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Monday, March 31, 2014

The top live theatre shows in Toronto April 2014

top live theatre torontoEach month we round up the most noteworthy live theatre playing in Toronto.

/ Berkeley Street Theatre / April 10 - May 4 / $22-$49

After a galvanizing evening courtesy of The Company Theatre some years back, I made a promise to myself to check out each and every play they take on. Their bold and in-your-face presentations are some of the city's most memorable contemporary productions: A Whistle in the Dark, Festen, Through the Leaves, The Test, Speaking in Tongues. Their newest, Amy Herzog's Belleville, features Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) in a parable about the entitlement of a generation struggling under the weight of its own potential. Let's hope Canadian Stage renews their partnership with Company or that another theatre offers them residency soon.

Independent Creators Cooperative / The Theatre Centre / April 17 - May 18 / $23

In a unique and inspired banding together, a group of theatre makers have struck a partnership called Independent Creators Cooperative, which allows them to present three exciting works in rep at The Theatre Centre's new home. Business As Usual (Viktor Lukawski, Adam Paolozza, Nicolas Di Gaetano) interrogates the practices of big business in the wake of the crash which shook its very foundations. Theatre Smith-Gilmour collaborators present a bouffon-inspired revisioning of the deaths of Ophelia and Desdemona in Death Married My Daughter. And Ralph + Lina is a reinvention of the modern melodrama about an Italian couple struggling to stay together during WWII.

Beatrice & Virgil / Factory Theatre / April 17 - May 11 / $30-$45

The follow up to his widely celebrated, Booker Award-winning novel Life of Pi, Yann Martel's Beatrice & Virgil is adapted for the stage by Lindsay Cochrane in a collaboration between Factory Theatre and Canada's National Arts Centre. A visit to a taxidermist inspires a journey through the complex story of a donkey and a howler monkey only reached and understood through art, imagination, and the little facts that help sketch the full picture. Given that an adaptation of the visually-stunning Pi was only possible with the most advanced big-screen technology, it will be special to see the celebrated author's work in a smaller, more intimate setting.

Trudeau and the FLQ / Young Centre / April 3 - May 10 / $25-$55

Even if history isn't your bag, you can't go wrong with a VideoCab production, the best in theatrical Canadian history mashups. And given that his son Justin is attempting to position himself as the golden boy of Canadian politics, the pop portrait of Pierre Trudeau seems particularly fitting at this present moment. Detailing a very dynamic period in Michael Hollingsworth's History of the Village of Small Huts, 1963-1970, this particular segment documents Quebec separatist violence, the rise of our most colourful and controversial leader, and the backdrop of the energetic Sixties.

The Gigli Concert / Soulpepper / April 2 - May 16 / $29-$74

The premise of Tom Murphy's The Gigli Concert is anything but straightforward -- a well-connected and potentially dangerous Irish contractor enlists the help of "Dynamatologist" doctor JPW King on a quest to help him sing like Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. As their seven-day exploration into potentially untapped musical talent unfolds, both men come out of the process with new outlooks on their place in the world. The production is directed by Nancy Palk and features Stuart Hughes, Diego Matamoros, and Irene Poole.

Soliciting Temptation / Tarragon Theatre / April 9 - May 4 / $27-$53

Governor General's Award-wining playwright Erin Shields (If We Were Birds) explores sex tourism in her newest play, Soliciting Temptation. In a sweaty hotel room, a traveling business man meets a young woman for discreet sex. It's in this space, where expectations shift and the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred, that sex wades into dangerous and often surprising territory. The production is directed by Andrea Donaldson and features Derek Boyes and Miriam Fernandes.

Photo of The Gigli Concert

by Keith Bennie via blogTO

This week on DineSafe: Kim Vietnamese, Tara Inn, Zyng, Gale's Snack Bar, George's Deli BBQ, Red Room

dinesafeDineSafe shut down Chinatown pho spot Kim Vietnamese this week for a laundry list of rodent-related infractions. Others struggling to provide adequate pest control include Gale's Snack Bar and the Red Room.

Here's the rest of this week's worst on DineSafe.

Capitano Burgers and Gelato (645 Yonge St)

Inspected on: March 24, 2014

Inspection finding:Yellow (Conditional)

Number of infractions: 9 (Minor: 3, Significant: 5, Crucial: 1)

Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to maintain hazardous food(s) at 4C (40F) or colder.

Tara Inn Restaurant and Pub (730 Yonge St)

Inspected on: March 24, 2014

Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)

Number of infractions: 6 (Minor: 2, Significant: 4)

Crucial infractions include: N/A

Gale's Snack Bar (539 Eastern Ave)

Inspected on: March 25, 2014

Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)

Number of infractions: 5 (Minor: 3, Significant: 1, Crucial: 1)

Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated

Red Room (444 Spadina Ave)

Inspected on: March 25, 2014

Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)

Number of infractions: 2 (Minor: 1, Significant: 1)

Crucial infractions include: N/A

Hoops Sports Bar (125 Bremner Blvd)

Inspected on: March 26, 2014

Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)

Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2, Crucial: 1)

Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated

George's Deli BBQ (795 Bathurst St)

Inspected on: March 26, 2014

Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)

Number of infractions: 5 (Minor: 2, Significant: 2, Crucial: 1)

Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to maintain hazardous food(s) at 4C (40F) or colder.

Zyng (730 Yonge St)

Inspected on: March 27, 2014

Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)

Number of infractions: 7 (Minor: 1, Significant: 5, Crucial: 1)

Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated

Kim Vietnamese Restaurant (546 Dundas St W)

Inspected on: March 27, 2014

Inspection finding: Red (Closed)

Number of infractions: 7 (Minor: 4, Significant: 1, Crucial: 2)

Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to prevent a rodent infestation. Operator fail to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated.

by Liora Ipsum via blogTO

Today in Toronto: 50 Shades! Musical, Sex and the Erotic Film Fest, Nu Music Nite, Conte d'amour Love Story

Today in TorontoToday in Toronto, you can catch a sexy cartoon by the makers of what's called the "most beautiful erotic handdrawn animation film ever" as part of the Sex and the Erotic Film Fest. Not outrageous enough? Maybe a 50 Shades of Grey parody musical is for you, or there's Markus hrn's "harrowing spectacle of desire and control" at World Stage. On the other side of the spectrum, Indie88 is hosting a free gig at the Horseshoe. For more events, click on over to our events section.

Have an event you'd like to plug? Submit your own listing to the blogTO Toronto events calendar or contact us directly.

Photo from

by Aubrey Jax via blogTO

The last page for the World's Biggest Bookstore

The Best Butter Chicken in Toronto

Butter Chicken TorontoThe best butter chicken in Toronto is decadent, comforting and addictive. Best had with basmati rice or tandoori'd breads, this dish has become a celebrated staple on menus at Indian restaurants and take-out counters across town.

Initially invented and popularized in Delhi, the dish repurposes tandoori chicken and enriches what were traditionally leftovers with rich ingredients like clarified butter and cream. Recipes tend to differ greatly citywide, though there are examples of sweet, nutty and spicy variations represented on this list.

Here is the best butter chicken in Toronto.

See also:

The Best Indian Restaurants in Toronto

The Best Indian Restaurants in Mississauga

The Best Indian Buffet in Toronto

The Best Dosa in Toronto

The Best Samosa in Toronto

The Best Roti in Toronto

The Best Sri Lankan Restaurants in Toronto

Additional photos by Soul Concept and Jim U from the blogTO Flickr pool.

by Liora Ipsum via blogTO

Anti-Rob Ford campaign posters pop up in Toronto

Anti Rob Ford Campaign SignVote Jeff McElroy - he'll still smoke himself into a stupor, but promises he won't use crack cocaine. Three spoof campaign signs that appeared in Trinity Bellwoods Park this morning are promising a new kind of awful mayor, albeit one who's marginally more benign than the incumbent.

No Ford Nation, a non-profit group that claims to be independent of any city hall campaign, says their fictional candidates - if these people are serious about making a run for mayor, they haven't filed nomination papers yet - will keep drinking (in private,) smoking (but only pot), and urinating all over the city (but on the sly).

The group also released a series of three cartoons late last week set to real Rob Ford audio.

Here's a slice of the online reaction to the signs.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

by Chris Bateman via blogTO

Sunday afternoon loft rave ends weekend right

Sunday Afternoon SocialSunday afternoon is an underrated time for a dance party. Living in Osaka, Japan for two years, my first experience to the afternoon loft party came out of necessity - the response of promoters to archaic club laws being enacted that effectively outlawed dancing at night.

But Box of Kittens' Afternoon Social makes a great case for sunlit-dance parties, putting together a seamlessly run event emphasizing a relaxed sense of community. Arriving to friendly staff, a bar serving Caesars and fruit skewers, and an unbelievably gorgeous, winding labyrinthian space at Loft404 (seriously, the bathroom is classier than the entirety of my apartment), the event's coinciding to 2014's first balmy spring afternoon seemed like it couldn't be a coincidence.

Sunday Afternoon SocialGuests were transient between the North and South rooms for the first hour, most walking around transfixed by the beauty of the space. Hugs and warm handshake were plentiful, and a commendable lack of smart phones set the tone.

Sunday Afternoon SocialThe party kicked into gear around 3:30, when opening DJ Nuner provided a vision of summer. Playing Gigamesh's reigned-in edit of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" (which mercifully avoids messing with perfection by simply adding on some additional percussive thump) to a room full of dancers wearing summer dresses was like an aural antidote for seasonal affective disorder.

Sunday Afternoon SocialThe sunlight pouring in through the window perfectly complimented the music, and as I started to move, I remembered that this was probably what I'd be doing at home on a Sunday afternoon as well: dancing to Fleetwood Mac in sunbeams.

The "SECRET INTERNATIONAL GUEST DJ" that the party's invite promised certainly didn't disappoint, with Chicago house legend Gene Farris stepping up to the decks - surrounded by house plants and huge windows, he ran through a gamut of deeply satisfying peak time numbers, transforming line's from Mobb Deep's somber "Shook Ones Part II" into the chorus of throbbing tech-house.

Sunday Afternoon SocialWhen he dropped the Sante remix of Anek's "Come Out and Play", its Warriors-sampling dialogue and deeply satisfying bass drops made an infectious smile spread through the room, with plentiful whistling and polite cheering ringing out throughout the loft.

While Farris moved a now-crowded room of dancers, Gabor provided a chilled-out drum&bass infused house set in the North wing, providing some skittering ambient beats for those who wanted to take it a bit slower. Next to me, an attendee plopped down on the couch and immediately closed their eyes - not asleep, just comfortable enough to drift off into a world of their own - a rarity in the club world.

Sunday Afternoon SocialFollowing Farris' set, as the sun began to slowly wane in the sky, the Box of Kittens crew took to the decks. While Jamie Kidd, Hali, Fabio Palermo, Mike Gibbs will be back next week at Toronto's Foundry festival, opening for Detroit legend Carl Craig, they were in decidedly relaxed, loose-limbed mode, alternating sets with the ease and comfort of folks who've been dancing and DJing together for years.

Sunday Afternoon SocialWhile Box of Kittens are usually associated with techno fare, the mid-90s New York vibe that characterized the party fit perfectly for the space. The emphasis throughout the evening was on deep house that ebbs and flows slowly - tracks indebted to Kerri Chandler and Mood II Swing as well as a host of producers that are likely before this writer's time.

Sunday Afternoon SocialAs I left, I reflected on what a rarity it is to leave a dance party feeling more refreshed than exhausted. The well-curated venue, music and atmosphere make the Afternoon Social series a must-attend for anyone who's a fan of great dance music and getting a good night's sleep afterwards. Long live the Sunday afternoon loft party.

Sunday Afternoon SocialPhotos by Jeff Karpala. Find Brendan Arnott on Twitter.

by Brendan Arnott via blogTO