Skip to main content

Alicia Keys, Angelique Kidjo, Harry Belafonte at Hope Rising Benefit May 3 in Toronto

From a media release:

Hope Rising Benefit Concert for Stephen Lewis Foundation
May 3 at The Sony Centre - Toronto

International recording artists Alicia Keys, Angélique Kidjo, Rufus Wainwright, and Holly Cole headline this spectacular evening co-hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, Marci Ien, and Gloria Reuben

Roundtable discussion with legendary Harry Belafonte

Tickets on sale Now

TORONTO, ON – Twelve-time Grammy® Award-winner and world-renowned activist Alicia Keys will headline Hope Rising! A Benefit Concert for the Stephen Lewis Foundation presented by CIBC alongside international recording artists Angelique Kidjo, Holly Cole, Gloria Reuben and more. These celebrated artists will take the stage at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto on Tuesday, May 3 at 8 p.m. With the talents of these and other illustrious artists, Hope Rising! shines a celebratory spotlight on grassroots African communities working to turn the tide of HIV and AIDS in Africa.

Tickets are available via Ticketmaster at,
• By phone at 1.855.872.7669,
• Or in person at The Sony Centre box office.
• Concert tickets start at $150.
• A limited number of packages are available for premium Hope Rising! concert seating and access to the official after party for $1,500.

A pre-show dinner and discussion, The Globe and Mail Roundtable: Philanthropy for Hope and Impact will also feature Harry Belafonte, actor, musician and humanitarian; Stephen Lewis, former United Nations Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa; Aissatou Diajhate, director of programmes; and Jessica Horn, international expert on donor support for human rights. The Roundtable is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a small group of special guests for a dinner and roundtable discussion about how philanthropy can have a concrete and powerful impact in peoples’ lives on the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $2,500, which includes premium concert seating, pre-show dinner and roundtable, plus access to the official after party. (pictured: Alicia Keys)

Jian Ghomeshi of Q (CBC Radio One and bold TV), Marci Ien of CTV, and Canadian actress Gloria Reuben will co-host this unforgettable event, with additional performances by Da Kink in my Hair cast members: Ngozi Paul, d’bi Young and Ordena Stephens; and grandmothers from South Africa and Swaziland.

“The response to the crisis on the part of the international community is flagging just as grassroots organizations in Africa are poised to affect real change in the course of the pandemic,” said Lewis “With the proper support, we believe that at community level, where people live and die, such energy and prevention and care can be unleashed and employed, and the pandemic will be reversed.

Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and Canada’s reigning R&B queen, Jully Black, are the latest artists to join the star-studded benefit concert.Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists and songwriters of his generation. The New York-born, Montreal-bred singer-songwriter has achieved his success by carving out his own singular sound in the worlds of rock, opera, theatre, dance and film. The long-time social activist has donated his time and talents to other notable causes including the True Colors Tour benefitting the Human Rights Campaign. (pictured: Stephen Lewis)

First annual Hope Rising!

Hope Rising! is presented by CIBC. Lead sponsors are The Globe and Mail and Aeroplan’s Beyond Miles Program. Media sponsors include CTV, CP24, MuchMusic and CHUM FM. The Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario is a supporting sponsor and contributing sponsors include the Fairmont Royal York; ONESTOP; Ontario Public Service Employees Union; Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada; The Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; United Steelworkers Canada; and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.

About The Stephen Lewis Foundation:
The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) supports community-level organizations that are turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa by providing care and support to women, children orphaned by AIDS, grandmothers, and people living with HIV and AIDS. Since 2003, SLF has sent over 40 million dollars to more than 300 community-level initiatives in 15 countries hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic. For more information, visit

• Twitter: @stephenlewisfdn
• #HopeRising


What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:


New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…