Sunday, February 23, 2014

Japan Society New York City presents SHOMYO NO KAI - Voices of a Thousand Years Transcendent Buddhist Chant March 6 2014

From a media release:

Japan Society presents
The North American Debut of
SHOMYO NO KAI - Voices of a Thousand Years
Transcendent Buddhist Chant

North American Premiere of "Life in an Autumn"
by Composer Ushio Torikai

Thursday March 6, 2014
7:30pm at St. Bartholomew's Church, New York City

NEW YORK, NY -
Japan Society, in conjunction with the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, is proud to present the North American debut of Shomyo no Kai - Voices of a Thousand Years on March 6 at St. Bartholomew's Church in midtown Manhattan.

The ritual choral chanting of Japanese Buddhist scripture known as shomyo  boasts a history of over 1300 years, placing it alongside Gregorian chant as among the world's oldest continually performed musical forms. Shomyo (literally meaning "voice clarity") is believed to have originated in India before traveling along the Silk Road and entering Japan in the sixth century, where it has been practiced ever since. Seldom heard outside of Buddhist temples, live performances of shomyo in the Western world by traditional practitioners are noteworthy.

Shomyo no Kai - Voices of a Thousand Years comprises priests from two of Japan's major Buddhist sects, the Shingon and Tendai sects. With a mission to preserve and develop the art of shomyo, the group has been actively performing this song form for over twenty years to audiences in concert halls across the world. The group, originally called Shomyo Yonin no Kai, was founded in 1997 by modern shomyo pioneers Rev. Yusho Kojima and Rev. Kojun Arai (Shingon sect) and Rev. Koshin Ebihara and Rev. Jiko Kyoto (Tendai sect). On March 6, Shomyo no Kai - Voices of a Thousand Years will perform the North American premiere of the contemporary shomyo work Life in an Autumn, written by New York and Tokyo-based composer Ushio Torikai. Clad in brightly colored monastic robes, the choir alternates between monotone stillness and ecstatic polyphony. The ethereal voices of Shomyo no Kai swell in powerful harmony, enrapturing the listener into a transcendent meditative state. Set in the exceptional acoustics and grand sacred space of St. Bartholomew's Church, this concert offers a rare opportunity to hear these ancient ritual songs come to vibrant life.

Borrowing some of its text from a Japanese translation of American poet Nancy Wood's interpretation of Native American healing prayers, Torikai's Life in an Autumn is a modern meditation on mortality, inspired by the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. The piece premiered in 2002 in Japan and was restaged in Tokyo in 2012 as a requiem for the victims of Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami. "Since September 11, 2001, I have been preoccupied with thoughts about the nature of human life, of ethnicity and of human civilization," says Torikai. "Music and religion in particular are very closely related. Music constitutes the ethnic identity of people all over the world,  an expression of the beauty of wonderfully varied lives. Religious music is the most positive eulogy of life." With Life in an Autumn, now to be performed around the third anniversary of the 3/11 Japanese disaster, Torikai and Shomyo no Kai present a palliative prayer that is at once contemporary and immemorial, superseding the dividing lines of Christianity and Buddhism, American or Japanese, natural or manmade disaster. 

On the day of the performance, composer Ushio Torikai will lead a pre-performance lecture on the history and musical form of shomyo at St. Bart's Chapel one hour before the performance. This lecture is free and open to Shomyo no Kai ticket holders but is limited to only the first 120 attendees; first come, first served.

Japan Society is partnering with The Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation to present this concert at MMPAF's home for live performance, St. Bart's. "We are excited to showcase this sacred music in a sacred space," says Japan Society Artistic Director Yoko Shioya. "St. Bartholomew Church offers unparalleled resonance and beautifully engaging architecture. It also offers the opportunity for a broader, larger audience to connect with the venerable shomyo tradition. The juxtaposition of Christianity and Buddhism is further leavened by the non-secular nature of the work being performed, resulting in a performance that is truly universal."
  
Japan Society's produced and organized tour of Shomyo no Kai - Voices of a Thousand Years includes stops at Haverford College in Haverford, PA (March 2) and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC (March 8).

Tickets for the New York event are $30 ($24 for Japan Society and St. Bartholomew's Church / Friends of Great Music members) . All seats are general admission. Tickets are available now on the Japan Society website, in person at the Japan Society Box Office, by phone via Japan Society's Box Office at 212-715-1258. Tickets are available at St. Bartholomew's Church on the day of the performance from 5:00pm until showtime, subject to availability.

RELATED EVENT
Lecture - March 4, 2014, 6pm

Japan Society invites two experts in the field of Buddhist teaching and shomyo for a special discussion and staged demonstration at Japan Society on Tuesday March 4th at 6:30pm. Columbia University Professor Robert A.F. Thurman, a leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism and the first Westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk by H.H. the Dalai Lama, has been instrumental in popularizing the Buddha's teachings in the West. In this lecture, Prof. Thurman explores connections between Japanese and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and joins in a discussion with Kojun Arai, priest of Japan's Shingon Buddhist sect and leading member of Shomyo no Kai - Voices of a Thousand Years, which culminates with an on-stage demonstration of what is considered one of the oldest forms of vocal music.

• Tickets to this lecture are available through the Japan Society website

Venues:
St. Bartholomew's Church is located at 325 Park Avenue, just off 51st Street, readily accessible from the 6 train via the 51st Street Station or the E / M at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street.  More information about the history of St. Bart's and its music programs can be found on their website at http://www.stbarts.org/
Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between First and Second Avenues, easily accessible by the 4 / 5 / 6 trains via the 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E / M at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street.
 
For more information about shows, questions about the venue or to learn more about the entire Performing Arts season at Japan Society, please call 212-715-1258 or visit us on the web.

Photo © Anyoin

OnBroadway PATP Performing Arts Training Program 10 Week Spring Classic -March 1-May 3, 2014

From a media release:

OnBroadway PATP
Performing Arts Training Program
10 Week Spring Classic -March 1-May 3, 2014
 “How to audition for an agent or casting director”


Program will be led by current Broadway veteran, Gaelen Gilliland and will focus on preparing students for a professional audition.

NEW YORK CITY - Our On Broadway Spring Classic features lead teacher Gaelen Gilliland, who is slated to appear on Broadway in “Honeymoon in Vegas” in the fall of 2014. She recently completed the premiere performance of the show at the Papermill Playhouse. The show starred Tony Danza and includes a few amazing cameo performances by our On Broadway PATP summer theatre director, Gaelen! Gaelen’s Broadway/National Tour experience includes “9 to 5”, “Legally Blonde”, “Wicked”, “Addams Family”, and “Seussical”.

Gaelen has performed at Carnegie Hall and throughout the country. Her quick wit and wonderful sense of humor will be sure to energize our students and allow them to explore theatre arts in a profound and meaningful way – all the while having fun! Gaelen believes in education and the importance of creativity in education. Not to mention, her talent can touch the lives of our students forever. This program will take place at Regenerate Fitness Studio on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Enroll today! (Space is limited) (cost $1,000)

10 Week Spring Classic
SATURDAYS ONLY FROM MARCH 1 - MAY3
March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29
April 5, 12, 19, 26
May 3 

Call Us: 347-927-2877
Mailing Address 424 West 110th Street 11K New York, New York 10025

Gaelen Gilliland in 9to5 The Musical

English Language Premiere: Olivier Kemeid's The Aeneid March 6 to 15 2014 in Montreal

From a media release:

The Aeneid
Written by Olivier Kemeid, Translated by Judith Miller
Directed by Zach Fraser
Thursday, March 6 - Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tickets


“Don’t be afraid. I left my hate at the foot of a barbed-wire fence.” – Aeneas

Montreal- Talisman Theatre is honoured to present the Canadian English-language premiere of this important story, The Aeneid. Written by Québecois playwright Olivier Kemeid and translated by Judith Miller, The Aeneid will be performed at Theatre La Chapelle from March 6-15. Directed by Zach Fraser, the cast features Marcelo Arroyo, Deena Aziz and Chimwemwe Miller as the gifted actor/puppeteers playing over 20 roles in this dynamic blend of epic legend and contemporary reality.

Sometimes flight is necessary, leaving everything behind in pursuit of a new place to call home. Rich with scenes of moving drama and biting humour, Kemeid's version of this classic tale migrates the search for a homeland into the modern world of a middle-eastern revolution. In this powerful and disturbing new adaptation, we encounter tourist resorts, refugee camps and immigration officers, but the mythic magic of Virgil’s original epic remains a visit to Hades and encounters with underworld spirits. The Aeneid’s message is as relevant today as when it was originally written: the importance of family, friends and a place called ‘home’.

This is the first time Kemeid’s play will be staged using puppetry. Director Zach Fraser is the mastermind designer/builder behind each of the 22 characters; Fruzsina Lanyi designs the puppet’s colourful costumes. The Aeneid is timeless and universal as it examines the voyage of a modern-day refugee. Not unlike War Horse in its innovative use of dramatic puppetry, yet playful in its caricatures, this is no Sesame Street. This is a unique evening at the theatre, combining beautiful language with hand-crafted puppets. The story’s heroes come to life as characters effortlessly move from one place and time to another - with just a flip of a few set pieces they’re on a boat, in an office, in Hades or at a resort. Audiences are kept engaged in the full story as it progresses.

Fraser has wanted to examine the immigrant experience and the idea of ‘the other’ for several years, “In 2007, the debate around ‘reasonable accommodations’ intrigued me. Now in 2014, we are still in the thick of it.” He continues, “This proposed Charter of Quebec Values highlights a very real need for us to better understand ourselves and to learn more about the world at large. Fear of others is often linked to a lack of understanding about them. This play helps put things in perspective.” Kemeid’s adaptation brings to the surface all the absurdity, the tragedy and the heroism tied to the refugee experience. The journey Aeneas and his family go through is a reality for millions around the world. For Fraser, everyone on this planet is entitled to a place to call home, “I never understand how governments can say, ‘We have no place for you here.’ It baffles me that we so easily put the concept of economy above human needs.” Fraser hopes The Aeneid is a reminder for people to ask neighbours about their journeys and life experiences, “Not only would this decrease intolerance within our communities, but it might also fill us with wonderment about the strength and will of the human race.”

Lyne Paquette, Talisman Theatre’s Artistic Director and co-set designer with Fruzsina Lanyi, was drawn to the high contrast of the play which is evidenced in her design, “We are focusing on the juxtapositions inherent in the text- old/new, contemporary/mythical, absurd/tragic, with post-disaster, repurposed pieces shifting throughout. In The Aeneid we discover a collapsing, transient world, always off-kilter in a makeshift state.”

“I’m not a humanitarian organization; we don’t get funds to give food to refugees. You’re refugees, that’s right isn’t it, or beggars? I mean, you weren’t poor before you were thrown out, right?”- The Hotel Keeper
The Aeneid (9 shows only)
Talisman Theatre
Playing at Theatre La Chapelle, 3700 rue St. Dominique
March 6-15, 2014
Tuesday to Saturday, 8:00 pm. Matinee: Sat., March 15 at 3:00 pm
Tickets: 29$ regular, 25$ students 514 843-7738 or purchase online: La Chapelle box office

Talisman Theatre’s mission is to produce English-language premières of contemporary Québécois works, bringing the visceral intensity of Québécois theatrical practice to non-Francophones.

Funktapuss on the Road - NYC in March & East Coast Dates Through May 2014

From a media release:

FUNKTAPUSS ON THE ROAD
FUNKTAPUSS TO PLAY GROOVE! LONG ISLAND CITY - MARCH 5, 2014
FONTANA'S - NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 22, 2014
 

More East Coast Tour Dates through May 2014

Funktapuss is a five-piece groove factory that churns out smooth, sweaty New England style funk.  Popping bass lines and hot guitar drive the bopping rhythm section, the backdrop to the band’s smooth, sexy vocals.  With funky keyboards and saxophone added to the mix, Funktapuss keeps the crowds smiling and feet on the dance floor.

Make no mistake, Funktapuss has got chops.  United States Naval veteran Brian “Beek” Vanderbeek is an accomplished musician.  Mentored by bass legend Victor Wooten, Beek has spent time as a hired gun, backing up artists such as Jennifer Johns and Medusa, and recording with Satellite Grey.  Multi-instrumentalist Ryan Tivey pulls double duty, playing both keyboards and saxophone.  Tivey majored in music education at Berklee College of Music where he studied under Fred Lipsius, a Grammy award-winning artist known best as a member of the band Blood, Sweat, and Tears.  Tivey also had the opportunity to learn from Bruce Katz and has had the pleasure of jamming with Jerry Portnoy of the Eric Clapton Band, Richard Dreyfus, David Garabaldi, Susan Tedechi, and Derek Trucks.



Building on a relationship with Beek and Tivey that dates back to their high school years, drummer Chris Santos helped form Funktapuss after earning a musical performance degree on full scholarship to Berklee College of Music.  Santos, Beek, and Tivey have also toured together as members of the Zach Deputy Band, playing high profile venues and festivals throughout the east coast.  Self taught guitarist Tom Davis draws from a wide spectrum of influences that run the gamut from Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughn, to Jack White.  The end result is fiery riffing that rears its mighty head, adding to Funktapuss’s “wow” factor.

Accomplished vocalist Latez Crawley rounds out the band.  Coming up in both gospel and school choir, Crawley competed at the all-district and all-state level and performed at Walt Disney World. Crawley earned a degree in theater music from American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.  He went on to play major roles in various musical productions before joining Funktapuss in 2009.

From concert halls, to the bar, to the club, Funktapuss is a touring machine that brings the party wherever they go.  They can rock a huge late-night festival crowd, or have heads bobbing in the jazz club.  If you ever wondered what it would sound like if Stevie Wonder and Maceo Parker got together, you’re going to want to check out Funktapuss.

Mike Field Jazz Quintet: New Album 'Rush Mode' & Shows in LA and Toronto in 2014

From a media release:

RUSH MODE
The new album by MIKE FIELD JAZZ QUINTET
and Upcoming Shows in Los Angeles (February 23, 2014) & Toronto

Buy the CD

TORONTO –
Hot on the heels of a wicked New Zealand tour including the prestigious Nelson Jazz Festival, and a recent video release for the title track of the new CD RUSH MODE, Toronto-based trumpeter and composer MIKE FIELD celebrates his homecoming with a major date in Los Angeles and a host of Toronto shows for local fans.

Since the release of his first album Ashes in 2011, brilliant jazz man Mike Field has been on the move gigging from one big city to the next – travelling as far afield as Germany, France and even on board a ship to Antarctica – but mainly shuttling between Los Angeles and Toronto, all the while composing a continuous stream of new material. With a jam-packed release at the Rex in Toronto and now a highly successful showing at the Nelson Jazz Festival in New Zealand, Field continues the whirlwind of activity with Rush Mode – an eclectic collection of jazz tunes ranging from classic bebop to Hispanic-influenced romps. The through line is as the title suggests, a portrait of the way we live our busy lives, though Field’s take is definitely more on the positive side.

As with his last album, Field likes to keep it upbeat on Rush Mode. The band does it all here and they do it all really well. The songs are driven mainly by Field’s playful, virtuoso trumpet and the superb artistry of sax man Paul Metcalfe; the pair play on these recordings as if they’re “brothers from another mother.” The short, snappy, bouncy tunes keep the sense of excitement and energy throughout, save for the hauntingly beautiful ballad “The Last of the Summer Days” featuring the exquisite, smoky vocals of musical guest Sophia Perlman.

Among the highlights are the title track, as above, meet classic bop horns; “Play for You,” a vintage, dirty-thirties-style tune, grounded by a tango beat with seamlessly interwoven play between Metcalfe’s sax and Field’s alternately growling and soaring trumpet; and the aptly-named “Balkan Swing”, an Eastern European snake-charmer that features florid piano riffs and showcases Field’s penchant for world music rhythms and melodies.

The Mike Field Jazz Quintet also includes exceptional players Carlie Howell on upright bass, Dave Chan on drums, Teri Parker on piano with special guest musicians Rosendo "Chendy" León on percussion and Mark Eisenman on Fender rhodes and piano. Produced by Shelly Berger, the nine-track album was recorded at Canterbury Music Company in Toronto between June 2012 and May 2013, engineered by Jeremy Darby and mixed by Andrew Mullin.

The new video, shot during rush hour on the bustling streets of downtown Toronto, the pulsating, Latin-flavoured “Rush Mode” is a vibrant, colourful take on city life at its busiest. At the top of the video, bandleader Mike Field blows his trumpet at the base of an office tower as if attempting to tear down the walls of this grey-hued modern-day Jericho. His horn-playing perfectly embodies the split-screen shots of Torontonians hastening to and fro in the course of their hectic day. The video, directed by Rich Williamson and produced by Shasha Nakhai, both of Compy Films, flows from special guest Kevin Laliberté executing precise, lightning-fast flamenco guitar solos; to Paul Metcalfe performing dynamic, inspired saxophone riffs; culminating in Metcalfe and Field trading incendiary licks reminiscent of Miles Davis and Sony Rollins in Davis’ classic quintet. In fact, the video includes an homage of sorts to Rollins’ years spent practicing on the Brooklyn bridge, with shots of Metcalfe playing on the bridge at Bathurst and Front streets in Toronto. In the end, the scene comes to life in full colour when the musicians battle against life’s challenging daily grind and win the day!

UPCOMING SHOWS:
Feb 23 – Lighthouse Cafe – Los Angeles, USA – 11 am-3 pm
Feb 26, Jun 25, Aug 27, Oct 22 – Gate 403 – Toronto, Canada – 9 pm-12 am – Free entry
Feb 28, Mar 8 – Harlem Restaurant –Toronto, Canada – 7:30-11 pm – Free. Reservations recommended.
Mar 7 – Hart House (Jazz at Oscar's) – Toronto, Canada – 9-11pm – Free entry
Mar 21 - 22 –SCAT (Funchal, Madeira)
April 24-27 – Jazz Ahead Conference (Bremen, Germany)
May 17 – Gregory's (Rome, Italy)
Jun 7 – Dream Café (Penticton, BC)
Jun 13, 20, 27, Jul 11, 18, 25, Aug 8, 15, 22, 29 – Harlem Restaurant – Toronto, Canada – 7:30-11 pm – Free. Reservations recommended.

Blues in the Night: Dom Flemons & Eli 'Paperboy' Reed March 6, 2014 in New York City

From a media release:

DOM FLEMONS and ELI "PAPERBOY" REED
Blues, Gospel and Country Favorites
Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Tickets: $15

Part of The Café au Go Go Revisited Music Series
Running Thursdays through April 24, 2014 - A Two Month Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Iconic Venue at Greenwich House Music School


NEW YORK CITY -
Two modern practitioners of classic Americana present an evening of acoustic blues and the first formal performance of Flemons and Reed as a live duet.

Dom Flemons is a multi-instrumentalist and a songster. Playing in a broad range of genre, from old-time blues, country, string band, rock and jazz, he has impressed audiences with his outrageous performance style. As a member of the string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, Flemons has toured all over the world going as far as Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Holland and Belgium, performing at venues such as the National Folk Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, The Grand Ole Opry, Prairie Home Companion, Bonnaroo, The Fillmore in San Francisco, The Carter Family Fold, Old Town School of Folk Music and more.

Though he has studied music performance independently for the past eleven years, Flemons continues to study with elders in the North Carolina community. Flemons has met and played with such figures of traditional music as Joe Thompson, John Dee Holeman, Mike Seeger, Sule, Greg Wilson, John Hammond, Lightnin' Wells, Algia Mae Hinton, Odetta, Jools Holland, Don Vappie, Cheick Hamala Diabate, Marty Stuart, Sharon Jones, Alvin "Youngblood" Hart, Boo Hanks and has played on stage with Old Crow Medicine Show.



Growing up in Brookline, MA, Eli "Paperboy" Reed had wide exposure to music. His father was a critic and lent his extensive record collection to his son, who soaked up as much as he could, gravitating toward the gospel, soul, blues, and R&B albums especially. Teaching himself piano, guitar, and harmonica, and busking in Harvard Square to practice his chops and performing skills, after finishing high school he found work in Clarksdale, MS, but upon moving there, and finding that the job had fallen through, Reed introduced himself to the music community there, playing frequently at local clubs and even ending up under the tutelage of drummer Sam Carr.

It was in Mississippi that Reed also got his nickname, "Paperboy," thanks to the newsboy-styled hat he was wearing at the time, but after nine months there, at his parents' bequest he moved north to attend the University of Chicago. In Chicago, Reed was able to meet soul singer Mitty Collier, who had a hit single in 1964 with "I Had a Talk with My Man," but had since turned to ministry. The young musician impressed her so much -- he auditioned on the piano in his dormitory -- that she asked him to be the Minister of Music at her church, a position he held until he returned to Boston after a year of school.

Back home, Reed worked on assembling his band, called the True Loves, and in 2005 he self-released the record Sings "Walkin' and Talkin' (For My Baby)" and Other Smash Hits, a collection of covers and originals. The band began to gain recognition around town, particularly thanks to Reed's enthused and passionate singing, and a performance at 2007's SXSW attracted some label interest. Signed to Boston-based Q Division, Eli "Paperboy" Reed & the True Loves issued their second full-length, Roll with You (with all songs written or co-written by Reed), in 2008. Come and Get It, his first major label album, was released two years later and a marathon of international touring ensued. In 2013 he signed to Warner Brothers Records and released the single "WooHoo" in anticipation of a new album that will be out in the spring of 2014. The new song represents a stylistic sea change for Reed but his trademark emotionally direct and raspy vocals bring it all back home.

Theatre Rattlebag Presents: Letters to Saint Rita February 25 to March 6 2014 in Toronto


From a release:

Theatre Rattlebag Presents:
Letters to Saint Rita
Brand New from Award Winning Playwright Michael Ripley!
Marriage is possibly the most impossible thing...possible
February 25 to March 6, 2014 - 8pm
March 2, 2014 - 2pm
March 7 - 7pm
No show on March 3

Red Sandcastle Theatre
922 Queen Street East, Toronto
Box Office 416 485 9411
Tickets $15


TORONTO - Theatre Rattlebag is pleased to present "Letters to St. Rita", written by Michael Ripley. Since 2010, when his first play "To Distraction" was mounted at the Toronto Fringe ("The most beautiful, thought-provoking play I've seen this year."  --Mooney on Theatre), he has continued to write and find success across the globe.

In 2013 his play "Nine Types of Ice" was produced in Auckland, New Zealand (People's Choice Selection); Sydney and Melbourne, Australia; Delhi, India; and Dubai, U.A.E. It was subsequently made into a short film that premiered this past summer at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Since then, his play "Lunch With Cassiopeia" premiered in October, alongside a host of other new works, to sold out audiences at the Storefront Theatre. The evening, dubbed "A Damn Fine Nite of Actors" grew out of Chris Owen's (Harold Award Winner, 2009) Monday Nite Group and offered a glimpse of the rich and diverse, quality work routinely shared in the private workshop.

The play stars Stephen Jackson and Nicole Maroon, and is stage managed by Hilary Unger.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

CD Release Party: The Heavyweights Brass Band & Brasstronomical - March 6 2014 at Lula Lounge Toronto

From am edia release:

Lula Music and Arts Centre Presents:
THE HEAVYWEIGHTS BRASS BAND: SECOND ALBUM PACKS A ONE-TWO PUNCH
CD RELEASE OF  BRASSTRONOMICAL @ LULA LOUNGE, THURSDAY, MARCH 6TH 2014 IN TORONTO

• $10 at the door or $20 with a CD. Buy advance tickets here
• Call 416 588 0307 or email reserve@lula.ca

TORONTO –
After coming out swinging with their debut album in 2011, Toronto-based collective THE HEAVYWEIGHTS BRASS BAND now packs a one-two punch of crossover appeal and respect from music’s elite with the release of their sophomore album BRASSTRONOMICAL. Their many fans will join them to celebrate the album release at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. West on Thursday, March 6th. Doors open at 7:00 pm and show starts at 8:00 pm.

This country’s greatest purveryors of feel-good horn music burst onto the Canadian jazz scene with their energetic brass band covers of contemporary pop hits. Now with Brasstronomical, the Heavyweights are offering a unique sound with emphasis on their original compositions. They delve deeper and more eclectically into each musical direction implied on the first album. Brasstronomical reveals the band’s remarkable progress over the past three years; their music is stronger, bolder, ballsier, funkier and more mature than ever before. Similarly, the sound of the new album is fuller, richer, with more elaborate production while retaining the players’ raw burning passion.

While the Heavyweights remain inspired by the New Orleans tradition – after all, they cover the dirty, gritty “St. James Infirmary Blues” here – they are a product of their local Toronto environment and skillfully reference the incredibly diverse, multicultural music scene the city is known for. The band lithely moves between funky modern originals like the title track and “Hypnosis” to hot-burning material like “I think I’m Going Crazy”; from the neo soul of “Telephone” (written by Erica Badu and two members of hip-hop royalty, The Roots) to a wild cover of the RUSH prog-rock anthem YYZ (a nod to their hometown Toronto); and from an especially sweet version of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” – which the members of the band can recall from their childhoods – to the pulsating Afro-Cuban jazz of “Misterioso.”



In fact, “Misterioso” offers a perfect example of the sort of respect that the band has earned from some of the world’s most exceptional musicians. The song features iconic national treasure and frequent collaborator Jane Bunnett, playing off of the propulsive rhythmic drive of legendary percussion master Giovanni Hidalgo – who’s performed and recorded with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Paul Simon, among countless others. Hidalgo joins the band live at Koerner Hall on the explosive, incendiary album finale “Float.” Jamaican-born, Toronto-based, JUNO nominated R&B singer Jay Douglas – something of a mentor to the band members – soulfully sings on the traditional New Orleans-style “Booze Hounds.” In further distinctive acknowledgements, the band received props from The Roots on twitter after opening for them, and have been championed by influential British DJ and tastemaker Gilles Peterson.

The band is composed of trombonist Christopher Butcher, Rob Teehan on sousaphone, Paul Metcalfe on saxophones, Lowell Whitty on drums, Jon Challoner on trumpet and recent addition John Pittman also on trumpet. Of particular note, is Metcalfe’s solo on YYZ where he mimics a wailing guitar, but every one of the players has incredibly inspired moments that leave their indelible mark on Brasstronomical.

Opening the event will be Street Brass, which is a community-based horn ensemble that plays brass music from across the Americas. The group is led by Christopher Butcher in collaboration with Uma Nota Culture. Special guests for the release concert include Jane Bunnett, Jay Douglas, Luis Orbegoso and one of Toronto’s finest DJs, DJ General Eclectic (who also did the album design.)

Brasstronomical is the first album to be released on the newly formed Lulaworld Records operated by Lula Lounge, which is Toronto's home to great live salsa, jazz, Brazilian, African and world music.

Doors 7pm/Show 8pm
Dinner reservations

• As an incentive to purchasing your tickets online we are giving away three tracks recorded at the Brasstronomical sessions that aren't included on the CD. They will be emailed directly to you.
• As a second incentive every package other then "General Admission" includes a direct download of the entire album as well. Meaning you don't need to wait until the March 6th to get it, you get Brasstronomical emailed to you now. The physical copy of the CD will be picked up at the door.

A Girl and Her Dog: WorldStage Presents Victoria Melody in Major Tom February 26 to March 1 2014 in Toronto #artlive

From a media release:

Sit. Stay. Strut! Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage takes a bite out of beauty with the North American premiere of
Major Tom February 26 – March 1 2014– #artlive

TORONTO, ON
– From pigeon racer to northern soul dancer, England’s Victoria Melody has experienced it all through her investigational life-as-art theatre practice. Melody immerses herself in cultural rituals of personal interest – in this case, dog shows and beauty pageants – and presents her ‘research’ findings through comedic and entertaining performance pieces across the UK and around the world. This season, Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage welcomes the North American premiere of Melody’s latest one-woman one-dog show Major Tom, which runs February 26 to March 1.

Approaching her work through an anthropological lens, Victoria Melody does not shy away from addressing the unusual subcultures of England through her theatrical work, nor does she fear immersing herself (or her pets) in a personal challenge. Her unique theatrical style suggests that an artist must first experience the ins and outs of the world they wish to explore creatively, in actuality. Major Tom is part-documentary and part theatrical experiment. Through a rich blend of humour, honesty and cultural observation, Victoria Melody and her co-star basset hound Major Tom draw poignant parallels between life as a championship show dog and life as a competitive beauty queen.

Major Tom was propelled into the limelight after being enrolled and winning in several amateur dog competitions. Victoria Melody’s long-term goal in doing this was to eventually enlist her beloved basset hound in Crufts – the world’s largest dog show - and take home the Best in Show prize. However, after losing multiple contests and putting Major Tom through the grueling world of competitive dog shows, Melody felt compelled to put herself through a similar ordeal: enrolling herself into beauty pageants. Major Tom is the story of two contestants who get sucked into the vortex of appearance-based competitions and eventually ease their way back into a life of normalcy.



Following the resounding success and remarkable public response to Bennett Miller’s World Stage performance installation of Dachshund UN, which featured a cast of over 35 dachshunds last season, Harbourfront Centre will once again welcome a partially canine cast to World Stage. World Stage artistic director Tina Rasmussen continues to see the relevancy and importance of showcasing dog-friendly performance work in Toronto.

“Victoria is courageous and humble in her exploration of celebrity, beauty and society’s obsession with competition. Subjecting herself to a life of pageantry and scrutiny may seem bizarre and unnecessary to some, but it makes the show honest and authentic,” suggests Rasmussen. “There’s also something to be said about casting her dog as her co-star. It’s not a gimmick or a theatrical stunt, Major Tom is a key cast member and is perfectly present throughout the piece – it’s really quite charming. ”

Tickets for Major Tom and other World Stage 2014 programmes are available via Harbourfront Centre’s Box Office. Patrons can call 416-973-4000, visit 235 Queens Quay West and/or go online for all ticket inquiries.

Please visit harbourfrontcentre.com/gettinghere for information about getting here during the Queens Quay revitalization.

WORLD STAGE EXTRAS
Major Tom – Opening Night Pre-show Event
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. – Enwave Theatre

In an effort to further understand the seemingly complex world of contemporary performance, World Stage invites ticket holders to attend an opening night artist talk and celebration with complimentary freshly brewed tea. This pre-show conversation will be hosted by a well-informed industry practitioner, who will facilitate a friendly, informal chat with patrons to help shed light on some of the ideas and approaches found within the piece. Cup, saucer and programming provided and curated by World Stage. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to the opening performance of Major Tom.

Major Tom – Talkshow
Thursday, Feb. 27, Immediately following the performance – Enwave Theatre

Victoria Melody discusses her work and Major Tom with World Stage audience members through conversation facilitated by curated guest hosts. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to Major Tom.

Series 8:08 - Major Tom Workshop with Victoria Melody
Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, 12 Noon, Dovercourt House, Dovehouse Ballroom

To accompany Major Tom, Victoria Melody has created a workshop that offers insight into the strategies and methodologies she uses when creating new work. This workshop will look at her creative triggers and her approach to developing research based work. Open to participants with various arts backgrounds.

Recently Released: Brazil's Club America with To Get There (Sonovibe Records - January 14 2014)

With material from a release:

Recently Released:
Club America's To Get There
(Sonovibe Records - January 14, 2014)

Get the CD on iTunes


After two EP releases, countless performances, commercial campaigns for giants like Coca-Cola in Brazil and being selected as one of the six Brazilian songs for the worldwide launch of Windows 8, Club America finally released their debut album. It includes the single “Girls.” The video goes hand in hand with the lyrics depicting two girls in a “friends with benefits” situation, having fun and being carefree about what people might think or say about their amorous, lustful relationship. The band was recently recognized and featured on AltSounds.com and Kings of A&R.

The album offers a fun mix of dynamic synth sounds influenced by the 80's and with their own unique modern twist. Club America reworks atmospheric power pop with its melodic post-punk vocals and synthy electronic keyboards lit up by most excellent drumming. The combination of electronic instrumentation with acoustic drumming works admirably well, giving the music a real energy and momentum that's often missing from contemporary pop.

I liked the expressive vocals on tracks like Girls and they collaborate with bad boy Chris Brown on All the Things I've Done, a track with a really tight groove and a seamless layering of vocals, keyboards and rhythm section. Another highlight for me was the dance floor bound Blueberry Kiss.

Club America is composed of the brothers Andy and Bruno Alves, natives from the “Manchester City” of Brazil, Sorocaba. With influences that go from synth-pop, indie-rock and post-punk, the duo launched in 2012 with their first single Believe. The music video rapidly caught on and they've been played on Brazilian music channels such as MTV, PlayTV, MixTV, Woohoo, Music Box TV, VH1 and Canal Brasil. The instant hit gave them recognition on big-name magazines like Rolling Stone Brasil.

The duo has performed around 500 shows in their career including international festivals such as SXSW, CMW, VOV Festival, Planeta Terra Festival, Goiânia Noise and Demosul sharing the stage with big name acts like The Strokes, Toro y Moi, Interpol, Bombay Bicycle Club and Beady Eye.

Canadian Film Premiere: Michael L. Suan's AKP Job 27 - Opens February 21 2014 in Toronto

From a media release:

Canadian Film Premiere:
a Yakuza assassin finds his soul in Toronto
in Michael L. Suan’s wordless, elegiac feature debut
AKP Job 27

Opens in Toronto February 21, 2014
York Cinema - 115 York Blvd
Woodside Cinemas  - 1571 Sandhurst Circle
Square One Landmark Cinemas – 100 City Centre Drive
February 28: Cinestarz - 377 Burnhamthorpe Road East


**Red Carpet Arrival**
February 21 – PREMIERE - York Cinema
Talent in attendance followed by post-screening Q&A


“I can’t think of another country where a modern silent feature film with a chain smoking, politically incorrect gangster can even get made let alone gain the support of the country’s biggest film financing agency.” Michael L. Suan

(Toronto) They said it couldn’t be done. So first-time feature director Michael L. Suan did it. He created a full-length gangster narrative entirely without dialogue.

AKP Job 27 is a silent-noir film about a veteran Yakuza hit-man (Tyce Philip Phangsoa) whose repressed yearnings for a lost love resurface via his relationship with a Toronto prostitute (Roxanne Prentice).  But is love an assassin’s worst enemy?

The film – which was dismissed in its development stage as “not viable” by one production company – has toured film festivals worldwide, and has been in competition amongst Asian Indie giants like Takashi Miike and Kim Ki-duk and was later nominated for a Free Spirit Award (for uniqueness and originality) at the 29th Warsaw Film Festival, as well for Best Canadian Feature at Toronto’s ReelWorld Film Festival.

Acclaimed Canadian director Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice) lauded AKP Job 27, calling it a “wordless requiem for the professional killer. Poetic and romantic as it is brutal. A magnificent debut.”

In AKP Job 27, the hitman (whose lost love invades his consciousness in flashes of memory, punctuated by gunfire) receives orders in Tokyo for the 27th “job” of his career. Half a world away, in a fleabag hotel in Toronto, his focus is derailed by a beautiful prostitute who, to his eyes, is a double for the woman who haunts his waking moments. Soon, he is her self-appointed protector. But their mutual redemption leaves the hitman vulnerable. As the movie notes in its opening titles, “The Devil only desires those who have something to live for.”

Michael L. Suan admits he had to stretch the truth to keep investors happy during the movie’s genesis – especially after its initial rejection.

“If you can polarize audiences, then I think you’re on the right path, artistically speaking,” says director Suan. “As Canucks, I believe we have an inner Maverick about us that is seldom seen, but admirable nonetheless.”

“I’m very proud to be living and working in Canada, because it’s one of the few places left in North America where unwavering support for the arts in its raw purity can still strive. “

Inspired by Luc Besson’s also-wordless Le Dernier Combat, Suan’s blueprint for AKP Job 27 was a 20-page treatment with 77 scenes. Directed by Michael L. Suan, AKP Job 27 was produced by KingSky Productions International Ltd., and White Night Studios Ltd.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/akpjob27

Free Play in Workshop: Little Goat Theatre's Parts To Whole February 24 2014 in Toronto

From a media release:

Little Goat Theatre Company Presents:
PARTS TO WHOLE
February 24, 2014 at Canadian Stage in Toronto
Workshop Presentation and Publication of New Play by Adam Seelig


“Toronto’s enterprising One Little Goat Theatre Company” (New York Times), with support from Canadian Stage, is pleased to announce a workshop presentation of Parts to Whole, a new play written and directed by Artistic Director Adam Seelig.

The performance is one night only, Monday, February 24, at 8 p.m. at the Canadian Stage Main Rehearsal Hall, 26 Berkeley Street. Admission is free.

Sochi Fried and Ben Irvine star in Parts to Whole as a couple discussing and exploring their intimacy in ways so simple as to be radical.

Recently seen together in One Little Goat’s The Charge of the Expormidable Moose, Fried and Irvine were praised for their “great chemistry onstage” (Charlebois Post) as well as their “enchanting” “extraordinary” “hilarious” “moving” “splendid” “tour-de-force” performances (Now, Stage Door, Torontoist, Globe and Mail). Fried’s other recent credits include The Misanthrope (Guild Festival Theatre) and Stencilboy (2014 Next Stage), and Irvine’s include Alzheimer that Ends Heimer (Summerworks) and No Great Mischief (Tarragon, Thousand Islands).

Parts to Whole is being published in print and as an e-book by BookThug, now celebrating its 10th anniversary in innovative Canadian publishing. This marks BookThug’s third publication with One Little Goat. The book link is: https://www.bookthug.ca/proddetail.php?prod=201411.

Much like Seelig’s previous play (Like the First Time, praised in the Globe and Mail as “striking, fascinating and darkly comic”), Parts to Whole is written without punctuation so that the actors may choose how they emphasize the text. The unorthodox spacing on each page is generated by the vertical alignment of certain letters and words. Parts to Whole also marks Seelig’s further exploration into his notion of “charactor”.

One Little Goat Theatre Company is North America’s only company devoted to contemporary poetic theatre.  It “has done audiences a huge service” (Toronto Star) through its highly interpretive, provocative approach to international plays. The company’s Canadian and world premieres have garnered praise from the New York Times, Globe and Mail, Economist, Now and others. More information on the company is available at www.OneLittleGoat.org.

CD Release: Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate 'Faya' (February 18 2014 on Cumbancha Discovery)

From a media release

Cumbancha Signs Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate
Debut album Faya out February 18th 2014 on Cumbancha Discovery

free download

• buy the CD

Cumbancha is announcing their first release for 2014 from Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate. Their debut album Faya is out on Feb. 18, 2014.

The collaboration between a rapper/beatboxer/singer-songwriter from Syracuse, NY and an electrifying African kora sensation from Guinea pushes genre boundaries and earns raves across Europe.

The well-worn and often overblown expression "music is a common language" has never been more apropos in the case of Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate. US-born, England-based Driscoll speaks no French and Kouyate, who hails from the West African country of Guinea, little English. When they were brought together at the Nuit Metis (Mixed Night) festival in Marseille, France in 2010 and given a week to produce a concert, music was the only way they could communicate.

It turns out, they had a lot to "talk" about, and their first meeting sparked a collaboration that led to the formation of a band, the recording of an album, over 120 concert dates across Europe and rave reviews. Driscoll contributes the rapping, looping, beatboxing and songwriting talents he developed growing up in Syracuse, New York and during his own successful recording career. Kouyate, already a phenomenon in African music circles, has blown minds and ears with his hypersonic electrified riffs on the kora, bringing the exalted West African harp into the 21st Century with use of distortion peddles, effects and previously-unimagined technical prowess. Together, Driscoll and Kouyate blend hip-hop, spoken word, funk, and soulful, accessible rock with Afrobeat, reggae and irrepressible African grooves.

Faya reached the number 2 spot on the prestigious World Music Charts Europe, a survey of top international music DJs across the continent. Their album earned Joe & Sekou a nomination for Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration from Songlines, the UKs definitive global music magazine. The Cumbancha Discovery release of Faya includes a bonus remix of the album’s title track by UK DJ collective Gentleman’s Dub Club.



Sekou Kouyate was raised in a respected and accomplished musical family in Conakry, Guinea. Trained in the ancient traditions of his instrument, it is his ability to transcend and build upon those traditions that has set him apart. In France, he is known as the ‘Jimi Hendrix of the kora’ because of his unique style of playing with various effects, in a variety of genres, and with an extreme intensity. Kouyate has toured the world over as a member of the Ba Cissokoband, comprised of his cousin and brothers.

Joe Driscoll, whom Cee-Lo Green labelled “the gangsta with an iron lung,” has been touring steadily for years, spreading his unique fusion of folk and hip-hop. The modern day take on the one man band, he uses live looping to create soundscapes full of beatbox, guitar, harmonica, percussion, harmonica, and just about anything else he can make use of. Now living in Bristol, England, Driscoll has performed his ground breaking solo show at the famed Glastonbury Festival, Electric Picnic in Ireland, and hundreds of major stages worldwide.

By teaming up, Driscoll and Kouyate have created a sum that exceeds even the large whole of its individual parts. According to Driscoll, “We’ve been raised in very different cultures in so many ways, but we share a lot of the same interests musically. Sekou was raised in the African rhythm and traditions, yet has always had a passion for reggae, hip-hop. I’m kind of the other way around. At the heart of it, we both just make the noises we love; we listen to each other, and try to flow in harmony. I think we just bounced off each other in so many ways: rhythmically, melodically, with craftsmanship. Through this, we found we had a language between us and that philosophically we were on a lot of the same pages as well.”

The songs on Faya address burning social issues, commenting on poverty, borders, immigration and inequality. According to Driscoll, ” We wrote about things that we knew and experienced, things that were important to us. We’ve both travelled the world extensively, so dealing with these issues was a very important part of the experience. We had things we wanted to say about them. The message is the seed. Some people just enjoy the fruit, but we try to spread the seeds with a positive vibe.” Kouyate sings in French and his native Susu language and Driscoll expounds in lightning fast bursts of cunningly crafted English.

• Facebook: www.facebook.com/joedriscollmusic

Dance & Puppetry: Coleman Lemieux Present Malcolm February 19 to 24 2014 in Toronto

From a media release:

ACCLAIMED COLEMAN LEMIEUX & COMPAGNIE PRESENT:
Malcolm - World Premiere
FEB 19-FEB 23, 2014
8pm with PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN show on Feb 21 


Choreography: James Kudelka
Created in collaboration with: Bill Coleman
Original composition and pianist: Dustin Peters
Lighting Design and Scenography: Simon Rossiter
Costume Design: HOAX Couture
Puppet Design: Nell Coleman

Tickets

Toronto -
Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie (CLC) Co-Artistic Directors Laurence Lemieux and Bill Coleman are pleased to present an eclectic and daring new season of four new and returning stage works for 2013-14. As well, the "joint will be jumping" as the acclaimed CLC hosts many more shows by great dance and theatre artists from Toronto and beyond at The Citadel, its home in Regent Park. Their next show features legendary choreography James Kudelka in a duet performance...

CLC's Resident Choreographer, James Kudelka has been working with the puppet Malcolm since 2009, when Malcolm took a role in Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie's Living Dances program in a short work by Kudelka set to an aria from Bach's St. Matthew Passion. This performance inspired Kudelka to include Malcolm in another short appearance in AllOneWord. He now creates a work exclusively for Malcolm in this intimate "duet" to the live performance and original composition by pianist Dustin Peters. Malcolm is presented to the live performance and original composition by pianist Dustin Peters and choreographed in collaboration with Bill Coleman. Malcolm premieres at the intimate Mimi Herrndorf studio-theatre at The Citadel on February 19–23, 2014.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Toronto Dance Theatre & Musician Jennifer Castle - Henderson/Castle: voyager February 20 to March 1 2014

From a media release:

Dance artist Ame Henderson and musician Jennifer Castle join forces on Henderson/Castle: voyager, a new work for Toronto Dance Theatre
February 20-23 & February 26 - March 1, 2014

Toronto, ON – In her first work for Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT), Toronto-based performer and choreographer Ame Henderson collaborates with acclaimed singer/songwriter Jennifer Castle and the TDT company to explore continuous movement as a state of being. Henderson/Castle: voyager is on stage at the Winchester Street Theatre Feb 20-23 & Feb 26-Mar 1, 2014.

TDT Artistic Director Christopher House remarks “Few Toronto-based dance artists are held in such high esteem or have such an international reach as Ame Henderson. Part poet, part scientist, she draws the audience into her fascinating work through her infectious spirit of inquiry.”

Ame Henderson is known for her cross disciplinary work with Public Recordings, established in 2003, which explores and shares choreographic experimentation through artistic research and performance creation. In Henderson/Castle: voyager, Henderson proposes the question “What would happen if you never stopped moving?” The performance invites the audience to witness the unfolding of ongoing movement, and the transformation of the individuals on stage as they work.

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Jennifer Castle lends her unmistakable voice to the performance. Following the same principle of “never stopping” Castle provides the score for Henderson/Castle: voyager, a song partly composed and partly improvised, live for the duration of each performance.

Other collaborators on Henderson/Castle: voyager include lighting designer Kimberly Purtell, set and costume designer Bojana Stancic, the critical eye of New York dance artist Jeanine Durning, and Montreal-based guest dancer Marie Claire Forté. The TDT company members in collaboration include: Alana Elmer, Mairi Greig, Christopher House, Yuichiro Inoue, Pulga Muchuchoma, Jarrett Siddall, Kaitlin Standeven, and Naishi Wang.

Dates / Times / Location
Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester Street
Thu, Feb 20 – Sat, Feb 22, 8:00PM
Sun, Feb 23, 2:00PM (Pay What You Can)
Wed, Feb 26 – Sat, Mar 1, 8:00PM

Tickets:  $20 Student/Senior/CADA | $26 General
Box office:  416.967.1365 | www.tdt.org/henderson
Direct ticket link: hendersoncastle.eventbrite.ca

Maurice Hines Hosts Apollo Club Harlem (New York City) - February 20, 21 & 22 2014


From a release:

Apollo Club Harlem
FEBRUARY 20, 21 & 22 2014 AT 8PM, 22 AT 3PM, 23 AT 5PM


GET TICKETS

Host, Director, Choreographer: Maurice Hines
Featuring: Maurice Hines, Margot B., Kevin Mahogany, The Manzari Brothers, and The Wondertwins

HARLEM (NEW YORK CITY) -
Enter the magic of the 30s and 40s when MAURICE HINES, dubbed “the hippest man alive” by the Wall Street Journal, returns with an all-new APOLLO CLUB HARLEM. This sparkling 90-minute, nightclub revue celebrates the glorious musical legacy of the Apollo Theater with sultry crooners, spectacular dance acts, a swingin’ 16-piece big band and a chorus line of Red Hot Steppers.

“Boardwalk Empire” star MARGOT B and KEVIN MAHOGANY, “this generation’s Joe Williams,” star in “high-energy, jazz-fueled theatrics” (WSJ) that explode in an elegant nightclub specially built within Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater. Joining them on stage will be fabulously talented acts, including dazzling double threat THE WONDERTWINS and the gravity-defying MANZARI BROTHERS.

Put on your best suit or break out your silk gloves and come experience the pizzazz and allure of the Jazz Age at the world-famous Apollo Theater!

Single event sales at full price: $150 (nightclub, orchestra seating), $65, $55, $45
In person or by phone at the Apollo Theater Box Office: 212.531.5305 at Ticketmaster.com or 800.745.3000
Apollo Advantage Price: $105 (nightclub, orchestra seating), $45, $38, $31 - Online at Apollo Account Manager


Apollo Club Harlem is supported by leadership gifts from the Reginald Van Lee New Works Fund, the Ford Foundation Fund for Global Programs, and JoAnn Price.

Maurice Hines with his brother the late, great Gregory Hines in the film The Cotton Club:

Help Support Canadian Artists - wind in the leaves collective performances

From a release:

Help Support
wind in the leaves collective performances

Their indogogo campaign

(toronto)
happy new year and all the very best for 2014! thank you for your interest in the 'wind in the leaves collective' (http://windintheleavescollective.com/), a group combining my poetry with live and recorded music, dance and visual art.

i founded this group in 2009 and a growing number of dancers, choreographers, musicians and visual artists from diverse diasporic backgrounds have become involved and are shaping the work. the stories the 'collective' tells through my poems present moments in the lives of persons of african descent and we create our work with the input of all of the artists involved, each of whom draws upon their own memory and artistic practice to contribute to a unique performance that has no parallel in the canadian arts scene and that we feel represents a diversity integral to canadian life.

the 'collective' has performed in many different venues and our work has been well-received. we began 2013 with performances on all three u. of t. campuses, did a show at 'arraymusic' in may and this fall we concluded our year with performances for the 'decolonial aesthetics' conference and a showcase at ontario contact, a venue where presenters across the country come to see and select works to stage (http://ontariocontact.ca/showcase-artists/251). these are simply some of the highlights of the 'collective's' work and we're very proud to have performed at ontario contact as it is a highly regarded showcase where many artists compete to present. we were successful in our first proposal to them and were one of 32 selected out of over 200 applications by excellent performing artists from across canada.

i am currently working on four performances for 2014. the 'collective' self-presents under the banner 'wind in the leaves collective with allies and friends'. this format allows us an opportunity to do new work and to invite other like-minded artists to share the stage with us. you can see flyers on our website under the 'performances' tab. two of our performances for 2014 will feature collaborations with the Milton Acorn Poetry Group and TSAR Publications . the Milton Acron Group are a gathering of poets who have been influenced by the canadian poet, milton acorn, and his progressive values and stories of working peoples. TSAR stands for The South Asian Poetry Review and publishes work of aboriginal peoples and people of colour in canada and around the world (http://tsarbooks.com/). both groups share similar values to the 'collective' and TSAR will feature the release of my book of poems 'travelogue of the bereaved'. to enable us to give our artists the rehearsal time and space needed to create and stage these performances, the 'collective' is beginning a fundraising campaign.

i hope you will be interested in furthering the 'collective's' work by contributing to our fundraising campaign which will be online in early febuary. our goal for 2014 is modest. we aim to raise $4,500.00 by june and we are seeking financial contributions from friends and allies who are interested in what we're doing. if you choose to contribute $100.00 you will receive 50% off all ticket purchases to the shows that the 'collective' self-presents.  for $50.00, you will receive 50% off of ticket purchases for two shows.  for $25.00 you will receive 50% off for one show.  all other contributions will be acknowledged in our program for each of these performances.

charles c. smith, artistic director, 'wind in the leaves collective'

Monday, February 3, 2014

Young Jean Lee's Untitled Feminist Show February 12 to 15 2014 in Toronto #artlive


From a media release:

UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW 
reveals the ‘naked’ truth about identity politics at Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 
Feb. 12-15, 2014 – #artlive

TORONTO, ON –
Brooklyn-based playwright and provocateuse Young Jean Lee returns to Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage with the Canadian premiere of the critically acclaimed UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW (Feb. 12-15). Without dialogue, clothing or traditional gender signifiers on stage, six performers shake up gender norms and confront matters of sameness, differentiation and the seven stages of womanhood in this unconventional and highly adventurous dance-narrative.

Developed and choreographed by Young Jean Lee, Faye Driscoll and Morgan Gould, UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW is a daring theatrical experiment. Challenging and inspiring from start to finish, Lee’s bold choice to outfit the cast in the nude for the duration of the one-hour performance was a calculated risk worth taking. The cast consists of five women and one gender non-conforming person; through lengthy exposure to ‘the nude’ on stage, the audience is encouraged to see beyond the performers’ gendered bodies and discover the beauty of one’s self-affirmation.

From friendship to fantasy, love making to child birth, UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW uses an extravagant blend of tableaux, dance, pantomime comedy sketches, film, mask and movement to reveal various stages and ages of womanhood. The individual quirks and traits of each performer are embraced and celebrated through the show’s liberating choreography-like movement (and costuming) and disparate body types.

“UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW is witty and provocative,” explains Tina Rasmussen, artistic director of World Stage. “There’s a unique energy about this show that’s moving, thought-provoking and visually captivating. Young Jean Lee is fearless when it comes to breaking new aesthetic ground in the industry, we’re thrilled to have her back at World Stage this season.”

Young Jean Lee began writing plays based on the advice of her therapist following the abandonment of her PhD on King Lear. Instructed by her playwriting mentor and Brooklyn-based teacher, Mac Wellman, to ”write plays based on the worst idea imaginable,“ Lee has now written and directed nine shows in New York and has toured her work to over 20 cities around the world. Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company was founded in 2003 and is an Obie Award-winning company.

For full company and performance information, including photos, videos and details surrounding World Stage Extras, please visit harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstage and connect with the season on Facebook and Twitter using @WorldStageTO #artlive.

Please visit harbourfrontcentre.com/gettinghere for information about getting here during the Queens Quay revitalization.

WORLD STAGE EXTRAS

UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW – Opening Night Pre-Show Event
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m. – Fleck Dance Theatre

In an effort to further understand the seemingly complex world of contemporary performance, World Stage invites ticket holders to attend an opening night artist talk and celebration with complimentary freshly brewed tea. This pre-show conversation will be hosted by a well-informed industry practitioner, who will facilitate a friendly, informal chat with patrons to help shed light on some of the ideas and approaches found within the piece. Cup, saucer and programming provided and curated by World Stage. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to the opening performance of UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW.

UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW – Talkshow
Thursday, Feb. 13, Immediately following the performance – Fleck Dance Theatre
Young Jean Lee’s Theatre Company discuss their work and UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW with World Stage audience members through conversation facilitated by curated guest hosts. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW.

Performance for the Adventurous: The 35th Annual Rhubarb Festival February 12 to 23 2014 in Toronto

From a media release:

PERFORMANCE FOR THE ADVENTUROUS:
THE 35TH RHUBARB FESTIVAL
FEBRUARY 12 – 23, 2013


• THE FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS IS AVAILABLE ON-LINE AT BUDDIESINBADTIMES.COM/RHUBARB

TORONTO -
For two weeks, over 100 artists transform Buddies into a hotbed of experimentation, sharing new experiments in contemporary theatre, dance, music, and performance art with adventure-loving audiences. Now in its 35th year, Rhubarb is the place to see the most adventurous ideas that artists have to offer and to catch your favourite performers venture into uncharted territory.

As the festival marks its 35th anniversary, Rhubarb will examine its past, imagine its future, and celebrate the incredible community of queer artists and spaces that have developed around it. This is all the more timely in light of a recent decision by the Department of Canadian Heritage to withdraw funding for the festival after years of support, without explanation.



On this year’s programming, festival director Laura Nanni remarks, “For me, Rhubarb is about forward momentum.  While honouring the 35th year of this festival with works that unearth and remix elements of our past, it has been a priority to persist in making space for our artists and audiences to fearlessly question our current conditions and radically envision possibilities for the future.  This 35th year of Rhubarb promises to be as loud, boundary pushing and epic as ever!”

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s festival. For a complete line-up visit buddiesinbadtimes.com/rhubarb

FESTIVAL KICK OFF WITH HEADLINING PERFORMANCE FROM HEATHER CASSILS
Performance artist Heather Cassils launches the festival with a special presentation of their haunting, visceral performance piece, Becoming an Image – February 12 at 9:30pm.

A trained body builder and internationally celebrated artist, Cassils has been presented by major art festivals across Europe and North America since bursting on to the scene in 2007. Their work brazenly challenges assumptions about gender and pushes the physical body to its most extreme limits through an innovative combination of strength training and striking physical imagery. Originally from Montreal, Cassils now resides in Los Angeles where their work was recently named one of the Solo Exhibitions of the Year at the 2013 MOTHA Art Awards.

Cassils’ appearance at The Rhubarb Festival is a unique chance for Toronto audiences to see one of the most daring and sought-after performance artists in the world, in an unforgettable performance that pits the artist’s brute strength against a 1,000 pound block of clay.

ARTISTS FIND CREATIVE WAYS TO MARK THE FESTIVAL'S 35TH ANNIVERSARY
The highlight of the festival’s anniversary celebrations is a pair of late night cabarets that celebrate the accomplishments of the past and imagines possibilities for the future.

In 35 Performances for 35 Years (February 13 at 8:00pm), Festival Director Laura Nanni curates an epic night of short works by artists from throughout Rhubarb history, including Sky Gilbert, Chad Dembski, Daniel Brooks, Guillermo Verdecchia, Cathy Gordon, Shannon Cochrane, Keith Cole, Ryan G. Hinds, Brendan Healy, and dozens more. The following week, Nat Tremblay and Vivek Shraya curate a vision of things to come in the Queer Futures Cabaret (February 20 at 10:00pm).

RHUBARB CREATES AN ARTISTIC NETWORK BETWEEN THE CITY'S LGBT SPACES
Toronto is home to five of the largest and oldest queer institutions in the world. This year, Rhubarb opens up these places to the public with a series of free events that celebrate their ongoing impact on our city.
- At Pink Triangle Press, members of indie company lemonTree creations present the latest instalment of their ongoing investigation into the seminal queer newspaper The Body Politic.
- At the Glad Day Bookshop, Gein Wong curates a series of intergenerational exchanges as queer elders give the audience gifts in the form of stories and memories from Toronto’s queer history.
- At The 519 Church Street Community Centre, Golboo Amani sets up The School of Bartered Knowledge where passersby can offer what they know in exchange for something they don’t.
- At the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, sound artist Christopher Willes hosts a 24-hour listening party, starting February 21 at 6:00pm, as archived audio materials are recaptured, digitized, and broadcast live into the neighbourhood.
- Buddies also comes alive on the opening night of the festival, with new projects from Alvis Parsley, Evan Tapper, Paul Couillard & Ed Johnson, Birdtown and Swanville, Mark Reinhart, and Kathrin Whitehead that animate unusual spaces inside the queer theatre’s historic home at 12 Alexander Street.

BOLD NEW EXPERIMENTATIONS IN MUSIC
This year’s festival has attracted an eclectic group of artists working in the meeting place of performance and music to produce new musical experimentations that take the traditional concert into bold new territory.
- The Hidden Camera’s Maggie MacDonald offers up a high-camp sci-fi story about one woman trying to save our planet’s pop music after the earth is destroyed by aliens
- A new project from performance band Mortified (Jenn Goodwin & Camilla Singh) that revels in the musical possibilities of boxing, tap dancing, and cheerleading.
- A 19th Century rock-and-roll melodrama from Henri Faberge.
- Catherine Hernandez uses a music playlist to tell the story of her experience as a single mother and a queer femme of colour, in the first full-length presentation of her ongoing project The Femme Playlist – one night only, February 15 at 8:00pm.
- Light Fire’s Regina the Gentlelady (Gentleman Reg) presents her very first theatrical offering Do I Have to do Everything my Fucking Self – one night only, February 14 at 9:00pm.

A STAGE FOR QUEER ARTISTS
As always, Rhubarb is the go-to venue for exciting new work by queer artists. Queer names to watch at this year’s fest include Gein Wong, Nat Tremblay, Humboldt Magnussen, Hope Thompson, Mark Reinhart, Golboo Amani, Steph Markowitz, Gerard Reyes, Judy Virago, Thom Gill, Paul Couillard & Ed Johnson, Kathrin Whitehead, Alvis Parsley, Roy Mitchell, Regina the Gentlelady, and the members of Buddies’ Young Creators Unit

SHOWCASING THE BEST OF CANADA'S THEATRE COMMUNITY

This year also hosts a stellar collection of Canada’s most acclaimed theatre artists and rising stars as they test the boundaries of their work. Look for new works by Small Wooden Shoe, lemonTree creations, Hope Thompson, Jill Connell & Katie Swift, Birdtown and Swanville, Catherine Hernandez, and Gein Wong.

Images:
Henri Faberge & Humboldt Magnussen - photo: Tanja-Tiziana
Heather Cassils - photo: Manuel Vason
Kat Letwin & Carolyn Taylor - photo: David Hawe
Golboo Amani

Gerard Reyes
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents
THE 35TH RHUBARB FESTIVAL

festival director Laura Nanni
February 12 - 23, 2013
TICKETS: Week One Single Tickets $10, Week Two Evening Passes $20, many events free or PWYC
Box Office 416-975-8555 or buddiesinbadtimes.com/rhubarb  Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street, Toronto ON