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Posts Tagged ‘Impromptu Splendor’

Laugh Sabbath Presents… Talent Show!

February 8th, 2009 Steve No comments

Sundays are usually, for me, the hardest night of the week to choose what to see. With theatre, I can always see a show another time – a matinee, later in the run, etc. Movies are even more flexible; while I’m a huge proponent of seeing a good film on the silver screen, it’s sometimes not until DVD that I get around to seeing films that I already expect I’ll enjoy. Music is a little tougher, though I can always console myself over a missed show that the band will usually play again soon if they’re local. But as comedy shows are typically unique, it’s see it or miss it, which leads to tough choices.

Comedian James Hartnett, normally more conservativley dressed and coiffed, hosts tonight's Talent Show at the Rivoli.

Comedian James Hartnett, normally more conservatively dressed and coiffed, hosts tonight's Talent Show at the Rivoli (photo by Joseph Fuda).

And Sundays are just packed, comedy wise, with no less than four quality weekly evening shows; improv shows Ghost Jail Theatre and Monkey Toast (which is bi-monthly, but still), sketch show Sunday Night Live, and variety series Laugh Sabbath (Thank God Bad Dog Theatre takes Sunday nights off).

I’ve previously mentioned Ghost Jail Theatre as being among Toronto’s premiere improv comedy shows in my Impromptu Splendor profile, and I’ve mentioned Comedy Bar’s flagship sketch show several times on this site, so Laugh Sabbath gets the pick as my first Sunday comedy profile.

Laugh Sabbath is a loose collective of Torontonian comics, mainly sketch and stand-up, who banded together several years ago to produce weekly Sunday shows at comedy institution The Rivoli. Patterned initially after the popular “Comedy And a…” series, which was a joint effort by sketch trio The Distractions (Levi Macdougall, Paul Schuck, and Tim Polley), sketch troupe Knock Knock(Who’s)There Comedy! and musician Bob Wiseman, the Laugh Sabbath series has gradually evolved into several distinct monthly shows. These monthly formats feature many of the collective’s members as hosts and guests, and also feature, as guests, some of the best comedy acts from around Toronto.

Those shows include “The Loner Show“, an “all solo no stand-up” character comic showcase hosted by Brian Barlow; “Let’s Get Hot!“, a loose talk show parody hosted by Chris Locke and featuring Aaron Eves on accordion; “The Hour of Power” a showcase series featuring longer sets from just a few choice guests, hosted by Sara Hennessey and Nick Flanagan; and tonight’s “Talent Show“, a variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, video, and more, currently hosted by James Hartnett.

(More on tonight’s “Talent Show” after the break). Read more…

The Gents @ Bread & Circus

January 29th, 2009 Steve No comments
bc-lobby

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…

Proof of Ghosts @ Marylou Flamingo

January 22nd, 2009 Steve No comments
Marylou Flamingo.

Marylou Flamingo.

So, I wrote a fair bit about Soundscapes in-stores last week. Since that post, they’ve announced three new dates: Feb. 4th – Bruce Peninsula (@ 7pmThese guys are terrific), Feb 10th – Hylozoists (@ 6pm – also a very highly rated band), and Feb 24th – Gentleman Reg (@ 6pm – I’ve been writing about Gentleman Reg for almost as long as I’ve been writing the Gracing the Stage updates – what I’ve heard of his new album is superb). Plus, Sonic Boom is doing an in-store with Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains on Jan. 29th @ 7pm.

Kristan Klimczak organizing yet another radical in-store performance and party for Marylou Flamingo

Kristan Klimczak organizing yet another can't miss in-store performance and party for Marylou Flamingo

But record shops don’t have a moratorium on great FREE concerts. Enter Marylou Flamingo’s proprietor, Kristan Klimczak.

Voted Toronto’s best vintage clothing store this past November by Now Magazine, who also name checked the store in their style 2008 roundup, Marylou Flamingo has quickly established itself as a fixture for clothes horses looking to assemble fashionable vintage ensembles. Actress Christine Horne, so wonderful in the recent “Miss Julie: Sheh’Mah” at the Theatre Centre, was profiled at Marylou Flamingo when interviewed by eTalk Daily to promote her feature film debut in “The Stone Angel“.

(More about the Marylou Flamingo music series, including tonight’s guests Proof of Ghosts, after the jump.) Read more…

Download Neko Case, save a kitty

January 21st, 2009 Steve 2 comments

I’d planned on writing about the Rainbow Market Square for today’s post, but since there are two well reviewed films opening there as of this weekend (“The Wrestler” and “Slumdog Millionaire“), I’m going to wait to do that properly next week.

Another thing I’m planning on doing? More posts, but shorties: the sort of posts that don’t require a (more) break. I’ll still be posting at least a couple of in-depth profile pieces every week, but they don’t all have to be as comprehensive as, say, my write-ups of Wombat Wednesdays (Maylee Todd and Gravity Wave are up tomorrow night!) or Impromptu Splendor (They’ve got guest Ted Dykstra for their Samuel Beckett show this Thursday!), though I’m awfully proud of those.

New Pornographer, Corn Sister, and all around cool cat Neko Case.

New Pornographer, Corn Sister, and all around cool cat Neko Case.

So, briefly; we’re a new blog, so we’ve still got plenty of bandwidth, and I’m hoping you and all your friends will start gobbling it up. Here’s how to start: Anti- Records is donating $5 to the Best Friends Animal Society for every blog that posts a free download of the first single from Neko Case’s new album, Middle Cyclone, between Jan. 14th and Feb. 4th.

I loves me some Neko; you can hear me whooping between songs if you listen closely to her album “The Tigers Have Spoken“, recorded live at Lee’s Palace and The Matador in 2004. And Neko loves Toronto; after all, her favourite backing band’s from here. Yes, the cash will go to an American animal lovers society, but Yankee cats are cute too, right? So, here’s the lovely Ms. Case’s newest – grab it until Feb. 4th.

Neko Case – People Got a Lotta Nerve

Oh, and here’s a kitty (a Torontonian one).

Pip, by Craz11 from the Flickr pool (http://www.flickr.com/photos/craz11/2651069335/)

Pip, by Craz11 from the Flickr pool (http://www.flickr.com/photos/craz11/2651069335/)

UPDATE 254 (Jan. 9th – Jan. 16th, 2009)

January 11th, 2009 Steve No comments

The first update posted to the site! A little late, but better that then never. Email steve@gracingthestage.ca to get on the weekly mailing list, if you aren’t already getting it.  Full listings follow below. Read more…

Impromptu Splendor

January 8th, 2009 Steve 4 comments

I mentioned several of the recurring shows at Comedy Bar in my post about Catch 23 earlier this week. Of all the shows I mentioned, though, Impromptu Splendor is an anomaly. It’s certainly funny enough to deserve a weekly slot at Comedy Bar, but it’s not actually a comedy show. It’s something uniquely different from the many improv shows in Toronto; it’s improvised theatre.

Naomi Snieckus, Ron Pederson, Kayla Lorette, and Matt Baram performing in the style of Henrik Ibsen.

(I explain my potentially contentious assertion after the break!) Read more…