With three days of outdoors music, the Toronto Urban Roots Festival (or TURF, for short) brings a diverse selection of acts to the Garrison Common grounds, including alt-country veterans like Jeff Tweedy and Jenny Lewis, legedary bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and the Violent Femmes, and local acts like July Talk and Bidiniband. In addition to the festival lineups, there’s also a bonus Club Series associated with the festival playing for the week at the Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace that’s included in the higher-priced passes.
The first annual Toronto Festival of House Culture has come about to celebrate what’s already happening on a regular basis across Toronto: people organizing living room and backyard performances and salons for artists who are keen to connect with people in a more intimate setting. Over three days, organizers have planned music performances, screenings, storytelling, and poetry readings at a half-dozen west-end homes, kicking off with a potluck dinner and opening night show on Friday night headlined by singer Cheryl White; other highlights over the weekend include a workshop and performance by Sarah Pelzer, an evening of theatre and music by pop band Words Around the Waist, and a “troubadour” session on Sunday with Kyp Harness.
Just to make things clear, you won’t see “Weird Al” Yankovic at Weird Al Karaoke, nor will you see anyone singing his songs (or karaoke at all, for that matter). What you will see will be some of Toronto’s funniest musically inclined comedians singing their own original satirical material. Guests for the July edition, hosted by “Weird Glenn” Macaulay, include the Sufferettes, Daniel Beirne (co-star of CTV’s Space Riders webseries), and Marty Topps, who recently won the Laugh Sabbath/NXNE comedy shorts festival’s top prize for his music video for Beep Beep (Buy Me a Jeep).
While the Toronto International Film Festival may have shifted into a more relaxed mode, it’s still offering plenty of opportunities to gawk at movie stars—they’re just a little more spread out. Midweek, fans could catch the premieres of Good Kill (Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot), Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg’s new bit of oddness), The Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch as World War II cryptographer Alan Turing), Jauja (Viggo Mortensen, and we don’t know much else really), Laggies (Sam Rockwell and Keira Knightley in a comedy about people taking their sweet time to grow up), October Gale (Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman in a thriller/drama set in a remote cabin), Pawn Sacrifice (about the chess duels between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer), The Cobbler (Adam Sandler’s latest) and Escobar (Benicio Del Toro is the famous drug kingpin).
“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.
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.
With more than 130 shows and additional programming, the Toronto Fringe Festival can be overwhelming. And since the shows are picked mostly via a lottery system, finding one that will be worth your time and money can be a crapshoot—though the best shows can and have gone on to eventual Broadway runs and major film adaptations. We’ll help you get the most out of your Fringe experience with a rundown of the festival’s promising and potentially can’t-miss shows—and we’ll be back with reviews as the festival progresses.
The festival begins with opening ceremonies behind Honest Ed’s at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4, and features some afternoon and evening premieres that day and Thursday, July 3. The festival really kicks off on Friday, July 5, and there’ll be programming every day from noon to midnight until Sunday, July 13.
You’d be hard-pressed to think of a filmmaker more frequently linked to his national cinema in the popular imagination than Satyajit Ray, whose work in the 1950s brought an independent streak to the production of Indian cinema as famously as Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless countered the establishment of French costume dramas around the same time. Yet prior to the 1990s, you might have found it equally difficult to name a major international figurehead who was as underrepresented at repertory screenings, so dire was the state of the films’ prints.
Twenty years after the Academy Film Archive restored the Bengali director’s deteriorating and otherwise endangered negatives and made proper retrospectives possible, TIFF Cinematheque offers “The Sun and the Moon: The Films of Satyajit Ray,” a far-ranging program that gives Toronto audiences the opportunity to see the fruit of that labour as well as the work of arguably India’s most influential filmmaker.
Every part of our city will be drenched in WorldPride this summer, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Bent Lens: Pride on Screen comprises nearly two months of screenings, exhibits, and speaking engagements that reflect the broadness of our LGBT community. Check out films under the stars in David Pecaut Square, take in a conversation with Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black, and much more.
This post originally stated that the outdoor screenings of Bent Lens will focus on Derek Jarman and Bruce LaBruce, but that is not the case.
Our fascination with fame and celebrity isn’t new—and this is illustrated in Izzy Gallery’s newest exhibit, Terry O’Neil: The Man Who Shot the Sixties. A photographer from the U.K., O’Neill snapped iconic shots of everyone from The Beatles and Rolling Stones to Brigitte Bardot and Faye Dunaway. The opening party features an appearance by O’Neill himself, and his “photographs from the frontline of fame” will remain on display until the end of August.
Do Right! Music and the Gardiner Museum have teamed up with food, beer, and wine sponsors (including Steam Whistle and Southbrook Vineyards) for Scene on the Plaza, a month’s worth of Friday-night parties hosted on the expansive plaza on the Gardiner’s grounds just south of Bloor and Avenue. Maylee Todd kicks off the first night on June 27, The Soul Motivators play the following week, and a slate of DJs from Do Right! and MILK CREW will make appearances in the three remaining weeks.
If you haven’t heard of Twelve Angry Men, you’ve likely seen it parodied in a number of movies and television shows over the years. Now here’s your chance to see the real deal, on stage, thanks to the Soulpepper Theatre Company. Watch the drama unfold in a claustrophobic deliberation room as one dissenting juror unravels what is supposed to be an open-and-shut murder case.
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.