Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Tune in March 1st, 1:00 pm for My Interview with Indie Filmmaker, Anna Biller

"I detected 41 distinct flavors of sexiness."--Viva Fan

Written and directed by indie filmmaker Anna Biller, VIVA is a celluloid feast for the eyes. Bored housewife Barbi (played by Biller) morphs into the sexually adventurous Viva after being neglected by her Ken-doll husband, and spurred on by her women's lib best friend. You might want to put your sunglasses on for the '70's glare of red, orange and avocado-green that festoons the sets of this sexploitation extravaganza--just be sure to take them off for the unforgettable "apple" scene!

Exclusive 2 Night Engagement at the Royale Cinema
(608 College St. West, 416-534-5252)
The world renowned Toronto Burlesque troupe SKIN TIGHT, OUTTA SIGHT, will perform 2 exclusive live Burlesque shows before the 9:00 p.m. screenings on Friday Feb. 29th and Saturday March 1st. Ms. Biller will also conduct an on-stage Q and A following the screenings.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Théâtre français de Toronto: Check out the Subtitled/Biligual Plays!

“Photography by: Nir Bareket

I went to see my first surtitled PLAY a few weeks ago. Set in Montreal, the award-winning Strawberries in January/Des Fraises en Janvier is a delightful romantic comedy by Evelyne de la Chenelière about four young people searching for love.

I had seen operas with English captions, but never a play staged in an intimate theatre. It was very refreshing to hear Québécois French being spoken, and very comforting to have the translations there for me when the French got too rapid-fire for my high school French. While some of the surtitled performances may be a bit challenging for those with no knowledge of French, Théâtre français de Toronto has given me another place to look for my theatrical outings.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Théâtre français de Toronto's next production is the
bilingual show without subtitles L'homme invisible/The Invisible Man by Patrice Desbiens (March 26 - April 6).

For more information visit
www.theatrefrancais.com or call the Berkeley Street Box Office at 416.534.6604 or 1 800.819.4981



The Cast of L'homme invisible/The Invisible Man
“Photography by: Mathieu Girard


Toronto Human Right's Watch Film Festival: February 28th to March 5th

Scene from opening night film, The Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame

A young Afghan girl trying desperately to go to school, amidst neighbourhood boys enacting war games (The Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame); African migrant workers coping with modern day slavery in the greenhouses of Almeria, Spain (El Ejido, the Law of Profit); and Romanian HIV+ orphans and their foster parents dealing with the unexpected reality of their futures (We Will Never Meet Childhood Again) are just some of the films screening at the Human Rights Film Festival which runs from February 28th to March 5th.

In my interview* with Helga Stephenson,
the co-founder of the Human Rights Watch Toronto Committee and Chairman of the annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival talked about the importance of film as a way to raise awareness about issues that are impacting our world, and a way for people to then do something about what they have learned. Helga also cautioned that what happens in other parts of the world may also be happening in our own back yard (namely, Canada).

Scene from 2008 Oscar-winning Documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side

Tickets for the festival can be purchased online at the Cinematheque Ontario Website, by phone at 416-968-FILM (3456), or at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Year-Round Box Office.

Box Office Location and Hours:
TIFF Year-Round Box Office
Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor Street West (main floor, north entrance)
Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM

*interview date: Saturday, February 23, 2008


A Crooked Man: Canada's First All-Armenian Play

The play, A Crooked Man is a story about family, stressed director and lead actor Hrant Alianak during my interview with him*. Although it's his fifth play dealing with the Armenian genocide, Hrant stressed that the inter-generational aspect of the play will appeal to a much wider audience that just those interested in the historical tragedy. A Crooked Man is Canada's first play with an all-Armenian cast in an Armenian-themed play. Hrant Alianak is also the founder and Artistic Director of Alianak Theatre Productions.

A Crooked Man runs until March 2nd at The Theatre Centre. Tues-Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2.30pm Tickets: Previews & Sunday Matinees $10, Regular Run: Tues-Fri $21, Sat $25 (Discounts for Students, Seniors, Arts Workers & Groups).

For tickets, visit www.artsboxoffice.ca or call 416-504-7529 (box office).

*interview date: February 23, 2008

Monday, 18 February 2008

What Are you Doing Sat. Feb. 23rd? You could win tickets...

The Prize
The Musicians In Ordinary present A Due Voci: Italian Baroque Music for Two Sopranos, Saturday, February 23, 2008, 8 p.m. at the Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. (north of Scollard Street in Yorkville; Bay St. subway).

How to Enter
Send an email to themerrieremail@yahoo.ca telling me why you should win. Best answer gets the tickets. Contest closes Wednesday, February 20th at 5pm. Good luck!

What if I don't win but want to go:
Tickets are $20, $15 seniors and students, and may be purchased at the door. For ticket information, call 416-535-9956, e-mail musinord@sympatico.ca or visit www.musiciansinordinary.ca.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Plays That Make You Go "Hmmmm..."

February 9th Show
Playwright Michael Miller discussed his play Touch the Sky. The play deals with the issue of American Negro slavery from the standpoint of Belle, a bi-racial woman freed at birth. How "free" is she really? Faced with the issue of Choice, Belle will realize what it means to be free. Micheal began working on what became Touch the Sky when his daughter Zora was a baby. Thirteen years and several successful theatre productions later, Zora was finally able to see "her play" on stage at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. Touch the Sky runs until March 1st.

The controversial play Born Ready/Smokescreen (Joseph Jomo Pierre/David Craig) running at Theatre Passe Muraille has some school boards thinking about whether or not their students should see the play (Toronto Star, Wed. Feb. 13). During our interview Philip Akin, Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre Company talked about the possibility of controversy following the play about youth and gun violence, but stressed the need to depict on stage the honesty, language and situations facing youth today. We also discussed the need for young people interested in drama to attend theatre school and learn about the craft of acting, and the contributions of youth to the play as a result of the Risk Life Project (short vignettes by community youth that will run before each performance). Born Ready/Smokescreen runs until March 9th.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Win Tickets to Touch the Sky


What You Can Win
Win tickets to Touch the Sky at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. I have a pair of tickets for the Sunday, February 17th performance at 2:00pm.

How To Win
Send me an email at themerrieremail@yahoo.ca telling me why you and your child should go. This play is suitable for children in grades 6-8. Good Luck!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Send an Email and Win Tickets to Caramel


If you would like a chance to win tickets to see Caramel but can't listen via radio or computer, send me an email at themerrieremail@yahoo.ca telling me why you deserve a pass. I have 2 double passes available for bloggers. I'm not looking for essays, just short, honest answers. Two winners will be selected on Saturday, February 9th at 2pm. Good Luck!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Feb. 2nd Show

Show went well today. After being out of the studio for a month, it was nice to be back. Like riding a bike in terms of operating the equipment ( I tech the show myself), and speaking to guests. Discussion with Kirk Cooper, Festival Consultant and Publicist, about Black film could have been a longer segment, but we touched on some interesting aspects about early film pioneers like Oscar Micheaux (http://shorock.com/arts/micheaux)/, blaxploitation films and the films of Charles Burnett (http://www.killerofsheep.com), and film in the 80's by Spike Lee and the impact of The Colour Purple. Kirk will be back on the show Feb. 16th, where he and I will have our Oscar chat.

Yeti, aka. Lady Son (myspace.com/ladyson) talked about Salsa and its African roots, and about Salsa Africa at the Lula Lounge on Feb. 8th. She is the only woman participating in the collaboration of Latin and African artists, and encourages more women to join her in the Latin music scene.

With two guests in one hour, music was limited to:
-Shirley Horn, Loving You (CD), It Amazes Me (track played)

-Richard Underhill, Kinsington Suite (CD), Bike Lane (track played). Richard is one of the participating musicians in Salsa Africa. www.richardunderhill.com

-Dione Taylor, Open Your Eyes (CD), Hey, Baby and I've Got the World on a String (tracks played).

-Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective, Watina (CD), Miami (track played)

If you listened to the show, holla back and let me know what you think-dg