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David Mirvish on the Edge

David Mirvish wants to dismantle his famous father’s empire to build two giant Frank Gehry towers and a gallery for his personal art collection. He thought Toronto would be grateful. He was wrong. A behind-the-scenes story of mega-monuments and monumental egos

David Mirvish on the Edge

At the end of 2011, David Mirvish was itching for a new venture. He wanted to take on something grand, something unprecedented, a legacy project that would bring together his twin passions: business and art. He wanted to build the greatest piece of architecture Toronto had ever seen.

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The Argument: Mirvish’s whimsical new war drama stars real-life combat veterans, stumps and all

The Argument: Mirvish's whimsical new war drama stars real-life combat vetrans, stumps and all

(Image: courtesy of Mirvish)

In the past few years, a handful of films have revitalized the war-story genre by fusing hard documentary with fanciful fiction. The one that kick-started it all was probably 2008’s Waltz With Bashir, which transforms the plight of traumatized Israeli soldiers into a luminous, hand-drawn animated fable. More recently, The Act of Killing, a 2014 Oscar contender, has ­Indonesian mercenaries acting out their atrocities in the style of campy Hollywood genres—musicals, spaghetti westerns and gangster capers. These movies combine documentary precision with whimsical flourishes, exposing the artificial narratives people create about war and simultaneously making those stories feel fresh again.

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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.

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Elvis Stojko is starring in the musical Chicago (and other highlights from Mirvish’s 2013 anniversary lineup)

Elvis Stojko

Stojko competing in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics (Image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

We had no idea Elvis Stojko was such a dynamo. The world figure skating champ is a full-on quadruple threat: professional skater, adult contemporary balladeer (album title: “100 Lifetimes”), martial arts aficionado and, as of March 2014, totally legitimate thespian. Next spring, Stojko will star in the jazzy, Prohibition-era musical Chicago at the Princess of Wales Theatre, part of Mirvish Productions’ 50th anniversary lineup. Stojko, whose previous acting experience includes bit parts in Robin Williams’s Death to Smoochy and a TV movie called Ice Angel, will take on the role of lawyer Billy Flynn, a part played by Richard Gere in the 2002 Oscar-winning movie.

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Mirvish’s 2013–2014 season features everything from Kafka to Aladdin

Mirvish Productions unveiled its 2013–2014 season this morning. While we complained last year about the lack of risk-taking, this year’s lineup features a charmingly bizarre assortment of 14 shows. Of course, there’s the usual array of crowd-pleasers like Les Miserables, The Lion King, Cats, Stomp, Heartbreak of Home, a new show from the Riverdance producers, and the latest Disney tie-in, Aladdin, which moves to Broadway after its Toronto debut (a pattern we haven’t seen in a while). But there are also oddball productions, like the “tango rock opera” Arrabal, as well as a stage adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis with music by Nick Cave. What’s more, the three-show Off-Mirvish series, which launched half way through last season, will feature George F. Walker’s Afghanistan war play Dead Metaphor, a work that was supposed to run at the Factory Theatre before the Ken Gass affair. This time last year, who’d have imagined a Walker/Gass play in a Mirvish season?

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The Weekender: Grey Cup Festival, Terminus and five other events on our to-do list

Terminus, the first production in the Off-Mirvish series, opens this week at the Royal Alex (Image: Mirvish)

1. 100TH GREY CUP FESTIVAL
The Toronto Argos are going for grey on home turf this weekend, facing off against the Calgary Stampeders. For the past week, Toronto has had football fever (it doesn’t hurt that the NHL is still in lockout) with football-themed events—a mini football field in Yonge-Dundas Square, the Scotiabank Fan Zone at the MTCC—dotted around the city. Highlights of the festival include a zip line over council chambers at City Hall and performances by Zeus and Our Lady Peace. The mayor, of course, is in the spirit, even more so than most. Go Argos! November 15–25. Various prices. Various locations, 100thgreycupfestival.ca

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Mirvish Productions announces new “Off-Mirvish” series for smaller-scale productions

Terminus, Without You, Clybourne Park and Dancing with Rage (Images: Mirvish)

This morning, at a press conference at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Mirvish Productions announced a new series called “Off-Mirvish” (get it?). The second-stage series is intended to present new, critically lauded smaller-scale productions, spreading the company’s dominance over an ever-expanding swath of the Toronto market (and supplementing its season with more adventurous fare). For the series’ first season, Mirvish will present Terminus at the Royal Alex and Without You, Clybourne Park and Dancing with Rage at the Panasonic Theatre. “The Toronto theatre community is one of the most vibrant in the world,” said David Mirvish in a release.For a long time, we have been looking at ways to celebrate this community and bring its work to a larger audience.” Off-Mirvish’s first season will run from November 21 to March 24, with four-show packages ranging from $99 to $199.

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Listen to Kathleen Turner’s husky voice on five separate occasions

Kathleen Turner (Image: Viva Vivanista)

In anticipation of Kathleen Turner’s upcoming role in the Mirvish production High (from May 8 to 13), Carlton Cinema has announced it will be hosting a free film fest on April 28 that will be screening Turner classics Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone, The War of the Roses and Body Heat. We’re excited to see her endure a Florida heat wave and convince her lover to kill her husband on the big screen (it’s one of her sweatiest roles to date).

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