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Showing posts from 2011

Do It In Public in 2012!

Isn't it past time for the "elitist" tag to be removed from the Arts? In 2012, stop defending and/or being embarrassed for choosing to feed your creative soul. So, what if some people at work think you're weird for seeing a play, a non-mainstream movie, or strolling through an art gallery? Have you ever meet a kid who didn't take crayon to a blank piece of paper with a fervor? Those children were always proud of their masterpieces. When did the drawing end, and why? Was it your decision, or was it imposed upon you by outsiders with their own agendas? Reclaim and proclaim your love of the arts in 2012! It's time to break free!

"I dropped my bags and did it in public!  Show your public display of affection for the Arts in 2012!"

Photo taken at King and John Streets during the CONTACT Photography Festival.
Photo credit: Men in Cities Public Installation series by Robert Longo

MEMPHIS The Musical: Felicia Boswell is Pure Magic!

If you haven't already heard, MEMPHIS, the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical is in Toronto (until December 24th). Set in 1950's, Memphis, is the story of forbidden love (white boy/black girl) and forbidden musical integration (white teens listening to "race music"). DJ wanna be, Huey Calhoun (Bryan Fenkart) is in love with the music he hears on Beale Street, the music of the city's black inhabitants, who have taken church music and turned it on its head and transformed it into R & B, soon to be transitioned again into Rock music. Venturing into one of these clubs, Huey meets and falls in love with Felicia (Felicia Boswell), a singer in her brother Delray's (Quentin Earl Darrington) nightclub.

The love story is forwarded by dance-in-your-seat music by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro (who also penned the book, based on a concept by George W. George). Energetically choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, the dances are a blend of period moves, and pure Broadw…

More Please: Mysteries of Lisbon (Nov. 14-17@TIFF Bell Lightbox)

Master director, Raul Ruiz must have been well-pleased that his last work, Mysteries of Lisbon, is such an inviting and engaging piece of cinema. Ruiz died this summer, but this 4 hour melodrama, along with his long list of film credits will endure. Ruiz is never in a hurry to tell this story (based on the novel by CamiloCasteloBranco) of a boy searching for his roots. Why is he called simply João, with no last name? Who are his parents? Are they alive? How did he end up in a convent school? We, the audience, wonder about these questions too as we are introduced to João, played by JoãoArrais, whose solemn brown eyes echo the void in his character's life. This young actor is an equal match to the actor, Adriano Luz, who plays the sympathetic PardreDinis, the keeper of many secrets. Also noteworthy is the performance of Ricardo Pereira who style is reminiscent of Errol Flynn, but with Pereira's own brand of unbridled sexuality.

More than a costume froth, Mysteries of Lisbon, is a…

Lily Eng, Woman Warrior at Reel Asian Film Festival on Nov. 10th


donna g: Performance art is something that is often baffling to the public. How would you describe what you do to those who don’t have your artistic background and training?

Lily Eng: I am an experimental choreographer who uses the dynamics of martial arts to articulate movement in unique, emotive, and personal ways. At the core of my movement scope of practice is the desire to take my internal landscape and extract it externally.

donna g: You have training in more traditional dance forms such as classical and modern ballet. What drew you to this more experimental style of artistic expression? Did you have to “unlearn” traditional dance techniques? How the body moves in classical ballet is different from how it moves in modern ballet, let alone experimental dance, so how did you adapt to the new methods of movement?

Lily Eng: The common denominator that runs through my disciplined art/body-ori…


Do yourself a favour and get your ticket to FELA! Whether you line up 2 hours prior to showtime and get Rush tickets or whether you buy regular tickets, you will want to be in the house when Tony Award nominee, Sahr Ngaujah breaks it down as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. With the Canon Theatre stage transformed into The Shrine (one of Fela’s clubs), leave your “shy” at home, in your car, on the TTC, and most definitely at the door, because you are going to more than just a play, you are going to a Fela-bration! Don’t worry that you haven’t had time to Google who Fela is or what Afrobeat is. Music will great you as you take your seat, and dancing women, with a talent for muscle isolation and sonic sexiness will demand your attention and make you forget the 416, 905, 519 and get into the 419, a gyrating audience participation dance where your hips are a clock and you set the movement. The 419 is also a reference to the Nigerian penal code for fraud, so while FELA! entertains, it’s also includes …

Go Ahead and ImagineNATIVE!

Sunday, October, 23rd is the last day to enjoy screenings and events at the 12th Annual ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival. Why not spend a lazy Sunday afternoon exploring some of the following artistic and diverse offerings (list courtesy of GAT PR and ImangineNative). For complete details visit:

All Regular Screenings at the TIFF Bell Lightbox are $7! FREE to Seniors, Students (with valid ID), and the Underemployed before 6pm everyday! Closing Night Screening & Party tickets are $12 (with discounts for Student, Seniors and Underemployed).

Film & Video Screenings:
Towards the Sun
Oct. 23, 12:00pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2

Three incredible works from the Far North! FeaturingQueen of the Quest, Guovssahasa nieda (Dancing Virgin), and Towards the Sun.

Co-presented by Arnait Video Productions

Broken Promises: Shorts Program II

Oct. 23, 2:45pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 1

Spanning geography and time, these films collectively speak to the e…

Prizes. Prizes. Are you in?

That's me with Mamma Gógó director, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. TIFF is one of many film festivals that I cover and bring to you via The More the Merrier, every Saturday at CIUT 89.5 FM.

Support The More the Merrierand you might win a prize from the show prize package or win one of CIUT 89.5 FM's daily draws during the Fall Fundraising Campaign. Donate now by clicking on this link: or by calling 416-946-7800 or Toll Free at 1-888-204-8976. Or call in Saturday, October 22nd between 1:00pm - 2:oo pm to donate during the live broadcast on 89.5 FM or at Be sure to mention The More the Merrier as the show you wish to support!

Thank you and good luck!

Donate to The More the Merrier on Saturday, October 22nd bewteen 1:00 - 2:00 and you will have a chance to win a Family or Dual Membership . Courtesy of TIFF Bell Lightbox. Prize valued at $150

Other prizes include:

A VIP Pass courtesy of the Ontario Science Centre. Includes entrance …

It's Baaaack! Toronto After Dark Film Festival Returns to October!

October is so much better for Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF) than August. While I loved going to a film festival in August, being scared chilly in the Bloor Cinema and coming out to a hot day, I think October is a better fit for the this festival of horror drama, comedies and other genre films.

With its brilliant colour, its red maples, so similar to blood; its blustery winds, so chilling down the spine, and Hollowe'en, October is the perfect month for the Toronto Zombie Walk, and for TADFF fans to snuggle down in the festival's new venue, the Toronto Underground Cinema--a perfect match, in my opinion.

I'm looking forward to WAR OF THE DEAD. How about you? Haven't decided? Check out all the movie trailers: you after dark!

Film Schedule/

Poster and trailer courtesy of Toronto After Dark FilmFestival

The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word-Oct. 11 -15th

David Silverberg is the host of the monthly Toronto Poetry Slam held at the Drake Hotel. He is also this year's host of the The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.

donna g: What styles of poetry/spoken word are represented in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word?

David Silverberg: Every style of spoken word from dub poetry to prose poems to hiphop poetry. It's such a diverse festival and really shows Torontonians the breadth of spoken word in the country.

donna g: The CFSW launched last night at the Drake Hotel Underground. How was the turn out?

David Silverberg: It was a wonderful turnout! Around 180 packed into the Drake Hotel Underground and the audience was loving practically every delicious poem coming from the poets' mouths.

donna g: Last night you also had a Legends Showcase. Who were some of the talents that took to the stage, and how long did each person have to perform?

David Silverberg: Each of the poets had 15 minutes to display their talent. The Legends Showcase incl…

TIFF 11: My Top Ten Faves!

Still dealing with a cold, but thankfully it's winding down. I finally feel well enough to post my Top Ten TIFF Faves as well as the list of what I saw this year at the 36th annual Toronto International Film Festival. How was your TIFF?

MY TOP TEN (alpha order)
THE TURIN HORSE-Hungary (Béla Tarr) (My #1 Absolute Favourite!)
See Review

Coriolanus-UK (Ralph Fiennes) i am a good person/i am a bad person-Canada (Ingrid Veninger)

TIE: This may seem a strange coupling since Ralph Fiennes is an internationally known actor/director, and Ingrid Veninger is Canadian filmmaker who may be known only by those who love Canadian film and make a point of watching them. Despite the range of budget and styles the sense of the personal permeates every frame of these films. Despite the fact that Coriolanus looms large with weighty performances from Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler, and Brian Cox,i am a good person equally invades the soul with performances by Veninger and her real life daughter Ha…


So TIFF 11 has come to an end, and, of course, I have to invite my film friends to join me on The More the Merrier for a discussion of this year's festival. My in studio guests for the hour were Kirk Cooper (Film Market Access), blogger Heidy M (hyemusings, alternavox) and cinefile, Moen Mohamed. Before our discussion got started, Ngardy Conteh joined me via telephone to talk about winning TIFF's Pitch This! competition. Conteh and her co-director, Allan Tong's film, Leone Stars is the first documentary to win the prize in TIFF's Pitch This! eleven year history. Visit find out more about this inspiring work in progress.

Heidy M's Top 5 TIFF FAVES
2.Las Acacias
3.Sleepless Night
5.The Raid

To read why these are Heidy's faves click here.

I always look forward to seeing Moen Mohamed's list of films. This is vacation time for Moen, who chooses his selections based on his attendance at other film festivals, a…

TIFF 11: The Good Son and The Education of Auma Obama

For the last week-end of TIFF many films have gone RUSH, but if you have the patience to stand in line for a ticket check out these films:

In this nuanced Finnish film, Leila, a lead actress and divorced mother of two (Elina Knihtilä), takes off for the country to lie low after bad mouthing her latest film release. There she is joined by a few of her friends and begins a romance with one of their acquaintances. Her eldest son, Ilmari, played with maturity and depth by actor Samuli Niittymäki, is used to being the man of the house, taking care of his self-focused mother and his younger brother. When it appears that Ilmari's position will be usurped by the newcomer in his mother's life, Ilmari takes protecting his mother to the extreme. Leila's behaviour and abusive relationships in the past has marked both her sons: the elder son is a keg of resentment and protectiveness and the younger is constantly left on his own, where he finds solace and comfort in nature (r…