The 35th Rhubarb Festival Looks Back and Forward
At 35 years old, the Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre may be nearing middle age, but it’s still the place to go if you’re looking for experimental, boundary-breaking, not-your-theatre-next-door kind of stuff in Canada. Every February, Buddies in Bad Times warms up the Church Street neighbourhood with public works, cabarets, live performance art, and a robust lineup of emerging and established artists pushing their own limits and those of the political and cultural moment.
Festival director Laura Nanni is taking the opportunity to look at Rhubarb’s trajectory: this year’s lineup revolves around significant works of the past, and prophetic interpretations of the future. At the same time, with 34 successful years behind it, Nanni and the Rhubarb team have faced an unexpected challenge in getting the 2014 edition off the ground: a funding denial from the Department of Canadian Heritage.
We spoke to Laura Nanni to get her perspective this year’s festival, and the repercussions of the funding gap.
MLK Was Here
Hart House honours Black History Month with its special presentation, MLK Was Here. A lineup of esteemed guests will speak on “Conscience for Change,” from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967 Massey Lectures, and how it applies to present day. Speakers include Marilyn Legge (associate professor of Christian ethics), Sheldon Taylor (historian), and Bob Rae (former premier of Ontario and current First Nations advisor).
Embracing the F Word in Untitled Feminist Show
Young Jean Lee’s theatrical mantra—”What’s the last thing in the world I would ever want to write?”—has resulted in creative battles against some pretty intimidating opponents: religion (Church), death and mortality (We’re Gonna Die), and black racial stereotypes (The Shipment, which came to Toronto in 2012), to name a few. But the risks have paid off so far: Lee has amassed a loyal and influential following in New York City. Her fans and collaborators have included the late Lou Reed and his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson; the Talking Heads’ David Byrne; former Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna; and Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz. According to the New York Times, she’s “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation.”
The Black Museum: Carnival of Souls
The Black Museum is gearing up for another slew of horror-themed presentations, and it’s kicking it all off with a special film screening at its new home: the Royal Cinema. Herk Harvey’s surrealistic 1962 thriller, Carnival of Souls, gets the honours of breaking in the new venue and will be accompanied by the announcement of semester four’s first three lectures.