CMW 2014 Preview: Film and Comedy
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CMW 2014 Preview: Film and Comedy

While CMW is predominantly a music festival, it also offers a program of comedy and film that may not be extensive, but can be counted on for a handful of gems.

Here’s a look at some of the notable events worth seeking out over the course of the week.

Kenny vs. Spenny

When: Tuesday, May 6 and Wednesday, May 7, 8 p.m.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre (190 Princes’ Boulevard)

You’ve seen the duo compete against each other on TV in some of the dumbest challenges imaginable, but have you ever seen them live? Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice bring their contentious dynamic to the stage in a show that doesn’t really involve squaring off against each other so much as telling stories and showing clips while they drink beer. The critics from early in their current cross-Canada tour have been a little harsh, but fans of the program will surely be pleased to get a chance to take in one of their two shows here.

Finding Fela

When: Thursday, May 8, 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Royal Cinema (608 College Street)

The prolific documentarian Alex Gibney follows up recent efforts about Lance Armstrong and WikiLeaks with this profile of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti. Premiering earlier this year at Sundance, the film takes a look at how Kuti made his art into a political weapon and explores his lasting impact, with interviews from such luminaries as Paul McCartney and Questlove—and offers a glimpse behind the scenes of his Tony-award-winning Broadway hit, Fela!.

Jimi: All Is by My Side

When: Thursday, May 8, 9:15 p.m.
Where: The Royal Cinema (608 College Street)

There was reason for skepticism when it was announced that Jimi: All Is by My Side, the André (3000) Benjamin–starring biopic about Jimi Hendrix, wouldn’t actually use any of Hendrix’s music—but the reviews following its TIFF premiere were mostly positive. Written and directed by John Ridley, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years A Slave, this is an early opportunity to see the film before it gets a proper release in June.

Tom Green

When: Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10, 8 p.m.
Where: Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club (224 Richmond Street West)

The showbiz career of Tom Green has been one unpredictable roller coaster ride. After being nominated for a Juno at a young age with “Check the OR”, Green turned an Ottawa cable access show into mainstream success on MTV by humping dead moose; he then survived testicular cancer, married Drew Barrymore, directed and starred in the film Freddy Got Fingered, divorced Drew Barrymore, and faced down the very real prospect of being exiled from entertainment forever. But he stayed busy making an innovative online talk show, developed a respectable stand-up act, and is probably funnier now than he has ever been.

Heaven Adores You

When: Saturday, May 10, 7 p.m.
Where: The Royal Cinema (608 College Street)

The biggest difficulty up to this point in trying to make a documentary about the life of the incredibly gifted and deeply troubled singer-songwriter Elliott Smith—who committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 34—has been that his close friends and family were reluctant to participate. But director Nickolas Rossi’s Kickstarter-funded film has been granted use of Smith’s music and also features interviews with Smith’s sister Ashley, frequent collaborator Jon Brion, and many others who knew Smith well throughout his all-too-short life.

See also:

  POP and ROCK