Weekly Update 292 (Feb. 5th – Feb. 12th, 2010)
The first update of 2010 (and the first in more than 3 months!) is two days late, partly due to a computer virus, but better late than never! I’d almost forgotten how to write these. The website hasn’t been entirely fallow since November; I’ve posted Best of 2009 posts on “music albums” and “Summerworks shows”, with “Fringe shows” coming up soon, and “comedy shows” and “music singles” not far behind. But the core of the site – the updates – well, it’s good to have one of those up again, and I’m going to try to stick to the schedule from here on in.
For first time readers: detailed info about shows mentioned in the update are mostly contained in the week’s scheduled picks (near the end of the update). The main body will usually be hotlink-free (save for “special interest” tangents).
In Theatre & Dance,
There’s TWO productions of Stephen Sondheim’s black comedic history musical, “Assassins“, that have just opened in Toronto, and while the Hart House one will almost certainly be of better quality than most community or college productions, it’s Birdland Theatre and Talk is Free Productions‘ version, down at the Theatre Centre, that I’m most looking forward to, by far. It’s got a bona fide Broadway star at the helm (director and local boy made good Adam Brazier), and boasts both renowned belters ( like Eliza Jane Scott, Steve Ross, & Trish Lindstrom) and actors who heretofore have not appeared in a musical professionally (like Kate Hewlett and Chris Stanton), musical though they might be. And that would definitely have to be the case, since the entire cast plays accompanying instruments for the show.
Not yet opened, but running already in previews, are the remount of Convergence Theatre’s “YICHUD (Seclusion)“, who managed to overcome the Harold Green funding debacle with the assistance of generous donations from the theatre community; Obsidian Theatre and Canstage’s production of “Intimate Apparel“, a story of a Harlem seamstress (scheduled to coincide with Black History Month); and the world premiere of Rosa Laborde’s eagerly awaited sophomore play, “Hush“, a psychological mystery, wherin a father seeks to discover the cause of his daughter’s night terrors (Laborde was mentioned in my Best Summerworks shows of ‘09 post as the director of the #1 show).
Two other new plays by renowned Canadian playwrights Michael Healy (“Couragous” @ The Tarragon Theatre) and Judith Thompson (“Such Creatures” at Theatre Passe Muraille) close Sunday, while George F. Walker’s newest, “And So It Goes” , continues at Factory Theatre.
Other continuing shows include “Peer Gynt” (Susan Coyne works with indie company The Thistle Project, whose production of “Miss Julie“ in 2008 trounced CanStage’s in almost every way), “Billy Bishop Goes to War” (Eric Petersen & John Gray bring back their phenomenally popular WWII flying ace play to Soulpepper), “Cloud 9” (a stellar Canuck cast, including Megan Follows, Evan Builing, and Yanna McIntosh, subvert gender norms in two different time periods), and “Light in the Piazza” (a critically acclaimed Broadway hit that ’s spoken and sung partly in Italian).
Dance shows running this week include “Under a Paper Moon“, a multidisciplinary showcase at Hub 14; Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage Series brings Australian movement thriller “Roadkill” to town for a typically too short run; and Toronto Dance Theatre is presenting a FREE showcase on Monday of work from their upcoming new show, “Pteros Tactics“.
Finally, the 30th annual Rhubarb Festival begins Wednesday at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre; the festival usually runs the gamut from weird to wonderful, and this year promises more of the same, with a wrestling spectacle from Birdland and Swanville (featuring pint sized spandex clad combatants like Cara Gee and Rebecca Applebaum), a “Teddy Chainsaw Massacre“, and a Italian duet, “Parole, Parole“, about “semantic satiation”, which could hopefully end up sounding somewhat like this not quite Italian or English musical extravaganza...
Film, Comedy, Music, more vids and pics, and the weekly calendar picks, are just one “More” click away…
Actress and improviser Tatiana Maslany won the “Breakout Performance” award last weekend at the Sundance Film Festival (the only Canadian to win an award at the prestigious fest), for her role in “Grown Up Movie Star” as a sexually precocious teen in a small town who dreams of Hollywood stardom. The above improvised video, which gives you some idea of Tat’s comedic gifts, is from filmmaker Mike Fly’s Improv Monologue Project series.
I’m generally far more enthusiastic about the repertory cinemas, but this week, it’s downtown megaplex Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas that’s piqued my interest. Reason 1: They’ve just launched the inaugural Great Digital Film Festival, screening a wide variety of classic films like “The Godfather“, “Ghostbusters“, and “The Wizard of Oz” on DLP screens in HiDef, for $5 a show (or $9 for a double feature). Reason 2: They’re screening recent Canadian films like “Grown Up Movie Star” (see above) and “Frozen“, the hit indie horror flick about 3 skiers trapped on a chairlift. Reason 3: they’ve quietly brought back half price Tuesdays, so you can see the aforementioned indie films for $6.26…
They reps, meanwhile, are, for the most part, currently screening movies recently nominated for Oscars. PLEASE tell me you’ve already seen “The Hurt Locker” (I’ll be crushed if director Kathryn Bigelow loses to her ex-husband James Cameron for Best Director). The Royal Cinema, bucking the trend, is screening a locally shot documentary about teens growing up in St. Jamestown, “Invisible City“, that exposes the troubling problems in the subsidized housing projects in the neighborhood.
Impatient Theatre and Comedy Bar are hosting star improv duo BASSprov this weekend; Indiana’s favourite good ol’ boys are performing Friday and Saturday in the late night slot at Comedy Bar, as well as teaching classes over the weekend to Impatient Theatre students (who get into the shows half price).
Sunday night, Laugh Sabbath show “Let’s Get Hot!” features usual guests like Charlotte the Harlot (Kathleen Phillips) and Bad News Brian (Brian Barlow), but also on the bill are Kid in the Hall Scott Thompson, Dini Dimakos (comedy blogger, Muchmusic’s “Love Court“), and oddball Jon McCurley (whose Life of a Craphead act recently opened for Owen Pallett).
Over at Bad Dog Theatre, they’ve brought the original Theatresports format back on the weekends, expanding to two nights (Friday and Saturday). They’ve also begun a new tournament series, “Dual Duel“, hot on the heels of their recently wrapped month long Globehead competition (won by Illusionoid Prime – Paul Bates, Nug Nahrgang, and Lee Smart).
There’s in-store performances this Friday by Hawksley Workman and Great Lake Swimmers, whose Saturday show at Trinty St. Paul’s is sold out. Also sold out this week is The Magnetic Fields on Monday at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, with opener Laura Barrett, who also plays next Friday as part of…
Wavelength 499 & 500 – the BIG news of the week in music. Yes, the celebrated music series and ‘zine is finally drawing to a close with a massive blowout festival at a different venue each night, starting on Wednesday, and running until next Sunday. First, there’s the last regular Wavelength, #499, this Sunday, with a line-up of up and comers picked by longtime host Doc Pickles; then, starting on Wednesday, some of Wavelength’s most noted alumni, many of whom have disbanded (or haven’t played town in ages), are coming back one last time, such as Rocket’s Red Glare, Barcelona Pavilion, Holy Fuck, The Bicycles, and The Russian Futurists.
There ARE other shows going on this week, too. There’s the second night of Gentleman Reg’s Heavy Head residency at the Drake Hotel Underground (Woodpigeon and Betty Burke play on Thursday, as well); The Meligrove Band are opening Bookie’s Nu Music Nite on Tuesday at the Horseshoe Tavern (which is FREE as always); and Magenta Lane are releasing their newest CD next Friday (also at the ‘Shoe). But it’s the Wavelength shows that’ll be hot tickets, as all the indie kids (and adults, at this point) try to recapture the feeling that the seminal series has stirred, at one point or another, over the last decade, and with 1,100 bands to have played… well, that’s a LOT of fans.
Jonas Bonnetta, AKA Evening Hymns (and #7 on my Best Albums of ‘09 list), is one of the opening acts of the Wavelength 500 Festival, a 4 night celebration of the last ten years of the influential music series, as it draws to a close (this clip by Colin Medley was filmed at Wavelength #452).
Steve’s Weekly Picks for Feb. 5th – Feb. 12th, 2010:
FRIDAY Feb. 5th: Hawksley Workman in-store performance, @ Criminal Records, 6pm, FREE / Great Lake Swimmers In-store performance, @ Sonic Boom, 6:30pm, FREE / “Catch 23 Improv“, w/ Rob Norman, Alana Johnston, Ely Henry, host Brendan Hallorhan, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5 / The Great Digital Film Festival: “2001: A Space Odyessey“, @ Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, 9:10pm, $5 ($9 double bill) / “BASSPROV“, w/ Mark Sutton & Joe Bill, @ Comedy Bar, 10:30pm, $10 / The Great Digital Film Festival: “The Thing“, @ 11:59pm, $5 ($9 double bill)
SATURDAY Feb. 6th Aft.: “Assassins“, w/ Graham Abbey, Trish Lindstrom, Chris Stanton, more, @ The Theatre Centre, 2pm, $33 (2 for 1 matinee) / Script Superheroes: “The Chronicles of Sophia Brenee“, w/ Jim Taylor, Katie Lawson, Gary Rideout Jr., more, @ Comedy Bar, 3:30pm, FREE
SATURDAY Feb. 6th Eve: “Couragous“, w/ Melissa MacPherson, Brandon McGibbon, Erin MacKinnon, more, @ Tarragon Theatre, 8pm, $20-$38 / “BASSPROV“, w/ Mark Sutton & Joe Bill, @ Comedy Bar, 10:30pm, $10 ($% for ITC students)
SUNDAY Feb. 7th Aft.: “Such Creatures” closing show, w/ Michaela Washburn & Maria Vacratsis, @ Theatre Passe Muraille (Backspace), 2:30pm, PWYC / The Great Digital Film Festival: “Labyrinth“, @ Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, 4pm, $5
SUNDAY Feb. 7th Eve: “Peer Gynt“, w/ Susan Coyne, Matthew Romantini, @ Church of the Holy Trinity, 8pm, PWYC / “Laugh Sabbath Presents… Let’s Get Hot!“, w/ Scott Thompson, Dini Dimakos, Jon McCurley, hosts Chris Locke & Aaron Eves, more, @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $5 / Wavelength 499, w/ Half Baked (12:30am), The Tres Bien Ensemble (11:30pm), Princess Century (10:30pm), host Doc Pickles, more, @ The Garrison, 9:30pm, PWYC
MONDAY Feb. 8th: “The Process Revealed: a preview of “Pteros Tactics“, w/ Alana Elmer, David Houle, Sarah Wasik, more, introduced by Christopher House, @ The Winchester Street theatre, 7pm, FREE / “Intimate Apparel” preview show, w/ Raven Dauda, Kevin Hanchard, Alex Poch-Goldin, @ Canstage Berkeley Theatre, 8pm, PWYC / “Sketch Wars“, w/ Plum Thunder, The Chesterfields, Haircut, host Norm Souza, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5
TUESDAY Feb. 9th: “Frozen“, @ Scotiabank Cinemas, 7:50pm, $6.26 / “Under a Paper Moon” opening night, w/ Andrea Spaziani, Linnea Swan, Rebecca Hope Terry, more, @ Hub 14, 8pm, $16-$20 / “Bookie’s Nu Music Night”, w/ The Meligrove Band (9pm), Hacienda, Those Darlings, more, @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8pm, FREE / “Grown Up Movie Star“, @ Scotiabank Cinemas, 9:40pm, $6.26
WEDNESDAY Feb. 10th: Wavelength 500 Night 1: Bruce Peninsula, Evening Hymns, Pony da Look, more, @ The Music Gallery, 7pm, $12 / “Invisible City“, @ The Royal Cinema, 7pm, $8-$10 / “Dual Duel“, w/ Simon Pond, Laura Salvas, Wayne Molinski, more, @ Bad Dog Theatre, 8pm, $10 / Gentleman Reg’s Heavy Head Residency, w/ By Divine Right, The Balconies, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 9:30pm, $10 (includes digital EP)
THURSDAY Feb. 11th: The Great Digital Film Festival: “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan“, @ The Scotiabank Theatre Cinemas, 7pm, $5 / Rhubarb Festival, Week 1: “Parole, Parole“, w/ Lindy Zucker, Paul Kit, Carmen Grant, more, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Chamber), 8pm, $17 (evening pass) / Wavelength 500, Night 2: Holy Fuck, The Russian Futurists, Fembots, more, @ The Steamwhistle Brewery, 8pm, $18 / Rhubarb Festival, Week 1: “Dead Wrestlers“, w/ Cara Gee, Nicole Stamp, Rebecca Applebaum, more, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Chamber), 8:30pm, $17 (evening pass) / Rhubarb Festival, Week 1: “Teddy Chainsaw Massacre“, w/ Sherri Hay and Ulysses Castellanos, @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Chamber), 9pm, $17 (evening pass) / Woodpigeon, w/ Betty Burke, @ The Drake Hotel Underground, 9:30pm, $12
FRIDAY Feb. 12th: “Hush” preview show, w/ Vivien Endicott-Douglas, Graeme Somerville, Tara Rosling, more, @ Tarragon Theatre, 8pm, $20 (limited $10 rush tix available @ 6pm) / “Catch 23 Improv“, w/ Sarah Hillier, Andy Hull, Kayla Lorette, host Becky Johnson, more, @ Comedy Bar, 8pm, $5 / Wavelength 500 Night 3: From Fiction, The Bicycles, Laura Barrett, more, @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, $12 / Magneta Lane CD release (12:30am), w/ Make Your Exit (11:30pm), Elias & The Barettas (10:30pm), @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9:30pm, $8
(Here’s The Balconies performing “Battle Royale” for Mitch Fillion of Southern Souls; Jacquie, Stephen, and Liam, who made #5 on my Best Albums of ‘09 list, will be opening for Gentleman Reg at his Heavy Head residency at the Drake this Wednesday.)
- All prices listed are advance ticket prices (where applicable). With many of these shows, especially music and theatre, if you show up at the door, you run the risk of being turned away due to a sell out.
- All times are start times, NOT door times. If you show up after the posted time, the show will likely already be underway.
- I typically cap the listed performers at three mentioned per show. The bill of bands / acts / performers is often much larger (particularly for comedy and theatre).
- Theatre and Comedy events are ALL AGES, unless otherwise noted. Music events are 19+, unless otherwise noted (FREE in-store and outdoor performances are ALL AGES, due to the lack of alcohol service).