Local stand-up Alex Nussbaum has given more thought to technology than many of his counterparts, writing a Fringe Festival show about our connection to our personal devices, and getting considerable airplay on SiriusXM for his first album Absolutely Free!* (Not Actually Free). Nussbaum is recording material for his follow-up album, A Number of Bits, which is partly based on how his career has changed since SoundExchange began collecting royalties. He’ll headline four shows at Yuk Yuk’s over two days, which will double as tapings.
Over a year ago, the Globe and Mail‘s theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck wrote about the death of the standing ovation in Canada. “The gesture is no longer exceptional,” he argued, explaining it’s become an obligatory nicety in theatres across the country. Well, he wasn’t wrong. And while it’s not entirely a terrible trend, it’s downright depressing to think that audiences are simply trying to convince themselves they’ve had a good time no matter what’s happened onstage.
But this past Tuesday night, at the curtain call for World Stage’s current offering (which has only two shows remaining, on Friday and Saturday nights), Conte d’amour, there was no obligatory Standing O. Though a good portion of the audience did leap to their feet—a few even yelling, “Bravo!”—many others remained seated. Some clapped; some didn’t. There were even two boos, which came from Nestruck himself. By now, this is common knowledge to anyone following the debate surrounding the most controversial and talked-about show to hit Toronto for some time.
Unlike the trio of Canadian porn providers recently chastised by the CRTC for failing to provide the required amount of Canadian content on their specialty channels, the Feminist Porn Awards have for the past nine years been recognizing cream-of-the-crop productions filmed right here in this country with a special made-in-Canada category.
The Feminist Porn Awards, hosted by Good For Her, showcase films and websites that were directed, produced, or conceived by women or traditionally marginalized people; feature the “genuine pleasure, agency and desire for all performers, especially women and traditionally marginalized people”; and incorporate the principles of intersectionality.
After a long winter out of town, Kelly McMichael and The Gloss are back for a brief Ontario tour, ending here in the band’s nominal hometown, with a video release show for Out of the Match. Also on the bill: Geordie Gordon of the Magic, Liza Bozikovic, and DJ Don’t Even spinning between sets.
If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.
If a period drama has ever inspired you to visit the past, but you couldn’t because you didn’t have access to a time machine, listen up! The Spadina Museum is taking history, television, and fashion fans alike back to the Edwardian era with its “Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibit. Twenty pieces from the hit show will be on display, along with the City of Toronto’s own collection of garments from the time. Attendees will also be treated to Downton Abbey–themed tours of the century home.
Taking place in five Canadian cities for the second time, The Spur Festival brings together thinkers, innovators, and academic and creative types for a series of lectures, meetings, and performances on “nationally relevant and locally nuanced” ideas. Here in Toronto from April 3 to April 6, the festival will include noted lawyer Michael Geist on free speech, an urban planning panel moderated by Shawn Micallef, talks by author Cecil Foster and photojournalists Rita Leistner and Mike Kamber, and much more. Many of the events, including the opening and closing parties, are free; a few have ticket prices ranging from $10 to $30. For full details, visit the festival’s website.
Ichimaru—once one of Japan’s most famous geishas—left the profession in the 1930s to pursue a career in entertainment. Never really leaving her past life, she became known for adorning herself in the traditional geisha garb when performing in concert or on television. “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru” exhibits several decades’ worth of outfits and personal effects, shedding light on the woman behind the makeup.
Now in its fourteenth year, the ReelWorld Film Festival has expanded its reach. For five days in Toronto, followed by three in Markham, it’s bringing over 79 films to the screen. Diversity is the name of the game with features, shorts, webisodes, and music videos from twenty different countries on the bill.
“I think of them as chamber films,” Matías Piñeiro says of the four intimate and beautifully crafted films that make up an intensive TIFF Cinematheque program called Divertimentos: The Films of Matías Piñeiro, running from April 3 to April 6 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Speaking to us over the phone ahead of the retrospective, which spans his still early but already accomplished career, the 32-year-old Argentine filmmaker seemed pleased with the title that programmer Brad Deane selected, which suggests something musical and modest—a host of informal ensemble pieces.
Great theatre comes and goes, and you either see it while it’s playing, or wait for a remount. The On Stage On Demand series is looking to change that by capturing past hit indie plays on film—and they’re opening up the performances for free to a live audience. The shows being performed and taped include past hits like Of Mice and Morro and Jasp (which is already fully reserved), Antoine Feval, and Supperfesta. Admission is free, but you’ll want to reserve your tickets before the shows hit capacity.
Let’s be honest: you can’t call yourself a true film buff unless you’ve seen the classics—by which we mean those that came before the “talkies.” If you need a quick catch-up course, you’re in luck—the Toronto Silent Film Festival is taking over various theatres across the city for six straight days. One film will be showcased per day, and paired with live and improvised music. Even if you’re familiar with The Wind (1928), City Girl (1930), The Circus (1928), Seven Years Bad Luck (1921), The Last Command (1928), or every Charlie Chaplin film, you’ve never seen them quite like this!
Circlesnake Productions closed out the Storefront Theatre’s 2013 season with their production of the TTC crime comedy Special Constables. Now, they’re the first full production in the space since February’s flooding, and space is where their new show is set—it’s a science-fiction adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Dark Matter follows Captain Marlow as she travels to a remote space colony to confront Commander Kurtz, who’s “gone rogue.” As per their previous show, expect a show that translates film’s big-budget effects into highly physical staging for the small stage.
In line with Tarragon Theatre‘s theme for it 2013/2014 season– “Love, Loss, Wine and the Gods”—the company is currently presenting two one-act plays that document the journey of two very different romantic relationships. The first, in the Tarragon Extra Space, is Duncan MacMillan’s brilliant Lungs, which receives an equally brilliant production from director Weyni Mengesha and actors Lesley Faulkner and Brendan Gall. Lungs is a touching and entertaining portrayal of a couple in love—but above all, it’s honest. It’s that honesty that the show next door in the Tarragon Mainspace, Stephen Sondheim’s song cycle Marry Me a Little, is lacking.
Told through South American music and dance, Arrabal is the story of a young girl desperate to find out what happened to her father after the Argentine military made him disappear when she was just a baby. Her search leads her to the Tango clubs of Buenos Aires, where she discovers both the truth, and herself.
Sparrowhawk Theatre knows that times are tough, which is why it’s presenting two one-act plays for the price of one! Directed by Steven Holmberg, Norm Foster’s My Narrator and The Death of Me promise to be honest, unique, and un-pretentious theatre experiences for both audience and cast. Prepare to get up close and personal with stars Penelope Corrin, Roger Doche, Laura Jabalee, Jorge Molina, and Chris O’Sullivan at this intimate venue.