Win a Pair of Tickets to see Jann Arden in Concert!

In addition to giving away tickets to The Twelve Days of Christmas starring Colin Mochrie, I am also giving away a pair of tickets to see A Jann Arden Christmas!

There's no one quite like Ms. Jann Arden; she's an incredibly talented singer with a beautiful tone and has plenty of sass and a great sense of humour. She'll be performing classic Christmas carols and more at her concert at Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe Street). 

I am giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader for Jann Arden's SOLD-OUT show on Tuesday, December 13 at 8:00 p.mThere are many ways to enter (see below). Good luck! 

Open to Canadian residents only, 19+.

Contest ends Saturday, December 10 at 12:00 a.m. Winner will be contacted directly via email and announced on social media.

For more information on A Jann Arden Christmas, visit: https://www.tso.ca/concert/jann-arden-christmas

Win a Pair of Tickets to The Twelve Days of Christmas!

Beloved Canadian comedian Colin Mochrie stars in the The Twelve Days of Christmas. This festive concert features a live-action pageant and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. It's a holiday spectacle that will be sure to leave you rolling with laughter in the aisles as Mochrie narrates the show. 

I am giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader for the performance on Friday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe Street). There are many ways to enter (see below). Good luck! 

Open to Canadian residents only, 19+.

Contest ends Wednesday, December 7 at 12 a.m. Winner will be contacted directly via email and announced on social media.

For more information on The Twelve Days of Christmas, visit tso.ca/concert/twelve-days-christmas

In Search of the Holy Chop Suey & Zhong Xin - Dance Review

By: Angela Guardiani

I've seen a lot of theatre from both sides of the stage. Musicals and Shakespeare, dramas and farce, opera and circus arts. But never dance. So when I was invited to watch a DanceWorks production at Harbourfront Centre, I really had no idea what to expect. I recruited my friend E., a former bunhead, (i.e. ballet dancer) to help me parse what I was looking at. 

“E.,” I said, “what is contemporary dance, anyway? Is it sort of 'this isn't ballet, or jazz, or tap, so we're just going to call it “contemporary” because we don't know what else to call it?”

“Well, some people categorize it that way,” said E. She thought for a moment, and said, “What I really like about contemporary dance is how expressive and emotional it is.  It's not as concerned as much with form or technique, as ballet is. There's no storyline to follow, no symbolism to process with the logical part of your brain. Just experience the dance as it's happening.” 

Okay, I thought. I can try that. I'm a story person; I like narrative. But there was something very appealing in just reacting to art on a visceral level, not thinking or analyzing. When I let myself go, I found myself appreciating the movement and intensity of the dancers. I didn't necessarily understand what I was watching at the time I was watching it, but putting it together afterwords, I could see themes and stories and yes, narrative. It was an exciting, adventurous evening, and one I'd love to repeat.

The show in question was a double bill of avant-garde contemporary dance created by Yvonne Ng and her company, tiger princess dance projects. Ng performs the first piece – a solo – herself, a semi-autobiographical playful piece called In Search of the Holy Chop Suey. The title is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, I think, but it's also meant to give us a picture of the artist's life in quick flashes of memory. The piece is performed to a background of sounds – bells ringing, traffic, street sounds, the chatter of people speaking (I later read that Ng used field recordings from her native Singapore). Ng enters the stage with a remarkable contraption on her back, part set, part costume. As she enters, the object springs from her back like a pair of moth's wings. The same object becomes a tent, a nest, a playpen, an egg . . . it's like a visual poem, serving as whatever Ng and the audience need it to be. 

Ng's movements are playful, child-like in the very beginning, making faces and imitating more adult behaviour. Her movements are tightly constrained inside her tent/nest. As she shows us her development, she takes slow, cautious steps, reaching out, but always retreating back into her safe space until the last few moments. She turns her nest on its side, revealing an opening, and cautiously, thrillingly, steps through.

The second piece in the show is much longer, and although it's choreographed by Ng, it's performed by three other dancers. It's called Zhong Xin, which translates to “centre,” and it continues the idea of identity. Interestingly, the piece began with each dancer in isolation, working with Ng and interpreting her choreography with their own experiences and skills. The result is fascinating. Three dancers move across the stage, intersecting, moving in tight formation, and yet they do not touch. There's no lifts and very little contact until the final third of the show, and it surprised me how strong the feeling of release was to see these isolated, fragmented dancers at last merge and synchronize. 

E. pointed out to me how each dancer had a unique physical presence. Luke Garwood is lithe and muscular, with a lot of what E. called “isolation work” - moving a single part of the body while the rest stays still. His movements were tight, controlled. Mairéad Filgate moves more how what I imagine a “classical” dancer would, with deep lunges are wide, graceful arm movements – very expansive. Irvin Chow looks to me like his work is informed by street dance. He spins, jumps, and runs with spreed athleticism. Watching the three of them together was a very emotional experience. I can't quite put my finger on what those emotions were, exactly, but as E. put it, contemporary dance is kind of like a piece of modern sculpture. It does not dictate how the audience should feel; instead, it aims to provoke, to be a catalyst for whatever subconscious feelings the viewer has lurking around in their depths. It's definitely not Shakespeare – but I wouldn't want it to be. 

DanceWorks continues their 2016/2017 season at Harbourfront Centre Theatre as part of Next Steps, a collection of over 20 contemporary dance companies. Tickets are available at harbourfrontcentre.com/nextsteps/tickets. More information about tiger princess dance produtions is available at princessproductions.ca.

Photos by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Dine Magazine's 10th Anniversary

By: Sari Colt

When you want to find out where to enjoy a delicious dinner in South Beach or what it's like to travel through Tuscany to sample the best Italian wines, Dine Magazine is your go-to resource. The publication is known for its stunning photography and insightful profiles in the areas of food, wine and luxury travel. 

Dine Magazine recently celebrated its tenth anniversary issue with a wonderful reception at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Cheryl Hickey of ET Canada is featured on the cover.  At the reception, editor-in-chief, Sara Waxman spoke eloquently about the hard work and perseverance it took to get the magazine off the ground and was grateful for the encouragement by her late husband in becoming a food writer. 

And as befitting the theme of the evening, there were delicious dishes to taste (catered by The Four Seasons)  accompanied by fabulous wines. We enjoyed: gnocchi pasta with bison short ribs ragout; sweet potato puree baby spinach and tonka bean jus; oven roasted Ontario beef sirloin  with marjoram buttermilk zucchini and grilled asparagus; quinoa and black kale with Szechaun jus; an artisanal cheese board with quince jam, house made pickled vegetables, toasted sour dough bread, walnut raisin crisp and pate en croute, and pate de campagne charcuterie board. 

Some of the noteworthy guests attending the event included  Jeanne Beker, Liona Boyd, Robin Barker, Jaymz Bee, Jenninfer Holness, Sudz Sutherland, and Robert Deluce. 

Congratulations Dine Magazine on the past 10 years!

Photography by Allan Tong.

One Of A Kind Show & Sale

By: Alison Silveira

Every year, I always look forward to attending the One of a Kind Show & Sale. I love browsing the stalls filled with exquisite products that are all handmade. It's a wonderful event where you can find special gifts for your loved ones. I enjoy meeting the artisans and learning about their unique products. From handmade jewellery to clothing to furniture and more, the One of a Kind Show and Sale has it all! You can also sign up for DIY workshops, such as decorating holiday cookies or creating greeting cards. 

Date:        November 24 – December 4, 2016
Place:       Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd., Toronto
Times:      Weekdays & Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Sundays: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 
Late Night Shopping:      December 1,10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Tickets:      Adults $15; $13 ($2 savings purchasing online); Seniors/Youth (13-17) $7.50; Children (12 & under) free. Buy tickets at the door or online