This installment of In The City features a personal curated list including several events, screenings and exhibits, I wish to attend as part of my birthday celebration. I may not make it to all, but hoping some of you will partake in one, a couple or a few of these.
If you have been following me for some time, you will notice some local favourites. I am also making an effort to include theatre, film and music events that are budget friendly and not mainstream. We all know too well times are hard, but the arts are still very essential and they can serve as a much needed time away from the day-to-day happenings around us.
Miigis: Underwater Panther
Canadian Stage presents a Red Sky Performance production
Until January 29, 2023
Synopsis: The show draws its inspiration from a prophecy in which the Anishinaabe must move westward or perish. It is about the great migration of the Anishinaabe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, moving from salt to freshwater.
Miigis explores this journey, the mystery beings, the rise of matriarchy, and the ancestral pull towards the next seven generations.
Aki Studio Theatre at Daniel’s Spectrum
Until January 29, 2023
Synopsis: Benjamin won’t swim at school. His mum thinks he’s on drugs or has body issues. But Benjamin has found God, and mixed-gender swimming lessons offend him. But that’s not where his newfound fervour ends. His conflicts only grow as his devotion deepens, causing issues at school, and at home with his family. The Canadian premiere, MARTYR asks questions about the limits of faith in a secular society.
Between a Wok and a Hot Pot
Cahoots Theatre – The Theatre Centre
January 28 – February 12, 2023
Synopsis: While preparing a traditional hot pot onstage, Mandy reminisces about when it wasn’t cool to be Asian, and delves into the complicated topics of identity and appropriation.
The Magic of Assembly
Toronto Dance Theatre
Winchester Street Theatre
February 2 – 11, 2023
Synopsis: This new production featuring the TDT ensemble with choreographer Ashley Colours Perez and local beloved music duo LAL (Rosina Kazi and Nicholas Murray) in conversation with TDT’s artistic director Andrew Tay. It explores the magic created from the act of assembling with one another as artists and the irreplaceable experience of gathering to witness performance in the current moment. The work is performed by TDT company members Yuichiro Inoue, Peter Kelly, Megumi Kokuba, Ryan Kostyniuk, Erin Poole, Devon Snell, Margarita Soria, and Roberto Soria, alongside LAL.
Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike
Alumnae Thetre – Mainstage Theatre
Until February 4, 2023
Synopsis: Adult siblings Vanya and Sonia reside in their old family home, mourning their lost dreams and missed opportunities. When their often-wrong, fortune-telling maid warns of impending dangers, and their movie star sister, Masha, arrives unexpectedly with young, sexy, boy toy, Spike, the family is launched into a rollicking weekend of one-upmanship, exposed nerves, and a lot of broken mugs.
Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater
February 3 – 4, 2023
The revolutionary dance company returns to thrill audiences with two exciting mixed programs over this weekend.
The program for Friday, February 3, 8pm and Saturday, February 4, 2pm features Alvin Ailey’s Night Creature (1975), a bubbly champagne cocktail of a dance, a perfect fusion of Ailey’s buoyant choreography and Duke Ellington’s sparkling music; Reflections in D (1963) a strong yet serene solo Ailey created for himself; Robert Battle’s For Four, featuring four amazing Ailey dancers dancing to Wynton Marsalis’ delicious jazz score; followed by Battle’s Unfold (2007) a sensuous, swirling duet.
On Saturday, February 4, 8pm, Survivors (1986/New Production 2022) a new production of Alvin Ailey and Mary Barnett’s impassioned tribute to the profound courage and terrible anguish of Nelson and Winnie Mandela; and the Canadian premiere of Kyle Abraham’s Are You In Your Feelings? celebrating Black culture, Black music, and the youthful spirit that perseveres in us all. Scored to a “mixtape” of soul, hip-hop, and R&B, the work explores the connections among music, communication, and personal memory.
At every performance, the inspiring finale will be Alvin Ailey’s must-see American masterpiece Revelations.
Cinema On Screen and On Demand
Canada’s Top Ten 2022
Screenings at TIFF Bell Lightbox
January 26–29, 2023
Selected by TIFF’s programmers in consultation with industry panelists, including filmmakers and festival programmers from across Canada. Among the veterans: Stéphane Lafleur, with his idiosyncratic take on the sci-fi movie, Viking, is both poignant and humorous; Nisha Pahuja, whose TIFF Best Canadian Feature prizewinner, To Kill a Tiger, is her second film to make Canada’s Top Ten; and Hubert Davis, whose Black Ice is a searing and essential study of racism in organized hockey. Also on the list are groundbreaking Toronto filmmakers Clement Virgo and David Cronenberg, with new works that rank among their best (Brother and Crimes of the Future, respectively).
For the full list of feature and short films in this series and for ticketing info, go to tiff.net.
The Last Movie Stars
Currently Streaming on Hollywood Suite
The Last Movie Stars, a critically acclaimed documentary series directed by four-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke. Each of the six hour-long episodes will premiere weekly.
Directed by Ethan Hawke and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, the docuseries celebrates the incredible talent, and captivating love story of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Partners on screen and in life, the pair’s unparalleled dedication to their craft, philanthropy, and one another is brought to life by readings of long-lost transcribed interviews with Newman, Woodward, and those closest to them. Hawke enlisted actors George Clooney, Laura Linney, Sally Field, Oscar Isaac, Karen Allen, Ewan McGregor, Sam Rockwell, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Zoe Kazan, and many others, to voice original interviews and explore details of Woodward and Newman’s relationship. T
My Imaginary Country
Directed by Patricio Guzmán, 2022
Streaming on OVID Starting January 26, 2023
One day, without warning, a revolution exploded. It was the event that master documentarian Patricio Guzmán had been waiting for all his life: a million and a half people in the streets of Santiago, Chile, demanding justice, education, health care, and a new constitution to replace the strident rules imposed on the country during the Pinochet military dictatorship.
Dir. by Tanya Tagaq & Chelsea McMullan, 2022
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Until January 28, 2023
An immersive, visceral music and cinema experience, Ever Deadly features Tanya Tagaq, avant-garde Inuk throat singer, and was created in collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Chelsea McMullan. This documentary explores Tagaq’s transformation of sound with an eye to colonial fallout, natural freedom and Canadian history.
Director by Bruce LaBruce
Streaming on Film Movement Plus
Starting January 28, 2023
Set in the early 1970s and the afterglow of sexual liberation, the film s a love letter to the psychosexual thrillers of that era. It follows Dominic, a young man with a fetish… for himself. Nothing turns him on more than his reflection, with much of his time spent taking Polaroid selfies. When his loving grandmother dies, he discovers a deep family secret: he has a twin brother, Daniel, raised in a remote monastery by a depraved priest, held captive against his will. The power of destiny brings together the two identical brothers.
Directed by Kelly Reichardt, 2019
Streaming on MUBI Canada
Starting Saturday, February 4
In the 1820s, a taciturn loner and skilled cook travels west to Oregon Territory, where he meets a Chinese immigrant also seeking his fortune. Soon the two team up on a dangerous scheme to steal milk from the wealthy landowner’s prized Jersey cow – the first, and only, in the territory.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Shostakovich 5 + Crow Plays Brahms
January 28 – 29, 2023
Roy Thomson Hall
*Same Day & TSoundcheck Tickets are an affordable way to attend the TSO
After Shostakovich’s music was publicly denounced for failing to conform to the Soviet ideal, his Fifth Symphony was a work on which his life depended—literally. The monumental creation he produced was a crashing success, appeasing the establishment, thrilling audiences, and crackling with covert defiance. Finnish conducting prodigy Tarmo Peltokoski draws out every nuance of this all-time-great masterpiece in his Canadian debut, and Concertmaster Jonathan Crow performs a towering cornerstone of the repertoire in Brahms’s luminous Violin Concerto.
The Sellers & Newel Literary Music Society
Sellers & Newel Second Hand Boosktore
Thursday, January 26
Brendan Davis, solo bass and special guests
Minimum donation $15
Tuesday, January 31: The Jellyfish
Featuring Jacob Gorzhaltsan, sax/clarinet; Ewen Farncombe, piano & Ravi Naimpally, tabla
Minimum donation $20
Head over to Sellers & Newel for more information and to reserve your seats. This is a unique venue to experience and hear live music in the city. A personal fave.
Naxx Bitota Live
February 4, 2023
Born in Africa, Naxx Bitota discovered her passion for music at the age of 9, by her mother who introduced her to the first principles of music. She pursues this passion by integrating choirs of diverse styles which allows her to develop an impressive musical independence; gospel, classical music, Congolese folklore, Congolese rumba, but above all, traditional “MUTUASHI” music and dance from KASAÏ, which is her native region in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
La Passione: Haydn & Mozart
Rachel Podger, guest director and violin soloist
Jeanne Lamon Hall
February 10-12, 2023
This concert is anchored by one of the most dramatic, Symphony No. 49. Nicknamed “La Passione,” the work epitomizes the Sturm und Drang style, a precursor to romanticism. Smouldering with intensity, Haydn’s symphony offers early glimmers of the romantic style that would eventually flourish decades later.
Simone Elizabeth Saunders: u∙n∙i∙t∙y∙
Textile Museum of Canada
Until January 29, 2023
Simone Elizabeth Saunders explores personal history, Afro-diaspora, and Black sisterhood through bold and colourful textiles. She amplifies her subjects with dynamic backgrounds that often employ feminist expressions from moons and circular motifs to blossoming flowers suggesting cycles and connections to nature.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Inuvialuk sculptor David Ruben Piqtoukun talks about the importance of memory, materiality and his latest solo exhibition. Winner of the 2022 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ sculpts in stone, metal, wood and bone combining different materials in unique and tricky ways to enhance the stories that live in his work, stories he feels are important to remember.