Roy Thomson Hall

TIFF 2014

TIFF Red Carpet

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Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall open the festival with The Judge

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Stargazers got their first taste of TIFF 2014’s celebrity megatonnage at the opening-gala presentation for The Judge Thursday night at Roy Thomson Hall. The David Dobkin dramedy is about a hotshot lawyer, played by Robert Downey Jr., who returns to his tiny hometown for his mother’s funeral, only to get entangled in defending his father, a local judge, against hit-and-run murder charges. Downey and his wife and co-producer Susan Downey (their newly founded company, Team Downey, produced the film) elicited the biggest cheers, as RDJ walked the barricades signing nearly every likeness of Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes foisted at him. Cinema’s elder statesman, Robert Duvall, quietly walked the carpet, while Vera Farmiga and Dax Shepard, accompanied by wife Kristen Bell, beelined into the theatre. Vincent D’Onofrio, with his freshly shaved melon and smart navy window-pane suit, looked a bit like his Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence from Full Metal Jacket—if the character had ended up in middle management at a bank, rather than slumped against a latrine wall.

The Informer

Features

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Best of Fall 2013: six Toronto concerts that are totally worth the lineup

Best of Fall 2013: six fall shows that are totally worth the lineup
Best of Fall 2013 Concerts: 1 | Peter Grimes, starring Ben Heppner
1 | Peter Grimes, starring Ben Heppner
Last season, Canada’s reigning tenor delivered a blistering performance in the COC’s production of Tristan und Isolde.This season, Heppner takes on Benjamin Britten’s chilly yet gorgeous opera about a fisherman suspected of murdering his apprentices. Oct. 5 to 26, Four Seasons Centre.

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The Goods

Shopping

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Mother’s Day Guide: 10 ways to treat your mom to a memorable day out

(Image: Anice Jewellery)

Your mom loves you, so she’ll no doubt coo over a standard Mother’s Day bouquet. However, you can really show the depth of your filial devotion by giving a gift that involves spending time together. Below, ten decadent experiences around the city that will make her feel pampered—and will make you look good.

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The Informer

Events

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Today in Toronto: And Slowly Beauty and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

And Slowly Beauty After an unassuming desk drone goes to see Chekhov’s Three Sisters, elements of the play—its characters, their battle with boredom and unhappiness— begin to infiltrate his life, forcing him to make a change. Find out more »

 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra This institution, despite its notorious sexism—no women were admitted until 1997, and very few are there even today—still rates among the world’s best symphonies, particularly for its lustrous string sound. Find out more »

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Today in Toronto: La Clemenza di Tito, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and more

La Clemenza di Tito Mozart’s final opera, set in ancient Rome, is a heady brew of conflicting loves and loyalties, plots and counterplots. Find out more »

Ladysmith Black Mambazo This all-male South African choral group made their biggest mark in the 1980s while backing up Paul Simon on his Graceland album and tour. Their new album features collaborations with artists such as Sarah MacLachlan, Emmylou Harris and, of course, Simon. Find out more »

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of February 22 to 24

The show floor at The Artist Project (Image: Courtesy The Artist Project)

In this edition of The Weekender: a legendary South African musical group, a double bill from hot young playwright Hannah Moscovitch and three more things to do in Toronto.

ART
The Artist Project

Over 250 painters, sculptors, photographers and multimedia artists are participating in this year’s edition of the annual juried art fair, which begins tonight with an opening night party. In addition to plenty of opportunites to score contemporary works from emerging artists, there are also talks on topics like art as an investment and docent-led tours of the show floor. $15–25. February 21–24. Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, 195 Princes’ Blvd., theartistprojecttoronto.com

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The Informer

Events

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Five things to do in Toronto on Family Day weekend

Coleman Lemieux and Compagnie reprise last year’s sold-out From the House of Mirth this weekend (Image: Bruce Zinger)

In this edition of The Weekender: Family Day fun at the Lightbox, an indie-rock music festival and three more things to do in Toronto.

MUSIC
Wavelength Music Festival—Thirteen
The venerable indie rock showcase that famously helped launch the careers of Broken Social Scene and Fucked Up celebrates its 13th anniversary with four shows and three in-store performances. The biggest names on the bill: Toronto post-rockers Do Make Say Think, Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon, Montreal’s glitchy techno-popper Doldrums and the reunion of Henri Fabergé and the Adorables. $10–$39. February 14–17. Various locations, wavelengthtoronto.com

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The Informer

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Today in Toronto: Beethoven’s Ninth

Beethoven’s Ninth The ninth is the kind of classical staple you just assume you never have to hear again—until you do, and discover new depths and the pleasure of its familiar musical peaks. Find out more »

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The Argument: why the stakes are so high for Ben Heppner’s return to the Canadian Opera Company

A controversial production. A hugely difficult role. A star with a reputation for choking onstage. The stakes are high for Ben Heppner’s long-awaited return to the COC

The Argument: a controversial production. A hugely difficult role. A star with a reputation for choking onstage. The stakes are high for Ben Heppner’s long-awaited return to the COC

Heppner as Seigfried in the 2009 Aix-en-Provence production of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung (Image: Getty Images)

When opera singers want to wish each other good luck before a “big sing”—opera lingo for a particularly challenging role—they whisper, “in bocca al lupo,” Italian for “into the mouth of the wolf.” It’s meant to invoke the same reverse magic as “break a leg”: by wishing the worst for their colleagues, they hope to pacify the opera gods, and thus avoid the curse of an unpredictable throat that croaks on the money notes.

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The Informer

Culture

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Current Obsession: New York’s blogger-pianist Jeremy Denk

(Image: Michael Wilson)

Jeremy Denk has recorded three well-received solo albums, toured with classical violin superstar Joshua Bell and played with many of the great orchestras in many of the great halls. But he’s best known as a blogger. Think Denk, which started life as a humble Blogspot site, details the travails of a classical pianist—hours lost to practicing, bouts of self-doubt, wonderfully geeky close reads of the music he’s practicing—in a mode that’s best described as indulgent self-parody.

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: The Killers, Beat Nation and six other events on our to-do list

Beat Nation opens Saturday at The Power Plant. Jordan Bennett, Turning Tables, 2010. Walnut, oak, spruce and audio. (Image: Courtesy the artist. Photo by Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery)

1. BEAT NATION: ART, HIP HOP AND ABORIGINAL CULTURE (FREE!)
Beat Nation, a new exhibit at the Power Plant, shines a light on artists who explore the impact of hip-hop culture on contemporary Aboriginal identity. Over a dozen artists are represented in this show, which crosses mediums to include not only performance and video, but also paintings, sculpture and installation. At the free opening party on Friday evening, Tsimshian/Gitksan and Cree artist Skeena Reece will perform “Like a Boss,” which honours the boycott of the 45th Academy Awards ceremony by Marlon Brando, who famously protested the treatment of Aboriginals in the film industry. Dec. 15 to May 5, 2013. The Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4949, thepowerplant.org.

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Events

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The Weekender: A Christmas Carol, The Brothers Grimm and six other events on our to-do list

Joseph Ziegler reprises his Scrooge for Soulpepper’s A Christmas Carol (Image: Cylla von Tiedemann)

1. A CHRISTMAS CAROL
For the sixth time in his Soulpepper career, founding member Joseph Ziegler steps into Scrooge’s shoes in Michael Shamata’s energetic adaptation of the classic Dickens tale of a greedy curmudgeon who finds the true meaning of Christmas. In keeping with the play’s theme, each performance ends with a collection for The Stop shortly after the Cratchits receive their turkey (which, incidentally, is made of cotton, foam and glue). Dec. 3 to 29. $51–$68. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln., 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Santa Claus Parade, Winter Woofstock and six other events on our to-do list

Gordon Lightfoot (Image: Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment)

1. THE FACE-OFF
Sure, these SportChek-sponsored exhibition tennis matches don’t actually count for anything, but with the calibre of players coming to the ACC, it seems peevish to complain. Former number one Andy Roddick, who recently retired, challenges upstart local boy Milos Raonic, while Serena Williams takes on Agnieszka Radwanska (Williams beat Radwanska in this year’s Wimbledon final). As a slightly random appetizer, there will be a pre-match celebrity mixed doubles game, in which the four professionals will be joined by George Stroumboulopoulos, Adrian Grenier and the current Canadian Bachelor, Brad Smith. November 16. $49–$214. Air Canada Centre, 50 Bay St., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca

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TIFF

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Today at TIFF (Saturday, Sept. 15): Bad 25 North American premiere, Song for Marion and more

Our daily roundup of opening galas, parties, screenings and more.

• 9 a.m. Venus and Serena special presentation at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

• 9 a.m. Laurence Anyways special presentation at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

• 9:15 a.m. Emperor gala presentation at Scotiabank Theatre

• 9:45 a.m. Do Not Disturb special presentation at Scotiabank Theatre

• 11 a.m. Cloud Atlas special presentation at the Visa Screening Room (Elgin Theatre)

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TIFF

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Today at TIFF (Thursday, Sept. 13): Jayne Mansfield’s Car, Twice Born and more

Our daily roundup of opening galas, parties, screenings and more.

• 12 p.m. Love, Marilyn screening at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

• 12:45 p.m. Rhino Season at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

• 1:30 p.m. Twice Born press conference at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

• 3:30 p.m. Caught in the Web special presentation at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

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