Monday, November 30, 2015

Niagara Icewine Festival Celebrating 20 years of Liquid Gold January 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 2016

From a release:

Niagara Icewine Festival

Celebrating 20 years of Liquid Gold
January 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31 2016

Buy a Discovery Pass ($40) - details below

Let's face it, there's nothing better than drinking and eating your way out of the mid-winter doldrums. Icewine is a personal favourite - rich and sweet but not cloying like sugary liqueurs. It's a type of wine that can only be produced in a very few regions of the world where wine grapes can grow - and where temperatures in the winter reach below -9 Celsius. The grapes are left on the vine to continue to mature and ripen until the temperatures hit that low - typically in January or late December and the result retains the fruit's inherent sugars. Sweet, yes, but sweet like the fruit itself and not sugary.

The Niagara Region is one of the lucky places to experience those extremes in climate and have the soil for wine grapes. For three weekends in January, the Niagara Region is transformed into a wintry wonderland, celebrating one of Canada’s most cherished products - Ontario Icewine. From Gala evening toasts to chestnut roasts, ornate ice bars, ice skating and winery tours, the 21st Annual Niagara Icewine Festival offers plenty for every taste.

2016 Xerox Icewine Gala
Friday, January 15, 2016
Fallsview Casino Resort

This unique event combines exquisite Niagara premium icewines, spectacular culinary and entertainment. Held at the stunning Grand Hall of the Fallsview Casino Resort, this all inclusive formal Gala celebrates the liquid gold of the icewine harvest.

Some of the daily highlights include:
  • Peller Estates Icewine Market
  • Twenty Valley's Winter WineFest
  • Trius Icewine Tour
  • Daily dining events & parties

Discovery Pass
If you are a fan of the vine, these are the weekends to visit Niagara’s wine country, presented by Outlet Collection At Niagara. The Niagara Wine Festival Discovery Pass is your key to three weekends of wine and culinary adventures at wineries across Niagara. Discovery Pass holders can enjoy eight experiences per pass.

Discovery Passes are available for purchase online, at participating wineries, St. Catharines Ontario Travel Centre (Skyway), Niagara Falls Ontario Travel Centre and Niagara Falls Tourism.

Just some of what the Discovery Pass can get you:

Between the Lines Family Estate Winery
991 Four Mile Creek Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-262-0289 -
January 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 - 11am-5pm

Fruit & Ice
Ring in the New Year with a classic pairing of BTL's 2013 Vidal Icewine and a delicious Pear Tarte Tatin. Warm, spiced pears, in a light custard on a buttery shell, mingle perfectly with the bright stone fruit flavours of this delicate Icewine. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Diamond Estates Winery
1067 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-685-5673 -
January 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 - 11am-5pm

Go-Go Gewürztraminer!
We have teamed up with Cucina A Go-Go and will be serving our award winning Lakeview Cellars 2013 Gewurztraminer Icewine with lively notes of apple, orange zest and ginger paired with a delectable roasted red pepper mascarpone tartlet, pancetta and cipolline crisps! $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Inniskillin Winery
1499 Line 3 & Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-468-2187 ext. 5400 -
January 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 - 11am-5pm

Northern Cool Meets Southern Warmth
Warm up this cold winter with our own take on the southern favourite, Chicken and Waffles, spread with our classic Riesling Icewine Butter. Enjoy this warm pairing with Inniskillin’s cool and highly awarded Riesling Icewine. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Peller Estates Winery
290 John Street East, Niagara-on-the-Lake
1-888-673-5537 FREE -
January 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 - 11am-5pm

Sweet Sensations
Join us at the 2014 Canadian Winery of the Year for a taste of our award winning and world-renowned Cabernet Franc Icewine as you roast one of Winery Chef and CityLine personality Jason Parsons' famous Icewine marshmallows over an open fire. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Pillitteri Estates Winery
1696 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-468-3147 -
January 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 - 11am-5pm

Apple Fritters & Icewine
Enjoy the one and only Kerner Icewine paired with a homegrown Niagara Apple Fritter drizzled in a cinnamon Icewine caramel sauce, so good you’ll want another! Also available for the Icewine enthusiast, enjoy a flight of three rare Icewines. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Riverview Cellars Estate Winery
15376 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake
905-262-0636 -
January 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 - 11am-5pm

Chocolate Falls on Niagara
Fondue fan? Enjoy our award-winning Cabernet Franc Icewine while savouring fresh fruit and homemade cinnamon-cranberry biscotti, both dipped in a fountain of Belgian chocolate. Discover the event thousands have raved about! $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Twenty Valley
13th Street Winery
1776 Fourth Avenue, St. Catharines
905-984-8463 -
January 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30 - 11am-5pm (not open Sundays)

13 Below Pulled Pork with Braised Apples, Pork Belly & Caramelized Onions
Enjoy our picturesque winery boutique as you savour this amazing dish paired with either our 13 Below Zero Riesling or our drier June's Vineyard Riesling. Stay a while to browse the latest art exhibit and visit the 13th Bakery. Vegetarian option is available. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Legends Estates Winery
4888 Ontario Street North, Beamsville
905-563-6500 -
January 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 - 11am-5pm (not serving Fridays)

Stuffed Cabbage Without the Roll
All the flavours of traditional stuffed cabbage packed into our rendition of an old-world classic. This warming and wonderful creation has January comfort food written all over it. Paired with Legends Estates 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

Rockway Vineyards
3290 Ninth Street, St. Catharines
905-641-5771 –
January 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 - 11am-5pm

Ultimate Indulgence
Treat your taste buds to our Chef's creation: a Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart paired with our Double-Gold Winning 2013 Cabernet Franc Icewine. $10 without a Discovery Pass.

...and that's a small sampling of your choices.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Slow Fashion: Textile Museum Of Canada To Present Rebecca Burgess Founder Of Fibershed January 27 2016

From a media release:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 6:30pm
Textile Museum of Canada
Part of the Series: Conscious Consumption: Crafting the City

Tickets $20 

Toronto – The Textile Museum of Canada (TMC) is pleased to announce the upcoming presentation by renowned ecologist Rebecca Burgess, founder of the Fibershed movement, on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 6:30 pm. Rebecca Burgess established Fibershed in California in 2010 in response to the environmentally devastating impact of “fast fashion” and global industrial textile supply chains. Now an international movement with affiliates around the world including Upper Canada Fibershed in Ontario, Fibershed is a model for local production and consumption using sustainable resources such as hand-processed organic cotton, wool and natural dyes in the making of textiles and clothing – the epitome of “slow fashion.”

A cooperative approach involving a range of members from farmers and land use planners to artists and fashion designers, Fibershed has also drawn former fashion industry workers from Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and other companies who are realigning themselves away from high-volume global markets to hand-crafted local economies. Called an “eco-warrior” in The Atlantic in 2011, Burgess is an educator, writer, and natural dye farmer, recently authoring the book Harvesting Color. “I enjoy knowing the biological roots of where everything comes from. Behind everything we own, use and consume is a story,” she states.

In Toronto, Burgess will speak on the “150 Mile Fashion Footprint,” highlighting her experiences with sustainable fashion and the connection between consumption and production at the heart of Fibershed’s commitment to making garments sourced entirely within one’s own community. “Rebecca Burgess’ ideas are being taken up throughout the USA, Australia, the UK and Canada,” says Shauna McCabe, Executive Director of the Textile Museum of Canada. “We are thrilled to introduce this leading activist and thinker to Canadians who embrace the future of fully conscious consumption.”

The TMC is pleased to present Rebecca Burgess with the support of the K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation. The lecture followed by a reception will take place on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 6:30 pm, Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Avenue, Toronto, M5G 2H5. Admission is $20 per person; purchase online at the link or call 416-599-5321 x2228

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Off Broadway: Classical Stage Company Presents Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children Dec 9 2015 to Jan 24 2016

From a release:

Classical Stage Company (CSC) presents
New Music by DUNCAN SHEIK 
Directed by BRIAN KULICK
December 9, 2015 through January 24, 2016

Tix here - Use  Code MC35 - Tix $35 for all performances through December 31, 2015*
* Offer subject to availability and may be revoked at any time.

NEW YORK CITY - CSC continues its exploration of Bertolt Brecht with a look at his most famous play. The indomitable Mother Courage follows one luckless army after another across a war-torn world in her canteen wagon. She’ll do anything to hold onto her money-making wagon, even if it means the loss of her children. Experience a timeless tale of war updated to the modern-day conflagration in the Congo, with a new and vibrant score by Tony Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening, American Psycho).


Sound Design MATT STINE

Tuesday Talkbacks
Ticket holders are invited to post performance discussions with CSC artists following designated Tuesday performances. Talkbacks are free to all ticket holders, seating subject to availability.
December 29, 2015; January 12, 2016; January 19, 2016

Saturday Symposia
Ticket holders are invited to lectures and discussions for designated Saturday matinees. Saturday Symposia are free to all ticket holders, seating subject to availability.
January 9, 2016; January 16, 2016

Performance Schedule
Tuesday-Thursday at 7pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 3pm & 8pm; Sunday at 3pm
Additional 7pm performance 12/28.
Additional 3pm matinees 12/23 & 12/31.
No 3pm performance 12/12.
No performances 12/24-26 & 1/1.
No 7pm performance 12/31.

Artistic Director Brian Kulick discusses CSC's production of Bertolt Brecht's MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN, featuring new music by Duncan Sheik, starring Tonya Pinkins. December 9, 2015 through January 24, 2016.

Toronto's first modern Pierogarnia restaurant, The Saucy Pierogi is now open

From a media release:

Toronto's first modern Pierogarnia restaurant, 
The Saucy Pierogi is now open

Dundas West restaurant now serving full dinner menu, share plates, premium vodkas, cocktails and craft beers 

Toronto, ON - After dominating the Toronto food scene for over two years as a pop-up restaurant and festival favourite, The Saucy Pierogi (TSP) is now open on trendy Dundas St. West (1282 Dundas St. W.). The restaurant pairs creative Pierogi dishes with a relaxed and vibrant atmosphere.

“This menu is without a doubt Polish in its DNA but since we’re in Canada, we wanted to celebrate its ingredients in our dishes,” says Konrad Obara, owner. “I wanted to blend traditional Polish cooking techniques with “out-of-the-box” flavour combinations in a cool venue with good vibes.”

Meant to be shared, the dinner menu features pierogi stuffed with gourmet fillings like braised beef, pulled pork, jerk chicken, and classics like cheddar potato. Pierogi and all other menu items are made in house; including soups, stocks and schnitzel. The cocktail and beer menu features signature cocktails, founded on the classics as well as a rotating craft beer menu and both premium and rare vodkas.

TSP blends a standing cocktail bar and sit-down restaurant, serving through to late night, offering house creations inspired by traditional polish Pierogarnia. The lively atmosphere is suitable for a quick after-work snack or a top spot to end an evening on the Dundas and Ossington strip.

TSP’s 1000 sq. ft. interior seats 77, with 10 comfortable stools at the bar. Boasting floor-to-ceiling front windows that slide open for the summer, and wood finished accents under candle lit table tops; the venue draws a warmth and rustic balance to the contemporary design, which, displays Polish-street art and photography throughout.

The Saucy Perogi
1282 Dundas St West
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1X7

TSP will also feature a retail section offering take home goods, including soups such as Cabbage and Bacon, or their vegan Potato and Leek, house-made sauces, grab and go dinners, cabbage rolls, and frozen pierogi dozens for home preparation. 

The Saucy Pierogi is open from 6pm until Late, Tuesday-Wednesday, and noon-12am Thursday through Saturday.

Twitter: @thesaucypierogi
Facebook: @TheSaucyPierogi
Instagram: @thesaucypierogi

*Images by

Friday, November 27, 2015

Comedy, Music, Booze and Hummus: Live at the Annex December 1 2015 in Toronto

From a media release:

Toronto's Monthly Cabaret
Live from the Annex

December 1, 2015
‘The Garage,’ at the Centre for Social Innovation

• $25 tickets are available at the door / $20 advance tickets at the link

Toronto, ON – Live from the Annex’s final show in its 2015 series is on December 1st. The holiday party show line up includes Elvira Kurt (Comic), David Jones (Music - Piano), Karim Rizkallah (Music – Halo Drum), Baker & Cawley (Improv/Sketch), Sasha Wentges, Laurie Murphy and Brian G. Smith (Co-MCs & LFTAnnex Co-Producers) and ‘CSI Annex Pop-Up Market’ (CSI Profile). In addition, the show features Brunswick Stew (Annex Improv) with guest improviser Naomi Snieckus. 'Live from the Annex' monthly cabaret features Toronto's best comedy, music and social innovators. A show blending arts, community and technology with live streaming via a video portal, LFTAnnex gives local talent the rare opportunity to shine locally and internationally.

Torontonian funny gal Elvira Kurt is known for signature spark and quick quipping. According to a Chilliwak News article, “She earned her chops with Second City, wrote material for This Hour has 22 Minutes and Ellen DeGeneres, was nominated for a Gemini award, and has hosted a variety of both radio and television shows. You might recognize her from CBC’s Debaters, The Comedy Network, as the host of Q’s Hall of Shame or YTV’s Cook’d. No matter what you know Elvira from, she proves time and time again that she is one of Canada’s best-known and most-loved comediennes for a reason!” (for a video bio, see

Guest improviser Snieckus joins this month’s Annex Improv Brunswick Stew members Noah Goldstein, Tom King, Caleigh Le Grand, Tony Lee, Laurie Murphy, David Perlman, Denise Pinto, Kelli Thompson and Sasha Wentges under the direction of Lisa Merchant.

This is the final ‘Live from the Annex’ show in 2015, capping a nine-show series that began with a pilot on April 7 running monthly on the first Tuesday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with curtain at 8 p.m. Beer, wine and refreshments are offered for sale before, during and after intermission at the CSI Coffee Pub. Hummus and chips are provided gratis.

The series is produced by Sasha Wentges (Mea Culpa), Laurie Murphy (MARRAM) and Brian G. Smith (Annex Improv) with support from sponsors and partners including Dailymotion, Centre for Social Innovation and Analytical Engine Interactive.

The ‘Live from the Annex’ show runs the first Tuesday of every month in 2015, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m., and takes place in ‘The Garage,’ at the Centre for Social Innovation - Annex location, 720 Bathurst Street, Toronto. Beer, wine and refreshments are offered for sale before, during and after intermission at the CSI Coffee Pub. $25 tickets are available at the door, with $20 advance tickets at the link and Follow on Twitter #LFTAnnex and Facebook.

Live from the Annex’s Dec 1 Holiday Party Show is pleased to profile the CSI Holiday Pop Up Market whose event is on Thursday, December 3, 12p.m. – 3p.m., followed by the Sustainable (Un)Professionals SOCIAL presented by #GreenPeopleTO – 5p.m. - 9p.m., both at CSI Annex, Main Level. The December 3 Pop Up is an opportunity for Toronto’s artists, entrepreneurs, and social enterprises to convene and showcase their goods and work for the city to see, and socialize with people from different sectors in a casual and open setting.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sultry Toronto Jazz Songstress Tia Brazda Releases New Video - Breathe Easy (fr Bandshell)

From a media release:

Sultry jazz...

Get the CD

TORONTO – Sassy jazz singer-songwriter Tia Brazda elegantly segues from saucy to sophisticated with ease on her debut album Bandshell. She’s now released a video for “Breathe Easy,” that follows Tia through the streets of Toronto and features this very slick, sultry track from the new album.

Toronto-based Tia Brazda has already established herself as a sparkling presence on the jazz scene in Canada and beyond. Her first EP Cabin Fever made an impressive impact in 2012, hitting No.1 on the iTunes Canada Jazz Chart, as well as receiving airplay on BBC and CBC Radio, Jazz FM 91.1 in Toronto, and college radio stations across Canada. Her 2014 holiday single “Christmas in Mexico” was added to the CHUM FM/Bell Media rotation and received solid airplay across the country.

Bandshell, is also garnering much of the same attention but with plenty of airplay in the U.S. added to the mix. In addition to debuting at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Chart in Canada, it has been added to over 30 stations south of the border and hit #24 on the CMJ national jazz radio chart. The album shines with bouncy piano; full, rich, orchestral strings; dynamic horn arrangements and smooth production that updates Brazda’s vintage vibe from flats to heels.

“Breathe Easy” is a jazzy tune that utilizes breathy sax, tinkling piano, a “Hit the Road Jack” bass line and with Tia’s suggestive vocals echoing Peggy Lee, it oozes deep groove and cool. The video, directed by Carlos Coronado, is a black and white nod to Toronto’s streets, and sights, while following Brazda to the airport departure lounge.

Artist Links:

Contemporary Jazz: Pianist Romain Collin New Release 'Press Enter' & NYC Dates Nov 27-29 2015

From a media release:

Pianist Romain Collin offers a bold reimagination of the piano trio on his new album with Luques Curtis and Kendrick Scott
Press Enter draws inspiration from the visual world, minimalism, folk music, and the wisdom of Wayne Shorter

"A visionary composer, an extraordinary jazz pianist and a very bright young rising star in the jazz world." - Jon Weber, NPR

Romain is performing music from this CD for three nights at The Iridium, New York City.  8:30 p.m. show November 27 - 29, 2015.

Buy/Sample the CD
Tickets for his shows at the Iridium

Two words can be enough to change an artist's life - especially when those words come from such an authority on art, life and the cosmos as Wayne Shorter. Such was the case when the legendary saxophonist shared a succinct but profound nugget of wisdom with pianist Romain Collin. Musing on people who spend their whole lives talking about plans, ideas, or dreams without ever seeming to take action, Shorter fell briefly silent before bursting out with an urgent commandment: "Press enter!"

"I started laughing, but I thought the wording was genius," recalls Collin, who had the unique opportunity to spend time gleaning advice and direction from both Shorter and Herbie Hancock while touring India and Vietnam with a band from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. "He encapsulated such a clear concept practically, intellectually and emotionally. It felt so compelling in just two words, that idea of doing something and not just conceptualizing it."

Collin took that advice to heart to such an extent that it provides the title for his third release as a leader, Press Enter, due out in the US on October 2, 2015 via ACT Music. The phrase offers not just a title, but a guiding mantra, as the French-born pianist vigorously seizes on his widely-varied inspirations to create an inventive and lyrical take on the piano trio tradition. For Collin, the freedom to follow his muse is so deeply rooted that even the potential of its being taken away provides a spark of inspiration: the profoundly moving "Event Horizon" incorporates the actual voices of wrongly incarcerated prisoners freed through the efforts of The Innocence Project.

Press Enter is Collin's second album recorded by his incredibly gifted trio with bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Kendrick Scott, following their acclaimed 2013 release The Calling. Both were fellow students of Collin's at the Berklee College of Music during the early '00s. "Kendrick is like a painter on the drums," Collin says. "You never hear a drummer when he plays; you just hear music. He's incredibly sensitive and has such width and depth in his knowledge of what he can express on that instrument. Luques is a great friend and he plays the bass like a bass should be played. Everything he plays feels really, really good and just the way it should to support the trio and the music."
Collin is an experienced composer of film music with multiple orchestral soundtrack credits to his name, so it should come as no surprise that he draws upon the visual world when dreaming up his music. There's no one-to-one correspondence between a piece of art or environment that he responds to and a particular composition; it's simply Collin's method of tapping into the rich vein of human expression.

"I follow a totally indirect route to inspiration," he explains. "I feel that the music is already there, I just need to unearth it. The way I figure that out is to expose myself to a lot of stimuli, a lot of art. I'll watch movies, go to museums, drive around and look at scenery, watch people and the city, listen to a ton of music that's not particularly related to what I create. Any human endeavor that stems from a very strong and singular vision will help in the compositional process."

One thread that runs through the pieces on Press Enter is the concept of a repeating, pulse-like, almost obsessive ostinato, a musical theme that recurs in different permutations on multiple tracks. It's there in the nervous, Steve Reich-influenced minimalism of "99," the frantic texture underlying "Clockwork," the strident bass lines of "Webs," or the aching heartbeat of "Raw, Scorched and Untethered." The latter, inspired by a painful break-up, uses that insistent throb to undergird a hauntingly romantic theme evoking a rock-era Rachmaninoff. It also swells ominously in "The Line (Dividing Good And Evil Cuts Through The Heart Of Every Human Being)," which draws its title from a quote by writer/philosopher Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The same obsessive rhythmic idea spreads throughout the entire trio on "The Kids," which features a simple three-note melody whistled by master pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, who often utilizes whistling in his own work.

Check it out:

Collin pairs this fascination with minimalist precision with a love for simple, expressive melody. This is most obvious on tunes like "San Luis Obispo," which paints a portrait of the California city the New York Times called "The Happiest Place in America" with a heartfelt, folk-like melody. It's also represented in the trio's intimate, wistful interpretation of Bon Iver's "Holocene." Lastly, it emerges in the elegiac gospel inflections of Collin's solo take on Monk's immortal "'Round Midnight," which closes the album. "Event Horizon" brings the album to an emotional climax with a simple, mournful tune (supplemented by crucial contributions from vocalist Megan Rose and cellist Laura Metcalf) framing the tragic stories of prisoners freed from decades-long jail terms or death sentences by the Innocence Project, the non-profit organization dedicated to exonerating the wrongly convicted with DNA evidence.

Collin came to the US to attend Berklee College of Music, where he studied performance with the likes of Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano while majoring in Music Synthesis. In 2007, the pianist graduated from the Monk Institute, where he not only toured with Hancock and Shorter and shared the stage with artists such as Marcus Miller, Jimmy Heath, and Terence Blanchard, but also studied with Larry Goldings, Russell Ferrante, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Mulgrew Miller and Wynton Marsalis.

In 2009, Collin released his first effort as a leader, The Rise and Fall of Pipokuhn (Fresh Sound), a work described by All About Jazz as "an astonishingly mature and ambitious debut that secures Collin a placeholder in the continuing evolution of the grand tradition of the piano trio" (Phil DiPietro). His second record, The Calling (Palmetto, 2012) was described by the Washington Post as "distinctly personal and creative" (Mike Joyce) and hailed by The Revivalist as an album that "presents listeners with a work of art that is worthy of being held onto for generations to come" (Eric Sandler).

While touring internationally as a leader, Romain continues to explore various musical genres as a sideman, performing and/or recording alongside artists such as Mike Stern, John McLaughlin, Christian McBride, Gregoire Maret, Lauryn Hill, Tim Green or Joe Sanders. Collin has also composed orchestra scores for motion pictures including Ombline de la Grandiere's five-part 2014 documentary Le Bresil par la Cote, Vlada Subotic's About Me (2010), Gleb Osatinski's award-winning Pisces of an Unconscious Mind (2011), The House at the Edge of The Galaxy (2013) and The Quantified Self (2015), Yaara Sumeruk's Ringo (2012) and Parliamo Italiano (2013) and Lauren Fritz's Gallina (2015).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

23rd Annual New York African Diaspora International Film Festival Nov 27 to Dec 13 2015

From a media release:

November 27 to December 13, 2015

Find out about the Festival here 
Find out about their South Africa focus here 
Download the complete schedule

New York, November 18, 2015 -- New York City is considered the center of independent cinema in the US. The large number of film festivals that showcase independent films from all over the world in New York City is remarkable. The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is one of those festivals.

The 23rd African Diaspora Film Festival is to be held in Manhattan, New York City from November 27 to December 13 at MIST Harlem, Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas and Teachers College, Columbia University with the presentation of more than 50 films, including 26 US and NY Premieres.

Dedicated to showcasing independent films that explore the human experience of people of color, ADIFF has enriched for many years the cultural landscape of New York City and is proud to announce, as part of its 23rd edition, a selection of films Made in New York and/or directed by New York based filmmakers.

• "The Bicycle" by James Richards is a Queens set family film that takes a child and an adult on a journey through the many worlds that make up their community thus connecting them in a way neither could have imagined.
• "Cu-Bop: Cuba -- New York Music Documentary" by Shinichi Takahashi follows the gifted young Cuban pianist Axel Tosca who lives in New York City, and performs as the leader of (U)NITY, a band which fuses Afro-Cuban culture with modern jazz and hip-hop.
• "Shelter" by Paul Bettany and starring Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie tackles drug addiction and homelessness in the streets of Manhattan.
• "The Challenger" by Kent Moran, featuring Michael Clarke Duncan in his last role,  is a boxing drama set in the Bronx.
• "Lift Every Voice" by Dallas Alexis is about a teacher who was able to get her students motivated and interested into the New York State/City High School  Regents' Exams by incorporating RAP and HIP-HOP into her lectures.

• Stanley Nelson will present his latest documentary "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" about the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party during the 1960s and beyond
• Sabrina Schmidt Gordon will present her documentary "BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez" about the legendary poet, playwright, activist and seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement (pictured right).
• Carol Bash will present her documentary "Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings The Band" about the pianist and composer who helped shape the sound of 20th century America with her innovative style.
• Jordi Torrens will present "Invisible Heroes: African American in the Spanish Civil War" which tells the remarkable story of African Americans who fought as volunteers in Spain for democracy and for civil rights that were denied to them in their own country
• Melissa Lefkowitz and Dorian Carli-Jones will present their film "China Remix" a short documentary that explores  the Chinese city Guangzhou"™s burgeoning African entertainment industry.
• Geeta Gandbhir will present her documentary "A Journey Of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers" which follows three women in an all-female, predominantly Muslim unit of police officers sent to post-earthquake Haiti as UN Peacekeepers for one year.
• James Richards, director of "The Bicycle" and Dallas Alexis, director of "Lift Every Voice" are also New York based filmmakers.

The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.
  ....that showcases films about the human experience of people  of color all over the world
  ....that offers an alternative world view
  ....that enhances the cultural landscape of the USA
  ....that encourages dialog across communities
  ....that could use your support

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Recently Released: The Liquorsmiths - This Book Belongs To (Inhesion Records: August 21st 2015)

With material from a release:

Recently Released:
The Liquorsmiths - This Book Belongs To
(Inhesion Records: August 21st, 2015)

Buy the CD

The members of Liquorsmith come together in San Diego, CA, although only one is permanently based there. The others come from San Francisco and as far away as New York City. The exercise seems worth it, however, if this kind of music is the result.

This Book Belongs To is their recent release, a six-track EP. The Liquorsmiths take the familiar and laid back folk/rock vibe and add a layer of musical complexity at all levels that elevates it well above the usual fare.

It begins with Coy With Me, a rollicking track with a swingy pulse. 'Laid back' is perhaps misleading; Get Well Soon (the lead single) trips along with an upbeat energy, the lyrics treading the territory of relationships and personal affairs in the folk tradition.

Take all that I have
Give it away
Put dogs and shoes in its place
And I'll stay
Because here I have what I need...

There's a charming sincerity to Drew Thams' vocals; he plays it straight with the lyrics and it works nicely, giving his voice an expressive range.

I confess to a fondness for a country waltz and that's delivered nicely in Iris' Song and Thief offers an interesting rhythmic complexity. In a trio, everyone needs to do time and a half or thereabouts and the bar is set high for musical chops. That's clear on Devil I Do with its hypnotic groove.

The group usually performs as a trio with frequent guest appearances by friends and family. They've been performing along the West Coast and in the folk festival circuit and have shared the stage with a variety of artists at all levels, including Mike Pope, The Marshall Tucker Band, William Walter, John C. Reilly, and many others.

It's worth a listen if only for the drumming alone. Americana is a familiar genre, sure, but the Liquorsmiths manage to mine new territory within it.

Members/Instruments: Drew Thams - Vocals / Guitar, Ryan Fischer - Keyboards / Drums / Percussion, Clayton Payne - Drums / Percussion

01 Coy With Me
02 Get Well Soon
03 Iris' Song
04 Thief
05 Devil I Do
06 Day By Day

Stay in touch:

Using an Antique Typewriter, Egg Shaker, Toy Xylophone and a beat up guitar, The Liquorsmiths perform a Tiny Desk rendition of "Coy With Me."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

International Art News: 6th Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen goes to Jennifer Tee

From a media release:

International Art News: 
6th Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen goes to Jennifer Tee
The Soul in Limbo, Jennifer Tee's first museum solo exhibition in the Netherlands.

Prize presentation and exhibition opening of The Soul in Limbo by Jennifer Tee on 22 November 2015 in the Cobra Museum of Modern Art.
Jennifer Tee meets Cobra: collaboration between the Cobra Museum and Kunstverein Amsterdam. Alongside Jennifer Tee, works from the Cobra Museum by Pierre Alechinsky, Reinhoud, Eugène Brands and Frits Lemaire will also be on view. On show in the Kunstverein Amsterdam from 27 November.

AMSTELVEEN, NL - Jennifer Tee (NL 1973) is the winner of the 6th edition of the Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen. With this award The Cobra Museum of Modern Art and the Amstelveen Municipality aim to draw attention to the values of the Cobra movement - experimental, engaged and interdisciplinary - in relation to contemporary art. Headed by Saskia van Kampen, curator at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the jury remarked, “Over many years Jennifer Tee has shown herself to be a unique multi-talent, who can throw herself into making a thought-provoking choreography with the same apparent ease as creating a huge hanging sculpture. And it is extraordinary how, no matter how multi-layered her work may be, it still remains accessible for a wide public. The jury was unanimous in its decision to award the 2015 Cobra Art Prize to the multi-disciplinary artist, Jennifer Tee.” (Jennifer Tee, Shuudan Koudou (collective action), Ether Plane / Material Diagram series 4, plate 3, 50 x 84 cm)

Jennifer Tee
Jennifer Tee's work is very diverse in form, from almost impossible to make ceramics to hand-knitted floorpieces from curved bamboo floating in fragile balance to complex performances. Collaboration with others (artists, graphic designers, choreographers) and the surroundings in which a work is created play an important role. One example is the progressive manner with which Tee investigates the changeability and complexity of constantly overlapping cultures. Her work attempts to capture and reactivate recurring themes in Western culture and art history and to permeate them with Eastern philosophy.

Exhibition: The Soul in Limbo, until 21 February 2016
The Soul in Limbo* is the first museum retrospective of Tee's work to be held in the Netherlands. Taking the themes of 'Language', 'Choreography' and ‘Occult Geometry’, the exhibition looks back on her work's development over the last 10 years and includes new pathways extending into the future. Elements from Tee's previous installations are grouped in each section and include banners, ceramic vases, spheres and masks, photography, sculpture, knitted floor pieces and diagrams. The exhibition also features material connected with her work processes and sources of inspiration.

*The title of the exhibition is taken from the statement, “I am the soul in limbo”, made by Nadja, the central character in the eponymous novel by André Breton.

Right: publication dust-jacket, The Soul in Limbo, designed by Richard Niessen, 2015.

Written, spoken and sung language make up a recurring theme in much of Tee's work. The language-based performances in particular are a key part of her oeuvre. Tee's interest in written language has led to research into Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese calligraphy - both forms in which texts and symbols show an affinity with choreography. The performances have gone on to develop more and more into remarkably devised choreographies. Three of these performances and choreographies will be carried out during the exhibition. Left: Jennifer Tee, Star Crossed, performance for the exhibition Nether Land, Shanghai Expo, China, 2010 © Photo by Peter Cox

Exhibition: Jennifer Tee meets Cobra
Simultaneously with the exhibition in Amstelveen, there will be a show of works at the Kunstverein in Amsterdam chosen by Jennifer Tee and Maxime Kopsa (Kunstverein) from the Cobra Museum collection. Works by Pierre Alechinsky, Reinhoud, Eugène Brands and Frits Lemaire will be displayed along with a work by Tee. 27 November – 2 January 2016

Publication: The Soul in Limbo
The Soul in Limbo is a monograph compiled by Jennifer Tee in collaboration with Hilde de Bruijn. Some of the images have never before been published. Articles by Zoë Gray (Senior Curator, Wiels, Brussel), Maxine Kopsa (director, Kunstverein, Amsterdam) and Monica Szewczyk (co-curator, Documenta 14) interpret Tee's work. The Soul in Limbo was designed by Richard Niessen and published by Roma Publications. The book presentation will be held on Sunday, 29 November (during the Amsterdam Art Weekend) from 12:00 in the Kunstverein at 132 Gerard Doustraat, Amsterdam. (Right: Jennifer Tee left: Heart Ferment, ceramic urn filled with crystals and spices, 2014 right: Star-Crossed, Witte de With, Expo 2010,Shanghai)

Previous winners of the Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen:
Joost Conijn 2005; Johannes Schwartz 2007; Gijs Frieling 2009; Nathaniel Mellors 2011; Metahaven 2014

The Cobra Art Prize jury consisted of Saskia van Kampen-Prein (curator, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, chair), Roos Gortzak (director, De Vleeshal, Middelburg), Domeniek Ruyters (chief editor, MetropolisM) and Katja Weitering (artistic director, Cobra Museum). The Cobra Art Prize committee members are Marieke Sanders-ten Holte, Mels Crouwel, Eelco Dijk and Els Ottenhof. The publication was made possible through support by Galerie Fons Welters, the Mondriaan Fund, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, and the Tijl Fund. With special thanks to Zwaan Printmedia.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Canada’s luxury travel expert Tamara Moore stars in Après Ski on SliceTM Premiere episode November 17 2015

From a media release:

Canada’s luxury lifestyle and travel expert 
Tamara Moore stars in new series Après Ski on SliceTM
Premiere episode to air November 17, 2015

Escape the winter blues with exceptional trips from Ascent Behave

• Check out a preview of episode #1 here

TORONTO, ON – Tamara Moore, owner and president of Ascent Behave, is a top luxury lifestyle and travel expert who offers luxe-getaway seekers premiere vacations and travel services. With more than 15 years working with Hollywood elite, Moore has garnered a reputation as one of the country’s leading authorities in luxury travel.

This Canadian travel maven and TV personality is also starring in Après Ski, a new docu-series premiering Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 11pm EST/8pm PST on SliceTM. Set in Whistler, British Columbia, the show centers around Canadian hospitality mogul Joey Gibbons’ travel concierge business Gibbons Life, Moore the CEO of Gibbons Life and their dynamic team members who work to orchestrate unforgettable experiences for clients – and who will do anything to make it big in the travel concierge business.

“I have always had a great passion for discovering the world and providing people with unforgettable experiences,” said Moore. “There are so many beautiful and interesting places to visit and I help to ensure my clients go to the most luxurious spots with incredible service, food and atmosphere.”

Based in Toronto and founded in 2010, luxury lifestyle/travel concierge company Ascent Behave offers an unparalleled ability to create bespoke experiences through its unique partner properties, brand partnerships and celebrity access to provide superior experiences for its affluent clientele.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Indie Rock Review: Andy Evans - Miracle (Independent - January 26, 2016)

With material from a release:

Indie Rock Review:
Andy Evans - Miracle
(Independent - January 26, 2016)

Miracle is the first solo release for Texas based songwriter, guitarist and singer Andy Evans. It's a  interesting album with a musical depth beyond that of your typical singer/songwriter.

From an avant garde intro, the CD launches into Lesson Learned, a track that showcases Andy's vocals with acoustic guitar and piano to back it up. His voice is rich with a nice edge at the lower end of his range that suits the philosophical lyrics,

You live and you learn
You see the advice of wiser ones
Cause ou might fall and you might get burned
Just chalk it up as a lesson learned

Overall, the album focuses on Andy's warm voice and accomplished musical chops in a laid back, folk/country/rock mode with the help of equally accomplished back-up musicians. Rhythmic variations add texture and a lot of interest. Production by Nick Jay offers a nice full sound.

Each track offers something new stylistically. Shape of Love features horns in a swingy country rock vibe with a New Orleans flair and interesting rhythmic complexity. Judas takes a step both back and forward into a spacey Seventies rock mode. Wish She Was Mine is slower and soulful, complete with a fat B3 and slide guitar to add to the sense of emotion.

Make It is a highlight, with its spooky retro rock riffs and a perfect adaptation of his vocals to an edgy, distorted sound. Miracle, the first single and title track, is another highlight with it strong, jazzy rhythmic pulse and danceable grooves.

Andy has been active for many years on the local music scene in central Texas, playing guitar, singing and building a following as the front man of the blues/rock outfit Andy Evans & The Brotherhood. He has played shows with Brandon and Sam Riggs and has frequently collaborated with North Texas singing/songwriting fixture Clayton Landua of Six Market Blvd.

Now firmly established in Austin, Texas, Andy Evans is currently putting together a series of live shows in support of this first release.

Track Listing: 
1. Intro; 2. Miracle; 3. 45; 4. Lesson Learned; 5. Shape Of Love; 6. Judas; 7. I wish She Was Mine; 8. Elemental; 9. Make It


Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale November 17 2015 to January 3 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale
with Taylor Dayne
Winter Garden Theatre • 189 Yonge Street

Get tickets

TORONTO - DEE SNIDER’S ROCK & ROLL CHRISTMAS TALE tells the story of Däisy Cütter, a heavy metal bar band looking to make it big even though the 80s are LONG over. This year, these four guys are ready to take the ultimate step and, in mythic rock tradition, sell their souls to the devil in exchange for success beyond their wildest metal dreams! But every time they try to seal the infernal pact, their head-banging anthems turn into warm-hearted carols. Soon these rockers are forced to realize their dreams of stardom are no match for the Christmas spirit.

Dee Snider, lead singer of Twisted Sister, has created and stars in a VERY funny, VERY rocking and (sshhh!) VERY sweet new holiday musical, guaranteed to rock your whole family’s holiday and twist your Christmas.

Facebook: DeeSniderXmas
Twitter: @DSXMAS

Monday, November 9, 2015

Travel News: Air Canada Makes Up with Musicians

Travel News:
Air Canada Revises Policy on Musical Instruments

Tales of musicians, their travels and their instruments don't always have a happy ending, sad to say. Air Canada has been on the receiving end of a number of high profile complaints including Hamilton musician Stephen Fearing (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings) and his 2014 Twitter war over a lost (temporarily, luckily) guitar and Bryan Adams' recent inquiries over black magic marker on his guitar last summer.

Still, it looks like the airline is getting the message and recently came out with revised guidelines for instruments.

You can view the full guidelines here.

The important points are as follows:

• Instruments that otherwise meet the guidelines for carry-on luggage can be brought in the cabin and stored in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.
• String instruments (e.g. guitars, violins and violas) can be carried on board - even if their dimensions slightly exceed the carry-on size limits.
• The airline now offers a 50% discount off any fare, including the lowest available one, to customers who would like to purchase a seat to accommodate their musical instrument in the same cabin that they are booked in.
• If you’re traveling with a musical instrument as carry-on, you will now be invited to board the plane during pre-boarding in advance of general boarding so you’ll have a little more time to store your precious possession in an overhead bin close to your seat. If you need help with this, a flight attendants will be happy to assist.

This looks to be one of the more liberal policies anywhere in the world. In contrast, US carriers were only just mandated to allow musicians to carry smaller instruments - including guitars - in the cabin as checked luggage. Qantas doesn't allow any guitars in the cabin and beware of Lufthansa, where musical instruments need pre-registration and where extra fees apply.

A parody of the bad old days - But those days are over musical friends!

Travel News: Ocean By H10 Hotels Earns Nine Prestigious Industry Awards And International Certifications For 2015

From a media release:

Ocean By H10 Hotels Earns Nine Prestigious Industry Awards
And International Certifications For 2015

Riviera Maya, MEXICO (Oct. 26, 2015) -- Ocean By H10 Hotels, with all-inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya and Riviera Cancun (Mexico), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), and Varadero and Cayo Santa Maria (Cuba), has been presented with seven 2015 hotel and travel industry awards, including the Apple Vacations Golden Apple Award, rating of 4 or more out of 5, the RCI Gold Crown® Resort designation, TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence, Trip Advisor® Eco Leaders Gold, Expedia® Top Three Hotels in Riviera Maya, Zoover Holiday Reviews Certificate of Excellence.  International Certifications bestowed upon Ocean By H10 Hotels resorts this year also include the European Travelife Gold Sustainability in Tourism Certificate and designation as ISO 9001:2008 Certified by the world's largest developer of international standards.

"We are extremely proud of our Mexico and Dominican Republic resorts which continue to earn these prestigious awards and honors each and every year," said David Muñoz, Director of Marketing for Ocean by H10 Hotels.  "These recognitions, each with their vigorous requirements, evaluations and standards, serve as benchmarks for us to continue to raise the bar more and more on what we provide for our guests and how we are seen as a company."

Pristine beaches, close proximity to gateway airports, a la carte restaurants and a unique "all-inclusive 24 hours" identity characterize the Ocean by H10 Hotels brand.  The company's 320-room Ocean Maya Royale (Couples Only) in Riviera Maya, Mexico, the 591-room Ocean Coral & Turquesa Resort in Riviera Cancun, Mexico, and 570-room Ocean Blue & Sand Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, complete the Ocean by H10 portfolio.

• For information on Ocean by H10 Hotels or to make a reservation, go to or call 1-888-531-8927 FREE from within the U.S. and Canada.

About Ocean by H10
Ocean by H10 Hotels was founded in 2007 as a joint venture between Spain-based H10 Hotels and Vacances Air Transat, a leading Canadian tour operator and charter carrier. The company currently operates resorts in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, where two new hotels will open in the coming months: the 470-room Ocean Vista Azul in Varadero on Nov. 1, 2015 and the 800-room Ocean Casa del Mar on Dec. 15, 2015 in Cayo Santa Maria, which serve as a complement to the current 420-room Ocean Varadero El Patriarca in Varaderoand the H10 Habana Panorama, a 320-room urban hotel in Havana.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Soundstreams presents ELECTRIC MESSIAH December 7 and 8 2015 at Drake Hotel Toronto

From a media release:

Soundstreams presents 
Part of the Ear Candy series
December 7 and 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm, Drake Hotel Underground

Handel goes Underground: A stripped down, surround-sound electro-improv Messiah for today’s Toronto.

Get tickets

Tuesday, November 3 // Toronto – Soundstreams presents the first concert from our newest series dedicated to musical exploration, Ear Candy. Electric Messiah, running December 7 and 8 at the Drake Hotel Underground, is a new holiday tradition that takes Handel’s masterpiece apart and puts it back together again, reconnecting Toronto audiences to the music of the season in a way that is surprising, fresh, and fun.

“This type of Messiah has never been done in Toronto before,” says Kyle Brenders, Ear Candy curator and Soundstreams Artistic Associate. “Musically, we’re hoping the feel will be something like a mashup of Handel, Bjork, and Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey—but you’ll have to come to find out! We’ll also celebrate Messiah as a community experience, and are excited to push audience immersion further outside of a conventional concert hall.”

Composed in three weeks in the late summer of 1741, Messiah was originally written for modest vocals and instrumentation, only later becoming the huge annual spectacle we are familiar with today. Stripping Handel’s music back down to its barest essentials, Electric Messiah enables four singers, accompanied by guitar and electronics, to explore a selection of the work’s most popular movements through the lens of their own unique styles and cultural backgrounds. Featuring South Indian sound poet Gabriel Dharmoo, improvisation specialist and minister’s daughter Christine Duncan, Finnish-Canadian opera singer Carla Huhtanen, and Maliseet musician Jeremy Dutcher, Electric Messiah celebrates a truly Torontonian array of contemporary music talents. As a narrative through line, turntable artist SlowPitch Sound will also weave his magic throughout, mixing in Messiah old and new in humorous and poignant response to the other performers.

Staged in the intimate, cabaret-style Underground of Toronto’s iconic Drake Hotel, in collaboration with dramaturg Ashlie Corcoran (The Ugly One, Tarragon Theatre and Theatre Smash, The Gay Heritage Project, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre) and lighting designer Patrick Lavender (It Comes in Waves, bluemouth inc and Necessary Angel Theatre Company), Electric Messiah is an interactive, surround-sound experience that will never be the same twice.

Ear Candy is supported by NOW Magazine and Sovereign State.

Electric Messiah
December 7 and 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Drake Hotel Underground, 1150 Queen Street West

Gabriel Dharmoo, vocals; Christine Duncan, vocals; Jeremy Dutcher, vocals; Carla Huhtanen, vocals; John Gzowski, guitar; Doug Van Nort, electronics; Electroacoustic Orchestra of York University; SlowPitch Sound, resident DJ.
In collaboration with curator Kyle Brenders, dramaturg Ashlie Corcoran, and lighting designer Patrick Lavender.

• Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door ($25 if you buy both Ear Candy concerts together), and are available at
• Make a night of it: audience members receive a 15% discount on dining at the Drake before the show (food only) with an Electric Messiah ticket.

Electric Counterpoint
March 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm
The Theatre Centre Incubator, 1115 Queen Street West
Featuring: Matt Smith aka Prince Nifty; Brandon Valdivia aka Mas Aya; and Dan Morphy. Resident DJ, SlowPitch Sound.

Soundstreams also offers a Mainstage Concert Series, as well as Salon 21, a free performance and discussion series at the Gardiner Museum.

Sleuthing and Solid Entertainment: Sherlock Holmes in Toronto to November 8 2015

Sleuthing and Solid Entertainment:
Sherlock Holmes
a new theatrical adaptation
with an original script by Greg Kramer

• Sherlock Holmes will be staged at The Ed Mirvish Theatre to Nov. 8 with performances Tuesday - Friday evenings at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. 
• On sale now, tickets range from $39.95 to $119.95 and are available online at and by phone at 1-800-461-3333 FREE.

TORONTO - The ornate David Mirvish Theatre adds to the moody atmosphere of Victorian London as portrayed in this new Canadian interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, starring David Arquette with James Maslow and Renee Olstead.

The trouble with any contemporary interpretation of Sherlock Holmes is that it first haa to fight off the spectre of other pop culture Sherlocks the audience is so familiar with; Benedict Cumerbatch and his functionally dysfunctional Holmes and Robert Downey Jr.'s more action hero take on the eccentric detective. It may take a few minutes to warm up to this comedic interpretation by David Arquette as written by Canadian playwright Greg Kramer but once you leave the comparisons behind there's much to like about his production.

David Arquette's stage version is effete on the surface, shrewd underneath, but don't expect a serious characterization of a highly realistic persona, at least for the most part. The play's rapid fire action and line delivery as the complicated murder plot unfolds give him little time to flesh out the iconic detective until the second half when Holmes has his dark night of doubt and druggie excess. Here Arquette does manage to inject a little gravitas in what is otherwise a strictly comic role in a zany, madcap mode.

The supporting cast is deep on talent, in particular James Maslow (Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush) as Dr. Watson. A real chemistry developed between his even tempered Watson and Arquette's more flamboyant Holmes.  Renee Olstead (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) fulfills her role admirably as the luminous lady in distress - who is really not so much of either, as is typical in the Holmesian cannon. Also worthy of special mention was Toronto actor Kyle Gatehouse as Moriarty - a dandy dressed in red with an appropriately demonic presence. Patrick Costello does a nice job with the hammy role of the clueless Inspector Lestrade and it was nice to see Canadian stage fixture Barbara Gordon lending her considerable talents to the role of Mrs. Hudson, Holmes' long suffering landlady. There are a whole raft of other supporting characters to flesh out the plot that escalates from a body found on the docks to touch on the opium trade.

The show delivers solid entertainment; there were guffaws from the audience and plenty of amusing moments. Production designer James Lavoie works magic with an economy of props, featuring a set up of ladders, scaffolding, screens and curtains that create various scenarios in a moody, foggy London atmosphere. Gorgeous steampunk costumes by Diane Sobers are beautifully detailed and add a great deal to the production overall. It's a fun, enjoyable evening of theatre.

Sherlock Holmes is on stage in Toronto until November 8, after which it kicks off a multi-city tour in the United States with stops in Washington, DC and Chicago, and other locales planned into 2016.