Matt Tyrnauer's documentary, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City. Voicing Jacobs is Marissa Tomei while Moses is voice by Vincent D'onofrio. Archival documents and communication about city planning as well as footage of cities like New York and Chicago illustrate some of the damage created by architects and top down planners of the past. We are able to see what works and what doesn't, how the same issues are being repeated today (block towers again in China and India) and how citizens must mobilize in order to have a say in how cities are developed. The question of who gets to decide is still one that is being debated all over the world, especially as cites are growing at a never-before seen rate.
While in the pre-war years, Moses was an urban planner who developed public meeting and recreational spaces, post-depression, post-World War II era Moses and his ilk thought that demolishing tenements and replacing them with high density apartment blocks was the answer to accommodate people and the growing car consumerist culture. What urban planners of the day didn't take into consideration was that in separating work from recreation and home, they developed blocks of isolation where people were no longer able to interact with the vibrancy of the streets. Expressways were seen as the "arteries of progress" where in fact, they were preventing stoop culture and community-building.
TIFF Bell Lightbox and in select theatres across the country, just in time for the global initiative Jane's Walk scheduled May 5, 6, and 7th. The festival consists of free citizen-lead walking tours where the emphasis is on people connecting within their communities and exchanging thoughts about their neighbourhood. Details about a walk in your city can be found at www.janeswalk.org
Friday, 7 April 2017
|courtesy of Pacific Northwest Pictures|
Watching artists at work is a treat for me: seeing what they choose to create, why they choose to bring it into existence and the impact of their mental and physical states on what they produce. With Lynch acting as his own narrator, we get the opportunity to hear personal details of his idyllic childhood in Boise, Idaho, the family's move to Alexandria,Virginia where a teenage Lynch felt as if he was living in perpetual night, his time at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, where the miasma of racism and fear that hung over the city nevertheless inspired his work, and how a long shot lead him to the world of film in L.A.
If you're a Lynch fan, you're going to love his artwork. Dark, nightmare-inspiring, and even alien. Lynch's own father reacted to his work by suggesting he probably shouldn't have children. Perhaps if his father, indeed, his family, had sat down and listened to Lynch talk about his art, they would have understand fully his need to create, to build other worlds through art. Then again, even if they did listen, they might be frightened by the thoughts that lead to his globular iterations on canvas, amorphous images on paper and puzzling manifestations in film.
Although, I was familiar with David Lynch's films (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet) and his avant-garde television classic, Twin Peaks, and despite Mulholland Drive being a favourite of mine, I had never taken the time to find out more about his life. If there are, perhaps one too many shots of Lynch sitting with cigarette smoke curling and wafting through the air, that indulgence can be forgiven for slowing down the film a bit. After seeing this documentary, I now have a better understanding of how some peculiar dreams, some real encounters and the synergy of Lynch's life/painter's life lead to such creations as the Log Lady in Twin Peaks, an ear in a suburban lawn in Blue Velvet, and Lynch's body of work.
On screen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Vancity Theatre, Edmonton’s Metro Cinema, and Ottawa’s Mayfair Theatre on April 7th
Sunday, 26 March 2017
Sitting in the audience of Sousatzka on Opening Night, there were moments when I hung my head at what was allowed to be presented on the stage of the Elgin Theatre.
Montego Glover and Victoria Clark
photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
|Jordan Barrow photo by Cylla von Tiedemann|
I can't help but think that the ovation the show received on opening night was a an acknowledgement of the actors having to perform in such dreck.
189 Yonge Street
Thursday, 16 March 2017
Note: Apologies to all for this late interview post. I was blindsided by a horrible cold that sapped my energy and concentration.
donna g: Plans with your first venue fell through. Once you got past the panic, how did you deal with the resulting challenges?
John Shooter: I intended to stage Radiant Vermin in Double Double Land. However, following the fire (of a DIY creative venue) in LA (which killed 36 people), many such venues around the world have now been under strict inspection and have been forced to close. Even if they do in fact comply with health and safety rules. Unfortunately, Double Double Land is one such venue and we only found out three days before we were due to start rehearsing. The DDL guys are really great though and are working hard to get their venue reopened as soon as possible. I loved working with them and hope to go back there in the future.
donna g: You've only been in Toronto a handful of years yet you've managed to create theatre in established spaces as well as the historic Campbell House and even hip corners of Kensington Market. Nothing seems to hold you back. What keeps you going?
|Julie Tepperman & Jonas Widdifield|
A Precisely Peter Production
Until March 19th
167 Augusta Avenue (just north of Dundas)