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Showing posts from November, 2010

Canadian Opera Company Live Online Chat December 4

From a media release:

COC HOSTS online chat 
during CBC Radio 2 broadcast of Aida on December 4

Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Opera Company’s 2010/2011 season opening production of Verdi’s Aida has its first public broadcast on Saturday, December 4, 2010 on CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and through internet streaming on  The inaugural broadcast of the COC’s Aida will be supported by an online chat at featuring special guests from the production’s cast and creative team.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on December 4, listeners at will have the extraordinary opportunity to interact directly with Aida’s conductor, and COC Music Director, Johannes Debus, and cast members Sondra Radvanovsky, (pictured in the role, left,) and Jill Grove, who performed the roles of Aida and Amneris, respectively. Debus, Radvanovsky and Grove will be joined by other members of Aida’s cast and creative team, providing unique insight into how this production was brought to the stage a…

Soulful Messiah Comes to Harbourfront (Toronto) Dec 3 to 5

Highly acclaimed in previous years - from a media release:

Ballet Creole presents
Soulful Messiah
December 3, 4,  2010 at 8 PM
December 5 at 3 PM
Fleck Dance Theatre - Harbourfront Centre

Soulful Messiah is a contemporary dance interpretation of a "soulful" rendition of Handel’s oratorio, The Messiah. This rendition, infused with R&B, joyously blends Handel’s Messiah and the voices of legendary black singers, inspiring a cornucopia of tap, popular and African-Caribbean dance movements; a tour de force with undeniable holiday appeal.

It brings a blend of contemporary and African-Caribbean dance that complements the unique musical score from the CD “Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration” to create an evening of pure delight. The music is produced by Grammy Award winner Quincy Jones and features the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Vanessa Bell Armstrong Patti Austin, and Al Jarreau to name a few.

This year the audience will be mesmerized by yet another section…

DJ Skate Nights Saturdays at Harbourfront, Toronto

Update for 2011/2012 can be found at this link!

From a media release - this is so Canadian:

Melt the ice with hot beats at Harbourfront Centre’s
DJ Skate Saturday Nights!

Toronto’s favorite ice skating party returns with local & international DJs!

TORONTO, ON (Nov.22, 2010) – Cold winter nights just got a lot hotter with the return of the popular DJ Skate Saturday Nights at Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel® Rink. Every Saturday night from Dec. 4 to Feb. 19 (except Christmas and New Years Day) features a new set of mix-masters spinning the hottest tunes from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The first DJ Skate Saturday Nights event kicks off with a performance by CHERRY BOMB featuring Cozmic Cat and Denise Benson. This duo is sure to bring down the house (or should we say “rink”) with their electrifying beats. The fun continues well into the winter season with free performances by 1 LOVE T.O.nights with DJ Lux and Jedi, DJ P-Plus and DJ Romeo, DJ Medicineman, 44th and Filth, Estilo Bakanchido and Promise …

Daniela Nardi - Jazz at The Old Mill, Toronto Dec 3 & 4

From a media release:

Daniela Nardi -- Espresso Manifesto Lab
with Ron Davis, Ross MacIntyre, Roger Travassos
The Old Mill, 21 Old Mill Rd., Toronto
Fri Dec 3 & Sat Dec 4, 7:30pm

[Toronto ON]  On Dec 3 & 4 at The Old Mill, internationally acclaimed songstress Daniela Nardi will offer up a spicy mélange of her classic world-jazz-pop sensibility alongside some "lab" renditions of her upcoming CD, Espresso Manifesto.

An award winning singer/ songwriter, multi-instrument- alist and producer, Daniela Nardi is a smoldering, passionate performer, with an enticing voice.  Her music is literate yet emotionally charged, sonically adventurous and in a category of its own, one that she calls EarthyModernJazzPopWorldCool.

Following the release of her critically acclaimed acoustic nu-jazz and electronica disc, The Rose Tattoo, Daniela's recent residency in the Big Apple took her on a new path back to her Italian heritage. “I went to New York for some creative time, to be inspired…

Dance at the Young Centre (Toronto) this December

From a media release:

Dance at the Young Centre:

World Premiere of Beside Each Other
Critically Acclaimed Full Bloom Returns
NEW: Collisions Dance Festival

Toronto, ON – November 2, 2010 Albert Schultz, General Director of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, today announced the return of Dance at the Young this December featuring the world premiere of Young Centre Resident Artist Andrea Nann’s Beside Each Other, the Collisions Dance Festival and the critically acclaimed Full Bloom which played to sold-out houses this past January. Beside Each Other runs December 2 – 9, 2010, the Collisions Dance Festival runs December 10 – 12, 2010 and Full Bloom choreographed and performed by contemporary dance masters Robert Glumbek, Kevin O’Day and Luches Huddleston Jr., runs December 14 – 18, 2010.

Dancer and choreographer Andrea Nann presents the world premiere of Beside Each Other performed by Andrea Nann and Brendan Wyatt featuring the music and poetry of Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip)…

DISH the Documentary Plays Toronto Dec 1, 2 & 5

From a media release:

Red Queen Productions presents 
DISH - Women, Waitressing & the Art of Service
A documentary feature film directed by Maya Gallus

Toronto Theatrical Engagement
Royal Cinema - 608 College St.
December 1, 2, & 5

(Toronto – November 22, 2010) She may be the first woman you see in the morning, or the last you see at night. She feeds us, wipes after us, bullies us. She is the eternal waitress, and she is the star of this documentary.  DISH - Women, Waitressing & the Art of Service has been a festival favourite since its debut at Toronto's Hot Docs, now the film by Maya Gallus returns home to Toronto's Royal Cinema: Dec. 1 – 7 pm, Dec. 2 -  9:30 pm, Dec. 5 – 9 pm.

The waitress is an enduring pop culture icon. But beyond the stereotypes, what does her role in our lives say about us and our view of women?  Director Gallus, a former waitress herself, introduces us to women on the job who dish about their experiences, revealing the fantasies and desires that c…

Black Hands - Les Main Noires - NYC Premiere December 1

Sponsored by the Délégation générale du Québec à New York, the gala screening will include a live Q&A with filmmaker Tetchana Bellange and poet Sonia Sanchez.

as part of the African Diaspora Film Festival
Wednesday, December 1 @ 8PM – The Chapel (details at the bottom)

Les Mains Noires: Procès de l'Esclave Incendiare
Directed by Tetchana Bellange
Quebec/Canada, 2010, 52 min, documentary, French with English subtitles.

Black Hands tells a story that even in its vaguest outlines would surprise many Canadians who trusted their history textbooks' version of events - one of slavery in Canada's past. While it's true that Canada was also a haven to slaves via the Underground Railroad in the first half of the 19th century, it's a little known/discussed truth that slavery also existed here for about two centuries until it was officially abolished in 1837.

More specifically, the documentary tells the…

Trailer & Advance Look at The Lincoln Lawyer, Starring Matthew McConaughey

From a media release & other material. The film is said to be currently in post production, scheduled for general release on March 18, 2011, but here's an advance look at The Lincoln Lawyer, based on the novel by Michael Connelly

eOne Films presents:

A Film By Brad Furman
Staring  Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, John Leguizamo, Frances Fisher, Michael Peña

In theatres nationwide on March 18th, 2011

Mickey Haller is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. Haller has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of his career: defending Louis Roulet, a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder.

But the seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly game of survival for Haller when his client turns out to be much more than the spoiled rich boy that he first appears.

The story was inspired by Michael Connelly's …

Review - Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Co in Espejo de Oro

presents the world premiere of Espejo de Oro / Mirror of Gold
featuring the company with special guest artists from Spain
continues to Sunday, November 28 at Fleck Dance Theatre, Toronto

The essence of Flamenco is passion restrained by elegance, the stylized movements adding grace to its expression just as the rhythm adds definition to the music. That's just what the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company delivers in Espejo de Oro in a performance that goes well beyond the traditional and folkloric.

The solid basis for the show begins with live music. The piece itself begins with a trumpet player who walks on stage, soon joined by two guitarists and two singers, and then the dancers who enter and leave in their turn. The set is dramatic, splashed with blue and red lights and projections at the back that glowed like stained glass or spun like a kaleidoscope (among other effects). The piece uses elements like the titular mirror, large and paned …

Calling Naughty Filmmakers to the 69 Hour Film Challenge (Toronto)

From a media release:

FILMMAKERS WANTED to participate in The 69 Hour Film Challenge

Film Challenge: December 2 - 5, 2010
Film Screening: December 9, 2010
The Comedy Bar - 945 Bloor St.W Toronto

The The 69 Hour Film Challenge is a competition where film makers have 69 hours to make a funny short film about sex or something naughty. The films must include items from a secret list revealed at the start of the challenge. The challenge has regularly been a part of The Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival since 2006. This 2010 challenge is a special event all on its own.

The gala screening party will be 10pm, Thursday December 9 at The Comedy Bar in Toronto.  The program will include live music, surprise guests, awards, and will be broadcast live over the internet .

The challenge is open to adults 18 and over anywhere in the world. If you are interested in making a film for the challenge visit the website to learn more and sign up.

Good Luck. // DG

Royal Conservatory Concerts for December 2010

From a media release - alternatives to holiday commercialism at the RCM:


THE manhattan transfer and john mcdermott celebrate the holidays,
simone dinnerstein plays bach,
Leila josefowicz MAKES HER CONSERVATORY debut,  
Operatic voices SOAR, AND MUCH MORE
aspecTs of oscar SERIES continueS with mccoy tyner

The Royal Conservatory offers the perfect antidote to the busy holiday season in December, with a variety of concerts in its three beautiful venues: Koerner Hall, Mazzoleni Concert Hall in historic Ihnatowycz Hall, and Conservatory Theatre. International and Canadian artists, as well as the Conservatory’s very own students, take the edge off Christmas stress, and holiday shopping is made extra easy by purchasing The Royal Conservatory Gift Cards, available in any denomination.

The first of the Koerner Hall concerts, on December 10, features virtuoso Canadian violinist Leila Josefowicz. (pictured above) Known for being a strong advocate of new music,…

PSA for Canadian Residents from South Sudan

It's not only about culture, it's the fate of a nation - a PSA for Canadian residents from Southern Sudan:

Phone: +1-416-927-9555 (Toronto)
+1-403-235-2262 (Calgary)
Toll Free: 1-888-898-4048

Southern Sudan Referendum 2011-
Out of Country Registration and Voting (OCRV)
Canada Information Sheet
November 16, 2010

• The Southern Sudan Referendum will give the people of Southern Sudan the opportunity to vote for either the unity of Sudan or secession.
• The referendum is run by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), a body independent from the governments of Sudan and Southern Sudan. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is assisting the SSRC to implement out-of-country registration and voting in eight countries, including the US. The IOM’s operational role does not involve covering transportation and accommodation costs for voters.
• In Canada, registration will take place in Calgary, Alberta …

Q&A with Dancer/Choreographer Jasmyn Fyffe

Jasmyn Fyffe - dancer & choreographer

I've seen Jasmyn Fyffe dance as part of Kashedance and in her own choreographic work as Artistic Director of Jasmyn Fyffe Dance. I caught up recently with this busy Toronto artist for a little Q&A:

Q: How did you start as a dancer?
A: I started dancing when I was 6 years old taking mainly ballet and African-Caribbean. When I was 13 I stopped training and was more into sports, however I always danced in talents shows and other recreational/social dance events. When I was 19 and in my first year of study in the York University Kinesiology program I auditioned for the York dance program. The following year I began my pre professional training there. While dancing at York and having the opportunity to study different styles of modern dance, I realized I loved this genre of dance both creating and performing.  In my final year I decided to pursue my career as a dancer and choreographer. Pivotal teachers that I had in my training, at York and …

Review - London River, Screening at the African Diaspora Intnl Film Fest NYC

London River
Directed by Rachid Bouchareb
Written by Rachid Bouchareb, Zoé Galeron & Olivier Lorelle
Starring Brenda Blethyn & Sotigui Kouyaté
France/UK/Algeria, 2009 - New York Premiere

Screening  as part of the African Diaspora Film Festiva
New York

London River begins where it ends - with Brenda Blethyn's Elisabeth - mother of Janet - working the fertile fields of her Guernsey farm, and Sotigui Kouyaté as Ousmane, a woodsman - estranged father of Ali - rivaling the trees of the forest as he glides among them in France. In between, the two of them come from different worlds to realize that maybe they're not so different after all.

The story itself begins in July of 2005, with the suicide bombings that blasted the London subway and a bus in rush hour. Elisabeth calls her daughter but can't reach her, and in the ensuing days, a growing sense of urgency pushes her to leave the bucolic island and head to London to find her. She's startled to discover that her Jane is li…

Review - Bethune Imagined

Bethune Imagined
Factory Theatre, Toronto
Written & directed by Ken Gass
Starring Ron White, Fiona Byrne, Sascha Cole, & Irene Poole

continues to December 12

How do you take a personality and international legacy as outsized as that of Dr. Norman Bethune and put it into the confines of a stage? Playwright/ director Ken Gass, (also Artistic Director of Factory Theatre and a recent recipient of the 2010 Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts,) has distilled it ingeniously into a six month period that takes place in Montréal in 1936, just before Bethune left for Spain to help in the fight against Franco and the Fascists. He was already something of a legend in Montréal, as much for his fights with hospital staff and the medical establishment over socializing medicine and treating the poor as for his multiple romantic partners. The play focuses on his relationships with three of women in his life - Marian Dale Scott, a married painter, Margaret Day, a university student and ca…

Lu Reid's Sunday Jam at The Shrine (NYC) - Redux

Lu Reid's Sunday Jam
(the Redux - with video)
The Shrine, Harlem NYC

Last time I had the words, this time I'll let the moving pictures tell the story.

Lu Reid's Sunday jam at the Shrine in Harlem, NYC. Taken November 14, 2010, with the All-Star band - Lucy Gallagher on keyboards, Al Hicks on drums, Chris Hall on bass - and guest soloists Howard Robinson aka Harris on sax, K-Z on guitar and Eric Thomas on the flute.

Also of note, one of the guest vocalists in another set was Vondie Curtis-Hall, an actor who you might have seen in films like Bad Lieutenant (2009 version), Diehard 2 and all over the small screen.

And I'll just warn you, you'll have this song playing in your head all day...

Review - Robert Lepage's Eonnagata at Toronto's Sony Centre

Robert Lepage, Sylvie Guillem, Russel Maliphant
With lighting designer Michael Hulls, costume designer Alexander McQueen and sound designer Jean-Sébastien Côté
Sony Centre, Toronto - November 19

Eonnagata is stunning production visually, from costumes by the late Alexander McQueen to dramatic lighting, staging and lighting effects that added whole dimensions to both the production and space on stage. As good theatre does, it offers an absorbing visual spectacle as it ponders questions of human existence.

The piece tells the story of one Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d'Éon de Beaumont (5 October 1728 – 21 May 1810), Chevalier d’Éon, born in France and died in England - "...buried in Middlesex between a missus and a bloke" as Sylvie Guillem's opening scene recitation tells us. Quite attractive no matter which way he was leaning, Charles claimed later in life that he was born as a girl, but raised as a boy for reasons of inheritance rights. At any…

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Ségal bring their Chamber Music to U.S.

I'll have more about globalFEST 2011 in the next little while, but for now here's a spotlight on one of the acts making a North American début:

New release from Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Ségal : Chamber Music
(Six Degrees Records; January 11, 2011)

In this age of hi-energy, electric cross-cultural collaborations, Sissoko, a traditional kora player and Ségal, a French cellist, remind us that there's still room for refined world music.

Mention "chamber music" to someone and they'll probably, after yawning a bit, think of a salon in Paris or a music hall in Vienna.  That's Paris or Vienna a hundred years ago, mind you.  Now, finally, in an age when global pop is made in studios in Mumbai, Rio De Janeiro, and Dakar, two gifted musicians have found a way to make a global chamber music for the 21 st century audience.

Chamber Music (Six Degrees Records; January 11, 2011) is a collaboration between Ballaké Sissoko, who plays the traditional kora, a lute-harp from M…