Toronto Jazz Festival 2014 Best Bets
On June 19, the Toronto Jazz Festival will once again descend upon Nathan Phillips Square and clubs and concert halls all over the city. Friday night will feature a free concert at Nathan Phillips Square, presented in partnership with WorldPride, with sets by Melissa Etheridge and Deborah Cox. There will also be a huge fireworks display and the raising of the rainbow flag—it’s bound to be a real party. There are lots of big names at the fest this year, including Chaka Kahn, Bobby McFerrin, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Here’s our rundown of some of the other shows worth checking out.
TIFF Unveils Bruce LaBruce’s Skin Flicks
Anyone seeking proof that all it takes for a radical to become part of the establishment is a little bit of endurance need only look to “Skin Flicks,” TIFF Cinematheque’s retrospective of the films of Toronto zine impresario, radical, occasional pornographer, and queercore filmmaker Bruce LaBruce.
A farm boy who left his rural digs for a more urban life in Toronto in the mid-‘80s, LaBruce first turned heads on the scene with his publication (along with partner and Fifth Column frontwoman G.B. Jones) of the seminal queer punk zine J.D.s, which distinguished itself from punk culture through its queer vision, and from mainstream LGBT culture through its aggressive DIY aesthetic and radical politics. From that fertile underground world came the first of LaBruce’s experimental Super 8 shorts, including Boy, Girl—ground zero for later thematic obsessions such as neo-skinheads and surveillance.
Open Roof Festival
Forget raising the roof, it’s time to get rid of it altogether! Why? Well, for lack of a better name, it’s the opening night of the Open Roof Festival. Returning for its fifth season, this weekly series pairs performances from local musicians with film screenings under the stars. Let Hamilton’s Thought Beneath Film lull you into a false sense of security with their catchy pop-rock, before things get psychologically thrilling with Enemy.
Fans of oddball British humour—rejoice! The Lower Ossington Theatre has brought the genius of Monty Python’s Eric Idle to Toronto with their rendition of Spamalot. Watch as flying cows, killer rabbits, and all sorts of bizarre elements come together to tell a twisted version of the legendary story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
CineMacabre: Rigor Mortis
Rue Morgue is offering up some pretty, uh, stiff competition for your typical Netflix-on-the-couch Thursday night with their June CineMacabre screening. Rigor Mortis sees a washed-up actor move into a new apartment with the intent to end his life, only to become distracted by his strange neighbours and the eerie occurrences that take place in their building. Produced by Takashi Shimizu, creator of The Grudge, the film combines ghostly imagery, Chinese superstition, and vampirism to make one gorgeous and chilling horror piece. Come for the scares, stay for the deliciously gruesome snacks, alcoholic drinks, and prizes from a variety of spooky sponsors!