Toronto’s Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke, kicked off National Poetry Month this morning with a reading in the City Council chamber of a new poem entitled Toronto: Greatness and Panam (see below). Clarke’s appearance was part of the Mayor’s Poetry Challenge, this year issued by Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi, who encouraged municipalities across the country to host a poet at their respective city/town councils: 60 communities took part.
As always, Clarke has a busy April with several local appearances including the Hear Here literary salon tomorrow, a poetry and food themed event at Grano restaurant April 16, and a slot at the Plasticine Poetry Reading Series April 19. Clarke also joins VIA Rail’s Great Canadian Poetrain stopping at HotHouse Restaurant and Bar April 17.
Another big celebration will the April 15 launch of Toronto Public Library’s poetry map, which the Poet Laureate had a rather large hand in, researching and suggesting poems tied to specific Toronto locations. The interactive poetry map allows users to click on locations and see poems written about or set in those places. The map will be officially launched April 15 from 6 – 7:30 pm at the Toronto Reference Library.
Mayor Tory — pictured here with Clarke and Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of the City’s Economic Development Committee – proclaimed April poetry month noting, “Poetry plays an important role in the city’s cultural life with readings and poetry slams for adults and youth taking place every week throughout the year.”
Click through to read Clarke’s poem . . .
Toronto’s arts community filled St. Lawrence Hall yesterday for an informative presentation by the City’s Arts & Culture Section highlighting the many changes that have taken place since a thorough reorganization of the Economic Development and Culture Division last year.
As Director of Arts & Culture, Terry Nicholson, below, pointed out, “Culture has gone from having one Director among five to having three: Arts & Culture, Film Commissioner and Director of Entertainment Industries, and Museums & Heritage Services.” Furthermore, the Division’s new Program Support section works with all three units and newly appointed Manager, Policy Development,Larissa Deneau, was on hand to outline some of her team’s plans and challenges.
Jess Dobkin is doing what artists are supposed to do, she’s being creative. Dobkin’s local subway station is Chester and she’s had her eye on the fallow, shuttered Gateway newsstand, literally, for years.
Dobkin has organized a “small and mighty collective of Toronto artists” to move in and take over the space beginning May 1. They’ll run it partly as a typical newsstand selling standard commuter confections, and partly as an exhibition/performance space stocking art prints, books, etc.
Dobkin and company are in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign raising money to renew and refurbish the kiosk and make it art-ready.
“The kiosk is going to be staffed by artists and we’ll be bringing in artists to create work for the space,” she explains. “We’ll operate it as a traditional newsstand space and as an artist space for site specific exhibitions, screenings, performances, community arts projects. We’re commissioning work by local artists that will speak to issues of transit and mobility, accessibility, civic engagement.”
Analogue trades mostly in black and white nostalgia — classic rock from the 1960s and 70s — but once a year gallery owner Lucia Graca opens her doors to younger photographers, many of them shooting locally. Consequently, Sound Image is a celebration of the Hogtown music scene featuring a cross-section of venues and artists, both local heroes and international sensations. Pictured above is Roger Cullman’s contest winning photo of Nick Cave taken at Sony Centre in 2014.
Electronic, folk and world music collide at Revival Saturday night where Toronto’s Mahmood Schricker – Moudy to his pals – spearheads intriguing collaborations with Vancouver-based electronic artist/DJ Michael Red and Paris-based, Iranian act Shanbehzadeh Ensemble. On Friday, all three acts pull into Small World Music Centre to record what should be an intriguing mix of analog/electronic dub.
In addition to producing and promoting concerts and tours through his Link Music Lab, Schricker is a composer and player of the Iranian setar, a traditional three-stringed instrument that he plays in very non-traditional ways. The electrified setar is morphed and bent with a battery of effects to create a sound that is utterly of the moment – global, modern yet rooted in the past.
“In Persian music you always hear these drones,” notes Schicker, left, “and I thought I could do something else, personalize it. My ultimate goal is to have a minimal, dub electro sound with Persian music on top. It’s a very big challenge but I think we’re getting closer and closer and this concert will help bring us even further.”