Archive for May, 2007

Where does Harper really stand?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Canscene) — Colleen Beaumier, Liberal MP for Brampton West, a riding characterized by its highly diverse population has called attention to a very questionable move by Stephen Harper.

She is indignant that in the federal government’s budget, funding for Multiculturalism activities was slashed to $17 million from $34 million. This is indeed a meagre budget for a government function whose activities have embraced anti-racism and intercultural understanding. (more…)

The Vimy spin

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

(Canscene) — You may hate me for what I’m going to say, but say it I must.

Last month, we were treated to a massive outpouring of emotion as we commemorated the 90th anniversary of the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge.


The commemoration and the restoration of the Vimy monument were just: the Canadian men who fought and succeed where others failed were true heroes.

However I strenuously object to the mythology that many, from politicians to military historians to media are trying to create out of the Vimy battle. It was a defining moment in Canadian military history but in no way can it be seen as the defining moment in the making of our nation. (more…)

And the rest of this issue…

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

…….is devoted to the flowering of the arts in a city I once described as a “cultural wasteland.”

That was almost 60 years ago, but I stayed. And how glad I am !

Within ten years we had the Stratford Festival, less than two hours drive away and the beginnings of an opera company, both of which would resonate internationally. Foreign films were gradually breaking through the subtitle stigma and we were welcoming Fellini, Kurosawa and Bresson. And home grown theatre was offering us Canadian actors in local productions of even, at times, works by Canadian playwrights.

And my first 20 years in Canada were crowned with a visit to Expo ’67 one of the great defining moments in the shaping of modern Canada.

The rest is history.

This year we salute a veritable explosion of opportunities for lovers of music, theatre, film, dance, the visual arts and spectacle to enjoy a city that makes me, at least, proud I don’t have to go to New York to enjoy events of the kind we salute here.

Please don’t bug me with that tired old cliché “now we’re a world class city.” When it comes to what I’m going to tell you, we’re a “Toronto class city.”

Elektra — a riveting COC production

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Susan Bullock as Elektra

(Canscene) — I may live to experience more production of Richard Strauss’ Elektra but I shall never see and hear one to better the current Canadian Opera Company production, conducted by the COC’s own Richard Bradshaw and directed by Britain’s Thomas de Mallet Burgess. (more…)

Reel growth in festival’s 7th year

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

This year’s Reel World Film Festival established by internationally known Canadian actress Tonya Lee Williams saw a growth to a total to 87 productions, plus panels and workshops.

Fate conspired to prevent me from seeing all but Shooting for Change in which I had some direct involvement, but from screeners, I have had access to Bolly Double and A Winter Tale. Since the former may be released later this month, here’s my take on it.

I’ll give you thoughts on A Winter Tale next month. (more…)

Luminato looms — get ready for June 1

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Performers head for Luminato June 1

(Canscene) — With the financial future of Luminato now guaranteed for four years, it follows that the first event planned for June 1 to 10 will pull all the stops to showcase what could become for Toronto and Ontario an annual draw of equal value to residents and visitors. (more…)

The Cirque comes to town

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

atlantis.jpg(Canscene_ — Hey guys, remember the days when you thought it’d be fun to run away from home and join the circus?

Not anymore, unless you have the potential skills of a ballet dancer, the strength of an Atlas and the ability to time your movements to a nanosecond. Go see Cirque Avaia and find out why.

Cirque Avaia, which first graced Canada at Niagara Falls last year, moved last month into a massive pavilion at Woodbine Centre, adjacent to the race track, for a one month stay ending May 27.

Civic Duty: idle brain, Devil’s playground

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

(Canscene) — Canadians, at least, seem to be waking up to the necessity of acting judiciously when it comes to suspecting, investigating and prosecuting supposed terrorists.

That’s why a new film from an independent producer in the United States is well worth a visit; chooses as its subject a plot that in addition to being suspenseful challenges values based on media reporting and asks: who is the terrorist and who the defender of his rights?

It’s Civic Duty, staring Peter Krause of Six Feet Under fame and is directed by Jeff Renfroe. (more…)

The last word

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Thomas Gray, Elegy written in a country churchyard.