Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Advent 1

Do yourself and the world a favour: go to http://buynothingchristmas.org/



More Relevant than Ever

Photo: Greg Henkenhaf
This week sees the opening of Someone Who'll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness, starring (L to R) R.H. Thomson, David Ferry and Ryan Hollyman and directed by Tegan Shohet. Spanning the full emotional spectrum, this piece is about the relationship among three hostages in Lebanon. You can catch this illustrious cast from December 4th to 13th, Monday to Saturday at 8pm with an additional matinee on Saturday at 2pm. Tickets are $15/30 (PWYC Monday) via 416 368 3110 or via www.canstage.com. It runs at the Berkeley Street Theatre (Upstairs), 26 Berkeley St.. Ck out more about the play here.

True Love Lost and Found

Photo: Isabel Gomez-Moriana
Five minutes of hooting good operatic fun! If you didn't see its premiere screened by Tapestry New Opera, you can catch The Perfect Match on tv. Written by Krista Dalby and composed by Anthony Young, it originated in the 2006 Composer-Librettist Laboratory that has been touted here previously. This mini opera will be airing on an upcoming episode of "Bravo!FACT Presents" at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT, Sunday 30 November 2008 on Bravo!
The episode will be re-run at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT Friday 5 December on Bravo and many other stations and times across the country. Ck Tapestry New Opera's website for other listings.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, (Michel Gondry, 2004), is surely cult film material if I ever saw one: move over Dark Side of the Rainow and RHPS! This is a quirky, clever movie along the lines of Being John Malkovich (1999) and I suspect you either love it or hate it. I, obviously, loved it or it wouldn't be posted here. (I do tend to politely not mention books, concerts etc that I didn't like). It's got a good cast, Kate Winslet finally sheds her Titanic/Rose role while taking up an American accent and blue hair, and Jim Carrey is his typical wonderful self. It is very easy to dismiss him if you think only of Pet Ventura or even Cable Guy (no links there....), but he is able to deliver some pretty touching performances. (One of my favourite films that I watch from a Christian perspective is The Truman Show, or even Simon Birch). I understand his personal life has shaped him artistically. ANYHOW, this is 128 minutes you won't feel are wasted. As long as you are into quirky.

Esprit Orchestra Season Opener

Esprit Orchestra is Canada’s only orchestra devoted exclusively to performing new orchestral music and developing a legacy of Canadian orchestral music. Founded by composer/conductor Alex Pauk (above) in 1983, Esprit Orchestra is comprised of a core of 45 dedicated musicians with the special skills required to perform contemporary orchestral music. Esprit commissions and premieres new works each season. Their opening concert of the season, Inspired by Traditions, has been specially designed to appeal to listeners who might be new to them although there is much to appreciate by Esprit's regular audiences. The programme features pieces linked to earlier traditions in music and provides a jumping off point into new, more adventurous musical terrain. Alex Pauk will conduct the program which features pianist Andrew Burashko and violinist Marie Bérard, Concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
Inspired by Traditions includes John Adams’ exhilarating Short Ride in a Fast Machine, R. Murray Schafer’s romantic Dream Rainbow, Dream Thunder, the North American premiere of Valentin Silvestrov’s Dedication and Aaron Copland’s rarely-performed, jazz-inflected Piano Concerto No. 1. The concert takes place on Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 8 p.m. at the Jane Mallett Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (27 Front Street East). A pre-concert talk begins at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 for students, $24 for seniors and $32 for adults. Group rates (8+ people) are $25. Subscriptions to Esprit Orchestra’s 2008-09 season start at $45. For tickets or subscriptions contact the St. Lawrence Centre Box Office at 416-366-7723 or http://www.stlc.com/ .
concert listing courtesy of KLCommunications and Esprit's website. For more information visit http://www.espritorchestra.com/.

Hot Button or Thinking Man's Issue?

I'm likin' this website and its accompanying blog and facebook page more and more. Check out Art Lessons from God: Stuff You'll Never Discuss in Art Class! and in particular this page. The 5 Steps starts with this: 1) Ask yourself, “What’s the last artistic thing that I know for sure, without a doubt, that God directed me to complete?” They have an interesting thing going about Christian artists and whether they should do tatoo art on their facebook at the moment. I, of course, had to put in my two cents' worth...

for photographers and nostalgics

Here is a sentimental look at America's past through old photos done with the emerging Kodachrome. Just make sure you turn the volume down before hitting the link.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Photo: Bruce Zinger / Amanda Pabyan, Frédéric Antoun, Curtis Sullivan, Lawrence Wiliford, Carla Huhtanen in Opera Atelier's production of The Abduction from the Seraglio
Can you imagine the fun of traditional panto married to the music of Mozart and still in control of artistic integrity? Opera Atelier does not disappoint: they manage to present all this in The Abduction from the Seraglio, with four languages to boot!
Last night's opening of this latest presentation by Opera Atelier was an interesting meld of genres. Certainly, audience members included people from different arts such as Robert Cooper, Veronica Tennant and Michael Maniaci (who returns to OA in April for The Coronation of Poppea!). Tenor Lawrence Wiliford stole the slapstick/physical comedy category with his Pedrillo, while bass Gustav Andreassen (Osmin) and bass-baritone Curtis Sullivan (Pasha Selim) were entertaining Turks in their own right. And, as usual, Carla Huhtanen played Blondie with a finesse that makes me anticipate the day she will be the lead at OA; for now we can also enjoy her at Tapestry New Opera. She is musically and theatrically versatile, and while my personal preference leans towards the serious, she makes funny fun, and not dumb(ed down).
So this commedia dell'arte works on many levels. I must sound like a) a broken record or b) a paid plant, but what can I do? It's always the same: the Atelier Ballet was beautiful, Tafelmusik's Orchestra and Chamber Choir are luscious and intimate, and the sets (Gerard Gauci) and costumes (Margaret Lamb) first rate. No wonder Opera Atelier is in the black and holds Dora Mavor Moore, Ruby and Muriel Sherrin Awards. I'm just grateful that we have a Canadian product (Corner Gas aside) that is internationally recognized and artistically valued.
Now, if we could only get those few ignorami in the seats to stop talking; one day I'm going to jump on stage and join Marshall Pynkoski's intro, strike a Vicky Gabereau-like attitude and teach them audience etiquette.......but you've read this rant before..
The Abduction from the Seraglio continues November 9 at 3pm and 11, 12, 14 and 15th at 7:30pm at the Elgin Theatre at a bargain $30 to $135, or $20 if you're a young'un, i.e. under 30. Go to their site or call TicketMaster at 416 872 5555.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Eyegasm

from cbc.ca/arts:
A renovation of the University of Toronto reading room has revealed architectural details hidden for almost a century.
Diamond and Schmitt Architects discovered carved wooden trusses, rafters and a dramatic glass skylight while renewing the heritage wing of the Gerstein Science Information Centre.
"No one at the university could remember the ceiling ever being exposed," said Gary McCluskie, a principal at the firm.
The ceiling was covered up during a renovation in the early 1900s when metal bracing was installed to support the trusses. McCluskie said he believes the bracing was covered up because it was considered unattractive.A false ceiling had covered the carvings and a skylight for many years. (Diamond and Schmitt)
In the redesign of the Gerstein Reading Room, architects integrated the bracing into their ceiling design, exposing the woodwork and skylight.
The ceiling was in remarkable condition despite being hidden for decades. The neo-gothic carved woodwork was cleaned and is now visible from the library.
The renovation, funded by the Frank Gerstein Charitable Foundation and the Bertrand Gerstein Family Foundation, is part of a larger transformation of the original library. The Gersteins are a prominent Toronto family that have also donated to York University.
The library was constructed in 1892 after the original library burned down in 1890. It was renamed in 1997 after its benefactor, the Gerstein Charitable Foundation.

Gallery Recom

From Robert Hengeveld comes this announcement about Marcia Huyer's opening at DeLeon White gallery this coming Thursday, November 6th from 8-11pm. Check out both their websites for cool stuff going on.

Cool Branding

Check out my favourite theoblogger, David Barker and his new website! Ya even get a free poem every month! I'm 99.9999% certain he doesn't sleep (based on all the stuff he does on top of being a lawyer). Yay David!

Jesus costume gets child sent home from school

Friday, October 31, 2008 BY KATIE O'CONNELL

A Paramus, N.J. eighth-grader was sent home from school today and told to change out of his costume: They deemed Jesus Christ inappropriate.“We're a little stupified by this whole thing,” said the boy's mother, Kim Woinski.Jesus Christ was “one of the greatest men that ever lived," she added. "If he went as Abe Lincoln would they say he couldn't do that?"Alex Woinski, who already has shoulder-length brown hair, donned a long white robe with a red sash, a fake beard, sandals and a crown of thorns.“They would have let him wear the costume, but he had to get rid of the crown of thorns and the beard,” Woinski said.In order to do that, she said, Woinski had to leave work and pick her son up from West Brook Middle School so he could go home and shower.Woinski said other students who had inappropriate costumes were able to simply turn their shirts inside out or take off any offensive pieces. Superintendent James Montesano said he didn't know about the incident but said he believes the reason for doing so was most likely not because anyone was offended by the religious nature of the costume but that it may have been disrupting classes.“As much as we want to have our kids enjoy celebrations, whether it’s through school spirit week or something like this, the fact of the matter is we certainly are here for the central purpose of education,” said Montesano. “If students in any form are wearing things that are bringing too much added attention that disrupts us from an educational environment, then school administrators would make that decision.” The school year is only 180 days, he added, so it's important that youngsters are able to get the most out of each day of instruction, and a disruption in the classroom could impede that goal.Woinski said her son complied with the requests of teachers and administrators, without complaint, and called his mother to pick him up. He was home for an hour and a half before returning to school. When she went to pick her son up from school, administrators were unavailable to speak with her regarding the matter. But in an effort to comply with their requests she took her son home, she said. “It's not like he’s not a good student. The kid’s on the high honor roll,” she said.Woinski is Catholic while her husband is Jewish. Their son, who had recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and has been studying Bible scripture, is interested in Jesus as an historical and religious figure, according to his mother. He wanted to translate that interest into a Halloween costume. Alex's older brother, Jason Riggio, said due to long hair and darker skin, Alex's friends already say his brother bears a resemblance to the famous figure, which gave Alex the idea for the costume.“We have both religions in our house, and he's learning about both. He wasn't poking fun at anybody,” said Woinski. “I think what it was was that he was getting too much attention.” from the North Jersey Record online

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happily, Not an Amber Alert

It's Opera Atelier season again......and it's Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio running November 8, 9, 11, 12, 14 and 15th at the Elgin at 7:30/ 3pm for the matinee on the 9th. This production features Frederic Antoun, Amanda Pabyan and Gustav Andreassen, includes one of my faves, Carla Huhtanen (thank you God) and of course is directed by Marshall Pynkoski and choreographed by Jeannette Lajeunesse-Zingg. German libretto will be surtexted. Tickets to this luscious event are a bargain $30 to $135, or $20 if you're a young'un, i.e. under 30. Go to their site or call TicketMaster at 416 872 5555. I can't wait!!!