Posted in Family, Festivals
09/26 2011

Mini Franco-Fête

David Pecaut Square was humming yesterday with a musical festival celebrating Franco Ontarians or more properly, le Jour des Franco-Ontariens et des Franco-Ontariennes. These photos were taken near the end of the celebration as choruses of young singers joined arms to sing “Notre Place.” It was a very welcoming, family-oriented event.

Photos by Christopher Jones

Posted in Festivals, Film
09/13 2011

Art, Not Commerce, Driving Veninger

Ingrid Veninger in I Am a Good Person, I Am a Bad Person
Local filmmaker Ingrid Veninger is under no illusions about the commercial prospects for her latest feature, i am a good person, i am a bad person, even though Toronto critics have been unanimous in praising the film. The Toronto Star called the movie “a sure-footed film about finding yourself off balance” and The Globe and Mail said it’s “a realistic, funny, touching picture of life’s ‘in-between’ moments.”

Yet Veninger is here at TIFF enjoying the buzz, revelling in the laurels and not doing a darn thing to actually “sell” her picture.

“It’s crazy to say, I know, but I don’t want to sell this film,” she tells me. “I’d love it to expose me to people I wouldn’t otherwise meet – industry people, other film people – and maybe open the door to collaborations that might not have happened otherwise. But this film is very much a festival film, it’s an art piece, a limited edition. It was born out of travelling to film festivals and I want it to be seen at film festivals and that’s it.”


Posted in Festivals
09/8 2011

urbanNOISE Fest Against Violence

flipSMIt will be a rush for Flip Watson to perform at urbanNOISE on Saturday (September 10), to put his talent out there in the neighbourhood that helped to shape him.

Watson is an especially good choice for the bill, which is focused on fighting violence in the community: the rapper’s father and uncle were shot dead in Lawrence Heights in 2001. That tragic event changed the course of Watson’s life; a sports-playing 10-year-old at the time of the shooting, he responded to the loss by acting out, skipping school and generally getting into trouble.

By age 19, he’d been in and out of jail twice. His second sentence included two years of house arrest during which he had nothing else to do but sit and write.

“Instead of taking out my anger on people and the world, I started writing it down on paper,” he says. “I really found a talent.”

In jail, Watson met some of his father’s friends: “They taught me that I can’t be trying to take out my revenge on the world, I can’t be keeping up with the badness. Deep down I was a good kid but the death of my father and uncle really changed my whole demeanor.”


Posted in Festivals
08/4 2011

Multicultural Toronto This Weekend

festivals in Toronto's Greek Town
As usual, there are a lot of free or nearly-free ethno-cultural events happening in Toronto this weekend. If you plan carefully, study schedules and programs, you should be able to take in much of what the city has to offer.

The biggest festival of course is Taste of the Danforth (above), which is actually a multicultural festival in Greek Town. One of the public stages will feature Greek culture but the entertainment and food will be a mix of many cultures. In past years, there have been Kangaroo Burgers, Chinese and Lebanese food, too. Food is only one of the attractions; the Toronto Symphony and Second City will be performing this year.

I like the Taste of the Danforth because you can take out-of-town guests there and say, “Look at the faces of the people here. This is multi-racial Toronto in one venue. We’re all having fun together. This is what we love about Toronto.” READ MORE

Posted in Family, Festivals
1 comment
07/14 2011

Festival of India Arts and Culture

The 39th Annual Festival of India, which will be celebrated on Centre Island from July 16-17, 2011 once again proudly presents its unique Arts & Culture Showcase, a beautiful and soul-riveting program of devotional music and dramatic dance from the ancient subcontinent.

Rain-or-shine, in a tented, outdoor venue, this show grants audiences a free ticket to observe the spiritual allure and the creative elegance of dramas, melodies, and choreography that were once commonplace in ancient, spiritual India.  With a lineup of internationally acclaimed artists and performers, the program promises a unique and unforgettable collection of sublime sounds and enchanting performances.

Dance Performances from Across South Asia
Menaka Thakkar Dance Company – Bharatnatyam
Kumari Ellora Patnaik & Guru Sri Devraj Patnaik – Odissi
Enakshi Das – Odissi
Panwar Music and Dance Productions – Kathak
Uma Vasudevan – Bharatnatyam

Experience Kirtan
The 39th Annual Festival of India ‘s Arts & Culture extravaganza will be showcasing traditional and modern forms of a devotional music style known as kirtan. In recent years, word about this form of music has been spreading and developing into its own subculture and modern indie music scene.  At the Festival of India, audiences will be able to experience kirtan performances by a number of classically-trained local and international kirtan musicians and bands. Traditional South Asian instruments and mantras together with contemporary sounds and rhythms will burst forth into ecstatic, new musical experiences that must be heard to be believed!

Explore India’s Spiritual Roots on Centre Island
The Festival of India also features a vibrant parade down Yonge Street on Saturday, July 16th, with celebrations continuing on Toronto’s beautiful Centre Island for the remainder of the weekend.  Aside from the Arts & Culture Showcase, festival-goers will find a massive, colourful and free festival, featuring a South Asian bazaar, Vedic exhibits, a children’s area, face-painting, and our world-famous FREE vegetarian feast!  On Sunday, July 17th, the Festival will also present the Fourth Annual Yoga Meltdown – a “festival within a festival” – focusing on presenting the spiritual depth of yoga and much more!

For more info visit the Festival of India website or call 1-888-535-FEST (3378).

This article first appeared on and is re-posted here with permission