Upcoming awesomeness: music, poetry & theatre

Happy New Year, all!

Here are a bunch of upcoming events/performances/productions to watch out for – and there’s a little somethin’ for everyone here:

Tin Star Orphans open for The Strumbellas at The Dakota Tavern on Tues, Jan 8.

The next edition of The Beautiful & the Damned poetry cabaret, hosted by Philip Cairns and featuring trivia on dead celeb of the month James Dean, is on Thurs, Jan 10 – 7 p.m. at Glad Day Bookshop.

Queen Milli of Galt, written by Gary Kirkham and directed by Victoria Shepherd, opens at The Village Playhouse on Fri, Jan 11 and runs until Sat, Feb 2.

Theatre Brouhaha’s Toronto Fringe 2012 hit production of Kat Sandler’s Help Yourself runs at Red Sandcastle Theatre Fri, Jan 11 – Sat, Jan 19 – if you missed it at Fringe, be sure to check out this remount. Check out the rest of Red Sandcastle’s January lineup on the website, which includes the final week of The Shoemaker and the Pant-O-Mimes! (closing Jan 6) and a remount of Act II Studio’s production of Mark Leith’s play Dinner with Goebbels (Jan 25-27).

Rarely Pure Theatre is staging a Comedy Night at The Winchester on Fri, Jan 11.

LMG Productions’ Super Wonderful New Year Kickoff (a Wonder Women fundraising event – for the first time, featuring Super Men) at The Central at 7:30 p.m. on Sat, Jan 12 – $10 cover.

Christian D and the Hangovers – with guests The Howling Bullets – at The Cadillac Lounge on Sat, Jan 12 at 9 p.m.

Theatre Passe Muraille’s next Songbook Series: Michael Jackson – on Fri, Jan 25.

Girl power rawkin out @ Supertash “Before The World Ends” CD launch

What would you do if the world was gonna end on December 21, 2012? Rawk out, of course! Maybe some other things too, but this is a PG kinda blog, so I’ll leave that up to all y’all.

The countdown for Supertash’s Before The World Ends CD launch ended last night at the Gladstone Hotel, with some incredible talent taking to the stage for a super big fun, girl-power packed evening. Also on feature: jewelery made by Tash and Meghan’s awesome delicious cupcakes, as well as some very tasty catered nosh.

Throughout the evening, host Kat Leonard, accompanied by Arlene Paculan, treated us to some tunes of their own: a slowed down ballad version of Kat’s song “Jockstrap” (from Kat’s one-woman fangirl opus to Johnny Depp, A Depper Kind of Love), Arlene’s song “Nightmare” (also performed by Kat, including her own improv’d expletives) – then both singing the Whitney Houston/Bobby Brown mash-up medley they performed at Theatre Passe Muraille’s recent Songbook Series cabaret, with Kat doing an interpretive dance performance as Arlene performed vocals on the big “I Will Always Love You” finale. A great combo of music and comedy – irreverent, fun and passionate.

Sherry-Lynn Lee opened with a solo acoustic set, accompanying herself on guitar, moving us with a great range of pop, rock and soulful, melodious ballads – mixing her set of originals with covers “With or Without You” and “Someone Like You.” It was the first time I’ve heard her live – I’m looking forward to hearing more, and I took her music home on CD. Keep an ear out for this lady.

It had been a while since I saw Meghan Morrison performing with her full band – and I especially love the violin arrangements, which add a poetic, haunting quality to her songs. Opening with “This Song” – violin crying along with her voice, “the sound that my heart makes” – she moved into “Good People (Sideways),” a song inspired by an incident that occurred on the steps of the Gladstone Hotel a couple of years ago during Nuit Blanche. Showcasing Meghan’s great range – vocally, she’s been compared to Alanis Morissette, early Sarah McLachlan (circa Vox) and even Paula Cole – the band performed several songs from Meghan’s We Are All Born Naked CD, finishing with my fave “Hush,” which Meghan said she pretty much has to do every gig or else someone will be upset over the omission. Coming up: Meghan plays tomorrow night (Nov 13) at The Drake Hotel at 7:30 p.m. as a guest performer for the SUPERCELL screening by Tara Cooper – and look out for her monthly webcasts, featuring local indie music artists.

Another piece of trivia – and the jury is still out on whether this actually works or not. Apparently, eating a dollop of butter helps the voice when one is experiencing a dry cough. This remedy was thought up on the fly by Meghan and tried by Kat (who was dealing with a dry cough) – Kat says it works. Placebo or the real deal? Who knows.

After a brief break, the main event. Supertash (aka Tash Jolly) took over the stage with her band, treating us to three mini-sets, featuring tracks from the Before The World Ends CD and a an easy, soft acoustic guitar-driven solo set by Tash. This was one kick-ass, rawkin out at the end of the world experience. From the smokin’ hot, mysterious “Empty Hands,” which could easily be a James Bond movie theme song, to the unapologetic “No Coincidence” to the dreamy haze warning of “Blow Right Through You” and the soulful girl-power power ballad “Relief,” Supertash brought it.

It was a big fun evening of music and positive energy – and there were door prizes, where audience members submitted their superhero name and powers with their entry. Thanks to Tash for the awesome lightning bolt necklace – super hero powerful and Harry Potter magical! For a sneak peek at “Before The World Ends,” wrap your ears around these tracks on SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/supertash

Kat Leonard & Arlene Paculan
Sherry-Lynn Lee
Meghan Morrison & band
Meghan Morrison
Supertash – Tash Jolly
Supertash band – Frank Bartoletti (guitar) & Ed Mortenson (drums)
Supertash band – Dave Carreiro (bass) & Christina Melanie (keys)
Supertash – Tash Jolly w Frank Bartoletti
Supertash & band

Some music & theatre shouts for this week

I can tell it’s Fall when I’m hardly home and off someplace seeing something or another – and invariably painting a theatre set too (which is what I’ll be doing up in the studio at Alumnae Theatre this week – for their upcoming production of The Drowning Girls).

Here are just a few theatrical events happening this week:

The Normal Heart: on now till November 18 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Studio 180 Theatre production of Larry Kramer’s play, directed by Joel Greenberg- featuring actors John Bourgeois, Mark Crawford, Martin Happer, Ryan Kelly, Mark McGrinder, Jeff Miller, Sarah Orenstein, Jonathan Seinen and Jonathan Wilson. Check the Buddies website for more info: http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/shows/the-normal-heart/

Dinner with Goebbels: October 25-28 at Red Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen St. East – at Logan). Act2 Studio production of Mark Leith’s play, directed by Les Porter. For more info and reservations, visit the Studio2 site page: http://www.ryerson.ca/~act2/activities.html#goebels

Songbook Series 4: A Celebration of Musical Couples – one night only:Friday, October 26 at 10:30 p.m. Theatre Passe Muraille upstairs (16 Ryerson Ave.) – featuring performers Nathan Carroll and Eden Richmond, Rebecca Perry and Matt Eger, Kat Leonard Arlene Paculan, The Book Club, Kanika Ambrose, Alison Wong, Matthew Tapscott, Autumn Smith and The Family Band (Kristin Rodgerson, Eric Chisholm, Sam Sholdice, Rebecca Jess and Rob Kempson). Check out the Facebook invite here: https://www.facebook.com/events/449748015076267/?notif_t=plan_user_invited

What will you be seeing this week?