SummerWorks Preview: Music
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SummerWorks Preview: Music

The Hidden Cameras, who’re adapting Origin:Orphan into a theatrical production for this year’s SummerWorks.

SummerWorks‘ three-year-old Music Series may still be looking up to its twenty-year-old motherfest, but the hip little line-up is sure to sell out its new home in the Lower Ossington Theatre most, if not all, nights.

Each year, SummerWorks artistic producer Michael Rubenfeld selects a guest music programmer, with one of Wavelength‘s artistic directors, Kevin Parnell, getting the honours this year (last year it was local promoter/label dude/piss-taker Eric Warner, and the first year it was Outside Music director Evan Newman). “Michael and I had tons of conversations about the music, bands he liked, bands I liked, and what bands would work best in the space. It’s a lot of dialogue back and forth and compromising on both sides, as is any kind of festival programming,” says Parnell.
While there is no specific application process or criteria for the artists that play the festival, Parnell says it isn’t as simple as picking a few popular bands. “When Michael and I first sat down to talk about programming, we both really wanted more of an integration between the music and what SummerWorks is at heart, a groundbreaking theatre festival,” he says. “But integrating arts for a festival isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s a slow process of experimenting with programming, finding willing performers to take risks outside of their usual practice, and almost teaching your audience how to experience and enjoy a new breed of show.”

PS I Love You (at top) and Evening Hymns (at bottom).

This year, that will include the music/theatre/comedy mash-up of Fiasco Playhouse (also at the Lower Ossington Theatre) and the Hidden Cameras’ theatrical adaptation of their recent Origin:Orphan record.
If you can’t see every Music Series show but the obvious choice of the Hidden Cameras isn’t enough for you, at least try to catch the deafening garage anthems of Kingston, Ontario’s unassuming duo PS I Love You, the hypnotic sway of Toronto’s own loop-pedal-using woodsman Evening Hymns, or the gruff, textured roots-rock of Toronto’s stage-swallowing Entire Cities. Some of Toronto’s best comedians (Naomi Snieckus, Matt Baram, and Ron Pederson) will be hanging in the Performance Bar for Fiasco Playhouse, so try to see them with the the twee and strange Ghost Bees, Laura Barrett, and Bob Wiseman as well. Unlike us, however, Parnell will not play favourites. “They’ll all be a lot of fun. The Music Series could evolve into a real flagship event of Toronto’s integrated performing arts.”
Both the mainstage and the Performance Bar series run from Thursday, August 5 until Saturday, August 14 at the Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington). All mainstage shows are $10, Performance Bar shows are PWYC. Full schedule and line-up can be found on the SummerWorks Music site.
All photos courtesy of SummerWorks.