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Showing posts from October, 2009

Nightwood Theatre - 4x4 Festival

Nightwood Theatre Presents
4x4 Festival
An Off Road Event of Women Directors
October 26 - November 22

Nightwood Theatre has been helping to support and develop women in theatre for thirty years now, but you don't have to be a devotee of anything but theatre itself to enjoy its current set of offerings under the title 4x4 Festival. The event showcases four of Canada's top women directors in shows taken from the international reportoire of plays by women. As Artistic Director Kelly Thornton explains, "I wanted to take the emphasis off world premiere and playwright, and to have instead a more focused look at interpretation and the director's oeuvre."

A national study called Equity in Canadian Theatre: The Women's Initiative, launched by Nightwood with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and the Playwrights' Guild of Canada in 2004-2005 confirmed the suspicion that the result of largely male artistic direction led to significantly fewer female playwr…

Cabaret in Toronto - CanWest Cabaret Festival (Oct 29-Nov 1)

Canwest Cabaret Festival
The Distillery District
60 concerts. 5 intimate club venues
150 of Canada's greatest performers.
All under 1 roof. October 29 - November 1

What do you know about cabaret in Toronto? Even if you consider yourself a downtown denizen who's up on the latest club openings and closings, you may not realize the city's diverse entertainment scene also includes a healthy dose of good old fashioned glitzy, torchy, funny and fascinating cabaret shows. One of the great things about cabaret, of course, is its intimate atmosphere, along with the great variety of acts you can sample - and also that you can have a drink and nosh while you're enjoying it!

The Festival:
Whether the scene is new to you or old hat, the Canwest Cabaret Festival this coming weekend promises to deliver an incredible potpourri - a slew (60 to be exact) of shows that feature some of the country's most talented performers, including Steven Page, Molly Johnson, Brent Carver and Sarah Slean…

I'm in a play - Shameless Self Promotion

Sex, Relationships And Sometimes ...Love
October 25, 6pm show
Poor Alex Theatre
772A Dundas St W (upstairs)

So I'm in a play, a monologue show called Sex, Relationships And Sometimes ...Love, written by Joelle Arqueros and enjoying an open ended 6 year run at The Michael Chekov Theatre in NYC. I'm not in that production, (six years' work would be nice!!), but I am in the new Toronto version, at least I will be this Sunday at 6pm.

It's fairly late notice, so I'll forgive you if you don't make it - just barely! We've been in rehearsals forever it seems, and the play has a bit of a floating cast (39 actors over 26 monologues) so even if you've seen it before, it's different every show.

Codetalkers of the Digital Divide (New Media Show)

Codetalkers of the Digital Divide(or why we didn’t become “roadkill on the information superhighway”)
A Space Gallery Toronto - on view to October 24

Featuring: Alanis Obomsawin, Buffy Sainte Marie, Melanie Printup Hope, Ahasiw Maskegon Iskwew, Mike MacDonald, Jimmie Durham, Jackson 2bears, Jennifer Wemigwans, Isuma

A Space Gallery was packed on October 16 to hear the curator and artists from Codetalkers of the Digital Divide talk about their work, lending a festive energy to an event that was part of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. The second half of that equation was well represented in a wide variety of works that took advantage of the possibilities of the digital realm.

Singer/activist and Academy Award winner Buffy Sainte Marie's digital prints gave the show its iconic images, including three large prints from her Painting with Light series. Completed in 1994, Sainte Marie used early versions of digital imaging software like PixelPaint and MacPaint to add shimmering…

imagineNATIVE : A trio of Docs

A look at three of the documentary offerings in the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, with many thanks to the NFB - I love you guys!

2009, Canada, 67 min, Digital Beta, World Premiere
Director: Dennis Allen

Community-run CBQM radio station embodies the heart of the Teetl’it Gwitch’in community of Fort McPherson, NWT, and this film takes you right inside the life of the northern community, with its casual and friendly vibe. CBQM is really the intersection of the town, dispensing recipes, idle chitchat, Bingo, spiritual advice and personal messages called in by its listeners, among its many roles. The RCMP constable reports on egging incidents and curfews and such, along with reminders about the upcoming Elder dinner and a wolf sighting on Main Sreet. It's a very real lifeline during the endless winter nights, and all year round.

The documentary uses a classic "show and don't tell" style, all observation with no narrative voice, simply following the people and …

Carmen Unzipped

Carmen Unzipped
with Jean Stilwell and Patti Loach
October 17

You can check out the newly renovated Centre for the Performing Arts in Richmond Hill along with an evening of cabaret style entertainment with Mezzo Soprano Jean Stilwell and pianist Patti Loach all at the same time this Saturday, October 17 with Carmen Unzipped. The show will open the Classical Music Series at the gorgeously refurbished venue. (Both images by Ian Brown - Ms Stilwell in red, Ms Loach in black.)

Stilwell's flare for high - and sometimes outrageous - fashion is hidden from view during her "other gig" as half of the morning team at The New Classical 96.3FM, (the other half being Mike Duncan), but will be in full view and full force for the evening, along with her stellar pipes in a show that combines pieces from Kurt Weill and Edith Piaf, Moose Charlap, Maltby and Shire with more contemporary songwriters from New York's cabaret scene such as John Bucchino, and Goldrich and Heisler. Naturally, th…

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival Opens with a Bang

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Opening Night October 14

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival kicked off with a bang last night - a full house at the Bloor Cinema for two fascinating films and a rocking after party at the Century Room later on.

The films were actually a late start as organizers struggled to find seats for everyone in the capacity crowd, but well worth the wait, particularly after a brief live performance by extraordinary throat singer Tanya Tagaq before the screenings. She also stars in Tungijuq, a short directed by Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael, and co-starring Zacharias Kunuk, also executive producer, and also the director of Atanarjuat :Fast Runner, the film that caused such a splash at Cannes in 2001. The short looks at the Inuit hunting tradition with spectacular visuals and a poetic sensibility.

The main event was director Neil Diamond's Reel Injun, a documentary that follows Diamond's physical and spiritual journey from his home town, a…

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

10th Annual
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Presented by CTVglobemedia
October 14 – 18, 2009

In its ten year history, the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival has come to be a real showcase for innovative work along with yet another chance to schmooze with industry types in Toronto hotspots.

If you're a filmmaker (and an attending Festival Delegate), it offers the chance to connect with distributors and possible sources of funding with a view to fostering future partnerships. As a film and media hound, you'll get your choice of over 125 works from Indigenous artists from around the world, including Nepal, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Germany, the United States, Russia, Finland, and from across Canada. On this, their 10th anniversary, the overall theme is the evolution of Indigenous cinema.

Here are some highlights:
Oct 14 Opening Night: the feature documentary Reel Injun, a look at the stereotypes of the cowboy and Indian era, with hilarious clips and interviews with pe…

Good Hair - a review of Chris Rock's documentary

Good Hair
Directed by Jeff Stilson
Starring Chris Rock
Produced by Chris Rock & Kevin O'Donnell

It's bigger than porn! That's right, one of the people interviewed in Good Hair, the Chris Rock documentary, mentions that the black haircare biz (i.e. the business of "doing" the hair of African Americans) is worth about $9 billion a year, more than the oft quoted $8 billion that the adult video biz supposedly brings in. That figure is just one of many revelations uncovered by this very funny and fascinating flick.

And I should clarify - it's a revelation if you're not of African descent. If you're black, and especially if you're a black woman, the vast amounts of cash poured into this industry will certainly be no revelation to you. One of Chris Rock's adorable little daughters came to him one day to demand "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?". Good Hair the movie is the result of his quest to answer that question, and Rock trav…

Nuit Blanche in Parkdale (Oct 4, 2009)

Nuit Blanche in Parkdale
- or, a defense of modernist face painting

Nuit Blanche is a French expression for those occasions when you stay up all night, (of course they'd have an expression for that!), and as an arts event, it had its inception, appropriately enough, in Paris in 2002. Toronto followed suit in 2006, delighting crowds and invading the downtown with contemporary art in all its permutations - performance, video, even the museums were open all night. From its second year on, however, Toronto's version has come under fire for everything from traffic problems to a dearth of "real" well, Art, and with its official moniker now Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, I guess the corporate angle is hard to deny.

Yet, despite the griping, the crowds have continued to come out, crowds that probably aren't hardcore art fans - but isn't that something of the point? Bringing art to the masses and all that? I spent this year's fest, a few hours of it, all in Parkdale, away …

Theater New York - part deux

Hopefully all the star power on Broadway isn't taking audiences away from the many fine off Broadway shows this season. Here are some interesting picks:

Does happily ever after exist?? That's the question examined in Down the Rabbit Hole, a one woman show written entirely in Def-Jam Poetry, spoken word, verse and music. It's been called shocking yet whimsical.. and sounds like it's worth checking out.
Opened October 1Limited run to October 17

Experience documentary theatre with Aftermath, a powerful look at the Iraq war from the point of view of Iraqi citizens. New York Theatre Workshop sent Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen to Jordan to interview Iraqis as they fled the chaos of the war, and those stories form the basis for this work.
Extended to October 18

Oscar Wilde's delightful fairytale comes to life in The Selfish Giant, a family friendly show that includes music, dance, storytelling and puppetry. You can add to the experience with a pre-show arts workshop where you …

Theater Mecca New York - Part I The Big Shows

New York's theatre scene is buzzing despite- or maybe because of ? - all that bad economic news, with a truckload of Hollywood stars hitting the stage. Here are some bits and bites of the Big Shows and what looks hot:

Still running:

You can't talk about Broadway this season without mentioning A Steady Rain, the Hugh Jackman/Daniel Craig hit that's been packing in audiences since it began previews on September 10. Jackman was in the news for stepping out of character to chastise someone whose cell phone was ringing, along with racking up a Broadway record with $1.17 million in sales during the week ending September 20 - while it was still in previews! The drama involves two Chicago policemen and friends with different recollections of a domestic disturbance. (Image of Jackman by Franz Richter, 2009)
Opening Night was September 29
Limited run engagement till December 6

Straight from London's West End, Jude Law takes the role of the melancholy Dane in Hamlet. Law's been ge…