Posts Tagged ‘theatre Passe Muraille’

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!

Gravity Wave / Boys Who Say No / Great Bloomers

February 26th, 2009 Steve No comments

There’s been quite a bit of press for The Drake Hotel’s 5 year anniversary over the past few weeks; that is, the anniversary of its make-over and relaunch by entrepreneur Jeff Stober. In the past five years, the Drake has become many things to many people, and the various factions that have attempted to make the Drake their own have often bumped against each other.

Members of the dance rock outfit OPOPO play the Drake Hotel Underground during the year end "What's in the Box?" series, Dec. 28th '08; OPOPO have shared a bill with Gravity Wave at the Steamwhistle Unsigned Series, and with Great Bloomers as part of promoter Lauren Schreiber's No Shame music series.

Members of the dance rock outfit OPOPO play the Drake Hotel Underground during the year end "What's in the Box?" series, Dec. 28th, '08. OPOPO have shared a bill with Gravity Wave at the Steamwhistle Unsigned Series, and, like Great Bloomers, have played multiple times on promoter Lauren Schreiber's No Shame music series.

It’s been THE destination spot for out of towners and partiers flocking downtown from the Golden Horseshoe almost since the first Toronto International Film Festival parties were held there, and the crowd that frequents the upstairs bars and lounges doesn’t always see eye to eye with the local taste makers and artists of Parkdale and Queen St. W, who gravitate down to the basement venue; frankly, few of the 905 crowd even seem to realize or care that there’s a sub-culture that sees the Drake as anything other than an adult playground and meet and greet spot.

To its credit, the Drake has from the start attempted to forge connections with the various arts scenes, recognizing that if (or when) the fickle party crowd moves on to another hot spot, it’ll be the avant garde programming, and the up and coming future stars it attracts, that will bring in new clientele; the breaking-out bands, filmmakers and visual artists on the rise, comedians and literary movements, etc.

Of course, some of these have fared better in their association with the Drake then others; of late, it seems that the Drake has focused its energies on promoting cutting edge electronic and hip-hop acts in the Underground, like Skratch Bastid, who’s developed a loyal following for a monthly residency that’s stretched out over two years. But you can still see some great indie rock down there on occasion, weekly at the PWYC Elvis Monday series, for instance, or, say, with tonight’s 9pm onwards triple bill of Gravity Wave (a late replacement for Sports the Band), Boys who Say No, and Great Bloomers, which is being put on FREE of charge by the friendly folks at the Drake.

(Info about tonight’s three acts, including some choice mp3s, a video, and info on how to be in Gravity Wave’s NEXT video, after the fold.) Read more…

Wrecking Ball #8

February 9th, 2009 Steve 3 comments

In a few short hours, the 8th edition of The Wrecking Ball will begin.

“Understated” is in no way an appropriate word to describe this politically motivated evening of brand new theatrical works, but compared to the 7th edition of the WB, it will be. The 7th edition of the Wrecking Ball was held simultaneously on October 6th across Canada in 10 different cities, and was instrumental in focusing enough pressure on the campaigning political parties that the Conservatives backed off from many of their planned cuts to arts and culture prior to the election.

Wrecking Ball 8: as always, politically relevant, not afraid to push buttons.

Wrecking Ball 8: as always, ripped from the headlines of the day, and not afraid to push buttons.

This eighth edition of the WB is closer to its roots; held at a Toronto theatre space (this time around, it’s at Theatre Passe Muraille ) , with little advance publicity, and even less advance preparation for the participating playwrights, directors, and actors, who must adhere to two simple rules:


From these dictates emerges work that is often brutal, disturbing, thought provoking, and even inspiring in its immediacy. With so little time to second guess or censor themselves, many of Toronto’s best theatre practitioners have created work that, while only seen once, has its audience (these Balls are pretty much always at capacity by the time the show is underway) debating and discussing what they’ve seen for a long while after the evening’s performances.

Canadian star of stage and screen Lorne Cardinal, and tonight's playwright, and honourary Senator, Tara Beagan: the original caption to this picture reads: "Come to Wrecking Ball to learn what this is all about."

Canadian star of stage and screen Lorne Cardinal, and one of tonight's featured playwrights (and honourary Senator), Tara Beagan. The original caption to this picture reads: "Come to Wrecking Ball to learn what this is all about."

The nights have served as a proving ground, and firestarter, for both established and up and coming artists; people who have then gone on (or continued) to do profound and relevant theatrical work in Canada. Judith Thompson’s “Palace at the End” had its middle monologue debuted at the first editon, and an early edition of Michael Healey’s “Generous” was part of the third edition.

Other WB alumni include Jason Sherman, Claudia Dey, Morris Panych, Hannah Moscovitch , Daniel Macivor, Aaron Willis, and many more of Canada’s most influential theatre artists. It’s even had international participants; tonight’s performances will include, at some point, a tribute to the recently deceased Harold Pinter , who contributed a short piece in 2006, “Press Conference“, that had its Toronto debut that night.

Tonight’s playwrights will include Ananad Rajaram (’s first ever profile subject), Matt MacFadzean, whose work will be directed by Michael Healey (a founding member of the WB), spoken word poet Boonaa Mohammed, and Tara Beagan . Both Beagan and Healey have just today been named honourary Senators by the activist group Department of Culture , for their work with the group to combat the arts cuts that became a hot topic issue during the fall election. I might expect that more such hot topics will be broached on Passe Muraille’s stage this evening.

Wrecking Ball #8 occurs tonight, Monday February 9th, @ Theatre Passe Muraille. The box office opens at 7pm, and the show commences at 8pm; all tickets are at the door, and PWYC.

Weekly Update 257

February 1st, 2009 Steve No comments
Die Roten Punkte

Die Roten Punkte

This week, Thunderheist and Shad top a series of FREE weekend shows in Toronto; the Rhubarb and Weesageechak Festivals open at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille, respectively; Ruby Coast and Winter Gloves headline a rock solid night of indie music at the Horseshoe Tavern on Thursday; Bad Dog Theatre’s Globehead Tournament ramps up to the finals this weekend; and Fringe favourites Die Roten Punkte play a two night stand at Supermarket on Monday and Tuesday. Full listings and the weekly picks, after the electronic “Fold”. 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…

"East of Berlin" / "Them & Us"

January 25th, 2009 Steve No comments

When there’s a deal to be had, or a way to see a sold-out or pricey show, you can bet I’ll be mentioning it on this site.

Paul Dunn & Brendan Gall in "East of Berlin", @ the Tarragon Theatre, to Feb. 8th.

Paul Dunn & Brendan Gall in "East of Berlin", @ the Tarragon Theatre, to Feb. 8th.

Example 1: “East of Berlin“. Hannah Moscovitch’s drama about a young man (Brendan Gall) who is heavily burdened with the knowledge that his father had committed atrocious war crimes, has been the hottest theatre ticket so far in 2009. The remount of the show at Tarragon Theatre has been extended twice already, and most shows are already sold out. Since the theatre can’t extend a third time, they’ve added two Sunday 7pm shows, and those are your best bet for reservations, since the shows were just added this past week.

Since this show has so much buzz that even your grandma in Port Hope has heard about it, there are very few deals on tickets (the Sunday shows are regularly priced). Tarragon has also canceled its Sunday PWYC matinees (all matinees are now regularly priced) in favour of special rush pricing on Friday night shows; as of 6pm on Fridays, the box office releases $15 ($10 for non-remount shows) tickets to those people lined up. For “Black Rider“, I recall lining up at 5pm, and leaving empty handed at 6:10pm. If you really want to score discount tickets to “East of Berlin”, I’d recommend showing up with a friend (or a good book or an mp3 player) around 3pm or 4pm on a Friday; you can always go for dinner after getting your tickets.

(click the “more” link to hear how you can easily score FREE tickets to “Them and Us“, and watch a video of distinguished Canadian theatre actor Micheal Healey inviting someone to violate his ample posterior). Read more…

Update 256

January 25th, 2009 Steve No comments

This week’s update includes three new theatre premieres (“Lady in the Red Dress“, “Ubuntu“, and “Stranger“), A Sketchersons radio taping, a burlesque carnival, Chris Gibb’s “The Power of Ignorance“, and FREE or cheap shows by Oh No Forest Fires, The Schomberg Fair, Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, and Hooded Fang.

Click the “more” tab to read the full week’s picks for theatre, comedy, film, and music! Read more…