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Posted in Reading
Contributed by Christopher Jones
10/9 2014

Countdown to Toronto Book Award


Finalists for this year’s Toronto Book Award came together at the Toronto Public Library‘s Yorkville branch last night : authors (from left to right) Carrianne K.Y. Leung (The Wondrous Woo), Charlotte Gray (The Massey Murder), Andrea Curtis and Nick Saul (The Stop), Shyam Selvadurai (The Hungry Ghosts) and Anthony De Sa (Kicking the Sky) indulged an attentive audience with engaging readings from their nominated books. The big winner will be named next Thursday (October 16) at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram & Bluma Appel Salon (789 Yonge Street, reception at 6 pm, award presentation at 7 pm, free). The winner takes home $10,000 and each runner-up pockets $1,000. See the authors talk about their books here.

Posted in Reading
Contributed by Christopher Jones
10/6 2014

Four Laureates Bolster United Way


Current Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke (above right) was behind an entertaining evening at UofT’s Robert Gill Theatre Wednesday night (October 8) featuring former TO Laureates Dennis Lee (far left) and Pier Giorgio di Cicco, and Owen Sound Poet Laureate Terry Burns. The poets were backed by house band Aurochs and supplementary musicians who wove improvisational soundscapes around the words. The results were often spellbinding. Greg Gatenby, former host of the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors, was master of ceremonies for the United Way Toronto fundraiser.

Posted in Art, Reading
Contributed by Christopher Jones
09/24 2014

Pachter, Clarke Pay Homage to Atwood

Margaret Atwood was in Rome yesterday but Canadian visual artist Charles Pachter (left) and Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke both summoned her spirit at the new Fort York Library branch where Atwood’s poems and Pachter’s art come together in a subtle new public artwork.

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Posted in Art, Music
Contributed by Christopher Jones
09/24 2014

Alec Dempster Gets Game

Alec Dempster is on a cultural mission to carry the folk music and art of Mexico as far afield as he can. This week Dempster bows two new projects: a concert tomorrow night (September 25) that blends his beloved jarocho music (indigenous to southern Veracruz) with the harp and maracas-driven joropo style from Colombia and Venezuela, and he’s launching a beautiful board game based on a traditional Mexican bingo called Loteria Jarocha.

The concert at Lula Lounge features Dempster’s Mexican folk group Café Con Pan augmented with Jorge Lopez and Yuri Pedraza, and with Colombian harpist Guillermo Arbeláez and Mexican singer Rosy Cervantes.

“It’s very happy, joyful music,” says Dempster. “I don’t think blending these two styles has been done before in Toronto. And it’s an early show from 7:30 – 9 pm, which can be good for some people.”

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