Add a little Turkey to your lunch with Sketches of Istanbul, courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company. Canadian cellist Andrew Downing teams up with Güç Başar Gülle, master of the Turkish oud; percussionist Debashis Sinha; and clarinettist Peter Lutek to celebrate the mosaic of culture found in Istanbul. Drawing from the ensemble’s diverse backgrounds, the program features a fusion of traditional Turkish-Ottoman music, with modern western sounds and styles.
The ancient Mayas believed that the world would end after 5125 years, but how exactly did they envision it happening? Six young Mayas provide the answers in this month’s Cinema Politica feature, Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth. Filmed over several years in Guatemala and Chiapas, the documentary focuses on the daily lives of Flori, Chan K’in, Felipe, Chepita, and Jerónimo, and their efforts to prevent the destruction of their culture and environment. Special guest speakers will be present at the screening.
We probably don’t need to try too hard to convince you to drink wine on a Tuesday night. Regardless, we’re going to tell you about a wine-tasting event that’s both cultural and charitable. The Chilean Wine Festival will be bringing twenty wineries to Toronto. Over 120 wines will be representing the South American country’s vastly different geographical regions and climates. Guests will also be treated to authentic Chilean cuisine by chef Andres Michel, and Chilean music by Bellosound. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Royal Ontario Museum’s highest educational priorities.
The great vaudevillian performer and comedian W.C. Fields is believed to have coined the infamous showbiz axiom, “Never work with animals or children.” Others in the entertainment industry have adopted the rule, because of the unpredictability of toddlers and beasts on stage. But in his recent play The Best Brothers, Daniel MacIvor embraces both of these snubbed theatrical minorities—even if the dog only appears for a brief moment and the two adult characters only act like feuding minors. And surprisingly, there’s little unpredictability in it.
The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.
Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada.
If Fringe and SummerWorks aren’t enough to satisfy your summer theatre cravings, the world-renowned Stratford Festival is now only a bus ride away from downtown Toronto, thanks to the new Stratford Direct bus route (“the best thing [the Festival] has done in years” according to one usher at the Avon Theatre). Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino has put together a season to please tastes from the traditional to the extravagant. Here’s what we think about five of Stratford’s current productions.
If you look out the window while riding the bus from downtown to Markham, you’ll notice the urban landscape gradually unfolding into the suburban: tight-knit city streets loosen into faster multi-lane roads, box stores assemble in beige-brick clusters, and everywhere new structures are being outstripped by even newer buildings at various stages of completion.
Markham just upgraded itself from town to city in July 2012, and is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse municipalities in the country. And while the place may not inspire many enthusiastic road-trips from downtowners, “Land|Slide Possible Futures,” a new, large-scale public-art exhibition, invites visitors to explore Markham’s history, its quickly changing present, and its potential evolution—while also challenging glib notions surrounding the suburbs themselves.
“Face to Place,” a photo exhibition at St. Lawrence Market’s Market Gallery, is a raw and nostalgic attempt at capturing urban life in a city that’s constantly changing.
When it was originally unveiled at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (England, not Ontario), the “David Bowie Is” exhibition shattered attendance records, selling over 42,000 advance tickets. Now that the show has come to Toronto, it’s easy to see why it was so successful. Composed of over 300 objects from David Bowie’s personal archive, spanning his entire career, the exhibit is arranged and presented as a completely immersive experience, enveloping visitors in a kaleidoscopic visual and aural landscape that would be overwhelming if it weren’t so brilliantly arranged and intelligently guided.
Don’t worry: everyone’s favourite crisp-voiced actor is still alive and well. “R.I.P. Morgan Freeman” is actually an art exhibition that takes inspiration from last year’s false rumours that Freeman had passed away. The show aims to honour the man best known as the guy who plays God. If the incredible image above is any indication, this is well worth checking out.
Like the company’s recent triumph, Angels in America, Soulpepper’s newest show, The Norman Conquests, requires multiple trips to the theatre—or a hearty constitution for a full day of marathon attendance. Unlike Angels in America, the three instalments of The Norman Conquests—Table Manners, Living Together, and Round and Round the Garden—are comic in nature and small in scope, with each instalment taking place in a different part of a couple’s house. Written by prolific British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, the three-part series features veteran members of the Soulpepper ensemble, and can be “enjoyed individually or in any combination.”
Ai Weiwei is a 56-year-old artist confined to his home in Beijing for creating work critical of the Chinese government and Chinese culture. There are video cameras outside his house, his phone lines are tapped, his blog was deleted, his Shanghai studio was destroyed in 2010 by authorities, and his passport was confiscated in 2011. To this day, he’s unable to leave his country. Even so, Ai Weiwei has had a large presence in Toronto over the past few months.
This past June, he did a performance piece with artist Laurie Anderson during the Luminato Festival, using Skype. His Zodiac Heads have been installed, temporarily, in the reflecting pool in front of City Hall. At this year’s Nuit Blanche, a large-scale version of his sculpture of bicycles, Forever, will take over Nathan Phillips Square. And beginning August 17, the Art Gallery of Ontario is displaying “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”, a retrospective of the work he produced before and after the Chinese government’s crackdown on his activities helped him find new international acclaim.
Condo-ville isn’t exactly known for its access to organic and locally grown foods. MyMarket is trying to change that with weekly farmers’ markets set up in the CityPlace complex. Residents can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables virtually from their doorstep, while supporting local farmers. Everyone wins!
Crash, the one-woman show by Pamela Sinha, returns to Theatre Passe Muraille to open the fall 2013 season. The unsettling and deeply personal performance was a surprise winner in the New Play category at the 2012 Doras (over the phenomenally popular Kim’s Convenience, which is now being produced for television). Those who’d seen this intense autobiographical tale about the fallout from a brutal sexual assault were perhaps not so surprised.
Fans of the seminal 1968 horror-film classic, Night of the Living Dead, will delight in Night of the Living Dead Live, a new theatrical production of the story. Despite a weak second act, it’s a fun black-and-white romp with some inventive deaths—and even a chipper musical number.
When we met Kat Lanteigne the day before her new play, Tainted, opened at Aki Studio Theatre, the first thing she did was apologize for her eye twitch. She had been getting less than four hours of sleep a night as she readied the production for the stage.
Tainted, directed by Vikki Anderson and presented by GromKat Productions and Moyo Theatre, is a play that takes on Canada’s tainted-blood scandal, exploring the devastating impact that tainted blood products have upon one fictionalized family.