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Showing posts from July, 2010

Calling All Alumni of Vancouver's Theatre Under the Stars

Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) - Vancouver
Calling All Alumni

Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS), one of Vancouver’s most  iconic theatre cmpanies, is looking to get the word out about the launch of its alumni association. TUTS has produced 10,000 alumni over its 64 seasons, and some of you out there may be TUTS alumni or know someone who is, and could help them spread the word.

TUTS’ alumni association is open to anyone who has ever been involved in a TUTS production over the past 64 seasons – on stage, back stage, front of house, etc. Through this association TUTS will reach out to the thousands of former alumni with a newsletter, annual alumni nights, fundraising events and other activities and services.

More about TUTS at this link

Acting on the World Stage - Conference in NYC

La MaMa ETC presents:
Acting On The World Stage: Theatre and Peace Building In Conflict Zones
by Theatre Without Borders
New York - September 23 - 26, 2010

New York City's La MaMa ETC will play host to an interesting conference this September that looks at the role and possibilities of using theatre as a tool to build peace. There is an address for Theatre Without
Borders in New York too, but its members are typically scattered across the world - as I found when I went to ask for an interview. I eventually did get hold of Catherine Filloux, a Fulbright Senior Specialist and playwright, and one of the group's co-founders.

"After September 11, a group of theatre artists founded the group," she says, "we were working internationally. I worked a lot in Cambodia - work to do with genocide and human rights. I'd been embraced before, but after that, there was a chill." She cites a growing list of visa problems for artists trying to collaborate and work abroad, inc…

Oliver Mtukudzi, Tichaona Maredza and a little Bana y'Afrique

Oliver Mtukudzi, Tichaona Maredza and a little Bana y'Afrique
July 24 & 25 - Toronto

There were so many African events in Toronto this past weekend it was hard to decide what to take in, but having missed seeing Oliver Mtukudzi in concert last time around, I couldn't pass up the chance to make up for that now.

You'll see my interview piece at the link, actually from that last time he was in town in November 2009.

Opening up for the Zimbabwean legend was the Tichaona Maredza Quartet, formed by self taught Zimbabwean born Tichaona Daniel Maredza. Based on the acoustic guitar, his music combines the rhythms of his native country with Afrojazz. His lyrics are inspirational and hopeful, and this was his band's second tour opening for Oliver Mtukudzi. The remaining members of the band are Larry Lewis on lead guitar, Andrew Mark on drums and Tichaona Gombiro on bass. His set started with a slower, more laid back tempo, but soon had the audience dancing along with him.

I have…

The Hubert Gallery - New York

The Hubert Gallery
1046 Madison Avenue, New York, NY

If you're lucky enough to be able to afford shopping on Madison Avenue, or just strolling by, there's a quick and refreshing art break to be had in the Hubert Gallery.

You'll have to buzz to get them the open door, and make no mistake, this place is focused on sales of its impressive collection of contemporary original art and modern masters in lithograph and prints, but the elegant ladies who preside over the small rooms of treasure will let you walk around for a bit and browse.

Their collection of Modern Masters includes the likes of Marc Chagall,

Henri Matisse (what someone can do with just line!)

and Picasso

among others, such as Francis Bacon, Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Raoul Dufy, Alberto Giacometti, David Hockney, Fernand Léger, Joan Mirò, Gino Severini & Tom Wesselmann.

Contemporary artists include Paul Chojnowski, Ben Freeman, Linda Holt, Manuel Hughes, Hyena, Geoffrey Johnson, Louise Lawton, Robert …

enRoute Film Festival Showcase & Jury Announced


Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival announces 2010 jury

Canadian short films showcased in-flight

Toronto, ON– Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival today announced it will showcase emerging Canadian short film talent on Air Canada flights around the world from August to November. All 12 selected shorts
will compete for awards for Best Short Film, and Achievement in Direction, Cinematography and Animation.

Millions of Air Canada passengers will be able to view the selected short films on their personal entertainment system with 8.9-inch wide digital in-seat monitors and touch-screen controls offering hours of audio and video-on-demand programming at every seat.

Once again, a star-studded jury will select the winners, each of whom will receive an all-inclusive trip for two to the Whistler Film Festival courtesy of Air Canada. The grand prize winner will also receive $5,000 courtesy of presenting sponsor Cineplex.

This year’s jurors include:
Alan Cumming, ac…

Kubasonics & Kozak Rock in Edmonton

Edmonton will see an album release and the return of Kozak rock July 27 - from a media release:


Recreating traditional Ukrainian melodies with a twist, Edmonton’s Ukrainian folk-fusion band The Kubasonics celebrate their latest album, Kubasonics IV: Play, with a CD release party July 27 at the Edmonton Event Centre (2556 West Edmonton Mall). Tickets are $35, on sale now at the Ukrainian Bookstore (10215 97 Street), online at and by calling 1-888-222-6608.

The Kubasonics rely on a large variety of instruments, including the tsymbaly, drymba, violin and bass, to create their sound, a unique blend of traditional Ukrainian folk, garage rock, ska, pop, punk and polka. Eight of Edmonton’s finest musicians contribute to Kubasonics IV: Play, including a brass and a percussion section, as well as back-up vocalists.

The evening features a rare appearance by Ukraine’s Carpathian ska band and Kozak rocker…

Summer Works Theatre Fest - Free Preview July 24 (Toronto)

I'll have more on SummerWorks Theatre Fest coming soon, but in the meantime, you can catch a FREE (like gratis!) preview of All of Him, an interactive biography as theatrical experience - from a media release:

All of Him - FREE preview before SummerWorks opening!

July 24, 2010, 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Location: Wise Daughters Craft Market, 3079-B Dundas St. West (Toronto, ON)

Written and performed by Tanya Pillay
Directed by Jajube Mandiela

All of Him – An interactive biography of a jovial father with a dark past…a live, local talk show! Cheer and smear collide as you consider and discuss typically taboo subjects without fear of provocation or injury.

Patron Warning: This show contains nuts and sexual content in the narrative.

Watch the trailer here.

Theatre peeps - you will likely appreciate the full design @ SummerWorks, but come to this preview if you might not have $10 to spare between August 5-15.

NO COST but donations toward production costs always welcome.


Hitting a New York Stage Soon - Part II

Hitting a New York Stage Soon - Part II

Here's a look ahead at this fall and beyond to what you'll find on stage in New York City, from new works and débuts to rumours of what may come.

Part II - Off Broadway & Down the Road:
Off Broadway:

This 6 1/2 hour theatrical extravaganza delivers F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - word for word - as spoken by a group of low level office denizens in the middle of their workday. The cast of 13 features Scott Shepherd, and it's directed by John Collins. Bring a cushion - the play will be presented as a marathon with two intermissions and a dinner break. A production of Elevator Repair Service at the Public Theater, opening in previews September 13.

The Language Archive
Julia Cho's new play about a man consumed with preserving and documenting the dying languages of far-flung cultures, oblivious to the emotions of those close to him. A Roundabout Theatre Company production, in previews at the Laura Pels Theatre Septembe…

Love, Loss and What I Wore Official Opening

Love, Loss and What I Wore

Premiere Cast: Paula Brancati, Andrea Martin, Sharron Matthews, Louise Pitre and Mary Walsh.
Directed by Karen Carpenter

Love, Loss and What I Wore comes to Toronto after making a big splash on New York's stages, including an off-Broadway run and then on Broadway in fall of 2009, where stars like Tyne Daly, Rosie O'Donnell and Brooke Shields have been in rotating casts. It official opening is tonight (July 21) after being in previews since last Friday. While the cast is a Who's Who of experienced Canadian actors, the creative team, including director Karen Carpenter, come directly from the New York version.

In a nutshell, it's a series of monologues (with some dialogue I should add,) that tell the stories from the lives of women via clothes, and it began with Ilene Beckerman's 1995 book of the same name. She grew up in Manhattan in the 1940's and 50's, married twice, had six children (one of whom died in infancy) and ended up as V-P …

Brazil - Visual Arts & a little Samba

Brazil: Many Eyes, Different Visions
Part of Expressions of Brazilat Harbourfront Toronto
July 16-18, 2010

I haven't really given much focus to visual arts lately, so I thought that's what I'd do at Expressions of Brazil - with a little samba and a couple of chicken tostadas thrown in too, naturally.

Emilio Boschilia
This artist's work is easily likable.With a preference for bright, saturated colours and motifs from the natural world as well as those of the indigenous people of Brazil, the eye catching compositions have a universal kind of appeal, and one that you'd definitely associate with Brazil.

Chris Harrison
It was Chris Harrison's work that I first saw when I went into the exhibition, and Chris himself that I more or less stumbled upon. He said he was quite honoured to be the only Canadian included in the show, and his documentary style photographs capture two contrasting cities - the moody and impersonal architecture of Sao Paulo, a city of 18 million, and t…

Hitting a New York Stage Soon - Part I

Hitting a New York Stage Soon - Part I

I know it's still summer, but here's a look ahead at this fall and beyond to what you'll find on stage in New York City.
Part I - On Broadway:

A Little Night Music
After Catherine Zeta-Jones won a Tony for her role in this Stephen Sondheim music,  Little Night Music resumed July 13 with new leading ladies Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. Performances continue at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 W. 48th Street).

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
There's a lot of talk about this 'emo-musical', a Public Theater production that had a sold out run at Public LAB in 2009, receiving an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, a Drama Desk Award for Best Book of a Musical and a Audience Award for Favorite Off-Broadway Musical. When the show closed on June 27 after three extensions, BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON was the second highest grossing show in The Public Theater's downtown history.
The show …

Life Is Horrible - Opening in Toronto Aug 5

from a media release - looks like fun:

Team Awesome presents...

A revue of sketch-comedy and nihilism.

Featuring:  Taylor Katz, Matt Nadeau,  Paloma Nunez, Mandy Sellers,  Richard Young
Directed by Stephen Kew
Sketches Written by: Whitney Hewitt, Stephen Kew, Chris New, Aaron Peever, Andrew Smythe

Bread & Circus Theatre
 299 Augusta Ave., Toronto, ON
(One block SW of College and Spadina)
August 5/6/12/13/19 @ 7:30pm
(Doors/Bar: 6:30pm)

Let's be honest: Life Is Horrible. And it's not just the big stuff,  like Wars, Recessions, or Death. It's also in the everyday, like your  low self-esteem sabotaging your date, your boss continually taking credit for your work, or your six-year old son telling your  mother-in-law all the creative names you have for her. But rather than cry about the unfairness of it all, let's Deal With It. By making fun of it! This collection of comedy sketches captures and celebrates the diverse loads of crap dumped dail…

Susan Boyle Song Contest on Youtube

I'm a bit late getting it up - but from a media release:

Susan Boyle Launches International Search To Find A Singer To Duet On Her New Album

“Last year my dream of becoming a recording artist came true after auditioning on Britain's Got Talent. Since then, I’ve had an absolutely fantastic time. It’s been a real gift to me and now I would like to pass on the gift to someone else.” Susan Boyle

(July 9, 2010) – Susan Boyle today launches her international search to find a new singer.

At the end of a phenomenally successful year which saw her debut album smash records and sell over 9 million copies, Susan decided that she wanted to offer someone the opportunity to make their debut in the music industry.

The winner will have the opportunity to duet with Susan on her upcoming second album, The Gift.

The competition is being run through her official website  and her YouTube channel. The competition is open from Friday, July 9th and runs until Friday, July 23rd 2010 with the winner bein…

Mr. Nobody - Opens July 16 in Toronto, Montreal

A young boy stands on a station platform. The train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? An infinity of possibilities rise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.

Every life deserves to be lived.

So says the PR info for this film. I haven't seen it myself, but it does sound interesting - opens in Canada this Friday.

E1 Entertainment presents
A Film By Jaco Van Dormael
A co-production France – Germany – Canada - Belgium
Starring Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diana Kruger, Rhys Ifans, Linh-Dan Pham, Natasha Little

* North American Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2009
* Nominated for Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival 2009

Opens in Toronto and Montreal this Friday, July 16, 2010
Opens in Vancouver July 30th

The present day, more or less. Nemo is 35 years old, married to Elise, with two children. An ordinary man.
But life¹s turning strange: billboards flash messages addressed only to him…

Afrofest Scrapbook - Toronto July 10 & 11

Afrofest 2010
Queen's Park, Toronto
July 10 & 11 2010

I'll let the pictures and video clips do most of the talking for this past weekend of dancing and music and oh so much food! It certainly doesn't cover everything that took place, but here's a smattering of what I was able to take in, hopefully with a glimpse at the sheer variety of what was on offer.

Mohamed Diaby and Manding Foli Kan Don
A native of the Republic of Guinea in West Africa, Mohamed Diaby has been playing the jembe since the age of seven, when he was taught by his brother.At age 15, he began performing professionally, first all over West Africa, moving to NYC and then Atlanta. He now calls Toronto his home base, and has formed Manding Foli Kan Don, a troupe dedicated to bringing the traditions of Manding culture to the world. Their high energy show has a universal appeal.

Doody le Tigre, aka Fritz-Edwin Jocelyn
Born in Montreal, Doody spent his childhood in sunny Haiti. Today his band members come fr…

A Quick Guide to Free Music in NYC

Music (Mostly) Outdoors in NYC

From jazz to global beats to classical and pop, here's a look at just some of the music you'll be able to catch gratis in the great outdoors in NYC this summer - by no means an exhaustive listing, but hopefully a handy one with more to come.

July 25, 2010
52nd Street Association Jazz Festival
This re-creation of Bourbon Street in Manhattan celebrates the birth of jazz on Swing Street. You'll find more than 400 international food, restaurants, art, craft, antique and merchandise exhibitors create a midway along 52nd Street from Lexington to Seventh Avenue. Several pocket stages feature jazz and entertainment for all.
52nd Street, from Lexington to 7th Avenue
Admission is free.
Infophone - 212--809-4900
Email -
Hours: 10am-6pm

July 13   NY Philharmonic Central Park Great Lawn  8:00pm
Andrey Boreyko, Conductor  ·  Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Long Yu, Conductor  ·  Lang Lang, Piano  ·  Ying H…

The Kreutzer Sonata, Ted Dykstra & Tolstoy in Toronto


SummerWorks Theatre Festival presents an Art of Time Ensemble
and Prairie Ocean Inc co-production
The Kreutzer Sonata
Featuring Ted Dykstra in his adaptation of
Leo Tolstoy's novella of the same name
(Lyev Nikolayevich Tolstoy is pictured right)

Toronto, July 8, 2010 - SummerWorks Theatre Festival will present The Kreutzer Sonata, Tolstoy's passionate novella adapted for the stage and performed by multi-award-winning actor and director Ted Dykstra, at Theatre Passe Muraille from August 5-15, 2010.  Tickets go on sale July 12.

Originally commissioned and produced by Andrew Burashko for Art of Time Ensemble in 2008, The Kreutzer Sonata was presented as part of a multi-disciplinary evening to sold-out houses for two consecutive seasons.

Underscored by Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata (Sonata for violin and piano No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47), the story explores the dark side of male-female relationships as it tells a tale involving marriage, love, hatred, sexual jealous…

Mary Walsh, Margot Kidder & Sharron Matthews join Love, Loss and What I Wore

" L O V E, L O S S, A N D   W H A T   I   W O R E "

Tickets on Sale NOW through SEPTEMBER 4

Toronto, July 6, 2010
- Producers Michael Rubinoff and Daryl Roth announced today that Margot Kidder, Sharron Matthews and Mary Walsh are the latest Canadian stars to join the cast for the Canadian premiere of the award-winning New York smash hit Love, Loss, and What I Wore, an intimate collection of stories by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron that won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience. This exciting stage event runs July
16-September 4 at Toronto's Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge St.) and features a cast of five that rotates in four-week cycles. Tickets are on sale now.

Eighteen-time Gemini winner Mary Walsh ("This Hour Has 22 Minutes", "CODCO") and Toro…

NEeMA Watching You Think CD Release

Watching You Think
Sony Music Entertainment (2010)
Produced by NEeMA in association with Leonard Cohen and Pierre Marchand

On stage, her presence is as charming and unaffected as an intimate vocal style that ranges from soft and girlish to a hard edged alto. The lyrics betray her roots as a poet, thoughtful and insightful of the nuances of life and love.

If the music of Montréal's NEeMA is hard to categorize - rootsy pop with shades of global and jazzy beats -  you can most likely credit it to her wide ranging resumé and a life spent largely off the beaten path. Born in MTL to a family of Egyptian and Lebanese decent, she includes working with street kids in Egypt and with Tribal elders managing Wekweti, an isolated First Nation community in the far north in her work experience. Still, there was one thread that ran through it all.

"Writing was always a part of it. I've been writing poetry since I was 7, then I wrote my first song in grade school - words and melody,"…

Noah Reid Stars in Score: A Hockey Musical, Soulpepper’s Jitters


Noah Reid stars in Score: A Hockey Musical, Soulpepper’s Jitters

Toronto, ON – Toronto-born actor Noah Reid is set to star on the big screen this fall with a lead role in the Canadian-directed, musically driven comedy Score: A Hockey Musical. The film hits theatres in October 2010, and is anticipating acceptance at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Set and shot in Toronto, writer/director Michael McGowan (One Week) tells the story of 17-year-old Farley (Reid), a quirky home-schooled teenager who shoots from obscurity to a hockey phenom in a matter of weeks, and then struggles with his new-found fame. Reid stars, and sings, opposite Olivia Newton John (singer/actress) and Marc Jordan (composer), who play his highbrow parents, reluctant about their son’s zero-to-hero hockey stardom.

“Hockey has been such a huge part of my life. I grew up playing the game and cheering for the Leafs.  To work with such an amazing cast and crew on a film about …