Canadian Music Week 2014
If you’re thinking that it seems longer than usual since Canadian Music Week last rolled around, good news: you’re not crazy. For its 2014 edition, the event left behind its typically lousy March weather and moved to the comparatively balmier conditions of early May. So instead of being viewed as the next major festival after SXSW, it’ll perhaps now be seen more as a sibling of NXNE. Thanks to a radius clause introduced by NXNE that makes sure the two festivals feature different acts, though, they’ll have to carve out their own separate identities as concert extravaganzas.
What hasn’t changed about CMW in 2014 is its range of offerings—it still features a diverse lineup of music from artists both established and emerging, complemented by smaller samplings of film and comedy. With headlining performances from the likes of Canadian duo Tegan and Sara and a wide array of showcases carefully programmed for different genres and—in some cases—countries, there’s something on the schedule for everyone.
The Peggy Baker Dance Project is thinking outside the box with its new production, land|body|breath. Specially designed to exist between the paintings and sculptures of the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, this immersive show features a combination of dancers and vocalists.
One Hour in Paris Book Launch
While there’s no debating the vileness of rape, there is positivity to be found in redemption stories like this one. Join Karyn L. Freedman as she celebrates the launch of her book, One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery with the help of comedian Elvira Kurt and female rock group Pins & Needles. A portion of proceeds from books sold during the evening will be donated to the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape.
Comedians Steph Kaliner and Sara Hennessey want you to get into their time machine and go back to an era when hair was feathered, blue-jean bottoms were belled, and smoking during pregnancy was A-okay. As hosts of a cable access-type program, these Terrific Women will be joined by the hilarious and talented Templeton Philharmonic, Amanda Balsys, Parker & Seville, Matt Collins, and Rhiannon Archer.
A Journey Into the Forbidden City
If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.
Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength
“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon
“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore
These quotations, which welcome visitors to “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.
The Gigli Concert: Therapy Through Music, Comedy, and Sex Stories
Up until Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez made that movie, the word “Gigli” was associated with images of beauty, the splendour of the opera, and, more specifically, the renowned Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. In Irish playwright Tom Murphy’s The Gigli Concert, originally written in 1983 and on stage now at Soulpepper Theatre, the singer’s voice represents not only beauty, but hope itself—the one saving force that can pull its two central characters from deep depressions. And, thankfully, the journey to the other side is infinitely more watchable than the previously mentioned Hollywood film.
It’s 1977, and a group of friends in England are gathering for a soirée. A pretty standard concept, that’s for sure, but Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party takes things to another level with a playful romp through the lives of these suburban socialites. Witness the hilarity and awkwardness as the hostess from hell metaphorically tears her guests to pieces.
The Last Confession
If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth.
Beatrice & Virgil: Yann Martel’s Monkey and Donkey Hit the Stage
Most unsolicited messages from admirers to famous writers do not result in collaborations: but when Lindsay Cochrane, kindergarten teacher and English literature grad, emailed Yann Martel, the acclaimed author of Life of Pi, about adapting one of his novels into a stage play, the two ended up joining forces. The result is Cochrane’s first play, Beatrice & Virgil, on now at Factory Theatre (in a co-production with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre). With the help of director Sarah Garton Stanley, Cochrane has made an impressively valiant effort to wrangle some large, abstract, and troublesome ideas into a well-crafted work of live theatre.
A God in Need of Help Gets Some From Its Friends
We’re nearing the end of Tarragon Theatre‘s 2013/2014 season, and it appears we’ve also arrived at the final stage of its theme: love, loss, wine, and the gods. But that doesn’t mean the Tarragon, which has seen some major hits this year in Lungs, The Double, and The Ugly One, is phoning it in. Sean Dixon’s ambitious new script, A God in Need of Help, has produced not only one of the longer plays in the Tarragon season, but also easily the most dense and layered, mixing as it does historical fact and fiction with timeless issues of art, religion, and politics. Fortunately, that makes it the strongest mainstage show of the season thus far (we’ll see how Tarragon’s final show, The God That Comes, co-created by and featuring Hawksley Workman, performs in June).