Celebrating Beautiful (and Affordable) Art
The Love Art fair has arrived in Toronto. A branch of the international Affordable Art Fair, Love Art champions the philosophy that fine-art collecting and economic accessibility should not be mutually exclusive, and aims to create new art collectors while also providing a forum for emerging and established artists to showcase and sell their works. Definitions of affordability and accessibility are certainly subjective, but with prices starting at $60, Love Art is endeavouring to make the acquisition of art possible for a wider range of people.
Montreal-based photographer Katrina Lee was captivated by the otherworldly beauty of Iceland’s landscapes when she visited the country in 2009. Her photos, which also document how the rapidly warming island nation is shedding layers of ice from its glaciers at record-breaking rates, form the basis for her first solo photographic exhibition, “Panta Rhei“. After the opening party, where Lee will be in attendance, the exhibition will remain on display at the Oculus Arts QSQ Gallery until June 20.
Vitals: Immersive Theatre That’s Close to Home
Outside the March seems to be Toronto’s favourite indie theatre company. Director Mitchell Cushman built up quite a buzz after consecutive hits Mr. Marmalade and Terminus, both of which were praised for their unconventional use of space (the former was set in a kindergarten classroom, the latter placed both the actors and the audience on the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre), so his next project had been highly anticipated. Vitals, written by Rosamund Small, was the first script for Outside the March developed specifically for a site-specific space, and its original run had to be extended even before opening night. Then, only a few days into the run, it was extended again to June 1. And though Vitals isn’t the best show in Outside the March’s history, there’s a reason that tickets have been flying.
Raoul and the Big Time CD Release, with Curtis Salgado
It’s been five years since the last album released by Maple Blues award-winning outfit Raoul and the Big Time. The band has been playing on both coasts sporadically (band leader Raoul Bhaeja is a busy actor spending time in L.A. and T.O.), and now has a 12-track album in the can, recorded here in Toronto and in Burbank, California, featuring guest performances by members of Canned Heat and the Mavis Staples Band. The Hollywood Blvd. launch party will feature an expanded lineup of local blues artists, as well as a special guest, 2013 BB King Entertainer of the Year Curtis Salgado.
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.
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 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).
Talk about striking while the iron is hot—David James Brock’s Snow Bride is hitting the stage just in time for wedding season… and some other stuff in the news. When no one shows up for Helena’s bachelorette party, she turns to her oldest and most trusted friend: cocaine. Using humour, the play touches on the difficulties surrounding a life of addiction and its effects on interpersonal relationships.
Mies Julie Is a Powerhouse Production
On Tuesday night, it was a clear and calm evening by the waterfront—a little warm, even. It was a hint of what (we’re hoping) is in store for us this summer, and created a serene and restful atmosphere.
That feeling was promptly destroyed by the production currently playing at the Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre, Yael Farber’s Mies Julie. It’s angering, devastating, and terrifying—but in the best way possible.