Posted in Art
Contributed by Christopher Jones
10/26 2011

WORKshop Gallery Goes Public

It’s just about the strangest location for a gallery you’re likely to come across — tucked into the Bay Street subway station and not accessible from ground level, WORKshop is an experimental design centre, work and exhibition space. The easy-to-miss gallery has been open since February 2010 but the newly mounted STITCHES: Suzhou Fast Forward is the first public exhibition to be held in the space.

Stitches: Suzhou Fast Forward at WORKshop gallery
Once inside the gallery you really have no sense that you’re underground; the space is light and almost airy.  READ MORE

Posted in Dance
Contributed by Christopher Jones
10/26 2011

Changing Tactics

When Pteros Tactics opens at the Winchester Street Theatre Friday night it will be markedly different from the piece premiered by Toronto Dance Theatre nearly two years ago at the Fleck. Says choreographer and TDT Artistic Director Christopher House, “The piece was a big experiment. I’d been trying to create something that was spontaneous and authentic but I tried to do it in a way that was almost anti-theatrical and it didn’t work as well as I wanted.”

After the Toronto run in February 2010, the show toured Western Canada giving House and his talented cast the opportunity to re-think their approach.

“We looked at what was really engaging and intriguing about the piece and we threw away everything that was extraneous,” House explains. “We looked for a more theatrical way to present the ideas and that’s what we’ve ended up with. It’s more kinetic, the pace is quicker. In some ways it’s more accessible and it’s more accessible because it’s more successful.” READ MORE

Posted in Film
Contributed by Christopher Jones
10/25 2011

Get Animated! Free Weekend

getanimatedAnimation fans have something to cheer about this weekend when the NFB Mediatheque (150 John Street) teams with the Toronto Animated Image Society to present Get Animated! a series of programs featuring some of Canada’s finest (and funniest!) animation.

On Friday (October 28) at 6:30 pm Mediatheque shows highlights from the Toronto Animated Image Society 2011 Showcase, then on Saturday at 7 pm, it’s the TAIS program. Family programing is in the spotlight  Sunday afternoon at 12:30 pm and on Wednesday (November 2) the  NFB’s new release program repeats at 4 pm. All screenings are free but if you want to ensure yourself a seat, be early!

Posted in Reading
Contributed by Christopher Jones
10/20 2011

McLuhan Then, Now, Next

mcluhan GraphicThe International Festival of Authors kicked off last night and Marshall McLuhan is front and centre this year, the centenary of his birth. McLuhan 100, the umbrella organization steering the anniversary celebrations is hosting interviews/readings with U.S. author and educator Clay Shirky (Fleck Dance Theatre, October 21, 8 pm), American journalist Brooke Gladstone (Studio Theatre, October 22, 4 pm) and artist/author Douglas Coupland (Studio Theatre, October 26, 8 pm) at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West).

Things really heat up November 7 – 10 with Then/Now/Next the first international McLuhan conference and festival featuring 100 leading thinkers and speakers from around the world, 300 art installations, concerts and screenings and the promise of “explosive and insightful debates.” See the full conference schedule here.

The Gladstone Hotel gets in on the act November 8 – 13 with Signals from the Dew Line: Art and Poetry in the Global Village. The party gets started November 8 with an opening reception from 7 – 10 pm.

McLuhan graphic by Christel LeBlanc courtesy of Gladstone Hotel

Posted in Festivals, Film
Contributed by Christopher Jones
10/18 2011

ImagineNATIVE: Northern Exposure

NeilBecause he’s not aboriginal, filmmaker Neil Christopher, left, is a little nervous about what kind of reception he’ll receive at the ImagineNATIVE film festival Wednesday. Christopher’s animated short, Amaqqut Nunaat: The Country of Wolves, kicks off the opening night gala program ahead of On the Ice, a first feature from US director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean.

Christopher’s professional partner and producer, Louise Flaherty, is Inuk so there won’t be any question about why the film is screening at ImagineNATIVE. And although questions of race and cultural appropriation irk Christopher just a little, he’s tremendously proud of his contribution on this and other projects.

“In the North, in Nunavut, I have no insecurity about not being aboriginal,” he tells me over coffee in Toronto. “I’m Nunavummiut, I have hunting rights, I contribute to my community, I served two terms on town council in Resolute Bay. I would NEVER be invited to be part of a band council down South, it’s a totally different mindset.”

Christopher has lived in the Nunavut for 15 years; he went up on a one year contract to help establish a high school and never looked back. He jokes about that first trip being like Gilligan’s Island, a three-hour tour that never seemed to end but he’s immensely happy in the North (presently calling Iqaluit home). “Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do down South that has as much meaning for me in terms of being part of a community and working hard on something that’s needed.” READ MORE