The Toronto International Film Festival is such a big deal to locals that it’s easy for us to lose sight of the fact that it’s just one of many global film festivals, all of which are competing for the esteem of a mercurial industry. This week, things got a little cutthroat when it emerged that TIFF is imposing a new rule on filmmakers: if a movie has already played another North American festival before it comes to Toronto, it goes to the back of the line.
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TIFF’s new policy: only world and North American premieres can play the busiest days of the festival
Slideshow: a preview of Elevated, the AGO’s new exhibition of contemporary art that’s opening this week
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.
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.
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:
— Sarah E. Polley (@SarahEPolley) January 16, 2014
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Contact Photography Festival Guide: 10 must-see exhibits at the world’s largest photography festival
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.
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.
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.
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.
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) Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
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.
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.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »