NXNE 2014: Best Bets by Genre
Returning for its 20th year, NXNE is celebrating the milestone by offering audiences another vast selection of events to sift through and enjoy over the course of nine days. While music may still be its focal point, the festival has developed over the years into a mirror image of SXSW—a multidisciplinary arts extravaganza that people look forward to all through the winter as if it were a light at the end of a dark and dreary tunnel. After enduring an especially long and brutal stretch of cold weather this year, it will feel especially rewarding to slap on a wristband and squeeze every ounce of pleasure out of the 2014 lineup.
Taste of Little Italy 2014
The annual College Street fest Taste of Little Italy takes over the street—and most of the strip’s restaurants, patios, and venues—for a three-day stretch. Many of said patios will be extended out into the street, and live entertainment will be happening both inside and outside, with both traditional Italian music and indie programming by Indie 88 at College and Crawford. The FRESCO Festival of Art and Design will take place concurrently at College and Palmerston, and of course, the food…
Lederhosen Lucil’s Guten Tag Gemini
It’s been a long while since Torontonians have seen a Lederhosen Lucil show. Krista Muir hung up the blonde wig in 2007 to record and perform under her own name, as opposed to the effervescent Bavarian pop princess personality. But Lucil is back with a new show, Guten Tag Gemini; after the set, the Pet Shop Girls will DJ the dance party.
Rapp Battlez 51: Sweaty Hugs
The pseudo-serious rhyming throwdown Rapp Battlez keeps packing ’em in, month after month. The full lineup has yet to be revealed as of press time, but the headlining bout between veteran character rappers Alice Moran and Jon Blair, who recently began a sketch duo called Wildcats, is enough for the show to get our endorsement yet again.
A Journey Into the Forbidden City
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.
Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength
“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon
“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore
These quotations, which welcome visitors to “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.
Luminato 2014 Preview
It’s early June, and in Toronto that means one thing: schedules just got a lot tighter. On top of patio dates, intramural games, enjoying novels in the park, and all of your friends’ weddings, you’ve also got many of Toronto’s beloved arts festivals begging for your precious summer hours. Among them is the Luminato Festival: its eighth edition kicks off this Friday and wraps up on Sunday, June 15. And there are enough events—from magic shows to late-night concerts to marathon pieces of performance art—to keep even the most dedicated festival-goer occupied. The festival’s categories are not all rigidly defined and feature a certain amount of exchange and overlap–but they provide a sense of the range of experiences on offer. We’ve picked one highlight from each of the them to help you devise your Luminato plan of attack.
Bent Lens: Pride on Screen
Every part of our city will be drenched in WorldPride this summer, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Bent Lens: Pride on Screen comprises nearly two months of screenings, exhibits, and speaking engagements that reflect the broadness of our LGBT community. Check out films under the stars in David Pecaut Square, take in a conversation with Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black, and much more.
This post originally stated that the outdoor screenings of Bent Lens will focus on Derek Jarman and Bruce LaBruce, but that is not the case.
The God That Comes Is Intoxicatingly Good
First things first: the Tarragon Theatre mainspace is now licensed. That means that during its current production, The God That Comes, starring Hawksley Workman—which has set up the space like a dark, sultry 1930s cabaret with crystal chandeliers, long white tablecloths, and deep crimson curtains—you can sip a glass of red while one of Canada’s best rockers uses his beautiful voice to scream into your face.
Twelve Angry Men
If you haven’t heard of Twelve Angry Men, you’ve likely seen it parodied in a number of movies and television shows over the years. Now here’s your chance to see the real deal, on stage, thanks to the Soulpepper Theatre Company. Watch the drama unfold in a claustrophobic deliberation room as one dissenting juror unravels what is supposed to be an open-and-shut murder case.
A Cockfight Worth Catching
The latest work by prolific playwright Kat Sandler, who generates clever content for indie-company-on-the-rise Theatre Brouhaha, Cockfight follows an unlikely attempt by three foster brothers to obtain a rooster in order to make their fortune in underground cockfighting matches.
Sandler—named one of our “local ladies who make us laugh” in 2013—has often applied her gift for comic dialogue to tragic stories, and in her latest play, the characters are more desperate and downtrodden than ever. This time around, Sandler is also directing, and she has a deft touch for showing off her protagonists’ dramatic strengths—though her supporting character and the lead-up to the brothers’ climactic confrontations are not as well developed.
A Spirit’s Face
Unexpected sparks fly when Aboriginal palliative care worker Hunter meets and falls in love with anxiety-ridden addictions counsellor Jake in A Spirit’s Face. Watch as the characters remove their masks in this story of heartbreak and discovery, brought to the stage by Spiderbones Performing Arts. Some shows feature ASL interpretation; those performances are June 5 at 8 p.m., June 8 at 2 p.m., and June 11 at 8 p.m.