Your Guide to Hot Docs 2013
Spring in Toronto is marked by an influx of bikes on the streets, people returning to our parks, and, of course, the Hot Docs festival.
While the weather has so far not fully cooperated with the first two of those activities, rain and cold weather aren’t a hindrance to catching some world-class documentaries. The festival turns 20 this year, but a quarter-life crisis is nowhere in sight. The largest non-fiction film shindig in North America continues to impress, with 205 documentaries screening over 10 days, including 44 world premieres, and films from 43 countries. It’s a lot, but we’re here to help!
Living Art Comes to the Gladstone Hotel
On Thursday, the Gladstone Hotel kicked off Grow Op, a four-day-long expo of 26 art installations intended to challenge the way visitors think about public spaces. This marks the event’s inaugural year, though the hotel intends to make it an annual thing.
OCADU Augmented Cinema Film Festival
If you wanted a peek into what some local film students have been working on, be sure to drop in on the OCADU Augmented Cinema Film Festival. The festival will be highlighting work done by students from all years in a variety of formats including film, video, and animation. And for those wondering what augmented cinema is, the festival’s director, Jamie McMillan, coins it as something that has “evolved out of the desire to immerse audiences into the films and create a fictional disembodiment from the self.”
Anansi Poetry Bash
If it’s been a while since you attended a poetry night, consider checking out the Anansi Poetry Bash, which offers refreshments, music, and, of course, poetry. The evening marks the launch of three collections (which means a chance to buy and get them signed by the authors) including Under the Keel by Michael Crummey, The Polymers by Adam Dickinson, and 1996 by Sara Peters.
Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture Grand Opening Party
Sneakers! We all wear them, but where do they come from? “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” is the very first North American exhibition to take a look at sneaker culture. In celebration of its opening, the Bata Shoe Museum is throwing a huge grand opening party. The event features NYC’s DJ Bobbito Garcia a.k.a. Kool Bob Love, and Toronto’s DJ Tabs, as well as cocktails and, of course, the chance to explore the world of sneakers.
Laugh Sabbath Live Taping
What’s more exciting than attending the weekly Laugh Sabbath comedy show? Getting to attend a live taping, of course. This week’s special features a variety of comedic titans including Sara Hennessey, Nick Flanagan, Tim Gilbert, Brian Barlow, Adam Christie, Bob Kerr, Chris Locke, Kathleen Phillips, James Hartnett, and Tom Henry.
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.
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.
La Ronde Spins Off-Kilter
In 1897, Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler wrote a play so scandalous that at first he only shared it among his friends. It wasn’t publicly staged until 1920 and, unsurprisingly, it caused an uproar. The ruffled feathers had to do with La Ronde‘s frank discussion of sexual relationships—in particular, those between members of different social classes. But while the acts themselves were originally left up to the audience’s imagination, Soulpepper Theatre’s current, modernized adaptation goes all the way with its sex scenes.
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.
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.
Falsettos, a groundbreaking and Tony Award–winning musical, comes to town for a short run, presented by The Acting Up Stage Company. The story takes us to New York City in 1979, where the Sexual Revolution is hot, AIDS is on the rise, and Marvin, a husband and father, has decided to leave his family for a man. Directed by Robert McQueen and starring Darrin Baker, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Sarah Gibbons, Michael Levinson, Eric Morin, Stephen Patterson, and Glynis Ranney.
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 Few Brittle Leaves
Edward Roy and Gavin Crawford star as two 50-something spinster sisters in the gender bending A Few Brittle Leaves. Residing in a suburb of London, Viola and Penelope are faced with the inevitability of aging and the question of whether to abandon their search for love. That is, until the new vicar comes to town and turns their world upside down.
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.
Toronto Comedy Brawl Welcomes Amateurs into the Fold
The Toronto Comedy Brawl is in the middle of a growth spurt. Despite humble beginnings, Ian Atlas’ amateur competition has grown from 64 participants to, this year, a few hundred.