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.

The Shoemaker & the Pant-O-Mimes coming up @ Red Sandcastle Theatre

Before I head off for the holiday, wanted to give a shout out to Red Sandcastle Theatre’s upcoming panto extravaganza The Shoemaker and the Pant-O-Mimes. Here’s the official word from the folks at Red Sandcastle:

COME ENJOY a brand new PANTOMIME in the friendly, informal RED SANDCASTLE THEATRE with a crazy cast of characters :

Come laugh at the domineering Dame Twanky (played by the hilarious Richard Waugh)! And join him, the hapless shoemaker (“real brit” Brenda Somers) and his daughter Cinderella (triple threat Amber-kelly Mackereth) in search of elves and comfortable footwear… Meet a pair of Hip-hop dancing Mimes (the stellar Francis Bueron and Annie Chen), boo the Evil Designer Kenneth Coal (tall and bearded Taran Beaty) and his model sidekick! (gorgeous Allison McCaughey) With a special guest appearance by the nefarious Pink Cheshire Panther from last year and …….. a very disgruntled ELF!

PRICES (1/3 the price of the “other panto”) : $25. reg. $10 child $15 Students, seniors, artists … FAMILY DEAL PACK IS ONLY $50 FOR 2 adults & 2 kids ($5 for an extra child)

Info at http://www.redsandcastletheatre.com

TIX by calling BOX OFFICE at 416.845.9411! or emailing redsandcastletheatre@gmail.com


>>>> DEC 26 TO JAN 6 ONLY <<<<


December 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 at 7:00pm

January 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 at 7:00pm


Wednesday December 26 at 2:00pm

Saturday December 29 at 2:00pm

Sunday December 30 at 2:00pm

Saturday January 5 at 2:00pm

Sunday January 6 at 2:00pm


I’ll be heading over to take in the fun and games at the December 30 matinée, which just happens to be the same day I’ll be heading out for the Tin Star Orphans’ F*ck New Years 3 gig at The Rivoli.

Till then – whatever you happen to be celebrating, even if it’s a celebration of some time off work – Happy Holidays!


Raw heart sounds – Tin Star Orphans @ the Horseshoe

Shortly after my friends, Kat, Lizzie, Lizzie’s friend Janis and I entered the back room of the Horseshoe last night, we met up with drummer Johnny Rowe, who was set to do double duty with two bands: Inlet Sound and Tin Star Orphans in back-to-back sets at the top of the evening – which is just fine by him because, stamina challenges aside, he loves to play.

Inlet Sound

First band up was Inlet Sound, a folk rock band from Hamilton with a great Celtic, violin-backed, east coast sound, bringing to mind great east coast bands like Great Big Sea and Rawlins Cross. Dream Awake, a lovely collection of lyric ballads, is their EP release – I picked up a copy at the venue last night – and their first full-length record The Romantics is nearing completion. Check them out and give them a listen here: http://www.inletsound.com/

I’d heard Tin Star Orphans once before, at the end of 2011 at the Rivoli, and was struck by the band’s raw, driving sounds – packing a big punch, but with a big heart – largely due to frontman Zachary Bennett’s lyrics and vocals, strong guitar arrangements (Bennett and Dean Marino) and Johnny Rowe’s percusssion. And I was very happy to purchase a copy of their recent recording The Days of Blinding Fear – lots of which we got to hear live last night.

Bennett’s vocals are alive and raw, going from soft and introspective on ballads like “Fire” to a ferocious growl in “Year of the Wave,” a prophesy of impending environmental disaster, warning of a Momma Nature losing patience, trigger finger twitching. Love the final line of that one: All fanatics may bow their heads and pray but I’m only hoping someone brings champagne.

Songs like “Fire” and “Jaw Wired Shut” – among my favourites – have a U2 sound, reminiscent of The Joshua Tree. Haunting and visceral. And “Three Cheers for the Coward” has an especially haunting sound, while “We Are Lions” is pure driving beat. Johnny Rowe was showing no signs of slowing down on the skins during that second set. If I were writing this about a classical concert, I’d characterize his playing as “robust.” The man can play – and he was still givin’ ‘er right to the end of Tin Star Orphans’ final chords.

Tin Star Orphans
Tins Star Orphans – Zachary Bennett
Tin Star Orphans – Dean Marino & Zachary Bennett
Tin Star Orphans – Johnny Rowe

You gotta give these guys a listen: http://www.tinstarorphans.com/

Theatre & music – upcoming adventures

Busy week for this bloggergal, chickens. Here’s a peek at what I’ll be up to:

Atic Productions has a short run of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? opening at the Tarragon Extra Space tonight and running until June 24. This production was directed by Carter West, and features actors Benjamin Blais, Ben Hayward, Rosemary Doyle and Tim Walker. I’ll be wandering over on Friday. For info: http://aticproductions.com/

I’ll finally be going to see Soulpepper’s production of You Can’t Take It With You tomorrow night – better late than never. Here’s the scoop on that show: http://www.soulpepper.ca/performances/12_season/you_can%27t_take_it_with_you.aspx

Saturday will be a music night out with my gals Kat Leonard and Lizzie Violet – this time, at the Horseshoe Tavern to see Tin Star Orphans. Check them out here: http://www.tinstarorphans.com/

This means I’ll be rolling out the bloggage on these the next day. Whew!

So – what are you up to this week?

Last adventures of 2011

Happy New Year!

Lots going on since I last checked in. Thursday night, I headed to The Painted Lady to hear the Cubadors with my friend Marta, who knows the guitar player, Ana Medeiros. These three musicians rock, with great sounds that include musical influences The B52s and The Police, and I also heard U2’s the Edge in Ana’s riffs (plus you gotta love the Wonder Woman sticker on her guitar). Check them out at: http://www.cubadors.com/

Friday afternoon, I dropped by the AGO for the Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde exhibit – and, man, was it packed in there. This is a lovely selection of works by Chagall and his contemporaries. I especially love Chagall’s pieces from the 50s, like Blue Circus, where he uses the bright primaries he came to be known for. You still have a chance to see it – on till January 15. Check out the AGO site for details: http://www.ago.net/chagall-and-the-russian-avant-garde

Friday night, it was more music – this time at the Rivoli with my girlfriends Kat and Lizzie, and Kat’s friend Linda. We went to the back room venue on the main floor to hear Fleece Elves (http://www.facebook.com/people/Fleece-Elves/621385790) and Tin Star Orphans (http://tinstarorphans.com/), with Orphans frontman Zachary Bennett doing a solo acoustic set to start off. You must check these bands out – powerful lyrics, driving instrumentals and passionate performances – and both feature amazingly talented (not to mention hard-working) drummer Johnny Rowe.

Saturday, I went to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows with pals Kerri and Cecilia at the Rainbow Market Square. Holmes and Watson square off against Moriarty in this action-packed sequel. While maintaining the witty repartee and mind-blowing observation of the first installment, this story features a lot more action sequences – which are amazing. I just prefer wit over action, I guess. Big fun at the movie theatre – take a look at the trailer and details on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1515091/

Enjoy the first day of 2012!