Illustrator Gemma Correll Fills a Toronto Shop With Pug-Themed Merch
For someone well known for her expressive and awwww-inducing drawings of pugs, U.K.-based illustrator Gemma Correll came to her love of the animal late. “I was always a cat person growing up, so I think the pug was like my gateway dog,” she said at Magic Pony, an art and design shop on Queen West that is currently hosting The Mr. Pickles Fan Club, the first Canadian exhibition of her work.
Lunch + Learn: Human Rights Watch
Lunch + Learn: Human Rights Watch is a discussion about sexual violence around the world. Jasmine Herlt, Canada Director of Human Rights Watch, will be leading the talk, the aim of which is to explore the reasons women continue to live in unsafe conditions. In addition to the talk, a bag lunch will be offered. It’s included in the ticket price.
An Evening with Giller Prize-Winning Author Linden MacIntyre
Here’s a nice treat for book lovers: Giller Prize–winner Linden MacIntyre will be reading from his latest novel, Why Men Lie. The evening will begin with a pre-reading wine reception. Johanna Schneller of the Globe and Mail will host a Q&A with the author following the reception.
Black Museum Lecture: The Evolution of Found Footage Horror
The Black Museum continues its lectures for the morbidly curious with a presentation by Rue Morgue horror journalist Alexandra West. Ghosts in the Machine: The Evolution of Found Footage Horror examines the origins and recent popularity of the genre, through movies such as The Blair Witch Project, The Ring, and Paranormal Activity.
Genealogical Genius in She She Pop and Their Fathers: Testament
One of Toronto’s favourite theatre trends right now is onstage partnering between an actor child and his or her actual, biological parent. It’s a way of playing out generational conflict in front of a live audience. Tarragon Theatre’s smash hit, A Brimful of Asha (on now in yet another remount), which united actor and director Ravi Jain with his mother Asha Jain, is one example. This year, as part of the Rhubarb Festival, Michael Rubenfeld took to the stage with his mother Mary Berchard in mothermothermothermother….
But Toronto is actually a bit late to the trend, as it turns out. German theatre collective She She Pop premiered their work She She Pop & Their Fathers: Testament in 2010. The performance piece fuses the famous tragedy King Lear with autobiographical elements, and it features the actors’ real fathers. At its opening Wednesday night at the Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre, as part of the World Stage season, Toronto got a first glimpse at this funny, quirky, and incredibly moving piece of theatre.
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.
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.
The Toronto Jewish Film Festival Spotlights Everything from Neil Diamond to “Hava Nagila”
Now in its 21st year, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival remains as committed as ever to projecting every facet of the Jewish identity. This year’s programme consists of an eclectic mix of films in a multitude of genres and formats, from silent to animated. The documentaries alone cover a huge number of subjects, ranging from Neil Diamond, to Serge Gainsbourg, to Roman Polanski, and even to the history of the popular Jewish song “Hava Nagila.”
The festival opens on Thursday with a screening of the provocative Cowjews and Indians, in which filmmaker Marc Halberstadt attempts to “cut out the middle man” by enlisting Native Americans to take back his ancestors’ land in Germany. Here are a few other films worth seeking out during the festival’s run.
The 2013 Images Festival Brings Experimental Film to Toronto Audiences
Since its debut in 1987, Images has had a special place on Toronto’s springtime film festival slate. Though the upcoming Hot Docs is bigger, Images’ selection of experimental and independent media art often feels purer. It’s a festival that invites audiences to consider the basic elements that make moving image-based arts like the cinema so resonant.
Brazilian Beat Dance Congress
This week, some of the best Brazilian dancers from Canada, the U.S., and Brazil descend on Toronto to heat things up (are you listening, weather?) for the 3rd annual Brazilian Beat Dance Congress. Take part in a variety of workshops and seminars geared to all skill levels, or just sit back and enjoy performances by the pros.
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 Meme-ing of Life is an Epic Win
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.
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.
Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave
David Yee examines life’s interconnectivity in Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave. The play follows an escort in Thailand, a housewife in Utah, and a Catholic priest in India, and how their lives are simultaneously brought together and torn apart by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
A Brimful of Asha
Real-life mother and son, Asha and Ravi Jain, share the stage to tell their true, amusing story of cultural and generational clash in A Brimful of Asha. While on a trip to India, Ravi’s parents decide it’s time to introduce him to potential brides, despite his lack of desire to get married.
Race Gets Under Your Skin
There are few playwrights whose names can double as adjectives (think “Shakespearean,” or “Beckettian”). But Race, now on at Canadian Stage, makes us want to coin a new one of those words. That’s because of the opening scene, where a black lawyer named Henry Brown addresses a white man with the line “You want to tell me about Black folks?” while leaning back in his office chair at the end of a long boardroom table. It’s distinctly Mamettian.
The American playwright David Mamet is known as much for his portrayal of fast-talking, morally ambiguous businessmen as he is for “Mamet speak,” his unique style of verbose, curse-filled, overlapping dialogue or long-winded speeches. His 2010 script Race is no different—in fact, it might be his most Mamettian to date. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to its subject matter (as the title suggests). Discourse surrounding race, privilege, language, and cultural history consumes the entire play.