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See Rush for the last time, survive NXNE and eight other things to do this week

(Images, clockwise from top left: Red IV, by Yoakim Bélanger; The Stop Night Market, by Gabriel Li/The Stop Community Food Centre; The New Pornographers, courtesy of Matador Records; the Redpath Waterfront Festival, courtesy of Flying Dutchman Photography)

(Images, clockwise from top left: Red IV, by Yoakim Bélanger; The Stop Night Market, by Gabriel Li/The Stop Community Food Centre; The New Pornographers, courtesy of Matador Records; the Redpath Waterfront Festival, courtesy of Flying Dutchman Photography)

Go on a late-night sampling spree
The twinkly Stop Night Market returns for its fourth annual carnival of sno-cones and small plates. For $100, you get unlimited access to food from practically every hot restaurant in the city, including Rose and Sons, Branca, Libretto, Geraldine and Bar Fancy, plus libations from local wineries and breweries and live music from indie bands. It’s as much an art show as a food fest: the carts are customized by design studios like Brothers Dressler and Raw. Tuesday, June 16 and Wednesday, June 17. $100. 181 Sterling Rd., nightmarket.thestop.org.

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Here’s what OCAD U wants to do to its offices at Dundas and McCaul

(Image: courtesy of Bortolotto)

(Image: courtesy of Bortolotto)

What it is: A major renovation of OCAD U’s Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, on the southeast corner of Dundas and McCaul streets. The building, currently offices, would be transformed into a study and exhibition space with street-facing LED displays to project student artwork out through its windows.

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Drink lots of beer, see a bunch of documentaries and eight other things to do this week

(Image, clockwise from top left: early Saturday Night Live cast members, by Edie Baskin; Twiggy in Toronto, by Bob Olsen/Toronto Star; George Ezra, by Robert Blackham; Auditorium, by Stephen Andrews, courtesy of the AGO)

(Image, clockwise from top left: early Saturday Night Live cast members, by Edie Baskin; Twiggy in Toronto, by Bob Olsen/Toronto Star; George Ezra, by Robert Blackham; Auditorium, by Stephen Andrews, courtesy of the AGO)

Drink and dance at spring’s hottest beer festival
Toronto’s Festival of Beer combines two summer traditions: outdoor booze bacchanals and music festivals. Each ticket includes five free samples from breweries like Creemore, Junction Craft Brewing, Flying Monkeys and Beau’s (plus cideries like Brickworks and Thornbury). Performances from the synthpop starlet Lowell and the indie band JJ and the Pillars will entice non-drinkers to tag along. April 24 and 25. $30. Sherbourne Common, 61 Dockside Dr., beerfestival.ca.

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See a play in an abandoned high school, bid farewell to Dame Edna and seven other things to do this week

(Images, clockwise from top left: "Squirrel, Oh Happy Day," by Marjorie Campbell, courtesy of Love Art Fair; Dame Edna Everage, courtesy of Mirvish Productions; Herbie Hancock, courtesy of Massey Hall; "Indian War Canoes," by Emily Carr, courtesy of the AGO)

(Images, clockwise from top left: “Squirrel, Oh Happy Day,” by Marjorie Campbell, courtesy of Love Art Fair; Dame Edna Everage, courtesy of Mirvish Productions; Herbie Hancock, courtesy of Massey Hall; “Indian War Canoes,” by Emily Carr, courtesy of the AGO)

See a play in an abandoned high school
One of the season’s most ambitious theatre creations is Sheridan College’s Brantwood 1920–2020, an imaginative lark that takes place in the abandoned Brantwood School in Oakville. The cast will play out scenes and songs from the school’s fictional history in different classrooms. Ticket-holders arrive at Sheridan College, where, appropriately, a school bus will transport them to the Brantwood campus. April 11 to May 3. $35. Sheridan College, 1430 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville, 905-815-4049, sheridancollege.ca.

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Discover the culture-clashing art of Jean-Michel Basquiat

(Image: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Obnoxious Liberals, 1982. Acrylic, oilstick, and spray paint on canvas. The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection. © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat [2014]. Licensed by Artestar, New York.)

(Image: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Obnoxious Liberals, 1982. Acrylic, oilstick, and spray paint on canvas. The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection. © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat [2014]. Licensed by Artestar, New York.)

A product of New York’s punk scene, the Brooklyn artist Jean-Michel Basquiat quickly jumped from the street to the gallery circuit in his late teens, creating shambolic, irreverent works of art until his death from a drug overdose at age 27. His paintings and drawings are deliberately jumbled and messy—colours smudge and swirl, shaky penmanship overlaps childish doodles, ideas are rooted then abandoned halfway. But there’s anger beneath the chaos. Every work confronts poverty, racism and power—the uncomfortable issues that separated the realms the artist straddled. Now’s The Time, the AGO’s new exhibition, is the first Canadian retrospective for Basquiat, featuring 85 of his most iconic—and iconoclastic—pieces.

Feb. 7–May 10. $16.50–$25 (includes general admission). Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648, ago.net.

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Grange Park’s impending makeover is shaping up nicely

Last winter, the AGO announced that it would be using an undisclosed sum of Weston-family money to upgrade Grange Park, a lovely but neglected patch of public space located in the gallery’s backyard. Vancouver’s PFS Studio (best known locally for Sherbourne Common) has been working on the landscape design ever since. The video above, released by the AGO two weeks ago, shows a 3D rendering of the latest version of the proposed revamp. Everything is looking pretty good (that is, aside from all the creepy, slo-mo, computer generated park people). Flowerbeds, new trees, attractively curvaceous concrete benches and a prominent water feature give the park a more distinctive look without ruining its relative peace and seclusion, and some new playground equipment offers something for the kids. The makeover is scheduled for completion in late 2015.

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Introduce yourself to Canadian photographer Suzy Lake at the AGO

(Image: Suzy Lake, courtesy of the AGO)

(Image: Suzy Lake, courtesy of the AGO)

The title of Suzy Lake’s AGO retrospective, Introducing Suzy Lake, is a peculiar one, because the revered Toronto-based artist should require no introduction. After moving to Montreal from Detroit in the 1960s, Lake began using photography, video and performance art to explore themes of gender, identity and body politics. Her iconic, poignant work—much of it self-portraiture—has since been featured in hundreds of exhibitions. This past spring, the Globe and Mail called her a “national treasure.” Introducing Suzy Lake will trace Lake’s career in images, “from age six to 66,” through Detroit’s civil rights movement, her early work in Montreal and her success in Toronto. The exhibition will feature 50-odd previously shown works, as well as a handful of new pieces.

Wed. Nov. 5–March 22. Nov. 12 public opening. Included with general admission. The Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648, ago.net.

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The World-Class Toronto Summer Guide: 14 things that are worth sticking around for

The World-Class Toronto Summer Guide: 14 things worth sticking around for

Click to view gallery (Image: Katrin Ray Shumakov/Getty)

What’s one of the best things to do in Toronto this summer? If you can, get out of Toronto. See the world. Find another city’s heat and construction and transit problems to keep you occupied—preferably a city that’s got a globally recognized art gallery or museum or horse race or something. Of course, if you find yourself stuck in the city all season, that’s okay: there’s a lot going on here that, if you squint your eyes and hold your nose (and sometimes, even if you don’t do either) could actually be comparable to all the world-class things you’d find elsewhere. You want art? We’ve got some! Ancient Chinese artifacts? You know it. Exotic fish? Sure, that too. We’re not suggesting you tear up your plane tickets or anything. But we do think that this summer, Toronto might just be able to compete with the big boys. Here, a brief guide to just some of what’s exceptional in this city—and how it stacks up against other big-ticket events around the world.

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of April 4–6

(Image: Alex Indigo)

Newmindspace’s annual pillow fight returns this weekend. (Image: Alex Indigo)

In this edition of The Weekender, a massive pillow fight, a festival of silent film and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

FIGHT

Pillow Fight Toronto 2014 (FREE!)
The annual Newmindspace pillow fight returns. Hundreds of participants will gather in Nathan Phillips Square to beat the stuffing out of one another with pillows from home, in celebration of International Pillow Fight Day. The theme of this year’s brawl is “superheroes versus villains,” and costumes are encouraged. But take note: feather pillows are banned (they make a mess). Apr. 5. Free. Nathan Phillips Square, facebook.com

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Slideshow: a preview of “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” the AGO’s new fleshy, figurative exhibition

Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty at the AGO

With its latest exhibition, “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” the Art Gallery of Ontario is offering visitors two shows in one. The first Canadian exhibition of Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon’s work will be merged with the AGO’s own collection of works by English sculptor Henry Moore.

Born in Dublin in 1909, Bacon’s work was defined by its bleak, figurative approach to the human body. A kind of proto-David Cronenberg, Bacon seemed to regard human flesh as infinitely malleable—fit to be twisted and warped into all manner of abnormal configurations. His work prods the corporeality of human nature, like a lonely bachelor poking at freezer-burned hot dogs thawing in the sink. Bacon treats humanity as though it consists of little more than sacks of misshapen meat. (It’s fitting that some of his paintings share screen space with Michael Keaton’s rapacious, cyborg-building CEO in the new Robocop remake.)

Though the two never worked together, Henry Moore’s figurative sculptures provide a nice counterpoint to Bacon’s work, exploring similar themes in marble and bronze. The AGO’s exhibit calls attention to the aesthetic continuities tying the two artists together. Finally, a chance for anyone sick of beauty to take in a little horror and repugnance!

Here are some photos of the exhibition. It opens on April 5 and runs until July 20.

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of March 14–16

The St. Patrick's Day parade is back. (Image: Michael Shehan Obeysekera)

The St. Patrick’s Day parade is back. (Image: Michael Shehan Obeysekera)

In this edition of The Weekender, a festive parade, March break at the AGO and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

LITERATURE

Pages Festival and Conference
During the festival component of the weekend (Thursday to Saturday), Canadian authors will work with digital artists, as well as dancers, actors and musicians to put on performances. The conference (Friday) features panel discussions on the impact of technology on the publishing industry. Mar. 13–Mar. 16. Tickets from $15. Various venues, pagesfestival.com

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Slideshow: a preview of Elevated, the AGO’s new exhibition of contemporary art that’s opening this week

PHOTOS: Elevated, a new contemporary-art exhibition, opens soon at the AGO

Seeing walls loaded with works by big-name, canonical artists from the early part of the 20th century is a great thing, and the Art Gallery of Ontario has plenty of that going at the moment. But there’s also something to be said for exposing oneself to artwork of a more recent vintage. That’s where the gallery’s upcoming exhibition, Elevated: Contemporary Art in the AGO Tower, comes in.

Opening on January 29, Elevated will consist of art made since 1970, much of it newly acquired by the AGO. Among the works on display will be photos by Anne Collier, who is known for her images of found objects. Another piece, an installation by Cuban artist Wilfredo Prieto titled One, will consist of an enormous pile of fake diamonds, with precisely one real diamond somewhere in the mix.

Here are some images of those works, as well as others that will be on view as part of the exhibition.

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of November 29-December 1

Weekender-Nov-29

In this edition of The Weekender, a Canadian horror film festival, Christmas-themed family events and three other things to do this weekend.

HOLIDAY FUN

Toronto Christmas Market (FREE!)
The annual European-themed fair celebrates everything to do with Christmas, from Polish folk dancing to German carolling to Santa Claus. Fairgoers can browse the wares of several vendors, including Parisian chocolates, Dutch trinkets and various yuletide ornaments. Nov. 29–Dec. 15. Admission is free. Distillery District, 55 Mill St., torontochristmasmarket.com

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The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto: who really runs this city?

The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto 2013 You know you live in interesting times when the chief of police is the most powerful person in town. What propelled Chief Blair to the top of our Influentials list was Rob Ford’s Crackgate—a story that consumed the city for much of the last year and whose bewildering narrative is still being written. Of course, Ford wasn’t the only politician who behaved badly in 2013. Chronic dysfunction is evident at all levels of government, from the petty infighting at city hall to the crippling gamesmanship at Queen’s Park and the expense scandals on Parliament Hill. And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some of the city’s most formidable leaders are outside the traditional halls of power: global hip-hop stars, tech titans, gossip bloggers and guitar-strumming astronauts, among others. The people ranked here all did something in 2013 that made an impact on our lives, for better or for worse. Our list demonstrates that sometimes influence is enduring, sometimes it’s fickle and sometimes it rests on a single cellphone video that could forever change the complexion of the city.

Start the slideshow »

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Best of Fall 2013: the six best art exhibitions in Toronto this autumn

Best of Fall 2013: the fall’s can’t-miss-it exhibitions
Best of Fall 2013 Art: David Bowie Is
1 | David Bowie Is
David Bowie released the song “Golden Years” in 1975, but only now, at 66, has he officially reached retirement age. The Thin White Duke doesn’t like to spend much time looking back, and so this exhibition—which was assembled with his blessing—does it for him. Curated by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and making its North American debut here, David Bowie Is presents a stunning multimedia exhibition of more than 300 objets from his incandescent career. It’s an absolute glamgasm, with Ziggy Stardust bodysuits, sketches, self-portraits, the elaborate props and set designs from the 1974 Diamond Dogstour and entries from Bowie’s personal diaries. Relentless reinvention has always been Bowie’s obsession; this is the first time his cultural mutability has been captured in one place. Sept. 25 to Nov. 27, Art Gallery of Ontario.

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