Tag Archives: culture

Review – The Canadian Opera Company: ‘Ariodante’ (October 16 – November 4, 2016)

16-17-02-MC-D-0711The work of George Frideric Handel, a supreme artist of the Baroque era, returns to the Canadian Opera Company stage this fall in the long awaited company premiere of Ariodante. This new COC co-production is staged by celebrated theatre and opera director Richard Jones with a cast led by two opera stars: British mezzosoprano Alice Coote and Canadian soprano Jane Archibald. COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts the piece heralded as Baroque opera at its best. Ariodante runs for seven performances on October 16, 19, 22, 25, 27, 29 and November 4, 2016.

Ariodante is unique from Handel’s other compositions, standing out as a simple, romantic and sincere work that expresses a love story free of artifice. Director Richard Jones, who staged the critically acclaimed The Queen of Spades for the COC in 2002, delivers a production that “gets to the heart of this opera’s distinctive melancholia” (The Telegraph) in his telling of Handel’s tale about the conflict between love and duty as Ariodante and his love Ginevra are brutally separated by the lies of a jealous rival.

Jones envisions a more modern setting for Ariodante that plays with the formality of work’s 18th-century origins. He sets the melodrama against the backdrop of a remote island village creating the look and feel of a closed-off community that honours the attitudes and social hierarchy of the source material’s storyline of Scottish royalty. Sets and costumes are by Olivier Award-winning designer ULTZ with the production’s striking use of puppetry created by puppetry director/designer Finn Caldwell and puppetry designer Nick Barnes. Ariodante is lit by award-winning opera and theatre lighting designer Mimi Jordan Sherin with choreography by Lucy Burge.

Handel’s operas are distinguished by magnificent musical virtuosity that powerfully and genuinely captures the emotional core of its characters. The COC’s Johannes Debus makes his Handel debut conducting Ariodante, one of the composer’s most radiantly beautiful scores, leading a dream cast and the acclaimed COC Orchestra and Chorus.

British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, after delivering stunning turns in the COC’s Ariadne auf Naxos (2011) and Hercules (2014), returns in the trouser role of Ariodante. The wide-ranging expressive music of the hero role is a stirring showcase for the world renowned mezzo’s artistry, whose performances are described as “breathtaking in [their] sheer conviction and subtlety of perception” (The Times) and her voice as “beautiful, to be sure, but, more importantly, it thrills you to the marrow” (The Daily Telegraph).

The equally incomparable Canadian soprano Jane Archibald makes her role debut as Ginevra, Ariodante’s wronged fiancé. Archibald once again brings her “unbelievable mastery of singing, controlled with apparent ease… combined with a remarkable dramatic presence” (Le Figaro, FR) to the COC stage after successive performances delivered to critical and popular acclaim in Ariadne auf Naxos (2011), Semele (2012), Don Giovanni (2015), Semele at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (2015), and The Marriage of Figaro (2016).

Armenian mezzo-soprano Varduhi Abrahamyan has been called a “revelation” by the New York Times and makes her Canadian debut in the trouser role of Polinesso, the jealous rival of Ariodante. Rising Canadian coloratura soprano, and COC Ensemble Studio graduate, Ambur Braid is Dalinda, Ginevra’s maid and Polinesso’s unwitting accomplice. Norwegian baritone Johannes Weisser makes his COC debut as the King of Scotland, Ginevra’s father.

Fellow Ensemble Studio graduate, Canadian tenor Owen McCausland is Ariodante’s vengeful brother, Lurcanio. Ensemble Studio tenor Aaron Sheppard is the courtier Odoardo.  The unattributed libretto for Ariodante is based on Antonio Salvi’s libretto for the opera Ginevra, principessa di Scozia, which drew inspiration from sections of the epic Italian romance poem Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto and, in turn, was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Ariodante premiered in London on January 8, 1735. While initially successful, Ariodante fell into obscurity for almost 200 years until revived in the 1970s and subsequently came to be considered one of Handel’s finest operas.

This new production of Ariodante is a COC co-production with Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Dutch National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Ariodante is sung in Italian with English SURTITLESTM. The COC performs Ariodante at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The COC’s 2016/2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the Four Seasons Centre, Canada’s first purpose-built opera house, which opened in fall 2006 and has been hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world.


Single tickets for Ariodante range from $35 – $235 and box seats, when available, are $350. Tickets are now on sale, available online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). For more information on specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, standing room, Opera Under 30 presented by TD Bank Group, student groups and rush seating, visit coc.ca.



The leaves are falling, the air is damp and how the rain must drizzle and make us cringe as a gentle reminder that winter is on its way. It is only fitting to watch the Canadian Opera’s Company rendition of Handel’s ‘Ariodante’ and feel like we are on the east coast of Canada experiencing gale force winds as a drama unfolds behind closed doors.

The Canadian Opera’s Company rendition of Handel’s ‘Ariodante’ is epic, breathless, outstanding and full of a psychological depth that carries us through the 4 hour opera.

We are immediately taken into the womb of a Maritime town full of quilts, fabric hearts, banting, woolen sweaters and a chill in the air that keep us on edge for what is to come. Ginevra in her pretty frocks, auburn locks and crimson cheeks provides a contrast to the hum drum nature of the male-centric cast.  Ariodante is swashbuckling in his intent but takes a quieter lead to his lady.

The puppeteering added a wonderful dreamscape texture during the Canadian Opera’s Company’s ‘Ariodante’. It provided the viewer a reprieve to see the characters at their most vulnerable experiencing grief, excitement and success in free form.

The Canadian Opera Company yet again, out does itself with a grandiose and daunting staging that the viewer is compelled to want to take a seat at the welcome table, lie in Ginevra’s comfortable bed and perhaps peer out the bay windows into the Scottish Island landscape in all its maritime glory. The staging is transformative and speaks to Handel’s work in equal measure.

Polinesso’s evil roots implant itself in the production and makes the viewer instantly cringe whenever he takes centre stage. His baiting of Ginevra and taking advantage of her father’s psychological slump after the death of his wife aches pain, suffering and a direct polar opposite of the warmth being exuded by the community and it’s dwellers on stage.  The stage works with the actors in creating a Calvinism feel and a strong moral compass.

Although the opera is named for ‘Ariodante’, this is an opera about Ginevra’s love who is sincere, sensitive and noble hearted. Ginevra is indeed our heroine.  We see her in her darkest days of oppression by a male dominated society.  We see her ‘girl power’ dreams and fantasies being squashed and belittled at its core. The viewer comes to know behind the scenes the trials and tribulations of Lurcanio (Ariodante’s brother) driven by his sense of justice, encourages the King to act out violently.  We, the viewer, witness Dalinda at her worst when she works out her raw desires with the likes of Polinesso.

The Canadian Opera’s Company rendition of Handel’s ‘Ariodante’ will move you with its personal confessions, brimming with unrequited love and the move to turn inwards with one’s own emotions, fears and sense of well-being.


Review: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Luzia’ (Jul 28 2016 – Oct 16 2016)


LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, like in a waking dream, where light quenches the spirit and rain soothes the soul.

Freely inspired by Mexico, LUZIA is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich, vibrant culture of a country whose wealth stems from an extraordinary mix of influences and creative collisions – a land that inspires awe with its breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders, buoyed by the indomitable spirit of its people.

The tableaux of LUZIA weave an intricate, contemporary mosaic that awakens your senses and transports you to a place suspended between dreams and reality.


The name LUZIA fuses the sound of “luz” (light in Spanish) and “lluvia” (rain), two elements at the core of the show’s creation.


There is not one, but many Mexicos – Mexico is an ever-evolving country as complex as it is diversified. It is the result of an extraordinary mix of influences from abroad over the course of many centuries.

Instead of representing Mexico in a realistic fashion, the creative team of LUZIA decided to create an evocation of this monumental country. They imagined a dream woven from memories, experiences and encounters, laden with inspirations deeply rooted in Mexican identity.

Even this invented Mexico is complex and multifaceted, hence the idea of a journey – in both the literal and figurative sense – through a series of fragments, all highly meaningful and evocative. “A fragment is like a pebble you slip in your pocket, keep close to your heart and safeguard like a cherished memory”, explains show director Daniel Finzi Pasca.

Water as a source of inspiration – Integrating the element of water to a Big Top show is a first at Cirque du Soleil. The idea of placing a water basin under the stage floor and creating a rain curtain paid huge dividends on the acrobatic front.

The element of water enabled the creators to take the Cyr Wheel out of its usual context. Two artists perform on the apparatus on water and in the rain, which is, at first glance, unthinkable. In order to solve the adhesion issue, a bicycle tire was mounted on the wheel rim. Great ideas look simple… after the fact.

Breaking down barriers – LUZIA explores the combination of hoop diving – a traditional circus discipline from China – and two giant treadmills to generate speed and expand the discipline’s acrobatic vocabulary. The two treadmills can operate in the same direction or in opposite directions. Sometimes artists use the treadmill as a launching pad to perform daring leaps through the hoops; when placed on the rolling treadmills the hoops suddenly become moving targets for the divers.


Through its set design, costumes, acrobatic performance and music, LUZIA explores various themes linked to the culture, history and mythology of Mexico, some of which may not seem connected at first glance. Thus, the show is based on themes such as speed, monumentality, rain in all its manifestations, surreal animal life, and a poetic vision of reality.

Monumentality – Visitors to Mexico may experience a certain light-headedness when faced with the staggering beauty of the country’s landscapes, forests and nature, but also with the richness of its culture and the splendor of its architectural wonders.

Speed – It is natural to associate Mexico with the idea of speed. One needs only call to mind the uncanny ability of certain people in Mexico, such as the Tarahumaras, who make seemingly superhuman efforts on a daily basis, deriving great strength from their deeply spiritual perspective of life.

Rain in all shapes and forms – In Mexico, there are as many types of rain as there are clouds that produce it – from the refreshing showers of Coyoacán, an iconic neighborhood at the heart of Mexico City, to the torrential rains that sweep across Baja California, to the plentiful autumn rains, as violent as they are sudden. In the diversified geography of Mexico, rain is part of the collective consciousness and has a narrative force all its own.

Surreal menagerie and poetic vision of reality – The fascination of the Mexican people for the animal world is as evident in the country’s traditions and mythology as it is in its traditional arts and crafts. This special connection with nature and animal life stems from a poetic – and even magical – vision of reality. This is apparent in the Mesoamerican concept of the nagual according to which the spirit of an animal lives in every human being from birth; this spirit protects and guides the individual throughout their life.


Cirque Du Soleil’s “Luzia” (theatrical run July 28, 2016 – October 16, 2016) is a feast for the senses. Explosions of colour, acrobatic feats, glorious vocal arrangements and story lines emblematic of what can only best be found in traditional Mexican lore is yours for the taking in one sitting at “Luzia”.

As the imaginary ‘flight director’ states at the beginning of the night, “Hold On Tight”. It was indeed an accurate request.  “Luzia” draws you in to the climate, ambiance and history of Mexico.  We experience the theatrical fabric of the country, fiesta paper lanterns and green landscape on a grandiose circus stage under a blanketed white tent that is friendly, comforting and provides for a wonderful goodbye to the summer as we enter the autumn.

The motifs of rain and water throughout the performance was transformative, relaxing and offered a respite between scenes. In a sense, the water that fell from the roof of the tent acted as a make shift waterfall symbolic of those found in Mexico.  In one segment, the water produced images of dancing fish, blooming flowers and ornate Mexican motifs.  Truly mesmerizing!

The treadmill that sits on the “Luzia” stage is robust and ornate. The acrobatic artistes jump, leap and dance on the treadmill with ease.  A running fairy is chased by a metal horse to the amazement of the audience.  These scenes make Cirque Du Soleil great!  The fairy’s wings stretch out to reveal gorgeous butterfly wings within the first five minutes of the show.  A collective excited sigh was heard from the audience anticipating what more is to come.

Dancing sisters take on large hoola hoops and keep us entranced as an acrobat dances above them. Children laugh as the clown ushers the audience between scenes and gently teases members with his cheekiness.  A contortionist steals the show with skills reserved for solo moments meant only for a candle’s flame and an empty stage.

As the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) approaches it maybe worth checking out Luzia” before it closes on October 16, 2016.   “Luzia” is enticing and exciting for a family night out and yet sensuous and sophisticated for a date night with friends or loved ones.  You will truly feel awakened to all Mexico has to offer after taking in “Luzia”.


Review: Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) – Friday September 16 – Sunday September 18, 2016

Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) always promises a good time.  It’s a late in the summer kinda happening that brings only the best in folk rock artists and deliciously sound foodies to its three daylong festival at Fork York and Garrison Commons.  This past Friday September 16 – Sunday September 18, 2016 fete was all about the likes of homegrown veterans, honouring our locals while still mixing it up with some international flare to keep our musical vernacular fresh.

Day 1 gave us The Hives, Skinny Lister, Jake Bugg, Modern Baseball, Dropkick Murphys and Explosions in the Sky. A mix you cannot happen upon anywhere else in our fair city on any given day.  The Hives annihilated our hearing.  Skinny Lister kept it folk rockabilly.  Jake Bugg gave us some teen dream boat vibes.  Explosions in the Sky,  let’s face it made the audience collectively swoon in good measure.  A true crowd highlight.

TURF always provides bang for one’s buck. You get variety of musical nuances and at the same time will be sure to leave with new bands that you can’t wait to tell your friends about.  Well, that is after you first pop it all over your social media accounts.

The drinks were flowing from the likes of Tropical Temptations and Smoothe Operator. The foodie in you could easily be filled with affordable yummies from Mustache Burger, 50 Pesos and Kung Fu Dawg.

The layout at TURF this weekend was all about easy accessibility. Even in the rain on Saturday, fans were seen dodging raindrops as they caught LUSH as they said hello from a long absence from Canadian shores and whilst checking their schedule to see what was next on in their rainy day schedule.

The crowd was diverse, eclectic, suits mixed with boho types with the common thread of having a hang ten chill vibe. Everyone gets along and is up for a giggle over a pint or two.  Who knew the Gardiner Expressway could evoke so much rad energy?

A crowd that could not only make Gord Downie proud was seen paying homage to the Tragically Hip’s legacy as Dwayne Gretzky played song after song from their illustrious catalogue. It was an emotional hour or two.  Fans hugged one another while kids played on the grassy hill.  TURF brings us together every year as we break bread with one another under the Gardiner Expressway and reminds us how transformative and healing music can be with good people, great tunes and a harvest moon overhead.


The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris ( July 1 – Sept. 18, 2016) at the Art Gallery of Ontario


A founding member of the Group of Seven and a major figure in the history of twentieth-century Canadian art, Lawren Harris (1885-1970) remains largely unknown in the United States. This year the AGO is partnering with the Hammer Museum to introduce Harris’s iconic landscapes to audiences in Los Angeles and Boston. The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris will be the first major solo exhibition of his work to be shown in the United States, and opens  in Toronto in July of 2016.

The exhibition is curated by comedian, musician, actor and writer Steve Martin in collaboration with Cynthia Burlingham, Deputy Director, Curatorial Affairs at the Hammer Museum, and Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art at the AGO.

The AGO’s installation offers an expanded experience, curated by Hunter. It opens with a selection of Harris’ early paintings from the 1910s, many of which depict the complex and culturally diverse Ward neighbourhood in Toronto, where the artist spent his formative years. Visitors will then experience the core of the exhibition, followed by a special epilogue that explores the influence of Harris’ landscapes on Canadian identity (“the idea of north”) in relation to the city. The impact of Harris’ art and legacy can be seen through historical photogaphs by Arthur Goss in addition to the works of several contemporary Canadian artists including Nina Bunjevac, Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, Tin Can Forest and Anique Jordan. Combined with the core exhibition, this enhanced presentation of The Idea of North features over 80 works in total.


Chihuly: From Sand. From Fire. Comes Beauty. (June 25 – January 2, 2017) at the Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is proud to present CHIHULY, featuring the dramatically colourful creations in glass by internationally acclaimed artist Dale Chihuly. On display from June 25, 2016 to January 2, 2017 in the Museum’s Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall, CHIHULY includes installations created especially for the ROM’s exhibition, in addition to series favourites.

Dale Chihuly has been exploring glass as a medium and creating striking installations for 50 years. His monumental works defy his material’s fragility. Chihuly’s pieces bring together a centuries-old team approach to glass-blowing with his unique artistic vision – resulting in ground-breaking artworks. Chihuly said, “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and colour in a way they’ve never experienced before.”

“CHIHULY is a mesmerizing exhibition highlighting the monumental works of this singular artist. His stunning installations transform the ROM—encouraging us to think differently about both art and nature,” said Josh Basseches, ROM Director and CEO.

Diane Charbonneau, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, is the guest curator of CHIHULY at the ROM. She commented, “With Nathalie Bondil, MMFA director and chief curator, we are pleased to have helped this initiative from the very beginning with the ROM, our great partner. A key figure in the realm of studio glass, Dale Chihuly executes works that reveal a fertile imagination expressed through an extensive vocabulary borrowing freely from nature, his main source of inspiration. His wondrous pieces are the result of a perceptive exploration of colour, form, light, and space. To experience Chihuly’s installation works is a must!”


Dale Chihuly is renowned for his site-specific installations. CHIHULY features 11 immersive installations; some newly created for the ROM’s exhibition. These include:

Lime Crystal Tower, standing over 14 feet high, greets visitors in the entrance of the ROM. Its 118 crystals are made of solid Polyvitro, a term for a type of plastic coined by Chihuly, and a material that transmits light and colour very much like glass. However, at 3,000 pounds, this transparent work weighs much less than if created in glass.

Boats: Two weathered boats, Ikebana Boat and Float Boat are presented on a black Plexiglas surface. Chihuly first filled boats with his glass pieces in Nuutajärvi, Finland in June 1995 during the Chihuly over Venice project. At one point, Chihuly began tossing glass elements into the river, allowing them to float downstream. As local teenagers in small wooden rowboats gathered them, the artist recognised the opportunity for a new installation.

Laguna Torcello creates an intricate garden of glass. Introduced in 2012, this is part of Chihuly’s long-standing series, Mille Fiori (“thousand flowers” in Italian). Visitors can stroll around this garden, taking in an outstanding range of Chihuly’s forms. The installation’s name references a lagoon island in Venice, Italy, the artist’s favourite place in the world, and pays respect to that city’s glass-makers.

Jerusalem Cylinders are bold and dramatic. Taking preformed glass elements in the shape of sharp-edged crystals, Chihuly fuses them onto cylindrical vessels. Part of a series launched in 1999 when Chihuly was preparing an exhibition in Jerusalem, the crystals evoke the massive stones making up the walls of the ancient city’s Citadel.

Sapphire Neon Tumbleweeds: Chihuly has created neon sculptures throughout his career. Neon Tumbleweeds were first exhibited in 1993 as part of a larger neon and ice exhibition in Tacoma, Washington.

Red Reeds on Logs are presented atop a cascading composition of Ontario-sourced white birch logs. First created in 1995, this series is brilliant on many levels but especially for Chihuly’s use of materials giving strong contrasts between colours, densities, and textures. Incredibly, some of the reeds reach three metres long, his glassblowers achieving this by pulling the hot molten glass downwards from a mechanical lift.

Persian Ceiling stands as one of Chihuly’s most popular and enduring works. Brightly coloured Persians dominate, arranged in layers over plate glass, while many of the artist’s hallmark elements also appear in this installation. Subtle lighting ensures the ceiling creates a colourful kaleidoscopic effect.

Fire Orange Baskets: Impressed by a presentation of Northwest Coast Indian baskets in the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma, Chihuly sought to replicate the effects of weight, gravity, and time and started the Basket series in 1977. With this site-specific grouping, Chihuly continues to push scale with his artworks. These Baskets are among the largest he’s created.

Icicle Chandeliers and Towers display two forms that complement each other like cave stalagmites and stalactites. Chihuly began his Chandeliers series in 1992, achieving great massing of colour by taking hundreds of pieces of blown glass, assembling them around sturdy steel frameworks, and lighting them from external sources. His Towers followed soon after as an upside-down version. The exhibition’s installation comprises two chandeliers and two towers. The artist, choosing icicles as a unifying theme, has created a wholly new triple tower.

Persian Trellis, created specifically for the ROM, features Chihuly’s Persians. From their 1986 origins, the making of these forms involves blowing glass to produce a herringbone pattern. Striking arrangements of them can be mounted anywhere—including on ceilings, in wall displays, on chandeliers or, in this instance, mounted on a large wooden trellis framework, allowing visitors to walk through to enjoy the artwork from a number of angles.

The Northwest Room presents selections from Chihuly’s early experiments in the Baskets series.It is augmented by a sampling of the artist’s personal collection of Northwest Coast Indian baskets, American Indian trade blankets, and Edward S. Curtis photogravures.

Admission to CHIHULY is timed ticketed: Members: FREE; Adults: $29.00; Seniors/Students: $26.50; and Children (4-14 years): $21.00. Tickets are now on sale.

Visitors of all ages can enhance their exhibition experience with outstanding programming offered throughout the ROM’s presentation of CHIHULY. Visit rom.on.ca/chihuly for details.

About Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly, an American sculptor, has mastered the alluring, translucent, and transparent qualities of ice, water, glass and neon, to create works of art that transform the viewer experience. He is globally renowned for his ambitious site-specific architectural installations in public spaces, and in exhibitions presented in more than 250 museums and gardens worldwide. Major exhibitions include Chihuly Over Venice (1995-96), Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem (1999), Garden Cycle (2001–present), de Young Museum in San Francisco (2008), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2011), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (2012), and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal (2013.) Chihuly Garden and Glass opened at Seattle Center in 2012.


TD Toronto Jazz Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow!


Friday, June 24
An Evening with Sarah McLachlan
8 p.m. – Sony Centre (1 Front Street East)
Multi-platinum singer and songwriter best known for her intimate vocals and relatable lyrics

KC and The Sunshine Band
9 p.m. – Toronto Star Stage, Nathan Phillips Square (FREE)
After more than 40 years, the legendary supergroup can still throw-down

Heather Bambrick & Friends feat. Alex Pangman with Russ Little Quartet
7:30 p.m. – Home Smith Bar, The Old Mill (21 Old Mill Road)
Heather Bambrick joins forces with 2016 JUNO nominee Alex Pangman to breathe new life into the beloved standards of the classic jazz era

Bill Charlap Trio
8 p.m. / 10 p.m. – Jazz Bistro (251 Victoria Street)
A premier jazz pianist whose trio is recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz

Jane Bunnett & Hilario Duran
12:30 p.m. – Holt Renfrew (50 Bloor Street West)
Multiple JUNO-award winner, Jane Bunnett plays with one of the world’s most innovative pianist of Afro-Cuban music & Latin jazz

Tia Brazda Quartet

5 p.m. – Distillery Historic District (55 Mill Street)
“A technicolour swing that’s just the thing” – Globe and Mail

Heavyweights Brass Band w. Jay Douglas

6:30 p.m. – Outdoor Stage, Nathan Phillips Square
Inspired by the New Orelans sound, they pack a powerful one-two punch in brass tradition

We Came to Get Down: Swing vs. Street

7:30 p.m. – Outdoor Stage, Nathan Phillips Square
Contemporary street dancers pop, lock and break it down while vintage swing dancers lindy, charleston and jitterbug in a friend dance battle

Saturday, June 25
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
8:30 p.m. – Toronto Star Stage, Nathan Phillps Square
They have single handedly revived soul and funk music

Heather Bambrick & Friends feat. Broadsway with the Russ Little Quartet
7:30 p.m. – Home Smith Bar, The Old Mill (21 Old Mill Road)
Jazzy cabaret with a distinctive Broadway bent

Bill Charlap Trio
8 p.m. / 10 p.m. – Jazz Bistro (251 Victoria Street)


Jarrod Lawson
12:30 p.m. – Holt Renfrew (50 Bloor Street West)
“Everything he touches turns to soul”

Bill King’s Rhythm Express

12:30 p.m. – Toronto Star Stage, Nathan Phillips Square

Regent Park School of Music
2 p.m. – Outdoor Stage, Nathan Phillips Square
RPSM animates the Square with interactive opportunities for kids of all ages!

Joe Sealy – Solo Piano
3 p.m. – Holt Renfrew (50 Bloor Street West)

Slocan Ramblers
3 p.m. – Distillery Historic District (55 Mill Street)
Toronto’s young bluegrass band to watch

Bob Brough Trio
5 p.m. – Distillery Historic District (55 Mill Street)
…46 years later, Bob’s original artistic vision, to make music and be heard, continues

Jarrod Lawson
6:30 p.m. – Outdoor Stage, Nathan Phillips Square

Sunday, June 26
Lee Fields & The Expressions / Allen Stone
8:30 p.m. – Toronto Star Stage, Nathan Phillips Square
A pitch-perfect powerhouse, Allen Stone identifies as the “hippie with soul”
Lee Fields brings James Brown-style funk to lo-fi blues to contemporary Southern soul

Laila Biali Trio + Phil Dwyer

8 p.m. / 10 p.m. – Jazz Bistro (251 Victoria Street)
“She is an exciting and unique talent” – Sting

Molly Johnson
12:30 p.m. – Holt Renfrew (50 Bloor Street West)
Molly’s luscious interpretations of jazz and blues standards speak to an emotional depth that few vocalists in any genre have ever reached

Toronto Mass Choir
12:30 p.m. – Toronto Star Stage, Nathan Phillips Square
On the cutting edge of the Canadian gospel music scene

Tanika Charles
2 p.m. – Outdoor Stage, Nathan Phillips Square
“The most buzzed-about soul singer in Toronto” – CBC Music

Sam Dickinson Trio
3 p.m. – Pool Deck, Hilton Toronto Downtown Hotel

Rhythm & Truth

3 p.m. – Distillery Historic District (55 Mill Street)

Blue Moon Marquee

5 p.m. – Distillery Historic District (55 Mill Street)

Jamison Ross
6:30 p.m. – Outdoor Stage, Nathan Phillips Square
A 2016 Grammy nominee, he takes listeners on a musical journey that unifies his drumming with his vocal gifting

For the complete club listings, please visit www.torontojazz.com

TD TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL Artist Spotlight: Joe Jackson

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival announces its lineup as it runs from June 24 – July 3, 2016 featuring a diverse range of musicians including heavyweights, rising stars and established artists such as:

Gregory Porter • Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings • Oliver Jones Trio • Joe Jackson

Robert Glasper Experiment • Avishai Cohen Trio • Grace Potter • Allen Stone

Michael Franti • Lee Fields • Eagle Rock Gospel Singers • Bill Charlap Trio

Fanfare Ciocarlia • The Hot Sardines • Robi Botos • David Braid

Broadsway • Heather Bambrick • Laili Biali • Hilario Duran

Lemon Bucket Orkestra • Alex Pangman • Phil Dwyer

Melissa Stylianou • John Alcorn

and many more!

The music of Joe Jackson spans new wave, pop, jazz and classical. With 19 studio albums and multiple Grammy nominations to his credit, Jackson rocketed to stardom with a string of hit songs and landmark albums including, “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”, “Steppin’ Out” and “Breaking Us In Two.”

Catch him Saturday July 2, 2016 at Nathan Philips Square at 8:30 p.m..


Review: ‘Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.’ At the Royal Ontario Museum (April 2 to September 5, 2016)

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) opens its new exhibition, Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. On display in the Museum’s Roloff Beny Gallery, the show explores the multifaceted world of tattooing and the complex relationship between tattoo artists and tattooed. Coming from the musée du quai Branly in Paris, Tattoos showcases a visual history of body art and markings along with prints, posters, ancient tools, and commissioned tattooed silicone body reproductions inked by some of the most respected tattooists in the world.

The ROM’s exhibition is curated by Chris Darling, Senior Curator of Entomology, and Kenneth Lister, Assistant Curator of Anthropology. Featured are over 200 objects including many loaned from the quai Branly, and private lenders across Europe, along with nearly two dozen objects from the ROM’s Arctic, Egyptian, Pacific, East Asian and Natural History collections. Tracing tattoos across continents and over time, the exhibition examines tattoo artists and the tattooed, exploring the factors that have made tattooing an important cultural practice, an art form, and a worldwide modern phenomenon. Highlights include nine documentary videos showing various aspects of tattooing in different cultures and 13 silicone body parts inked by leading tattoo artists including Tin-Tin (France), Horiyoshi III (Japan), Filip Leu (Switzerland), Paul Booth (USA), Chimé (Polynesia), and Yann Black (Montreal).

“The exhibition brings to life the more than 5,000 year-old history of tattoos, exploring these ancient practices and their cultural significance. It will inspire ROM visitors to consider how the complex traditions of ink under the skin are constantly changing and have led to the global phenomenon of body art,” said Chris Darling, Senior Curator of Entomology, Royal Ontario Museum.

The original exhibition, Tattooists, Tattooed, curated by Anne & Julien, founders of the magazine HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture, was on display in Paris from 2014 – 2015 and drew record crowds to the musée du quai Branly.

Tattoos is a separately ticketed exhibition. Tickets are available for: $8.00 (Adults), $6.00 (Seniors and Students), and $4.00 (Children). ROM Members enjoy the exhibition at no cost.

The exhibition is complemented by a series of ROM events. Highlights include:

Borneo: Explorations of Nature and Culture

Thursday, May 26 | 11:00 am | Free with General Admission

ROM Curator Chris Darling discusses the exploration of the biological and cultural diversity of the world’s third largest island with reference to historical and modern tattooing traditions.

The Cultural Heritage of Indigenous Tattooing: Medicine, Myth, Magic, and Meaning

Tuesday, June 14 | 7:00 pm | Ticketed Event

Leading anthropologist Lars Krutak shares his journey to understand the impact of tattoos and other forms of body modification.

Art Fusion, Presented in Partnership with Northern Ink Xposure

Thursday, June 16 | 7:00 pm | Ticketed Event

International tattoo artists bring their talents to the ROM, creating collaborative art in the Museum’s galleries along with live music, and entertainment. Access to the exhibition is included.

Visit rom.on.ca/tattoos for tickets and exhibition details.


Forget Kat Von D and LA Ink, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)’s, ‘Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.’ will shine a light into tattoo art history that you will never see on TLC. ‘Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.’ is beautifully curated while also providing an honest portrayal of the creation of tattoo art and the people who wear them.

Even if you don’t have a tattoo there is no need to be shy – the ‘Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.’ will demystify the art form for you, show you why people gravitate toward it, why it makes it so personal based on the art that is chosen and where on the body it is placed.

The cultural inclusivity of the exhibit was authentic, respectful and brimming with stories that you would be hard-pressed to find online or in a documentary. The photographs, images and silicone body pieces are intimate, simple but also so rich in storytelling that it leaps off the skin in singing unison.

The ‘Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.’ is an important exhibit to get truly lost in over the summer break with friends, family and out of towners. For those of us who are keen tattoo enthusiasts the Sailor Jerry vintage work will surely make them swoon.  For those of us new to the art form and need a shot of tattoo education at its best – the videos, sideshow tattoo art and gorgeously maintained tattoo art tools and artifacts will scrape the surface into a journey that will be far from over once you leave the ROM’s premises.


Toronto Symphony Orchestra Ticket Giveaway: ‘What Makes It Great?® Dvořák Symphony 8’

Spring has finally sprung in Toronto! What better time is it then to get out there and enjoy what makes the Toronto Symphony Orchestra great!

Through the ever-popular What Makes It Great?® series, engaging classical music expert, conductor, and host Rob Kapilow offers tips on what to listen for and looks at the intricacies of a variety of works. On May 19, for the final concert in the series, Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 is examined during the first half of the evening. Following intermission, the audience is treated to a full performance of this timeless, warm-hearted piece with fresh insight and perspective.

Thank you to our friends at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for gifting Thirty Four Flavours with a pair of ‘What Makes It Great?® Dvořák Symphony 8’ tickets!

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and Toronto Symphony Orchestra Ticket Giveaway?

Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thirtyfourflavours, Twitter https://twitter.com/34flavours, or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email (thirtyfourflavours@gmail.com) telling me you why you want to win ‘What Makes It Great?® Dvořák Symphony 8’ tickets. By the way, stay tuned I have more tickets to TSO to giveaway in the weeks ahead!

Deadline for the Thirty Four Flavours and Toronto Symphony Orchestra Ticket Giveaway is Wednesday May 18, 2016.

Here’s the scoop!

What Makes It Great?® Dvořák Symphony 8

Thursday, May 19 at 7:30pm

Rob Kapilow, conductor & host

Dvořák: Symphony No. 8

TICKETS: $34.75–$83.75

Twitter: @TorontoSymphony

Facebook: facebook.com/torontosymphonyorchestra

YouTube: youtube.com/torontosymphony

Instagram: instagram.com/torontosymphony

About the TSO: Founded in 1922, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, recognized internationally. Music Director Peter Oundjian leads the TSO with a commitment to innovative programming and audience development through a broad range of performances that showcase the exceptional talents of the Orchestra along with a roster of distinguished guest artists and conductors. The TSO also serves the larger community with TSOUNDCHECK, the original under-35 ticket program; the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra; and music-education programs that reach tens of thousands of students each year.

Field Trip announces more-than-ever programming at Fort York, June 4 & 5, 2016

Arts & Crafts today announced the full programming lineup for the 2016 Field Trip Music & Arts Festival on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 at Fort York and Garrison Common. With something for everyone, schedule highlights include expanded family-friendly Day Camp featuring artists from the official lineup partaking in intimate sing-a-longs, comedians raising the roof on the Laugh Barracks indoor stage and a curated collection of the city’s best and brightest bespoke craft vendors.

This year’s Field Trip welcomes a diverse range of over 20 top food vendors, with the return of Toronto food writer and curator Ivy Knight hosting The Mess Hall for a day of laughing, cheering and playing with food. Other community programming includes the Analogue Gallery Sound Image Exhibition  showcasing the best in Canadian music photography; art and design exhibit by Toronto’s emergent visual creators; and a marketplace of local vendors selling rare wares.

“The range of interactive community-driven programming is one of the things that makes the Field Trip festival experience so unique – one of the things we’re very proud of,” says Arts & Crafts programming director, Aaron Miller.  “A major focus for 2016 was upping the family-friendly activities and really making sure there is something for everyone to enjoy. On top of all the amazing musicians we have coming this year, think of Field Trip as a choose your own adventure celebration of summer.”


A family-friendly festival overall, one of the larger changes for this year’s Field Trip is the expanded Day Camp, a space fully dedicated to activities for parents and children (who can enter the festival for free if they are under the age of 12). The 2016 stage plays host to Jason Collett & Friends, Basia Bulat, Kevin Drew & Friends, Regent Park School of Music, MusiCounts and surprise guests for intimate mini music sets, on top of regular Field Trip performances, all within earshot of the bouncy castle, Sugar Hoops hula hoops, ping pong tables and more.


Launched at Field Trip 2015 to great success, this year’s Laugh Barracks indoor comedy stage features up and coming local funny people as well as a handful of the city’s more established joke tellers, including stand-up comics Dave Merheje and Mark Little, rap battle league Rapp Battlez and feminist comedy duo The Crimson Wave, all sure to have audiences laughing out loud.


Located in Garrison Woods with host Ivy Knight, enter your little ones in one of a kids only watermelon or corn on the cob kid eating contests, or gather the family together to take on a World’s Biggest Hoagie submarine sandwich. Other activities include cupcake decorating, cocktail making competitions and more.


From BBQ mainstays to fish tacos to gourmet specialty coffee, the range of this year’s food and drink choices also include vegetarian and gluten-free, with local and organic front and centre:

Buster’s Sea Cove

Food Dudes

Thunderin’ Thelma

Fidel Gastro


Summertime Lemonade

Rancho Relaxo

The Poutine Supreme

Steel Cut Coffee

Ultimate Concession


Tokyo Smoke

Uncle Smoke

The Flying Chestnut


Chimney Stax


Heavenly Dreams (Day Camp)

Bread Heads (Day Camp)

Ivy Knight (Mess Hall)

Rose & Sons (VIP)

Field Trip Music & Arts Festival received three CMW Live Industry Awards nominations in 2016, for New Kid On The Block (Best New Festival), Best Family Program at a Festival and Medium Festival of the Year. This year’s music lineup features headliners The National and Robyn, as well as local favourites July Talk, Basia Bulat, Jazz Cartier and more. The full 2016 Field Trip lineup is available at FieldTripLife.com

Ticket prices start at $75 for single day general admission and can be purchased online via FieldTripLife.com, TicketMaster or LiveNation.com. Field Trip is a joint production by Arts & Crafts Productions and Live Nation Canada.