Posted in Art
Contributed by Christopher Jones
03/21 2012

Be Part of the Art at Luminato

TheEncampmentNYC-2007 by Nathan-Kensinger
Ever dream of being part of an artist’s installation project? This Sunday, art duo Thomas+Guinevere (Thom Sokoloski and Jenny-Anne McCowan) are hosting an informal sneak peek into participating in their upcoming Encampment slated to transform Fort York National Historic Site into a large scale art project during this year’s Luminato festival, coinciding with War of 1812 Commemorations June 8 – 24. At Fort York on Sunday (March 25) the artists give an overview of the creative process and field questions about the project. This summer’s Encampment is conceived as a temporal village comprised of 200 A-frame tents, each one telling a different civilian story gleaned from research. Sunday’s sneak peek will be held at the fort’s Blue Barracks from 1 – 3 pm.

Photo by Nathan Kesinger

Posted in Festivals, Film
Contributed by Christopher Jones
03/20 2012

Ontario Comedy Opens Cinefranco

marc marans in La Sacree
French film is in the spotlight at the TIFF Bell Lightbox beginning Friday (March 23 thru April 1) when the annual Cinefranco festival touches down for 10 days of movies from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco and Canada. The homegrown entries don’t hail solely from Quebec this year; the festival opener is that rarest of birds, a Franco-Ontarian comedy, in this case about a loveable con man who revives a small northern town’s fortunes while desperately trying to save his own skin.

From director Dominic Desjardins, La Sacrée (Holy Brew) is a delightful romp featuring a cast of mostly Ontario-based francophones including the wonderfully convincing Marc Marans, above, as the charming scoundrel at the centre of the action. READ MORE

Posted in Design
Contributed by Christopher Jones
03/14 2012

Arts & Innovation Focus of GG Visit

Ryerson’s innovative Digital Media Zone was the first stop on today’s tour of Toronto arts and media hubs by Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, centre. The GG and his wife, Mrs. Sharon Johnston, were treated to demonstrations of DMZ mobile and web applications, as well as the cutting-edge bionics apparatus above. Following Ryerson, their Excellencies visited community arts hubs SKETCH, Spongelab Interactive and Workman Arts.

“This is a very interesting time,” stated the Governor General. “It took the printing press over three centuries to reach the majority of the population; the internet has taken less than a decade to reach the world’s population. What you’re doing here at the Digital Media Zone is the next generation of the use of computers.”

Posted in Art
Contributed by Christopher Jones
03/12 2012

DKPG Tackles Lifecycle of Steel

Steel mill in Pittsburgh, PA, 2011 by Sean GalbraithTaking inspiration from Ed Burtynsky’s Oil show, members of Toronto’s DK Photo Group document the lifecycle of a different commodity in their latest exhibition, Steel, currently on at Twist Gallery (1100 Queen Street West) until March 28. From iron ore mining through steel production, manufacturing and recycling, the show ably fulfills DKPG’s “urban exploration” mandate and the group’s commitment to revealing unseen and forgotten architectural spaces.

Since 2005, photographers Sean Galbraith, Russell Brohier, Steve Jacobs, Mathew Merrett and Laurin Jeffrey have been gaining access to abandoned factories, institutional buildings and industrial sites with the explicit goal of bringing those images to a larger audience. The acronym DK is a homophone for decay so it’s no mystery why some of the collective’s work has been lumped in with the suddenly fashionable genre known as “ruin porn.”

When I put the description to Galbraith he laughs it off with the observation, “that’s like saying a landscape photographer is shooting tree porn.”


Posted in Theatre
Contributed by Christopher Jones
03/7 2012

The Metaphor at the Top of the Stairs

weyni mengeshaThere’s a notice board in the lobby of the Tarragon Theatre where audience members are encouraged to leave comments about what they’ve just seen on stage. Preview audiences for The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs – opening tonight and running thru April 8 — have obviously enjoyed the play but there’s a small contingent confessing that they just “didn’t get it.”

The play, by Quebec’s Carole Fréchette, is a bit “abstract” concedes director Weyni Mengesha, left, and it requires the audience to do a bit of mental heavy lifting. “I wanted to keep a balance between the literal and the visceral,” says Mengesha, who had to decide from the outset how much to reveal and how much to leave to the audience’s imagination.

In the play, newly married Grace (Nicole Underhay) is settling into a lavish 28-room mansion with her handsome, successful husband Henry (Rick Roberts). She has the run of the house, the garden, the greenhouse, and only one room, a room at the top of a secret stair, is ordered out of bounds by Henry who forbids his wife from ever crossing its threshold. Like the apple in Eden, Grace is tempted beyond reason to betray her husband’s trust and discover what lies behind the doorway at the top of the stairs. READ MORE