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Coming to Toronto: Eifman Ballet in Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA May 9 to 11 2019
From a media release:Coming to Toronto's Sony Centre:Russian Ballet Auteur, Boris Eifman, Honours Musical Muse with Powerful Exploration of the Nature of Genius and the Price of Fame in– Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA –May 9 to 11 2019Vibrant athleticism, nuanced physicality, and dramatic intensity take centre stage as the renowned Eifman Ballet brings the man behind the music to life• Buy TicketsTORONTO, ON — Show One Productions and TO Live proudly present Russia’s premier contemporary ballet company Eifman Ballet in Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA, on stage for three performances only, May 9–11, 2019, at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. This heart-rending choreographic love letter to the illustrious Russian composer implements Artistic Director Boris Eifman’s signature sublime theatricality, delving into the tormented psyche of composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as he battles to reconcile his public persona with his inner demons.Eifman Ballet of St. PetersburgTickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at, by phone, or in person at select TO Live box offices.“Eifman Ballet is a perennial favourite with Toronto audiences. Their unabashed emotional commitment and unparalleled physical prowess are a rare spectacle,” says Svetlana Dvoretsky, President & Executive Producer of Show One Productions. “With Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA, we witness the marriage of two great Russian artists, Tchaikovsky and Eifman, each at the pinnacle of their respective art forms. Interpreted by Eifman Ballet’s exquisite dancers, the result is a powerful meditation on the nature of genius and the price of fame.”“TO Live is thrilled to once again work with Show One Productions in presenting the return of Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg,” said Clyde Wagner, President & CEO of TO Live. “Having played to sold out houses on previous visits to Toronto, we look forward to continuing their success with their innovative presentation Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA and its tragic exploration of the well-known artist.”Eifman Ballet of St. PetersburgThe result of decades of contemplating the great composer’s oeuvre, Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA premiered in Russia in 2016, just before Eifman’s 70th birthday. Having choreographed several ballets to Tchaikovsky’s music, including The Idiot (1980), Tchaikovsky (1993), Red Giselle (1997), Musagete (2004), Anna Karenina (2005) and Eugene Onegin (2009), Eifman has long drawn creative energy from the iconic composer, admiring his ability to  awaken real emotion in the listener. The harrowing thread of tragedy woven throughout Tchaikovsky’s music has long inspired a deep curiosity in Eifman, prompting him to explore the source of Tchaikovsky's suffering: the hostility of the world, the oppressive awareness of his own otherness, and the eternal loneliness of his soul.Set amidst Tchaikovsky’s death-bed reveries, poignant chapters and recollections from the composer’s life blend with intrusions of characters from his iconic masterpieces, including audience favourites The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Eugene Onegin. The breathtaking lighting design by Alexander Sivaev and Eifman illuminates the elegant minimalism of Zinovy Margolin’s sets and provides a beautiful foil for Olga Shaishmelashvili’s lavish costumes. Embodying the joy, the suffering, and the devastating isolation that accompanied Tchaikovsky’s towering talent, the exquisite company of 40 dancers will express a symphony of passion through Eifman’s ingenious choreography and the composer’s own immortal creations.Eifman Ballet of St. PetersburgBorn in Siberia in 1946, Eifman is considered one of the world’s leading choreographers working today. His innate sense of movement and choreographic training at the Leningrad Conservatory led to a decade-long tenure choreographing at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. In 1977 he founded Eifman Ballet (originally called Leningrad New Ballet), an innovative and daring company that stirred a passionate debate among ballet critics. The audacity of his movement vocabulary and his unprecedented choices of music and source material earned him a reputation among the traditional ballet establishment as “a choreographic dissident.” Distinguished by its brilliant technique and charismatic theatricality, Eifman Ballet has come to represent the highest level of artistic achievements of contemporary Russian ballet and is an ambassador of the spiritual heritage of the Russian culture in performances around the world. Eifman holds the titles of People’s Artist of Russia and the Laureate of the State Prize of the Russia in Federation, and Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd Class, among others.Pre-Show Talks will take place May 9-11 from 7pm to 7:30pm in the Sony Centre Lower Lobby, moderated by Dance Critic Deirdre Kelly with artists from Eifman Ballet.Tickets at, by calling 1.855.872.7669, or in person at any TO Live box office:● Toronto Centre for the Arts Box Office, 5040 Yonge St., Tuesday – Saturday, 1–6pm● St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Box Office 27 Front St. E., Monday – Friday, 12–6pmFurther information at

Toronto Hotel/Restaurant News: The Broadview Hotel Café + Bar reimagines menu with French roots
From a media release:Toronto Hotel/Restaurant News:The Broadview Hotel Café + Bar reimagines menu with French rootsThe Broadview Hotel introduces bistro inspired fare by celebrated Le Cordon Bleu alumnusToronto, ON (April 4, 2019) – The Broadview Hotel, east Toronto’s storied locale and celebrated venue, managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts, introduces new menus to its uniquely vibrant Café + Bar. Offering fresh takes on breakfast, lunch and snacks, the delicious new additions are sure to sate. Leading Café + Bar’s reimagined menus is Executive Chef Richard Singh, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who brings experience from a number the world’s finest kitchens, including Michelin-Starred restaurants Noma (Copenhagen), Alinea (Chicago), The Fat Duck (England) and Per-Se (New York).Broadview Hotel, TorontoCafé + Bar’s soaring windows and light filled space make it the energetic heart of the hotel, and a perfect setting for enjoying the new lunch and dinner menu’s bright flavors inspired by France’s iconic bistros. The menu offers five starters and seven entrees, accompanied by a thoughtful selection of red, white and sparkling wines. French Onion Soup with gruyère, Grilled Vegetable Tartine, Croquettes and a Provençal Flatbread are introduced as starters, while beloved cultural mainstays such as Steak Frites with Maître d’Hôtel butter, Niçoise Salad and a Savory Tart debut as entrées. Classic Café + Bar favourites re-appearing on the new menu include Crisp Skin Rainbow Trout and the Broadview Burger.“Café + Bar’s iconic old-meets-new space makes it a perfect match for casual, classic French fare” says Richard Singh, Executive Chef, The Broadview Hotel. “The updated menu will enhance what Café + Bar provides to our community as a meeting place. Whether they’re here for weekend breakfast, celebratory lunches or a post-work glass of wine, we’re delighted to deliver a truly memorable experience to guests both old and new.”Broadview Hotel, TorontoAlso new to Café + Bar is a refreshed breakfast menu, which features mouthwatering brioche French Toast, savory Avocado Toast with braised peppers and bomba, and a delightful French Omelet alongside a selection of classic morning favourites. Breakfast will be available daily from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. with their new lunch menu to follow. Further culinary enhancements are to come for The Broadview Hotel, as their main floor dining room, The CIVIC, prepares to reveal a new menu signed by Executive Chef Richard Singh in spring 2019.Locally sourced, seasonal menus, warm, exacting hospitality and modern elegance are the hallmarks of The Broadview Hotel’s restaurant experience. From the stunning view of Toronto’s skyline at the Rooftop Bar and intimate elegance of The Tower, to the dramatic interiors of The CIVIC and bright, inviting Café + Bar, The Broadview Hotel offers a dining destination unlike any other.About The Broadview HotelLocated in the heart of Riverside at the corner of Queen St. E. and Broadview Ave., The Broadview Hotel is a boutique hotel, The Civic restaurant, Lobby Bar + Café and Rooftop. The Romanesque Revival-style building constructed in 1891 is a heritage property, as designated by the City of Toronto. Cleverly reimagined as a charismatic gathering spot, each space is infused with the spirit of the east end: it’s a place where international travelers relax alongside local residents. Drawing from The Broadview’s iconic façade, visitors and community members will enjoy a uniquely crafted hospitality experience.Website: thebroadviewhotel.caInstagram: @BroadviewHotelTwitter: @BroadviewHotelFacebook: The Broadview HotelHashtag: #BroadviewHotelAbout Crescent Hotels & Resorts:Crescent Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning, nationally recognized, elite operator of hotels and resorts. Crescent currently operates over 100 hotels, resorts & conference centers in Canada and the United States. Crescent is one of the few elite management companies approved to operate upper-upscale and luxury hotels under the brand families of Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and IHG. Crescent also operates a collection of legendary independent lifestyle hotels and resorts under the Latitudes Collection umbrella. Crescent’s clients include premiere REITs, private equity firms and major developers. For more information, please visit & or connect with Crescent on LinkedIn. 

Jazz Fusion: Joan Torres's All Is Fused - Revolution (Independent / 21 April 2019)
Jazz Fusion:Joan Torres's All Is Fused - Revolution(Independent / 21 April 2019)• Preorder or Pre-Save"When I set out to start All Is Fused I thought of a possible trajectory for our sound. I knew enough about my favorite artists to know that it was unlikely our sound would be fully developed by our first album. I started planning our phase 1 – the road it would take us to get closer to that sound. I believe Revolution to be the culmination of said phase 1."Interesting, inventive, and highly original, Joan Torres's All Is Fused offers listeners an intriguing ride on Revolution, the fourth release for the San Francisco based ensemble.Joan has added different bass guitars other than his tried and true Fender Jazz Bass for the instrumental release, and each track offers something different. Rebellion is appropriately named - a wild, high energy ride of rhythm, melody, and dissonance thrown in for good measure.High Stakes sticks to a contemporary jazz mode, with Torres showcasing his bass chops in a melodic solo against a kinetic drum line. A rhythm driven track, it also features a moody sax line juxtaposing a bombastic rhythm section to interesting effect.In Moving Mountain, Joan takes the bass solo in a minimalist and avant garde piece that explores the different sounds he can wring from his instrument. He begins with a simple thematic rhythm that he builds on, extracting melodies, counterpoint rhythms, and more in a bassist tour de force. About halfway through, he adds other instrumentation, and a more conventional take on melody, rhythm, and harmonic structure. Still in a fairly minimalist mode, it ventures into trippy jazz fusion territory.Ambivalence - the notes don't say what the title of the song was inspired by, but I'm wondering if it's the mash up between new music classical and modern jazz in the track. There are more than shades of prog rock in the song, with a hint of the symphonic sounds of bands like King Crimson.Loss is appropriately elegiac, downtempo and moody, emphasizing mournful strings and bass. Barriers lightens the mood with a melodic keyboard driven theme, and Aftermath adds a distinctly Latin touch to the mayhem.Finale begins simply, incorporating more complex rhythms and a kinetic sax line, then a guitar pattern over the drum kit in a beat that gets wilder and wilder. It's a track that lets all the soloists shine.Joan, who writes all the material, was in his first band by the 8th grade, studying music at a private music academy in his native Puerto Rico, and eventually taking part in the Berklee in Puerto Rico workshops in 2004, where he met many musicians along with furthering his musicianship and composition skills. He formed the Raices Rusticas, who opened and gigged with many of the area's jazz luminaries.If this album marks the end of the band's Phase I stage, it will be interesting to see where the journey leads them next.Track List:1. Rebellion2. High Stakes3. Moving Mountain4. Ambivalence5. Loss6. Barriers7. Aftermath8. Finale9. (Bonus Track) True (Revamp)Personnel:Jonathan Suazo: Alto Sax; Gabriel Vicéns: Guitar; Sergio González: Guitar; Emanuel Rivera: Piano and Keyboards; Fernando García: Drums; Joan Torres: BassSpecial guests: Paoli Mejías: Percussion on Aftermath; Julius Meléndez: Trumpet on Barriers; Elana Hedrych: Vocals on BarriersString quintet on Loss: Fermín A. Segarra Cordero on Violin; Guillermo A. Peguero Alers on Violin; Lourdes N. Negrón Santos on Viola; Fermín Segarra Vásquez on Cello; Andrés E. Almodóvar Santiago on Double BassStay in touch: - a live version:

Designmuseo: Works by Designers Aamu Song and Johan Olin (COMPANY) Opens at Design Museum Helsinki April 5 to September 22 2019
From a media release:DesignmuseoA Major Exhibition of Work by Designers Aamu Song and Johan Olin (COMPANY) to Open at Design Museum HelsinkiApril 5 to September 22 2019• Check it OutSecret Universe (5 April – 22 September 2019), Design Museum’s main exhibition of the spring and summer season presents the work of Aamu Song and Johan Olin of the COMPANY design from over the past ten years. This is the first time their work in design is being displayed to this extent.HELSINKI: Designers Aamu Song and Johan Olin work like explorers. They look for traditional crafts methods and manufacturing skills in different parts of the world and consider the ways in which they could be included in present-day material culture, social debate and discussion. It all  began in 2007, when the designers investigated what crafts objects were still being made in Finland. Together with master crafts practitioners, the designers created a collection of objects called Top Secrets of Finland. Their work involving the secrets of craftsmanship continued later in Korea, Belgium, Estonia, Russia, Japan, the United States, and most recently in Mexico.Fruit Matryoshka Design Company Aamu Song 2015c CompanySecret Universe presents for the first time all of Song’s and Olin’s expeditions from 2007 to 2019, focusing on the designers’ exceptional method, a combination of anthropology, folklore and mysticism. In their works, the unique world of Korean-born Song and Olin of Finland merges with the skills of masters of various crafts. Over the years, Song and Olin have created a large collection of furniture, fashions, accessories and art objects reflecting a wide range of skills in materials and production methods. The exhibition will also include an immense mural painted by the designers and showing all their various visits to factories in different countries.Secret Universe prompts us to consider our own consumer habits. How and where are the objects that surround us made? Who makes them? How can we protect crafts methods and manufacturing skills that are in danger of becoming extinct?Sea Matryoshka Design Company Aamu Song & Johan Olin 2012c CompanySong and Olin address the connections of production, manufacturing and the global movements of objects in a touching and human way, with the means of intelligent humour and narration.Locally made products are disappearing, because they are being replaced by cheap products and locally manufactured goods are too expensive without any good reason. This influences our decisions about where to go next, to what country and how we will create our designs, Aamu Song and  Johan Olin point out.The exhibition is curated by Chief Curator Suvi Saloniemi of Design Museum and the exhibition architecture is by Linda Bergroth.Special demonstrations of work by master craftspeopleThe exhibition includes a wide range of events and activities for museum visitors of all ages. There will be special ‘Holy Days’ celebrating the crafts of the whole world. Master crafts practitioners from Japan, Mexico, Finland and Russia will attend these events as guests and to give demonstrations of their work. At our design workshops for families held once a month on Saturdays, participants can work on masks that will be included in a growing installation for the exhibition space. The whole programme of events will be announced after the opening of the exhibition.A book on the exhibition will be launched on 11 MayIn the exhibition book, the work of COMPANY will be discussed by, among others, cultural journalist Catherine Hickley and curator Carlos Mínguez-Carrasco. The layout design of the book is by designer Nene Tsuboi.Aamu Song & Johan Olin portrait COMPANY cElina SominenCOMPANYAamu Song (born 1974) & Johan Olin (born 1974) are designers based in Helsinki and the founders of the COMPANY design practice. They are professionally active as artists, designers and producers. COMPANY has received the Finnish State Design Prize in 2010 and TARKISTA / EN LÖYDÄ: Internationalisation Prize  of the Helsinki Design Awards of 2018. Song and Olin are fascinated by the traditional processes of making products in different countries, the teachings of which they apply in their own projects. COMPANY has travelled to the factories and studios of small manufacturers in Finland and abroad. The journeys and trips have opened up new perspectives on traditional products and uses of materials. The design work of COMPANY is based on the narratives and activities of factories and products. It is their secret.SALAKAUPPAThe products created as a result of COMPANY’s travels and projects are sold in the designers’ Salakauppa shop in Helsinki and via retailers around the world.Dance Shoes Design Company Aamu Song 2007c Company

Modern Pop EP: Benny Bassett - Words For Yesterday (Independent / 12 April 2019)
Modern Pop EP:Benny Bassett - Words For Yesterday(Independent / 12 April 2019)• Preorder the EP Benny Bassett works his way through a variety of modern pop genres in Words For Yesterday, his upcoming EP release. He's got a knack for radio friendly songwriting that explores familiar genres with a fine sense of musicianship.Window To Forever is a tune that you'll find yourself humming and singing along to, a country rock anthem to love. Live Where You Love The Sky continues down a musical lane flavoured with country harmonies and a laidback vibe.Down Below kicks it up a notch with edgier vocals in a throbbing guitar driven track. Find A Way incorporates a churchy organ line and a more soulful musical and vocal approach in a bouncy rhythm.Building A Future matches its optimistic message about love with a bright dance rhythm and synthy arrangement. From You is a soft, keyboard driven ballad about coming back to the one you left behind, revolving around a simple melodic pattern that nicely conveys the sense of loss and a wistful regret about leaving in the first place.The production is polished but unobtrusive and not over processed. Benny's arrangements are layered with melodic lines and rhythms, offering more than just a basic interpretation of genre. Lyrics find poetry in the everyday.He's based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but for two and half years, Benny  logged over 200,000 miles, and close to 500 shows on the road.  While watching the odometer spin, behind the wheel of his tour SUV "Sally the Saturn", Benny wrote this ode to missed opportunities. Goodbye ... I'm sorry ... I love you ...he covers familiar themes with polished musicality.The six song EP is set to debut in Spring of 2019, and will be accompanied by a lengthy international tour, that is currently set to include performances across the United States, North America, and Europe.Personnel:Benny Bassett - Guitar, Vocals; Travis McNabb - Drums; Kit Karlson - Keyboard, Piano, Organ; Chip Johnson - Bass, GuitarTrack List:1. Window To Forever2. Live Where You Love The Sky3. Down Below4. Find A Way5. Building A Future6. From YouStay in touch: acoustic version of Down Below:

Folk/Rock Single: Y. Dan Rubinstein - Don't Break What You Cannot Fix (Independent / 29 March 2019)
Folk/Rock Single:Y. Dan Rubinstein - Don't Break What You Cannot Fix(Independent / 29 March 2019)• Stream it on SpotifyIn the spirit of a true folk artist, there's a focus on the poetry of the lyrics and the meaning of the song, the latest single from Los Altos, California based Y. Dan Rubinstein.things that we never dreamed, plots that we'd only schemedfibers woven to threadyou loved me when I needed it, the emptiness recededwelcome to this black widow webMusically, it has a definite Latin-esque swing and melodic progression, with an insistent rhythm on the acoustic guitar. Rubinstein's vocals are suited to the folky singer songwriter genre, a raspy tenor that conveys the melancholy of the words.One quibble: I'd turn the music up a half notch or so in the mix - it sounds too much like the vocals were recorded separately.It was attending his five year old's violin lessons that inspired Rubinstein to take up music again after a long hiatus when work and family responsibilities ate up his time. The single is part of his upcoming full-length release, Stolen Moments, a collection of largely acoustic pop songs. The title track is one of the first songs he ever wrote."Stolen Moments is about first loves. Everything is new and special and magical because like all first experiences there is nothing to compare them to. We open ourselves, and become vulnerable. Do we regret that vulnerability or does it become part of who we are? Knowing how things turned out, should we have stolen those moments, or borrowed them instead? What would we tell our younger selves if we could?"To learn more about Y. Dan Rubinstein's debut album 'Stolen Moments', click here ( in touch:

Travel the World Without Ever Leaving Toronto Local Food Tour Company, Chopsticks+Forks, Soars Under Foodie Founder Jusep Sim
From a media release:Travel the World Without Ever Leaving TorontoLocal Food Tour Company, Chopsticks+Forks, Soars Under the Passion and Expertise of Foodie Founder, Jusep Sim• To book a tour or private dining experience, visit, March 19, 2019 - The only passport you’ll need on this trip is one for your taste buds: local food tour company, Chopsticks+Forks, takes guests on an epicurean adventure right in their own backyard. Thanks to globe-trotting celebrity chefs and Instagram posts worthy of the #foodporn hashtag, the appreciation of food culture has exploded in recent years and Toronto-based “chronicfoodie”, Jusep Sim, has leveraged the craze to create Chopsticks+Forks. Sim’s natural affinity for story-telling through food has catapulted the company into the #1 spot on TripAdvisor, where guests rave about their experience on the Kensington Market Food Tour.The tour that started it all leads hungry guests to six restaurants in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood where they taste everything from Tibetan momos to Jamaican patties and Canadian bannock. And new this spring, Sim has answered the demand for a quintessential Canadian Food experience by adding The Great Canadian Food Tour to the Chopsticks+Forks lineup.The launch of the Canadian Food tour will mark the company’s upcoming third anniversary and will follow a similar pattern to the Kensington Market Food Tour with the obvious caveat that all foods were born here in the Great White North. Guests will tempt their taste buds with Canada’s major contributions to the global culinary scene including butter tarts and poutine, as well as more idiosyncratic dishes like Pow Wow Cafe’s tacos served up on Ojibway-style frybread—a dish that’s older than Canada itself!Pow Wow Cafe, Toronto“My passion is to connect people to the world through food,” explains Sim, who credits a trip to Kenya back in 2007 with completely changing the way he saw food. “I realized that food is more than just how we nourish ourselves. It’s central to the culture of a place—a way to communicate what a place is about beyond language.”Chopsticks+Forks is the local manifestation of Sim’s food travels that have taken him to over 54 countries around the world on a quest to get to know the local fare. And Toronto’s reputation as the world’s most multicultural city—a whopping 50% of the population is foreign-born—makes it the perfect backdrop for Sim to relay his love of exploring food from across the globe, to others.Chopsticks+Forks tours run rain or shine all year round and are suitable for most ages. In addition to the Kensington Market Food Tour and the Great Canadian Food Tour, Sim has designed a palate-pleasing sit-down Korean feast for the armchair travelers among us. Korean Food 101 is a private dining experience for groups of four or more, that turns an ordinary dinner with friends or a typical corporate event into a memorable, out-of-the-ordinary meal.• To book a tour or private dining experience, visit Chopsticks+ForksChopsticks+Forks is a Toronto-based company offering food tours and private dining experiences that spotlight the city’s reputation for ethnic diversity through its cuisine. Founded in 2016 by world-traveler-turned-CEO (Chief Epicurean Officer), Jusep Sim, Chopsticks+Forks enjoys the reputation as Toronto’s #1 rated food tour on TripAdvisor, owing to Sim’s ability to tell the story of a place through food. Tours run rain or shine all year round and are designed for anyone who appreciates a gustatory adventure with the goal of increasing one’s confidence when it comes to trying new foods.From last year's Kensington Market launch:

New Music Video: Idan Raichel & Danay Suarez "La Eternidad Que Se Perdio? (The Eternity That Was Lost)"
From a media release:New Music Video:Idan Raichel & Danay Suarez"La Eternidad Que Se Perdió(The Eternity That Was Lost)"•Buy it at Cumbancha Records•Stream it on SpotifyCuban singer Danay Suarez and Israeli music icon Idan Raichel first met at one of Idan's concerts in Miami several years ago. Despite different backgrounds, their artistic chemistry was immediate and Idan and Danay soon began making music together. Danay and Idan have shared the stage numerous times, and Danay even covered one of Idan's songs on her Latin GRAMMY-nominated album Palabras Manuales.The new music video for their song "La Eternidad Que Se Perdió (The Eternity That Was Lost)" was directed by Danay herself and filmed in Miami and Havana. It features vocalists Ernesto Bacallao Serrano & Juan Alfredo Hurtado Valero from the legendary Orquesta Aragón. In a world blinded by politics and ideology, Danay calls out for change: "Wisdom was not born out of an algorithm or conflict / No religious doctrine or flag can suppress that voice / It rises without borders / It inspires the masses who desire the eternity that was lost."The song is from Idan's latest album, And If You Will Come to Me, which was released on January 31st and has been earning accolades around the world.Idan Raichel is now on tour in Europe and the United States.March 17 & 18 New York, NY City WineryMarch 19 Boston, MA City WineryMarch 21 Atlanta, GA City WineryMarch 23 Chicago, IL City WineryMarch 24 Irvine, CA Merage JCC  For updates & details visit: www.idanraichelproject.comFollow Idan on Instagram: @idanraichel

Blyth Theatre: Canadian Author Lawrence Hill highlights Blyth Festival 45th Season Events
From a media release:Blyth Theatre:Canadian author Lawrence Hill highlightsBlyth Festival events to celebrate 45th Season• Find Out More About Blyth FestivalBLYTH, ON – Canadian author Lawrence Hill will highlight a unique series of events at Blyth Festival to celebrate 45 seasons of developing and producing plays that give a rich voice to both rural South Western Ontario and the entire country.Lawrence Hill is a professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. He is the author of ten books, including The Illegal, The Book of Negroes, Any Known Blood, and Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada.The award-winning author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal will speak from the theatre’s main stage about his passionate views on elder care and assisted dying in Canada, providing his perspective on the journey to death for his extraordinary mother, Donna Mae Hill. At 90 years old, after a remarkable life, much of it spent fighting for civil rights in Canada, Donna Mae Hill travelled to Switzerland for an assisted death because Canada’s laws prohibited it. Lawrence Hill and his niece were present at her end of life.Select books written by Lawrence Hill will be available for sale and signing.“We are profoundly moved by Lawrence Hill’s decision to share the inspiring legacy of his tireless mother with our audience. This past summer, I read his Act of Love: The Life and Death of Donna Mae Hill in the Globe and Mail online, and I was utterly blown away. His passion, his eloquence, his care, and his ferocious opinion, caught me immediately, so I wrote to him and asked him to please come and share his story. We really look forward to helping him amplify his message,” said Gil Garratt, who is artistic director of Blyth Festival.In its 2019 Season, the Festival will premiere In the Wake of Wettlaufer, written by Kelly McIntosh and Garratt, a hard-hitting but compassionate play based on interviews with families of victims of nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer, convicted of murdering eight residents in nursing homes. The playwrights also attended the public inquiry led by Justice Gillese and continue to interview personal support workers and nurses working in elder care in Ontario.The play follows a group of fictional siblings who are in the process of moving their elderly father into long-term care. The family grapples with many of the struggles families in this circumstance endure: unresolved rivalries, differences of opinion in the level of care, siblings spread across the country, arm wrestles over power-of-attorney, and their own conflicting memories of their lives with their father. The siblings then learn, as dozens of Ontario families were confronted with in 2016, that in the same facility, Wettlaufer has committed multiple murders. After that, the siblings closely follow the conviction, sentencing, and subsequent public inquiry.Deeper RootsLawrence Hill’s talk will be one of three complementary events engaging with themes and ideas emerging from the Wettlaufer play, the others being about The Healing Power of Art in palliative medicine, and What is a Good Death? The three events will be part of a new series called Deeper Roots, which will enrich the Festival’s 45th season with 28 additional events to complement the five main stage plays. The events include artist talkbacks, live interviews with circus performers, panel discussions on contemporary agricultural practices, cake-baking master-classes, and much more.Laurence HillLawrence Hill was recipient of the 2017 Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize for outstanding contributions to the arts. He is also the winner of The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and is the only two-time winner of CBC Radio’s Canada Reads. He co-wrote the adaptation for the six-part television miniseries The Book of Negroes, which attracted millions of viewers in the United States and Canada and won 11 Canadian Screen Awards in 2016. Lawrence Hill is also a Member of the Order of Canada.Blyth FestivalSince 1975, the Festival has premiered more than 135 plays, and is set to premiere two more in its 45th Season, with Jumbo by Sean Dixon and In the Wake of Wettlaufer by Kelly McIntosh and Gil Garratt.The 2019 Season will be another extended season, with 106 performances of five plays on its mainstage, running from early June until the end of September. It will also feature two productions in its Phillips Studio, programming for youth, and its perennial three-day Bonanza Weekend of four plays. As well, The Pigeon King, which premiered in 2017 and made an encore appearance in 2018, heads to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa (April 24 to May 5).Lawrence Hill will speak on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets, $10 Blyth Festival Members, $15 Non-Members, are available at the Blyth Festival box office, 431 Queen St., Blyth, by calling 877.862.5984 or by visiting online at interview with Laurence Hill from 2016:

Pop/Rock with a Heart: Kevin Thomas/Kevin Thomas Band - A New Heart (Independent / March 29, 2019)
Pop/Rock with a Heart:Kevin Thomas/Kevin Thomas Band - A New Heart(Independent / March 29, 2019)• Stream the First Single• Get the albumGotta see the big pictureWhile weeding through the lies...See the big pictureLike a childCan pop-rock be uplifting, positive - and still listenable? San Diego based Kevin Thomas and his band make that a hard yes on this full length release.The music industry veteran works alone and with a floating cast of bandmates to craft catchy pop songs with a positive message. The Big Picture is the first single from the release, a bright pop song that veers into reggae and jazzy chord changes.There's a nice sense of musicality and musical variety on the album. Time steps into classic funk territory, with a nice fat Hammond organ sound, and a chorus with the feel of a retro anthem. The infectious groove continues in Money Tree with an RnB vibe at the chorus. Let Your Arrow Fly owes its inspiration to vintage power pop with its prominent vocal harmonies.He blends various genres and influences. Mirror Mirror is propelled by a laidback Latin swing, along with classic rock sensibilities. High On Chocolate is a stand out track with its funky, jazzy groove, and how can you resist a chorus that goes, "Baby do you want to get high...?"Kevin's vocals are melodic, with an idiosyncratic edge that gives him a distinctive sound, and it's clear he brings a lot of musical chops to the table. He's been working in the music business virtually his whole adult life, with a Master's degree in music composition from the University of Miami, and a bachelor's degree with honors as a dual major in songwriting and music performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is also a graduate of the Musician's Institute (MI) in Hollywood.Kevin ThomasHe performs with his band in the San Diego area, and often works as a sideman, having toured the United States and Europe extensively over the years.The album drops on March 29, 2019.Track List:1. The Big Picture   2. Comfort Zone   3. Time   4. Money Tree   5. Let Your Arrow Fly   6. Reinvent Yourself7. Mirror Mirror   8. High On Chocolate   9. On My Way Out   10. The Best Luck AroundMusicians:Kevin Thomas: Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist (Kevin Thomas Band has a rotating cast)Stay in touch:

Singer/Songwriter/Ambient: Ivor Lane - Postplay (Independent / March 29 2019)
Singer/Songwriter/Ambient:Ivor Lane - Postplay(Independent / March 29, 2019)• Stream the Single 'I Wait Too Long' on SpotifyHaunting and evocative, Chicago based indie artist Ivor Lane's debut EP Postplay makes beauty out of heartache."I was in a very dark and isolated emotional place when I wrote this album. But at my core, I am extremely optimistic, I think you can hear that in this record. I was inspired by 90's shoegaze music, most notably Slowdive for the texture and sounds in the songs, and folk singers such as Nico for my vocal performance and soul bearing lyrical content. I want this album to help folks who are sad, by being a friendly voice that doesn't try to heal them, but sits with them as they are, and helps them reflect."Dreamy, wistful, and romantic, Ivor Lane's soft and expressive tenor is perfect for the mood of Loved Me. They have a distinctive vocal style that is whispery and intimate, fluid and emotion laden. In Miss Me, Ivor's vocals blend seamlessly with a hypnotic chord changes, layered over with spacey synth. It's trippy and affective, all at once.Reminder is ethereal and otherworldly - like something you might have overheard in a dream. I Wait Too Long is the first single in advance of the release, a showcase for Ivor's distinctive vocal style over a minimalist arrangement of keyboard. You've Got Me bucks the trend, in juxtaposing Ivor's pretty voice against a growly guitar.Sit back, step out of the world, and hitch along for this trippy ride through the dark side of romance.Track List:1. Loved Me 2. Miss Me3. Reminder4. I Wait Too Long5. You've Got Me Personnel:Ivor Lane : vocals; Dan Farnsworth : Keys, Guitars, Electronics, Tambourine Stay in touch: Lane - I Wait Too LongThe first single from Ivor Lane's EP Postplay. Video by Jon Cates and Meg Noe.

A Manga Lover’s Tokyo Travel Guide By Evangeline Neo (Tuttle Publishing - August 13, 2019)
From a media release:A Manga Lover’s Tokyo Travel GuideMy Favorite Things to See and Do in JapanBy Evangeline NeoTuttle Publishing - August 13, 2019An entertaining and visually-captivating guide to one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations• Preorder The BookThis guide to Tokyo is depicted in charming, culturally-relevant and humorous drawings and stories, which are as enjoyable for armchair travelers as they are practically useful for visitors to the city. Step into the world of modern Japanese culture through this amusing and unique travel guide.In contrast to the typical travel guide, A Manga Lover’s Tokyo Travel Guide is both informative and fun to read. Learn about Japanese culture, sights and travel tips through the lens of increasingly-relevant and globally popular Japanese pop-culture. Discover where to shop for souvenirs in Akihabara and Nakano, go on a tour of famous anime and manga museums like Studio Ghibli and Sanrio Puroland, and experience a cosplay studio, maid and butler café, and a manga drawing class.In addition to all the otaku sights this city has to offer, famous manga artist and author Evangeline Neo also brings readers to all the must-see Tokyo sites—from Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple to Tokyo Tower and the Meiji Shrine. Neo introduces travelers to sushi train restaurants, hot spring baths and a kimono makeover session—even a day trip to Mt. Fuji. Along the way, she shows you all her favorite places to shop and eat, and gives advice on what to pack, what to buy, how to get around, and even how to speak a few words of survival Japanese.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Evangeline Neo is one of the best-known comic book authors and artists in Southeast Asia. Born and raised in Singapore, her work won her a scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in animation and visual effects at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco; she also has an MBA from Waseda University in Tokyo. Neo has been drawing web comics since 2007 and has published books that have gained her a wide international following, including Eva, Kopi and Matcha and Eva Goes Solo.ABOUT THE BOOK:A Manga Lover’s Tokyo Travel GuideBy Evangeline NeoISBN: 9784805315477 • $14.99 • flapped paperback • August 13, 2019

Nu House/New Single: Matt Warren - How Do I Love Thee
Nu House/New Single:Matt Warren - How Do I Love TheeFrom the album Music Is My Life(Wake Up! Music Oct 15, 2018)• Stream the album on Spotify• Read my review of the albumChicago based Matt Warren has been a DJ for four decades, and a producer since 1984. He co-founded Sunset Records in 1985, a label that released a string of house classics. In 1987, he founded AKA Dance Music, releasing Bang The Box, now considered the first hard house track.After the demise of AKA Dance Music, Matt Warren continued to travel the world DJ in some of the top clubs. Meanwhile, Matt continued to produce new music, remix tracks by some of the biggest names in music. By the 1990s, he was a well known writer, arranger, and producer who worked with a wide range of artists - but house was still close to his heart.In 2016, he crossed paths agains with house diva Pepper Gomez, who had founded Wake Up! Music, producing under the name MyMy Lady G. It wasn't long before the two decided to collaborate on an album. And, in the fall of 2018, Nu House - and Music Is My Life - was born.Get On Up (2018) Matt Warren Music Is My Life Official feat Janis McGeeHow Do I Love Thee is the second single off the album, an infectious dance track that features Pepper Gomez' breathy spoken vocals over a relentless groove. Warren layers beats, keyboards, and vocals, with a jazzy horn solo over it all. It's sophisticated dance music with lyrics that riff off those classic expressions of love.Wake Up! Music is a female-run record label. With a focus on endangered music, Wake Up! Music works to give special-genre artists a platform to take their arts to the next level.AccoladesAwards - Platinum records for:Mortal Combat Movie Soundtrack Artists KMFDM & Sister Machine Gun (Matt Warren engineer & mixer along with Van Cristie@ Warzone Recorders)Bjork - "Isobel" Remix (Matt Warren engineer & mixer along with Van Cristie@ Warzone Recorders)Faith Evans - "Love Like This" Remix (Matt Warren engineer & mixer @ Warzone Recorders)Personnel:Matt Warren: electronic instruments, programming; Pepper Gomez: vocals; Ron Haynes: horns; Mike "Champagne" Anderson: guitar; Antone Montgomery: bass; Sharkeyes: electronic instruments, programming; Frank Schabold: bass; Adam Kucharzyk: guitar; Richard Meyer, Junior: piano; Wes Nelson: bassStay in Touch:"How Do I Love Thee" Matt Warren: Music Is My Life Official feat Pepper Gomez

Off Broadway: $30 Tickets for WHITE NOISE by Suzan-Lori Parks & AIN'T NO MO' by Jordan E. Cooper
From a media release:\Off Broadway:$30 Tickets for WHITE NOISE by Suzan-Lori Parks& AIN'T NO MO' by Jordan E. CooperPlaying through April 21 & 28 2019At the Public Theater, New York CityFollowing her critically-acclaimed trilogy FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS (PARTS 1, 2 & 3), Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, In The Blood) returns with a world premiere play about race, friendship, and our rapidly unraveling social contract.Long-time friends and lovers Leo, Misha, Ralph, and Dawn are educated, progressive, cosmopolitan, and woke. But when a racially motivated incident with the cops leaves Leo shaken, he decides extreme measures must be taken for self-preservation.The Public’s Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis (Julius Caesar, Public Works Twelfth Night) directs this fierce new drama about what happens when the unspoken and the unspeakable come head-to-head.WHITE NOISEby Suzan-Lori Parksdirected by Oskar EustisPlaying now thru April 21Featuring: Daveed Diggs, Sheria Irving, Thomas Sadoski, and Zoë Winters.Use code Marcia19 to "unlock" $30 tickets.To purchase tickets:Click here.Call 212.967.7555.Visit The Taub Box Office at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, NYCAIN’T NO MO’ is a vibrant satirical odyssey portraying the great exodus of Black Americans out of a country plagued with injustice.In a kaleidoscope of scenes of the moments before, during, and after this outrageous departure, Jordan E. Cooper’s extraordinary new work explores the value of black lives in a country hurtling away from the promise of a black president.Stevie Walker-Webb directs this wildly imaginative and emotionally charged new play.AIN'T NO MO'by Jordan E. Cooperdirected by Stevie Walker-WebbMarch 12 - April 28Featuring: Jordan E. Cooper, Marchánt Davis, Fedna Jacquet, Crystal Lucas-Parry, Ebony Marshall-Oliver, Simone Recasner, and Hernon Whaley, Jr.Use code Marcia19 to "unlock" $30 tickets.To purchase tickets:Click here.Call 212.967.7775.Visit The Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street, NYC.

Fighting the People's War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War by Jonathan Fennell
Fighting the People's War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World Warby Jonathan FennellCambridge University Press (January 24, 2019)• Order it on AmazonIf an ill-informed or indifferent electorate is a menace to our national safety, so, too, is an Army which neither knows nor cares why it is in arms. The quote comes from an Army Bureau of Current Affairs (ABCA) missive dated July 21, 1941, and it sums up the core of this extensive look at the Commonwealth armies in the Second World War. Despite its academic pedigree, author and professor Dr Jonathan Fennell writes in a clear and readable prose that makes it accessible outside the ivory tower set.Fighting the People's War is a weighty volume, part of a new series from the Cambridge University Press on the armies of the Second World War. In it, author Jonathan Fennell weaves the social history of the times to come up with a portrait of the regular soldiers of the British and Commonwealth armies, including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and South Africa—soldiers he calls "citizens in military service to the state".In doing so, he reveals a side of the Second World War that might surprise anyone whose version has so far depended on the stories of the generals and ruling classes. In the introduction, he lays out the logic of his approach.To understand the behaviour of armies in a political and social context;Conversely, societies themselves can be understood by examining the conduct of its soldiers.As he points out, conflict and war brings any simmering social issues to a boiling point. The Second World War divided society in many ways, and along many lines that we now call intersections - by class, race, age, gender, and ethnicity.Fennell used a variety of documents in his research, including military censorship records. Since all letters home were censored, it is a genuine snapshot of the lives of soldiers at the time. He also used diaries, photographs, memos, and many other documents to compile the book.In the UK, WWII brought on a political and social sea change, one that led, post-war, to the surprising landslide victory of the Labour Party in 1945. In Canada, conscription for the war nearly caused a rift in the country as French speaking Quebecois objected.In South Africa, the deep divisions of a racist society became even more pointed, with many white Afrikaners not exactly celebrating the German defeat in 1945. In India, the war effort had a tepid energy at best. Many people sympathized with the Japanese forces, and were decidedly anti-British.In many regions of the Commonwealth, the armies were made up of a very mixed slice of the populace, including black Africans, Maoris in New Zealand, and many Indian soldiers. These soldiers wanted an end to the existing order of British imperialism—not to risk their lives for a return to the status quo.This is photograph E 3265E from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 4700-33) - The Battle of Crete, 20 - 31 May 1941. German paratroopers jumping from Junkers Ju 52 3/m transport planes over Crete.Even in the UK, many soldiers had already heard the stories of betrayal and disappointment from their own fathers, who had returned from World War I only to find their government failing on the promise to support them, their widows, and orphans. They'd grown up with the misery of the global economic Depression. After the poor treatment of its WWI veterans and survivors, there was widespread mistrust of the state.The books chapters proceed in largely chronological progression, beginning with the social and political context of the pre-war years. The book quotes an article from The Economist of 1939 that notes that the economy of the British Empire, as it then stood, far exceeded that of Germany and Italy combined. Its output was boosted by a large non-white colonial population. Despite that kind of economic superiority, however, once Germany began to ramp up its armed forces, the British forces couldn't keep pace. Cracks had already begun to show in the Empire.The armies of the Commonwealth were largely made up of blue collar skilled trades people, although Canada and New Zealand also included a large proportion of unskilled labourers in their army ranks. There was also a large chunk of poor people looking to avoid creditors or job insecurity. Welfare offices were said to have advised people to enlist rather than apply for benefits.Once they'd been shipped overseas, their letters reveal an overwhelming homesickness. The letters and other documents also reveal the ways that their political beliefs had changed as a result of their direct involvement in the conflict.Britain and its allies were not deficient materially. Instead, Fennell points to the crisis of morale as the root of their early difficulties during the prolonged conflict. In the second part of the book, he examines The Great Crisis of Empire.Frank Capra (film) - Divide and Conquer (Why We Fight #3) Public Domain (U.S. War Department): - British troops rescued in a ship at Dunkirk (France, 1940). Screenhot taken from the 1943 United States Army propaganda film Divide and Conquer (Why We Fight #3) directed by Frank Capra and partially based on, news archives, animations, restaged scenes and captured propaganda material from both sides.The onset of war came with early defeats for the UK and Commonwealth forces in France and Norway, and significant losses to the British navy. The massive evacuation of over 338,000 British troops from Dunkirk known as Operation Dynamo was spun as a success, but it came alongside the surrender of about 40,000 French troops to the Germans.Back home in the UK, the newspapers blamed the politicians. In private documents, the military already spoke of a crisis of morale. There were many documented cases of gross insubordination and AWOL, corroborated by letters and diaries. Churchill, who of course has emerged as a hero in the history books, was, as the book notes, "the architect of the disasters at Gallipoli and Norway". Fennell describes Churchill's political maneuvering, and the tumult at a time when the UK was facing bankruptcy.Troops were stretch thin from Crete to the Balkans, and as the war dragged on, morale sank further. Soldiers were losing confidence in their abilities and equipment. Generals were so worried about dropping morale and the threat of both insubordination and desertion, that they requested the return of the death penalty for deserters. After Japan attacked in the east, during the Fall of Singapore, the troops were chastised for not showing "the fighting spirit which is to be expected of men in the British Empire".The book spends some time examining the (mis)adventures of the Eighth Army in Africa, where the troops own exhaustion was only rivaled by that of the German Afrika Korps.Field Marshall 'Monty' MontgomeryExtensive sections follow the battles of the war on various fronts chronologically. The turning point, as many felt it to be, came after the victory in North Africa—when Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery took over command of the Eighth Army and led them to final victory in Tunisia - along with New Guinea and Burma.However, even as the Allies marched toward eventually victory, morale still remained an issue. There was the New Zealand Furlough Mutiny of 1943, where troops, who had suffered horrible conditions in battle, returned home to find the country in prosperity. Anger grew at their low pay. The New Zealanders were sent on a furlough in late 1943 before returning to the war in Burma. However, after a public campaign, many simply refused to go back. Only about 42 percent of returning soldiers showed up to embark in January 1944. It was an incident that the government suppressed, with no media reports of the effective mutiny.The last section of the book looks at the post-War world, and the social changes the returning soldiers brought back with them.The average British soldier was said, derisively, to run on "football, beer, and crumpets." But, the experience of war had changed them. Living as soldiers encouraged social cooperation and socialism—not the model of rugged individualism. As they returned home, they brought a wave of change.In Britain, it was the Labour victory of 1945. New Zealanders also elected the Labour Party post-war. In Canada, the left-leaning Liberals, CCF, and Social Credit parties garnered 58 percent of the civilian vote post-War - and 71 percent of the vote of veterans with combat experience.The post-War period saw the final dissolution of the British Empire, a kind of boiling point that stripped away whatever was left of the old ways. India was partitioned into modern day India and Pakistan in 1947, and became a republic in 1950, with Pakistan following in 1957. Nigeria gained its independence in 1960.Photographer not identified. "Official photograph". This is photograph HU 2781 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 5707-03) - Lieutenant-General Percival and his party carry the Union flag on their way to surrender Singapore to the Japanese. Left to Right: Major Cyril Wild (carrying white flag) interpreter; Brigadier T. K. Newbigging (carrying the Union flag) Chief Administrative Officer, Malaya Command; Lieutenant-Colonel Ichiji Sugita; Brigadier K. S. Torrance, Brigadier General Staff Malaya Command; Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, General Officer Commanding, Malaya Command.In South Africa, social change took a darker turn. The war experience brought greater cohesion among white soldiers from mixed Dutch, English, and Jewish backgrounds. Back at home, with so many white workers away, somewhat ironically, black workers tended to prosper as skilled trade positions opened up that had never been available to them before.There were rumblings of dismay in the newspapers. The white minority saw the native black African population as one to exploit—not one with which to share a new era of prosperity. The general election of 1948 resulted in the entrenchment of Apartheid as an official state policy.WWII is often examined in isolation of its legacy. The book delivers the proof for its premise that there are strong links between social cohesion and what happens on the battlefield. It's important as an academic work, but will also interest any history buffs with a penchant for the Second World War, mid-twentieth century, and the social history of the Commonwealth of the time.Dr Jonathan Fennell is a Senior Lecturer in Defence Studies at King's College London. He's been with the Defence Studies Department since 2009, after a stint as a management consultant in the City of London. He is Co-Director of the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War, Chair of the Defence Studies Department MA Assessment Sub-Board, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Second World War Research Group and a member of the War Studies Research Ethics Panel. His book Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign was named one of BBC History Magazine's Books of the Year for 2011.Fennell acknowledges in the introduction that there was not enough space (in a 700+ page book) to do justice to the contributions of some 473,250 colonial soldiers (most from West and East Africa,) the 43,000 Free Irish State soldiers, and the 214,120 women who served in these armies. Hopefully someone else with a similarly thorough approach will take up that challenge soon.

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