September 17, 2012

Nothing like being linked to from a friend’s blog to inspire an update. The lovely Amy Spalding asked me to write about everyone’s favourite weep-fest Les Miserables for today’s Musical Theatre Monday feature.

Other things worth linking to that I’ve written in the past few months include this local travel story about fun places to go on the Go Train (30 years in Toronto and I’d never used Go Transit before, so I thought I’d try and make up for it). Also, this Popcorn Panel about Premium Rush, probably the greatest film of 2012, and maybe ever. Certainly the greatest bike courier chase movie out there. After I saw Premium Rush I got caught (on my bike, OBVIOUSLY) in a massive downpour, the likes of which I’d never seen before in this city. In normal rain, I suck it up, get drenched, and carry on, especially if I’m heading home, but this was no normal rain. The water on Queen Street was at least four inches deep in less than five minutes – as close to a flash flood as Toronto gets. And it had just gotten dark out. I was completely soaked within seconds, and it wasn’t safe to continue riding. Fortunately, a TTC driver took pity on me and let me haul my bike onto the streetcar, even though I only had a toonie and a few pennies on me (cash fare on the TTC is $3). A couple of the pennies fell out of my wallet as I awkwardly balanced my bike and paid my fare, and a woman looked at me pityingly to tell me I had dropped a few pennies. I looked so pathetic, drenched and dirty and maneuvering my bike on the streetcar, that the homeless guy walking up and down the car asking people for change took one look at me and moved on with saying anything. AND I ruined the copy of Lucky Jim that was in my purse.

Karma paid me back handsomely the following week, though, in yet another rainstorm. I left the house during a clear patch on a very rainy day, but after biking for ten minutes, it started to come down hard. The nearest shelter was a Lexus dealership, so I ducked into their covered parking lot for a few minutes, sure that I was either going to be very wet or very late. But I was neither, because the Lexus manager came out after five minutes to ask if I needed a ride – his service guy was going out in the van, there was room for my bike, and he could drive me anywhere I needed to go. I’m not usually one to accept rides from strangers in vans, but it was 10:30 in the morning and it was a Lexus van. I took my chances, was both dry and on time, and very grateful for the kindness of strangers.


September catch-up

September 25, 2011

I wrote a bunch of things this month that I didn’t tell you about because I spent this whole past week at a cottage without any connection to the modern world and absolutely no news sources besides the Parry Sound North Star, which mainly reports on euchre results. (Also, a local boy won the national arm wrestling championship, and the town’s third graders aren’t testing very well.) It is a stellar publication, I urge you to pick it up if you are in the area.

First, on a chilly and dampish day in early September, I single-handedly summoned back summer weather by putting on my swimsuit to go paddleboarding in the Beaches.

Also, I wrote my first book review in seven years, of Wendy and the Lost Boys, an incredibly insightful biography of my favourite playwright.

Then I went comic book shopping with documentarian Morgan Spurlock, who was very excited that I am a member of a graphic novel book club.

AND I saw Contagion, which did not turn me into a germaphobe as anticipated.

Now we’re all caught up.

Last week’s Popcorn Panel was about the pretty atrocious Larry Crowne, and this list is going to be short:

-I loved that Larry’s neighbours have a permanent yard sale going on.

That’s it.

Last week I saw the new Woody Allen movie and blabbed about how I wish I’d come of age in the 1920s so I kind of loved it even though it’s actually pretty terrible and Owen Wilson is basically the worst unless he’s animated but anyway I just really like when famous people get dressed up to look like other famous people and here’s the Popcorn Panel we wrote about it.

Remember in Everyone Says I Love You that party where everyone is the Marx Brothers? I’m always hoping that every party I go to will be that party and I’m always disappointed when it isn’t.

The Aikido Network

February 11, 2011

My high school started in grade seven, but wee little seventh graders were exempt from exam week, and instead we were forced to participate in a series of random activities (a week which included, for some reason, a screening of Forbidden Planet, which completely baffled even the nerdiest of a very nerdy auditorium full of 12-year-olds in 1994). Anyway, my favourite of those activities was always Aikido (maybe because we were not just allowed, but encouraged to wear pyjama pants). Evidently, I liked it so much that I didn’t try it again for almost 20 years, when I wrote about it for the Post last week. It was a much more comfortable (for me) atmosphere than the high-aggression Krav Maga class I took a few years ago (I won’t lie, though, Krav Maga was pretty rad).

And apropos of nothing, last week’s Popcorn Panel was about The Social Network because nothing good is opening this winter so I’m getting caught up on Oscar nominees.

St. Popcorn of the Main

February 4, 2011

In this week’s Popcorn Panel, some tech nerds and I belatedly talk about the overrated but still very entertaining The Social Network (I’m getting caught up on Oscar nominees I missed the first time around). I still like Aaron Sorkin’s writing quite a lot and will quite happily watch almost anything he’s written, but you do have to psyche yourself up to tolerate his smugness. It all went down much easier on Sports Night, when he wasn’t important enough not to get jerked around by ABC.

And in The Toronto Star, I interviewed Peter Hinton and Eo Sharp, director and designer of Canadian Stage’s new production of Michel Tremblay’s St. Carmen of the Main.

In other news, there is nine pounds of pork butt in my refrigerator.

Canned popcorn

September 22, 2010

Don’t worry, Dad – just because I’m not on this week’s Popcorn Panel doesn’t mean I didn’t organize and edit it. It’s still my thing. I just needed to not watch couldn’t get to Resident Evil: Afterlife, but fortunately some wonderful panelists could.

In non-zombie news, I learned how to make pickles and jam last week. Dawn Nita is a cool lady who is great at putting all sorts of things in jars, and Good Eggis one of my favourite stores in Toronto.

Flipping out

September 8, 2010

Sometimes I like to put kids in the newspaper. For last week’s Popcorn Panel, I had a couple of pre-teen girls talk about a movie about a pre-teen girl. It was an experiment, but I think the results were pretty cute. Think of it as a trial run for my theatre criticism course for 11-year-olds (still in pipe dream mode, but hopefully to be a reality within the next year).

Summer workin’

August 21, 2010

Some links to some stuff what I wrote while I wasn’t writing here.

Popcorn Panels

Peter, Chris and I were pleasantly surprised by The A Team back in June
. However, I will not be discussing any more movies featuring Jessica Biel on the Popcorn Panel. She’s too beautiful. I mean boring.

Viewed as an actual film, Knight and Day is appalling, but viewed as a documentary about Tom Cruise’s self-image, Knight and Day is a work of genius.

– A notorious lesbian, a film critic, and I talk about The Kids are All Right. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s really just the whitest movie ever made.

EVERYONE IS A RUSSIAN SLEEPER AGENT! This blog post will self-destruct.

Bill Murray as funeral director. I’d hire him.

– And finally, this week we did a live online chat about Scott Pilgrim. I read all six of the books, which I prefer to the movie, but the movie is still extremely delightful. I’m just mad that they cut out the fight scene in Metro Ref and the Stark Existential Horror of Honest Ed’s.


I spoke with Jovanni Sy about his neato show A Taste of Empire, which is theatre as a cooking show. Or vice versa. Please note the sidebar, wherein I discuss the extreme trauma caused by Skylight, in which a character prepares a full pasta dinner, which smells fantastic to the audience and makes everyone hungry, but which is immediately deposited into the garbage. Not a show to be seen on an empty stomach.

Public napping = art

Birds that could kill you dead. This was one of my favourite stories to write in a long time. I got to hold an eagle owl and a Harris hawk!

I took some other photos too.

My Summerworks preview for The Star is decidedly not the most exciting exciting article about this year’s festival, but at least mine won’t get me any libel cases.

Playing catch-up

June 9, 2010

I’ve fallen way behind, haven’t I? Oops. Here are some things I meant to share over the past month:

Popcorn Panels:
The Trotsky was poorly paced, but charming nonetheless, and impressively unselfconscious about being Canadian (take a letter, One Fucking Terrible Week). I like that Jay Baruchel kid. He reminds me of my sister.

Sex and the City 2 is a blight on humanity. You should watch some Nicole Holofcener films instead.


Old news. Banksy was in town last month. I found one of his creations around the corner from the bookstore where I used to work. See:

Banksy in TO

More art

This awesome photography/conceptual street art show is up at a little gallery around the corner. These Montreal artists stage scenes featuring people using potholes in different ways: sometimes silly (party girls cooling their champagne), sometimes charming (Alice chasing a white rabbit down a hole), sometimes creepy (a drowning person’s hand stick up out of a puddle while a Baywatch-esque lifeguard races over). If you’re in Toronto, you should head to Leslieville to check out these photos – they’re gorgeous, and a lot of fun.



I went to Chicago a couple of weeks ago. It was the best. I finally saw the NeoFuturists in action, ate deep-dish pizza (and wasn’t hungry again for 24 hours), saw a very proper production of Endgame at Steppenwolf Theatre , and drank a punchbowl of gin. It’s a great town and two days is nowhere near long enough.

Class is over

My artist-educator foundation course ended last week. My awesome project partner Andrea and I presented a lesson plan about arts criticism. We have lofty goals regarding raising the general level of discourse in society. I’ll let you know how that goes.