Sandra Shamas

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Gallery: David Miller, Jully Black and others share the one thing you should know before you die at the Top Ten Event

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Here’s the concept: nine notable Torontonians (chef David Rocco couldn’t make it)—or honorary Torontonians for the night—each get 10 minutes to share the one thing they think everybody should know before they die. Last Thursday, former Toronto mayor David Miller, singer Jully Black, TIFF CEO Piers Handling and others showed up at the Winter Garden Theatre to offer their collected wisdom at Stuart Knight’s second annual Top Ten Event in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. We showed up to receive said wisdom (and, of course, to fraternize with the bold-faced names at the exclusive after-party—Sandra Shamas now wants to be our Facebook friend. Just sayin’.). 

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The Weekender: Sandra Shamas, Brothel #9 and six other can’t-miss events

Dum Dum Girls, Brad Mehldau and Anne Sofie von Otter and Sandra Shamas

1. SANDRA SHAMAS’ WIT’S END III: LOVE LIFE
Comedy queen Sandra Shamas started making audiences laugh back in the ’80s—her show, My Boyfriend’s Back and There’s Gonna Be Laundry, was a huge hit at the Edmonton Fringe Festival in 1987, and led to no small amount of success on the comedy circuit. These days, after a nine-year absence from the stage, her shows reflect a performer more comfortable in her skin, perhaps the result of some country living (she moved to a farm and started growing carrots after the aforementioned boyfriend-turned-husband filed for divorce). Whatever the subject matter, Shamas is still making everyone laugh. To March 13. $25-$65. Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 416-872-5555, ticketmaster.ca.

2. BREAD DAY WITH ANDREA GIBSON (FREE!)
For many DIY foodies, bread is the final frontier. Sure, making a loaf is cheaper than tossing a bag of Dempster’s in your grocery cart, but for some (like, say, us) it can be a little intimidating. Enter the fine folks at The Cookbook Store, who are hosting a day-long ode to bread this weekend. Toronto “bread maven” Andrea Gibson, owner of Fred’s Bread, will be on hand to answer questions, and there will be various loaves of bread available for the tasting. February 26. The Cookbook Store, 850 Yonge St., cook-book.com.

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Sandra Shamas and Rod Beattie discuss the benefits of ditching Toronto to pursue small-town living

The place: Tango Palace Coffee Company on Queen East. The people: comedian Sandra Shamas and actor Rod Beattie. The subject: getting a laugh, getting out of town and getting real

(Image: Daniel Ehrenworth)

Sandra Shamas and Rod Beattie have a lot in common, most notably an all-out love of small-town living. The solo performers spend as little time in Toronto as possible, preferring their pastoral retreats: a farm an hour northwest of the city for her, a home in Stratford for him. Far from being a Green Acres–style urbanite, Shamas has taken to rural existence like a horse to hay—these days, she logs more hours picking up after chickens than jotting down jokes. This month, she’s putting on her first new show in nine years, Wit’s End III: Love Life, a continuation of the blockbuster series chronicling her adjustments to country life, her maturing body and just about anything else she wants to talk about. Beattie is also returning to familiar territory with Wingfield Lost and Found, the seventh instalment in Dan Needles’ popular cycle of plays. The actor has been playing Walt Wingfield—an uptight stockbroker who ditches Bay Street to become a farmer—for the better part of three decades (that’s 4,000 performances across Canada, give or take). We introduced the seasoned jesters, bought them a couple of coffees and listened in.

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