FESTIVAL OF COMMUNITY & CULTURE: Manifesto in its 7th Year!

CONGRATS TO THE MANIFESTO TEAM ON ANOTHER YEAR OF AMAZING PROGRAMMING & IGNITING THE COMMUNITY!

This festival continues to show how when enough people connect on a vision something wonderful and fresh can occur. The weather today? Not so good but  Manifsto is offering plenty of food for thought  and inspiring creativity inside and away from the rain with their symposiums & talks.

NOON TODAY – SO MUCH THINGS TO SAY: Evolution Summit. An inspiring array of panel discussions, keynote speakers and mentor classes. More info…

3 PM TODAY – THE FLOOR AWARDS. Manifesto celebrates the best urban dance artists, educators, youth and community catalysts at our 3rd Annual Floor Awards. First created through community dance consultation, this awards provides a platform to honour the depth of creation and innovation happening in urban dance arts in Toronto. More info…

4 PM TODAY – HEARTIST. A pre-show panel discussion and audience talk back about the growth of mentor-mentee collaborations in Canada, how they work, and add value to the health of the Canadian arts sector. More info…

6PM TODAY – SACRED SEVEN ART SHOW – This year for the 7th Annual Manifesto Art Show we will explore the notions of connectedness and evolution as we present thought-provoking works from local artists as well as game-changers from across the globe.

“Everything in our world is sacred and interconnected – and we’re in the midst of an epochal shift to recognizing that truth in every realm of human endeavor.” – Stephen Dinan

More info…

For full festival details visit the Manifesto Festival website or follow on Facebook and twitter @Manifesto_TO.

WORTH CAMPAIGNING FOR: Sexuality, Gender-Bending, the Freedom to Be Who You Are…

Two female dancers dressed up in front of old garage in back alley

& The Freedom to WAACK wherever you want! Check WAACK REVOLT’s Indiegogo Campaign!

It was a late night tweet from one of Toronto’s finest MP Kristyn Wong Tam that put MIXED BAG MAG onto this exuberant project – WAACK REVOLT A Dance Film.

Watching the video I was sold on the fact that this team has tons of talent.

Female Dancer posing in front of garage door

Female dancer posing in front of garage door
Waack Revolt’s Diana Reyes aka Fly Lady Di (above) and Emily Law aka Em Fatale (left).

Already familiar with dancer Diana Reyes aka Fly Lady Di (MIXED BAG MAG almost had her as part of the MASHUP STYLE shoot – next time Diana 😉 ) and Emily Law aka Em Fatale from the incredible Toronto dance troupe Kaha:wi (check out MIXED BAG MAG’s post on Kaha:wi’s The Honouring) it seemed an easy decision to get on board to help spread the word!

MIXED BAG MAG’s interview with WAACK’s Director / Writer Sonia Hong was in a word ‘soulful’. At a time where there is ubiquitous imagery representing a too-cool-for-school vibe we often mask our deeper human qualities like vulnerability and the yearning we all have for connectedness behind that chill exterior. I appreciated that Sonia was an open book and ready to share her history as to how she became a film artist who focuses on LGBTQ issues.

Bullied for not fitting in, somewhere along the way and at a young age, Sonia reached in to that spiritual place that we all have inside to find her source. From hiding her light to shining bright, Sonia had done such a remarkable turnaround with her confidence that a teacher who noticed shared this with her then asked her to be the valedictorian at her Grade 8 Graduation.

She built on that confidence and started to attend theatre summer schools where she said improv helped her try on new characters, play around with identity, and continue to grow more comfortable in her skin.

She also spent time working at Legal Aid alongside her mother. “If I hadn’t of gone to film school I would have gone to school for social work.” A keen sense of social justice, she takes her role as an artist seriously developing projects that can help kids struggling with their identity and place in the world.

Two young females sitting at a desk look at each otherWriter / Director Sonia Hong (right) with Producer Allia McLeod (left).

“Community building and creating an inclusive community is what I have always been really passionate about. I want to help young people feel empowered and to know from an early age that it’s ok to be yourself.”

Somewhere in the interview we got to speaking about girl culture – for me coming of age with Madonna and Sonia coming of age with the Spice Girls. Whether we agree with it or not, pop culture is what meets kids where they are at. As a female, Madonna taught me that my sexuality was for me alone to own and to be aware of it and my decisions around it but not without having fun – Express Yourself!; for Sonia the Spice Girls belted out the message that  she understood to mean be yourself in the most bombastic way you dare – Zig A Zig Ah!

Our musical tastes have matured (I think?!) but for both of us the concern is that in today’s hyper-sexualized Britney-Miley-Nicki world sexuality now is only about an act of ‘performance’ for another’s gaze (mostly young girls for the validation of males) and something is getting lost in the delivery along with the chance for youth to develop a strong sense of self.

WAACK REVOLT takes all that on and promises to be sexy short with a definite message regarding understanding, owning and standing up for your sexuality. Commissioned by the Reel Asian International Film Festival as a collaboration between dancers and filmmakers, WAACK REVOLT will be premiering at this year’s festival.

Two female dancers posing in front of old garage doors in alley.

This cheeky love story, WAACK REVOLT. A DANCE FILM, sets the stage for a playful journey that opens during an audition in 1940s Hollywood. It is here that our two lovers first meet and begin their love affair with one another – which centers around their shared passion for “Waacking”. Outraged by their “Waacking” dance style, a visual metaphor for their unconventional love and identity, the public exclaim that they aren’t permitted to “Waack” in public, and must keep it behind closed doors.

In response, the couple escapes to different iconic time periods, sliding and interchanging between genders, ultimately blurring the lines entirely as they “Waack” their way to a full, vivid expression of themselves and their love.”

Female dancer posing in front of garage door

Female dancer posing in front of garage doorUsing dance to challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes.

The artistic medium of dance has given Sonia the perfect vehicle to investigate gender as it refers to sexuality.

Sonia goes deep into the exploration of how gestures sub-consciously communicate the assertion of power or an act of oppression and she explains that when they are thinking about the choreography they don’t want the dancer playing the male role to come across as a predator or the dancer embodying the female character as not without movements that communicate empowerment.

“I am really exiting about gender-bending with the actual choreography as music and dance are very gendered.”

Waack itself is a form of dance that evolved during the disco era and much like Voguing was embraced and developed by communities on the fringe of the mainstream as a way to own power around race, class and sexual orientation.

“To me, as a 12 yr old girl, the Spice Girls’ “Zig A Zig Ah” could mean anything you wanted it to much like this style of dance.  You should be able to be yourself anywhere and you should be able to WAACK wherever you want.”

Support WAACK REVOLT by donating to their campaign to raise the money to cover production and post production costs here.

Follow along on Twitter @WaackRevolt and Facebook.

WAACK ON INDIEGOGO!

Two female dancers posing in back alley lanewayAll above images provided by Sonia Hong of Waack Revolt A Dance Film.

DANCERS
Emily Law aka Em Fatale

Professional dancer and founding member of the Toronto house dance crew Warehouse Jacks. Emily has been nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award and a Gemini for her work with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre.

Diana Reyes aka Fly Lady Di
Multi-disciplinary artist, who has appeared on several progams including MuchMusic’s “RapCity”, and CBC Music’s “How to Dance to Classical Music”.  Diana is a member of b current’s prestigious rAiz’n ensemble – home to some of Canada’s most successful performing artists, playwrights and producers.

MUSIC
Maylee Todd

A dynamic and multi-faceted artist, based in Toronto, Maylee’s music combines organic and electronic forms, including elements of boogie, bossa, space funk, psychedelia and soul. She’s shared the stage with the likes of Janelle Monae, Lee Fields, Aloe Blacc, Little Dragon, and The Budos Band. SOCAN has recently nominated her for the coveted songwriting prize. Get into the ‘Waack Revolt. A Dance Film.” groove with some of her funky tunes. www.mayleetodd.com

CREW
Sonia Hong (Director / Writer)
Allia McLeod (Producer)
Glyde Barbey (Associate Producer)
Celeste Diamos (Editor)

 

 

 

FREE & EASY: Luminato Concert Series at David Pecaut Square Toronto

Woman playing guitar and singing on stage

K-os & Serena Ryder – snapping some great Canadian musicians. Home-grown talent at its best!

MIXED BAG MAG is pleased to showcase our talented guest photographer Ardean Peter’s coverage of some this year’s performances at the Luminato Hub. Out under the open air and starry skies (Luminato seems to have the Gods & Goddesses of weather on their side) each year you can enjoy music from all over – the most popular Italian rapper to the most acclaimed Sufi singers from Azerbaijan…it’s a definite trip. And best feature? It’s FREE so hit the Hub from 8 pm to 11 pm each night until this Sunday for some unique beats.

Man singing into microphone on stage

What Ardean has to say about Luminato:

“It is a treat to be able to see such talented and successful Canadian artists – and in a free venue! This past weekend I loved getting a chance to madly sing along to my favorite K-os songs and re-acquaint myself with Serena Ryder – a spectacular and genuine performer.

A bonus though was experiencing these artists amongst a diverse group of spectators – from age to ethnic background. Everyone was there to enjoy great live music and during the course of the night, I even connected with a new friend. Saturday night I found myself back at ‘The Hub’ for the Maxi Priest concert where I busted a move or two to the pop-reggae tunes.

I’m looking forward to attending a few more  performances at David Pecaut Square before the festival closes this Sunday but next year I plan to add even more of Luminato’s events to my schedule so I can experience and enjoy everything that Luminato has to offer!”

More of Ardeans beautiful work can be found at www.mynameisardean.com.
Follow Ardean on:
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Man singing into microphone on stage along with breakdancers and other man playing guitar
Man singing on stage with audience looking on
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage with her band in the background
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage with man walking behind her
Woman singing on stage
Woman playing guitar and singing on stage
K-os & Serena Ryder performing for Luminato 2013. All images by Ardean Peters.

Coming up this week at the Luminato Festival Hub:

WEDNESDAY: Patricia Cano (8 pm) & Danse Lhasa Danse (9 pm)

THURSDAY: L’Hsao (8 pm) & Patrick Watson (9 pm)

FRIDAY: Toronto Symphony Orchestra

SATURDAY:Kevin Breit (8 pm) & Roseanne Cash (9 pm)

SUNDAY: Garifuna Collective (2 pm) & Danny Michel (3 pm)

Can’t make it to the out? Each performance will be livestreamed on each artists’ event page.

Crowd lying on ground with bolsters behind their heads and headphones on listening to performer.
Large screen on stage with hands of DJ spinning records and performing
Crowd enjoying the Kid Koala performance at Luminato 2013. All images by Ardean Peters.

 

 

THE QUINTESSENTIAL 21st CENTURY ARTS FESTIVAL: Luminato

Kids being interviewed at K'Naan.
Young fans talking to the CBC about why they love K’NAAN and performing an impromptu version of K’NAAN’s “Waving Flag”.

LUMINATO 2013 BEGINS TODAY! More info @ www.luminatofestival.com

Reposted from July 12, 2012

Just over a year ago I gave myself an assignment to start the ball rolling on what was ultimately going to be my bigger project – MIXED BAG MAG. On my blog, The L. Project, I began to produce a portfolio of work that demonstrated my knack at uncovering and then curating a theme, a stream, an undercurrent. I went out into Toronto to find other people that spoke a new 21st Century language – intercultural, interdisciplinary, socially innovative – people that with their creativity were into sparking a flame that could lead to BIG change.

And since I went out to explore what made Toronto such a fantastic model for a 21st Century city it only made sense to begin my journey of discovery by covering what I believe to be the quintessential model of a 21st Century arts festival – LUMINATO.

LUMINATO is the ultimate mixed bag!

  • It celebrates all the artistic disciplines, this year even including the Culinary Arts.
  • Not just cross-disciplinary, LUMINATO also makes cross-cultural dialogue the cornerstone upon which it has built an interesting series of hybrid commissions including last year’s 1001 Nights which brought together the talent of British director Tim Supple and Lebanese writer Hanan Al-Shaykh.
  • As well, LUMINATO has a mandate to go out into the community to create successful education & outreach projects that are socially innovative.

For LUMINATO 2011 I cleared out my account and bought all the tickets I could afford. Along with my bank account I cleared my calendar and for the next 10 days immersed myself into all that I love –dance, music, film, literature, visual arts, design and more! Extraordinary was already in season for me in 2011 and with 35+ events attended in all, LUMINATO was undoubtedly the highlight of my year!

At Luminato 2012, I spent most of my nights taking advantage of the free concerts at the Luminato Hub (David Pecaut Square) in an effort to scout out what acts may be a fit for MIXED BAG MAG. The music I experienced criss-crossed the globe from Mali (Fatoumata Diawara) to the Balkans (Shantel & The Bucovina Club Orkestar & our local Lemon Bucket Orkestra), and included Canada’s own K’NAAN, a Somali born performer who mixes hip-hop with traditional Somali musical elements and poetry.

K'naan performing with Nelly Furtado

The crowd at K'Naan.

Each night as I witnessed the diverse crowds that would show up I noticed something. Along with people that were unfamiliar but open to the music that was being performed, others were intimately acquainted with what was being sung. Behind me, beside me and in front of me were people belting out lyrics in a language that was their original mother tongue. In the location of their new home, people were able to joyously sing, at the top of their lungs, the songs from the home they left. You could sense the cathartic release!

How powerful can this be for us as a community if we choose to collectively celebrate the sum of all our ethnically diverse parts?

A beautiful week of beautiful music only confirmed what I already believe – that events like LUMINATO offer more to us than just entertainment. At a societal level these types of events can offer healing.

This is why I began this project and my journey of curating at MIXED BAG MAG the best of what I call New Culture because what is closest to my heart is the transformative power of culture. Ultimately it is the energizing spark that can ignite our souls.

Post by Leah Snyder.

Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012.
Montreal's Nomadic Massive performing at Luminato 2012.
Fatoumata Diawara performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012 with Jovanotti
Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012.
Telmary Diaz performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Lemon Bucket   Orkestra performing on the street after Luminato 2012.
Lemon Bucket   Orkestra performing on the street after Luminato 2012.
Performers from top to bottom – K’NAAN and Nelly Furtado, Michael Franti, Nomadic Massive, Fatoumata Diawara, Afrocubism, Michael Franti and Jovanotti, Telmary Diaz, Shantel & the Bucovina Club Orkestar, and Lemon Bucket Orkestra.

All photography by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

HOT TICKET: First Thursdays at the Art Gallery of Ontario

First Thursdays text and Art Gallery of Ontario's logo
Flyer for art event with various listings of the night and photographs of the performers

Re-contextualizing and re-energizing the Art Gallery of Ontario space with a eclectic and provocative set of performances.

At the tail end of 2012 AGO introduced a new event – 1st Thursdays – that has been running the first Thursday of the month ever since. And it is always SOLD OUT. What to expect? Interactivity, performance, unique giveaways, live music, and a well dressed crowd. And of course, art. For the price of the ticket ($10) you get full access to the Gallery as well as entertainment by provocative Canadian acts like the Yamantaka Sonic Titan (self described as a multidisciplinary hyper-orientalist cesspool of ‘east’ meets ‘west’ culture clash) and Indi DJ collective A Tribe Called Red.

“Their innovative blend of underground club sounds with pow wow music has reached a much wider audience than they’d imagined when they started throwing their monthly parties in Ottawa in 2008. And no one could have predicted the role they’d play in promoting a wider dialogue around aboriginal rights.” (read more on www.nowtoronto.com)

Tonight the AGO snagged “Godmother of Punk”, Patti Smith, as the performance of the month to coincide with AGO’s show Camera Solo an exhibition of Patti’s beautiful photography.

“Smith, known for her improvisational approach, looks for process-based accidents. Going through the exhibition, I was reminded of a line from “25th Floor,” a song on her second album Easter: “The transformation of waste is perhaps the oldest preoccupation of man.” It is certainly Smith’s preoccupation, an imbibing of Mapplethorpe’s Catholic attachment to the object-world, and to a belief in transubstantiation, resurrection and other forms of metamorphosis.” (read more on www.canadianart.ca)

A definite unique time, if you want to get to next’s month 1st Thursday, plan ahead!! Follow @AGOToronto & #AGO1ST to catch the moment tickets go on sale for April’s event.

Read reviews on 1st Thursdays:

BlogTO

Torontoist

She Does the City

People putting up collage on wall with paste in buckets
Man added collage to blue wall using brush with paste
Two woman and a man working on pasting paper up to a blue wall and collaborate on a collage
Pieces of paper and printed photographs pasted to blue wallParticipatory art – getting engaged with Local artist Shannon Gerard leading “interactive wheat pasting and cityscape sketching workshops”.

Art installation using discarded strips of wood to build a wooden wave where a painting of boy rides atop
image of two people fencing in a dual spray painted on plywood boardsInstallation by Aaron Li-Hill in the Galleria Italia.

3 male deejays performing with turntables and screen behind them with reappropriated and remixed images of Native Americans
3 male deejays performing with turntables and screen behind them with re-appropriated and remixed images of Native Americans and First Nations people.A Tribe Called Red performing in front of the Baroque Stair. All images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

THE QUINTESSENTIAL 21st CENTURY ARTS FESTIVAL: Luminato

Kids being interviewed at K'Naan.
Young fans talking to the CBC about why they love K’NAAN and performing an impromptu version of K’NAAN’s “Waving Flag”.

Just over a year ago I gave myself an assignment to start the ball rolling on what was ultimately going to be my bigger project – MIXED BAG MAG. On my blog, The L. Project, I began to produce a portfolio of work that demonstrated my knack at uncovering and then curating a theme, a stream, an undercurrent. I went out into Toronto to find other people that spoke a new 21st Century language – intercultural, interdisciplinary, socially innovative – people that with their creativity were into sparking a flame that could lead to BIG change.

And since I went out to explore what made Toronto such a fantastic model for a 21st Century city it only made sense to begin my journey of discovery by covering what I believe to be the quintessential model of a 21st Century arts festival – LUMINATO.

LUMINATO is the ultimate mixed bag!

  • It celebrates all the artistic disciplines, this year even including the Culinary Arts.
  • Not just cross-disciplinary, LUMINATO also makes cross-cultural dialogue the cornerstone upon which it has built an interesting series of hybrid commissions including last year’s 1001 Nights which brought together the talent of British director Tim Supple and Lebanese writer Hanan Al-Shaykh.
  • As well, LUMINATO has a mandate to go out into the community to create successful education & outreach projects that are socially innovative.

For LUMINATO 2011 I cleared out my account and bought all the tickets I could afford. Along with my bank account I cleared my calendar and for the next 10 days immersed myself into all that I love –dance, music, film, literature, visual arts, design and more! Extraordinary was already in season for me in 2011 and with 35+ events attended in all, LUMINATO was undoubtedly the highlight of my year!

At Luminato 2012, I spent most of my nights taking advantage of the free concerts at the Luminato Hub (David Pecaut Square) in an effort to scout out what acts may be a fit for MIXED BAG MAG. The music I experienced criss-crossed the globe from Mali (Fatoumata Diawara) to the Balkans (Shantel & The Bucovina Club Orkestar & our local Lemon Bucket Orkestra), and included Canada’s own K’NAAN, a Somali born performer who mixes hip-hop with traditional Somali musical elements and poetry.

K'naan performing with Nelly Furtado

The crowd at K'Naan.

Each night as I witnessed the diverse crowds that would show up I noticed something. Along with people that were unfamiliar but open to the music that was being performed, others were intimately acquainted with what was being sung. Behind me, beside me and in front of me were people belting out lyrics in a language that was their original mother tongue. In the location of their new home, people were able to joyously sing, at the top of their lungs, the songs from the home they left. You could sense the cathartic release!

How powerful can this be for us as a community if we choose to collectively celebrate the sum of all our ethnically diverse parts?

A beautiful week of beautiful music only confirmed what I already believe – that events like LUMINATO offer more to us than just entertainment. At a societal level these types of events can offer healing.

This is why I began this project and my journey of curating at MIXED BAG MAG the best of what I call New Culture because what is closest to my heart is the transformative power of culture. Ultimately it is the energizing spark that can ignite our souls.

Post by Leah Snyder.

Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012.
Montreal's Nomadic Massive performing at Luminato 2012.
Fatoumata Diawara performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Afrocubism performing at Luminato 2012.
Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012 with Jovanotti
Michael Franti & Spearhead performing at Luminato 2012.
Telmary Diaz performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar performing at Luminato 2012.
Lemon Bucket   Orkestra performing on the street after Luminato 2012.
Lemon Bucket   Orkestra performing on the street after Luminato 2012.
Performers from top to bottom – K’NAAN and Nelly Furtado, Michael Franti, Nomadic Massive, Fatoumata Diawara, Afrocubism, Michael Franti and Jovanotti, Telmary Diaz, Shantel & the Bucovina Club Orkestar, and Lemon Bucket Orkestra. All photography by Leah Snyder.
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