April 16, 2014
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July 2011

Missed Beirut and Owen Pallett on Tuesday? It’s happening again tonight, and it’s a must-see

08/04/11

Missed Beirut and Owen Pallett on Tuesday? It’s happening again tonight, and it’s a must-see

Concertgoers at the Phoenix Concert Theatre received an eclectic, intoxicating one-two punch on Tuesday night, courtesy of Beirut and Owen Pallett. If you're not much for reading concert reviews, then I humbly suggest you do yourself the favor of clicking those links, listening to the music, falling in love and clearing your evening schedule, because history is going to repeat itself tonight — same time, same venue.

Posted at 09:58 AM | Permalink | Comments

Q&A: FIRExFIRE, playing at Lee’s Palace tomorrow

07/29/11

Q&A: FIRExFIRE, playing at Lee’s Palace tomorrow

Coming soon (they hope) to a radio station near you is FIRExFIRE, a muscular, synth-heavy, power pop band by former members of Toronto's well-received (and now defunct) The Framework. They're determined, they're ready, and they've got plenty of experience cramming songs with hooks until they piñata-burst. And they namedrop T.S. Eliot in interviews. Not too shabby. Fans of reverb and glisten can check them out at Lee's Palace, tomorrow.

Posted at 02:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

North Toronto novelist taps history

07/29/11

North Toronto novelist taps history

Wayne Johnston has a thing for outsiders. They seem to populate the award-winning novelist’s books, from his debut The Story of Bobby O’Malley to his best-sellers The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Navigator of New York. His latest, A World Elsewhere, is no exception.

Posted at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

Band of the Week: Rattlesnake Choir

07/27/11

Band of the Week: Rattlesnake Choir

Toronto’s Rattlesnake Choir looks like a band with more than a few stories to tell. Fortunately the band makes good on its anecdotal potential, backing it all up with a strong country music foundation that takes as much influence from Tom Waits as it does Hank Williams. Watching the group live is an experience in and of itself, with percussive slinkys and the musical saw making regular appearances throughout the band’s set.

Posted at 08:17 AM | Permalink | Comments: 1

Spent puts on a limited-run show before heading abroad

07/26/11

Spent puts on a limited-run show before heading abroad

Spent, a comical play about the 2008 financial crisis, made its debut two years ago to a fair bit of critical acclaim (it won a Dora award). It'll  be appearing at the Edinburg Fringe Festival next month, but a "final" series of fundraiser shows are taking place in Toronto over the next few days to raise money for festival costs. We caught up with writer and actor Ravi Jain to talk about the play.

Posted at 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

Q&A with Jann Arden: Juno Award winner, author and celebrity judge on Canada Sings

07/26/11

Q&A with Jann Arden: Juno Award winner, author and celebrity judge on Canada Sings

With a new live album, a new book and a weekend radio show, multiple Juno Award winner Jann Arden is having a busy year. Next month, she’ll appear on Global’s Canada Sings, a six-part series in which teams of ordinary Canadian co-workers form singing groups to compete for a $10,000 donation to their chosen charity. The judges are Pierre Bouvier of Simple Plan, Rob “Vanilla Ice” Van Winkle and, of course, Jann Arden.

Posted at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments

This Week in Sound: Death Cab for Cutie, Frightened Rabbit, The Weeknd and more

07/25/11

This Week in Sound: Death Cab for Cutie, Frightened Rabbit, The Weeknd and more

Indie flagship band Death Cab for Cutie (July 29 @ The Molson Amphitheatre) are indie only in name and don't need to be introduced. Their electronics-heavy new album Codes and Keys has bewildered critics, and, well, Narrow Stairs wasn't exactly their finest 45 minutes either — but it's easy to forget that Death Cab are still among the sturdiest acts in indie rock, with a huge stable of quality material reaching back to 1998. How much of it they'll play, mind you, is anyone's guess.

Posted at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

Next to Normal is next to perfect

07/25/11

Next to Normal is next to perfect

Nearly all art forms go through constant changes and growth. Musical theatre, for instance, has gone from silly vaudeville to the gorgeous, memorable music of George and Ira Gershwin; through the uneven but hauntingly-singable works of Rodgers and Hammerstein to the occasionally high art of Stephen Sondheim, who covers such serious themes as divorce, betrayal, adultery, aging, and even operatic bloodshed (as in the great Sweeney Todd).

Posted at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Comments: 1

The weird, wistful and wonderfully delirium-inducing sounds of Philip James

07/22/11

The weird, wistful and wonderfully delirium-inducing sounds of Philip James

Philip James is all about the good vibes. Like Real Estate, his music is, in fact, for the faint of heart. Call it shoegaze, call it chillwave or post-rock, call it a pop song wrapped in a fuzzy blanket and fed helium until it floats — Philip James is a link in the new chain of bedroom-based “rock” musicians coaxing listeners into pleasant delirium instead of bludgeoning them into submission.

Posted at 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

It's official: Captain Canuck is getting his own film

07/22/11

It's official: Captain Canuck is getting his own film

Toronto’s limelight went up and then away with the creation of the world's most recognized superhero, Superman, in the 1930s. Toronto-born Joe Shuster was one of two creators of the icon, but unfortunately for us, Canadian pride was in short supply: Superman's loyalties have always resided with the U.S. However, Canada does have its own purebred comic book hero, Captain Canuck, who will be sweeping the nation once again — and this time, it’ll be on the silver screen.

Posted at 01:33 PM | Permalink | Comments

Alternate landscapes: Q&A with Toronto photographer Adam Makarenko

07/22/11

Alternate landscapes: Q&A with Toronto photographer Adam Makarenko

In the world of digital photography, everybody’s an Ansel Adams. But Toronto-based photographer Adam Makarenko isn’t your run of the mill point and shooter. Makarenko handcrafts dioramas of uncanny worlds, which he then photographs.

Posted at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments

Six reasons to be irrationally excited about the TTC’s new subway cars

07/21/11

Six reasons to be irrationally excited about the TTC’s new subway cars

The TTC’s shiny new rockets launched today at Downsview station. The long overdue subway cars, which were supposed to start running in December, don’t just look awesome. They boast a whack of new features that have us giddy for the commute home. Here are six of our favourite features.

Posted at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments

Hollow Ground, a hip new west end barbershop, sticks to the basics

07/21/11

Hollow Ground, a hip new west end barbershop, sticks to the basics

It’s hard for us to get the three barbers who run Hollow Ground, Bloor and Dovercourt’s attention-getting new barbershop, to elaborate about what they do. It’s simply a barbershop, they say. But it’s obvious the guys are doing something right. The community hasn’t stopped coming through the doors since the shop’s soft opening at the end of May.

Posted at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments: 1

Q&A: Trish Dolman, the filmmaker behind Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson

07/20/11

Q&A: Trish Dolman, the filmmaker behind Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson

This Friday, Trish Dolman’s thrill-doc Eco Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson comes to TIFF Bell Lightbox for one week. Paul Watson, a Toronto-born animal rights activist, takes the peace out of Greenpeace (of which he was a founding member) by using aggressive tactics to save whales. Come hell or high water, he’ll be riding the righteous wave of environmentalism — not for humanity, but for all the other animals.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments: 2

Band of the Week: Mariachi Fuego

07/20/11

Band of the Week: Mariachi Fuego

While there may be an inclination to treat Mariachi Fuego like a novelty act, you’d be missing the point. The group’s genuinely entertaining live show is enough to get the most cynical of us out of our chairs, and now the Dakota Tavern is hosting Mariachi Mondays, which has the band kicking off every work-week with a bang. We caught up with band founder and trumpet player Rob Dickson to talk about what’s coming up for the band.

Posted at 08:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

Q&A: Jesse Cook, Toronto’s guitar hero

07/19/11

Q&A: Jesse Cook, Toronto’s guitar hero

Jesse Cook, Toronto’s own flamenco guitar phenomenon (a musician, composer and producer, to be precise), is busy working on a new studio album, and he's set to take the stage at the Rexall Centre alongside Pink Martini and Chris Botti tomorrow evening. We managed to lob a few questions at Cook, who, along with being a Juno Award winner, also happens to be an all-round nice guy.

Posted at 01:26 PM | Permalink | Comments

This Week in Sound: Real Estate, RX Bandits, Thomas Dybdahl, Billy Talent and more

07/18/11

This Week in Sound: Real Estate, RX Bandits, Thomas Dybdahl, Billy Talent and more

Real Estate (July 19 @ The Garrison) will either put you into a trance or put you into a coma — nothing in between. The New Jersey indie darlings know how to set a mood with their spacey surf rock, that's for sure. Check them out if relaxed vibes and endless reverb sounds like your bag of Twizzlers, but take a pass if you expect your rock to register on the Richter scale.

Posted at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments

Japan’s indie film scene comes to Toronto with the Shinsedai Cinema Festival

07/18/11

Japan’s indie film scene comes to Toronto with the Shinsedai Cinema Festival

From humour to horror, this week’s 3rd annual Shinsedai Cinema Festival brings entertainment from every angle by the best of Japan’s independent filmmakers. You don’t need to know anything about Japan to enjoy these subtitled films. We caught up with festival Co-Programmer/Co-Artistic Director Chris MaGee and asked him about the festival, Japan’s film scene and what makes Hollywood so predictable anyway.

Posted at 09:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

This year’s Live Green Toronto Festival stacked with musical talent

07/15/11

This year’s Live Green Toronto Festival stacked with musical talent

The Live Green Toronto Festival at Yonge-Dundas Square this weekend will welcome all the peace, love and environmental friendliness you’d expect, but with an uncharacteristically stacked roster of musical talent. On July 16, both advice and entertainment will be doled out to Toronto residents looking to lead an environmentally compatible lifestyle.

Posted at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments

This summer, take your date to the movies. On a boat

07/14/11

This summer, take your date to the movies. On a boat

As one of the world’s most expensive cities (59th, apparently, according to a Mercer survey), Toronto has surpassed Vancouver as Canada’s priciest place to live. One of the key indicators used in the survey: the cost of movie tickets. We did the math, and a date night at the movies —including popcorn and soda — runs close to $50.00. Yikes! With that kind of expense, films might as well be showing on a fancy yacht. Enter the Toronto Port Authority.

Posted at 02:53 PM | Permalink | Comments

Q&A: "Weird Al" Yankovic, playing two shows at Massey Hall this weekend

07/14/11

Q&A: "Weird Al" Yankovic, playing two shows at Massey Hall this weekend

It may be unusual for someone to credit a guy by the name of Dr. Demento for launching his career, but then again, "Weird Al" Yankovic isn’t just a regular guy. As an awkward teenager in California, he would do parodies of pop songs for the amusement of his friends. On a whim, he sent in a very amateur recording to the Dr. Demento radio show. Dr. Demento liked it, and that was all the nudge Yankovic needed.

Posted at 02:11 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto's 80s arts scene rekindled with Paradise Now

07/14/11

Toronto's 80s arts scene rekindled with Paradise Now

Toronto artists of the 80s are getting their time to shine once again. "Paradise Now," a series of events and exhibitions along the once-underground cultural hub of Queen West, is honouring them as well as young up-and-coming artists. The first installment of the 80s expo is "This Is Paradise," an art exhibit at the MOCCA gallery, which runs until August 21.

Posted at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments

Band of the Week: Junior Battles

07/13/11

Band of the Week: Junior Battles

Toronto’s Junior Battles are a hard working band. In the last three years they’ve released three 7-inch records, toured extensively through Ontario, Quebec and the Eastern United States and recently released a full-length record, Idle Ages, on the upcoming American label Paper + Plastick.

Posted at 08:28 AM | Permalink | Comments

Queen West party spot The Social is gone, but owners have two new projects in the works

07/12/11

Queen West party spot The Social is gone, but owners have two new projects in the works

Queen West’s The Social may have ended its six-and-a-half year run earlier this month, but when one door closes, another one opens. Or in this case, two doors. Owners Richard Lambert and Jesse Girard are planning on opening a British pub in The Social’s space, and they’re are also working with Kenny Hotz (of Kenny vs. Spenny) and Embrace Productions on The Hoxton, a new nightclub set to open August 6.

Posted at 08:25 AM | Permalink | Comments

A lecture about Lars von Trier at the JCC? Clearly, the 'controversial film directors' series is back

07/11/11

A lecture about Lars von Trier at the JCC? Clearly, the 'controversial film directors' series is back

Picture this: a lecture about Lars von Trier, the Danish film director who recently spoke of “sympathizing” with Hitler, held in Toronto’s downtown Jewish community centre, the Miles Nadal JCC. Having a reaction? Got something to say? Good. Film critic Adam Nayman chose von Trier to kick off the second round of his controversial directors series for that reason.

Posted at 02:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

Painting the town orange. And blue, and green: Q & A with artist Vanessa Nicholas of The Good Bike Project

07/11/11

Painting the town orange. And blue, and green: Q & A with artist Vanessa Nicholas of The Good Bike Project

It would be understatement to call the team behind The Good Bike Project —Toronto artists Caroline Macfarlane and Vanessa Nicholas — busy. The duo are probably best known for their paint jobs on abandoned bikes, and after somewhat ironically receiving Rob Ford’s support, the women hit Regent Park earlier this month and held a bike-painting day in the community. They also debuted a bike in time for Pride’s festivities. We spoke with Nicholas about what’s next for the team.

Posted at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto's Bite Me! film festival pulls no punches

07/08/11

Toronto's Bite Me! film festival pulls no punches

What should you say to those who tell you not to eat pizza because it will make you fat or that those who celebrate sexuality are promiscuous? "Bite Me!" Toronto’s International Body Image Film & Arts Festival is back for its second year. Celebrating body diversity, the festival commences tonight at the National Film Board of Canada.

Posted at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

Q&A: Hollerado, headlining the side stage at tomorrow’s Edgefest '11

07/08/11

Q&A: Hollerado, headlining the side stage at tomorrow’s Edgefest '11

This Saturday, Hollerado will headline the side stage at Edgefest, but don't count on seeing them play side stages for very long. Their infectious blend of upbeat pop-rock, quirky lyrics and solid songwriting have made them one of Canada's most noticeable up-and-coming acts. How can you say no to a band with a hit single about a wise, unapologetic, older woman's final day on Earth? Bassist Dean Baxter was kind enough to drizzle his brain's weird juices over our questions.

Posted at 12:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

The Youth North American Bridge Championships are going down in Toronto this month. Wait, young people play bridge?

07/08/11

The Youth North American Bridge Championships are going down in Toronto this month. Wait, young people play bridge?

Few things are more synonymous with retirement than bridge (thinking hard, we came up with cruise ships and bocce). But with the Youth North American Bridge Championships rolling into Hogtown this month, grandma is about to see a whole lot of pint-sized competition. We caught up with 11-year-old Richard Jeng from the U.S. (one of the reigning kings, along with his brother Andrew) who will shortly arrive in Toronto to defend his crown.

Posted at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

Edgefest ’11 hits Downsview Park tomorrow. Here, a rundown of the main stage acts

07/08/11

Edgefest ’11 hits Downsview Park tomorrow. Here, a rundown of the main stage acts

Edge 102.1's alternative music smorgasbord, Edgefest, returns tomorrow after a one-year absence. Chicago punk rockers Rise Against are headlining a roster scientifically designed to bust eardrums at Downsview Park. Tickets are still on sale at Ticketmaster, but if you're on the fence, try this easy litmus test: turn on the Edge for about fifteen minutes — this year's stable of acts is pretty representative of the usual playlist. Below, a quick roundup of acts on the main stage.

Posted at 08:45 AM | Permalink | Comments

Five reasons to actually go see Honda Indy Toronto 2011 (instead of just being deafened by it from afar)

07/07/11

Five reasons to actually go see Honda Indy Toronto 2011 (instead of just being deafened by it from afar)

The largest and loudest (well, almost loudest) annual sporting event in Ontario is back. Honda Indy Toronto is making its return to Exhibition Place this weekend, much to the chagrin of nearby condo-dwellers. Truth be told, the event will probably be heard by more Torontonians than actually seen live. Still, we have five great reasons why you shouldn’t miss this auspicious occasion.

Posted at 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

Fringe benefits: a Q&A with Gideon Arthurs, executive director of Toronto's Fringe Festival

07/06/11

Fringe benefits: a Q&A with Gideon Arthurs, executive director of Toronto's Fringe Festival

Don't let the name fool you. The Toronto Fringe Festival is anything but a "small potatoes" performance festival. In fact, it's become Toronto's largest theatre festival, with more than 140 associated productions running each summer. In honour of the festival's kick-off (June 6 — yep, that's today!), we put Executive Director Gideon Arthurs in the proverbial hot seat — and asked him to give us an idea of what we can expect from the Fringe this year, and from Arthurs in the future.

Posted at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

Band of the Week: The Strumbellas

07/06/11

Band of the Week: The Strumbellas

Listening to The Strumbellas is like driving over a rickety old bridge between the present and the past. While a lot of their country-tinged contemporaries use banjos and fiddles to replicate the musical traditions of years gone by, the Strumbellas use similar elements to craft something vibrant and new while still paying homage to the past.

Posted at 05:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

Q&A: Nancy Palk, performing in Soulpepper’s rendition of The Glass Menagerie, opening tomorrow

07/05/11

Q&A: Nancy Palk, performing in Soulpepper’s rendition of The Glass Menagerie, opening tomorrow

Nancy Palk says she’s playing the role of a lifetime. The Soulpepper veteran is referring to her latest character, Amanda Wingfield, from Tennessee Williams’ first successful play, The Glass Menagerie. Known for its unique narration and relatable characters, The Glass Menagerie opens at Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre tomorrow. We caught up with Palk to discuss her role and why she considers this classic to be the perfect play.

Posted at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

Our top picks for this year's Toronto Fringe Festival

07/05/11

Our top picks for this year's Toronto Fringe Festival

Toronto’s highly popular 2011 Fringe Festival opens tomorrow, and with over 150 productions showing in just 12 days, it’s the city’s marathon of theatre. Of course, this being indie theatre, there’s an “anything goes” (pun intended) feel to the variety of productions that range from edgy dramas to daring musicals to, well, puppetry. Though it’s hard to predict which show will be the next Drowsy Chaperone, here are our top picks for this year’s fest.

Posted at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments

Five mildly interesting facts about the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition that you may not have known

07/05/11

Five mildly interesting facts about the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition that you may not have known

Canadian artists will soon be swarming to downtown Toronto for the upcoming Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE). Taking place at Nathan Phillips Square, the exhibit will run July 9-11. Admission is free and over 35 cash prizes will be presented to showcasing artists. This annual event highlights Canadian culture and our country’s talented artists. Below is a list of five things that you may not have known about the TOAE, until now.

Posted at 08:11 AM | Permalink | Comments

9 to 5: The Musical is a memorable, if flawed, production

07/04/11

9 to 5: The Musical is a memorable, if flawed, production

Over 30 years ago, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton charmed millions of moviegoers with 9 to 5, a soft but often very funny satire of sexism and emerging feminism in American offices. Four years ago, the country-western singer/songwriter presented a musical version for Broadway, writing over a dozen new songs. It had a four-month run and was nominated for several Tonys. After some considerable tampering and improvements, it’s been on tour since the fall of last year.

Posted at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

It’s Pride weekend! What to do? What to wear? We ask some of the loudest and proudest

07/01/11

It’s Pride weekend! What to do? What to wear? We ask some of the loudest and proudest

The big Pride weekend takes over Toronto today and it’s going to be loud and proud, baby! With so much to do, Pride can be a bit overwhelming, so we reached out to four of the queer community’s most prominent (and fabulous!) figures for their top tips to help guide us through it all.

Posted at 01:43 PM | Permalink | Comments