The Xpace Cultural Centre debuts its spring slate of exhibits at this opening reception, including nine different artists’ work exploring a digital landscape in An Illuminated iDentity, curated by David Hanes. The reception will include a live performance by the subject of Christopher William Ellis is Dead, a retconned video biography by Jordan Tannahill, and artist collective VSVSVS’ The Shelf playing a sculpture game in the Window Space.
Comedy and life partners Matt Baram (CityTV’s Seed) and Naomi Snieckus (CBC’s Mr. D) are workshopping a new show format (“come see it get built right before your eyes!”) in a weekly residency in April and May at Second City’s Training Centre. The master improvisers and co-creators of Script Tease have been busy touring and on television of late, and these Baram and Snieckus shows will be a rare opportunity to see our 2010 hero nominees in a back to basics comedy format.
When’s the last time you attempted to reconceptualize the dimensions of space? If it’s been a while, you might consider checking out a new exhibition called I Thought There Were Limits, which aims to do just that. This particular exhibit is unique in that the artwork forms a relationship with the site itself (in this case, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery). The work on display is brought to you by curator Julia Abraham (as part of the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto). The artists include Karen Henderson, Yam Lau, Gordon Lebredt, Kika Thorne, and Josh Thorpe.
Toronto is a great city for film buffs, and thanks to TIFF Kids International Film Festival, that includes the munchkins, too. The annual festival is about to kick off for the 16th time, and this year boasts a diverse lineup of programming for all ages, the premiere of Canada’s first 3D animated feature film, and a new partnership with Sesame Workshop.
Nuit Blanche is still a ways away, but if you like your art experiences to be super-sized, you’ll be pleased to know that the Toronto Art Expo is back in town. Get ready to see art and installations from over 200 artists from Canada and around the world. And if you’re worried about breaking your wallet, don’t be—the art spotlighted here ranges in values so there’s something for attendees of all budgets.
Now in its 21st year, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival remains as committed as ever to projecting every facet of the Jewish identity. This year’s programme consists of an eclectic mix of films in a multitude of genres and formats, from silent to animated. The documentaries alone cover a huge number of subjects, ranging from Neil Diamond, to Serge Gainsbourg, to Roman Polanski, and even to the history of the popular Jewish song “Hava Nagila.”
The festival opens on Thursday with a screening of the provocative Cowjews and Indians, in which filmmaker Marc Halberstadt attempts to “cut out the middle man” by enlisting Native Americans to take back his ancestors’ land in Germany. Here are a few other films worth seeking out during the festival’s run.
The Spur Festival, a fledgling arts and ideas celebration, hopes to get people rallying behind the issues. “We didn’t want to just have a festival for festivals’ sake,” says Helen Walsh, one of the co-founders. “We wanted to do something that would spur people into action, and spur thought into action.”
Since its debut in 1987, Images has had a special place on Toronto’s springtime film festival slate. Though the upcoming Hot Docs is bigger, Images’ selection of experimental and independent media art often feels purer. It’s a festival that invites audiences to consider the basic elements that make moving image-based arts like the cinema so resonant.
Longtime JAZZ.FM91 host and producer Jaymz Bee is celebrating his 50th Birthday Bash Week with a mix of public and private events around town. It all gets started Monday, April 8 at Hugh’s Room, where he’ll be feted by some of his favourite acts, like Scarlett Jane, Joe Hall, Heather Luckhart, and more. It peaks on Saturday, April 13 at Palais Royale, where Bee has an huge line-up of acts, including Terra Hazelton & Her Problems, The Shuffle Demons, and many more surprise guests. All the info for the week’s events can be found on Bee’s website.
Sam Shepard’s plays are famously all about man as a caged animal, prowling and brooding around his enclosure (usually a North American domicile), eventually tearing it apart like an untrained puppy suffering from separation anxiety. He is a man’s man’s writer, the lone wolf in the wilderness that so many young males fantasize about—even, it often seems, Shepard himself.
As his most famous work, one of Shepard’s Family Trilogy, True West is a great example: two brothers, Hollywood screenwriter Austin (Mike Ross) and the petty-thieving vagabond Lee (Stuart Hughes), somehow end up house-sitting for their mother while she’s on vacation in Alaska (though only Austin was asked to do so). It’s clear in the script that both men make solo trips outside the walls of their mother’s suburban home, but we never see them apart from each other. That’s because Lee and Austin are two halves of the same man. In fact, it’s common for the two main actors to alternate the roles throughout a run of the show.
If there’s one thing that’s particularly impressive about Second City’s new mainstage show, The Meme-ing of Life, it’s how well balanced it is.
As the title implies, Meme-ing is nominally a show about the internet, and certainly there is a fair bit of internet-centric humour. (One sketch, about a boy who falls into a YouTube-induced coma that can only be cured by reading, is particularly on point.) That said, it isn’t just a series of jokes about cat videos. Instead, it’s a well-thought-out show that manages to offer something for pretty much everyone, without stretching itself too thin.
Legoland (not to be confused with Legoland) tells the story of the “Gruesome Twosome,” Canada’s youngest drug dealers. Feeling out of place at their boarding school, siblings Penny and Ezra decide to break free and track down Penny’s pop idol, a journey they fund by selling their prescription drugs. This contemporary Vaudeville routine is told through puppetry, ukelele music, and gangster rap.
Real-life mother and son, Asha and Ravi Jain, share the stage to tell their true, amusing story of cultural and generational clash in A Brimful of Asha. While on a trip to India, Ravi’s parents decide it’s time to introduce him to potential brides, despite his lack of desire to get married.
Finally, an event for the sports and dance enthusiasts to attend together! World Stage presents Jo Strømgren Kompani’s A Dance Tribute to the Art of Football (“football” in the European sense—meaning, soccer). The show, which uses humour and intense physicality, bridges the gap between sport and art by focusing on the similarities between. The performance includes partial nudity, and isn’t recommended for children.
It’s hardly news nowadays when an actor disrobes onstage, giving an audience a glimpse at what’s underneath a costume. It’s another thing entirely when the theatre itself strips down to its bare bones.
For Canadian Stage’s production of THIS, by Melissa James Gibson, a Canadian playwright gaining popularity in New York City, artistic director (and director of the play) Matthew Jocelyn and set designer Astrid Janson did just that to the historic Berkeley Street Theatre in Corktown.