Thursday, April 30, 2015

Read Me: Short Story in the Spring 2015 issue of Origami Journal

Read Me:
Short Story in the Spring 2015 issue of
Origami Journal

Check it out at the link

SPRING 2015 - A short story of mine was included in the recent Spring 2015 issue of Origami Journal. The web-based magazine publishes short fiction, poetry and photography on a quarterly basis.

My story, entitled 'Happy', was inspired by my first work experience - a part-time job working at a butcher/delicatessen kind of place. I don't mention it in the story but I will here: I couldn't eat meat for five years after six months on the job there.


- Anya Wassenberg

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28 & 30 at Hot Docs Toronto - They Will Have To Kill Us First:Malian Music In Exile

From a media release:

They Will Have To Kill Us First:
Malian Music In Exile
Canadian Premiere at Hot Docs

Remaining Hot Docs screenings are as follows:
Hart House Theatre - Tuesday 28 April 3.30pm
Hart House Theatre - Thursday 30 April 3.30pm


- Together Films and Spring Films are proud to announce the Canadian Premiere of They Will Have To Kill Us First, the debut feature directed by Johanna Schwartz, produced by Sarah Mosses (Together Films), executive produced by Andre Singer (The Act of Killing), and with an original score by Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), will take place at Hot Docs festival on Sunday 26 April 6.30pm at Scotiabank Theatre 4.

Islamic extremists have banned music in Mali, but its world famous musicians won't give up without a fight. They Will Have To Kill Us First tells the story of Mali's musicians as they fight for their right to sing.

With a specially commissioned soundtrack from some of Mali's most exciting artists, the film follows the stories of musicians: Kharia Arby, Fadimata "Disco" Walet Oumar, Moussa Sidi and introducing Songhoy Blues.

Music is the beating heart of Malian culture, but when Islamic jihadists took control of northern Mali in 2012, they enforced one of the harshest interpretations of sharia law in history and banned all forms of music. Radio stations were destroyed, instruments burned and Mali's musicians faced torture, even death. Overnight, Mali's revered musicians were forced into hiding or exile where most remain, even now. But rather than lay down their instruments, the musicians are fighting back, standing up for their freedoms and identity. Throughout their struggle, they have used music as their weapon against the ongoing violence that has left Mali ravaged.

They Will Have To Kill Us First sees musicians on the run, tells the story of the uprising of Touareg separatists, reveals rare footage of the jihadists, captures life at refugee camps where money and hope are scarce, charts perilous journeys home to war-ravaged cities, and follows our characters as they set up and perform at the first public concert in Timbuktu since the music ban. A number of internationally renowned Malian musicians were commissioned to write bespoke songs for the soundtrack, including: Vieux Farka Touré, Abdallah AgAlhousseyni from Tinariwen and Afel Boucom. The soundtrack also exclusively contains two unreleaSed duets between Toumani Diabate and Ali Farka Toure, unreleased Songhoy Blues tracks, stunning vocals from newcomer Kankou Kouyate and more.

Andy Morgan, renowned journalist and former manager of Grammy award winning Malian band Tinariwen, co-wrote the film alongside director Johanna Schwartz. A soundtrack album will be released to accompany the film later in the year, Autumn 2015 date tbc.

105 mins
#TheyWillHaveToKillUsFirst @Music_In_Exile /

Key musicians featured:
Songhoy Blues –
One of the most exciting new bands in Mali, created when four budding musicians from different corners of Mali fled to exile in Bamako. Writing and performing in response to the conflict, they captured the attention of Damon Albarn, featured on the recent Africa Express album before signing with Atlantic records and embarking on a sold out tour. We follow Songhoy on their rise to fame, from defying the ban by gigging in empty clubs in Bamako during the conflict, to recording their debut album with Nick Zinner and performing onstage at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall. But despite their success, all they really dream of is going back home to perform, something which, for the moment, they cannot do.

Disco’ and ‘Jimmy’ – Disco is a renowned singer, UN recognized humanitarian and outspoken activist. She is married to Jimmy, a leader within the MNLA – the group of Northern Touareg separatists who inadvertently allowed the Islamic militants to hijack their separatist rebellion and ban music. Disco organises gigs from her refugee camp base in Burkina Faso and is a constant support for musicians in exile, who look to her to eventually lead them home. If Disco goes back to Mali, everyone else will follow, but tense race relations within Mali since the conflict have led to violence and Disco is unsure of her safety. A surprise change of heart from Jimmy at the end of the film catapults both of their lives into a new sphere.

Moussa Sidi – Jimmy’s nephew from Northern Mali, Moussa was a relaxed, dreadlocked, jobbing musician and wedding singer before the conflict, but when jihadists took control he quickly adhered to the law they imposed, giving up music. For Moussa, jihadist rule was preferable to that of the Malian government who often targeted the Touareg ethnic groups. But when fighting escalated, and the Malian army rolled back into town, Moussa fled, fearing reprisals on light skinned Touaregs. Leaving his wife behind, he fled to Burkina Faso. His wife consequently spent six months in prison in Bamako for supposed associations with enemies of the state. Now in exile, Moussa will return home during filming to face his wife and community.

Kharia Arby – The “Nightingale of the North”, internationally renowned and the mother of music in all of Mali. Kharia’s home was raided by Jihadists and her records and instruments destroyed. Her life was threatened on many occasions, yet she remains firm in her criticism of the jihadists, despite the danger. She campaigns tirelessly for democracy and organises the first public concert in Timbuktu since the conflict to prove that musicians will not be silenced. But with Timbuktu still blighted with frequent suicide bombs, and the future of Mali’s musicians on her shoulders, her dream to return music to TImbuktu hangs in the balance.

Cavalia's Odysseo Extended to May 24 2015 in Toronto

Performances Scheduled to May 24 2015!

Check out my earlier review

«There is grace, there is poetry, there is wit and there is wonder. » Toronto Star
«Odysseo must be seen to be believed.» National Post
« A Masterpiece » Toronto Sun
« You will be mesmerized. It’s unbelievable.» City TV


WHAT: Odysseo by Cavalia continues to win over the Greater Toronto Area audiences. Three weeks after the tremendous success of its Opening Night in Toronto, twelve performances have been added to the limited engagement of show presented Under the White Big Top at the Port Lands.

WHEN: Matinee and evening shows now scheduled through May 24.

WHERE: Under the White Big Top, at the Port Lands -  383 Lakeshore Boulevard East - Toronto, M5A 1B6

TICKETS: Available at or by calling 1-866-999-8111 FREE. Tickets are priced from $34.50 to $264.50 + applicable taxes and fees. Special pricing and packages also available for groups, children (2-12), juniors (13-17) and seniors (65+).


Theatre Smash and fu-GEN Theatre Company present the Canadian premiere of DURANGO by Julia Cho May 16 to 31 2015

From a media release:

Theatre Smash and fu-GEN Theatre Company present the Canadian premiere of
DURANGO by Julia Cho

Buy tickets

In association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre May 16 to 31, 2015
Toronto, ON –
Theatre Smash and fu-GEN Theatre Company, in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, present DURANGO – a play by Julia Cho that follows a Korean American family’s impromptu road trip as it uncovers growing rifts between father and sons. Directed by Theatre Smash’s artistic director Ashlie Corcoran, and featuring Ardon Bess, Hiro Kanagawa, Philip Nozuka, Adrian Shepherd and fu-GEN’s artistic director, David Yee, DURANGO is on stage at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St.) from May 16 to 31.

“I am thrilled to be staging Julia Cho’s beautiful play, one which is inspired by both traditional American naturalistic family dramas, and mesmerizing theatrical feats of magic realism,” said Corcoran. “What is most captivating, for me, is how Julia Cho builds upon and subverts American family dramas, subtly and slowly drawing out the family’s secrets, at almost every step giving the audience more information than the characters themselves.”

One of American theatre’s rising stars, Cho is a playwright with a reputation for creating intricate narratives that blend fact and fantasy. Although she has received numerous awards, this is the first time Cho’s work will be produced in Canada. In DURANGO, Cho explores the entanglement of family values and personal responsibilities through the lives of a Korean immigrant and widower, Boo-Seng Lee (Kanagawa), and his two sons (Yee and Nozuka) as they take an ill-advised vacation to Durango, Colorado.

Told in the style of the American classics, DURANGO is more than a family road trip; tackling ideas of racism, homophobia and generational secrets in an intimate and complex story of a family’s disintegration. The design from set & costume designer Jung-Hye Kim – a family home sinking into the ground – uses visual metaphor to express this idea, bridging the two aesthetics of DURANGO’s world: magic realism and stark naturalism.

DURANGO also marks the first collaboration among the three producing companies: Theatre Smash, fu-GEN Theatre Company and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

“We have been looking for an opportunity to partner with both Smash and Buddies for a while, always thinking it would have to be two separate projects,” said Yee. “What Julia Cho does so beautifully is seamlessly weave disparate dramatic narratives together within a theatrical aesthetic that all three of our companies responded to quite viscerally. The play has the quiet and stillness of that Arizona desert they’re travelling along on the surface, while there is a storm raging just below. That tension spoke to all of us, the nature of it pulled our companies together, and it made the decision to program Durango rather simple.”

DURANGO will be presented at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St.) from May 16 to 31. The performance is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Tickets from $20 to $37 are available online at or by phone at 416.975.8555.

Facebook: Theatre Smash; fu-GEN Theatre Company
Twitter: @theatresmash; @fuGENTheatre
Twitter Hashtag: #DurangoTO

DURANGO by Julia Cho
Venue: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St.)

Dates: May 16 to 31; Opening and media night: Wednesday, May 20, 8 p.m.
Tickets on sale: General tickets $25 to 37 (with $20 previews, PWYC Sundays; Arts Worker and Under 30 Discounts available), at or by calling 416-975-8555.

Produced by Theatre Smash & fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company, in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Friday, April 24, 2015

Triple Release: Pianist Stephen Hough with Three New Recordings on Hyperion May & June 2015

From a media release:


Grieg Lyric Pieces (May 5, 2015)
Hyperion CDA68070
Stephen Hough, piano

Mendelssohn, Grieg & Hough: Cello Sonatas (June 1, 2015)
Hyperion CDA68079
Steven Isserlis (cello), Stephen Hough (piano)

Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem; Hough: Missa Mirabilis (May 5, 2015
Hyperion CDA68096
Colorado Symphony Chorus, Colorado Symphony, Andrew Litton (conductor)

New York, April 23, 2015-
-Stephen Hough, as a recitalist, chamber musician, and composer, adds three new releases to his extensive discography on the Hyperion label.  On May 5, Hyperion releases two recordings. The first devoted to Grieg’s Lyric Pieces, features Mr. Hough’s selections from the ten volumes of miniatures which encompass the Norwegian master’s best-loved solo piano music. The second release is Stephen Hough’s own “Missa Mirabilis” coupled with Ralph Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem, both performed by the Colorado Symphony and Chorus and Andrew Litton. The third recording, scheduled for release on June 1, is Mendelssohn, Grieg & Hough: Cello Sonatas with long-time collaborator, cellist, Steven Isserlis.

For his solo album of Grieg Lyric Pieces, Stephen Hough has programmed twenty-seven of the sixty-six brief musical tone-poems.  Grieg composed the first volume of Lyric Pieces, his Opus 12, in 1867, along with the tenth and last volume, his Opus 72, published in 1901. In addition to some of Grieg’s most famous music, including Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, Mr. Hough includes selections from the final Opus 72.

Stephen Hough’s choral work, Missa Mirabilis, is coupled with the twentieth-century British classic, Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Originally composed as a Mass for Westminster Cathedral, Missa Mirabilis was reshaped for large chorus and large orchestra and commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  On the recording, Andrew Litton conducts the Colorado Symphony and Choir.

Mr. Hough says that giving his Mass the title “Mirabilis” (miraculous) is purely personal:
“I gathered a year’s-worth of sketches for the Mass together in September 2006 and wrote three of the movements in three days… the following day I had a serious car crash, overturning on the motorway at 80 mph; I stepped out of the one untouched door in my completely mangled car with my Mass manuscript and my body intact.  I was conscious, as I was somersaulting with screeching acrobatics on the highway… of feeling regret that I would never get to hear this piece.”  Of the remaining movements he sketched the Agnus Dei in St Mary’s Hospital, waiting for four hours for a brain scan. Gloria was written later.

On June 1, Hyperion releases Mendelssohn, Grieg & Hough: Cello Sonatas a duo recital recording with Steven Isserlis in which two nineteenth century Romantic Cello Sonatas are heard along with Stephen Hough’s own Sonata. Mr. Isserlis suggests that, although there are many differences between the three sonatas, there are also strong connections: “all of them are by pianist-composers; all require considerable virtuosity from both players; and, most significantly, all three works combine classical forms with a passionately romantic spirit.”

Mr. Hough’s Cello Sonata, which is scored for Cello and Piano left-hand, was composed at Mr. Isserlis’ request when a mutual friend, also a pianist, injured his right hand. The Sonata was co-commissioned by the U.K.’s Tetbury Music Festival and the Kronberg Festival in Germany. Mr. Hough and Mr. Isserlis premiered the Sonata in 2013. By employing only the left hand the piece takes on a “distinctive range of dark textures”. The Sonata in one continuous movement bears the subtitle ‘Les Adieux’ which Hough explains “underlines the melancholy spirit of the piece”.

Stephen Hough has released more than 50 recordings on 15 record labels, with works by more than 100 composers, including his own. He has won four Grammy nominations and eight Gramophone awards including two ‘Record of the Year’ awards—one for concertos by Scharwenka and Sauer and the other for the complete works for piano and orchestra by Saint-Saëns, which was also given the Gramophone ‘Gold Disc’ Award after being voted by readers of The Times as the finest classical recording of the last 30 years. His recording of the complete Chopin Waltzes received the Diapason d’Or de l’Année—France’s highest recording award—and his live recording of the Rachmaninoff piano concertos became the fastest-selling record in Hyperion’s history, while his recording of the Hummel concertos remains Chandos’ best-selling disc to date.

Stephen Hough was the first solo instrumentalist featured by the award-winning app publisher Touch Press on an iPad app launched in July 2013 on which he performs Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor. The New Yorker wrote that the app “is superbly put together, seamless, and intuitive, but it’s Hough that makes it special.” 

Upcoming engagements in the 2015 season in the U.S. include orchestral performances with the Oregon Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, and the Omaha Symphony.  In recital, Stephen Hough can be heard in Carnegie Hall as part of the Keyboard Virtuoso Series on May 9 in a program of Debussy and Chopin; in the Celebrity Series, Boston on May 8, and on May 12 in San Francisco.

To find out more about Mr. Hough, please visit his website (, his blog for The Telegraph, his Facebook fan page (, or his Twitter page (@houghhough).

Image of Stephen Hough by Sim Canetty-Clarke

Handcrafted in Denmark - Ørgreen Sunglasses Spring/Summer 2015 Collection

From a media release:

Handcrafted in Denmark - Ørgreen Sunglasses
Spring/Summer 2015

Enjoy this season’s inspiration of cult figures and cultural references, from tycoons, true detectives, and enemies of 007 to Hollywood sirens, drama queens, intellects and more. In an extensive collection where the past is very present, seen in acetate styles revamped with an ul-tra-modern, minimalistic twist. Look for lean and mean lines typical of Ørgreen in ultra-light titanium models, along with unusual colour combinations - as usual. All pieces are impeccably handcrafted with a Danish angle on design. Including supremely appealing sunglasses adding celebrity anonymity, designed to look unquestionably cool whether the weather is hot or not.

PUSSY GALORE - Of all the Bond girls, Pussy Galore was the most difficult to seduce. In an effort to capture her aloof, “Golden Goddess“ good looks, our PUSSY GALORE frames bring high glamour to this voluminous cat eye design. Featuring high-perched corners and a beautiful low bridge. Slip on the Mat Ivory and Sandblastted White Gold version with Rose Gold Chrome lenses and you’re any match for Mr. Bond

STELLA POLARIS - Way before GPS and 4,000 times more luminous than the sun, the Northern Star has been a guide for ancient mariners for centuries. It’s this spirit of light and continuity which inspired our STELLA POLARIS frames. Guaranteeing style and sophistication in an elegant, over-sized circular frame with extensions on the middle-axis. Duo tones like Mat Jade and Sandblasted Palladium with Silver Chrome Lenses add a celestial effect for nouveau hippies and global nomads alike

ZELDA - A writer in her own right, Zelda Fitzgerald became an emblem of the Roaring Twenties, living a life of glamour, excess, drama and decep-tion. Equally iconic are our ZELDA frames. Almost wide-eyed in their half circle shape and curved top line, these are trendy sunglasses in a timeless style. Two-tone colouring, like Mat Plum and Sandblasted Palladium together with Gradient Silver Chrome Lenses are destined to help any celebrity go incognito.

ONASSIS - Jackie Onassis was known for her iconic style and grace. In homage to her elegance, we designed our ONASSIS frames. Gorgeous without being too glam, bold curves are even more beautiful when crowned by a top line that slopes down, appearing in two-tone colours such as Mat Olive and Sandblasted White Gold with Rose Gold Chrome Lens-es. Our advice? Get them or regret them.

CLINT - Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of the cynical, unconventional detective in Dirty Harry helped define him as the ultimate maverick man. Inspired by his anti-hero attitude, our CLINT frames boast a well-balanced aviator shape with a double bridge. Soft edges and deep lenses are forever cool factors in these mega masculine frames. Add to that duo tones of Mat Teal and Sandblasted Titanium with watercolour blue lenses and you’re ready for sunshine on a cloudy “Make My Day“.

MALCOLM - Malcolm Young is the founder of AC/DC, pioneers of heavy metal known for their raw, high voltage energy. And the inspiration behind our most rock star model, MALCOLM. Watch out for square shaped lenses with straight top and bottom lines and lean temples. Try the Mat Charcoal Grey and Sandblasted Titanium with Silver Chrome lenses for an in-dustrial effect. Learn some wicked guitar riffs, an Australian accent and see if you’re worthy to join “the thunder from down under“.

BALTHAZAR - Great grandson of Oil Magnate J. Paul Getty, Balthazar Getty made a name for himself as an actor in “Lost Highway” and the TV series “Brothers & Sisters”. Reflecting his sure-footed stance on life are our BALTHAZAR frames. Bold outlines characterise a rounded silhouette with square lenses all in a compact size. Don’t miss the Mat Brown and Sandblasted Titanium with Grey Gradient Lenses. The ultimate in cultivated cool.

Art Gallery of Mississauga Exhibitions Explore how the Modern World is seen through Photography April 30 to June 21 2015

From a media release:

Art Gallery of Mississauga Exhibitions Explore how the Modern World is seen through Photography

Three New Exhibitions
Explore how the Modern World is seen through Photography
Chih-Chien Wang | A Person Who Disappears
The View from Here | Group Exhibition
Susan Campbell | Tracing Ambiguity
April 30 - June 21, 2015

(Mississauga) - The Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM) presents three new exhibitions that examine how the contemporary world is influenced and interpreted through innovative photography. The AGM is proud to be the only venue in Mississauga exhibiting, not one, but two featured exhibitions with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

In one featured exhibition, Montreal artist Chih-Chien Wang presents A Person Who Disappears, a new body of photo-based work exploring ideas of solitude, personal space, intimacy, and definition of the self, inspired by a news report of the mysterious disappearance of a woman and child.

In the AGM's second featured exhibition, The View from Here, five artists (Susan Dobson, Jason Gowans, Toni Hafkenscheid, Clive Holden, and Joshua Jensen-Nagle) investigate the landscape genre through the lens of the tourist gaze and nostalgia. These artists use an array of traditional and inventive techniques ranging from found imagery to video-game based algorithms to address photography's ability to both resemble the world and to make it strange.

Concurrent to the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival exhibitions, Susan Campbell's Tracing Ambiguity photo-based installation explores the design dynamics within urban and suburban spaces, challenging visitors to think differently about the spaces we occupy in our day to day lives and how we move through them.

Members of the media and the public are invited to the Opening Reception on April 30, 6 pm, at the AGM. There will be a free bus from The Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St W, Toronto) at 6 pm, returning at 8 pm.

"The AGM is proud to present three exhibitions which examine photography's relationship to contemporary life and how the medium's influence has developed far beyond its traditional parameters. Touching upon an array of subjects such as nostalgia, video games, and urban spaces, and we invite visitors to contemplate how photography has impacted and shaped aspects of everyday life."
 - Kendra Ainsworth, Assistant Curator, Art Gallery of Mississauga


• The AGM will be exhibiting two featured exhibitions in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival: Chih-Chien Wang's A Person Who Disappears, and The View from Here.
&buul; Renowned Montreal-based artist Chih-Chien Wang has exhibited at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, and Gallery 44 and Nuit Blanche in Toronto.
• In conjunction with this series of exhibitions, the AGM will also be offering a FREE photography portfolio review for local and GTA artists to hear feedback about their work.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Circus Meets Cabaret Meets Burlesque: Tix on Sale April 13 2015 for Spiegelworld's EMPIRE Opening September 1 in Toronto

From a media release:

Performances begin September 1 in TORONTO!

Tickets on sale Monday, April 13 at 10am

Toronto, ON – April 12, 2015 –
After unanimous rave reviews, sold out performances and standing ovations in New York and across Australia, Spiegelworld is proud to bring its all-new show EMPIRE to Toronto starting September 1, 2015. Ticket prices range from $69 - $129 and can be purchased online as of 10am on Monday, April 13.

Produced by Spiegelworld and presented by evenko, EMPIRE smashes the boundaries of circus, cabaret, variety and burlesque, reinventing the genres for a 21st century audience. Making its debut in New York City as the first tented show in Times Square in 2012, the 700-seat antique Spiegeltent, complete with beveled mirrors, plus velvet-upholstered seating booths, speak-easy style bar and the most intimate stage in town will host the most jaw-dropping and outrageous night out of the year!

EMPIRE will be making its first Canadian stop in Montreal in April, and from there will be heading across Canada with shows in Quebec City, Ottawa, and Toronto before wrapping up in Vancouver.

EMPIRE is a 90-minute adventure performed by the greatest international talent ever assembled in one tent. The MCs, Oscar and Fanny, steer the show while an eccentric cast of characters help Oscar rebuild his empire; the seductive Gorilla Girls from Ukraine form perfectly balanced pyramids on top of each other; the Ethiopian foot juggler Black Flintstone throws and impossibly catches his brother Big Mac Boy on his feet.

Other performers include the duo, Lime Green Lady and Carrot Man who beautifully and sensuously balance each other, the Half Naked Asian Dude Wearing Pigtails from Japan is the world champion wheelmaster, rolling dangerously past the audience; Miss A in a Bubble contorts gracefully inside an aerial sphere and the 3D Graffiti Guy from Canada creates amazing structures, anchored entirely on a feather. Miss Purple is the resident vocalist, backed by the music of the Viking of 6th Avenue, Moondog.

To create EMPIRE, Spiegelword Impressario Ross Mollison assembled a stellar creative team of director Terence O’Connell (numerous Australian comedy greats at The Last Laugh in Melbourne through to Circus Oz), choreographer John ‘Cha Cha’ O’Connell (Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby), designer Angus Strathie (Academy Award for Moulin Rouge) and lighting designer Ginger Crobett (Greg Allmann, Guns n' Roses) .

Spiegelworld first presented its annual summer season in New York City on Pier 17, South Street, Seaport with acclaimed shows including Absinthe, La Vie, Gazillionaire’s Late Night Lounge and Desir. For the world premiere season of EMPIRE in 2012, Spiegelworld relocated to a premium vacant lot right in the heart of Broadway.

Praise for previous shows include ‘‘Erotic, remarkable feats in a chic atmosphere," AM New York; “Left me speechless, cool live music, hot taut bodies, eye popping feats of grace and muscle,” New York Daily News.

Spiegelworld is currently presenting Absinthe in the forecourt of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The production was announced the “Best show in Vegas” by Vegas Seven magazine. EMPIRE in Toronto opens September 1, 2015 - under the Spiegeltent. Don’t miss this unique, 90-minute adventure performed by the greatest international talent ever assembled in one tent!

September 1-27, 2015

Under the Spiegeltent in Toronto – location to be revealed soon!
Tuesday & Wednesday, Friday & Saturday @ 8pm; Thursday-Saturday @ 10pm; Sunday @ 7pm - Ticket prices range from $69-$129 - for regular tickets, VIP packages, and Cocktail Table and Booth seating and can be purchased at


Yuna, Naomi Wolf, Macy Gray & More at Women of the World Festival June 11-14 2015 at the Apollo Theater Harlem

With material from a release:

Women of the World Festival
June 11-14, 2015
at the Apollo Theater, Harlem
featuring Macy Gray, Yuna, Naomi Wolf & More

Performances, conversation, activism

Ticket Info

HARLEM, NEW YORK CITY - In this extraordinary, first-time collaboration, the Apollo and London’s Southbank Centre present a four-day WOW festival in New York, featuring performances, talks, mentoring sessions, music, film and debates that celebrate the talents of women and girls from all walks of life and all parts of the world.

WOW was founded in 2011, at London’s Southbank Centre. The Festival’s mission is to celebrate the formidable power of women to make change happen; to remind us of our history; to draw attention to injustice; to enjoy the company of women; and to encourage men to add their support as we set out to achieve a fairer world.

Please join us for this exciting, essential and empowering international gathering of women for four jam-packed days uptown in Harlem, USA, featuring,

• Leymah Gbowee - Nobel Peace Prize Winner
• Macy Gray - Grammy-Winning Singer/Songwriter
• Iyanla Vanzant - Emmy Award Winner
• Naomi Wolf - Bestselling Author
• Yuna - Malaysian Pop Star

Tickets for the Women of the World Festival can be purchased at the Apollo Theater Box Office and online at Tickets can also be purchased by phone at (800) 745-3000 FREE.

Yo - Spirit of Asia Makes Toronto Debut at Small World Music April 17 2015 (Asian Music Series)

From a media release:


YO - SPIRIT OF ASIA (Japan / India) - Toronto Debut
Friday, April 17 @ 8 pm / Doors 7:30 pm
Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw St.Yo

Tickets: $30

From the heart of Japan and the soul of India, and making their Toronto debut, comes YO – Spirit of Asia, presented by Small World Music as part of The 13th Annual Asian Music Series running April through May. Weaving ancient traditional sounds from both Japan and India, this improvisational trio features world-renowned virtuoso musicians Yutaka Oyama on shamisen, Akihisa Kominato on shakuhachi (bamboo) flute, and Ty Burhoe on tabla. YO is a cutting edge world music experience of gorgeous melodies, sizzling rhythms and riffs and scintillating synergy. Door open at 7:30 pm and music starts at 8:00 pm on Friday, April 17th, at the Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw Street.

YO is a Tokyo-based trio that entwines two ancient traditions with the music of today, representing the finest of world music aspirations. A collaboration of three internationally renowned musicians, possessing towering talent on their instruments and each boasting dynamic and wide-ranging careers in their respective fields, YO features Yutaka Oyama on shamisen (a plucked, three-stringed instrument), Akihisa Kominato on shakuhachi (a bamboo flute), and tabla player Ty Burhoe. The name YO is particularly fitting - in ancient Japanese it means 'song or melody' and in the modern language, it connotes 'community' and ‘living in the moment’. YO’s music has roots in the traditional sounds of India and Japan, yet it reflects the nature of modern culture and community.

From the classical Indian rhythms and the meditational lyricism of the Zen-informed flute pieces, to the folk melodies from northern Japan, YO creates a confluence of these elements through original works and arrangements of modern and classical compositions, that offers a highly accessible and enjoyable experience for audiences world-wide.


- pictured below
Sunday, April 12 @ 8 pm / Doors 7:30 pm
Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw St.
Tickets: $15 Available online / Website:

Saturday, April 25 @ 8 pm / Doors 7:30 pm
Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw St.
Tickets: $20 / Website: - - -

Saturday, May 2 @ 8 pm / Doors 7:30 pm
Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw St.
Tickets: $20 / Website:

Sunday, May 3 @ Doors 7:30 pm
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. West
Tickets: $15 / Website: -

FOOTSTEPS OF BABUR (Afghanistan / India)
Saturday, May 8 @ 8 pm
Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr.
Tickets: $35 +

Sunday, May 17 @ 8 pm
Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front St. West
Tickets: $30 / $40 / Website: -
Thursday, May 21 @ 8 pm
Small World Centre, 180 Shaw St.
Tickets: $20 / Website:

FANNA-FI-ALLAH (USA / Pakistan) - A Tribute to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Sunday, May 31 @ 8 pm
Mississauga Living Arts Centre, 4141 Living Arts Dr, Mississauga, ON
Tickets: $30 / $40 / Website:!about-qawwali-ffa/c6eq

Friday, April 10, 2015

Taste the Neighbourhood at Harlem EatUp! May 14 to 17 2015

With material from a media release:

Harlem EatUp!
May 14 - 17, 2015

I don't often write about food - not often enough really because food is definitely a vital part of culture.

I've been a visitor to Harlem for several years now and while gentrification is very much a mixed bag of issues, the growth of the restaurant business in the hood (largely owned by people who live in Harlem too) is definitely something to celebrate  I've sampled from places like Maison Harlem, Red Rooster, Chez Lucienne and others  - including the burgeoning African dining scene at places like Africa Kine in Little Senegal (something alas that they don't much talk about) - and have been universally impressed with the results.

Harlem EatUp! is a four-day festival that invites you to see and taste all Harlem has to offer from the artists of the kitchen, the canvas, the stage and the streets. Come Dine In Harlem! for a one-night-only multi-room dinner party for the ages, hit The Stroll, where Harlem’s food, art and culture will converge or hear what the tastemakers are discussing at Harlem Talks.

• Harlem Talks includes info on what it's like to be a professional chef, valuable info and insights into how to open and run a restaurant along with a look at the very artistic process of creating food.
• Dinners, dinners and more dinners - but buy your tickets soon because many are already sold out.
• Walk around tastings including a Sunday gospel brunch.
• Culinary demonstrations by master chefs.

When friends and founders of the Harlem EatUp! Festival, executive chef, restaurateur and Harlemite Marcus Samuelsson and veteran event marketer, Herb Karlitz, put their heads together about celebrating Harlem they couldn’t be stopped. Three months later, together with the sage insight and support of Harlem business tastemake.s and residents, they would announce Harlem EatUp! to the world!

As part of its mission and dedication to Harlem, the Festival will donate proceeds from ticket sales to Harlem Park to Park and Citymeals-on-Wheels. Respectively, both organizations continue to provide a positive and direct impact on the community through small business support and feeding Harlem’s homebound elderly.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Must See: Cavalia's Odysseo Returns to Toronto Opening April 8 2015 #Cavalia

Cavalia Presents Odysseo
Opening Night: April 8, 2015
at the Portlands, Toronto for a Four Week Run (So Far...)

Get Your Tix

With gorgeous, nimble dancers and acrobats - including a fully vulcanized troupe of acrobats from Guinea - the usual Cirque-ish attention to production values, live music and of course, horses and more horses, there's not much not to like about Odysseo, Cavalia's  spectacular production that returns to Toronto's portlands after a three year hiatus.

Odysseo is essentially a fantasy, a meditation on various landscapes - rendered in a stunning panoramic set with a combination of superb video from three IMAX screens and a stage set that included a mountain the horses rode down from and - at the very end of course - a 300,000 liter pool that fills up at the bottom of the stage.

With 70 horses, 45 performers and countless stage and technical hands (and they hire half their stage staff locally - another bonus,) this is the largest touring production of anything, anywhere and takes a spectacular logistical feat to get and keep organized.

Just a few of the details:

• 1,626 square metre stage
• 10,000 tons of rock, earth and sand are trucked in to create the setting
• The Big Top is 37 metres tall
According to founder and Artistic Director Normand Latourelle, it takes 21 semi-trailers and two to three weeks to get the show packed up and either set up or torn down. The company spent the winter touring Dallas and Mexico, with the horses taking a break in Kentucky before coming to Toronto for the show's run.

This is no "just the show" experience either - there's a swank indoor/outdoor lounge area, bar, washrooms better than most night clubs and merchandise to any taste.

The run has already been extended by two weeks and I suspect it will be again for at least that long. Last time they were in Toronto in 2012, the show ran an impressive 18 weeks and sold 150,000 tickets.

Man & Horse
What is most to love about Cavalia is the clear love all of these people have for the magnificent animals they work with. The scenes include elegant exhibitions of dressage and formation riding, then switch to acrobatics, then Western-style daredevil trick riding on Appaloosas that thunder by at breakneck speeds.

One of the highlights for me is the so-called liberty training - where the horses perform without rider, saddle or any tack at all, free and only to the voice of one trainer. Twelve white and grey Arabians performed various moves - and behaved despite the obvious rivalries between them. It takes a very deep understanding and trust to be able to pull that off; an impressive feat.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Single from Calgary Hard Rock Duo The Unraveling - Revolt (April 25, 2015 - Independent)

New Single from Calgary Hard Rock Duo
The Unraveling - Revolt
(April 25, 2015 - Independent)

Check out the single & Name Your Own Price

The Unraveling is Steve Moore on vocals and lyrics and Gustavo de Beauville on pretty much everything else, a Calgary-based hard rock duo whose latest single and upcoming CD you could say have truly been forged in fire.

With a sound that happens somewhere where hard rock and industrial collide, the band first came to the media and public's attention in 2010 with the release of 13 Arcane Hymns, a full-length concept album that was listed in Suite 101's Top Heavy Metal Albums of 2010. Pitch Black Magazine called it "a 13-track emotional and industrial-infused metal masterpiece.”

Move Forward Until You Are Dead, from the last CD:

A diagnosis of cancer, that battle and recovery sidelined singer Steve Moore for a few years but his recovery has been marked by a return to music - and the recording studio for the band. During the hiatus, Gustavo developed his production skills and worked with a number of other projects.

The vocals on the single, appropriately entitled Revolt, are raw and edgy, contrasted by soft male voices in chorus. The emphasis here is on the words and the message, hammered home by a powerful drum line and staccato guitar work that puts all the focus on the voice.

The lyrics are poetic and pessimistic - revolt is the only answer to society's corruption.

The dogmas we call learning
I see a strawman burning
Black smoke is crying foul
But the convincing beast will prowl
Youth feeds on itself like the mantis bride
Poised for endless future with the baby inside

It's not an unfamiliar theme in the hard rock genre, but The Unraveling give the sentiment a sense of sincerity and authenticity in the delivery. I would have preferred a more organic than electronic drum sound, although I'll admit that the electronics that drown the song's ending are a nice touch.


A preview of the new studio album - of which this is the first single...

Banjo & the Avant-Garde: Paul Elwood - Nice Folks (January 27, 2015 - Innova Recordings)

With material from a media release:

Banjo & the Avant-Garde:
Paul Elwood - Nice Folks
(January 27, 2015 - Innova Recordings)

Check it out/Buy it

It's virtually impossible to do any justice to this latest release by the ever eclectic Paul Elwood in mere words. As a writer, I acknowledge that they can only hint at the kind of sounds a listener might expect from his sonically striking collaboration between banjo virtuoso Elwood and percussionist Famoudou Don Moye along with many others - The Invisible Ensemble, Kelsey Shiba, Pierre Fenichel, Raphael Imbert, Jean-Marc Montera, Thomas Weirich, Simon Sieger and finally The GRIM/Montevideo Choir - that took place in Marseille.

Famoudou is the renowned percussionist with the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC), a major innovative voice in the history of jazz. Elwood's recordings use the group's facility for improv and his compositions are intercut with short improvisational sections.

The name of the album - Nice Folks - is a riff of AEC's 1970 album, Nice Guys. As Elwood describes it, this group - the Invisible Ensemble - came together quickly after he met Moye by chance at a music festival in Marseille. He assembled a group of high level young French musicians just for this recording project.

On his last recording:

As a banjoist, it was the culmination of Elwood's lifelong dream to play an an avant-garde jazz ensemble.

"This project enabled me to bring to realization a dream I had for many years of using my instrument within the context of an avant-garde jazz ensemble; Famoudou Don Moye’s presence on the recordings is a direct connection to the vanguard of the experimental jazz movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s. I believe that this recording will be of interest to others in that it will offer fans of the AEC the opportunity for an aural update on this legendary percussionist and to hear him in a new context."

The recording came together in a whirlwind during the summer of 2014.

14 Hours of Nonstop Hot Jazz: The 3rd Annual New York Hot Jazz Festival #NYHJF May 3 2015

From a media release:

Fourteen Hours of Nonstop Hot Jazz at The Players - 16 Gramercy Park South, Manhattan
Sunday, May 3 2015 - 12:00pm to 2:00am


EARLY BIRD - $30 for Half-Day Passes / $55 Full Day
ADVANCE - $35 for Half-Day Passes / $65 Full Day
AT DOOR - $45 for Half-Day Passes / $80 Full Day

NEW YORK CITY - Following the success of the previous two festivals, the 3rd Annual New York Hot Jazz Festival -- produced by the impresario Michael "Misha" Katsobashvili, performer Bria Skonberg, and composer/producer Patrick Soluri (of Prohibition Productions and The Salon) -- returns to The Players this year and promises some of the biggest stars of the Hot Jazz and swing scenes in a summit of uptown and downtown talent spanning three generations.

In his annual JazzTimes "The Year In Gigs" column, Nate Chinen listed the festival as one of the best jazz shows of 2014, where he called it "... a marathon overspill of trad-jazz enthusiasm." Bill Milkowski in his Downbeat Magazine review described the event as the "Woodstock for the Hot Jazz set." This year's festival will be no exception, boasting fourteen hours of continuous music, three stages with twenty five acts, and an exhilarating party atmosphere.

Hot Jazz, once the 20th century's dominant pop music, has found a 21st century home in New York City. As Will Friedwald notes in Vanity Fair, "Hot Jazz is so prevalent now that New York has almost become like New Orleans in the fin de siecle period ..." While retaining Hot Jazz in its core, this year's festival is solidly expanding into later swing with bands, such as Andy Farber's 17-piece AFTER MIDNIGHT ORCHESTRA (formerly know as Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars) from the eponymous Tony-winning blockbuster Broadway show, as well as WYCLIFFE GORDON's & FRIENDS, the trombone superstar's hard-swinging musical outfit. Additionally, Australian bassist and award-winning vocalist NICKI PARROTT, who was a member of the Les Paul Trio for a decade, will lead a trio featuring cornetist WARREN VACHE. Trumpeter JON-ERIK KELLSO will bring the EARREGULARS with guitarist MATT MUNISTERI and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire SCOTT ROBINSON.

Aside from Vaché and Kellso, this year's festival will highlight some of the top horn players of the younger generation, such as RILEY MULHERKAR and ALPHONSO HORNE, who are bringing their new band the GOTHAM KINGS; GORDON AU, the leader of the GRAND ST. STOMPERS, which is one of the pioneering bands of New York Hot Jazz and swing dance revival; and, consistent trailblazer BRIA SKONBERG with her JAZZ COMPATRIOTS.

To balance out the brass talent, the festival will feature some of the top young string stars of "le jazz hot" currently residing in New York: French guitar wizard STEPHANE WREMBEL, whose "Bistro Fada" is on the Academy Award-winning soundtrack of Midnight in Paris, and a Finnish Django Reinhardt acolyte OLLI SOIKKELI, who co-leads RHYTHM FUTURE Quartet with violinist JASON ANICK.

Rhythm Future Quartet:

Among the outstanding vocalists taking part in the festival for the first time will be a rare New York appearance by an exceptional songbook stylist and recording artist REBECCA KILGORE and rapidly rising, powerhouse young jazz singer MICHAEL MWENSO.

The NY Hot Jazz Fest continues to present local Hot Jazz "institutions" that have fueled the city's scene with their long term residencies such as EDDY DAVIS NEW ORLEANS JAZZ BAND, who play every Monday at Cafe Carlyle with Woody Allen, TERRY WALDO'S GOTHAM CITY BAND, and DENNIS LICHTMAN'S MONA'S HOT FOUR, among others.

This year The Big Easy will have its own ambassador in the fest, with one of the members of New Orleans jazz royalty, EVAN CHRISTOPHER, leading his acclaimed CLARINET ROAD.

Just like last year, the only band returning from the preceding year's marathon is THE HOT SARDINES, who are one of the biggest successes of the current Hot Jazz revival and are stopping by at The Players in the middle of a sold out national tour.

Festival goers will once again enjoy a dedicated Ragtime, Stride, and Jazz Age Songbook Piano Room with jazz star BILL CHARLAP, NPR Piano Jazz host and stride master JON WEBER, ragtime specialist TERRY WALDO and the "Klezmer Fats Waller" PETE SOKOLOW alongside upcoming young piano stars like CHRIS PATTISHALL.

Throughout the festival, attendees will experience continuous multi-level entertainment. Dancing is encouraged and inevitably irresistible; Swing dancers will be particularly delighted by The Players' optimal Ballroom dance floor. Once again, while three stages on the two upper levels will be devoted to non-stop live music, the lower level of the Players will feature a day-long screening of Hot Jazz and swing film clips with the first half devoted to Hollywood's golden age. Party and dancing continues into the wee hours with the festival jam session led by DAVID OSTWALD and GORDON AU. Expect surprises galore until the last notes of the night have been played!

THE PLAYERS is a members-only club located at 16 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan, NYC. Overlooking Gramercy Park, this clubhouse holds more than a century of social club history, boasting founding members such as Mark Twain, Laurence Hutton, and William Tecumseh Sherman.

Chris Pattishall:

Classical Music News: Artis-Naples to Launch Three-Year Residency with the Vienna Philharmonic

From a media release:

The Orchestra Makes Its Florida Debut in March 2016 With Two Concert Programs Conducted by Valery Gergiev
Annual Spring Residency to Comprise Concerts and Outreach Initiatives

Naples, FL
— Artis—Naples CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen announced today a three-year residency with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which will consist of six performances over the span of the residency as well as community partnerships and educational initiatives led by members of the orchestra beginning in the 2015-16 season. The residency will bring the venerated orchestra to Florida for the first time for performances at Artis—Naples, home of The Baker Museum and the Naples Philharmonic, on March 1 and 2, 2016.

“Sharing the impeccable musicianship of this celebrated ensemble with our community is one of the greatest partnerships we’ve established for Artis—Naples,” Ms. van Bergen said. “It’s a rare and exciting opportunity to present an orchestra steeped in European tradition and history. This residency will have a lasting impact on our community and reinforce our city as a cultural destination. Hosting an orchestra of such great stature and reputation exemplifies the artistic excellence for which Artis—Naples has become known.”

The Vienna Philharmonic, led by Valery Gergiev, will launch its residency in the spring of 2016 with two concerts. On March 1, the orchestra will perform Richard Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman, Debussy’s evocative La mer and Ravel’s adaptation of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The second evening features selections from Wagner’s Parsifal paired with Tchaikovsky’s Manfred, a unique programmatic symphony composed between his fourth and fifth symphonies. Over 100 musicians will be on the Hayes Hall stage.

“It will be our great pleasure to come to Naples, sharing our music, reaching out to audiences, and interacting with the community,” said Harald Krumpöck, managing director of the Vienna Philharmonic. “As our motto, taken from Beethoven, says, ‘from the heart, to the heart’.”

Ms. van Bergen continued, “As Southwest Florida’s premier arts organization, Artis—Naples is committed to presenting the highest quality music performances and art collections. Two years ago we appointed esteemed conductor Andrey Boreyko as Music Director and he is taking the Naples Philharmonic’s level of music-making to new heights, and we currently have on exhibit in the Baker Museum Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris – the first such exhibition in the U.S. in more than 40 years. The Vienna Philharmonic residency in Naples is yet another step in our effort to bring the best cultural arts of the world to our community.”

During each residency, members of the Vienna Philharmonic will interact with the community in a variety of initiatives ranging from public master classes with members of the Naples Philharmonic Youth Orchestra to lectures on Viennese culture and traditions as part of Artis—Naples’ popular Lifelong Learning continuing education series, which has more than 7,500 participants each year. Further initiatives may include panel discussions and symposia to be announced at a later date.