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Toronto festivals

Best Stargazing Spots at TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival

By KAREN CLEVELAND

There are better ways to spot celebs at TIFF than by waiting behind the red-carpet ropes (Photo: Christopher Harte)

Toronto is truly at its finest when it plays host to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) each September. The streets buzz with pride as locals share their favourite haunts with an influx of visitors. And while stars are masters at surreptitiously sneaking through the streets unnoticed, frequenting some key spots just might increase the odds of finding yourself accidentally-on-purpose across the room from your most admired luminary. (more…)

The Best Canadian Beer Fests of 2012

By RED HUNT

Cask Days, Toronto (Photo: Crystal Luxmore)

With summer upon us, there are beer festivals sprouting up in nearly every city and town across the country and 2012 is shaping up to be a dream year for the Canadian beer lover. The beer scene in Canada is currently going through a transition, with small craft brewers and microbreweries getting more confident and exploratory with their brews, meaning the range of flavours and styles of beer has never been better. (more…)

18 Best-Bet Events for Toronto’s Luminato Arts Festival

Experience a "temporal village" at Fort York National Historic Site with The Encampment (1812 Centennial Events).

In its sixth year, Luminato adds some star power to its 10-day cultural celebration of music, visual art, dance, theatre and literature. The city-wide festival’s new artistic director, Jorn Weisbrodt, shines the spotlight on his fiancé Rufus Wainwright, but has also tapped some recognizable names from the worlds of music, film, art, publishing and dance to share their insights and talents.

Check out our picks »

7 Canadian Literary Locales We Love

By AMANDA HALM

For fans of Anne, a trip to PEI for the many Anne of Green Gables sites is a necessity (Photo: Jenna MacMillian as "Anne of Green Gables" Tourism PEI / Barrett & MacKay)

Take your summer reading plans on the road: Walk in the footsteps of a memorable character or see where prolific poets spent their early years at one of these seven literary destinations across Canada. (more…)

Where in Toronto: Dancap Takes a Bow

Jersey Boys was Dancap's biggest hit (photo by Joan Marcus)

Last week Dancap Productions, which brought to Toronto Broadway hits such as Jersey Boys, announced that it would not present any programming for the 2013 season. This suspension of operations marks the end of an era (albeit a relatively short one), where two large theatre companies, Dancap and juggernaut Mirvish Productions, introduced audiences to big-time mainstream musicals and stage dramas. But don’t fret; though the scene just got a little smaller, there are still many exciting opportunities across the city for resident and visiting theatre enthusiasts alike. (more…)

Top Canadian Summer Music Festivals

By WAHEEDA HARRIS

Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts, Montreal (Photo: ©Tim Snow)

Sure, it’s still technically spring, but if you want to attend some of Canada’s biggest music festivals, you’ll have to get your tickets (and book a hotel or campsite) now. Mark your calendars!

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Get a Sneak Peek at Toronto’s 2012 CONTACT Photography Festival

By SHANNON KELLY

"Arirang" 2006 (Philippe Chancel)

Toronto’s annual CONTACT Photography Festival opens next Tuesday, May 1. The month-long festival brings the work of more than 100 photographers to more than 200 galleries, museums and public spaces around the city. The theme this year is “Public”. To see what’s on when, check out this handy festival map. (more…)

The Best of Ontario Spring Festivals and Events

By MEGHAN WILSON-SMITH

Canadian Tulip Festival (Photo: John Talbot)

As the weather warms in March and April in Ontario, there is a bit more spring in our steps, a renewed bustle on sidewalks and park trails and a general loosening of the scarves.

(more…)

12 Fabulous Winter Festivals Across Canada

Photo courtesy of Travel Manitoba

Canadians don’t hibernate in winter. Far from it!

We use the season to our advantage with fun-loving festivals from Atlantic Canada to the Yukon packed with wintry pursuits like ice sculpting, skating, and the age-old traditions of chainsaw chucking and beard growing. (more…)

Staff Picks: Our Next Stage Theatre Festival 2012 Primer

Tomasso's Party is but one of the lauded independent productions at this year's Next Stage Theatre Festival

Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, the Next Stage Theatre Festival rounds up the best that the North American fringe circuit has to offer—all at one venue, the venerable Factory Theatre. New this year is the Ante-Chamber Stage, a forum for debuting short works and showcasing old favourites. Take in the finest edgy, indie productions, and even enjoy a fine brew at the heated McAuslan beer tent. Performances take place from January 4 to 15. Click here for further details and showtimes.

Hypnogogic Logic
Four-man comedy troupe Uncalled For returns to the stage with its award-winning Hypnogogic Logic, which explores the wide, wild world of dreams. Sporting life jackets to better navigate the rapids of the unconscious, the performers encounter Freddie Mercury, wordy street preachers and other absurd figments of their collective imagination, all while offering their signature wit, clever writing and the unpredictable hilarity of sketch comedy.

Living with Henry
Part of 2011’s “Best of Fringe,” Living with Henry is the story of Michael—recently diagnosed with HIV and envisioning the illness as a jealous man who haunts him throughout his relationships. Sometimes comic, always thought provoking, this musical drama reframes AIDS as a chronic disease rather than a death sentence, without diminishing its personal, physical and societal complications.

Love is a Poverty You Can Sell
Soup Can Theatre presents this decadent cabaret-style creation featuring show-stopping numbers from Sweeney Todd and Threepenny Opera. Hosted by two emcees, the production is a tribute to the works of legendary composer Kurt Weill and channels 1920’s Berlin in a night that’s brought critics to their feet since its 2009 opening.

LoveSexMoney
Inspired by a true story, LoveSexMoney takes a look at intimacy—or the lack thereof—in the digital age. A young woman sells her virginity online, and is poised to consummate when her scorned ex-boyfriend arrives on the scene. Hilarity ensues. This naughty production by Theatre Brouhaha openly exposes the world of Japanese erotic toys, custom-made dolls and love thwarted by the Internet.

Loving the Stranger or How to Recognize an Invert
Ecce Homo Theatre is known for its genre-bending socio-political commentary; this production is exemplary of the company’s ethos. A co-production with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and the SummerWorks Theatre Festival, Loving the Stranger describes— through Brechtian cabaret, political theatre and camp—the life of a man who is arrested for homosexuality by the Nazi regime.

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Hot Date: Indies on the “Next” Stage

Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party

JANUARY 4 TO 15 Top independent playwrights, directors and performers step into the spotlight at the Next Stage Theatre Festival. Celebrating its fifth season, the event features a lineup ranging from something-for-everyone spectacles to intimately focused relationship stories. Anticipated shows include The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A Go-Go!—a hyper-enthusiastic parody of 1960’s beach party movies—and Tomasso’s Party, a close-up look at a young couple that explores what it means to be in a relationship. Plus, comedy troupe Uncalled For presents its energetic trip through the subconscious in Hypnogogic Logic. Factory Theatre, $10 to $15; for showtimes and tickets, call 416-966-1062 or visit here.

And don’t forget to check back tomorrow for a full rundown of festival productions!

Hot Date: Fringe Begins

A scene from The Getaway

JUNE 30 TO JULY 11 Brace yourself for a no-holds-barred theatrical extravaganza as the Toronto Fringe Festival brings edgy stage entertainment back to the city. More than 800 Canadian thespians are set to enthrall audiences at 27 venues with such eclectic offerings as the side-splitting Canadian-historical musical-comedy The Flying Avro Arrow, backseat caper The Getaway—performed streetside in a van—and a peek into the life of a bitter birthday clown entitled Mal. After a show, let the glow of the 23,000-bulb marquee guide you to Honest Ed’s, which this year hosts the Fringe Club, complete with a beer tent and free nightly entertainment. Various venues and times, tickets up to $10 per show, five-play pass $40; call 416-966-1062 or visit here for more information.