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Showing posts from April, 2011

The NFB at HotDocs: Charles Officer's Mighty Jerome

The NFB at HotDocs: Mighty Jerome a film by Charles Officer I have to confess that I had never heard of Harry Jerome before watching this documentary , even though he'd held world records in sprinting in the early 1960's. This film uses a blend of interviews with friends and fellow runners, old sports journalists and family members, including Harry's mother, along with the odd reenactment and of course the newsreels of Harry himself, lightning fast and determined on the track. Some stock footage rounds out the portrait of his time period, when the Civil Rights Movement upheaved the status quo in the United States - and Canadians tut-tutted the American excesses even as they politely perpetuated the status quo here. That was the environment Harry grew up in during a childhood in Saskatchewan - one of only three black kids at the high school , (his sister Val being one of the others). He left the province to train in North Vancouver , as now a posh neighbourhood wh

Review: Wajdi Mouawad's Forests at Toronto's Tarragon Theatre

Review: Tarragon Theatre Presents Wajdi Mouawad's Forests Continues to May 29, 2011. Whether you enjoy Wajdi Mouawad's Forests will likely depend on your taste for wordy, symbol and idea heavy plays - the words nearly always trump the actions of the cast in this labyrinthine drama. I do enjoy letting myself be seduced by the evocative magic of words, so it didn't bother me in particular that 16 year old Loup ( Vivien Endicott-Douglas in a convincing performance) was one minute every inch the snarly, foul-mouthed teenager one moment and then earnestly and poetically venting her anguish the next. Every characters - and there were many - had such moments of poetry and vulgarity, just as the play itself veers from mythology to gritty realism and back again. It's nearly three hours of twists and turns sprinkled with odd and horrific details that saves its biggest punch for the very end. At the heart of the story is a promise Loup made to her dying mother and the

Mama Africa: Screening as Part of Hot Docs in Toronto

From a media release: Mama Africa Screening as part of the Hot Docs Film Festival Toronto - April 30 premiere Music Africa is delighted to team with HotDocs in co-presenting the Canadian premiere of a documentary about one of the most remarkable vocalists in the history of Afropop. “Mama Africa” is an affectionate biography of the legendary South African singer-activist Miriam Makeba. The documentary shows her poverty-ridden childhood , her early success as a vocalist in an all-woman’s group, and her early flowering of international success in Europe and the United States. On television she wore no makeup and refused to curl her hair, a style that would come to be known internationally as the ‘Afro look’. In 1963 she testified against apartheid before the United Nations, it resulted in South African authorities refusing to allow her to return to her native country. Makeba lived as an exile for the next 27 years, in the United States, Guinea and Europe. (Her 1968

Global Electronica: Watcha Clan Release Radio Babel

From a media release Babel On: The Global Electronica of Watcha Clan Makes the World Speak One Dance-Inducing Language on Radio Babel Available Now The biblical city of Babel and its infamous tower have received bad press over the centuries. Imagined as a looming structure built by children in which all residents spoke the same language, the omnipresent God decided to trick humans in order to make them scatter - the word Babel is derived from the Hebrew balal, to "jumble." Yet if we consider the tower as a prototype radio transmitter, as Marseille, France-based Watcha Clan does on its latest album, Radio Babel (Piranha), the sound of one world singing and dancing together makes perfect sense. "We want to be understood by everyone," says the charismatic vocalist Sista K. "Singing in different languages is the first step in cultural integration, especially expressing the message in English, the international language. Maybe that's not what people exp

Stand Up Dance Opens April 29 in Toronto

From a media release: Stand Up Dance presents The Atomic Weight of Happiness a new solo by performance powerhouse Meagan O’Shea April 29 to May 29 at Hub 14 Toronto, Ontario… Hailed as “ one of the city’s most engaging independent artists ” (The Toronto Star), Meagan O’Shea returns to the Toronto stage with The Atomic Weight of Happiness . Stand Up Dance is thrilled to premiere this new solo show, directed by Dora Award nominee Andrea Donaldson. The Atomic Weight of Happiness opens Friday, April 29th, 2011 for a limited run at HUB 14. As a dancer born with 12 toes , Meagan O’Shea has always had to acknowledge her inner outcast. In The Atomic Weight of Happiness, she locks herself (and an audience) in an hour-long experiment to arrest global warming ; dissect, identify and measure the ingredients of each human emotion; and determine whether her anatomical deviations are drug induced oddities or random genetic mutations. Join O’Shea and Stand Up Dance in this bicycle-powe

Mixed Repertoire Dance: Yvonne Ng & Robert Glumbek in Toronto April 28 to 30

From a media release: DanceWorks presents tiger princess dance projects' MIXED REPERTOIRE Harbourfront Centre Toronto - April 28 to 30 2011 Toronto - DanceWorks, Toronto's longest running contemporary dance series, presents Yvonne Ng's tiger princess dance projects of Toronto in a Mixed Repertoire program featuring four exquisite stand-alone works - three of which are world premieres . Performed by stunning dancesmiths Robert Glumbek and Yvonne Ng , this mixed program runs April 28-30, 2011 at Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre. "Robert Glumbek and Yvonne Ng are the John Lennon and Yoko Ono of dance. Physically mismatched, they become the marriage of true minds on a stage." - Susan Walker, Toronto Star Mixed Repertoire marks tiger princess dance projects' third duet program featuring Ng and Glumbek, who NOW Magazine's Glenn Sumi called, " The yin and yang of the dance stage, " claiming that they "were born to dance tog

Mozart Unlaced Benefit for the Royal Conservatory School April 27

From a media release: MOZART UNLACED TAKES OVER THE ROYAL CONSERVATORY Wednesday, April 27, 2011 A Benefit for The Glenn Gould School and its Young Artists Performance Academy MasterCard presents Mozart Unlaced, the seventh annual celebration of The Royal Conservatory's Glenn Gould School (The School) and Young Artists Performance Academy (The Academy). This elegant evening of unexpected encounters with enchanting music takes place on Wednesday, April 27, at 8:00 p.m., at The Conservatory’s home, the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning. Leaders in philanthropy and the arts will mix and mingle with talented young musicians as they perform throughout The Conservatory’s spectacular spaces, including the stunning Koerner Hall, and historic Ihnatowycz Hall. “Mozart Unlaced is a remarkably inspiring and unconventional experience, with students and attendees roaming the building, interacting with one another and participating in student performances,” says James Anag

Indian Drum & Dance: Talavya at Symphony Space NYC April 29

From a media release. Formerly known as Tabla Ecstacy , newly named Talavya is touring the US this spring, including a date in NYC: Talavya Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space April 29, 2011 - New York, NY The tabla evokes and invokes. It can playfully mimic a cricket bowler's moves or capture the sensual arc of deer's leap. Now a familiar sound in the West thanks to l ightning-fast masters like Zakir Hussain and innovators like Talvin Singh, the essential Indian classical instrument was traditionally on the sidelines, its emotional power harnessed to support other performers. No longer. Tabla comes center stage in the hands of the young, highly trained players of Talavya , a quartet that revels in the tabla's hidden potency as a rhythmic and melodic instrument capable of expressing just about anything. Touring North America in spring 2011 , the ensemble, formerly known as Tabla Ecstasy, distills the age-old spirit and practice of tabla into a high-

CD Release: Pianist Jenny Lin at (le) poisson rouge NYC April 26

From a release: Jenny Lin, piano: Federico Mompou's "Música Callada" CD Release Concert Tue., April 26, 2011 / 6:30 PM Jenny Lin is one of the most respected young pianists today , admired for her adventurous programming and charismatic stage presence . Her ability to combine classical and contemporary literature has brought her to the attention of international critics and audiences. She has been  acclaimed for her " remarkable technical command " and " a gift for  melodic flow " by The New York Times. The Washington Post praises " Lin's confident fingers... spectacular technique.. ." and Gramophone Magazine has hailed her as " an exceptionally sensitive pianist ". She has appeared with orchestras worldwide and her concerts have taken her to Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, Miller Theatre, MoMA, Whitney Museum, (Le) Poisson Rouge, National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery, Spivey Hall, Univer

Daniel Beaty's Tearing Down the Walls at the Riverside Theatre NYC

Update May 20 - with only 10 performances left to go, you can get a real deal on tickets: A limited number of $15.00 tickets are now available through the generous donation of an anonymous funder. Use Code PREEXT15 BUY TICKETS NOW! From a release - see the free preview event April 26, described below: The Riverside Theatre New York Presents Cultural Animators Series: Tearing Down the Walls A new play by Daniel Beaty May 11 - 29 Renee, a conservative thirty year-old virgin , rolls the dice for personal liberation and takes a chance in a steamy liaison with handsome Tyson. That night changes her life forever. Her usual unshakeable faith is besieged with doubt. Friends Jessica and Rhonda help her discover a strength she never knew she had. Employing Daniel Beaty's signature blend of rich characters, music and humor, Tearing Down the Walls is about finding courage to transform pain into power. Tearing Down The Walls, presented by The Riverside Theatre, Voza Rivers/New

EnRoute Film Festival Call for Entries - Open to May 31

From a media release - I checked it out last year and was amazed at the talent on display - and so will you this summer if you fly Air Canada : Call for entries – Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival 2011 • Submissions will be accepted until Tuesday, May 31 . Winners will attend Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in France & $5,000 prize for Best Short Film Toronto, ON – Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival today announced it is inviting Canadian film students and emerging filmmakers to enter its fifth annual short film festival. Each year, a jury selects the best short films and broadcasts them to a large international audience on Air Canada's inflight entertainment system. The winner of Best Short Film will receive a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of presenting sponsor Cineplex Entertainment. Other awards include Achievement in Direction, Achievement in Cinematography , and Achievement in Animation . All award winners will receive an exciting new destination prize to

Tuareg Rock: Bombino Début Release Available - Deal to April 26

Update June 22: Bombino Adds Toronto Date Lula Lounge - July 12, 2011 Toronto fans can thank Batuki Music for bringing guitar whiz Bombino to town next month! Check the link for details. From a release: BOMBINO IS THE NEXT GENERATION OF DESERT BLUES Agadez has critics raving for the new sound of the Sahara Omara "Bombino" Moctar, a young Tuareg guitarist and songwriter, was raised during an era of armed struggles for independence and violent suppression by government forces. His electrifying jams capture the spirit of resistance and rebellion. Agadez , his debut album on Cumbancha Discovery, is available worldwide as of April 19, 2011. Buy the CD here to get a free download of the Exclusive Digital Bonus Album with extra tracks and live cuts. • To April 26 only! - 10% off purchase for Cumbancha Fans with the code "tamasheq"  BOMBINO TO TOUR EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA in 2011 Agadez World Tour starts this June. "Moctar's playing

Canadian Début: Rwanda's ISÔKO Theatre in Toronto April 27 - May 1

From a media release: The Monument ISÔKO Theatre (Rwanda) Directed by Jennifer H. Capraru April 27 - May 1, 2011 | $45 | York Quay Centre | 70 min. North American Premiere A profound excavation into the nature of forgiveness. In this electrifying drama, a young soldier has been convicted of war crimes committed during a genocide. Just as he is about to be executed, a mysterious woman who is both his saviour and tormentor offers him freedom − at a price. The Monument, by Canadian playwright Colleen Wagner , has been translated into several languages and has won the Governor General's Award for Drama . The play is a torpedo aimed directly at the nature of evil as it dissects the roles of victim and perpetrator in unflinching detail. Intimately staged with song and African drumming , this highly physical and imagistic production puts its finger on the pulse of humanity as it paints a contemporary portrait of a country whose resilient voice continues to be a beacon of

Electronic Dance: Mixpak Records Signs Producer Andry Petr

From a media release: Young and Prolific: Mixpak Records Signs Electronic Producer ANDY PETR ** Andy Petr Releases Rapper Turned Singer EP on May 10th + A Trilogy of Free EPs ** New York, NY April 18, 2011 - Electronic dance music is best served cold. Although I can't claim this to be true, Milwaukee-based producer Andy Petr could very well coin the expression. The electronic dance producer brews fierce rhythms and textures from his frigid Midwestern bedroom to conjure up cold sweats for all dance floors. Recently signed to Mixpak records , Andy Petr will debut his first official release with the Rapper Turned Singer EP on May 10th. The prolific 19-year old producer also plans to deliver an onslaught of free EPs that include original material as well as the heavy reworkings of some of his favorite rap songs. • The first free EP is entitled APD004 and you can download it here . Make way for the next generation. Latest tracks by Andy Petr Well beyond his yea

Yuk Yuk's Great Canadian Laugh Off Competition April 22 - May 1 in Toronto

From a media release: THE SIXTH ANNUAL FANTASTICALLY-FUNNY YUK YUK’S GREAT CANADIAN LAUGH OFF BEGINS FRIDAY, APRIL 22 IN TORONTO COMICS FROM ACROSS CANADA COMPETE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN $25,000 AND A SHOT AT COMIC STARDOM TORONTO, ON April 21, 2011 – Some of Canada’s funniest people (or those that think they are the funniest) will descend on Toronto tomorrow for the next week to compete for a $25,000 cash prize and a chance at comic stardom. One talented comic could help subsidize his late night lifestyle and laugh all the way to the bank. Producers from some of the top comedy television shows such as Chelsea Lately, the Conan O’Brien Show and from the Just For Laughs Festival will be judging which comedian is Canada’s funniest at the six annual Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off.  This year’s event runs from April 22 to May 1, 2011, and it is the first time that the competition is open only to Canadians who have the gift of the guffaw.  Each has a chance for national televis

When Harry Tries to Marry - April 22 Release (U.S.) & Soundtrack Story

    From a media release: Indie Meets Filmi: The Austin Roots and Bollywood Flair Behind When Harry Tries to Marry Soundtrack American film soundtracks are often like arranged marriages: a union of disparate elements that only sometimes spark real passion. The music of the new cross-cultural romantic comedy, When Harry Tries to Marry (108 Pics; April 22, 2011). is an inspiring evolution of sound and color reminiscent of some of the world's greatest blockbuster films. “Music and movies go hand in hand when you come from a culture like ours,” notes India-born, U.S.-raised director Nayan Padrai . “A soundtrack is about telling a story , rather than simply licensing some tracks.” Integral to the making of the movie, the soundtrack matches the film’s distinctly indie American vibe and its intricate, vibrant Indian scenes . It features s ome of Austin’s boldest, most soulful sounds and some of the subcontinent’s best playback (cinema) singers and composers. The tracks shar