.8215

May 7, 2013
New York, NY
Wang Li

Elebash Recital Hall (The Graduate Center) @ 365 5th Ave. at 34th St.
Tix: $25; $20 for Graduate Center Members and Students, Show: 7:00 pm
Ph: 212.817.8215

CD Release: Konqistador's Suada Sept 18 & Toronto Show Dec 15 2012

From a media release:

Slashed Speakers and Blinding Faith:
Striking Clarity and Epic Distortion on Konqistador’s Electro-Global Return, Suada
Release: September 18, 2012
Live Show: December 15, 2012 - at The Hoxton (Toronto)

Slowly, secretly, figures emerged from underground, from under water: the self-blinded saint, the woman warrior, the stranger named Persuasion. Speaking in half a dozen languages, uniting dozens of instruments and countries, layering moment on moment over the course of years, the images arose and broke into tracks, words, melodies.

They came to Konqistador, an electronically boosted, globally enriched collaboration, as music bathed in biting distortion and trembling on the delicate edge of gut strings. The project, spearheaded by the Canadian duo of Elizabeth Graham and Reginald Tiessen, can grab the hardest, grittiest industrial beats by the horns or turn around and seduce with the gentlest of gestures. Emotional and sonically complex, Suada (release: September 18, 2012) links everything from long-lost Kenneth Anger soundtracks to Afghan poetry, from Lebanese holy women to Turkish street musicians.

A chronicle of a global journey from Australia to the U.S.-Canadian border, from the Bosphorus to the Balkans, the album’s blinding light and deep shadows suggest epic vistas and intimate breaths, searing strength and profound sorrow.

“We were between Istanbul and Detroit and had just left Melbourne,” explains Graham, describing the project’s global wanderings. “I was feeling lost, thinking this album was never going to see the light of day. Then, I realized all the women I met on our travels were digging for some sort of hope, incessantly digging for a treasure in a mound of dirt. All while everyone around her is saying, ‘You can’t, you won’t, you never will.’ But you have to listen to yourself. You have to stick to your guns.”

One day, Tiessen walked out of a Detroit thrift store with an old Hammond organ and took a razor to its flimsy paper speakers. The resultant eerie rumble would eventually resound in shadowy Bucharest studios, through midnights in Melbourne, in massive cellars below Istanbul.

“It was a crappy organ with fluttering, slashed, dirty speakers,” Tiessen recalls, “but it had this new, distressed sound, the beginning of bridging electronica with a grittier, more organic rock drive, something we had been wanting do to for a while.”

From the slashed organ sprang Konqistador, with several hard-hitting albums. Life took the Graham and Tiessen to Australia, where they pursued both their blues and rock lives and tried to develop Konqistador in new ways. Though they gathered an ever growing following Down Under and across Eastern Europe, the duo restlessly explored new approaches, alternatives to the balls-out intensity of their earlier work.

Random encounters began suggesting new roads. A late-night DJ with a shift at the Melbourne radio station where the band practiced handed them a copy of Lucifer Rising, the blistering yet ethereal soundtrack for the Kenneth Anger film of the same name. Its dark yet sparkling sonic imprint made its mark on Konqistador’s evolving sound.

At roughly the same time, Graham became friends with an Albanian woman with the curious name of Suada, literally “persuasion.”

“I started thinking about the centuries-old idea that women have a special persuasive power,” reflects Graham. “Not in a malicious way, but that women can use their influence for good, especially through music and dance. That was the underlying theme, to get at Suada, to find that whole emotive side in what had been very masculine music.” Stories of striking, defiant women resonated, becoming intense, building tracks. “Rafqa” tells the tale of a Lebanese saint who expressed her faith by removing her eyesight, an ultimate sacrifice to her vision of God.

To tell these tales, Konqistador longed to bring in sounds that strayed far beyond the standard power trio or rock quartet. The Rays began collaborating with producers like Janin Pasniciuc, an icon of the Romanian electronic music underground. They began consulting with veteran dark electronic/industrial producers from Dave Ogilvie (Skinny Puppy) to Jacob Hellner (Rammstein). They learned from master film orchestrators and composers, like fellow Detroit-area oud (Arab lute) and kanun (Turkish zither) player Victor Ghannam (Xena: Warrior Princess, Spartacus)

But the biggest leap forward came with yet another international move. Intrigued by the musicians and people they encountered on tour, the Rays took the ultimate plunge: “We found ourselves living in Istanbul. We didn’t want to start playing around samples, with drum loops,” Tiessen recounts. “We moved there because we decided if we were going to dabble in world music, we’re going to do so at the highest level. We set ourselves up there for two years, after touring in Turkey extensively for more than seven years. We immersed ourselves in the culture.”

The intertwining sounds and journeys resound on tracks like “Brancovan,” born on three continents. “It started with a rock riff in Detroit, then Hugh Crosthwaite, an Australian composer and expert on baroque music, orchestrated it, help build the soundscape. It had to make its way east and north again, into a dungeon-like studio in an Istanbul neighborhood near where a lot of the street musicians perform every day. They have dark pasts, some rough habits. That’s where it found its darkness, in this 4,000-square foot basement below the city.” There, the rippling sounds of a street musician’s kanun crossed the brass blasts of an experimental jazz trumpeter, playing full force in that great resonant space.

The community that Konqistador slowly eased into in Istanbul, with its emphasis on exchanging experience and mutual respect, proved the perfect infusion of energy for the project’s long-languishing songs and slow-burning disillusionment. After returning to Canada, Konqistador’s core members continued to reach out to musicians they met in subways, in housing projects for recent refugees.

Gifted young musicians like Cihat Ozturk, a musical prodigy and youthful baglama (traditional long-neck lute) player, whom Konqistador supported in his petition for asylum, helping the musician record a song he later performed at his immigration hearing. This kind of collaboration became a natural, if unexpected, moment in Konqistador’s evolution. “Without knowing it, we went about making this album as diverse as possible to pay respect to all the people we had such meaningful encounters with,” Tiessen muses. “In more cognizant way, we want to build on this, creating a live performance which will include these young, often female musicians,” newcomers to North American who have often gone unsung.

“These musicians are invisible here, even if they are somebodies in their own country,” Graham continues. “We want to find a way to incorporate these émigré musicians into the project, and into the broader musical conversation here.”

CD Release Party: Drumhand's `The Travelling Scheme' Sept 20 in Toronto

From a media release:

DRUMHAND’s New Release – “The Travelling Scheme”
A Glorious Global Brew That Is At Once Primal & Avant-Garde
C’est What, 67 Front St. E, Toronto
Thursday September 20, 2012 - 9:00pm (doors 8pm)
TIX/INFO: $8 adv / $12 at door - 416-867-9499

[Toronto ON} 
DRUMHAND is like nothing else you’ve seen or heard. A 5-piece percussive powerhouse, their sound is a glorious global brew that is at once primal and avant-garde, driven by the irresistible pairing of rhythmic drums to punchy horns. An infectious hybrid of sounds bordering on fusion and funk but far more focused on fun, Toronto audiences will be moved to dance from the first beat at the band’s release of The Travelling Scheme, at C’est What on Sept 20!

Beginning with the heartbeat – the very rhythm of life – DRUMHAND sets their colourful stage while sax and trumpet chart courses traversing the shores of Brazil and Cuba, by way of Ghana and the Crescent City. The urgency of the drums, the stop-and-start nature of their multi-syncopated attack and the otherworldly skronks from strong, well-placed brass punctuations have created a progressive template for record-breaking live shows.

Think front-line marches with enough singing and rhythmic shouts to keep you guessing and moving to the substantial groove.  Point and counterpart merge with jazz-like squalls of sax, punchy trumpet blasts and forward-looking attitude. Their goal, as a band, is to spur movement.

Formed in 2008 by David Chan (percussion, voice) and Larry Graves (percussion, voice/ artistic director) the band also includes Marcus Ali (saxophones/flute/voice), Steve Mancuso (percussion, voice) and Rebecca Hennessy (trumpet, voice).  Offering up well-rounded orchestrations and rich polyrhythmic textures from beyond the globe, their music is punctuated by sharp, jazz-like excursions from Ali’s elastic sax work and Hennessy’s colourful bursts. Vocals have become a larger influence on their work but their ensemble work recalls the African spark and soul of Osibisa and the resilient, restless spirit of the N’awlin’s Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

“Lullaby for the Neighbours” is a thoughtful response to neighbour’s sound complaints, driven by its chorus of hand drums and Ali’s animated sax. The title track – with a tip of the hat to travel and motion, their tendency to march through a crowd – approaches a jazz feel with its dramatic horn interplay and criss-cross rhythms. While “River Parade” chronicles a scene on the Gatineau River, featuring buoyant rhythms and aggressive horn movements, “Get Ready” explodes with the eternally happy sound of drums driving drums and a chorus of voices egging them on and lifting the mood into the dance zone.

Which is what it’s all about – a happy, joyful sound to buoy a world tired of being beaten down by hardship. DRUMHAND is all about celebrating life and of providing a soundtrack for those in need of uplifting.

Metachroma Theatre Montreal: Richard III September 19-30 2012

From a media release:

Metachroma Theatre & the Segal Centre Present:
Richard III
Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Joel Miller
September 19-30, 2012
at Segal Centre, Montreal

And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With odd old ends stolen forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.- Richard

Montreal, September 2012 – The city’s newest theatre company, Metachroma Theatre is Montreal’s only independent theatre company of professional actors of colour; an important new addition to the local arts scene, contributing to the Canadian theatre landscape as a whole. They are excited to present their inaugural production, William Shakespeare’s great history play, Richard III, from Sept. 19-30 at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, directed by Joel Miller. The production features some of Montreal’s top actors, along with talented guest artists. The Segal Centre team is looking forward to this Metachroma Theatre production, kicking off a great season.

With one of world literature's most insidious and manipulative characters, Richard III is a powerful piece, as horrifying as it is fascinating. Shakespeare's timeless tragedy journeys through the psyche of one man who will stop at nothing to serve his ambition. Defined by his physical deformity and demonized by society, Richard is ever the outsider. In a whirlwind of horrible deeds and unspeakable acts, he fights to claim his position as monarch at all costs. For director Joel Miller, the play is one, inexorable, ceremonial journey to Richard’s demise, a journey—sometimes fiercely comical—of death, betrayal and intrigue. It is a ritualistic cleansing of evil from the realm, the justifiable deposition of a tyrant who attained the throne by schemes, lies and murder. Miller expounds, “Richard III is a portrait of a community reeling under the dictatorial thumbs of a parade of brutal kings and their lackeys.  What is fascinating about Richard III is not simply the title character, but the others who, by complicity, indifference or fear, allow him to thrive and prosper.”

For Miller, the play is extremely relevant, “Our era is well aware of the brutality and inhumanity of despotic political and social regimes. We have witnessed the Nazis and Fascists of Germany and Italy, the Stalinist regimes of the old Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, North Korea, the barbarous dictatorships of Pinochet in Chile, Marcos in the Philippines, Noriega in Panama, the apartheid regime in South Africa and right now, the horrors committed by Bashar al–Assad in Syria. If anybody wonders how these criminals come to power, Richard III can serve as a fearful lesson.”

A recent trip to Lebanon delivered firsthand insight for Metachroma Theatre company member Jamie Robinson (Richard III), “Middle-Eastern society takes the importance of family blood lines very seriously, a major theme in Richard III. As well, bordering Syria, everyday discussions about ‘the situation’ were a constant reminder how a Richard III-type scenario is still being played out.”

For company member Glenda Braganza, themes of appearances and the trappings of illusion resonate strongest, “To challenge perceptions or to bow to collective, preconceived notions is a choice that exists within us all. To exploit or to explore, to define or to defy, to revere or to revile- this is the joy of theatre. Here, the opportunity to watch a traditional piece of theatre performed by a non-traditional cast offers the chance to embrace and question what ‘image’ means to all of us.”

That said, the play is highly entertaining and the company would like audiences to laugh. Richard announces his villainy right off the top of the play. He tells the audience what he is going to do, and they can watch with ironic delight, as he sets off to carry out his often ghastly task at hand. For Robinson, “As dark as some of the themes may be, Shakespeare does a magnificent job of allowing us to enjoy the machinations of Richard- don't be surprised if you find yourself having as much fun as Richard in attaining his never ending goal of supreme power.”

Metachroma (‘beyond colour’) Theatre addresses the under-representation of visible minority actors in Canadian theatre, challenging current perceptions by telling stories with a diverse cast in order to normalize the presence of these artists on stage. Company member Tamara Brown would like nothing more than “to become irrelevant.” The choice of Richard III for Metachroma Theatre’s first production is inspired by these themes of perception raised in the play- Richard is defined by his appearance. The company hopes to inspire change of thought in artists, engagers and theatre goers alike about what is perceived as ‘normal’ in regards to race and ethnicity on stage. Audiences are asked to simply enjoy the telling of the story, with plot and theme unaffected by the physical traits of the artists. They invite audiences to make diversity of skin colour artistically viewed no differently than the diversity of hair or eye colour. Actor Meilie Ng (Marquess of Dorset) wants audiences to dive into the story of the play just like children do; regardless of the actors’ colour, gender or age, “I recently played the role of Pinocchio and not one kid asked me why Pinocchio was Asian.” It is only a matter of time until the dynamism of this country is truly reflected on its stages.

Designer Veronica Classen’s creative vision for this classic telling will be “a period piece towards a contemporary collage”. Classen sees the characters as “trapped in their situation; a heavy weight above their heads. But, suspended above is a delicate, easily transferable, golden castle.” Joel Miller’s sound design will include authentic medieval music played on original instruments, along with environmental sounds throughout the theatre.

Within the company there are two Stratford Conservatory alumni, two Artistic Directors, several award-winning actors and decades of professional experience in theatre performance. Beyond the reality that each of the performers are seasoned actors, they speak directly to Canada’s diverse population. (Two company members, Glenda Braganza and Warona Setshwaelo, are presently performing in other projects.) The performers in Richard III represent many countries and cultures around the world including Africa, First Nations, The Caribbean, China, India, Japan and the UK. The stellar cast is made up of founding Metachroma Theatre members Quincy Armorer, Tamara Brown, Lucinda Davis, Julie Tamiko Manning, Mike Payette and Jamie Robinson. Joining the company for this production is Walter Borden, Jimmy Blais, Diana Fajrajsl, Azeem Nathoo, Meilie Ng and Amrit Sanger. Set, costume and props design by Veronica Classen, lighting design by Jodi Burkholder, sound design by Joel Miller, and production and stage management by Melanie St-Jacques.

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York. - Richard

Richard III Wed. Sept. 19-Sun. Sept. 30 (ten shows only)
Metachroma Theatre with the generous support of the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts
Segal Centre for Performing Arts Studio

5170 Côte-Ste-Catherine Rd.
Wed. Sept. 19 preview is pay-what-you-can
Thursday, Sept. 20 (Opening Night) and 27, 8:00pm
Saturdays, Sept. 22 and 29, 8:30 pm
Sunday, Sept. 23, 8:00pm
Monday, Sept. 24 is 2-for-1
Matinees: Sundays, Sept. 23 and 30; Thurs. Sept. 27, 1:00pm
Tickets start at $18
Box Office: 514 739-7944
Opening night is Thursday, September 20

METACHROMA presents RICHARD III from metachroma on Vimeo.

Tarragon Theatre Toronto Hosts David French Exhibit to September 30 2012

From a media release:

David French: Writing Home
Comes to Tarragon Theatre
continues to September 30, 2012

Tarragon Theatre presents David French: Writing Home, an exhibit produced by Canada's National Arts Centre (Ottawa) in association with Theatre Museum Canada which runs at Tarragon's Rehearsal Hall from September 11-30, 2012.

Focusing on his five semi-autobiographical plays about the fictional Mercer family of Newfoundland, the exhibit combines rare artifacts, images and text to examine the history of French's darkly humorous slice-of-life dramas, and his far-reaching influence in the development of English Canadian theatre.

David French (1939-2010) played a crucial role bringing the voice of Canadian playwrights to our stages and the popularity of his plays proved that audiences from coast to coast wanted to see plays written by Canadians. Tarragon's founding Artistic Director Bill Glassco first took a chance on David French in 1972, closing the first season with his first professional play: Leaving Home. Urjo Kareda wrote, in 2001, when he was Artistic Director: "Leaving Home was the play and the evening - I've always believed - that put Tarragon Theatre onto the map."

"As the theatre that launched and nurtured David French's early work, it is totally appropriate that this exhibit comes to Tarragon," says current Tarragon Artistic Director Richard Rose. "David French's Mercer family is our Houae of Atreus. He dramatised the living rooms of 1960s Toronto, evoking the great dramatic myths and the eternal conflict of family. We understand this story anew again thanks to David French."

This special retrospective exhibition was produced with the support and collaboration of the French family who loaned numerous artifacts and photos on display.

David French: Writing Home originally opened September 2011 as part of Culture Days at the National Arts Centre. An online companion exhibit is also featured on the NAC's educational website

The exhibit is open before performances of the first show of Tarragon's 42nd season - No Great Mischief by David S. Young, adapted from the novel by Alistair MacLeod - and closes 15 minutes before show time.

Tarragon Theatre presents
David French: Writing Home
Tuesday September 11 to Sunday September 30, 2012
Tarragon Theatre Rehearsal Hall, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto
Free Admission

The exhibit is open at least two hours before performances and closes 15 minutes before show time (except Sunday as noted below):
Tuesday to Friday: 6:00pm to 7:45pm
Saturday: 12:30pm to 2:15pm & 4:30pm to 7:45pm
Sunday: 1:30pm to 2:15pm (Exhibit opens one hour before show time)

Abilities Arts Festival 2012: September 20 - October 11 in Toronto

From a media release:

Abilities Arts Festival
Celebrating a decade of showcasing Disability Arts and Culture
September 20-October 11, 2012

Toronto -
Abilities Arts Festival Executive Director Rina Fraticelli has announced the dates and programming for the festival's 10th anniversary. Showcasing works by and about artists with disabilities working within the visual and performing arts, film and integrated art forms, Abilities Arts Festival runs September 20- October 11, 2012 in various locations across the city.

"For a decade, Abilities Arts Festival has championed a dazzling array of talent and creativity, showcasing outstanding local performers and dynamic artists from across Canada and internationally," says Fraticelli. "Ten consecutive years of sustaining and growing a small not-for-profit arts organization is no mean feat; and it was made possible by the growing appetite for the art and artists we have been able to present, such as Luca "lazylegs Patuelle, Martin Dechamps, Sidiki Conde, Luis Orbegso - brilliant talents whose reputations and audiences continue to flourish. That's why we are thrilled to be able to launch our second decade with Canada's (and perhaps the world's) first Artistic Residency for an artist from the disability community."

The spectrum of events ranges from the ARTrageous! 10th Anniversary Gala to the Toronto: Street Level photo exhibit and book launch to MIX, a three day film festival, as well as the multi-media extravaganza A Queen Street Cartography as part of Nuit Blanche and The Listening Post, "pod-cast plays" told through mp3 players as the audience heads into the streets and alleys of Queen Street West. (Photo: Spring Shower by Natalia Isak & Mike Monize)

The details:

10th Anniversary Gala - September 20 from 6:30pm-9:30pm - Toronto City Archives, 255 Spadina Road

This year, the festival kicks off with the 10th Anniversary Gala Launch - ARTrageous! - on September 20 and features live performances by Julie McNamara and David Roche as well as a sneak preview of the Toronto: Street Level photography exhibit, silent auction and delicious delicacies. Two major new programs will be announced to launch the second decade: Canada's first-ever artistic residency for an artist with a disability; and Abilities Arts Tour, a weekend version of the annual festival that will travel to communities across Ontario. Tickets are $25.

Toronto: Street Level
Photography exhibit and book launch - September 21-October 11 from noon to 9pm daily - Carlton Cinema Gallery, 20 Carlton St.,

Toronto: Street Level looks at our city from a unique photographic perspective. The photography exhibition and book are the culmination of an 8-month master class with Vincenzo Pietropaolo, and feature the work of 10 talented Ontario artists: Mark Brose, Allan Cullen, Nicole Flynn, Steve Kean, Mike Monize & Natalia Isak, Jeff Nolan, Peter Owasu-Ansah, Dylan Smith, Kathy Toth. The vernissage and book launch is Friday, September 21 from 5:30pm-7:30pm. Free.

Media festival - September 21-23 - Carlton Cinema, 20 Carlton St.

Desire. War. Court Fools. Speed Dating. All in a weekend of disability media! MIX is a 3-day media festival featuring film shorts and features, panels, intensive workshops and visiting artists. Guest curators Julie McNamara and Caglar Kimyoncu from the U.K., founders of the London Disability Film Festival, will be joined by B.C. performers and media artists Jan Derbyshire and David Roche for a series of three workshops on creativity, visual storytelling and media production.

Screenings: All screenings are $8/Attendants are free. All films are open captioned. (Image from : All Day, Director: Nadia Nadarajah)
o Liaisons - Friday September 21, 7pm - Short animations and live action give a glimpse of the rich tapestry of our relations.
o DesirAbility (18 Plus) - Saturday, September 22, 7pm - The persistence of passion and the power of physical longing. Followed by panel discussion: Desiring & Desirability
o Art & Life, Life as Art - Sunday, September 23, 7pm - Exquisite, quirky, inventive films that translate daily life into art.

Workshops: Workshops, panels and discussions are free but workshop enrollment is extremely limited and pre-registration is required to ensure a place and/or support. (Photo : a scene from Shadi in the Beautiful Well, Directed by Mahdi Fleife)
o Story Power - Friday, September 21, 11:30am-3:30pm - A practical workshop for writers who want to re-connect with their muse with master storytellers Julie McNamara and David Roche.
o Whose Team is It Anyway? - Saturday, September 22, 2pm-4pm - Define the roles in your team and achieve your aims without compromising on access or artistry. A conversation with U.K. digital artist Caglar Kimyoncu.
o Desiring & Desirability - Saturday, September 22, 8pm (Following 7pm  screening) - A conversation with filmmakers and curators addressing notions of identity, power and desire in relation to representation of PWD on screen.
o Making it Happen: From the Sketch to the Screen - Sunday, September 23, 1pm-5pm - Practical strategies and techniques for turning the challenges of media production into opportunities for invention. Caglar Kimyoncu with Jan Derbyshire, Julie McNamara, David Roche.

A Queen Street Cartography

Nuit Blanche multi-media extravaganza - September 29 from 7pm-midnight - Open Gallery (49 McCaul St.) and Queen Street storefronts, Queen Streetcar and environs. (Photo by Peter Owusu-Anasa)

The art spills over into the streets, shop windows, along laneways and green spaces and onto the Queen Streetcar for this immersive mixed-media event featuring photography, storytelling, theatre and live performance at the newly-launched Open Gallery. Part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. Free.

The Listening Post
Intimate mobile city stories told through "pod-cast plays" - September 30 from 1pm-4pm - Leaving from Open Gallery, 49 McCaul St. and heading into neighbouring streets and alleys.

The Listening Post is a new kind of immersive theatre event featuring four newly-commissioned "podplays" set in and around Queen Street West. Audience members step into intimate tales of life in the city as they walk the Queen Street corridor, guided by the voices and personal tales of life in the city by a remarkable quartet of artists: Jan Derbyshire, Catherine Frazee, Janna Gorham and Izzy Mackenzie Lay. Each audience of one "attends" each short play, by listening to it on an MP3 player while walking through the setting of the story. Free.

Abilities Arts Festival is a charitable organization dedicated to developing and showcasing the work of artists with disabilities. For ten years, Abilities Arts Festival has been a leader and catalyst bringing together artists with disabilities and a diverse public through a wide range of performance, media and visual arts events. Abilities Arts Festival uses the power of art as a transforming medium to enhance the understanding and acceptance that people with disabilities can and do make significant contributions to all aspects of society, in particular the arts and an evolving cultural sector.

Abilities Arts Festival
Celebrating a decade of showcasing Disability Arts and Culture
September 20-October 11, 2012
Tickets and Info: Call 416-593-9475 or email

COC Free Concert Series Sept 18 2012 through June 2013

From a media release:

COC Free Concert Series 2012/2013
September 18, 2012 through June 2013

• Performances take place most Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon and some Wednesdays at noon or 5:30 p.m. 
• Tickets are distributed at the door 30 minutes prior to the performance on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability.

The Canadian Opera Company’s popular Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, generously underwritten by Peter A. Allen, returns with 10 months of captivating programming that showcases established artists and rising stars from Canada and around the world.

The Canadian Opera Company’s popular Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, generously underwritten by Peter A. Allen, returns with 10 months of captivating programming that reflects the richness of Toronto’s cultural fabric and showcases established artists and rising stars from Canada and around the world.  The inaugural concert of the 2012/2013 season on September 18, 2012 at 12 p.m. is the annual audience favourite introducing the young artists of the COC Ensemble Studio in a program of their favourite operatic arias. \

The 2012/2013 season features over 400 artists in 77 concerts and dance performances, including world premieres of newly commissioned works by the Canadian Art Song Project and Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, and exciting new creations by Ballet Creole and Nova Bhattacharya.  First-time Free Concert Series performances include appearances by:

- coloratura soprano Anna Christy
- the perpetually inventive Against the Grain Theatre
- acclaimed pianist John Kameel Farah
- Italian saxophone sensation Francesco Cafiso
- the dance stylings of Jade’s Hiphop Academy
- and unique instrumentations such as the Kaleidoscope Recorder Ensemble and Aruna Narayan, the only woman in the world to professionally play the sarangi, an ancient North Indian bowed instrument considered one of the most difficult to master.

Also featured for the first time in the Free Concert Series are the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards, in a special early evening presentation in May 2013. From jazz to dance, classical to contemporary, and spanning the globe from China to South America, the Free Concert Series brings diverse musical experiences to 15,000 people annually from September to June in the intimate, light-filled Richard Bradshaw Auditorium at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.