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Showing posts from August, 2010

W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney

W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney Stories
Directed by Clairmont Chung - Roots and Culture Media
Screened as part of the African Diaspora Film Festival - New York (August 28, 2010)

In one segment of this absorbing documentary, Dr. Walter Anthony points out that while North Americans of European origins retain their cultural ancestry, "Africans who are ripped from the continent mysteriously
disappear... and become negros." It's a mere taste of the blunt yet literately phrased analysis of racial politics, colonialism and corruption that earned him fame and the respect of many - just as it did the dangerous enmity of figures in places of power.

This documentary film tackles the short 38 year life of Guyanese born political thinker, brilliant scholar and poltical revolutionary. Throughout a career that took him from his native Guyana to London, Tanzania, Jamaica and then finally back home, he became an increasingly influential figure in a global movement towards anti-coloni…

Art of Time opens New Season with Schumann

From a media release:

Art of Time Ensemble presents
September 17-18 at Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre:
A tragic, beautiful life, a musical genius revealed.

Toronto, August 20, 2010 - The Art of Time Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Andrew Burashko, presents Robert Schumann 1810-2010, a multidimensional program celebrating the music and tragic life of
famed composer Robert Schumann, running September 17-18 at Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre, sponsored by BMO Financial.

In classic Art of Time fashion, Robert Schumann 1810-2010 transcends musical boundaries in its exploration of the late composer's music, combining readings from Schumann's own letters and critical writings with selections of his music, including the Andante from his Piano Quartet Op.47, selections from Kreisleriana, a selection of lieder, and the entire Piano Quintet Op.44.

Singers Andy Maize (founding member of country/folk/rock outfit Skydiggers) and Mike Ross (S…

Art Stylists Launching in Toronto (and it's free!)

An artsy (for real) stylist service being launched in town. I'm just back from New York, as it happens, where I was hearing about a new hotel going up on SoHo with an art curator as an integral part of the crew, part of a growing trend. I love the idea of taking art beyond the gallery. From a media release - and note that the service is free:

The Art Stylists launches custom-curated art collections

Innovative service provides art solutions for Torontonians

Toronto, ON – Local experts in all things artistic, Manny Neubacher and Anya Shor today announced the official launch of The Art Stylists, a free art consultation service that provides art solutions for homes, businesses and event spaces alike. Giving careful consideration to spatial requirements, budgets and existing elements in the room, The Art Stylists specializes in fashioning any environment, from lobbies and boardrooms, to kitchens and nurseries. The company works to make the walls of Toronto’s living spaces more beautiful b…

Odessa/Havana - Jewish Cuban Mash Up at Toronto's Ashkenaz Fest

From a media release - Jewish-Cuban fusion at the Ashkenaz Festival Toronto - they've gotten rave reviews wherever they've played:

David Buchbinder's
At the Ashkenaz Festival
Harbourfront Centre in The Brigantine Room

Odessa/Havana, David Buchbinder’s Canadian Folk Music Award-winning, Jewish-Cuban fusion ensemble, returns to its Ashkenaz Festival birthplace to debut  whole new repertoire. The concert will
introduce the audience to the music of their second album, La Roza, set for an international February 2011 release on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. It will also feature vocals for the first time in Odessa/Havana’s history.

From the band’s first performance 2006, Odessa/Havana creator David Buchbinder, key collaborator Hilario Durán, and their ensemble of crack World and Jazz musicians have been impressing critics and delighting audiences with their “unique” and “utterly brilliant” creation based in the powerful mu…

Small World Music Festival - Sept 23 - Oct 3 in Toronto

The good people at Small World Music have put together an exciting line up for their annual Small World Music Festival:

Small World Music Festival
21 perfomances - 11 days - 10 Venues
September 23 - October 3

There's a great deal in a $50 All Access Pass
Available at that price only between now & Labour day weekend
(N.B. - The All Access Pass does not include admission to K'naan on October 1)

The Festival: Concert Schedule

Thursday, September 23
Funkabelly feat. Nomadica @ Lula Lounge, 9:00 (Gypsy funk & bellydance)

Friday, September 24
Darbazi @ Mazzoleni Auditorium, 8:00 (Georgian choir)
+ Quarteto Olinda @ Lula Lounge, 10:00 (Brazilian “forró de rabeca”)

Saturday, September 25
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt & Pooran Maharaj @ Betty Oliphant Theatre, 7:00 (Indian classical music & dance)

Sunday, September 26
Small World on the Street @ Queen’s Park, 1-6:00
featuring: Steve Oda (sarod) w. Vineet Vyas (tabla) (Indian classical music)
Tich Maredza Quartet (Zimbabwean music) - see vide…

Opera Erratica presents Orlando Lunaire

Opera Erratica & The Classical Music Consort
present Orlando Lunaire
in a storage shed at 128 Sterling - Toronto

Conducted by Ashiq Aziz
Directed & designed by Patrick Eakin Young
Featuring Scott Belluz (countertenor) & Carla Huhtanen (soprano)

Continues to August 28

Orlando Lunaire, the third of Opera Erratica's Underground/Opera series, pieces together bits from George Frideric Handel’s 1719 opera Orlando and Arnold Schoenberg’s Moonstruck Pierrot, a setting of 21
poems from Albert Giraud’s Pierrot lunaire he composed in 1912.  The industrial shed was transformed (somewhat) with black fabric on either side and rows of fold out chairs, the stage bisected by a kind of translucent screen. The musicians played behind the screen, and the singers passed in front and behind it at various times, and the words were translated from the original Italian and German in English that flitted across the screen, sometimes unintelligibly at agitated moments.

At first thought, Handel's ri… young CD release - Aug 24 at Lula Lounge

from a media release & other materials, including an artist's statement - I saw young perform as part of SummerWorks Festival recently - she's got a very powerful stage presence, not least because she has lots to say:

d'bi.young's highly anticipated new dubtryp album launch - wombanifesto
tuesday august 24, 2010
lula lounge,1585 dundas street west
7:00pm doors | 7:30pm show
admission: $15 ($25 u get an album)
featuring resident artists of anitafrika dub theatre
and the dubbin revolushun gangstars band

it is a celebration of the fierce, the fearless, and the feminist in all of us.
the lp boasts a rebellious collection of sixteen
cross-genre dubtryp tracks, soaked in d’bi.young’s gritty
awe-inspiring delivery; featuring musicians from havana, montreal, and
toronto as well as the genius works of cuban producer pablo herrera
and armenian- egyptian producer haig vartzbedian.

d'bi.young is a second generation dubpoet who learnt the artform from her her mother anita stewart an…

Ronnie Burkett & Factory Theatres 2010/2011 Season

From a media release - a look ahead at Factory Theatre's upcoming season:

Toronto, ON – Wednesday, August 4, 2010… Returning from an acclaimed international tour, and now launching Factory’s 41st season, BILLY TWINKLE: Requiem for a Golden Boy, created and performed by Ronnie Burkett, 2009 recipient of the prestigious Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, opens on September 28, 2010 for a limited run. BMO Financial Group proudly sponsors this season’s opening production.

“It’s a great thrill to welcome Ronnie for the Toronto premiere of his latest creation—featuring 36 marionettes—and to present this entertaining and daring offering for our audiences,” says Factory’s Artistic Director, Ken Gass, “Burkett’s imaginative theatrical vision has transformed the meaning of ‘puppetry’ and his work continues to have a profound effect on both Canadian and international theatre.  One of …

TELUS TAIWANfest: Crossover at Harbourfront Toronto

TELUS TAIWANfest: Crossover
Aug.27 – Aug. 29

Part of World Routes Summer Festivals 2010 at Harbourfront Centre
TORONTO, ON (Aug. 5, 2010) – The fifth edition of TELUS TAIWANfest: Crossover returns to Harbourfront Centre Aug. 27 - Aug. 29, 2010.  This year’s festival is organized in eight parts and includes an electrifying focus on Taiwanese indie music, a glamorous fashion show from some of Taiwan’s top designers, food demonstrations from local chefs along with traditional puppet and Hakka opera performances.

Friday night kicks off with the return of the CLASH: The Battle of Elegance fashion show that sets top Taiwanese designers against each other for runway supremacy. Designers Chiui Hsu and Jasper Huang, showcase their signature styles (which are some of edgiest in Asia) alongside Vancouver-based designer Angela Chen.

Also returning is the highly anticipated UMUSICLIVE concert series that explores the concept of ‘crossing over’ in the context of musical expression …

Toronto Buskerfest August 26-29

I won't be in town for this one but it looks like a great time for a good cause, and remember to bring some extra cash for the hat:

Fabulous local and international musicians at Scotiabank BuskerFest
AUGUST 26-29, 2010 throughout the St. Lawrence Market district
- Event proceeds benefit Epilepsy Toronto -

Toronto, August 5, 2010 - Organizers for  Scotiabank BuskerFest 2010 have announced that the festival will feature a wide array of renowned musicians from Canada and around the world. The 11th Annual Scotiabank BuskerFest inhabits Toronto's historic St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood once again as world-class buskers take to the streets in support of Epilepsy Toronto for a wild four days of fun for all ages from Thursday, August 26 to Sunday, August 29.

Last year's Scotiabank BuskerFest attracted over 1 million people, and this year promises to be even bigger, with Country, Rock, Pop, Folk, Hip Hop, Roots, Latin and Jazz music acts joining the festival's wide array of over…

Taika Waititi's Boy to Open ImagineNATIVE

A look ahead at an acclaimed film coming to Toronto as part of imagineNATIVE later this year, from a release:

New Zealand’s Third Highest Grossing Film
Berlin’s Grand Prix for Best Feature Film

A Film By Taika Waititi
Canadian Premiere

Opens the 11th Annual
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
October 20, 2010

Five days of Indigenous film, video, radio, new media, art, entertainment, and  more. October 20-24, 2010

(Toronto) –  Winner of the Berlin Film Festival’s Grand Prix for Best Feature Film, Taika Waititi’s BOY will open this year’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival on October 20, 2010 at 7:00pm at the Bloor Cinema.

Written, directed and starring Taika Waititi (Maori Te Whanau-a-Apanui), BOY is a hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age story that kicks back to 1984 on the rural east coast of New Zealand, a time when “Thriller” is changing kids’ lives. Inspired by Waititi’s Oscar-nominated Two Cars, One Night, BOY is about heroes, magic, and Michael Jackson.

"BOY is a landm…

Haunted Hillbilly - part of SummerWorks

Haunted Hillbilly
part of SummerWorks Festival
August 15, Theatre Passe Muraille - Toronto

Sidemart Theatrical Grocery
Written by Graham Cuthbertson
Songs & Music by Matthew Barber
Starring: Daniel Brochu, Graham Cuthbertson, Kyle Gatehouse, Gemma James-Smith, Greg Kramer, Matthew Raudseep & Alexis Taylor
Directed by Andrew Shaver
Music by Matthew Barber with Joe Grass & Julian Brown

I'll stop swillin'
If the good Lord's willin'!

Take a feckless but talented young singer/songwriter with ambitions and a sleek older man with a gift for couture and an appetite for blood and buttocks, add some country tunes, a wife, a girlfriend, a preacher and a henchman or two, and you have what was described to us as the "cautionary tale" of one Hyram Woodside.

On his way to buy a new shirt one day, he stumbles across the haberdashery of Nudie, a man with a talent for making clothes. He talks Hyram into wearing his flashy garb on stage, instead of the homespun attire made by…

Redheaded Stepchild - part of SummerWorks Festival

Redheaded Stepchild
part of SummerWorks Festival
August 14, Factory Theatre - Toronto

Nobody's Business Theatre
Written & performed by Johnnie Walker
Directed by Morgan Norwich

Redheaded Stepchild lets us into the world of one 12 year old redheaded "sweet disaster", as his suave, older alter ego Rufus Vermilion describes him. The play begins with Rufus on stage, complete with a Hefner-esque satin dressing gown and in full lizard lounge stage patter, complementing we the audience on our collective beauty and such. Rufus, as a point of fact, singled me out and came down into the seats to check out my hair and yank at a lock - which is what I get, I guess, for sitting in the second row in the aisle seat.

But I digress. I'm an atypical child, says Nicholas when he first appears, and never truer words were spoke. The set is quite spare, just the bare stage as his room and an old blue trunk out of which Nicholas pulls various toys. With the lid raised, it (surprisingly) serv…

The Witch of Edmonton

The Witch of Edmonton
part of SummerWorks Festival
Trinity Bellwoods Park, August 13 - Toronto

The Red Light District Theatre Company
by thomas dekker, william rowley, and john ford.
directed and conceived by catherine dunn and ted witzel.
adapted by the ensemble (michael-david blostein, val cina, marcel dragonieri, lauren gillis, jonah hundert, mina james, ron kelly, kat letwin, reid linforth, jess moss, ted witzel, eve wylden)

The Edmonton of this play's setting has nothing to do with the familiar city of northern Alberta. Written in 1621, the play was written as a collaboration credited to Thomas Dekker, William Rowley and John Ford, and based on real life events that had just transpired.

I didn't know that before joining the goodly throng who gathered at the gates of Trinity Bellwoods Park on Friday night, and at first the reference to Edmonton seemed almost disconcerting. But it didn't matter. The Red Light District Theatre Companys refreshing and highly entertaining approac…

African Diaspora Summer Film Series NYC


Riverside Theatre, New York
13 Films from 13 Countries
Aug 20th – Aug 29th

New York, July 29, 2010 - Thirteen films – including several World, U.S. and New York premieres – will screen during the 5th Annual African Diaspora Summer Film Series presented by the The Riverside Theatre and African Diaspora Film Festival from August 20 to August 29, 2010, at the Theatre (91 Claremont Ave., bet. 120th & 122nd St., Morningside Heights).

With two weekends of compelling and provocative films, an opening reception, a closing musical performance and multiple discussions with guest speakers, the 5th Annual African Diaspora Summer Film Series is expanding in scope, range and resonance.

“We are very proud of our line up this year,” says Reinaldo Barroso-Spech, Co-Director of the African Diaspora Film Festival. “It is the strongest we have featured so far in the ADFF Summer Series and it will provide a great entertainment value for those who like to enjoy quali…

urbanNOISE Festival

from a media release:

urbanNOISE Festival
August 20 & 21, 2010
See details below

"You can put us on mute, but you can't stop the NOISE"
2010 urbanNOISE festival to feature Ghetto Concept and Kim Davis
Rexdale youth collective organizes fifth annual festival

Toronto, August 11, 2010 - Juno award-winning hip hop duo Ghetto Concept and R&B sensation Kim Davis will headline the fifth annual urbanNOISE festival - a free, all-ages urban arts festival organized by young people in the Rexdale/Jamestown communities to inspire youth to stand up to violence.
urbanNOISE will take place on Saturday, August 21 from 4pm - 8pm on the grounds of the Albion Library in the heart of Rexdale/Jamestown, located in North Etobicoke. This two-day festival kicks off the day before (Friday, August 20) with a series of free urban arts workshops for youth in the area, inside the Albion Library from 3pm-5pm.

urbanNOISE began in 2006 as a joint production of Expect Theatre and Arts Etobicoke aimed at…

Foreign Exchange - part of SummerWorks Festival

Foreign Exchange
part of SummerWorks Festival
Featuring:  Nisha Ahuja, Cole J Alvis, Falen Johnson, Michael Rubenfeld, Nawa Nicole Simon, DM St. Bernard
Design and Technology by: Keith Barker, Isidra Cruz

Continues to August 15 at the Lower Ossington Theatre

You could say that Foreign Exchange was an audience friendly show. The affable cast members will greet you as you come in the door, (even latecomers,) with an offer of coffee and fresh baked pie - and you can go for refills anytime you like.

As the show begins, a panel of sorts (for lack of a better word) sits at couches on the stage, à la talk show, and the fun begins. Each of them comes from a minority group, with the South Asian, queer, Jewish, black and First Nations communities being represented. Audience members are given a pen and slip of paper to write on. Ask any question about race or culture that you've ever wanted to ask, it instructs. We're told to explore our ignorance, and cool all our hot buttons. The idea is ta…

Word! Sound! Powah! - part of SummerWorks Festival

Word! Sound! Powah!
part of SummerWorks Festival

Continues at Theatre Passe Muraille to August 14

A Jamaican flag, draped at the front of a table, offers the only splashes of colour against the matte black
environs of Theatre Passe Muraille and the 3 black clad performers in this piece. Likewise the production itself takes a minimalist approach, centering around the performance of d'bi.young as she dubs and sings and rants and cajoles us through a story about art student activists and their clash with police, and poses the question - what happened to the revolution in Jamaica?

The play comes as quick segments, some in pure dub, some as dramatic monologues, with d'bi switching seamlessly between an array of characters. Among the first scenes is the questioning of one of the students by police, the subsequent scenes swirling around the incident in a circle that widens to include fellow activists, speechin' politicians and the brutal cop himself, looping back and forth to conne…

Alexandre Guillaume - Gallery Show Opening

I won't be able to make the opening tonight, but plan on getting in to see this very interesting looking show in a few weeks when I'm back in NYC - from a media release:

Alexandre Guillaume invites you to his opening reception

Friday, August 06, 2010
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM EDT

Muriel Guepin Gallery
47 Bergen street
Brooklyn, NY

Alexandre Guillaume's acrylic paintings offer a more masculine take on abstraction. In his work, Guillaume incorporates the speed, brutality and impatience we experience in daily life to create paintings that ultimately leave the viewer in peace. A thick, carefully placed, large brush stroke interrupts a solid ground to end in light, airy splashes of thin lines, alleviating an omnipresent tension. His palette ranges from a monochromatic grey, to a swath of black paint on a bright orange, yellow, blue or red ground.

His work will be on view at the gallery from August 6th through September 12th. (10 paintings, chance to see some large format like 76, 84 inches)


Life Is Horrible


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
August 5/6/12/13/19 @ 7:30pm

When these people say nihilism, they mean nihilism! I caught the opening night of Life is Horrible last night, and I can attest to the fact that this sketch comedy revue not only contains several very funny "Adventures
with a Nihilist" segments, but an overall tone of abnegation, anarchy, denial, disbelief and disorder (thanks!) And it really is funny, did I mention that already?

Where do I start? The show is a rapid moving barrage of skits and sketches, some lasting mere seconds, others several minutes, that cover the gamut of life's horribleness and absurdities, from the vagaries of television programming to gas leak repairs, unwanted vampir…

Todd Solondz' Life During Wartime Opens in Toronto, Van, MTL

Entertainment One
A Film By Todd Solondz

Part sequel / part variation on Solondz’s acclaimed film Happiness

*North American Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2009
*Won 2010 Golden Osella Best Screenplay for Todd Solondez at the Venice Film Festival
*Nominated 2010 Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival

Will open in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal
Friday, August 27, 2010
Toronto – Cumberland Theatre

Starring Shirley Henderson, Paul Reubens, Ally Sheedy, Allison Janney, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rosalyn Ruff, Michael Lerner, Dylan Snyder, Ciaran Hinds, and so many more

In writer and director Todd Solondz’s LIFE DURING WARTIME, three sisters and the people they love struggle to find their places in an unpredictable and volatile world where the past haunts the present and imperils the future. The question of forgiveness and its limits threads throughout a series of intersecting love
stories, offering clarity and, perhaps, alternatives to the comforts of…

Avishai Cohen Canadian Debut

From a media release:

Avishai Cohen Makes Canadian Début
October 19, 2010 - Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto
Presented by the Koffler Centre for the Arts

[Toronto ON]   On Tuesday, October 19, world renowned Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen makes his premiere Canadian appearance at Toronto's Isabel Bader Theatre on his North American CD Release tour of "Aurora".

Declared one of the 100 Most Influential Bass Players of the 20th Century by Bass Player Magazine, Avishai Cohen is an alchemist at heart.  Finding inspiration in musicians ranging from Bach to Stevie Wonder, Avishai can transform a tired Israeli school tune back into poetic gold.  He can take the Sephardic melodies his grandfather sang in prayer, or that his mother hummed while washing dishes, and make them groove. In turn, he can take a sinuous and spontaneous jazz bass line and transform it into a top forty hit.

Along with the vibrant Sephardic and Baroque sounds of his childhood, Avishai's sojourn in New York duri…