Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

Annette Bening is my new screen goddess (sorry Merryl...) Her string of movies lately have shown her incredible range and ability to negotiate comedy and drama flawlessly, usually within the same role (The Women notwithstanding). In this spiritual sequel to Brokeback Mountain, she does it again. Yeah, Julianne Moore and the rest of the cast do a great job (kids included), but it's Bening who holds it all together. The women are thoroughly believable (I actually know of lesbian couples that look like them), even if a little clichéd. Not to be missed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Miss Saigon

The Toronto production of Miss Saigon had some potent voices on stage and some bare-chested fun to entice boys and girls, but overall, as a play, I wonder if it should continue being produced.

The musical (based on Puccinni’s opera Madame Butterfly) is one of the Broadway juggernauts from the 90s, and therefore is a little pandering and racist, and maybe should be put to sleep like Cats.

But since it is still around, this production was pretty competent. The sets were well done, specially the embassy fences that moved around the stage to change narrative perspective. Unfortunately, the much-lauded helicopter scene was a little underwhelming, with a dummy in the cockpit and some jerky mechanical maneuvers. When a prop is your major claim to fame, make sure you're going to blow the audience away.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Outdoor Art Exhibition

Some highlights from the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.
Both by Bruce Turnbull.
Amazing illustrations by Chopin Joseph.
Guitar case by Kevin Roach.
Sculpture by Barb Sachs.
Chemical art by Ron Wild.
VW van and other cool vehicles by Heather Phillips.
"Tropical iceberg glass" by Tom Cudmore.

World Cup

Finally it's over... (and the octopus was right again!)
Overall, this is my favorite part about soccer, the male bonding.

Friday, July 9, 2010

PSB ballet

Finally there are news about the ballet that the Pet Shop Boys are involved with. The piece is based on a 1870 Hans Christian Andersen story called The Most Incredible Thing. The Boys have composed the original score for the ballet, their first ever full-length dance work. "We have always been fascinated by giving our music a theatrical context," Neil said. Coming out Spring 2011.

Psychic octopus

His name is Paul and he lives at Sea Life Centre, an ocean-themed attraction in Oberhausen, Germany. So far, Paul has correctly predicted the scores of all the games involving Germany in the World Cup (and he says that Spain will win the final). It's not clear who had the idea to start asking Paul for oracular advice, but apparently he isn't the only octopus able to divine the future. There's another psychic cephalopod operating in South Africa too.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My new favorite image

The Iceberg, by Scott Listfield (2007)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pride Toronto

Pride Toronto 2010 celebrated the event's 30th year. Here are some of my highlights.

What a better way to start Pride if not getting to know "the man with a pussy." Buck Angel is a very personable character and delivered a great talk before stripping naked and making out with half of the transguys in the audience.

The funnest part of this Pride, however, was an event that wasn't even part of it. The Toronto Jazz Festival brought Chaka Khan to Dundas Square for a free show. The concert was very upbeat and confessional, with Chaka telling us lots of interesting personal stories. Her voice was amazing and could be heard three blocks away.

On the other hand, the Pride-related concert was a total bummer. Cyndi Lauper forced her corralled audience to listen to her boring new Blues album for an hour, before playing barely recognizable versions of Time After Time, Girls Just Want To Have Fun and Money Changes Everything. Indeed. It actually made the people there not want to buy her album.

The performance I was most excited about was by Laura Landauer's, Céline Dion impersonator extraordinaire, who always brings the house down. Laura not only looks like a dead ringer of the most famous chanteuse in the universe, she also has the voice and Dion-isms down to the last wink and twirl. Despite sound problems, her show was still one of the most entertaining of the weekend.

But overall, from all the Pride activities, the gayest one was waiting outside St. James Cathedral to catch a glimpse of the Queen on sunday morning. Not sure if she made down to the parade on time, but she looked fabulous as usual.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My new favorite image

And just like that, Brazil departs the World Cup.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chemical Brothers - Further

The Brothers' new album is getting good reviews, but it has left me cold. A lot of guitar feedback, few vocals and no hooks. Too abstract. They've been trying to find their relevance again, but so far, with this and their last release, it all sounds a little too generic and uninspired. New single Swoon is not bad, though, and it has a good and proper Chemical Brothers video.

Which made me think of this video, by French electronic wiz Breakbot.


Here is my official Pride statement for this year:

Toy Stories

Toy Story 3, despite the saccharine and melodrama, delivers a satisfying closing to the trilogy that steered computer animation into a new era. The concept has always been genius in its simplicity (the secret life of toys) and the characters are some of Disney's best in terms of personality, development and likeability.
Speaking of animated toys, some people are still doing by hand what Pixar started doing with computers 15 years ago. Patrick Boivin is a French-Canadian “autodidact director” who has done some nifty things with a Star Wars’ Walker, got Batman and the Joker break-dancing and produced the now classic Iron Baby. This type of stop-motion animation may be painstakingly time-consuming, but the results are incredible. Check out his Bruce Lee vs. Iron Man dance-off: