A veteran photojournalist on the arts and entertainment scene, Julian Bynoe is a Toronto-based cartoonist, artist and arts blogger. From 1996 to 2014, he was the arts/entertainment editor for the street publication The Outreach Connection, and has had articles featured in Realms Magazine, among others.
CONTACT Photography Festival 2016 Reviews
Part 2 of a 3-part series
Lee Henderson: Never Letting Us Take Breath
Zalucky Contemporary, 3044 Dundas Street West
Through June 4; Wednesdays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
No basic theme runs through this installation piece except for some long-forgotten vintage family vacation photos of no fixed location Henderson displays, including a carousel slideshow of the same photos. Along with an audio soundtrack of dialogue readings from the certain experiences that people encounter with little or no correlation to the slideshow or photos in question (in one dialogue, the narrator quotes “Anxiety is fear stripped from imagination”), the exhibit has that strange, eerie sense of sentimentality from these aged and often yellowed photos they inhabit.
Jim Blomfield: Wandering Through Time
West Toronto Paint, 2975 Dundas Street West
Through May 31; Mondays-Wednesdays 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursdays-Fridays 7 a.m.- 8 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
In his latest travelogue photos, the Waterloo-based Blomfield brings the Greek isle of Sifros onto elongated black and white silver gelatin prints of rocky outcroppings, stony pathways and wandering landscapes and seashores, giving a timeless glimpse of the timelessness of this isolated area of the world, as well as having a sense of depth to them.
Group Exhibit: Urban Stories
Latitude 44 Gallery, 2900 Dundas Street West
Through May 31; Tuesdays-Fridays 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
In a more pared down annual CONTACT group showing at the Latitude 44 this year, it just has three artists stick to the theme of the streets with Ralph Kroman’s heavily electrifying Lane City series focusing on some of Toronto’s 2,400 laneways across town that were built prior to World War II through black/white, colour and colour-toned shots. In these photos, he captures each lane’s unique character and identity, some with time-lapse photography getting all the action while enhancing some of the graffiti art in others.
Words on the street by linda o. nagy goes looking at street art in differing forms from overt political statements (“Refugees Welcome”) to one-word scrawls on a subway pillar (“SEX”), even to something more charming on a rust-coloured iron hinge on the ground (“Cloud – I feel lower than this right now…”) depicts all about expression of the quick to studied thoughts that makes all the difference.
While a bit out of the exhibit’s context, Brian Anderson’s The Tools My Father Gave Me are his black and white series of carpentry tools shot on Epson Ultra-Chrome that the artist has gripping items like saws, chisels, pens to callipers in his hand with loving respect, showing some sense of ownership of heirlooms that should be treasured and cherished. A bit average in subject, but they do have some directness.
CONTACT 2016 currently running through May 31. Most venues are FREE. For information, call 416-539-9595 or visit scotiabankcontactphoto.com.
Left-right: Sarah McLachlan, Joe Jackson and Oliver Jones will make their appearances at this year’s Toronto Jazz Festival June 24 to July 3, marking thirty years of bringing jazz to the city.
2016 Toronto Jazz Festival Preview
It may be hard to believe, but the Toronto Jazz Festival is probably one of the heartiest survivors of the music festivals in this town, be it from the changing tides of the music’s popularity from year to year or the tumbles and troubles of funding that plagued the organizers back in the 1990s trying to make the transition from tobacco company sponsorship (still remember those media luncheons that offered free cigarette packs at each table!) to the current major sponsor, TD Canada Trust, not to mention the fading away of jazz legends that almost make it harder by the year to book and maintain its genre.
But survived it has to make it to 2016 for its thirtieth anniversary, often having to expand its repertoire in order to gain an audience and this year is no exception. “I feel so fortunate to help bring to our stages each year the most exciting musicians, playing the most exciting music,” said festival Artistic Director Josh Grossman, who took over the position from the late co-founder Jim Galloway a couple of years ago. “In 2016, we are truly featuring some of the most important artists in the development of jazz over the past thirty years and some of the artists who are set to take jazz – and the Festival – into the future.”
Packed with about 1,500 musicians spread over eleven days in over 350 concerts from June 24 to July 3 within the downtown core, the fest organizers have some new things to present starting with its festival hub at Nathan Phillips Square’s (100 Queen Street East) Mainstage Tent with new seating options: Reserved with a assigned row and seat number for the best seats in the house, Lounge Premium with guaranteed access to the elevated lounge area with a first come, first serve setting and the regular General Admission to the main floor seating, also on a first come, first serve basis.
Also new is a new partner onboard with Second Cup with a new concept café at King and John Streets with programming to launch a year-round initiative to bring contemporary to traditional jazz to the city and the late-night jam sessions will be kicking it at the old standby the Rex Jazz & Blues Bar (194 Queen Street West) led by Chris Gale Quartet on a nightly basis, along with acts Tara Davidson Quartet (June 24), Alex Pangman Sextet (June 25), Metalwood (June 26) to the Justin Bacchus Collective (July 1), among others.
For its lineup, two of this country’s jazz heroines saxophonist/flautist Jane Bunnett and vocalist Molly Johnson join forces on June 30th at the Mainstage Tent to celebrate Bunnett’s landmark album Spirits of Havana that made her a name in the Afro-Cuban jazz circles worldwide. Other names to grace the Toronto Star Stage as well will be Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (June 25), Lee Fields &The Expressions and Allen Stone (June 26), singers Grace Potter (June 27) and Gregory Porter (June 28), superstar Robert Glasper Experiment (June 29), conscientious hip-hop meister Michael Franti & Spearhead (July 1) and the irascible rebel music legend Joe Jackson (July 2), with a couple of more acts to announced in the coming weeks.
Also coming is the fest opening act Sarah McLachlan at the Sony Centre (1 Front Street East) on June 24; The Jazz Bistro (251 Victoria Street) hosting the Bill Charlap Trio for two nights June 24 and 25, Laila Biali Trio with Phil Dwyer (June 26), Robi Botos with a few friends over three nights with bassist Bill Novotny Duo (June 28), the Hilario Duran Duo (June 29) and his quartet with Seamus Blake (June 30), a tribute to the recently released art-house Chet Baker biopic Music From Born to Be Blue with Braid, Turcotte, Wallace & Clarke (July 1).
Canadian jazz icon Oliver Jones goes on his farewell tour at the Jane Mallet Theatre (27 Front Street East) June 28, as well as the Avishai Cohen Trio makes a appearance on June 30; at the Horseshoe Tavern (368 Queen Street West) is Keifer Sutherland – yes, that one – performing music from his forthcoming debut album Down In A Hole June 27, the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers come June 29 and The Hot Sardines on July 2. And coming to Koerner Hall (273 Bloor Street West) this year is the Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis (June 28); piano greats Chick Corea Trio with Christian McBride and Brian Blade (June 29) and the Ramsey Lewis Quartet with the opening act of rising star child prodigy Joey Alexander leading his trio on June 30.
More acts to be announced. Tickets now on sale. For information, call 1-888-655-9090 (Ticketpro); 416-408-0208 or (Koerner Hall events); 1-855-872-7669 (Sarah McLachlan) or visit ticketpro.com,ticketmaster.ca(McLachlan) or torontojazz.com.
A digitalized rendering of the front lobby of The Hearn when Luminato takes over the decomissioned electrical plant as its new performance hub after years at the downtown David Pecault Square, complete with shuttle buses to the lakeshore venue; just in time for its tenth anniversary next month.
Luminato 2016 Preview
As it prepares to enter into its second decade, the multidisciplinary arts extravaganza Luminato undertakes its greatest challenge to date in its ten-year history – setting up shop by turning an old industrial building into the city’s newest temporary arts venue, The Hearn Generating Station (440 Unwin Avenue) down by the lakeshore area that used to generate Toronto’s electrical needs in the last century, for their major performances and visual arts, as well as expanding the festival from its ten-day format into seventeen (June 10 to 26) and breaking in a new Artistic Director to replace the outgoing Jorn Weisbrodt after guiding the festival for five years.
Luminato scores a coup for obtaining the exclusive North American premiere of the critically-acclaimed The James Plays trilogy about three generations of the 15th-century Scottish princedoms period.
“It feels totally natural and clear that as the climax completing Luminato’s first decade and launching its second, the Festival shows Toronto and the world the possibilities that lie within our city,” stated Weisbrodt, who came up with the idea for a new residency for the festival after holding the last two galas there in 2014 and the highly popular 48-hour Unsound Festival in 2015, which also will be returning there this year. “The Hearn Generating Station could be the cultural icon of the new millennium – a new idea of a cultural institution where ideas, art forms, artists, and audiences are no longer separated but brought together to create new energy, new ideas. Culture does not need to spread out across multiple institutions anymore – flat, hierarchical, high and low. It should be three-dimensional, transformable, mutually energizing and enlightening – truly something for everyone.
“Every great international city has a unique cultural institution. Buenos Aires has the Teatro Colón, Milan has La Scala, Paris has the Louvre, New York has MoMA and in June 2016, Toronto will have the Hearn Generating Station,” he continued. “Luminato Festival was founded a decade ago to infuse new energy into Toronto, to ‘turn the lights back on’, to bring Toronto to the world and the world to Toronto. In the Hearn Generating Station we will create the world’s largest multidisciplinary generator of art and culture, offering a globally unique, exceptionally rich and highly integrated cultural experience.”
In order to preserve one of the finest examples of Art Deco buildings ever built in the world, the organizers have kept the original designs and will turn it into a flowing venue of stage, exhibition and entertainment as not to compete with each other (however will seal off restricted areas yet to be developed), but to compliment courtesy of the architectural firm PARTISANS, entertainment technology company Solotech Toronto, building code consulting engineers LRI Engineering and Blackwell Structural Engineering Services and the acoustics consultancy, Charcoalblue.
The composition will go like so: the 274-meter Turbine Hall becomes the fest’s main audience pathway to the other venue spaces with concession stand options along the way as various bays will house galleries and performance spaces for artistic partners including the NFB and Ontario College of Art and Design University, the Grand Staircase area will hold the Jackman Gallery and the third floor Side Room will host Kid Koala’s Music to Draw To (June 25), among other events.
The Music Stage has enough space to hold its three events, the aforementioned DJ rave party spectacular Unsound Toronto (June 10-11), Rufus Wainwright’s Judy Garland 1961 comeback tribute concert, Rufus Does Judy (June 23-24) backed by a 36-piece orchestra led by Broadway legend Stephen Oremus and the Canadian post-rock dance production collaboration by The Holy Body Tattoo and Godspeed You! Black Emperor on our capitalist urban culture, monumental (June 14-15).
Left-right: Rufus Wainwright recreates his smash-hit concert performance tribute to Judy Garland, Rufus Does Judy, June 23 to 24; and monumental, the anti-capitalist post-rock dance production makes its Toronto debut at Luminato June 14 to 15.
The 1,200-seating Hearn Theatre will have the highly-anticipated National Theatre of Scotland’s ambitious trilogy cycle about the 15th-century Stewart princedoms by Rona Munro, The James Plays (June 16-26) over a eleven-hour marathon or the ten-day run; and in between them will be the German award-winning virtual reality project about the arms trade, Situation Rooms (June 10-19), plus two visual arts projects, Pierre Huyge’s 2012 landscape-sized Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt) and back by popular demand from 2012, Michel de Broin’s gigantic mirror ball piece One Thousand Speculations.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs a double bill of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Gershwin’s An American in Paris June 21; local parkour group The Monkey Vault Team jumps about the place June 17 to 26, including the BASE jumping Team FX from the Hearn’s 215-metre tall smokestack June 10 to 11; master hypnotist Asad Mecci mixes comedy with the suggestion of the mind trick for Hypnohype June 16; filmmaker Stan Douglas explores post-World War II Vancouver with the NFB/Toronto International Film Festival dark interactive installation Circa 1948 and a recreation of last year’s smash epic production of R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis as a CD listening party on June 16.
For better access, Luminato will run free twelve-hour shuttle bus services to and from the Hearn from Union Station, with additional pick-ups en route from The Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and the Commissioners Street TTC stop.
As it showers itself with praise for getting Torontonians and the world to see its mélange of arts for over ten years, this year’s Luminato is a bittersweet one as it bids farewell to Weisbrodt as his final fest by getting Josephine Ridge to take over the artistic director reins for next year. Well respected for her thirty years of experience in her native Australia as the artistic director of the Melbourne Festival from 2013 to 2015, General Manager and then Executive Director of Sydney Festival from 2003 to 2012, Deputy General Manager of both The Australian Ballet 1997 to 2002 and the Australian Chamber Orchestra from 1993 to 1997, it’s fair to say Luminato will be left in good hands.
“I couldn’t be more excited to introduce Canada to the incomparable Josephine Ridge, following Jorn Weisbrodt’s widely admired five years,” said festival CEO Anthony Sargent. “Josephine’s global reputation as an artistic curator and cultural leader is widely recognized and enormously impressive. I’m thrilled that Josephine shares our enthusiasm and ambition for the future of Luminato at the dawn of its second decade, and for the city of Toronto. I’m also very proud that Josephine is the latest in a series of highly-respected, internationally-acclaimed cultural leaders to choose Canada’s largest and most ambitious city in which to live, work and create.”
“Our search committee was fortunate to meet with a remarkable group of short-listed candidates from Canada and around the world,” added Luminato chairperson and co-founder Tony Gagliano. “This interest and their qualities speak volumes to what Luminato has been able to achieve in our first decade, not least the international impact which the visionary programming and artistic contributions of our current Artistic Director Jorn Weisbrodt, and before him, Chris Lorway, have made. We look forward to building our second decade with Josephine, and to welcoming her to Toronto and the Luminato family.”
In her own words, Ridge has much respect for Luminato, her predecessors, the city and what it’s done to put it on the artistic map. “I believe so deeply in the fundamental importance of festivals such as Luminato. It is a great honour to accept the role of incoming Artistic Director,” said Ridge. “I am confident that together with Anthony and the team, we can ensure Luminato’s future as one of the most acclaimed city-based arts festivals in the world – and most importantly, one that is deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of Toronto.”
Tickets now on sale, some events are FREE. For more information, call the Luminato Festival Box Office at 416-368-4849 or visit luminatofestival.com
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