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Ready For War: Showtime Documentary Highlights Plight of Deported US Army Vets #TIFF19
Ready For WarDirected by Andrew RenziLook for it on Showtime & On Demand October 25, 2019The person who left never came home.I struggle every day just to feel human.Ever wonder what happens to those US veterans who are deported to Mexico? Every now and then, there is a story in the news as a veteran, a legal US resident, is deported, but if that's all you know about the subject, it's hard to truly grasp its dimensions.Hector Barajas in Ready For WarAs the documentary Ready For War notes, I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) doesn't keep any data on just how many veterans end up on the deportation list. But, as the film also illustrates, there are communities in Mexico that number hundreds, if not thousands, of people who put their lives on the line for a country that literally tossed them out.In truth, immigrants have been fighting for America as long as there has been an America. Ready For War fleshes out the headlines by following the stories of three vets who were sent back to a country they didn't know at various stages of the process.Hector Barajas has been separated from his family back in the US for 14 years as we meet him. He's nonetheless relentlessly positive about his prospects for re-entry as a naturalized citizen, and a super patriot with an office full of American flags. In the meantime, he's in Juárez running a service to help re-integrate the constant stream of new arrivals, trying to keep his hopes up.Miguel Perez' case is just entering the American judicial system. He's been released from one jail, only to be snapped up by ICE and jailed indefinitely, with a view to eventual deportation, and separation from his family in Chicago.Many immigrants assume that, when they join the US Army, they are automatically given citizenship. That's just not true. As the cases in the film illustrate, a familiar pattern emerges. A vet returns from one, and often more, tours of duty a changed man, suffering from PTSD, depression, and other ailments both mental and physical. He drinks too much, or drugs his problems away. He gets into trouble and lands in jail for a non-violent offence like possession or even drunk and disorderly.And that's it. One chance, no mercy. Instead of getting the medical help that his service entitles him to, he's deported through a loophole in the law that was created in the 1990s.Director Andrew Renzi's punctuates the stories they tell, and the institutional gloom of the ICE prison, by taking viewers on a nerve wracking ride through hell in cartel territory, riding alongside a cartel enforcer by the name of El Vet. He too was sent back to Mexico, and deposited right in the middle of a cartel war. Threatened with violence and death on only to himself and his family, and abandoned by the system, he becomes a full fledged member. Inside abandoned and bleak interiors, we see his masked figure as he cooks meth for them...and much worse.The cartels, see, recognize the value of having this influx of men with American military training. As El Vet tells the camera, drug enforcer hits once looked like a messy show of violence. Today, they are executed with the precision of a military operation. The US Army, in other words, is fueling the violence that constantly simmers at the border."The cartel knows the soldiers are valuable," El Vet says matter of factly. "We got skills."Director Andrew Renzi already had a couple of documentaries under his belt when he got wind of the potential of this story. "I was introduced to Hector Barajas by a colleague," he recalls. Renzi was attracted to a story about second chances, as well as the growing realization this was a much bigger issue than he'd supposed.After a trip to Juárez, Renzi made a local connection who introduced him to Miguel and El Vet, the latter being a dangerous prospect from the outset."Probably the hardest part was how to tell the cartel story," Renzi says.Filming took the better part of two years. Even though it's a documentary, Renzi wanted to treat the story as fiction, and builds a narrative through the three men and their journeys through bureaucratic hell. "How do I tell it as a taut thriller?"El Vet, Ready For WarMuch of it was shot very simply with only Renzi and cinematographer Jeremy Peterman, and their subjects. That led to the jittery sequences of cartel ride-along, and a very real sense of inherent danger. "It was really important for me to show how far this could go." Even if they could trust El Vet, however, his environment was unpredictable and violent. "The biggest fear is not him, it's the people that come for him." It led to hair raising situations. "I had a bag over my head for three hours," he recalls. "There were moments when I thought, I've gone too far."Footage with figures like US Senator, Army veteran and advocate Tammy Duckworth add a larger context to the story. Renzi's hope is that the issue is seen as one that can cross party lines. Shouldn't those who have put up their lives for the United States get some help for their post-war troubles, instead of an immediate deportation?Visually, Peterman intercuts broad views of the often bleak areas where the men live with the jittery secret camera of the El Vet segments, and Hector's office in Juárez, stuffed with upbeat Americana. It's effective in adding texture to the story line.What's most heartbreaking is that, even with deportation, most of the vets are still devoted to America, and don't regret their military service.The list of executive producers who got behind the story is impressive in itself, including David Ayer, Chris Long, Tara Long, Aubrey 'Drake' Graham, Adel 'Future' Nur, and Vinnie Malhotra.Director Andrew Renzi was born in Washington, DC, and studied literary arts at Brown University. He has directed the short films The Fort (2012) and Karaoke! (13), the documentaries Fishtail (2014) and They Fight (2018), and the fiction feature The Benefactor (2015). Ready for War (2019) is his latest documentary, and got its World Premiere September 8, 2019 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Shortcuts at #TIFF19: It's Nothing - Screening September 14 2019
It's NothingA short film by Anna MaguirePlaying at the Toronto International Film FestivalSeptember 15, 2019How do you portray an eating disorder on film in a way that truly depicts its devastating effects? Canadian-British writer, director and actor Anna Maguire does it with a clever visual ruse in her latest short, It's Nothing.It's Nothing - by Anna MaguireOur heroine digs a hole in the park, one that is secret, but more of an open secret. It symbolizes the disease - all encompassing, leaving her covered in dirt, dishevelled, all while acting like everything's just fine. Others in her life go along with the act - except when they don't. Her mother wonders when she'll see her eat a whole meal, and a friend tells her she 'gets it', but instead of comforting her, it only ramps up her paranoia.Canadian actor Cara Gee (The Expanse) is solid in the central role, embodying the combination of a perky, nondescript exterior and the often frantic, always conflicted interior. A film with a strong visual metaphor can easily get swallowed by the premise, but Gee keeps the focus on her character and the complicated logic that drives an eating disorder. Don't go home yet - wait till they're finished dinner...don't go to the party, they'll expect you to eat something.It's a poignant recreation of the lonely hell that is an eating disorder. The film makes its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Shortcuts Programme. Screening information:Shortcuts Programme #6Sat, Sep 14Scotiabank TheatreSubtitled9:30pmAbout the other films in the programme:Toomas Beneath the Valley of the Wild WolvesToomas teispool metsikute huntide orguChintis LundgrenCROATIA, ESTONIA, FRANCE | 2019 | English, FrenchNorth American Premiere | 18 minutesIn this decidedly cheeky and deliriously fun animation, a decent, hard-working wolf must rely on his physical gifts in order to make ends meet for the sake of his family.Lucia En El LimboValentina MaurelBELGIUM, FRANCE, COSTA RICA | 2019 | SpanishNorth American Premiere | 20 minutesDisplaying the intensity of focus only a 16-year-old can muster, the teen at the centre of Valentina Maurel’s caustic take on coming-of-age tropes does all she possibly can to rid herself of both her head lice and her virginity.ExamEmtehanSonia K. HadadIRAN | 2019 | PersianWorld Premiere | 15 minutesA teenage girl reluctantly agrees to deliver a pack of cocaine on the day of an important test.God's Nightmares Daniel CockburnCANADA, UNITED KINGDOM | 2019 | EnglishWorld Premiere | 5 minutesIn the latest of his idiosyncratic blends of found-film hallucination and metaphysical comedy routine, director Daniel Cockburn imagines the thoughts that rattle through the Almighty’s head late at night, presuming that He has a head at all.All InclusiveTeemu NikkiFINLAND | 2019 | FinnishNorth American Premiere | 15 minutesBullied by his co-workers and disrespected by nearly everyone else, a sad sack gets the chance to change his life. But, as soon becomes clear in Teemu Nikki’s ingenious comedy, this opportunity may have unexpected ramifications.Oracle Aaron PooleCANADA | 2019 | EnglishWorld Premiere | 9 minutesWhile their parents undertake prolonged home renovations, a child is left to roam the house, absorbing the chaos of construction and adult anxieties.It's Nothing

#CelebritySighting #TIFF19 -AT&T ON LOCATION Takes Over Le Germain Hotel Toronto Merce Sept. 6-9, 2019
From a media release:#CelebritySighting #TIFF19AT&T ON LOCATION Takes Over Le Germain Hotel Toronto MerceSept. 6-9, 2019AT&T Returns to Toronto International Film Festival with Variety Studio for 3rd Year in a Row and an All-New Activation, Location and ProgrammingAT&T is returning to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Sept. 6-9, 2019 to premiere AT&T ON LOCATION, an all-new activation, talent destination and location at Le Germain Hotel Toronto Mercer.AT&T ON LOCATION will once again host the Variety Studio presented by AT&T, a long-standing portrait and video studio for A-list actors. Guests to include Meryl Streep, Jessica Biel, Dakota Johnson, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Hanks, Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Lopez, Renée Zellweger, Shia LaBeouf, Antonio Banderas and more. Interviews will appear on and its social channels throughout the festival."We are proud to be back at TIFF with the Variety Studio for the third year in a row. It’s a great addition to the AT&T ON LOCATION space, which exemplifies the passion our company has for arts, innovation, entertainment and community,” said Tim Gibson, vice president of video and application marketing at AT&T.AT&T ON LOCATION will also host cocktail parties, cast dinners as well as a lounge for celebs and tastemakers for a multi-level experience and hotel takeover equip with high-speed Wi-Fi.

#TorontoDance: Human Body Expression Toronto Premiere of Resonance Dance/Rock Hybrid September 26–28, 2019
From a media release:#TorontoDance:Human Body Expression Confronts the Collective Powerof Peaceful Protests in Toronto Premiere of ResonanceDance/rock hybrid performance inspired by protests surrounding the impeachment of former South Korean president Park Geun-HyeSeptember 26–28, 2019 • Tickets From Only $15Toronto, ON — Human Body Expression explores the quiet strength of peaceful revolution in Resonance, a compelling hybrid of contemporary dance and rock music, on stage September 26–28, 2019 at 8pm at Sts Cyril & Methody Macedonian-Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church. Directed and choreographed by the company’s award-winning Artistic Director Hanna Kiel, and featuring original music composed by Dora-nominated Greg Harrison, Resonance is an artistic response to the successful public protests demanding the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. Following dramatic revelations surrounding influence peddling and corruption, this bold and provocative work probes the evolution of social outcry into direct action.Image by Sam So“I’ve always been interested in the ways that human beings propel themselves forward,” says Kiel. “Resonance is not about politics, but rather about recognizing the moments in our lives when significant, global change takes effect. I was profoundly moved by the power of the people to make real change with the successful 2016 South Korean impeachment protests — a turning point of evolution when everyone set aside their differences, working together with one voice to move the country forward — that still resonates across the world, especially in the current political climate.”The universal language of live rock music will be harnessed to bring a palpable sense of urgency and passion to Resonance. The soundscape includes strong drum beats and electric guitars, spurring the audience into action and leveraging a sense of human connection. Joining composer Harrison, who has performed with Jeremy Dutcher and Cirque du Soleil, will be musicians Adam Campbell on drums, Andrew Beaudoin on guitar, and Roger Cournoyer on bass guitar.Each dancer's individuality — demonstrated through style, background, gender — will be immediately apparent as the work commences, but as Resonance progresses, a unified collective will materialize. Comprised of 12 emerging professional artists, all under the age of 28, the ensemble includes Connor Mitton, Eleanor van Veen, Jake Poloz, Jake Ramos, J.t. Papandreos, Lonii Garnons-Williams, Martha Hart, Morgyn Aronyk-Schell, Peter Kelly, Roberto Soria, Sarah MacDonald, and Zsakira Del Co.Resonance's staging within the highly unconventional space of a church will draw into sharp relief both the rock concert experience and allow the audience to truly perceive the impact of each other’s collective power. This poignant contrast will be reflected in Noah Feaver’s lighting design and Julia Y Kim’s costumes.Dora-winner Hanna Kiel is from Seoul, South Korea, and moved to Vancouver in 1996. She has presented her work at 12 Minutes Max, PlanB Singles and solos Festival, Dancing on the Edge Festival, and Pulse at the Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver.Photo by Francesca ChudnoffResonance is A DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event.Tickets from $15 at: BrownPaperTickets.comAbout Human Body Expression ( by choreographer Hanna Kiel, Human Body Expression (HBE) strives to break the mold of traditional dance aesthetics to create hybrid movement forms and cultivate artistic individuality. HBE seeks to tell stories and explore narratives that pulse from the very heart of human feeling; that are touching, arousing, disturbing, exciting, and everything in between. HBE’s artists embody the raw and chaotic force of human emotions to impact audiences on a visceral level. Drawing on the ever-evolving distinctive personal dance style that Kiel has developed over more than two decades as a dance professional, her company aims to present technically strong and accessible choreography with high production values, inspiring audiences of all backgrounds to become more engaged with dance.In 2019, HBE’s Chasing the Path won the Best Dance Work at the New Dance Festival in Daejeon Korea and in 2018, it won the Dora Mavor Moore Outstanding Choreography Award and was nominated in all five dance categories. In 2017, HBE’s Tangled won the Audience Choice Award at the dance: made in canada/fait au canada Festival.Human Body Expression presentsResonanceDates/Time: September 26–28, 2019 at 8pmTicket Prices: $15–80Venue: Sts Cyril & Methody Macedonian-BulgarianEastern Orthodox Church237 Sackville StreetToronto, ONTickets and Info:

Retro Pop/Rock: Rob Alexander - When I'm Gone (for George Michael) Independent / 7 August 2019
Retro Pop/Rock:Rob Alexander - When I'm Gone (for George Michael)(Independent / 7 August 2019)• Check Out The Album On SpotifyWhen I'm Gone (for George Michael) is the fifth single to come from the album Long Road Coming Home by South Florida based rocker Rob Alexander.When I'm Gone is a stand out track on the release. It's a haunting ballad that begins with a stripped down sound, vocals and piano, swelling with strings and guitar that add drama to the message. He penned the tune the day George Michael passed away in 2016. In a release, Rob says, "The melody came to me almost immediately, and I wanted the song to ask the questions we all wonder...what will people think of us and say about us when we pass away?"The album is packed with retro pop in various flavours - the kind of songs that used to populate the Top 40 about 40 years ago. Rob's raspy voice is contrasted by lush production and interesting instrumentation that includes keyboards, sax, and horn sounds. Long Road Coming Home epitomizes the sound - a catchy drum line with layers of orchestral synth and guitar melodies.The lyrics speak from a point of view that has been around the block a few times and lived to talk about it.Take a long hard look at the pastAnd you know that you can love me better...Than thatRomantic lyrics mix with the kind of self awareness that is beyond the average tween. All That's Mine Is Yours offers a little of both.I'm all aloneI'm in controlIt's in my heartIt's in my soulAs a songwriter, Rob has a nice sense of structure, and a knack for creating catchy sonic hooks, like the bouncy beat that runs through You Wanted It This Way. There's a nice variety through the 12 tracks. Trickle Down goes acoustic, with a simple guitar accompaniment. Good Love Does It brings Elton John's piano-driven pop rock to mind.Rob is at work on a new album that features current members of Elton John's band and former members of Frankie Valli's touring band.Personnel:Gabe Lopez: keyboards, bass, guitars, drums, and percussion; Robbie Angelici: acoustic and electric guitars; Kevin Taylor: acoustic and electric guitars; Rick Keller: saxophone; Brian Brigham: backing vocalsStay in touch:

Travel Greenland The Disko Arts Festival October 4 & 10, 2019
From a media release:Travel GreenlandThe Disko Arts FestivalOctober 4 & 10, 2019• Plan Your Trip At The LinkYou may not be able to buy Greenland, but you can visit the world's largest island, with natural beauty, Inuit and Thule culture to explore, and arts festivals to enjoy.Nuuk, GreenlandGreenland was populated in waves of immigrants from Europe to the east, and the Inuit who came from northern Canada to the west. The Dorset culture came with a prehistoric people who immigrated from Canada. The Norse culture arrived from Norway. The Inuit also came from Canada, and most modern Greenlanders are related to the Inuit. The Thule people came all the way from Alaska.Nuuk: Greenland's capital cityMany travelers come to Greenland for the spectacular scenery and outdoor pursuits, but the capital has much to offer. In recent years, there has been an upswing in tourist-friendly venues, with gourmet dining, boutique shopping, and interesting architecture on offer.New Art In The Far NorthThe Disko Arts FestivalDisko Arts Festival is a relatively new celebration of contemporary music, theatre and performance. It takes place both in Ilulissat and in Nuuk this year. Events are varied and experimental, and often feature collaborations with other international artists.Friday, October 4th | Ilulissat Art Museum, Ilulissat, Greenland.Thursday, October 10th | Nuuk Art Museum, Nuuk, Greenland (as part of Nuuk Nordisk Festival).The Disko Arts Festival is an annual festival for experimental music and art in Greenland. Emerging international and local artists are invited to spend a week in the area, collaborating, exploring and ultimately presenting new work to the local audience.Disko Arts Festival springs out of Far North, a network and residency established in Oqaatsut in 2012. The core mission was – and partly still is – to bring together emerging international and Greenlandic artists. Disko Arts Festival is a local festival with an international profile, and the artistic programming is tailored for our Disko Bay and Nuuk audience.Springing out of a residency for contemporary music theatre, Disko Arts Festival presents a variety of expressions, from leftfield electronic music to visual art, emphasizing locally anchored projects and fluid genres and discourses. Disko Arts Festival is a point of gravity around which a number of satellite events evolve: In addition to the ordinary artistic program, the festival includes workshops and events for children and young people and various community based activities.Disko Arts Festival 2019 is made possible with support from Hurtigruten Foundation, Avannaata Kommunia, Den Grønlandske Fond, Ilulussat Kunstmuseum and Nuuk Kunstmuseum. The festival is proudly signed up to Keychange’s ‘50/50 by 2022’ pledge.SOUNDS OF INUICITY A project from Disko Arts Festival 2018:

Singer/Songwriter: Aza Nabuko - Aza Nabuko EP (JumpAttack Records / 1 July 2019)
Singer/Songwriter:Aza Nabuko - Aza Nabuko EP(JumpAttack Records / 1 July 2019)• Buy the CDSixteen year old Aza Nabukomulti is a instrumentalist, singer and songwriter out of Revelstoke, British Columbia. She recently earning a spot in the top 100 in CBC Searchlight for 2019, and it's easy to see why with the release of her self-titled EP.The EP is a showcase of her fluid vocals and inventive songwriting abilities. From Strangers -Since there are only remains here,It looks like we are strangersAgainStrangersHer lyrics specialize in romance with a realistic bent, including the self aware Ordinary.Sometimes I'd hard to deal withBut I'm worth the trouble babyFade Away is a sad ballad in remembrance of a romance that's long over, where Aza's expressive voice plays nicely against a spare piano backing. She ranges from soft and mournful to full blown lament that rises to a crescendo of hurt and regret. It's a highlight of the release.Heart of Concrete uses a moody cello to reinforce lyrics about loneliness and hurt, while the melody has a kind of gypsy echo and a rising sense of melodrama.I'm aloneI am brokenInsideI am frozenI can't carry itIt doesn't fitIt weighs too muchThis heart of concreteShe's impressive as a singer, ranging from a sweet high end to a throaty lower range. Aza has a nicely distinctive sense of phrasing that gives the modern pop compositions a fresh sound. It will be interesting to see what will come down the pipe from her.Track List:1. Strangers2. Ordinary3. Fade Away4. Heart of Concrete5. Space Between6. When We Fell in LovePersonnel:Aza Nabuko Vocals, Guitar and PianoStay in touch:

NINA HOLMES - ‘it is not what i see’ Now on show at Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town until 30 September 2019
From a media release:NINA HOLMES - ‘it is not what i see’Now on show at Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Townuntil 30 September 2019CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - In her latest solo exhibition, entitled ‘it is not why i see’, Nina Holmes presents a series of paintings inspired by an intense three-day study of the forests surrounding Karatara, a half hour drive outside of Knysna (Western Cape).Nina Holmes | Homage | 2019 | Mixed media on canvas | 52 x 72cm This body of work was largely informed by a landscape workshop that took place in Karatara, a town in the Knysna Municipality earlier this year. After three days of intensive studies in the woods and observing traditional land and sky-scapes during which I experienced extreme weather conditions, I knew that I did not want to represent my environment in any realistic, picturesque way. I was so affected by the harshness of working ‘enplein air’ and the concurrent dualities of nature: The apparent lazy serenity of blissful farm life, blue skies, distant rumble of the local woodchoppers, snorting of horses, undulating valleys versus the harsh sun beating down on one side of one’s face, unexpected gusts of wind sending materials flying, the swarms of relentless mosquitoes in the forest, stinging rain, the difficulty in lugging one’s own equipment through unwelcoming terrain.I was trying to make paintings of my experience of being there, and I didn’t know what that looked like. So as much as I was surrounded by visual cues, which obviously springboarded the work, I wanted to work predominantly from what I felt in those woods. So I became hyper sensitive to my other senses. I wished to make visual that which I had heard, mark the tactile quality of the soil, the sharpness of branches, the irritation of ants. I wanted to colour the smells, retaste the dank mould of the earth, feel the delicacy and confusion of crossing twigs. And always, not merely just sensory awareness, but emotional.Nina Holmes | Karatara: Ambient Composition | 2019 | Acrylic on canvas | 82.5 x 117.5cm On returning to Cape Town, I wanted to continue the process. I surrounded myself in my studio with my entire body of Karatara studies from which I worked. I pursued paintings that were mostly large that would afford me a kind of vast landscape on which to work. Quickly, instinctively. Working in acrylic mainly to allow for speed as I had done before. Trying to recapture elements of that location - the single tree, the intersection of branches, the shouting of hens. I painted what I didn’t see. Recurrent motifs, abstracted forms seemed to reappear again and again. Inspired by the work of Fabienne Verdier, I painted on large loose canvasses taped to the floor working aerially. I began another in black and white working solely from audio to the music of Lisa Gerard. It is not what I see. I have tried to look at each work and really feel what the painting needs and wants as opposed to superimposing any idea of preconceived outcome. I have tried to become comfortable with not knowing.Not to forget another implied understanding of the show’s title, that it is not about what I as the artist sees, but what the viewer sees or experiences. I hold the belief that while some knowledge of the artist’s intentions and methods may allow for greater appreciation of specific work, the viewer may see or feel something entirely different to the artist’s original ideas and intended outcomes.Nina Holmes | Muted | 2019 | Acrylic on paper | 47 x 35cm MORE ABOUT THE ARTIST:The words of artist Albert Oehlen resonate strongly with me. Oehlen speaks of "qualities that I want to see brought together: delicacy and coarseness, colour and vagueness, and underlying them all, a base note of hysteria."- I love art. It is immediate. I hate art. It confronts me. I love art. It allows me to forget. I hate art. It makes me vulnerable. I love art. It drives me. I hate art. It is contrived and pretentious.I love art. It is painful –Cape Town based artist, Nina Holmes, obtained a postgraduate diploma (with distinction) at the Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town in 2017. She has participated in numerous group shows in a Cape Town and this is her second solo exhibition at the Eclectica Contemporary gallery.Her work is included in private collections in South Africa and abroad.Now on view at Eclectica Contemporary, 69 Burg Street, Cape Town until 30 September 2019.

Ontario Culture Days Announces 10th Anniversary Edition with Kaleidoscope of Cultural Activities and Events September 27–29, 2019
From a media release:Ontario Culture Days Announces 10th Anniversary Editionwith Kaleidoscope of Cultural Activities and EventsSeptember 27–29, 2019Province-wide weekend to celebrate arts and cultureoffers plethora of FREE events and activities to suit every taste and interest Toronto, ON – Ontario Culture Days announces a kaleidoscope of free activities and events taking place across the entire province from September 27–29, 2019. Encompassing visual art, theatre, cinema, dance, and beyond — this vibrant weekend of expression will explore the intersections of creativity, the arts, and well-being. This year’s edition will include the unveiling of a special province-wide, interactive art exhibition entitled DO BLUE BUTTERFLIES EAT PARTS OF THE SKY?, guest curated by David Dyment. It is coupled with Culture Trek — a series of three made-to-measure travel itineraries highlighting Ontario’s diverse regions, with tips on the best places to eat, sleep and bask in culture. Additional events will engage some of the most iconic cultural institutions in Ottawa and the GTA from the National Gallery of Canada to the Royal Ontario Museum and beyond.“This year’s celebrations explore the essential link between creativity and well-being” says Ontario Culture Days Executive Director Ruth Burns. “Ontario Culture Days will use its unique perspective to highlight the direct impact arts and culture has made in communities large and small — while also shining a light on the essential role arts and culture organizers play in these regions. This year’s 10th anniversary offerings were programmed to help boost community engagement, foster deeper social connections, and build an understanding and appreciation for the collective artistic experience.”from 2018:Ontario Culture Days’ 10th anniversary celebrations will include a number of innovative cultural experiences, among them the multi-site exhibition, DO BLUE BUTTERFLIES EAT PARTS OF THE SKY?, curated by Dyment, an artist and curator associated with various editions of Nuit Blanche around the country, and featuring interactive free programming that invites participation.Culture Trek will shine a spotlight on four distinct communities: Waterloo Region, Brockville, Durham Region, and Guelph, allowing intrepid explorers to discover hidden travel gems, support local businesses, and appreciate the vibrant creative industries in these diverse communities.In Ottawa, among the myriad of free events offered, will be Family Sunday at the National Gallery of Canada, encouraging families to discover the national collection, the Ottawa Animation Festival at the Ottawa Art Gallery, and Caribbean Culture Day. In Toronto, participants can venture to the Big Draw Festival, a celebration of the universal power of drawing and creative expression at 14 of the City’s history museums; the Toronto Public Library, who will be hosting a special series on the melding of storytelling, creativity, the arts, and well-being; the Royal Ontario Museum’s Culture Days’ specific programming, and, Myseum’s Wigwam Chi-Chemung’s learning series, showcasing two art-making workshops with Elder Duke Redbird.For a detailed overview of Ontario Culture Days and this year’s expansive 10th anniversary events in your community, visit: Ontario Culture Days ( Culture Days was initiated as a project of the Ontario Arts Council, and became an independent non-profit in 2015. Ontario Culture Days works in collaboration with the national Culture Days office, and provincial organizing bodies in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Together, Culture Days works to support organizers in producing their own Culture Days events, as well as leading a marketing and communications campaign that drives general audiences to the arts and supporting regional tourism. Starting in 2018, Ontario Culture Days began producing travel itineraries to localized communities, as well as expanding a public programming and artistic presentation series, which are produced in partnership with local organizers.from 2018:

Jazz CD Release: /fyo?og/ - Temp'rall Sho'gazing (Independent / 26 July 2019)
Jazz CD Release:/fyo?og/ - Temp'rall Sho'gazing(Independent / 26 July 2019)• Listen on Spotify• Check out the YouTube playlist• Buy it on CDBaby/fyo?og/ are Katarina Boudreaux and Sam Tepper, New Orleans based and inspired by the city in this collection of bluesy jazz covers and originals. You could say it's retro in flavour, but distinctly modern in sensibility.Katarina's voice is fluid and expressive, with a knack for phrasing that complements the stellar piano playing of Sam Tepper. She's alternately strident and playful on Better, against a kinetic piano line. Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair is a traditional song that gets something of an avant garde makeover, all shimmering piano and cymbals, with a mournful violin against the dramatic vocals. It's quite haunting.They're not afraid to play with the old favourites. St. Louis Blues goes for the dramatic, the rhythm lengthened into almost a Latin feel in the introduction, veering back and forth between old school swing and avant garde syncopation - ending in a gospel-like blaze of glory. Blues After Hours, on the other hand, gets a classic treatment where Tepperman's virtuosic piano playing comes to the forefront.Gotcha Child is a shuffle, with Katarina's vocals turning sweet and high. Sam switches to an electronically enhanced organ sound for Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child in a minimalist arrangement that spotlights the emotion of the vocals. In Nibble, the duo switches to a funky groove.Katarina is a writer, dancer, teacher, and musician. Her novel "Platform Dwellers" is available from Owl Hollow Press. She is the current director of Noladancing.Temp'rall Sho'gazing by /fyo?og/ should please lovers of jazz both traditional and modern.Personnel: Sam Tepper - Keyboards and Harmonica; Katarina Boudreaux - Vocals; Producer: Chris Butcher and Sam TepperTrack List:1. Better2. Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair3. St. Louis Blues4. Gotcha Child5. Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child6. Nibble7. Blues after Hours8. Taint Nobody's BusinessStay in touch:

Discover Baja California on Horseback
Guest post by K.C. Dermody, who has traveled to nearly all 50 states and over 20 different countries, including visits to Ireland at least once a year. Her goal is to impart what she has learned from her travel experiences to others, and to inspire more people to get out and truly explore, rather than spending their holidays in a lounge chair by the pool. Discover Baja California on HorsebackWritten by: K.C. Dermody It’s not just the American West that offers unforgettable horseback riding excursions and dude ranch vacations — head further south and you’ll discover spectacular Wild West terrain in Baja California, Mexico.When many people hear “Baja” they automatically think of Cabo San Lucas, located at the southern tip of the peninsula, and days spent partying on the beach, but this peninsula offers so much more. The diverse terrain includes everything from cactus-filled desert and soaring mountains with natural hot springs and waterfalls, to gloriously empty golden stretches of sand edged by crashing waves and powdery white-sand beaches framed by crystal-clear, calm turquoise waters.Whether you’re looking to ride for a couple hours, a full day, or a vacation focused on being on the back of a horse, you’ll find it here — and it’s a wonderful way to discover the best of Baja.Los CabosCourtesy Cuadra San Francisco @LosCabosHorsesIf you plan to spend most of your time experiencing the famous restaurants, bars and clubs in Cabo but want to enjoy a horseback riding adventure too, your best bet is to sign up for a trip with an outfitter like Cuadra San Francisco. This local, highly reputable, family-owned business offers scenic rides through the desert and on the beach. You can choose rides on one or the other, or both. The horses are well taken care of and trained, ideal for everyone from beginners to experts, children as well as adults. Riding on the pristine, white beaches of Cabo Real is sure to be a magical experience, but the ride through the desert canyon brings the chance to marvel at unique animals and plants that make this region different from anywhere else on the planet.Todos SantosTodos Santos main beach by K.C. DermodyAn easy hour’s drive from Cabo, Todos Santos is an especially charming colonial town that’s been named a Pueblo Magico, or “magical town,” for its importance as a cultural landmark. It’s a focal point for art, with many outstanding galleries, and also offers a remarkable foodie scene with endless restaurants serving mouthwatering Baja fare with lots of fresh seafood and organic produce.It’s an artsy desert oasis, tucked among palm trees and ancient mango orchards, and offers one of the most unspoiled stretches of sand along the coast — 70 miles of virtually empty beach that makes it ideal for horseback riding excursions. There are rides from the beginner to advanced, guided by expert naturalists who can share their local knowledge with you. As this is a smaller community, there are also opportunities that aren’t as well advertised — if you want something especially unique and authentic, you might want to check with the locals via the Todos Santos Newsfeed on Facebook for the best insider advice.Los BarrilesCourtesy of Baja's Awesome Beach Rides @awesomebeachridesJust 40 minutes from Cabo on the east cape, Los Barriles is an especially picturesque fishing village without the tourist traps or crowds. There are a couple of great options here. With Horseback Rides by Betto, Alberto “Betto” Costa offers guided tours that include trips to the area’s famous waterfalls where you can even swim under the cascades that spill off granite cliffs. You’ll visit gorgeous white-sand beaches and other remote locations as well.If you want to play Mexican cowboy or cowgirl, Baja’s Awesome Beach Rides is based here and features an extensive menu of options, including “Cowboy for a Day.” You’ll be able to help feed, groom and tack up your own horse, then enjoy a long ride out on the beach, into the arroyo and up into the hills. You can even learn the skill of rope throwing here and a picnic lunch under shady trees is included as well.LoretoThe beach at Balandre by K.C. DermodyA small mountain town along the Sea of Cortez in the Sierra de la Giganta, Loreto is one of the oldest settlements in Baja and one of the most beautiful. Look forward to an authentic Mexican feel with colorful traditions, stunning beaches and glistening azure bays perfect for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. On land there are miles of trails to explore on horseback, allowing riders to experience both historical sites and breathtaking scenery.This is an ideal spot for a multi-day adventure. Saddling South offers pack trips that begin from the moment you arrive at the airport. You’ll discover secluded oasis areas with springs, creeks and pools nestled in the rugged canyons and visit working ranches where you’ll meet locals who use old-style methods for tanning hides and weaving horsehair ropes. When its citrus season, you can ride through orchards and gather the local oranges for an especially refreshing treat. Of course, you’ll be able to fuel your rides with delicious Baja cuisine throughout, including homemade tortillas, tamales and machaca tacos that are popular for trail food.Riding on the beach at Todos Santos

DJ Bitman's New Single "Para Ti" Featuring Ceaese - August 2 2019 on Nacional Records
From a media release:DJ Bitman's New Single "Para Ti" Featuring CeaeseAugust 2, 2019 on Nacional Records• Check it OutNacional Records is proud to announce the release of DJ Bitman's "Para Ti" featuring Ceaese, out this Friday, August 2nd.  Bitman says of the track, "This is the first song of many more to come where I find myself returning to a more club sound. The past few years I produced albums inspired more on a live show, with a band, etc. In "Para Ti" I return to my DJ roots. With a beach-y and warm sound, I can focus on my first instrument, the turntable."Cease is a household name in Chile's vibrant urban music scene. With over a million monthly listeners on Spotify and having recently won Chile's Premio Pulsar for Best Urban Artist, Ceases brings his unique lyrical flow to the track. Bitman says, "This is the first time I work with Ceaese, and it has been a pleasure and a surprise. He is enjoying a great chapter in his career as an artist and belongs to the new generation of hip-hop in Chile, a scene that leans towards theurban such as trap and dembow."Last year, Bitman released the album Homies, which included the single “You,” a collaboration with Spanish R&B singer Nora Norman (listen here) and "Truss Me," a collaboration with Juan Ingaramo and Jesse Baez (listen here).Bitman is one of the most prolific producers and DJs in Chile’s music scene and has been featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Chile. Born José Antonio Bravo in Arica, Chile, the former Olympic surfer started his musical career as Bitman & Roban before going solo artist with his debut album Sunset Beats.Since then, Bitman has released several solo albums as well as numerous collaborative albums as a member of Ritmo Machine, featuring Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill, and RVSB, with fellow Chilean DJ/producer DJ Raff. He has consistently pushed his musical envelope with his skillful blending of hip-hop, electronic, funk, soul, and traditional Latin sounds with each album.Bitman’s music has provided the soundtrack to numerous video game franchises such as EA’s FIFA, Need for Speed, and The Sims as well as TV shows such as Dexter, Nip/Tuck, and Weeds.Fans around the world have witnessed his on stage skills live at events such as the LAMC (Latin Alternative Music Conference), Vive Latino, Lollapalooza Chile, Lollapalooza Brazil, Lollapalooza Chicago, SXSW, and Estereo Picnic.

Interview: Patric Caird - Modern Composer
Interview:Patric Caird - Modern ComposerYou've probably heard the work of busy composer Patric Caird without realizing it. His recent high profile projects include the Netflix series The Order, which has just been renewed for a second season, and CBC's comedy series Save Me, working with Fab Filippo. While many composer bios begin with a list of the institutions they've studied at, Patric's begins with one premise: a love of music.Patric Caird with fellow composer Jeremy Nathan Tisser from Impact24 PR's "Secrets from the Beyond" Panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 (Photo credit: Impact24 PR)"I'm Canadian," he says, "born in Vancouver, grew up in Toronto." He now makes his home in LA.Patric says he started by playing the saxophone in school, a hobby that quickly became an overriding passion. Aside from a Canada Council grant to study with a jazz group, he pretty much jumped straight from high school into a professional career. "I went to college for about three minutes," he laughs.It wasn't the discipline he shied away from. "I was very dedicated to music," he says. Patric recalls practising "obsessively" for hours a day, including transcribing scores by the dozen. Through it, he developed his skills, and an ear for musical structure, texture, and tones that would become invaluable once he turned from performance to composition.He describes composing for film and TV as a highly cooperative process. "In most cases, TV and film, even the dance and theatre - it's collaborative." Showrunners generally come to him with ideas already sketched out. "Very seldom do they come with a blank slate."Having a range of genres and styles at your fingertips is another key component of writing music for film and TV. "On Save Me, with Fab," he says, "he's very pop song oriented." For the first season, Patric says he was influenced by the music of Bon Iver, and wrote a lot of original music. He and Fab would toss ideas around, and then Patric wove it together into a consistent sound.For the second season, Fab wanted to use licensed material. Patric ended up creating a choral arrangement of the Loverboy's classic rock hit, Everybody's Working for the Weekend, along with a piece for solo piano for one of the 10 minute segments.Patric is also well known as the composer behind all 76 episodes of the animated series Ed, Edd n Eddy, which ran from 1999 to 2007, and his credits on go all the way back to 1994. He's worked on everything from comedy to horror to live theatre and performance.The Order is his latest hit project for Netflix, which he reports is now filming for season 2. "As I went to ComiCon last week [...] everyone is very excited to see where it goes next."There were shifts in tone - including the music - already, and after the cliffhanger ending to the debut season, the next one could see even more.While some composers may write directly from the script, Patric views the footage first, before sitting down to write. "The show will tell you what it needs," he says. Beyond the story itself, there are other elements that come into play - the camera angles, lighting, anything that can affect the mood and tone of the scene. Every element matters. "Almost more than the story," he says.Patric's collection of awards includes a Genie Award, two SOCAN Music Awards, several Leo Awards, a Gemini Award nomination for Best Musical Score, and a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Original Song.At home in Los Angeles these days, he says he's a frequent patron of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he enjoys watching fellow audience members as well as the performance, with a definite preference for modern composers. "I'll go to Stravinsky, but I prefer contemporary music," he says. "I think audience goers are excited by new music."

19th Century Lithuanian Manor to Host Biggest Flower Festival of its Kind in Europe July 24 to October 2019
From a media release:Shakespeare and flowers in a country manor...19th Century Lithuanian Manor to Host Biggest Flower Festival of its Kind in EuropeJuly 24 to October 2019• Ticket InformationJuly 24, Vilnius, Lithuania. The largest historical estate in Lithuania, Pakruojis Manor, is organizing the first-ever flower sculpture festival in the country, featuring half a million blossoming plants and lasting for 3 monthsThe largest restored historical estate in Lithuania, the 19th century Pakruojis Manor, is known for hosting many interactive historical events, where guests become participants of living history happening right in front of their eyes. This summer, the manor is inviting for the first-ever Flower Festival in the country.The festival is called Midsummer Night’s Dream, and runs from the end of June to the beginning of October. The manor’s grounds are covered with flower carpets, various floral compositions, and sculptures made of half a million blossoming plants. The event includes engaging activities and intends to be the biggest flower sculpture festival in Europe.“Our goal is to employ the festival’s scale and diverse activities to bring people together. We want to share the unique cultural and historical experience of Lithuanian manor life with visitors from Lithuania and all around the world,” says Giedrius Klimavicius, the owner of Pakruojis Manor.Over the three past weekends, the Flower Festival has already attracted 30,000 visitors. By the beginning of October, organizers expect to reach up to 200,000 guests in total.Walking around the well-kept lawns of the estate, visitors find sculptures ranging from two to six meters in height. Combined with modern blooming installations, the sculptures bring characters from various tales to life, creating a mysterious set.The theme of the Flower Festival was inspired by William Shakespeare's romantic comedy Midsummer Night's Dream, and its focus on the wedding matches the romantic scenery of the 19th century manor.On weekends, Flower Festival guests are welcome to join the performers from Šiauliai and Panevežys Drama Theaters and participate in live interpretations of scenes from Shakespeare's play.“One of the reasons why we chose William Shakespeare is that the art movements of the past, including the Renaissance, influenced the 19th-century architecture of Lithuanian manors. This theme gives the festival a touch of literature, culture and history, and it’s the depth which we believe sets it apart from the other similar events,” explains Mr. Klimavicius.All the artworks were designed by the sculptors Martynas Gauba and Donatas Mockus, florists Jolita Šimelioniene and Mindaugas Šimelionis, and 21 other nationally renowned artists.The festival experience, however, does not end with the flower sculptures and theatrical performances happening all around the estate. Several restaurants offer authentic regional dishes decorated with edible flowers, such as beetroot salad, special potato pancake Bumbulu, and chicken cooked with beer. Furthermore, restored distillery of the manor brews beer and bitters made with local botanicals. Finally, guests can explore living history by joining an excursion, or visiting a perfume making workshop, honey bee farm, sewing atelier, and trying other traditional handicrafts, tailored to the wedding theme.Pakruojis ManorABOUT THE PAKRUOJIS MANORThe Pakruojis Manor is one of the 18 most attractive cultural tourism destinations in Europe, visited by over 300,000 people every year. With several 19th-century-style hotels, authentic restaurants serving regional cuisine, handicraft workshops and living history museums, the manor offers a vast spectrum of interactive activities and events in its historical environment of the 19th century.

New Music: Jeffrey Brooks: The Passion (Innova Recordings/Cantaloupe Records - May 10 2019)
New Music:Jeffrey Brooks: The Passion(Innova Recordings/Cantaloupe Records - May 10, 2019)A buoyant celebration of life despite sufferingComposers: Jeffrey BrooksPerformers: Bang on a Can All-Stars, Contemporaneous• Buy the CDExpressive and strongly rhythmic, the music of American composer Jeffrey Brooks is instantly appealing. He teams up with New York's Bang on a Can All-Stars and Contemporaneous in this joint Innova/Cantaloupe records project. He combines elements from the canons of classical music, progressive pop, avant garde dissonance, and even pure noise in vibrant and evocative works with a cinematic scope.After the Treewatcher is based on Michael Gordon’s piece The Treewatcher - or rather, Brooks' memory of it, recreated and reimagined into a new piece. The hotel bell at the end is a tip of the hat to Gordon's original. It has a meditative rhythm reminiscent of Middle Eastern influences, with shifts in instrumentation that transform the emotion from urgent to ecstatic to trance-like. Brooks wrote Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother (After BWV 992) in remembrance of the late British composer Steve Martland. The piece is bookended by the scratchy sound of a vinyl recording, guitar feedback, and drums. The rock influences were inspired by Martland's own passion for rock and dance music.After the Treewatcher The Passion is spiritual meditation on suffering of various kinds. It begins with a strong pulse of rhythm, adding layers of harmony and rhythmic complications. The middle section slows to a meditation, even hypnotic tempo and tone, with a spoken vocal part in English, French, and German, telling snippets of stories of loss and suffering by writer Jefferson Reid. It begins simply, rising to a crescendo of overlapping voices over a mournful harmonic progression and steady rhythm that speaks of endurance.“There’s a quality of endurance and perseverance in something that I believe is a just enterprise, which is composing music,” Brooks says in a media release. “It’s a big responsibility, and I work really hard on my pieces. I don’t write them quickly, and there’s an element of persevering, a struggle, that comes through in the music. And I think that’s what you’re hearing as the positive feeling in The Passion. You can persevere in this, and that’s a worthwhile goal in itself.”The piece ends on an up note of hope and love with a kind of neo-Baroque counterpoint of lovely vocals in harmony, accompanied by a complex web of rhythms and instruments from flute to what sounds like a tabla. The lyrics come from the writings of Claudia Lindberg, who wrote the notes to her children during the final stages of a terminal illness.Use credit cards for your convenience, not for creditYou are lovedYou are wantedYou are specialCall home oftenCall home oftenBrooks has known the members of Bang on a Can All-Stars - Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe - since his student days at Yale in the mid-1980s. While his emphasis on rhythm is noticeable, he says that he aims for a balance of musical components.“I think there is music that you can really get your head around intellectually, and there’s music that, one way or another, you can get your head around emotionally. And then there’s music that you can just experience physically, with the subwoofers going through your body—like dance music. The music I try to write has all three—an intellectual component, an emotional component, and a physical component that talks to your body. To me, music that makes you want to move is a good thing. People shouldn’t be sitting down when they listen to this album. It’s an experience you really don’t want to be in the chair for.”

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