This weekend’s musical hot ticket surely goes to the fifth edition of Long Winter, a music/film/art/video game bonanza that’s presented by Toronto’s favourite hardcore band, Fucked Up. This edition features acts including The Sadies, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, The Skeletones Four, a film called Continuous Structures, DJs like Digits and Light Asylum, some art pieces, and a lot more besides that.
If you think the only thing you can do during Earth Hour is turn out the lights, think again. WWF is inviting Torontonians out for a night of live music in Roncesvalles Village, with a lineup that includes SPLASH, Lucas Stagg Band, and Liam Titcomb. Before that, there will be a community lantern walk.
If you grew up in the ’70s or early ’80s, here’s some nostalgic fun: a tribute to some of the greatest bands of the last century with separate zones devoted to each one. The Cure Fest and Joy Division/New Order Fest is a celebration of the bands’ contributions to music history and features DJ Lazarus and DJ Griz on curating duties.
Joy Division/New Order Fest The Cure Fest
Lovers of photography and the city can rejoice at a new photo extravaganza: the Toronto Urban Photography Festival. This gigantic event features no less than 10 exhibitions, a variety of talks on the subject of urban photography, and a number of photo walks, so you too can get in on the practice of creating urban art. The exhibition also features the Disposable Camera Project, which places many disposable cameras around the city, leaving it up to whoever finds them to take a picture in the moment. And then you might possibly see the results in the festival.
What might we see through the eyes of a child? ChildSight tries to answer that question by pairing selected artwork with audio commentary from children who participate in the Kaleidoscope in-school art program. The opening reception on Thursday, March 21st also includes awards presentations, drinks, and, of course, a chance to check out the show itself.
The Toronto Storytelling Festival returns for another year. The week-long event will take place at venues across the city. Subject matter will range from politics, to kids’ stuff, to guilty pleasures, and sexual desire.
Canadian Music Week might not be as sexy as its fair-weather cousin, NXNE. There are no outdoor shows, and cycling between venues is way less fun in the freezing rain. That said, there are still tonnes of good acts. Here’s the run-down, and our picks for the most promising shows…
If you’re looking to expand your cultural knowledge of Latin America, look no further than the aluCine Festival. This showcase of all things Latin American features a wide variety of events, including film screenings, art installations, and workshops.
Tonight (March 19), the second-annual Sound Image Music Photography Contest and Exhibition kicks off with a party. Judges Stephen Carlick (Exclaim! photo editor), Lucia Graca (creative director of Analogue Gallery), music photographer Barrie Wentzell, and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning will start the evening by announcing the contest’s winner. The two-week-long exhibition features work from Courtney Lee Yip, Brian Patterson, Jess Baumung, Kevin Calixte, Roger Cullman, Vanessa Heins, and more.
Attention all you nature enthusiasts out there: High Park Nature Centre is offering a way for you to get back into tune with the outdoors after a winter of hibernation, with a couple of guided hikes. Along the way you can learn more about High Park itself, while getting some fresh (and hopefully slightly warmer) air. The March 9 walk is especially geared to photographers.
If there’s one thing that’s particularly impressive about Second City’s new mainstage show, The Meme-ing of Life, it’s how well balanced it is.
As the title implies, Meme-ing is nominally a show about the internet, and certainly there is a fair bit of internet-centric humour. (One sketch, about a boy who falls into a YouTube-induced coma that can only be cured by reading, is particularly on point.) That said, it isn’t just a series of jokes about cat videos. Instead, it’s a well-thought-out show that manages to offer something for pretty much everyone, without stretching itself too thin.
Nightwood Theatre’s annual festival of new creation, the Groundswell Festival, this year features a reading of a new play by Judith Thompson, productions from Montreal’s Odelah Creations and Halifax’s In Good Company, and nightly readings and events, including their annual Femcab Women’s Day Celebration.
Theatre Lab and Pandemic Theatre have joined forces to present a limited engagement double feature. The Theatre Lab’s To the Last Cry uses puppetry and masks to tell the story of a nameless peasant boy who braves a dangerous magical forest to save his dying brother. The Lost Sagas of Tjorvi the Flaccid, presented by Pandemic Theatre, takes us to a Viking world where Tjorvi struggles to prove himself worthier than his emasculating title.
One of Canada’s most acclaimed and prolific young playwrights, Hannah Moscovitch, has her own mini festival at Tarragon Theatre this season. It started with This is War in January, and continues into March with three one act plays, all concerning children. Two of those three pieces make up the double bill now playing: In This World and Other People’s Children. (We’ve got a review of the latter play here.)
fu-GEN Theatre Company presents the Canadian premiere of Lauren Yee’s cheeky and insightful play, Ching Chong Chinaman. The ultra-assimilated Wong family don’t quite fit the Asian-American stereotype: teenaged Upton ignores chores and homework to play video games, and his sister Desi’s math scores are less than stellar. Upton’s solution to both problems? Hire an Asian indentured servant with an American dream. Starring Zoe Doyle, Brenda Kamino, Oliver Koomsatira, Richard Lee, Jane Luk, and John Ng.
The Whipping Man is a 2011 John Gassner New Play Award–winning play that’s set during Passover in 1865. The show tells the tale of a confederate officer who has returned home after the Civil War to find his family missing, but two former slaves remaining. While waiting for the family’s return, the concepts of master and slave, and those of slavery and war, are explored. Directed by Philip Akin and starring Sterling Jarvis, Brett Donahue, and Thomas Olajide.
Playwright Kat Sandler has an impeccable flair for comedic dialogue, and her plays keep getting better, from early effort LOVESEXYMONEY, to Fringe hit Help Yourself, to, most recently, clever couple swap scenario Delicacy.
Sandler’s newest work ROCK could be her darkest yet, about an actor (Andy Trithardt) who’s begun fantasizing about murder, despite a supportive girlfriend (Jen Balen) and a rock solid best friend (Tim Walker).
Classic comedy series Theatresports is back for another season of improv hilarity. Now in its 30th year, this comedy tournament continues the tradition of allowing the audience members to choose the content of the scene and letting them judge the results; finals will be held at the end of May. Among the planned guests are comedic greats including Lisa Merchant and Craig Anderson (Canadian Comedy Award winners), Kerry Griffin (Second City alum), and many more.
Experience a new side of Chinese traditional dance with TAO Dance Theater’s Weight x3 and 2. Presented by World Stage, this pair of pieces honours the old while also articulating the future of contemporary Chinese dance.
The Canadian premiere of Ashlin Halfnight’s Laws of Motion, about an accident that sparks a chain reaction of events, boasts a powerhouse ensemble assembled by Small Elephant Co-Op and director Chris Stanton, and is staged in a second-floor jam shop in Leslieville.
The show has now been extended to March 23—but they absolutely have to close after that.
For Torontonians suffering from a case of cabin fever, we highly recommend traveling to Iceland this month. It might not be the most comforting trip, but it’s well worth the fare.
Contrary to its title, Nicolas Billon’s play—the second in his Fault Lines trilogy (which also consists of Greenland and The Faroe Islands)—doesn’t take place in its namesake scenic island nation. Rather, it zooms in on a single condo in Toronto’s Liberty Village, and the three people whose lives intersect in one traumatic incident there. As each character reveals his or her part to play, we learn that the trio is drawn together by far more than just coincidence. Their lives are interconnected by the almighty dollar.
It’s hardly news nowadays when an actor disrobes onstage, giving an audience a glimpse at what’s underneath a costume. It’s another thing entirely when the theatre itself strips down to its bare bones.
For Canadian Stage’s production of THIS, by Melissa James Gibson, a Canadian playwright gaining popularity in New York City, artistic director (and director of the play) Matthew Jocelyn and set designer Astrid Janson did just that to the historic Berkeley Street Theatre in Corktown.
If you’ve been missing the Shakespeare in the Park events that usually roll around come summertime, here’s something that’s just as entertaining. ShakesBeer is a pop-up theatre tavern, and a more informal way of appreciating the Bard. An abridged version of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays will be performed…in 87 minutes. And true to its name, there will also be beer.