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Showing posts from 2010

Hey, Barney! Where's Miriam? Barney's Version Reviewed

I have never read Mordecai Richler's version of Barney's Version. I have read, heard and been told that it is one of the author's best and that it is a beloved tome. Well, it will be a while before the Toronto Public Library (TPL) informs me that my copy has arrived at my pick up location because right now I am 187th on the list of 187; the TPL has 45 copies. At over 400 pages, I didn't expect the screen adaptation written by Michael Konyes and directed by Richard J. Lewis to give me every single detail of the book, so I won't be surprised when I do get my copy of the book that some things did not make it to the screen.

The book and movie is about movie producer, Barney Panofsky, his relationship with his Dad, his three wives, and his two children; it also includes a gun shrouded in a past mystery. A tactless curmudgeon with a bit of the sad sack about him, Barney is played competently by Paul Giamatti, who over the past decade has gone from "That Guy" (re…

A Feast, 8 Women and a Candle

I had a fun chat last Saturday with a couple of my film buds, Kirk Cooper (founder of Film Market Access) and Moen Mohamed film lover, and man about town. We spoke about our Christmas/Winter DVD faves, but we didn't get a chance to mention all the films on our lists so here they are. Kirk and I have a couple of theatrical releases on our lists, but for the most part you can find the films on DVD. If you can't find the films at your local video store, try Queen Video, Bay St. Video or the Toronto Public Library. Please feel free to leave a comment about your favourite cold weather films, so we can all check out something we may be missing.

Moen’s Faves
Babette’s Feast
Bullets Over Broadway
City Lights
Flowers of St. Francis
Imitation of Life
Make Way for Tomorrow
The Ice Storm
The Red Shoes
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Kirk’s Faves
8 Femmes
Bad Santa
In Bruges
It’s a Wonderful Life
Scrooged (Bill Murray and A Christmas Carol starring Alistair Sims)
The Fighter (theatrical)
The King’…

5 Disco Balls for Priscilla Queen of the Desert!

It is the gayest thing I have ever seen! Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical is a stunningly over the top, gay musical that hits all the right notes, and glitters in all the right places. The transition from screen to stage is exceedingly well done, with the elimination of material that is dated or too awkward to fit the stage, and with the inclusion of new scenes and songs that surpasses the film in some respects. Then there is the bus. Holy moly, the bus! Yes, it is pink--very PINK, and a multitude of colours that are as bashful as a jacket by Liberace. After all, she is the Queen of the Desert, and what queen, gay or otherwise, isn't sometimes bedecked in all her bejewelled splendor?

Drag queens, Tick/Mitzie, Adam/Felicia and Bernadette (don't call her Ralph!) trek across the Australian dessert (from Sydney to Alice Springs) with humour, feathers, arguments pizazz, and, ahem, a few road kills. Joining them along the way is Bob, the mechanic who lubricates Priscilla and…

CD REVIEW: d'bi young's "womanifesto"--she ain't goin out like that!

Drop the word “socio-political” in a conversation and most people’s eyes would glaze over in anticipation of the preaching and boredom to follow; but, in the case of d’bi young’s latest CD, “wombanifesto”, all it takes is a listen to the assertive lyrics and reggae, latin, beatbox and punk rhythms and the word “socio-political” will take on an unexpected new energy.

With its raw, powerful lyrics and African-Caribbean rhythms, “wombanifesto” is a powerful assertion of the female in general, and a defiant declaration of existence by the black woman. The CD’s universal appeal will come from the listener’s recognition of what is happening in the world, to the Earth, even as they dance and chant along with the lyrics. young’s dub poetry speaks of long-suppressed truths, truths that resonate with the collective and the individual.

The rocking“gendah bendah” is an anthem to those who don’t fit into any of the institutionalized boxes imposed by society. “animal farm” with its punk-reggae bea…

Toad Looks Funny in a Bathing Suit!

It's been a couple of weeks since I saw A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, and I am still singing the darn, catchy tunes! Unlike annoying pop songs that infiltrate my head, I am quite happy to be singing lines like "toad looks funny in a bathing suit"! This adorable Broadway play has made its way to Toronto via the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. The musical stars Allen MacInnes, the Artistic Director of LKTYP, as "Frog" and Louise Pitreas "Toad". That's right, Louise Pitre, the Tony-nominated, Dora-winning actress from such plays as Mama Mia, Toxic Avenger the Musical, Annie Get Your Gun, and most recently Love, Loss and What I Wore.

The play explores the role of friendship in a simple, meaningful manner. We follow Frog and Toad for a year, beginning with their awakening from hibernation. We also meet their pals Turtle, Mole, and Snail. The appeal of this children's musical is that it will delight both children and adults. The playful antics…

In a Hotel Room With Three Men!

Hey, all! CLICK HERE to listen to my interview with Paul Clarke (director), Robert de Young (producer) and rock photographer, Leee Black Childers. We had a wonderful chat about their documentary, Mother of Rock: Lillian Roxon sitting on the floor of Paul's room at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Well, Leee, had a place of honour on a hotel room chair. I also share my thoughts about the wonderful family musical A Year with Frog and Toad playing at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People until Dec. 30th.

Latest Podcast

Hi, All. The latest, TmTm podcast is up! Click here to listen.

Animator, Jeff Chiba Stearns talks about why so many of his relatives of Japanese descent married non-Japanese Canadians. Find out why by listening to the podcast about his film, One Big Hapa Family, which recently screened at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. The film is a mix of animation (by Jeff and guest animators) and live action interviews with his family.

Check Out Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival (Nov. 9-15th)

On the Flip Side is an entertaining showcase with films ranging from performance art (Exit Upon Arrival) to sexual fetishes (Covers) and family drama (The Auction). This mixed bag of shorts has many films of note, but the highlight for me is Howard Shia’s Peggy Baker: Four Phases. Watching Peggy Baker dance is always a treat, but in this film, her athletic technique and lean graceful limbs move so fluidly that you want to jump into the screen and dance along with her. Animating her movements and interspersing them with live action adds visual interest to Baker’s narration about living and moving through various spaces.
Thursday, November 11th, 6:30 pm, Innis Town Hall(Rated PG)

When something is good you know it, so need for me to wax poet about director, Phan Dang Di’s first feature, Bi, Don’t Be Afraid. The film is reminiscent of Edward Yang's Yi yi: A One and A Two, in that it is the story of an Asian family (in this case Vietnamese) seen through the eyes of a young boy who is na…

Thank You for Supporting TmTm

Thanks to everyone who showed their support for Tmtm on Saturday, October 25th. I really appreciated you for donating your hard-earned funds to keep this little arts show on the air. Thanks to Heidy M. Gord for staffing the phones, and to Kirk Cooper for sharing the air waves with me. Thanks also to Sistah Lois for sharing her spiritual engery with me as she conducted her civic duties elsewhere. Staty tuned for the thank you gifts, everyone!

Please Support The More the Merrier Arts Radio

I know you love listening to The More the Merrier on CIUT 89.5 FM every Saturday afternoon from 1-2pm. And I know that when you can't tune in live you listen to the latest podcast. I also know you enjoy reading this blog to find out about things that I can't share with you in my one-hour radio show. I don't want to go off the air, but Station Management will do just that if I can't justify the fact that I have listeners who will put their money where their ears are.

Trust me, I have seen shows disappear for lack of listener support. I don't want to be one of those shows because I truly enjoy sharing with you. I love your feedback, and I welcome your criticism. So, on Saturday, October 23rd, between 1-2pmplease call 416-946-7800 or toll-free at 1-888-204-8976 and make a pledge (any amount welcome) to The More the Merrier. You can even donate any time on line. Just click here to donate on line. Thank you for your support of the arts, and for community radio. Feel fr…

The New Electric Ballroom: Irish Theatre Company Scores a Hit

I was introduced to Irish playwright, Enda Walsh, through the production of his play, bedbound by MacKenzieRo, The Irish Repertory Theatre of Canada. I like the dirty, grimy, grimly funny, play about two characters stuck in a bed, sharing their lives with the audience. There’s just something about Walsh’s unflinching look at the lives of the downtrodden that draws me in. I felt satisfyingly wrung out by the end of bedbound, starring Richard Greenblatt and MacKenzieRo co-founder, actress, Cathy Murphy; at the end of The New Electric Ballroom, I felt bleakly content.

The play features, Cathy Murphy (Ada), and Dora Award winners, Rosemary Dunsmore (Breda), and Sarah Dodd (Claire) as sisters living in a tide-brown Irish fishing village in a dishwater-coloured house that they rarely leave. Unable to let go of the past, Breda and Claire have relentlessly inoculated their younger sister, Ada, against loving and living. The three are caught in a world and a house that recycles fear and stunts…

b current's RADIANCE Does Not Shine

I wish that I could say that b current’s production of RADIANCE (directed by the award-winning, ahdri zhina mandiela), was as stellar success, especially since the company is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Unfortunately, none of the performances in the play live up the interesting story that Australian playwright, Louis Nowra, has penned.

Set in Queensland, Australia, the story is about three half-sisters who reunite for the funeral of their mother, their only connection. b current’s rAizn Ensemble cast includes, Maxine Marcellin as the opera diva, Cressy, Amanda Nicholls (as the embittered Nurse, May), and Meghan Swaby as the promiscuous Nona, who shares their mother’s love of sex and revolving-door boyfriends. The sisters are strangers to one another, and their reminiscences of the past paint a story of a neglectful mother (fighting her own demons), whose choices have had a painful impact on her daughters.

I understand that the rAizn Ensemble is a professional development program f…

TIFF 2010: Guest Blogger, Moen M. Shares His Faves

donna g: One of the things that happen during and especially after TIFF are discussions about what has been seen and what are the personal favourites. I asked Moen M.* my friend and fellow film lover, to share his faves with you. Here is what he had to say:

MOEN M.:TIFF 2010 proved to be a wonderful year, yielding insightful films that one hopes the public will get to see more of either at the Lightbox and local arthouse cinemas. It was very difficult to choose which films are my favourites of the festival, but it must be done. Here are my favourites:


1. Poetry (Korea) in photo below
2. Look, Stranger (USA)
3. Nostalgia for The Light (Chile)
4. Attenberg (Greece)
5. Blessed Events (Germany)
6. The Four Times (Italy)
7. Mysteries of Lisbon (Portugal)
8. I Wish I Knew (China)
9. Incendies (Canada)
10. Confessions (Japan)
11. The Strange Case of Angelica (Portugal)
12. Trois temps apres la mort d'Anna (Canada)
13. Meek's Cutoff (USA)
14. Leap Year (Mexico)
15. Tears of Gaza (No…

TIFF 2010: What I Saw and My Top Ten Faves

At left:Cameron Bailey (TIFF Co-Director) and actress, Ludavine Sagnier at the screening of LOVE CRIME in the historic Eglin Theatre.

Top Ten lists are never easy, but this year, there were so many films on the same level of enjoyment that my list could have been a list of ties. In the end, though, I went through the elimination process several times, whittled down my list, and restrained myself to one tie (40 and Africa United). The only easy choices for me to make was my overall favourite: West is West and my runner up, Nostalgia for the Light.

1. 40 (Turkey) + Africa United (UK)
2. Beginners (USA)
3. Blessed Events (Germany)
4. The Housemaid (Korea)
5. The Hunter (Iran)
6. Mamma Gógó (Iceland)
7. Nostalgia for the Light (Chile)
8. Small Town Murder Songs (Canada)
9. A Useful Life (Uruguay)
10. -West is West (UK)

40. A bag of money connects three residents of Istanbul, a screw-up bag man, an African refugee longing to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, and a nurse …