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festival

Culture Crawl: Nuit Blanche 2016

EXPERIENCE ART AND CULTURE ALL NIGHT LONG AT NUIT BLANCHE ON OCTOBER 1ST.

Daniel Canogar's project Asalto Toronto

Daniel Canogar’s project Asalto Toronto.

Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary art event that transforms Toronto streets into a public gallery, returns for its 11th edition on October 1 featuring more than 80 projects. For 12 hours from sunset to sunrise, see the likes of sculptural works, dance, films, photography, interactive displays, and more at various locations including Nathan Phillips Square and along the Waterfront. Among the exhibits is Asalto Toronto (pictured) by Daniel Canogar, which is part of a broader display that examines metamorphosis and transformation, while Oblivion, including Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi, explores the cosmic universe as both a state of being and a state of nothingness. —Linda Luong Luck

 

 

Dine Like a Star During TIFF

LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO REFUEL AFTER SPENDING A FEW HOURS IN A DARKENED THEATRE? FORTUNATELY TORONTO’S DINING SCENE IS AS IMPRESSIVE AS THE FILM ROSTER—AND THERE MAY JUST BE A RECOGNIZABLE FACE OR TWO AT THE NEXT TABLE.

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Grab a drink or dinner at the chic Drake One Fifty during the festival and keep your eyes peeled for famous faces.

In addition to being home to TIFF headquarters and theatres such as the Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra, the Entertainment District is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to restaurants. Enjoy the California-style vibes and say hello to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at Montecito, a joint venture between Ghostbusters filmmaker Ivan Reitman and chef Jonathan Waxman. The internationally-inspired menus at Hush and Luma win over moviegoers, with such offerings as maple glazed salmon and grilled quail respectively. Hearty Italian fare can be found at Buca, which serves house-made pastas among other favourites. The upscale Nota Bene is a downtown favourite for chef David’s lee’s impeccable menu, as well as the extensive gin list.

Catching a flick at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre? Both JaBistro  and Richmond Station are within walking distance. Feast on beautifully-plated fresh sashimi and sushi at the former, while the latter is co-owned by Top Chef Canada winner Carl Heinrich with a seasonally-changing menu. The Chase has seafood-themed offerings like Arctic char, octopus and king crab, while further afoot, the Drake One Fifty is an ultra hip spot in the Financial District serving the likes of squid ink pasta and suckling pig porchetta.

—Karen Stevens

A Celebration of Cinema: TIFF 2016

EXPERIENCE ACCLAIMED MOVIES AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR FAMOUS FACES AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Each September, film buffs and hopeful celebrity-spotters alike flock to the city for the Toronto International Film Festival, the annual star-studded event that runs from September 8 to 18. This year’s line up has 49 special presentations and 19 gala screenings, offering a variety of films from Canada and around the world.

Opening up the festival is the world premiere of the The Magnificent Seven, with an all-star cast including Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Byung-hun Lee, Peter Sarsgaard, Vince D’Onofrio, and Jody Mullins. Director Antoine Fuqua’s modern remake sees outlaws, hired guns, bounty hunters and other ne’er-do-wells banding together to protect a small town against a greedy villain.

Celebrated Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan brings his Cannes Grand Prix-winning film It’s Only the End of the World to the festival. The story about the reunion of a dysfunctional family stars French actors like Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux and Nathalie Baye. Canadian author Carol Shields’ best-selling novel, Unless, makes its way to the silver screen starring Oscar–nominated Catherine Keener as the mother of a runaway daughter who becomes a panhandler on the streets of Toronto.

In another literary adaptation, Philip Roth’s 1997 crime drama American Pastoral is brought to life through the directorial debut of Ewan McGregor, who also stars alongside Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. Similarly, television host and rapper Nick Cannon can be found both behind the camera and in front of it in King of the Dancehall, a musical set in Jamaica.

Other special presentations include Lion, starring Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and Dev Patel, which is based on the true story of a man who used Google Earth to locate his birth parents 25 years later. Fans of The Rolling Stones can get satisfaction by getting a backstage glimpse of the legendary English rockers in a new documentary Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America. Or, get your fill of the current POTUS before he leaves with office with Barry, a biopic about Barack Obama’s college days. Crazy, Stupid, Love co-stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are paired together once again in Damien Chazelle’s musical, La La Land about a jazz pianist and aspiring actress who fall in love.

How to get Into the Festival

Single tickets run from $25 to $49, with rush tickets from $20 to $40. A number of packages can also be purchased starting at $85; see tiff.net, call 1-888-599-8433 or visit the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office at 350 King St. W. for complete options.  —Karen Stevens

Explore Photography at the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival


THE SCOTIABANK PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL INCLUDES VENUES ALL OVER THE CITY, WITH PHOTOGRAPHS IN GALLERIES, MUSEUMS AND URBAN SPACES.

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At the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Sarah Anne Johnson’s Chillin’ at the Void is part of a series depicting outdoor music festivals as metaphors for Dionysian counterculture and the communal rejection of modern-day social norms.

 

MAY 1 TO 31 Toronto’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival draws attention to the creation and consumption of photo-based images and the challenging questions they pose—about the nature of memory, the formation of identity and much more. This year’s 20th-anniversary event promises to be as diverse and provocative as ever, with hundreds of exhibitions that, among other things, depict the industrial-scale accumulation of a newspaper photo archive (at the Globe and Mail headquarters), explore the scientific applications of photography (Edgar Leciejewski’s “scanographs” of birds at the North York Civic Centre) and use the banal to underscore the absurdity of superstardom (prints from the UofTDrizzy Instagram account, which photoshops Drake into mundane collegiate scenarios, will be installed throughout the city).

In all, the festival is both a snapshot of the state of contemporary photographic practice and a large-scale mediation on the act of truly seeing the world around us—for what it is (and isn’t), what it was and what it could be.

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Edgar Leciejewski’s ornithological scanographs—on display at the North York Civic Centre (5100 Yonge St.)—upend our expectations of scientific objectivity, favouring aesthetic concerns over strict representation.

 

Diane Arbus_A Young Man and his Pregnant Wife in Washington Square Park

Diane Arbus’s A Young Man and His Pregnant Wife in Washington Square Park is one of 300-plus images in “Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s,” a monumental Art Gallery of Ontario group show that captures the changing face of the U.S. during a period of social and political upheaval.

 

Celebrate Summer

Halifax’s festival season heats up with music, art, culture, food and more

By Trevor J. Adams

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A busy month of festivals and cultural celebrations begins with the Scotia Festival of Music. Continuing through June 7 at venues around the city, this event is a must for serious music fans, showcasing the best in Chamber music. This year, the lineup includes coductor Kenneth Woods, cellist Denise Djokic, violinist Giora Schmidt and pianist Simon Docking. A gala matinee concert at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on June 7 concludes the festival, featuring works by Elgar, Beethoven and Benjamin. Concurrently, Halifax’s vibrant Lebanese community celebrates its roots with Cedar Festival from June 4 to 7 at Our Lady of Lebanon Parish on Joseph Howe Drive. Festivities include a special mass, musical performances, art exhibitions, food tastings, games, dancing and more. June also sees the return of one of Halifax’s biggest and most popular festivals. Running this year from June 11 to 14, Halifax Greek Fest always attracts thousands to Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road.June---Antique-Car-Show_admirers Lively music and dancing abound, along with cultural exhibitions and Greek cuisine aplenty. This year’s schedule features the Poseidon live band, a screening of FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer (Greece vs. Colombia), Greek language classes, a sommelier-hosted Greek wine and food tasting, and more. That same weekend, Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte hosts the Father’s Day Antique Car Show. Scheduled for June 21, (rain date June 29), the show is a rite of Father’s Day. There are dozens of lovingly restored classic cars, plus live entertainment and Kub Kar races. This month also features one of Halifax’s longest-running summer events: the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival. Running from June 26 to 28 at the Halifax Seaport Harbourwalk at the corner of Terminal and Marginal roads, the festival showcases Nova Scotia’s many traditional-dancers2cultural communities with music, food, art, cultural exhibitions and more. The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo closes out the month. Running from June 30 to July 7 at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street, it’s the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. The lineup includes an exciting mix of military and civilian drill teams, bands and performers from around the globe. This year’s highlights include the Halifax debut for Sweden’s Home Guards Band of Eslöv, His Majesty the King’s Guard Band and Drill Team of Norway, the Gym Wheel Team Taunusstein of Germany and the Paris Police Gymnastics Team.

 

 

Hot Docs: Global Visions Film Festival

Global Visions 2Canada’s longest-running documentary film festival, Global Visions (running from May 7–18, 2015) kicked off this year’s fest with one of the year’s most highly anticipated and critically acclaimed films, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. From director Brett Morgen, this film uses Cobain’s own journals, music, art, films, and audio recordings to paint a definitive portrait of Nirvana’s visionary frontman and highlight his lasting influence on popular culture.

Other notable docs featured this year include:

1 Dead Venues Created by locals Mike Siek and Eden Munro, this is a fond look back at some of Edmonton’s most beloved, “gone-but-not-forgotten” music venues.

2 Made In Japan From director Josh Bishop, this is the poignant and incredibly inspiring story of Japanese country music star Tomi Fujiyama.

3 How to Change the World Using never before seen archival materials, this doc is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement.

Visit the website for screening times, and check out the current issue for more fantastic festivals!

—Lindsay Shapka

Canmore Uncorked Long Table Dinner

By Olivia Grecu

Back by popular demand! After a breakout first year at the Canmore Uncorked food and drink festival in 2014, 130 lucky diners snagged tickets to this year’s coveted Long Table Dinner, which took place April 17.

As I arrived at the venue, a (you guessed it) long table set up under a tent on 7th Avenue, a small crowd had gathered. I could hear event-goers and passersby marveling at how beautiful the dinner tent looked against the mountain backdrop.

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Canmore Uncorked Ravenrock Craft Beer Festival

The Stewart Creek Golf Club was bustling with beer lovers at the Canmore Uncorked Ravenrock Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, April 11. With over 15 vendors and double the beer selection (as well as ciders, meads and more), the variety in product was impressive, not to mention delicious.

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Canmore Uncorked World Tour Progressive Dinner

By Afton Aikens

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The warm evening sun was beaming off the massive windows at the Grizzly Paw’s brewery when I arrived to embark on the Canmore Uncorked World Tour Progressive Dinner. The 20,000-sq. ft. building is impressive, with high vaulted ceilings and a wood trim exterior. I sampled one of my favourite beers—their Beavertail Raspberry Ale, as well as the new Chinook Red IPA.

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Canmore Uncorked Food & Drink Festival

By Afton Aikens

Hang up your apron because there’ll be no need for home cooking during the second annual Canmore Uncorked festival, April 7 to 19.

The inaugural festival won an Alberta tourism award and was nominated for the Canadian Tourism Awards’ event of the year. Organizers are raising the bar this year, adding new events that will showcase the quality and creativity that drives Canmore’s dining scene, paired with tried and true favourites.

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WINTERLUDE Roundup: Best Bets during Winterlude’s opening weekend

BY ADELLE FARRELLY

Skating along the Rideau Canal Skateway is one of the most popular events during Winterlude.

Ottawa’s been in a deep freeze lately, but the next three weeks make it all worth it. February 1 to 18 marks the 35th anniversary of Winterlude, Ottawa’s celebration of frosty fun. From concerts, special exhibits, outdoor activities, and food and drink events, you’ll find something for everyone. We highlight just a few of the happenings taking place during opening weekend.

Friday, February 1
Opening ceremony! This year the kick-off is at the Marion Dewar Plaza outside City Hall. The free event will feature incredible aerial dancers, interactive projections, and pyrotechnic effects. Afterwards, A Tribe Called Red’s Electric Powwow will get you moving. DJs NDN, Bear Witness and Shub are the Ottawa locals who started the powwow step movement, combining electronica with traditional powwow vocals and drumming.

Sarah Slean plays at Centrepointe Theatre, on the first night of Winterlude.

Winterlude wouldn’t be Winterlude without ice-skating on the Rideau Canal. Every year the canal and Dows Lake are transformed into the world’s largest skating rink. Check out the Skateway’s website for ice conditions and directions to one of their three skate and sleigh rental centres, then head on over for skating, hot chocolate, and yummy treats.

If you want to enjoy the spirit of Winterlude without having to brave the elements, you’ll be pleased to know that Ontario’s own Sarah Slean has an opening-night concert at the Centrepointe Theatre. Her voice will give you chills.

Saturday, February 2
Get your body moving at Jacques-Cartier Park! Starting at 10 a.m. the Snowflake Stage will be bumping music so you can get your Zumba moves on.

After your morning workout, head to Confederation Park where the Ottawa Art Gallery will be on hand to help artists of all ages to take part in building ice sculptures and ice mosaics.

The Darcy’s perform at the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival, part of the Winterlude festivities.

The Wee Trio, the John Escreet Trio, Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo, Pawa Up First, and The Darcys arrive in town to perform at the Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival.

Sunday, February 3
Make sure you have enough energy for the day’s activities by dining at the Red Apron’s Winterlude Brunch. It’s lumberjack-themed, so wear your plaid, toques, and sport a moustache. Expect apple cinnamon waffles, tourtière, and maple-whisky baked beans. Mmm!

 

 

Perfect 10: Savour Food and Wine Festival Celebrates a Decade

The Savour Food & Wine Festival marks a decade of delighting palates and bringing foodies, chefs and winemakers closer together. Photo: Mike Tompkins

Even at the most open of restaurants, you’re getting few chances to really talk with the chefs while they work. You may see them for a quick greeting when you order, or perhaps a brief thank-you at the end of the meal. But odds are good you’re talking to them while they’re really in action, as they’re cooking and plating your food. They’re probably not literally pointing you to the best glass of wine to pair with it.

Unless, of course, you’re at the Savour Food & Wine Festival. Running throughout February, the month-long festival brings diners together with chefs, restaurateurs, vintners, brewers and suppliers from across the province. It all begins on February 1 when the Dine Around program, which runs throughout the month, kicks off. Dine Around gives restaurants a chance to showcase a local project on a three-course prix fixe menu (for either $25, $35 or $45). Participating restaurants weren’t finalized at press time, but you can find all the latest updates at edining.ca.

Throughout the month, Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street in Halifax is hosting several Festival events. Next is Decadence on February 7. The tasting pairs artisanal cheeses, succulent chocolates and wines from around the world. Held in the Schooner Showroom, Decadence is an intimate event, explains Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, which organizes Savour. “We expanded Decadence to 225 tickets this year, and that’s really as big as we want it to get,” he says. This year, organizers have also invited a few local restaurants to Decadence, to share food pairings that complement the theme ingredients.

Next on the calendar is the Rare & Fine Wine Tasting in the Casino’s Compass Room on February 15. It’s another intimate event, with attendance capped at 125 people. “These are wines that are unavailable in Nova Scotia,” Stewart says, “wines we wouldn’t normally afford.”

The Savour Food & Wine Festival runs through February, celebrating Nova Scotian cuisine. Photo: Mike Tompkins

Following that, it’s back to the Casino’s Schooner Showroom for Imbibe on February 21. Savour’s newest event, Imbibe debuts this year. “Imbibe is our biggest new change this year,” Stewart says. “There are some restaurants
and bars in Nova Scotia that do a lot of fine cocktails, and they don’t get the attention they deserve. The idea is to celebrate the art of mixology, with 15 booths showcasing specialty brands and demonstrating their signature drinks. Finally, February concludes with the Savour Food & Wine Show on February 28. This year, the event moves to the spacious Cunard Centre on Marginal Road. The flagship event brings 65 exhibitors—restaurants, wineries, bakeries, cheese makers, brewers and suppliers of all sorts—together to celebrate the best of Nova Scotia’s culinary scene. Dozens of chefs are on site, preparing artful little dishes, all included in the ticket price. “It’s the 10th anniversary of Savour,” says Stewart. “And we’re quite happy with how it’s gone. It’s all about bringing restaurants and people together, and getting diners excited about what we do here in Nova Scotia.”

Geir Simensen is head chef with Saege Bistro on Spring Garden Road and Scanway Catering in Halifax. He’s been there for each Savour. “It’s important to me to take part and support our local industry,” he says. “It’s one thing to talk to a table when people are in the restaurant, but it’s different to be at an event like Savour and talk to people who are really there to meet you, and want to talk. It puts a face to the restaurant.”

Figuring out his Savour menu is a highlight of the year, for Simensen. He’s already given it a lot of thought for 2013. “We use the year before as a benchmark,” he says. “I like to think each year is a little better… Now I like to get a little more simple, use the natural seasonal flavours. I guess that’s something chefs learn as they get older. I’ve been doing this for 27 years, but I still feel like I’m learning.” This year, he’s thinking he’ll offer a comforting winter menu, with some sort of braised meat and root vegetables. “I really want to show off those local ingredients.”