Paul Schrader, Writer of Taxi Driver, is Coming to The Royal
The king is dead, long live the king. Though this readily adaptable idiom is often used to illustrate the absurdity of a situation, it stems from the purely practical. Once a monarch passes away, immediately there is another who takes his or her place. It’s not meant to highlight a contradiction then, but rather a natural progression, a continuation, even a means of survival. Thus: The cinema is dead, long live the cinema. With laments over the end of 35mm film, the struggles of repertory cinemas, and complaints over a culture of remakes, it’s easy to buy into the belief that there’s nothing new left to be done. There are some, however, who are actively working to ensure that the reign of cinema continues.
Video magazine The Seventh Art was founded about a year ago, and has been curating video essays and doing long-form interviews with directors ever since. A three-person show run by Chris Heron, Pavan Moondi, and Brian Robertson, the digital publication is a labour of love, but one that benefits the whole city—or at least its cinephiles. Last December, the trio brought Whit Stillman to The Royal as part of their Live Directors Series of screenings and Q&A sessions. This time around, screenwriter and director Paul Schrader will be in attendance, screening his seminal film, Taxi Driver (1976). Directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Schrader (who was only 26 at the time), it’s the story of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a damaged Vietnam vet who works as a taxi driver in New York. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and went on to become a cornerstone of American cinema.
Visitations Brings Immersive Thrills to the Drake Hotel
A fragile young woman obsessed with an old mechanized box containing an ancient (and possibly deadly) artifact calls upon a clairvoyant, a paranormal investigator, and a parapsychologist to assist in unlocking its secrets. No, it’s not a new AMC series, or an upcoming summer blockbuster—it’s Visitations, the new immersive-theatre experience by The Mission Business, creator of last year’s epic bio-horror theatrical extravaganza, Zed.TO.
As with Zed.TO, the audience is very much at the heart of the action in Visitations, exploring rooms, decoding messages, solving puzzles, and trying to prevent a catastrophe—or perhaps being used to bring one about. The more you bring to the experience, the more fun you’ll have in return.
I Thought There Were Limits
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.
TIFF Kids International Film Festival Hopes to Inspire Young Film Buffs
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.
The Toronto Jewish Film Festival Spotlights Everything from Neil Diamond to “Hava Nagila”
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.
Illustrator Gemma Correll Fills a Toronto Shop With Pug-Themed Merch
For someone well known for her expressive and awwww-inducing drawings of pugs, U.K.-based illustrator Gemma Correll came to her love of the animal late. “I was always a cat person growing up, so I think the pug was like my gateway dog,” she said at Magic Pony, an art and design shop on Queen West that is currently hosting The Mr. Pickles Fan Club, the first Canadian exhibition of her work.
Toronto Space Apps Challenge
24 NASA-designed challenges will be tackled by teams of engineers, scientists, and general space tech aficionados at this three-day “hackathon,” the Toronto Space Apps Challenge. There are 75 cities around the world taking part, and here in Toronto, the official event is also being complemented by a youth challenge on Saturday, April 20. On Sunday, April 21, the projects and presentations will be judged and awards will be given out, followed by an afterparty.
Third Annual Show Choir Canada National Championships
This one’s for all the Glee fans out there. The 3rd Annual Show Choir Canada National Championships is coming your way. It’s a weekend of singing from high schools from across Canada. Up to 20 groups will compete for the championship (as well as more than $30,000 in prizes) and you could have a front row seat to see it all as it goes down.
Brazilian Beat Dance Congress
This week, some of the best Brazilian dancers from Canada, the U.S., and Brazil descend on Toronto to heat things up (are you listening, weather?) for the 3rd annual Brazilian Beat Dance Congress. Take part in a variety of workshops and seminars geared to all skill levels, or just sit back and enjoy performances by the pros.
Race Gets Under Your Skin
There are few playwrights whose names can double as adjectives (think “Shakespearean,” or “Beckettian”). But Race, now on at Canadian Stage, makes us want to coin a new one of those words. That’s because of the opening scene, where a black lawyer named Henry Brown addresses a white man with the line “You want to tell me about Black folks?” while leaning back in his office chair at the end of a long boardroom table. It’s distinctly Mamettian.
The American playwright David Mamet is known as much for his portrayal of fast-talking, morally ambiguous businessmen as he is for “Mamet speak,” his unique style of verbose, curse-filled, overlapping dialogue or long-winded speeches. His 2010 script Race is no different—in fact, it might be his most Mamettian to date. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to its subject matter (as the title suggests). Discourse surrounding race, privilege, language, and cultural history consumes the entire play.
A Brimful of Asha
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.
Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave
David Yee examines life’s interconnectivity in Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave. The play follows an escort in Thailand, a housewife in Utah, and a Catholic priest in India, and how their lives are simultaneously brought together and torn apart by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The Meme-ing of Life is an Epic Win
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.
The Shepard Show, A Free Film Screening Series
Here’s your chance to a) check out a free film and b) test your knowledge as a film buff. The Shepard Show is a film screening series that’ll be showing a new flick each week up until the opening of The Playwright Project festival in May. On the agenda are Steel Magnolias (April 7), Hamlet (April 14), Swordfish (April 21), and The Notebook (April 28). Be prepared for team trivia as well with a chance to win film- and theatre-related prizes.