Archive for April, 2009

No Update on May 1st… but here's some A/V bribes (and resource links)

April 30th, 2009 Steve 2 comments

I’m out of the country until Tuesday May 5th, so the next weekly update won’t be until May 8th. Yes, there’s going to be a dark week; my apologies to anyone whose show is affected, but it’s just too much work to do completely on-line – and I plan to be spending a fair amount of time pool-side and elsewhere. I’ll try to keep the calendar updated, so I’m not leaving my faithful readers completely in the lurch.

To keep you coming back… here are some videos and mp3s of local events of note that happened over the last week or two, or are happening in the next week. I’m actually considering making this a permanent part of the update, as a chance to post some of the internet goodness I haven’t yet figured out how to gracefully include on the site.

Below all the video and audio goodness are a collection of links I use frequently to write my updates (they’ll form the nucleus of the Links page I mean to post – someday), that you might utilize to plan your week without my guidance. ;)

In Comedy, The Subway Series that Ghost Jail Theatre and The Sketchersons collaborated on was a riot. There’s no video available (as far as I know) of either show, but here’s a GJT favourite of mine; Ghost Jail cast member Fraz Wiest (who was qouted exclusively in the Toronto Star article about the show, to Sketcherson cast member Brendan Halloran’s comic chagrin) doing a written on the spot monologue about natural disasters:

Also, those of us who rode the subway were treated to an song written and performed by Sketcherson cast member Daryn McIntyre. In commemoration of the recent passing of comedy legend Bea Arthur, I’m posting a YouTube clip of a song Daryn wrote about her and the other Golden Girls. It starts off familiar, then veers off wonderfully:

In Theatre, “Appetite” closed this past weekend at Theatre Passe Muraille. The clever folks at Volcano Theatre filmed a nifty little promo video that made the rounds on the interweb. The show is going on tour, and may be back again (fingers crossed). Here’s their “advertisement” (and watch it in “HQ”, as you should whenever possible):

Also in theatre, but this time, upcoming: The Summerworks Launch Party is happening May 3rd (one day off this past week’s update). As well as all the great theatre works being teased and previewed, there’s a couple of musical guests, including Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage (Who’ve just been signed to the Saddle Creek label!) .

Here’s Nils, Amy Cole, and Paul Banwatt in studio, singing “Edmonton“:

The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Edmonton” – HearYa Live Session 4/1/09 from on Vimeo.

While we’re on bands Paul drums with, Woodhands played an incredible set at the Phoenix last weekend, and videographer Jared Sales has put up a couple of great videos of the live performance. Here’s Paul and Dan Werb, jamming out (and rapping!) on “I Can’t See Straight” (again, HD is the way to watch this):

OK, so, this Thursday (tonight), There’s a whole bunch of CD releases to choose from. I’d say that you should pick one based on your mood. If you want to hear some beautiful, soulful folk music from Tamara Lindeman (also a member of Entire Cities, who I wrote about a fair bit in this post), you should head to the Tranzac Club for The Weather Station’s LP release.

The Weather Station – East

Simon Borer, Tamara Lindeman, and Dwight Schenk of The Weather Station. Photo by Meredith Cheesbrough.

If you’re feeling like really working up a sweat, consider Green Go, who are having their CD release at Wrongbar:

Green Go – Put Your Specs On

Green Go! Photo by Blaise Misiek.

Hot Docs opens this Thursday, too: it took an awful lot of on-line sleuthing, but I finally managed to find something other than the famous “Winnebago Man” clip – a piece filmed at SXSW about “Winnebago Man“, the documentary, one of the opening night films:

Finally, the oldest clip, from the oldest guys – pretty much anywhere. Bad Dog Theatre celebrates its 6 year anniversary next weekend, and amongst the troupes performing at their “Super Troupes of Comedy” celebration are my favourite father and son Cajun music duo, The Williamson Playboys:


You’re still reading? Really? Oh, right! I promised you some resource links.

Besides the two weeklies (Now Toronto, and Eye Weekly), and the two city blogs (Torontoist and Blog TO), there are a few other people and sites around town who post informative listings.

- In Music, Jen Polk’s HistoryJen does a weekly update similar to mine, consisting of pretty much EVERY local show under $10 happening in Toronto. Carl Wilson’s Zoilus Gig guide is a good one, too; not comprehensive, but easy to read, and tends to hit the good stuff. The most comprehensive listing for local stuff is, of course, the “Show Thread” on; if you’re looking for touring shows, if it isn’t listed on stillepost, or if they aren’t selling tickets for the show at Rotate This or Soundscapes, it likely isn’t worth seeing.

- In Theatre, there’s no Toronto specific web site that does theatre listings, though the site, run by the City of Toronto, is a decent resource for the arts in general in the city. There are quite a few good blogs about theatre in Toronto, like Praxis Theatre and Play Anon; there’s also Plank Magazine, which covers Toronto and Vancouver. The best on-line theatre resource in town, in my opinion,  is Johnny Walker’s “Drama Club” over on Torontoist (and I’d have said that even before he did that nifty piece about Gracing the Stage and the website launch shows).

- In Comedy, there’s VERY little that isn’t self promotion by comics, troupes, and venues online. But theatre writer Amanda Campbell’s blog, The Way I See It, is getting pretty good at picking out some good comedy around town, as well as theatre.

In Film, well, most of that comes from reading the more general resources already mentioned – and the individual sites for the rep cinemas (which I’ve previous listed in this post). For film listings and basic info about Toronto’s cinemas, there’s a wealth of sites out there, but I tend to use Cinema Clock – it’s basic, but it has what you need. The thing about film is that it really is a global market (and community), so the best sites about films aren’t Toronto-centric. That said, That Night in Toronto (I do have a FEW contemporaries around town) currently has a little mini-guide up about Hot Docs…

Finally, the most authoritative on-line resource for performing arts events in Toronto is Facebook – go figure, huh? But it’s the easiest way for companies and troupes to promote their work with minimal effort; it’s like a free individual website for an event that takes a minute to create. Any show or event that DOESN’T post an event listing on Facebook obviously doesn’t feel the need to inform any of the more than a million Facebook users in the GTA. Have a look at all the links in the past few week’s updates; chances are, those event invites were written by troupes and performers worth having a look at, joining their group, and keeping abreast of their work.

OK. Have I earned a vacation? I hope so. See you all in a week or so!

Weekly Update 278 (Apr. 34th – May 1st, '09)

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

(I had a great run of timely updates – 5 weeks by my count- before I finally fell behind. My apologies for this week’s tardy submission – though the calendar was updated a day ahead all weekend; keep it in mind next time you’re curious about what to check out day of if the update’s late. On top of all that, it appears the mailbot arbitrarily decided to hold on to the update this weekend, so if you’re a subscriber, you might be getting the email even later than it was posted (Sunday afternoon). Sorry about that; I’ll look into it. – Steve)

In Music,

Alana Johnston and Kayla Lorette of Ghost Jail Theatre perfrom Sunday in their own show and later that night in Sunday Night Live, as part of the venue hopping Subway Series.

Alana Johnston and Kayla Lorette of Ghost Jail Theatre perform Sunday in their own show and later that night in Sunday Night Live, as part of the venue hopping Subway Series.

this week has a number of popular touring acts in town, including Edmonton dance punk agitators Shout Out Out Out Out, playing Lee’s Palace Saturday night; English indie folk rock band Noah and the Whale at the Mod Club on Monday Night; and Montreal’s The Dears at the Mod Club later in the week, on Thursday, while Vancouver pop outfit Immaculate Machine play the Drake Hotel Underground that same night.

In fact, Thursday next week is the most jammed with worth checking out gigs (outside of a festival) I’ve seen in town some time – considerably more busy than this past Friday’s three show conundrum with Spiral Beach / Hey Rosetta / Ghost is Dancing all on the same night. In addition to the out of town visitors, two excellent local bands, The Weather Station and Green Go,  release their debut LPs this Thursday (at the Tranzac Club and Wrongbar, respectively); on top of that, popular electro-funk duo Thunderheist play the Phoenix. I’m almost glad I’m going to be out of town for these shows – though, if I had to choose, it’s a good rule of thumb to go with local CD releases first and foremost, as the bands will certainly go all out, and both of this Thursday’s have solid opening acts.  The Weather Station show even has artists like Megan Hamilton (this week’s Sunday Night Live musical guest) playing in the smaller Southern Cross lounge, too.

Amongst all these high-profile gigs, there are also a few quiet little shows this week, like the first public performance by Betty Burke (the new musical project by Republic of Safety’s Maggie MacDonald) and another Tuesday night residency show at the Dakota Tavern by Elana McMurtry and friends…

In Film,

It’s another crap week for Hollywood releases and first run films (“Star Trek” will open soon, though…). The best of this week’s lacklustre offerings appears to be the small indie Canadian film, “Only“, which has been quietly garnering glowing reviews at film festivals in the States and overseas. It’s the story of two young kids in a snowbound Parry Sound resort spending an afternoon together, and in just about every review, “Before Sunrise” crops up – though I don’t think the film is meant to be a love story.

While this is a slow week in the cineplexes, it’s NOT a slow week for film fans, by any means. Toronto’s second most popular film festival, the Hot Docs fest, opens next Thursday. Amongst the opening night films is “Winnibago Man“, a look at the impact of being the worlds most famously angry RV salesman has had on the life of unwilling internet star Jack Rabney. Turns out he’s not so happy with how his outtakes have made him a viral sensation – would YOU be?


Simon Borer and Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station, who release their new LP "The Line" this Thursday at the Tranzac Club.

(Theatre,  Comedy, and the week’s selective listings below.)

Read more…

Categories: GTS Update Tags:

Barzin CD release

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

Barzin CD release, w/ Octoberman, Olenka & the Autumn Lovers, @ The Rivoli, 9:30pm, $8

Categories: Event Tags:

“Supertroupes of Comedy”

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

Supertroupes of Comedy” Show 1, w/ The Chumps,The Get Ready For It Experience, 2 Bad Dog Theatre, 8pm, $15 ($24 for both shows)

Supertroupes of Comedy” Show 2, w/ Impromptu Splendor, Slap Happy, 2 Bad Dog Theatre, 10pm, $15 ($24 for both shows)

Categories: Event Tags:

Green Go CD Release

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

Green Go CD Release, w/ The Magic, Everything All The Time, Opopo DJs @ Wrongbar, 10pm, $5

Categories: Event Tags:

Hot Docs Opening Night: "Winnebago Man"

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

Hot Docs Opening Night: “Winnebago Man“, @ Cumberland Cinemas, 9:45pm,  $12

Categories: Event Tags:

Immaculate Machine

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

Immaculate Machine, w/ Will Currie & The Country French, The Elwins, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 9:30pm, $10

Categories: Event Tags:

The Weather Station CD release

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

The Weather Station CD release, w/ Muskox, Isla Craig, Weird Weather, more, @ The Tranzac Club, 8pm-11pm, $8 ($15 includes CD)

Categories: Event Tags:

"Spaghetti with a Famous Person From History!"

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

Spaghetti with a Famous Person From History!”, w/ Pat Thornton, Sean Tabares, Punch Drysdale, @ Comedy Bar, 7pm, $10 (all you can eat spaghetti dinner included)

Categories: Event Tags:

Cat Ratusny

April 27th, 2009 Steve No comments

Cat Ratusny, w/ Jeff Allen Greenway, Kyla Tingley, @ C’est What, 9:30pm, $6

Categories: Event Tags: