Author: Lauren Van Klaveren

Choir! Choir! Choir! Co-Founder Nobu Adilman talks about the Toronto initiatives success

Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman are very busy these days. The community choir they founded in 2011, aptly (and enthusiastically) named “Choir! Choir! Choir!,” is amassing viral attention for their recent performance of the late, great David Bowie’s Space Oddity. The video of the event has been watched more than 500,000 times. Fortunately, I was able to speak to Nobu over the phone. “Who is this? How did you get my number?” he asked monotonously. I balked for a moment, and then he gently laughed. “I’m just kidding, don’t worry.” I was relieved. I can sense that Nobu and...

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Old Man Winter won’t keep us down

I pulled the curtains from my window and looked at the sky — grey and splotched with dark clouds that loomed heavily. “Well, it’s going to rain…again.” I could hear my partner behind me, moving closer. He wrapped his arms around me gently because he knew I wasn’t just commenting on the weather. He could hear the anxiety in my voice. Recently, I’ve struggled to leave the warmth of my bed. The mornings are getting colder, the skies are growing darker. My body wants to hibernate. Waking up next to someone I care about certainly helps to soothe my...

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This Just-in: Round Two of Trudeaumania

The Trudeaus were popular, especially with young people, because they were grounded. Pierre and Margaret hung out with musicians like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and made silly faces at the cameras. Justin displays a similar accessibility—he has been filmed performing his party trick of falling down a set of stairs and is often seen hamming it up in public just as his father used to.

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The Misfit Toy Trope

For the past eight years, The Toronto Burlesque Festival (which took place from August 27-30 this year) has hosted the finest local talent and some of the most spellbinding international performers hailing from New York, Japan, and even Switzerland. While most of the TBF showcases have a general theme (the Saturday late-night show was inspired by popular culture and nerd fandom), at least one show is scripted, with each act and character meticulously worked into a larger story. This year, the scripted show was titled “The Lost Toys,” and featured performances that explored nostalgia for childhood through the universal human experiences of love and neglect. As I watched the show I was reminded of the poignancy of the Toy Story films—that connection was blatantly and gladly completed when burlesque performer and TBF producer Coco Framboise performed as Mr. Potato Head. Even though the Toy Story films are fictional, animated, and geared mostly towards children, the emotional insights the characters experience resonate with audiences of all ages. The dichotomy between humans and creations that mimic life—such as machines, toys, and dolls—is a fascinating one. “The Lost Toys” questions what makes us human and what makes us conscious thinkers and feelers in the world. Characters such as a singing marionette, an abandoned troll doll, and a broken-hearted porcelain doll best address the ways that so-called objects can show and illustrate emotion in an...

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