So much fun coming up!

Thought I’d take a moment to post about some ongoing/upcoming arts events.

Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF) continues this week with the Week Two program and reading (March 13-17), with Week Three program/reading running the week after (March 20-24).

Quick note on Saturday’s Week One reading of Falling: We had a packed house, with an audience who responded very positively and had some great feedback for playwright Jamie Johnson. Shouts to Jamie, co-artistic directors Pat McCarthy and Carolyn Zapf, director Ed Rosing, AD/SM Jake Simpkins, dramaturge Diane Forrest, sound designer Rick Jones, and fellow cast members Carys Lewis, Cora Matheson, Ruth Miller and Kristen Scott! And a big thanks to all the folks who came out to support the play, including friends and family – some of whom trekked in from Ottawa, Burlington and Hamilton. xo

The next edition of The Beautiful and the Damned is Thursday, March 14 – 7 p.m. at Glad Day Bookshop. Host DM Moore introduces feature performers Greg “Ritallin” Frankson, Gerald Hannon and Andraya Smith, and some amazing open mic folks.

The next Songwriters Circle of Jerks is coming up on Thursday, March 14 – 8:30 p.m. at Free Times Café, featuring Brian Cober, Hugh Wilson, Marcus Walker, Nelson Sobral and Nick Verona.

Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival opens Friday, March 15 and runs until March 24 at Berkeley Street Theatre – check out the cool promo vid for the fest.  Features a new play by one of my favourite playwrights: Judith Thompson’s Who Killed Snow White? Also check out Nightwood’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration FemCab on Wednesday, March 20.

Speaking of my favourite playwrights, check out ongoing productions of works by Hannah Moscovitch (Double Bill) at Tarragon Theatre (till March 24) and Theatre Brouhaha’s production of Kat Sandler’s Rock at Storefront Theatre (till March 23).

And while you’re at it, check out the March programming and workshops at Red Sandcastle Theatre.

Canadian Music Week (CMW) is coming up hard and fast (March 19-24) – so check that out. Just a selection of some artists I know who will be performing: Angela Saini, blueVenus, Meghan Morrison, Jessica Speziale, Tin Star Orphans

But wait – there’s more! Bella’s Burlesque Birthday Bash: DIRTY THIRTY DANCE PARTY is coming up on Thursday, March 28 at Lee’s Palace – 8:30 p.m. Bella Fox hosts a night of burlesque, music (including High Heels Lo Fi), dancing – it’s going to be a blast. Next day is Good Friday, so lots of you will be able to sleep that one off.

All the more reason for me to get over this stupid head cold, which I’ve had since last Thursday.

Nightwood Theatre’s FemCab 2012 – strong, proud women inspire & entertain

I had not been to Nightwood Theatre’s annual FemCab (Feminist Cabaret) for many years – and I was so glad I went last night.

The Brigantine Room at the Harbourfront Centre was packed – with additional seating set up to accommodate the demand for tickets, the audience full of women of all ages, orientations and ethnicities. And my pal Lizzie Violet was there with me to share in the inspirational, entertaining, enraging and touching evening of women’s voices.

FemCab 2012’s amazing line-up included stand-up comic host Elvira Kurt (http://www.elvirakurt.ca/), who not only gave us some laughs and introduced the featured artists, but did an amazing job with the interview segments of the show. And I want her vest. DJ Cozmic Cat (http://cozmiccat.net/) spun the digital sounds for an evening that featured musicians, politicians, activists, actors and singers – like the audience, a diverse group of women (and one man). The evening opened with RAW (Raging Asian Women http://ragingasianwomen.ca/) performing on taiko drums – powerful, beautiful and moving.

We heard from Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (http://www.toronto.ca/councillors/wong_tam1.htm) and NDP MP Olivia Chow (http://www.oliviachow.ca/), both positive, hopeful and passionate women who want to create environments of equality, security, sustainability and prosperity for Toronto and Canada. Activist Anna Willats (http://awcca.ca/about/faculty.php) spoke on confronting the abuse of power – particularly regarding our system of policing – as well as violence against women, and encouraging/educating community engagement and leadership.

We enjoyed singers Evalyn Parry (www.evalynparry.com), Suba Sankaran (www.subasankaran.com) and Rosina Kazi (http://www.facebook.com/rosina.kazi), poetry by Motion (http://www.motionlive.com), a hilarious short film on panty liners for thongs by Dayna McLeod (http://daynarama.com/), a comedic/dramatic personal monologue by Shoshana Sperling (http://www.myspace.com/themonkeybunch) and an excerpt of Little. Miss. Everything. by Lisa Pijuan-Nomura (http://girlcancreate.com/CMS/index.php). Artistic expression in response to socially imposed ideals of beauty/femininity, rage against injustice, stories of everyday life/experience (both hilarious and heartbreaking), and moving sounds and voices.

And while the women who comprised FemCab’s 2012 line-up represent a range of disciplines and personal experiences, what they all had in common was their strength, pride, sass and ability to inspire.

FemCab was a one-night only event, but fear not, Nightwood has more to come this season. And look out for FemCab 2013.

For more info on Nightwood Theatre and its upcoming productions, check out their website: http://www.nightwoodtheatre.net/