A hotel art show, a Trump-era drama and six other things to do in Toronto this week
An artsy hotel takeover
1Of all the weird-yet-irresistible trends in 2019, the made-for-Instagram pop-up craze surely tops the list. But fake private-jet booths and neon-coloured velcro walls have nothing on the Gladstone’s OG art maze. Back for its 17th run, Come Up to My Room gives every inch of the hotel an artsy makeover. Among this year’s 27 quirky installations: a collage of floating, ghostly cut-outs, a magical enchanted forest filled with sculptures and fairy lights, and a room packed with neon-orange furniture. January 16 to 19, Gladstone Hotel.
A design refresher
2New year, new decor? The Interior Design Show is a timely opportunity for those resolving to overhaul their living quarters. It runs three and a half days and features more than 400 exhibitors, plus interactive displays and drool-worthy decor galore. Internationally acclaimed architect Francis Kéré and Oscar-winning Canadian production designer Paul Austerberry—he created The Shape of Water‘s eerie reptilian look—will deliver design motivation via illuminating keynotes. January 16 to 19, Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
A class act
3Hailed as “the first theatrical landmark of the Trump era,” Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-winning rust belt drama Sweat digs into the blue-collar discontent that helped put the Donald in the White House. Set in the early 2000s in a Pennsylvania bar, the play charts the economic and racial tensions among a group of factory employees facing an uncertain future. The anger escalates when one of them is promoted to management and layoffs are announced. Nottage interviewed real Pennsylvania steelworkers to write this powerful but compassionate play about the victims of late capitalism, which receives its Toronto premiere from Studio 180 and Canadian Stage. January 14 to February 2, Berkeley Street Theatre.
A bloody royal affair
4Canadian playwright Kate Hennig’s celebrated Queenmaker Trilogy comes to a boil in this blood-soaked final instalment. In Mother’s Daughter, the focus is on Mary I, a.k.a. Bloody Mary, and her tempestuous five-year reign as Queen of England. Urged by memories of her late mother and threatened by her half-sister Elizabeth, Mary sets out to reverse her father Henry VIII’s protestant reforms by any means necessary. Like its predecessors, The Last Wife and The Virgin Trial, Hennig makes Tudor politics thrillingly contemporary in this gynocentric take on English history. January 14 to February 9, Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
A frigid song cycle
5There are usually only two people on stage for a Schubert song cycle: the singer and the pianist. Philippe Sly and Le Chimera Project’s Winterreise breaks with tradition by adding a small chamber ensemble and some seriously dramatic lighting. Winterreise (“winter journey”) is one of the most demanding pieces for any vocalist—24 settings by the German poet Wilhelm Müller that must capture the despair of a man alone on a winter night, hoping to find solace for a broken heart. Bass-baritone Philippe Sly brings a voice of many colours and an assured stage presence to this newly dramatized masterpiece. January 17, Koerner Hall.
A tale as old as time
6The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s comic celebration of wit’s triumph over status, is one of the oldest Italian operas never to have gone out of fashion, thanks to its dazzling coloratura singing and implicit social critique. The titular character, Figaro, helps his former employer, Count Almaviva, wrest his beloved Rosina from her guardian’s grip. Staging by Spanish theatre troupe Els Comediants promises much splash, dash and colour. The endlessly resourceful Figaro is sung by baritone Vito Priante, Count Almaviva by tenor Santiago Ballerini and sought-after Rosina by mezzo Emily D’Angelo. January 19 to February 7, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
A VR expedition
7Jawa El Khash, a Syrian-born Toronto-based artist, uses virtual reality to archive architecture and greenery that no longer exist in the real world. In her latest exhibit, the Upper Side of the Sky, she recreates the ancient setting of Palmyra, Syria, with its towering ancient ruins and plant life destroyed in the civil war. January 15 to February 15, InterAccess.
An electro-dance party
8The indigenous artist iskwē is Canada’s answer to artists like Florence and the Machine and FKA Twigs. This Friday, she gets the energy pumping with a funky dose of her alt-electronic pop tracks. The show follows up on the release of her latest album, acākosik, which includes the catchy “Night Danger,” co-produced by Red Hot Chili Peppers collaborator Garth Richardson. January 17, Mod Club.
James Murdoch's Firm to Invest in Ailing Art Basel Organizer – BNN
(Bloomberg) — James Murdoch plans to invest in ailing Art Basel organizer MCH Group, which has been hammered by delays and cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His investment company Lupa Systems will acquire a stake of 30% to 44%, Basel-based MCH Group said in a statement Friday. The company also plans to add Murdoch to the board of directors.
MCH Group has been battered by the coronavirus outbreak, which led to some of its biggest events being called off. The Art Basel show, slated for September, was canceled, and big-name brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe deserted its watch exhibition Baselworld, leading to the scrapping of the show. Sales will slump by as much as 170 million francs ($180 million) this year.
Lupa Systems is a technology and media fund founded by the younger son of billionaire Rupert Murdoch. It has acquired stakes in Vice Media and the Void, which focuses on virtual-reality entertainment. James Murdoch also got into business with Robert DeNiro to help the owner of the Tribeca Film Festival expand.
MCH Group will propose a 104.5 million-franc capital increase and a restructuring of its debt capital at an extraordinary general meeting on Aug. 3, which is when shareholders will vote on Lupa Systems’ entry as a new shareholder with a lock-up period of five years.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Sooke Fine Art Show gears up for July 24 launch – Saanich News
One of Sooke’s most relished events is just a few brush strokes away.
The Sooke Fine Art Show is gearing up to showcase a wide selection of local art, but this year the show takes place virtually. Artist submissions are in, and organizers are ready to launch the new website for the show.
Terrie Moore, executive director of the Sooke Fine Arts Society, said organizers worked hard to reflect the same feel of the in-person art show as much as possible.
“It’s been a 180-degree switch from previous years, and getting as many aspects of the live show up online has been a huge learning curve. Overall it’s been a really rewarding process,” Moore said.
This year, people can visit the show online anytime from July 24 to Aug. 3, although Moore added it might be possible to buy art from the website until the end of September. There is no fee to view the galleries.
A wide range of categories is featured in the show, including more than 375 juried works of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, fibre arts, jewelry, glass, and ceramics in a virtual format.
Despite the pandemic and the changes to this year’s format, the show had 87 per cent of its usual amount of submissions.
There will also be interactive elements included in the virtual show, such as artist demos, virtual performances, a youth art gallery, an online auction, senior’s tea, Artz4Kiz, and more.
“The nice thing about our online show is providing access to people who may not have been able to visit the show otherwise,” Moore said.
“We’ll miss the excitement and camaraderie of working together on the physical show, but our priority is the well-being of our volunteers, artists, and our guests with respect to COVID-19 concerns. And while we’re excited about the opportunities this year’s online show presents, we are looking forward to returning to a physical show next year for our 35th anniversary.”
This year’s Purchasers Preview night will be held on July 23, where art lovers can get the first look at this year’s show. Local chef Pat Hogan of 4 Beaches Catering, has created a special appetizer box that people can purchase and enjoy while they “attend” the event at home.
Moore said this year’s show inspired a lot of connections between local businesses, organizers, artists, and community members, who all were willing to help out and make the event possible.
For more information, to donate or to sponsor the event, please go online to sookefinearts.com.
'The art was lonely:' Ottawa galleries, museums begin to reopen – OttawaMatters.com
Ottawa’s museums and galleries have started reopening after COVID-19 restrictions, but there are some changes that patrons will need to heed before paying a visit.
The Ottawa Art Gallery opened its doors on Wednesday, with the first day reserved for frontline workers. The general public was allowed to tour the gallery beginning on Thursday.
“The art was lonely,” jokes CEO Alexandra Badzak. “We’re very happy to have people back in the building, that’s our job; we’re here to bring a connection between art and our community.”
In a very abnormal time of navigating a world of COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, Badzak notes that a visit to a gallery can help provide some relief.
“We know that art is a really important part of making you feel relaxed and connected to community,” said Badzak.
In Carp, the Diefenbunker has re-opened its blast doors, but with a few changes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission: sanitizing stations and physical distancing markers have been placed around the bunker, and staff are limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.
“There’s a couple of exhibitions that we did have to close, due to high-touch areas or spaces we couldn’t ensure physical distancing,” said Christine McGuire, the Diefenbunker’s executive director. “But really, the majority of the museum is open to the public, as it was before.”
The Ottawa Art Gallery requires visitors to book their visit in advance, online. Visits are limited to a three-hour block of time, but people can roam freely in the gallery without having to follow a set path.
Purchasing tickets to Diefenbunker online is optional, but the museum is restricting payment to online and cards only.
Additional precautions required are on the Diefenbunker’s and Ottawa Art Gallery’s websites.
Many other galleries and museums in the capital remain closed while they adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.
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