October is not just a month of turkey, ghosts, and pumpkin spice lattes. There are lots happening either virtually or with social distancing guidelines in place that will help take your mind off the news even for a mere hour or two. We’re thankful for all the creative minds that are giving us more to be thankful for even during these trying times. Here are some fun ideas to explore this month…
Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery: The popular (and always free admission) contemporary gallery located at Harbourfront Centre reopens September 26 with exhibitions by artists Nathan E. Carson, Manuel Matheiu, and Howie Tsui. Carson is known for his explorations of hybrid creatures (human and animal) both fictional and historical. He sheds a light on narratives that weave together themes of Black identity and history, personal memories, and charged symbolism. Matheiu is known for his vibrant and colourful works that merges abstract and figuration. Reflecting on intertwining lives where boundaries between past and present or the personal and political are often blurred and often references the complexities of his homeland, Haiti. Tsui is a Vancouver-based artist who blends classical and contemporary Chinese art, particularly wuxia, a popular form of martial art genre advocating for resistance against oppressors in China that emerged mid-20th century. He blends his work with Western popular culture to examine the complexities of diasporic experiences and questions official Chinese culture.
Flowers to Gough – Floral Design MasterClass at the Van Gough Exhibition: September 23 and October 7. The blockbuster exhibition in Toronto has already welcomed more than 100,000 visitors since premiering in July. The installation offers visitors a chance to escape to the awe-inspiring multi-sensory, immersive experience during these pandemic times. The organizers have recently begun offering unique experiences within the exhibition from barre work and yoga classes. The newest offering is a series of MasterClasses in floral design with acclaimed florist and designer Katya Agasiyants. In this class, you will learn about key aspects of floral design (and learn the tricks of the trade!) as you create your own stunning Danish-inspired floral arrangement with seasonal blooms to take home. There will also be champagne and desserts as you draw inspiration from Van Gough’s work. Three-tier ticket options include entry to the exhibition prior to the class.
Haegue Yang: Emergence at The Art Gallery of Ontario: Opens October 1 runs till January 31, 2021. A leading artist of her generation, Yang is celebrated for her prolific and diverse work that evokes historical and contemporary narratives of migration displacement and cross-cultural translation. For more than two decades, Yang has been transforming how we experience everyday domestic materials, turning items such as Venetian blinds, light bulbs, drying racks, knitting yarns and bells into meticulously constructed installations and sculptures. To unleash the historical and emotional resonance of these objects, Yang activates them with sounds, light, air, scents and movements. There will be 82 works featured in the exhibition, the AGO has also commissioned two new installations. Feature story to come.
Honey Jam! Celebrates 25 years with El Mocambo Live Stream Concert: October 1 at 8:00 pm EST at honeyjam.com social media channels. A celebration of strong women in music here in Canada with artists paying tribute in this live stream concert at the iconic concert hall. Iconic cover songs made popular by female artists in many different genres of music including jazz, hip hop, pop, country, dancehall, soul, rock and gospel. Honey Jam is a non-profit program founded by Ebonnie Rowe who wanted to find ways to encourage and support young female artists in Canada across all cultures and genres of music. The organization provides mentorship, education, performance and networking opportunities. They also provide experiences for artists and opportunities to learn from major recording artists including Jessie Reyez, Marsha Ambrosius, LeToya Luckett (Destiny’s Child), Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae and more. Some of their most recognizable artists include Nelly Furtado, Melanie Fiona, and Juno award-winner Jully Black.
Toronto Japanese Film Festival: October 3 to 22 Canada’s largest showcase of contemporary Japanese cinema will stream online this year featuring 22 films using the SHIFT72 festival platform. This allows the Festival to expand its reach beyond Toronto to audiences across Canada. Highlights include the Canadian Premiere of FUKUSHIMA 50, Setsurō Wakamatsu’s harrowing drama of the employees tasked with handling the meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. The film stars Ken Watanabe and Koichi Sato. The Festival will also screen award winners Mitsuhito Fujii’s THE JOURNALIST, Hirohiko Arai’s IT FEELS SO GOOD, Nobuhiro Suwa’s haunting VOICES IN THE WIND. Full film schedule and line up can be found at www.torontojff.com
ReBLOOM’s Thanksgiving Centrepiece Workshop/Webinar: October 8. Canada’s leading sustainable floral company ReBLOOM is offering a centrepiece workshop for Canadians. The one-hour interactive, guided demonstration hosted by entertainment expert Rebecca Wise and lead by ReBLOOM founder Kalynn Crump who will teach participants how to create a seasonal arrangement using blooms sourced from Canadian growers. They will also share fun and festive ideas and tips for making photo-worthy and impressive tabletop displays. For every ticket sold, a hand-tied floral arrangement will be donated to shelters in the city. (Tickets in Toronto $65 per person, includes delivery of florals for the workshop on the day of the event. Outside the city tickets are $35 each does not include flower delivery but will recommend some growers near you).
Planet in Focus International Environmental Film Festival: October 14 to 18. The 21st edition of this incredible festival will go online entirely. PIF will feature a full selection of environmental films that help raise awareness of critical issues our world is faced with, as well as director Q&As and special events all made accessible to viewers across Canada. Full Festival line up of films at PlanetInFocus.org.
imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival: October 20-25. The world’s largest Indigenous festival showcasing film, video, audio, and digital + interactive media made by Indigenous content creators from Canada and around the globe. The works reflect the diversity of Indigenous nations and offer a dynamic selection in contemporary arts, perspectives and cultures. This 21st edition of the festival will be online this year. Opening Night Gala will feature a gathering of international short films together. YELLOW is composed of works created by artists from seven different nations. The Festival will close with the Gala Canadian premiere of Compañia by Bolivian director Miguel Hilari – a film that follows the daily lives of a small mountain community that witnesses the return of members from the city to honour the dead. The imagineNATIVE Festival will also be guided by the Indigenous practices of gifting and reciprocity, To Gift. The organizers have daily giveaways highlighting Indigenous artists’ goods and companies grounded in expressions of generosity, “Gifting for the spirit and for the spirit”.
Young People’s Theatre NEW Online Fall Drama Classes: Launching on October 13, parents can enroll their kids into the popular YPT Drama classes. Following the successful Online Summer Drama Camp, the school returns with more virtual classes led by experienced faculty of professional artist-educators. Classes are available after school and on weekends for kids from JK to Grade 12. Classes will be virtually live-streamed from the historical theatre acting studios. In addition to the classes there are also specialty programming including Audition Technique (for grades 7 to 12), Online Content Creation, Shakespeare Monologues. There will also be Online Toddler Drama Time recommended for ages 12 months to 30 months with parents or caregivers starting in November.