TIFF Kids International Film Festival Hopes to Inspire Young Film Buffs
Toronto is a great city for film buffs, and thanks to TIFF Kids International Film Festival, that includes the munchkins, too. The annual festival is about to kick off for the 16th time, and this year boasts a diverse lineup of programming for all ages, the premiere of Canada’s first 3D animated feature film, and a new partnership with Sesame Workshop.
FAWN, a new music and new opera collective, has brought a new art and music showcase to town. Their Connection Series pairs emerging composers with abstract projection art for unique and inspiring performances. Tonight, catch 23-year-old American pianist Julia Sheriff in PROJECTionPLAY, with art by Dermot MacCormack.
I Thought There Were Limits
When’s the last time you attempted to reconceptualize the dimensions of space? If it’s been a while, you might consider checking out a new exhibition called I Thought There Were Limits, which aims to do just that. This particular exhibit is unique in that the artwork forms a relationship with the site itself (in this case, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery). The work on display is brought to you by curator Julia Abraham (as part of the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto). The artists include Karen Henderson, Yam Lau, Gordon Lebredt, Kika Thorne, and Josh Thorpe.
Toronto Silent Film Festival
It’s been over a year since modern silent film The Artist took home the Oscar for best picture, and with it came a renewed surge of interest in the genre. Which brings us to the Toronto Silent Film Festival, back for its fourth year. The theme of this year’s lineup is the individual versus society, and classic films from around the world have been gathered for the occasion, including The Passion of Joan of Arc and Tokyo Chorus.
Jaymz Bee’s Birthday Bash Week
Longtime JAZZ.FM91 host and producer Jaymz Bee is celebrating his 50th Birthday Bash Week with a mix of public and private events around town. It all gets started Monday, April 8 at Hugh’s Room, where he’ll be feted by some of his favourite acts, like Scarlett Jane, Joe Hall, Heather Luckhart, and more. It peaks on Saturday, April 13 at Palais Royale, where Bee has an huge line-up of acts, including Terra Hazelton & Her Problems, The Shuffle Demons, and many more surprise guests. All the info for the week’s events can be found on Bee’s website.
Legoland (not to be confused with Legoland) tells the story of the “Gruesome Twosome,” Canada’s youngest drug dealers. Feeling out of place at their boarding school, siblings Penny and Ezra decide to break free and track down Penny’s pop idol, a journey they fund by selling their prescription drugs. This contemporary Vaudeville routine is told through puppetry, ukelele music, and gangster rap.
It’s a Full House in True West
Sam Shepard’s plays are famously all about man as a caged animal, prowling and brooding around his enclosure (usually a North American domicile), eventually tearing it apart like an untrained puppy suffering from separation anxiety. He is a man’s man’s writer, the lone wolf in the wilderness that so many young males fantasize about—even, it often seems, Shepard himself.
As his most famous work, one of Shepard’s Family Trilogy, True West is a great example: two brothers, Hollywood screenwriter Austin (Mike Ross) and the petty-thieving vagabond Lee (Stuart Hughes), somehow end up house-sitting for their mother while she’s on vacation in Alaska (though only Austin was asked to do so). It’s clear in the script that both men make solo trips outside the walls of their mother’s suburban home, but we never see them apart from each other. That’s because Lee and Austin are two halves of the same man. In fact, it’s common for the two main actors to alternate the roles throughout a run of the show.
The Whipping Man
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.
(Bonus tip: you can save 25 per cent off tickets to the March 16 and April 4 shows by buying them through Toronto-based publisher Bookclub-in-a-Box.)
TIFF 2014 Scenes: Tuesday–Thursday Nights, Featuring Good Kill, Maps to the Stars, The Imitation Game, Jauja, Laggies, and More
While the Toronto International Film Festival may have shifted into a more relaxed mode, it’s still offering plenty of opportunities to gawk at movie stars—they’re just a little more spread out. Midweek, fans could catch the premieres of Good Kill (Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot), Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg’s new bit of oddness), The Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch as World War II cryptographer Alan Turing), Jauja (Viggo Mortensen, and we don’t know much else really), Laggies (Sam Rockwell and Keira Knightley in a comedy about people taking their sweet time to grow up), October Gale (Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman in a thriller/drama set in a remote cabin), Pawn Sacrifice (about the chess duels between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer), The Cobbler (Adam Sandler’s latest) and Escobar (Benicio Del Toro is the famous drug kingpin).
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Toronto Comedy Brawl Welcomes Amateurs into the Fold
The Toronto Comedy Brawl is in the middle of a growth spurt. Despite humble beginnings, Ian Atlas’ amateur competition has grown from 64 participants to, this year, a few hundred.