Archive for January, 2009

Update 257 to be delayed – here's two great vids in recompense

January 30th, 2009 Steve No comments

Technical issues, launch party planning (ooh, I can’t wait to let you all in on the details), and an out of town (and offline) trip by Steve this weekend means the full update won’t be available and posted until Sunday. In the meantime, tonight’s suggestions are already promulgated on the calendar; Saturday’s FREE shows by Thunderheist & Shad at the Wintercity Festival (plus Cuff the Duke’s set at the Harbourfront Centre), and the Silver Screen debut of Stratford’s “Ceasar & Cleopatra” are my Saturday picks, and I’ll probably be attending the special Super Bowl Sunday editions of Ghost Jail Theatre and Sunday Night Live myself.

thunderheist – jerk it from thatgo on Vimeo.

Have a good weekend, and rest assured there will be all sorts of fascinating and exciting posts next week to the site, including the line-up and full details for the gracingthestage launch weekend in late February!

The Gents @ Bread & Circus

January 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

The lobby of Bread & Circus at its new location, a few hours before the doors opened for the opening night party.

Is this really my first post about a show happening at Bread and Circus? B & C’s move north up Augusta from their old location on Baldwin (now known as Rear View Mirror), to the new one directly on Augusta (between Oxford and College), has increased the venue’s capacity considerably, and patrons going for a drink at the bar no longer become part of the show; in fact, the bar is in the lobby, the stage is well raised, with a proper lighting grid, and there’s even great vertical sightlines. The artists/owners/managers (Jackie English, Kiran Sachdev, & Asher Ettinger) left part of the half pipe that previously occupied the back room (from when the location was a skate shop) intact, so that the back section of the audience area is raised.

Since the move and subsequent re-launch in November, Bread and Circus has played host to a variety of acts and revues. With a flexible mandate that includes theatre, comedy, music, dance, and more, it’s become home to weekly acts like a musical series produced by pop band The Human Statues, the vaudeville revue “Carnegie Hall” (produced by The National Theatre of Canada, who are also behind “Impromptu Splendor“), and has already played host to short run shows like Boylan’s General Motors Circus, and Melissa D’Agostino’s sold out “A Very Lupe Christmas” (which subsequently helped earn D’Agostino a pick as one of Torontoist’s Heroes of 2008).

(More about this weekend’s big draw, the sketch supergroup “The Gents“, after the jump). Read more…

Josh Reichmann & The Oracle Band / Valery Gore / Laura Barrett

January 28th, 2009 Steve No comments
Laura Barrett, sensibly dressed for the commute to tonight's Horseshoe gig (though the lady does need some mittens)

Laura Barrett, sensibly dressed for the commute to tonight's Horseshoe gig (though the lady does need some mittens)

Old Man Winter is dumping on Toronto at the moment. For some people, the weather will guarantee they’re staying in and watching  American Idol’s karaoke warblers. If you’ve access to the TTC, though, or live in the downtown core, and actually care to see some true musical talent, there’s a triple bill of great Toronto musical artists at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern this evening.

First on the bill, and starting at 9pm, is Laura Barrett. Consistently mentioned by Canadian music critics as an emerging and idiosyncratic national treasure, Barrett possesses the rare ability to lull a rock club into revered quiet with her glimmering soprano, and her dazzlingly complex compositions. Accompanied by members of The Bicycles for this show, Barrett will be playing her signature instrument, the “thumb piano”, or kalimba. But she’ll also be breaking out some of the keyboard-composed songs from her full length debut album “Victory Garden” (released by Paper Bag Records last fall) , like the carnival-esque, whirling tune “Chidiya“.

Laura Barrett – Chidiya

This will be Barrett’s last Toronto show in some time, as this weekend, she leaves our warm environs to go somewhere REALLY cold. She’ll be spending a month in the Yukon, at an artist’s residency in Dawson City, working on material for a new album.

(More about songstress Valery Gore, and Toronto’s “Jewish LegendJosh Reichmann, including a terrific summer tune to blast away the winter blues, after the jump.) Read more…

“Surface/Underground Theatre Presents… a Burlesque Carnival“

January 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

Tonight’s going to be a busy evening for Toronto’s theatre community. The Toronto Fringe Festival is holding its annual Lottery Party at The Tranzac Club, kicking off as of 7pm (the New Play Contest winners will be announced, too – I’m dying to find out if my favourites made the cut). Also, Theatre Passe Muraille’s FREE performance of “Them and Us” is this evening, too.

But later tonight, some theatre people might be looking to celebrate, or forget their disappointment, and my suggestion would be to head to a blues-y and burlesque-y (OK, that was clums-y) shindig happening at The Boat.

(The Emotionally Unavailable Mariners, a band with a definite bent towards the theatrical, headline tonight at Surface / Underground Theatre’s fundraiser. More details, and some saucy burlesque pics, after the jump.) Read more…

“Surface/Underground Theatre Presents… a Burlesque Carnival“

January 26th, 2009 Steve No comments

Surface/Underground Theatre Presents… a Burlesque Carnival“, w/ burlesque from The Cinnamon Hearts, music from The Emotionally Unavailable Mariners, Dylan Murray, @ The Boat, 9pm, $10

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"Let the Right One In"

January 26th, 2009 Steve No comments

Every year, come Oscar time, The Academy award nominations, even more so then the actual awards, are picked apart by film fans the world over. There’s always some choices that critics point to as indications that the Academy’s voting base is hopelessly out of touch; this year, the greatest buzz is around the exclusion of “The Dark Knight” and director Christopher Nolan from the prestige writing and directing awards, in favour of, say, a film that just barely earned the minimum 60% of positive ratings to be ranked “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. While there was a posthumous nod for Heath Ledger in the best supporting actor category, the rest of “The Dark Knight’s” nominations were in technical categories like sound, editing, cinematography, and makeup and art direction.

But the larger story of Oscar neglect and head scratching choices this year is undoubtedly in the Foreign Film category. Run away critical successes and multiple award winners like “Persepolis” and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” were eliminated from the competition even before the final five nominees were announced. Further complicating matters is that “foreign” films must be selected by their host country for competition; in the case of my favourite film of 2008, it was passed over by its native country of Sweden for a docudrama that hasn’t even recieved a release outside of the festival circuit. I present, therefore, not for Oscar’s consideration but your own, a truly original and chilling genre masterpiece: “Let the Right One In“. Read more…

Thunderheist & Shad

January 25th, 2009 Steve No comments

Wintercity Festival, w/ Thunderheist (9pm), Shad (8pm), more, @ Nathan Phillips Square, 7pm, FREE

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“Steamwhistle Unsigned #9“

January 25th, 2009 Steve No comments

Steamwhistle Unsigned #9“, w/ United Steelworkers of Montreal, Short Wave, Hooded Fang, more, @ Steamwhistle Breweries, 9:30pm (art exhibition closing night 8pm-9:30pm), $5

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“The Wrong Box Show“

January 25th, 2009 Steve No comments

The Wrong Box Show“, w/ Dinkus, Steve Scholtz, Nikki Payne, more, @ Comedy Bar, 9:30pm, $5

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“The Power of Ignorance“

January 25th, 2009 Steve No comments

The Power of Ignorance“,  w/Vaguen (AKA Chris Gibbs), @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $10

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