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Review: Eternal Hydra

Posted by art On February - 1 - 2011

David Ferry and Liisa Repo-Martell in Eternal Hydra. Photo by Monica Esteves.

Eternal Hydra
By Anton Piatigorsky
Directed by Chris Abraham
Featuring David Ferry, Sam Malkin, Liisa Repo-Martell and Cara Ricketts
Produced by Crow’s Theatre in association with Factory Theatre
Runs until February 13 @ Factory Theatre

By Jen Handley

Appropriately enough for a work that explores different manifestations of plagiarism, Anton Piatigorsky’s Eternal Hydra, whose remount by Crow’s Theatre opened last weekend, is an extremely quotable play. One of its characters, a James Joyce doppelganger named Gordius Carbuncle (David Ferry), tosses around quips such as “nowadays writing has little to do with being an author” like clockwork every couple of minutes. But the sharpest one-liner of the night, delivered by a character who never gets much credit as an author—“why bother to walk in someone else’s shoes if you can buy them off her feet?”—momentarily pins down two of the play’s central concerns. Eternal Hydra not only questions the validity of dealing with art as property, it questions whether the vicarious knowledge we get of another person’s experience through art can ever be completely true to the real thing. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics Special: Chaos War #1

Posted by Comics On October - 8 - 2010

Chaos War #1
Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente (w), Khoi Pham, Reilly Brown (p), Tom Palmer, Terry Pallot (i), Sunny Gho, Val Staples (c). Marvel Comics.

I haven’t been reading the latest Hercules stuff, but I applaud this book on getting me up to speed easily enough. I also applaud the early use of a classic Star Wars reference. I don’t applaud having a classic villain, Nightmare, getting graphically killed as a way to help establish the rep of the “Chaos King” who’s the bad guy this time around. I know you can argue he did that to gain some nightmare powers or something… but unless it figures into the story later (and I will think an apology really loud in that case), they didn’t need to do it. Pham’s art was good at times, but for the most part it looks like every character was on the losing end of a fight, their faces were blotchy and crazy. The threat is far better than the more mainstream crossovers Marvel has been putting out lately- “the end-of-existence” versus “arbitrary-war-with-Asgard-that-started-the-exact-same-way-as-Civil War”. Read the rest of this entry »

Event: Towards the Carbon Neutral City

Posted by art On September - 29 - 2010

Towards the Carbon Neutral City
September 22 @ the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place

By Tina Chu

After mounting a successful exhibition at the MaRS Centre this summer with Behnisch Architekten, Thomas Auer of Transsolar ClimateEngineering returned to Toronto for a presentation entitled Towards a Carbon Neutral City.

A continuation of Ecology.Design.Synergy (see a previous related post here) and a part of Toronto’s Green Building Festival, Auer’s presentation showcased how Transsolar’s engineering innovations and architectural collaborations translate to the streets.

Building sustainably for Transsolar, involves more than being carbon neutral. While achieving a low footprint is a priority, equally important goals for Transsolar are whether or not the space it constructs is comfortable, vibrant and a place people desire to inhabit year-round. Read the rest of this entry »

From "Let Me In"

By Sean Kelly

In an interesting case of scheduling synchronization, I opened my film viewing at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival with a pair of horror films showing back-to-back at the Ryerson Theatre. The line up of the night consisted of the vampire remake Let Me In, followed by the Midnight Madness presentation of John Carpenter’s The Ward. Read the rest of this entry »

Fan Expo: A Complainer’s Survival Guide

Posted by Miles On September - 2 - 2010

I have been a comic book reader, video game player, and movie lover for a great many years now.  As such, it may shock and horrify you to know that I have never been to any kind of comic, video game, or movie convention in my life.  This is because my geeky desires and nerdly urgings are tempered by a healthy laziness that whispers sweet defeats into my ear holes, such as, “Driving to Toronto is no fun,” and “You’ll need to put on pants for this,” and “If you go somewhere you wouldn’t be lying down all day.”  I had always listened to that sultry voice, until now.  I finally donned my hip waders and dove into the sea of nerd humanity of a convention at this weekends Fan Expo event at the Toronto Metro Convention Center.

Overall, the event was very fun and worthwhile.  There were a lot of famous people there who were of interest to me for various reasons.  Summer Glau (hotness), Stan Lee (legendary-ness), Adam West (awesomeness), Felicia Day (because I wuv her and you can’t have her you bastards), and more fantastic and amazing comic book talent than you could shake a giant plastic mjolnir at.  There were a TON of items to buy, panels to go to, and things to see. Read the rest of this entry »

Fan Expo 2010: A Cynical Perspective

Posted by Comics On August - 30 - 2010

I could easily write how I enjoyed my time at the Toronto Fan Expo this year. In fact there are many things from this year’s convention (my second), which I am very happy about.  These include seeing a quite awesome 3D preview for Tron: Legacy, as well as having the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet David Cronenberg.

However, there are some things about the festival which rubbed me the wrong way and I am going to use this article to complain about the things that really go under my skin.

Too Expensive

I noticed that the prices for the expo were a little more expensive than they were last year and, in the case of basic passes, there was even a slight premium put on the Saturday ticket.  The admission price wouldn’t be so bad if you weren’t compelled to spend so much money after entering.  This actually segues into the next point. Read the rest of this entry »

Fan Expo: Sunday (Isaac’s day)

Posted by Comics On August - 29 - 2010

A shorter day (thankfully), I attended a few panels and chatted with a few creators. You know, that old thing.

The sketch duel between Doug Mahnke and Francis Manapul was the best. This was something I’d never experienced before, and it was quite cool. For those unfamiliar, it’s the two creators drawing the same character and while drawing they both answer questions from the audience. When all is said and done the drawings were raffled off to some hugely lucky attendees, walking off with either a Mahnke or Manapul Nightwing, Powergirl, or Wolverine sketch. And no I didn’t win any of them.

I have to mention my question to Doug Mahnke, I asked about how he worked on all the space fare for Green Lantern without the aid of references. He said that he worked in a studio with Patrick Gleason, a man who has worked on Green Lantern Corps for years, and that was a big help, in addition to using the back-issue library at DC for available comic reference, and the most valuable advice for the general populace who don’t have access to either of those two resources: “fake it ‘till you make it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Fan Expo: Sunday (Owen’s day)

Posted by Comics On August - 29 - 2010

Um… I’m not sure I really did much today. I’m not going to lie to you, I was pretty wrecked after yesterday and slept in pretty late, strolling into the Fan Expo sometime after 1:00.

One person I did talk to, who I hadn’t already had a chance to talk to, was JT Krul. He was a very cool guy, more than happy to talk about what he was looking to do with Green Arrow and Teen Titans. It sounds like he has some good ideas and a clear direction. I especially liked what he had to say about writing Damian Wayne, who he is wary of portraying as a one-note brat. I’m definitely going to be checking out his Teen Titans run.

After this I decided to make my first purchase of the weekend. Boom Studios was having an excellent 2 for 1 sale, meaning but one thing to me: both volumes of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck for the price of one. Without tax. Awesome. (Seriously, if you haven’t read this you should. I consider it one of the greatest graphic novels of all time.) Read the rest of this entry »

Fan Expo: Saturday (Isaac’s day)

Posted by Comics On August - 29 - 2010

First thing to point out is the line up for entry. If you heard anyone talk about it then you know it was insane – and I got to skip it all by having a ticket (media pass) from the hotel. DON’T HATE ME YET! Because I asked them at the entrance I used, and yes, anyone with a ticket could enter from the lineless hotel side of the convention centre, and I used that knowledge to save some pals from the inevitable sunstroke they would have otherwise received. I’m a hero. But more importantly, this illustrates a weird lack of knowledge for setting up shop by the organizers and fans coming in. I was confused because I’d never REALLY done the big convention thing before, what was their excuse?

The DC panel was the first of the day (have you read Owen’s take on the day? It’s great, go read it), and about the first thing Dan Didio did was ask each of the panelists what they felt they brought to their books, and when he got to Marcus To (Red Robin artist) Marcus just went “I, ah, don’t think I really bring anything UNIQUE to the book…” It was adorable, but not the kind of thing you’d get away with in a job interview. Afterwards I went up to him and said “What? Come on!! Your stuff is so good, it’s so crisp and clean, and the cityscapes you draw are fantastic!” Hopefully I’ve given him some ammo for the next time he’s on a panel like that. Read the rest of this entry »

Fan Expo: Saturday (Owen’s day)

Posted by Comics On August - 28 - 2010

I arrived nice and early this morning, giving me time to wander around before my first panel. It can certainly be hard to move around with the crowds, but there’s a lot of neat stuff to look at. I especially enjoyed seeing the Adam West Batmobile on the floor.

The DC Universe panel featured a rather hefty guest list: Dan Didio, Francis Manapul, JT Krul, Jeff Lemire, Gary Frank, Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Marcus To and Brian Azzarello. To start things off the panellists explained their goals for the books they’re writing.

- Manapul on The Flash: lots of awesome action and fast running.
- Krul on Green Arrow: make Oliver Queen the centre of his own universe again.
- Krul on Teen Titans: get things back to the Young Justice crew.
- Lemire on Superboy: give Conner Kent a sense of family that he never had.
- Frank on Superman: Secret Origin: distil what was most important about Superman into one story.
- Frank on Batman: Earth One: quite the opposite. Tell a new Batman story using a completely blank slate.
- Alamy & Mahnke on Green Lantern: build meat onto all of the new characters in this book.
- To on Red Robin: focus on Tim’s youth and give the book a bit of a lighter tone.
- Azzarello on First Wave: introduce these classic characters to a new audience. Read the rest of this entry »

Fan Expo: Friday (Isaac’s day with Batman)

Posted by Comics On August - 28 - 2010

Holy Good Times, Batman!

Though not actually a part of the Fanexpo festivities the Underground Cinema’s movie screening of the ’66 Batman movie with a question and answer segment starring Adam West could only happen because of the expo. A note on the venue: it’s my understanding that the Underground Cinema hasn’t been in operation all that long (just a few months in fact) so I really shouldn’t be surprised that everything was so clean looking, but I’ve worked at theatres, and I’ll tell you: they degenerate.

Okay, enough using colons; when the curtain was raised a man is revealed in front of the screen, dressed as Batman of course. The crowd erupts into cheers, which die away as we wait for… something. It ends up being a half awkward pause until “Batman” leaps off the stage and the movie starts rolling. But that’s funny, possibly the exact same kind of funny you find in this Batman movie. The colour was faded, sometimes the scene jumped around thanks to a messed up bit of reel, and I don’t think the crowd would have wanted any different. We see Bruce Wayne tied up beside his beloved Ms. Kitka and then we jump to him being released and it’s pure West fighting off the Joker, Riddler, and the Penguin. How did he get there? The movie certainly won’t tell us, and though there was a split second of disappointment that waved through the theatre at not seeing scenes in their entirety, we changed our tune quickly… because that jump is just too hilarious. Read the rest of this entry »

Fan Expo: Friday (Owen’s day)

Posted by Comics On August - 27 - 2010

It was a short day for me this Friday, since I didn’t get off work until 6:30. Luckily Fan Expo is very accessible by TTC and I made it in time for the DC Nation panel at 7:00. After a quick pick-up of my pass I was settled into my seat.

Dan Didio was friendly, funny and very personable. He was joined by Chris Sprouse, Jeff Lemire, Ethan Van Sciver, Francis Manapul and Brian Azzarello. Didio set about gauging how people are enjoying DC’s current direction, and judging by the tone of the room people are very happy. Brightest Day is a big hit, especially Aquaman’s story (although the Hawks plotline got only tepid applause) and everyone seems to love where Batman is going.

I certainly could have done with more interesting questions from the audience, but that isn’t really what this panel was about. It was more of a “what do you like and why” sort of thing. I can’t say that I learned a lot I didn’t already know (except for a peek into the evolution of Justice League: Generation Lost) but it was fun. There were a cool discussion of why Dick Grayson is such a popular character which lead into a discussion of the difficulties of aging characters. I also enjoyed the friendly digs between Azzarello and Didio. Read the rest of this entry »

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