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Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

Interview: Daniel Kurland of The Raisin Gang

Posted by art On June - 16 - 2011

Daniel Kurland

By Meagan Snyder

The Raisin Gang’s members are active in Toronto’s sketch comedy community, translating their fast-paced and often absurd sketches into innovative live shows as well as high-quality short films. They will compete in TO Sketchfest’s Sketch Com-Ageddon during Round F, Thursday at 9:30 at Comedy Bar. Raisin Gang member Daniel Kurland was kind enough to answer a few questions for MONDO.

MONDO: Tell me how The Raisin Gang came to be.

DK: We had all worked together previously in various capacities prior to The Raisin Gang, the biggest one being Ryerson’s sketch troupe, RIOT. That would have been our “Groundlings,” I suppose. We started there, and then after getting out of university, no one seemed to think that education was the ingredient that held us all together, so we kept at it. We all have known each other for a gross amount of time.

MONDO: You perform live but also produce many videos. What do you get out of these different formats? Does one motivate you more than the other? Does your work in each format compensate the limitations of the other?

DK: They’re both great formats to play in, and I’m very happy that we do both, but it’s almost like they’re different vehicles entirely. With videos, you can tell stories that you couldn’t on stage. It’s that simple, and that always has me thinking videos are the greatest, because you can pretty much write anything, and more or less make it happen. Not only that, but you can get humour out of filming, by having jokes in the editing, or the effects, or the continuity. There was a solid stretch of time when everyone’s favorite sketches on SNL were the Digital Shorts, and it’s because of things like this. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: TO Sketchfest: Sketch Com-Ageddon

Posted by art On June - 15 - 2011

By Meagan Snyder

November is a long way away. Thank goodness. None of us even want to THINK about November, right? The snow may have started falling. The Christmas (yeah, I said it) ads will definitely have started jingling. Those of us who may or may not be teachers will be gearing up for report card season and facing the long, long, incredibly long did I mention long tunnel of multiple thousands of days before summer vacation. Yeah, I’m pretty sure the ONE GOOD THING about November is TO Sketchfest. For five glorious nights, Torontonians will be able to forget about the potential snow and definite endless schooldays applicable to everyone as they take in the best sketch comedy the city has to offer. I bet now you’re cursing the very gods that sent this beautiful, beautiful summer that stretches out before us, forcing us to enjoy every moment of it before cruel November comes our way. Well, guess what? November’s come early this year, kids.

From June 14-18, TO Sketchfest presents its fourth annual sketch comedy competition, Sketch Com-Ageddon. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Double Bill

Posted by art On May - 12 - 2011

Ins Choi, Brendan Wall, Jason Patrick Rothery, Mike Ross, Karen Rae. Photo: Sian Richards

Double Bill: (re)Birth: E. E. Cummings in Song & Window on Toronto
Created by the Soulpepper Academy
Window on Toronto Directed by László Marton
Featuring Ins Choi, Tatjana Cornij, Trish Lindström, Ken MacKenzie, Abena Malika, Gregory Prest, Karen Rae, Mike Ross, Jason Patrick Rothery, Andre Sills & Brendan Wall

Runs until June 18 @ Young Centre for the Performing Arts

By Jen Handley

Double Bill, which opened this week at Soulpepper, consists of two pieces on seemingly disparate topics: the poetry of E. E. Cummings, and the brief interactions with strangers that urban life involves. What ties the two sections of the show together, and what makes them both so compelling, is the intensity of creative collaboration that runs through each piece. The performance is in itself as much a comment on the surprising and beautiful moments that come from sincere human interaction as some of the poems it borrows, and the meetings it imagines. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: The Simian Showcase

Posted by art On April - 8 - 2011

MONDO’s art department doesn’t often have the opportunity to geek out as much as its neighbouring departments, Comics and Film. It’s just our luck, it seems, that tonight Monkeyman Productions, the self-described “geekiest theatre company in Toronto,” will present four new plays in its Simian Showcase, running at the Imperial Pub until April 16. Videogames, time travel, LARPing, and steampunk culture—it’s all covered. Art department editor Kerry Freek talked with two of the directors over gmail chat earlier this week.

Neil Silcox

First up, Neil Silcox, director of Camilla Maxwell’s Chun Li.

MONDO: How’s the production going? Are you ready for opening night?
Neil:  Yeah, I’m feeling really good about it. We had our Tech/Dress last night and it went over really well with the people who hadn’t seen it before.

MONDO:  Great! What exactly attracted you to “geek” theatre? I’ve seen you in other shows (Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night) and this seems like a bit of a jump away from Shakespeare.
Neil:  That’s a part of what drew me to it. I found myself in—not exactly a rut, let’s say a groove. The top or my resume just kept saying Hart House, Hart House, Canopy, Hart House, Hart House, Canopy. I really loved working with those people, but I thought I needed to diversify. So anyway, one day I’m sitting on the subway and Marty Choderek [one of Monkeyman’s founding members] plops down beside me and we got to talking about Monkeyman and I asked if they were looking for directors. Read the rest of this entry »

TIFF 2010: Early Picks

Posted by film On September - 9 - 2010

Ryan Reynolds in Buried

By Sean Kelly

I can’t believe I am already experiencing my eighth Toronto International Film Festival. It seems like yesterday in 2003 I went to the festival box office in College Park, on the second day of the festival, only to be disappointed that the measly three films I had earmarked to see were no longer available. I’ve learned a lot since then. I still ended up getting tickets that year for School of Rock (which screened at the now-demolished Uptown theatre) and The Project and I have been enjoying the festival ever since.

The following is a list of my initial picks at this year’s festival. While there are many more films that I would have liked to see, my commitments as a volunteer, as well as ticket availability, has limited what films I can see. That said, some of these films are definitely must-see, in my opinion. Read the rest of this entry »

By Jen Handley

“He has this vision of leading people towards each other by giving everybody access to low-cost heroin, so they don’t have to dedicate their lives to petty crime, they can go and register for Shakespeare courses, and spend their lives devoting themselves to higher pursuits, instead of robbing people and fraud,” explains Heather Davies, director of The Sad and Cautionary Tale of Smackheaded Peter, which debuts at SummerWorks this week. It’s actually a pretty straightforward premise—young man seeks to better the world with a hopelessly naïve solution—but pumping the would-be messiah’s dream-society full of narcotics both exaggerates the cliché and gives it a stylistic makeover. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: I Was Barbie

Posted by art On August - 6 - 2010

By Jen Handley

“I consider my body the result of a long creative process,” says the disarmingly frank Nina Arsenault, a transgendered artist and the star of I was Barbie, which begins its SummerWorks run on Thursday. “I’ve made a lot of design choices about by body. I made choices to make it look not at all like a body anymore. I sort of pushed the female form to a level of abstraction.”

Arsenault, whose transformation involved over sixty plastic surgeries, is gorgeous, but unmistakably larger than life. Her impossibly tall and slender frame, high cheekbones, even skin, and perfectly sculpted blonde hairdo, each look a like a pointed exaggeration of a feminine ideal: she looks very much like a human Barbie.

“I think at first I just wanted to be a woman,” says Arsenault. “But because of the way my body looked already, as a male, I couldn’t just look like a normal female.  I could either look like a transgendered woman Read the rest of this entry »

Diva of Parkdale Takes on Beauty with Miss Toronto

Posted by art On July - 20 - 2010

Miss Toronto, 1926. The picture that inspired the mural at the Rhino.

By Kerry Freek

You may have seen her. Trapped in time, she resides in a weathered mural on the wall at the Rhino in Parkdale. It’s Miss Toronto 1926, holding a trophy and wearing a headpiece and dress made of flowers. She’s flanked on either side by her runners-up. None of them look too happy.

Inspired by the mural, the members of the DitchWitch Brigade have assembled a new show: Miss Toronto Gets a Life_in Parkdale. Last week I had a chat with Eve Wylden and Antje Budde (performer and director, respectively).*

MONDO: From 1926-1991, Toronto celebrated “beauty” with its own Miss Toronto pageant. Your website says that, while researching the pageant, you found “truths stranger than fiction.” What’s the deal here?

EVE & ANTJE (paraphrased, from now on): Well, one thing we discovered is that the Toronto Police ran the pageant. We found out that it ended in 1991 due to “pressure from outside sources.” What does that mean? We have our theories. Read the rest of this entry »

TCAF for the ladies:What’s a girl to see?

Posted by Comics On May - 5 - 2010

By Georgia Webber

BEFORE you get all uppity about the gender thing, let me say: I haven’t got any hang-ups about the Toronto Comic Arts Festival’s programming when it comes to including women. The entire festival has a very ingenuous feeling to it that makes me believe the organizers are doing their best, so I’m sure I’ll make the most out of what’s offered. When thinking about how to write about the festival, it occurred to me to try something a little different than the summary-with-beaming-compliments that I would normally write. So I’m going to dive into it with the perspective of a lady whose interest is peaked by her peers in the industry, do my best to judge whether improvements can be made, and enjoy the rest of it.

As far as exhibitors go, there are plenty of fantastically talented women showing off their goods (oh come on! You’re the one who thought it! I’m the one trying to profile women, not objectify them). In the events and programming, there are notably less female figures. While they are fairly well-represented in the discussions and panel talks, it’s a shame not to see a single lady in the featured artists category. Maybe next year? I hope so. Read the rest of this entry »

Oscar Prediction Spectacular 2: Writing and Directing

Posted by film On March - 5 - 2010

By Rachel West, Sean Kelly and Shane McNeil

Best Adapted Screenplay
District 9 – Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
An Education – Nick Hornby
In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious – Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air – Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Rachel: It would be great to see Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell win for District 9. And Nick Hornby delivered a witty and insightful screenplay for An Education. But the award will likely go to Jason Reitman for Up in the Air. Up in the Air was an all-around enjoyable film, a little unremarkable, but still an intelligent script.
Will win: Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Should win: Nick Hornby, An Education

Sean: If Up in the Air wins any Oscars, it will be this one. I also wouldn’t mind if the screenplay for District 9 wins.
Will win: Up in the Air
Should win: District 9

Shane: Up in the Air was the early frontrunner and the AMPAS just seems to love Jason Reitman. This is their chance to do it despite my personal vendetta against the guy and my stance that Nick Hornby’s script was far superior and lasting.
Will win: Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Should Win: Nick Hornby, An Education

Read the rest of this entry »

Oscar Prediction Spectacular 1: Acting

Posted by film On March - 5 - 2010

By Rachel West, Sean Kelly and Shane McNeil

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
Penélope Cruz for Nine
Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air
Mo’Nique for Precious

Rachel: Mo’Nique should win and will win this award. She’s picked up pretty much every trophy this awards season, each one well-deserved for her role as the abusive mother in Precious. She’s terrifying on screen, and often hard to watch. Look for her to collect the gold.
Will win: Mo’Nique, Precious
Should win: Mo’Nique, Precious

Sean: This is another Oscar that was essentially pre-picked. I have no immediate plans to see Precious, but based on the clips I’ve seen, Mo’Nique is definitely the most deserving.
Will Win: Mo’Nique, Precious
Should Win: Mo’Nique, Precious

Shane: While I’d love to whine about the Julianne Moore, Melanie Laurent and Diane Kruger snubs, Mo’Nique was clearly the standout performance among the group. It doesn’t hurt that the AMPAS loooooves when comedians go very, very dark.
Will Win: Mo’Nique, Precious
Should Win: Mo’Nique, Precious
Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics Best of 2009: Sandra’s Selects

Posted by Comics On January - 19 - 2010

Series of the Year (which also happens to be new) Chew

My favourite series of the year were all new ones, so I have amalgamated both Series of the Year and New Series of the Year into one category. There is no end to how much I can rave about how much I love this series. This series centres around FDA agent Tony Chu and his uncanny ability to capture psychic impressions from things he eats. My only regret is not having been able to get my hands on the first issue earlier. The story is unique and the art is quirky — two things that make any series a great one. John Layman and Rob Guillory make a serious duo. Everyone should be taking a bite out of this one.

Writer of the Year — Ed Brubaker (Incognito, Criminal: Sinners, Daredevil, Captain America: Reborn, Captain America, The Marvels Project)

Why Ed Brubaker? Why not? This man has been the mastermind behind most of my favourite series of the year and consistently writes good stories with great characters. I cannot help but love a man that brings me such joy. Read the rest of this entry »



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