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Jonathan Castellino’s photos make familiar Toronto landscapes weird again

Jonathan Castellino: Interference Patterns

(Image: Jonathan Castellino)

Jonathan Castellino’s photo series, Interference Patterns, is named after a natural phenomenon that happens when two waves of similar frequency overlap, creating a new oscillation. Over the past two years, Castellino, best known for his architectural photo blog, Sacramental Perception, has been creating intricate images by layering different photos on top of one another and then combining the resulting jumble into a single frame. The finished photographs are jarringly complex, with familiar Toronto landmarks (the CN Tower, the greenery of the Don Valley ravine) getting lost in surreal new surroundings. We spoke with Castellino about his work. Click through the image gallery to read what he said.

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A New Altitude: photographer Ronnie Yip shoots the city from dizzying, dazzling heights

Ronnie Yip's feet dangle from a Toronto rooftop

Yip angled his camera straight down from his perch on a condo balcony to create a vertiginous perspective.

The latest trend in urban daredevilry is rooftopping, a style of bird’s-eye-view photography that often involves entering buildings without permission or scaling the exteriors of skyscrapers, and shooting the scenes below. The king of Toronto rooftopping is Ronnie Yip, who started shooting five years ago. Yip doesn’t break and enter—he has a knack for finding doors that have been left open or talking his way in by charming window washers and building managers, using his portfolio to convince them that his intentions are pure and his art worthy.

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A slice of the Rogers Centre peeks out from behind a fortress of condo towers.

Getting inside is the easy part. At hundreds of metres up, freezing temperatures and strong winds create a hostile atmosphere. Yip occasionally uses straps and carabiners to keep his tripod secure, but otherwise he packs light, carrying only his Canon 5D Mark III camera, wide-angle lenses, a sandwich (he’s often up there for hours waiting for the right light) and occasionally a horse mask—“for the LOLs,” he says. The photos are luminous and vertigo-inducing. He edits them using exposure fusion, a technique that lets him combine the best elements of multiple frames. Each shot turns Toronto into a glowing, utopian version of itself while capturing its rapid skyward expansion. Here, above and below, are a few of our favourites.

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A behind-the-scenes look at Degrassi’s set, and what’s new for Next Class

After news broke that Degrassi: The Next Generation had been cancelled after 14 seasons on the air, it was only a matter of days before the immortal teen soap opera rose again, this time as Degrassi: Next Class. In 2016, when the new series begins its first season on the Family Channel and Netflix, at least one thing will remain essentially the same: the sets, most of which are in a studio complex in a North York industrial park, where they’re being refreshed—but not replaced—for the new show. Here’s a look at them.

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Regent Park’s newest piece of public art has stories to tell

Dan Bergeron's Faces of Regent Park

(Images: Dan Bergeron)

Outside the Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park, a series of electric-hued portraits are painted on nine-foot slabs of laminated glass. In one, a young girl with missing teeth flashes a grin. In another, an Asian octogenarian’s face is splashed with colourful splotches and chevron stripes. And in another, a woman is rendered with a third eye. They’re just three of the dozen faces that make up visual artist Dan Bergeron’s latest installation, Faces of Regent Park, which was completed in spring. The portraits are part of the neighbourhood’s ongoing revitalization—the area’s biggest overhaul since it was originally built as a housing project in the 1940s and 1950s.

Bergeron is best known for his earlier series of giant Regent Park portraits, a temporary installation that he completed in 2008 as part of the Luminato Festival. His new set is meant to be a permanent neighbourhood fixture. Bergeron began by photographing around 45 subjects, then narrowed the roster down to a dozen faces that he felt best represented the area’s diversity. He painted over the black and white photographs with swaths of colours, graffiti scrawls and patterns. “I wanted to use high-contrast hues because where the pieces are located in the plaza, the concrete is grey and the buildings are dark,” he says. “I really wanted to make these bright pieces as a juxtaposition to the surroundings.” We spoke with him about the story behind each piece. Click through the photo gallery to read what he said.

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The Big Band Theory: Lemon Bucket Orkestra stages a raucous interactive protest play at SummerWorks

Lemon Bucket Orchestra's Counting Sheep comes to Summerworks

(Image: Eamon Mac Mahon)

Counting Sheep, the immersive stage show from the band Lemon Bucket Orkestra, abandons the stage altogether. The play is more like a dinner party: the cozy audience sits along two rectangular dining tables arranged into a T. As they tuck into open-faced sandwiches, buckwheat porridge and borscht, a chorus of Ukrainian folk singers belts full-blast, standing at the table’s end. Audience members are then roused from their seats to the oompahpahs of eastern European party music, which sounds like klezmer laced with croaky horns and handclaps.

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The Joker and Will Smith hang out at the Eaton Centre: a breakdown of the Suicide Squad trailer

 
A few days ago at San Diego Comic-Con, Suicide Squad, a new Warner Bros. action movie that was shot in Toronto, debuted its first trailer before a select group of nerds. Yesterday, Warners caved and released the three-minute video online. In it, Hogtown is covered in grit and darkness and beset upon by what looks to be at least nine thousand unrecognizable supervillains (and also, Jared Leto’s Joker).

We’ve given the trailer an extra-close look, in part to get to the bottom of what a “Suicide Squad” even is in the first place, and also to get a bead on how prominently Toronto features in this movie. Turns out, not very prominently! (Though we assume they’re saving the big Joker vs. Batman vs. Superman fight along the CN Tower’s Edgewalk for the theatrical debut. Why tip your hand, you know?)

0:04: The trailer begins, as trailers do, with a voiceover. “It’s taken some work,” says Viola Davis’ character, “but I finally have ‘em.” Have whom?! Tell us! Is it Pachi, the delightful Pan Am Games mascot? It’s Pachi, isn’t it.

0:07: “The worst of the worst.” Yep. It’s for sure Pachi the Pan American Porcupine.

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Cringe Benefits: Nathan Fielder’s brand of gonzo comedy is surreal, squirm-inducing and surprisingly human

Nathan Fielder of Comedy Central’s Nathan for You

Nathan Fielder, the adorkable star of Comedy Central’s Nathan for You. (Image: Courtesy of Comedy Central)

Nathan Fielder will do anything for a laugh. On his Comedy Central show, Nathan for You, whose third season debuts later this year, he travels around Los Angeles offering advice to struggling small businesses and presenting outlandish marketing schemes to entrepreneurs willing to try them out on camera. He suggests that a clothing store allow pretty people to shoplift, for instance, and tries to make a fledgling caricature artist famous by encouraging him to sketch racist images. The business owners think they’re part of a reality show that follows a legitimate marketing consultant, and Fielder plays the straight man with disarming exactitude, never breaking from his deadpan character despite the preposterous plots he pitches and executes. He’s a wiry, adorkable 32-year-old with a boyishly cropped haircut and a nasal voice, and he comes across as eminently reasonable. It’s that nebbish quality that his targets respond to: they want to make his ideas work for their own success, but they also want to help out this earnest, socially awkward person.

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The Gilded Stage: David Leventi’s photos of the world’s most opulent opera houses

David Leventi photographs of opulent opera houses

(Images: courtesy of Bau-Xi Gallery)

When David Leventi was a kid, his grandfather, a Romanian cantor named Anton Gutman, would sing arias in the family’s Westchester house, swanning around the living room like it was the stage at La Scala. Gutman’s aspirations for operatic glory had been stymied in World War II, when he landed in a Russian POW camp, forced to perform for Red Army officers.

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The Sound and the Furor: R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis gets an epic production at Luminato

Apocalypsis composer R. Murray Schafer

(Image: courtesy of Espirit Orchestra)

This month, Luminato will mount Apocalypsis, an oratorio by the 81-year-old composer R. Murray Schafer. The production features 24 dancers, 12 string quartets, 142 brass musicians, 750 singers and a battalion of technicians. There will be at least 1,000 performers, which means that there are 1,000 ways everything could go wrong. And yet, if all goes right, the show will be more formidable than any CGI-enhanced summer blockbuster.

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Road Shows: a wanderluster’s guide to bucolic cultural day trips

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(Image: Map by Aleksandar Janicijevic)

 

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The Elora Festival features a lineup of jazz and classical concerts in an open-air barn near Guelph. July 10 to 26, 136 Metcalfe St., Elora.
 1.5-hr drive
Pit stop: The carrot-hued Cheltenham Badlands off the Bruce Trail, now sadly only viewable from a distance.

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Behind the scenes with the cast of the National Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty

(Image: Daniel Neuhaus)

(Image: Daniel Neuhaus)

In 1972, the sneering, stately Russian dance icon Rudolf Nureyev joined the National Ballet of Canada to stage a sumptuous new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. For the title character—a deceptively strenuous role whose player usually wears through five pairs of slippers per night—he chose a gawky young ballerina: Karen Kain, who later became Canada’s most beloved ballet superstar and the company’s artistic director. Nearly half a century later, Kain has created a new generation of ballet superstars: she recently promoted 17 dancers to soloist and principal positions, and many of them are performing in a remount of Nureyev’s grand opus this week. Here, a look at the glittering new brigade of ballet talent, behind the scenes at a recent performance of The Sleeping Beauty.

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Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because this guy made CanStage great again

(Image: courtesy of CanStage)

(Image: courtesy of CanStage)

Matthew Jocelyn was born in Toronto’s east end, but everything about him screams European bon vivant: he has a closetful of Yves Montand turtlenecks, a whiff of a French accent from years spent living on the continent and a recklessly avant-garde sensibility. Which is what made it such a shock when he was hired as the artistic director of Canadian Stage in 2009.

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Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because our new library is a modern Agora

(Image: courtesy of TPL)

(Image: courtesy of TPL)

Just south of the Scarborough Civic Centre is the Toronto Public Library’s 100th branch—a capstone for the busiest urban library system in the world. Decidedly contemporary, the building’s roofs pitch at alternating angles, the better to show off the wild plantings that will eventually cover them.

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Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara are the Schitt

(Image: courtesy of CBC)

(Image: courtesy of CBC)

It’s been a long time since the CBC has had a genuine, spit-out-your-smoothie hit on its hands. This year, however, the network released Schitt’s Creek, a fresh, acerbic sitcom made must-see by the small-screen reunion of Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.

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Reasons to Love Toronto Now: because the city is our canvas

(Images: Erin Leydon)

(Images: Erin Leydon)

Four years ago, Rob Ford and his heavies were power-washing graffiti (both artful and vandalistic) wherever they could find it. In the po-Fo era, city hall is actively embracing the stuff, commissioning dozens of underpass murals and alley paintings. This new graffiti gusto has unleashed a torrent of creativity among Toronto street artists, who are beautifying the city’s surfaces with cheeky, radiant works. Here, a tour of our 10 favourites.

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