Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Don't be Scared of Poetry

I am going to start my reintroduction to poetry by reading Frank O'Hara. I started the March 22nd show with Billie Holiday singing "Strange Fruit" followed by a reading of O'Hara's "The Day Lady Died" by my guest, Professor Tim Conley. I got even more attached when I played the recording of O'Hara reading this:

"Poem," by Frank O'Hara:

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

After reading that poem I"m sure you will agree with Professsor Tim Conley (left), that "poetry doesn't have to be serious and dull." I saw Tim on TVO (he's a Best Lecturer Series nominee), and invited him on the show to help us all get back to reading poetry.

What came out of the discussion is the need for us to find the poet that works best for us. We don't all have the same tastes, we are no longer in school, so if I like Shakespeare and you don't, try another poet whose words make you feel. Don't focus on whether or not you understand the work right away; you can digest the meaning at your own pace. Go with the taste of the words the way kids find joy with every new word they learn.

During the show Conley highlighted the works of: Frank O'Hara (The Selected Poems of Frank O'Hara), Paul Heroux (Memoirs of an Alias), Harryette Mullen (Sleeping with the Dictionary), and Juliana Spahr (This Connection of . Frank died in a horrible freak accident in the late '60's, but the other poets are alive. You might want to check out some books from the library to start, but once you find a poet you like, support them by purchasing a book.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Presenting Triple Threats: The Art of Time Ensemble and Kaeja d'Dance

March 15th Guests Celebrate the Art of Dancing, Acting and Music...

Actress Cara Ricketts encouraged listeners to go out and enjoy the Art of Time Ensemble's production of Shakespeare: If Music Be... According to Cara, "how can you loose" when you will be treated to acting, dancing and music inspired by Shakespeare's words. Cara will be doing the lovers' scene from Romeo and Juliet as well as Ophelia's mad scene from Hamlet. Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, March 28th and 29th, 416-973-4000 Art of Time Ensemble: www.artoftimeensemble.com

Photo: Shira Leuchter

Photo: Allen Kaeja

Dancer Tim Spronk and actor Aaron Willis joined me via telephone from Vancouver, where Kaeja d'Dance's new work "Abattoir" will be making its west coast debut before moving to Harbourfront Centre's Premiere Dance Theatre in Toronto. "Abattoir" is based on Allen Kaeja's experience working in his father's abattoir soon after his bar mitzvah. Karen and Allen Kaeja are co-Artistic Directors of Kaeja Dance.

Tim explained the martial arts inspired dance techniques that the Kaejas have developed, the physicality of the movements and how it was a great fit for his "hockey-player" build. Even though he is also a physical trainer, Tim did admit that "bruises happen" and that he made friends with the floor during rehearsals.

Aaron, who had studied movement theatre, but nothing quite like the Kaejas' technique, said that it was a challenge for him and that he learned a lot from the dancers. His role in the piece is an acting one, with movement as the secondary means of expression. "It will be thrilling to watch" and "full of surprises," says Aaron of Abattoir's multi-disciplinary exploration of what it means to be a human.

March 25, 27, 28, 29 at Harbourfront Centre's Premiere Dance Theatre, 416-973-4000
Kaeja d'Dance: www.kaeja.org

The More the Merrier Show Playlist
  • Jannett Scott, CD Mystery Lady (played title track)
  • Tuck & Patti, CD Tears of Joy, "I've got just about everything"
  • The Musicians in Ordinary, CD Sleep Wayward Thoughts, "Beauty sate bathing"
  • Kiran Ahluwalia, CD Kiran Ahluwalia, "Vo Kuch" ("Passion")
  • There Will Be Blood (soundtrack), "Eat him by his own light"
  • Umalali, The Garifuna Women's Project, "Nibari" ("My Grandchild")
  • Eliana Cuevas, CD Vidas, "Canaima"

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

There's Something for Everyone in Canadian Films

Rent Canadian Next Time...

I love romantic movies and this one is one of my favourites. Set in Toronto (yes, Toronto plays Toronto not some generic city), the film stars Arsinee Khanjian as a 40 year old Muslim woman who falls in love with a non-Muslim. I enjoyed seeing Arsinee in something other than a heavy drama. Her portrayal of Sabah is very genuine, tender and funny. I especially loved the scene of Sabah's
tentative steps into the community swimming pool where she meets
the steamy Steven (Shawn Doyle) .


A fam
ily with 5 boys! That's enough to inspire the title of this film. In French with English subtitles, C.R.A.Z.Y is a family drama about one boy trying to define his place in his home and in society. With great performances, a nostalgic soundtrack that follows the growth of the family, C.R.A.Z.Y is a wonderful film filled with humour, mysticism, and a touchingly realistic father-son dynamic.

A Simple Curve
Usually "coming of age" films deal with the teenage years, but this film is about a twenty-something man who has to deal with his hippie parent, a family business on the brink of bankruptcy, and relationships with women. You could watch this film just for the beauty of the Kootnays, but the father-son relationship is so fresh and the dialogue so honest that this film will have you thinking about your own life choices.

Eve and the Fire Horse (for children)
Growing up in a Chinese family in 1970's Vancouver is a confusion of cultures and religions for 9 year old Eve. This film is a little too precious for me, but it offers images I have never seen on screen, and the young actors do a wonderful job. Give the kids something to watch beside Disney.


Unlike the films listed above, this film is for those who like dark comedies. I don't usually like "stoner" films, but this movie is so unpredictable, and the dialogue is so funny, that I had to cover my mouth when I saw it in the video library at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. When the guy in front of me burst out laughing, I realized that he was watching a copy of the same film. What do you do when your buddy's girlfriend O.Ds, you try to bury her in the basement of the local drive in, and you run into a Satanic cult? And that's just the beginning of the film! Gather some like-minded friends and laugh your head off.

All Female Guest Line Up for March 8th (IWD show)

March 8th Show

Hope you enjoyed my International Women's Day broadcast featuring Kelsey Matheson of the First Weekend Club and Jannett Scott (a.k.a. Lady Luscious of Women Ah Run Tings) and her daughter Cleoni Crawford . In case you missed it, I featured music by Queen Latifah (Order in the Court), and Canadian musicians Rita di Ghent (The Birth of Sprawl), Eleana Cuevas (Vidas) and Jannett Scott (Mystery Woman).

And speaking of Canadian, Kelsey and I talked about the importance of supporting Canadian film by going to see them on the first weekend that they hit the theatres. If a film does not do well on the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday screening it is pulled from the theatres. Think what this means to Canadian films that don't have the marketing millions of Hollywood films. So, if you hear about good Canadian film encourage your friends to see it that first weekend.

Sign up for a FREE membership at www.firstweekendclub.ca and find out more about their special screenings and events. It's also a great spot to see what films you've missed in the theatre, and what's available on DVD.

I introduced Jannett Scott by playing the title track from her solo CD "Mystery Woman". Jannett is nominated for a Canadian Reggae Music Award in the category "Top Dancehall Style D.J. (female)."

Joining in on the interview was Jannett's daughter, Cleoni Crawford who is in the process of launching a scholarship fund in memory of her sister Aleisha Ashley. Aleisha (17) and her best friend Monique McKnight (16) were killed when a stolen car being chased by the police slammed into their taxi. The two young women were on their way home from visiting Aleisha's aunt (not a night club as is commonly thought) when the accident occurred. Jannett talked about donating Aleisha's organs, and the importance of parents having a discussion about organ donation with their children.

Cleoni has teamed with Bereaved Families of Ontario-Toronto to create a scholarship for students from Downsview Secondary School, Westview Centennial Secondary School and Emery Collegiate Institute. One student from each school will be selected. A fundraising concert, "Gospel Arts & Praize", will be held on April 5th at Downsview Secondary School. For ticket information, donations and scholarship details please visit www.cleoni.ca

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Theatre Direct Presents...Binti's Journey

Check out Binti's Journey, Canada's first staged play for children about the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa. This play is recommended for families with children ages 10 and up. Presented at the Tarragon Extra Space, 30 Bridgman Avenue. Tickets: $15 | Tarragon Box Office: 416-531-1827 Theatre Direct 416.537.4191 For more information please visit www.theatredirect.on.ca

ahdri zhina mandiela
Set and Costume Design
Melanie McNeill
Music and Movement
Mxolisi Welcome Ngozi
Stage Manager
Kristin McCollum

Lisa Codrington, Sefton Jackson, Jajube Mandiela, Dienye Waboso

A Sweet Liar: Theatre Francais de Toronto's Le Menteur/The Liar

The tag line is  "Don't believe a word he says" , but you can believe me, Le Menteur/The Liar is a fun way to spend a night at...