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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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Kim’s Convenience might be turned into a TV show

Writer/performer Ins Choi and the rest of the cast of Soulpepper's Kim's Convenience. (Image: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Writer/performer Ins Choi and the rest of the cast of Soulpepper’s Kim’s Convenience. (Image: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Before Kim’s Convenience made the jump from Fringe Festival hit to Soulpepper Theatre Company mainstay, nobody knew that the problems of a convenience-store-owning Korean family could be the stuff of compelling, popular theatrical drama. Now, after two years’ worth of successful remounts, the film industry evidently wants a piece.

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Owen Pallett gets a 2014 Oscar nomination; Sarah Polley doesn’t

(Image: Pallett: Guus Krol; Polley: Sasoriza)

(Image: Pallett: Guus Krol; Polley: Sasoriza)

Oscar, you unpredictable jerk. The 2014 Academy Award nominations were announced earlier this morning, and Sarah Polley, the Toronto director whose Stories We Tell was considered a strong candidate for Best Documentary Feature, is nowhere on the list. Somewhat unexpectedly, the city’s great hope at this year’s award ceremony will instead be Owen Pallett, who is nominated alongside William Butler of Arcade Fire for his work on the score for the Spike Jonze film Her. It’s not a filmmaking category, but we’ll take it.

Polley’s reaction has been gracious. This morning, she tweeted her congratulations to one of the documentaries that did manage to make the nomination list this year:

 

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VIDEO: Ahead of his appearance on Saturday Night Live, Drake is “the saddest boy in all of Toronto”

What is it about Drake? His touch turns shoes into eBay gold, and he manages to exude pure, industrial-grade likability even when he’s pretending to be self-pitying. Proof of the latter is in this promo video, released today by NBC ahead of the rapper’s appearance on the January 18 edition of Saturday Night Live, where he’ll be both the host and the musical guest. The key moment comes about one minute in, when Bobby Moynihan (known in Canada for this bit of Fordery) asks Drake to show off the acting chops he famously honed during his years on Degrassi: The Next Generation. ”No, you broke my heart,” Drake says, in a choked-sounding voice. “And now I’m reduced to the saddest boy in all of Toron— You know what? Not even Toronto. I am the saddest boy in all of Canada.” So there you have it: he can play against type.

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Toronto Centre MP Chrystia Freeland explains Canada to Americans

Chrystia Freeland (Image: Facebook/Christya Freeland)

Chrystia Freeland (Image: Facebook/Christya Freeland)

In an essay for Politico, a U.S. publication whose attentions don’t normally stray this far north, former journalist and current Liberal MP for Toronto Centre Chrystia Freeland enters the now-infamous snark-versus-smarm debate (originally sparked by a Gawker essay), and comes down on the side of smarm. What’s more, she claims the rest of Canada is right there with her, fighting the good fight for civility and goodwill.

“Who wants to be Thumper, Bambi’s ever-optimistic bunny pal and the mascot of the smarmers, when you could be Gawker’s cool creator, Nick Denton or, if your tastes skew a little more Beltway and feminine, Maureen Dowd? This is particularly true if you have ever been a writer, wanted to be one or even enjoyed great writing,” she writes. “I plead guilty on all three counts, but I am also a native of Canada, a country inhabited—at least in the American imagination and before the apotheosis of our boorish, crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford—entirely by Thumpers.”

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These independently designed Canadian sesquicentennial logos are way better than the real ones

(Image: Megan Hunt, Aster Design)

(Image: Megan Hunt, Aster Design)

About two weeks ago, five proposed logos for Canada’s 2017 sesquicentennial (that is, the 150th anniversary of confederation) began circulating online. Although the designs were just preliminary sketches that Canadian Heritage was using in focus-group sessions, they caused a lot of alarm in the media, because, well, they were all pretty terrible—especially in comparison to the iconic 1967 centennial logo, designed by Stuart Ash. Now the internet has interceded, in the best possible way.

Ibraheem Youssef, a Canadian graphic designer currently based in Boston, set up a website, where he’s showcasing sesquicentennial logo designs done pro bono by professional designers. The results, while not sanctioned by the feds, are so much better than those official preliminary designs that there’s practically no comparison. If the sesquicentennial’s organizers won’t hire one of these artists to create the logo, we hope they’ll at least crib some ideas.

Here, six of the best of the indie logos. The rest—many of which are also very good—are here.

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of July 19-21

Macbeth in High Park (Image: David Hou)

In this edition of The Weekender, Shakespeare in High Park, a pop-up market with a party vibe and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

SHOPPING
Midnight MRKT
At the bi-monthly pop-up night market, local vendors sell clothing, accessories and home goods alongside street food, drinks and music. Festivities kick off with a courtyard barbecue and end with a late-night dance party once the shopping concludes. July 19. $5 admission. 461 King St. W., 416-263-0122, Facebook

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of June 21-23

Things-to-do-in-Toronto

(Image: National Ballet of Canada)

In this edition of The Weekender, a Gatsby Garden Party, the Toronto Jazz Festival and three more things to do in Toronto on the weekend.

BALLET
The Man in Black
The National Ballet of Canada’s rough-and-tumble Toronto premiere of James Kudelka’s The Man in Black is set to the songs of country music icon Johnny Cash. The clash of styles alone is worth the price of admission, and principal dancer Guillaume Cote delights with his gravity-defying grace. June 19-23. $25-$180. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595, national.ballet.ca

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Contact Photography Festival Guide: 10 must-see exhibits at the world’s largest photography festival

Jonathan-Hobin-Seal-Heart

Seal Heart (from In the Playroom) by Jonathan Hobin

The Contact Photography Festival turns Toronto into a de facto art installation. For the next month, billboards, subway stations, cafes, retail stores and even airport terminals become galleries, joining institutions like the ROM and MOCCA in showcasing more than 1500 artists across 175 venues. With almost 200 exhibits spread across the city, even the savviest gallery-goer can be overwhelmed. We whittled the wonderfully massive list to 10 must-see showpieces to give you an insider edge on where to see the most awe-inspiring images, from iconic photographer Michael Snow’s mind-bending new work to the hauntingly poignant photography of up-and-coming artist Jonathan Hobin.

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Going Out: Must-see art openings in Toronto in May

Going Out: Art

(Image: courtesy of Richard Barnes)

Every month, we select the city’s best art openings. In May, we suggest Richard Barnes’s new show at Bau-Xi Photo, Newfoundland artist Christopher Platt at the Mira Godard Gallery and Doug Ischar’s sampling of photography, installation art and experimental film at Gallery 44 and Vtape.

Richard Barnes
The celebrated New York photographer has a way of seeing things the rest of us overlook. His new show’s title, Murmur, short for murmuration, refers to a flock of starlings, his primary subject. Barnes’s images of the birds swarming over Rome are both poetic and a little frightening—it’s impossible not to think of Hitchcock’s The Birds. Artwork $3,000–$7,000. May 1 to 31. Bau-Xi Photo, 324 Dundas St. W., 416-977-0400, bau-xiphoto.com.


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Going Out: Top theatre and dance performances in Toronto in May

Going Out: Theatre & Dance

Fiddler on the Roof (Image: courtesy of the Stratford Festival)

We pick the best theatre and dance openings in the city every month. This May, the best things to do in Toronto include Fiddler on the Roof at Stratford, Rodin at the Sony Centre and Guys and Dolls in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Fiddler on the Roof
Five decades of suns rising and setting on the little Russian village of Anatevka haven’t dimmed the twinkle in Tevye’s eyes, the love in his heart or the faith that his faith will carry him through—no matter how many times his daughters flout tradition. Scott Wentworth plays the irresistible milkman, and Kate Hennig his devoted crank of a wife, Golde. May 28 to Oct. 20. $49–$135. Festival Theatre, 55 Queen St., Stratford, 1-800-567-1600, stratfordfestival.ca.


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See, Hear, Read: the best movie, music and book release for May

See, Hear, Read: Room 237, directed by Rodney Ascher (in theatres May 10)This is the kind of buzzed-about doc that sends quivers of delight through lineups at the Lightbox. It’s all about the crackpot theories espoused by obsessive fans of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic The Shining. Some believe the movie contains secret messages about Native American genocide, that it proves the lunar landing was faked, that the number 42 is the key to everything. Fair warning: the film goes so far down the rabbit hole that you might find yourself starting to believe.

Room 237, directed by Rodney Ascher (in theatres May 10)

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Going Out: Top Toronto concerts for May

Going Out: Music

(Image: Candace Meyer)

From classical and jazz to pop, we pick our favourite Toronto concerts every month. This May, Jill Barber plays Massey Hall, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique is at Roy Thomson and Randy Bachman takes over the Wychwood Barns with The Sadies and Melanie Fiona.

Jill Barber
Though born in small-town Ontario, Barber has a distinctly cosmopolitan flair. She’s the kind of singer who would go so far as to enroll in an immersion course in the south of France to perfect her renditions of the Gallic classics on her latest album, Chansons. Topping the Canadian jazz album charts shortly after its release last year, the disc luxuriates in a kind of frisky melancholy. May 3. $29.50–$39.50. Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 416-872-4255, masseyhall.com.


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Current Obsession: painter Peter Harris stalks the city in his eerie portraits of Toronto after dark

Current Obsession: painter Peter Harris stalks the city in his eerie portraits of Toronto after dark

Peter Harris loves the Gardiner. And the city’s gas stations. And the boxy ’70s rec centres most Torontonians try to ignore. He also has a thing for cargo vans and vacant parking lots and sagging telephone wires. For the past five years, Harris, who studied painting at the University of Waterloo, has been prowling Toronto in the night, snapping pictures of its quieter corners and then transforming them into fantastically spooky streetscapes. His pursuit of the perfect image occasionally gets him chased off by security guards unamused by his artistic voyeurism—he has been known to scale eight-foot factory fences to get a photo.

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A new mixed-raced generation is transforming the city: Will Toronto be the world’s first post-racial metropolis?

I used to be the only biracial kid in the room. Now, my exponentially expanding cohort promises a future where everyone is mixed.

Mixe Me | By Nicholas Hune-Brown

Click on the image for 10 interviews with mixed-race Toronto children

Last fall, I was in Amsterdam with my parents and sister on a family trip, our first in more than a decade. Because travelling with your family as an adult can be taxing on everyone involved, we had agreed we would split up in galleries, culturally enrich ourselves independently, and then reconvene later to resume fighting about how to read the map. I was in a dimly lit hall looking at a painting of yet another apple-cheeked peasant when my younger sister, Julia, tugged at my sleeve. “Mixie,” she whispered, gesturing down the hall.

“Mixie” is a sibling word, a term my sister and I adopted to describe people like ourselves—those indeterminately ethnic people whom, if you have an expert eye and a particular interest in these things, you can spot from across a crowded room. We used the word because as kids we didn’t know another one. By high school, it was a badge of honour, a term we would insist on when asked the unavoidable “Where are you from?” question that every mixed-race person is subjected to the moment a conversation with a new acquaintance reaches the very minimum level of familiarity. For the record, my current answer, at 30 years old, is: “My mom’s Chinese, but born in Canada, and my dad’s a white guy from England.” If I’m peeved for some reason—if the question comes too early or with too much “I have to ask” eagerness—the answer is “Toronto” followed by a dull stare.

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