Posted in Dance
Contributed by Christopher Jones
01/5 2012

Busy Season For Little Pear Garden

Emily Cheung, photo by Christopher JonesThe Canadian Opera Company‘s free concert series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre gears up for another year beginning Tuesday (January 10) with a lunch hour performance by Toronto’s Little Pear Garden Collective. Artistic Director Emily Cheung, left, takes on the role of MC introducing each piece in a program that spans classical and contemporary Chinese dance.

The winter/spring season is particularly busy for Little Pear with performances across the GTA in conjunction with Chinese New Year, January 23. Then it’s straight on to the annual CanAsian Dance Festival February 9 – 11 where Cheung is collaborating with choreographer/
dramaturg Peter Chin on a new work. May brings another flurry of performances with Asian Heritage Month.

It’s an impressive agenda for a small collective with no permanent home. Little Pear Garden exists virtually and is marshalled by Cheung on a project-by-project basis; she books rehearsal space with Toronto Dance Theatre in addition to a regular rehearsal slot at the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company studio in Willowdale.


Posted in Art
Contributed by Christopher Jones
12/19 2011

Creating Memory with Public Art

Several years ago, retired York University Professor John Warkentin found himself in Paris with a few days to kill so he set about leisurely walking the city and enjoying the abundance of public sculpture, which he discovered told the story and history of the City of Light.

Warkentin, a life-long geographer, wondered whether a similar chronicle could be made of his adopted home of Toronto and so he began compiling Creating Memory, an “incidental” dossier of more than 600 public sculptures, artworks and memorials that enliven the city.” READ MORE

Posted in Theatre
Contributed by Christopher Jones
12/16 2011

Kid-Pleasing Puppetmongers

There was a mini mob scene at the Tarragon Extra Space Theatre on Wednesday following the season’s first school performance of Bed & Breakfast by Puppetmongers Theatre. One of two school groups had to bolt to catch a bus but the other group rushed the stage to pepper actors/puppeteers Ann and David Powell with questions about how the puppets work, how the set was built and to marvel at the tiny mouse trap, among other delightful doll’s house details.

Puppetmongers has been playing both in and out of town for 37 years now and frequently performs for parents who first saw a show as children and are now bringing their own kids to see the Powells play.


Posted in Art
Contributed by Christopher Jones
12/9 2011

Toronto Art in Your Inbox

After a couple of false starts and some good media buzz, Toronto’s ArtBomb is now dropping into electronic in-boxes near and far.

Launched by artrepreneurs Carrie Shibinksy, Jim Shedden (both AGO alums) and View on Canadian Art‘s Andrea Carson Barker, ArtBomb is a daily art auction featuring work by local artists. Today’s offering is Jen Mann’s “For Eyes” (2010, oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″), which carries an opening bid of $400. Each weekday morning a new work is offered to ArtBomb subscribers who can bid on the piece from 6 am until 11 pm; the winning bidder is notified the following day with free delivery of the work within the Toronto area.

“The Toronto art market is not strong,” says Carson Barker, “even though there is world-class work being produced here. ArtBomb is a way to bring the art world to people who wouldn’t necessarily spend their Saturdays going around to the galleries but who may very well want to have contemporary art on their walls.

“We’re focusing on high quality, contemporary work that’s not very expensive,” she adds. “It’s by emerging and established artists and generally speaking we expect the works to start in the $500 – $600 range and we’ll see how the prices go as ArtBomb gets up and running.”

Sign up for ArtBomb here.

Posted in Dance, Music
Contributed by Christopher Jones
11/30 2011

Putting the Multi in Disciplinary

rehearsingSMWhen I interviewed choreographer Andrea Nann last week following a rehearsal of Tumbling into Light (left), the multidisciplinary show was still coming together, far from nascent but not yet fully formed. With music by artistic director David Buchbinder and Dave Wall, the show features a live band, video and dance from a diverse cast of local pros working with emerging artists and non-professional members of the Thorncliffe Park community.

Playing at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre December 1 – 4, Tumbling into Light is the latest creative offering from Diasporic Genius, whose first show, last January, was a critical and creative hit.

This year’s effort explores “a journey through the darkness of our times to arrive at a new illumination . . . Tumbling into Light questions some of our basic assumptions about who we are and how we got here,” according to the press materials.

“The idea,” explains Nann, “is to work in an interdisciplinary manner so that no one form really stands out, there’s always a movement of the audiences’ attention from one area to another as opposed to, oh, there’s a dance number, and oh, there’s a vocal number. We’re trying to blend and blur those lines.” READ MORE