Description 41 - Fringing

Theatre, theatre everywhere as I take the iRiver through four productions in this year's Toronto Fringe. Featuring a navigation triumph, a dance contest that never happened, flyers from textile stores, and a Marillion song.

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Associated links
Fringe of Toronto Theatre Festival
Theatre Passe-Muraille
Walmer Centre Theatre
Tarragon Theatre
Factory Theatre
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
the brilliant Edinburgh Fringe Show podcast
Fringes in Winnipeg (about to end at post time), Edmonton (in August!) and Vancouver (in September!).
Also Ottawa, Calgary (in August!), Montreal, Regina...and others, but I'm tired.
The Melbourne Fringe is more about art, but there are Fringes in Adelaide and Sydney.
Quirky Nomads
some Young Ones

The featured shows
(um, which I recorded some of without permission...but hey! Links!)
The Fugue Code
Like, Omigawd! (with music!)
Curriculum Vitae (actually, Jimmy Hogg's myspace because there's no site for the show itself, strangely)
Dickens of the Mounted

And yes, there are Fringes in the U.S., more than a dozen of them. Just think of a city, google it with the word "fringe" after it, and there you go.

I think you can tell something about a person by the Fringe shows he/she attends. It's clear here that I have a penchant for guys with British accents who perform alone with humour and pathos. That seems fair. :-) There are many other Fringe shows that involve more than one person (some of whom aren't men) who don't have British accents and are very very dramatic. I just didn't happen to see them. There was also math in my favour in that because of the economics of putting on a Fringe show, lots of them just have one actor, often playing more than one character. I can think of three right off the bat from past Fringes: one last year had Brian Froud doing the Swiss Family Robinson story only with characters from "Family Guy" (Fox later made him cease and desist - drag), one a couple years back was this British guy detailing the history of football (soccer) in England, and one of the first Fringe shows I ever saw was comedienne Brigitte Gall as a young female hockey goalie in Quebec in the 1970's who is told by God to try out for the NHL (it later became a tv special). Now that I think about it, she did have an accent, albeit a Quebec one.

My thing about British/UK accents, along with me just having a thing for them, is probably about me wishing I could go to the Edinburgh Fringe someday, damn Ewan Spence and his addictive podcast with entertaining people. :-) At the moment, it looks pretty impossible to get a flight to Scotland without coughing up thousands or hiding under a wheel rim. Much like a male athlete preferring to be interviewed by an attractive woman so he has something nice to look at while being grilled, I seem to prefer looking at men while getting my theatre messages delivered to me. In all media, I always pick comedy over drama, since drama is inherently a part of good comedy anyway.

And my penchant for solo shows reflects my abilty to understand individual expression better than the dynamics among people. So it goes here.


CBC Museum: get there before it's gone

In Description 39, I went through the CBC Museum at the Broadcast Centre and found it a pretty cool place I'd ignored all these years. If that made you wonder about visiting it yourself, you might not want to wait very long like I did. Tod Maffin's Inside the CBC blog (manned by Paul Gorbould for the moment) suggests the museum's days might be numbered as The Corp considers how do re-do the whole ground floor possibly for more of a Citytv storefront situation. Check out the post here.

Sure, maybe they'll really figure out how to present CBC's long and rich history in a wonderful and engaging way that improves vastly on the little closet we've been given so far. But can you count on it? Believe me - no. So if you're in Toronto for one reason or another, think a bit harder about setting aside an hour to go look around.


Description 40 - Sam the Record Man

A couple eras end in Toronto, so I go to Gould and Yonge, where the end was a long time coming. But I still play music I found there, wonder where the hell the chess tables went and find videos involving Dana Carvey and Richard Grieco.

Click here to subscribe like Columbia House, only without the rip-off part.
Click here to download directly with that "technology" Sam's says killed them.

Associated links:
Torontoist on Honest Ed...
...and on Sam the Record Man
Yes, the Belleville Sam's is in the Quinte Mall.
Canadian Content rules
CBC.ca on the Sam's auction
Why there was a rack just for Blue Peter
Goin' Down the Road in the Canadian Encyclopedia
Buy Jennifer Foster's Speedyhead from Maplemusic!
Ryerson University, the guys who'll probably get the building

While Speedyhead was mostly produced by Moe Berg (try to contain your shock), Ukelele Dropout was one of the songs produced by Paul Myers, known to some as former leader of The Gravelberrys, journalist, author, talk radio host and witty pundit with lush white hair; known to others as Mike's brother.

I still haven't quite gotten used to Ryerson being a real university. For most of my life, it was just the most glamorous art and tech school in Ontario, and as an art and tech school, it gave me little-to-no chance to get into their big-time TV/Radio programme because I was American and therefore was low-priority for a school sponsored by the province. (But I'm not bitter...) In the time since I lived in the area, the place has expanded into quite expensive land surrounding and nearby with very snazzy buildings whose architectural merit is considered a bit dubious. This is why I am equally dubious about the future of the Sam's building and the precious neon on its facade.

Often I walked through the original campus to and on Gould past Sam's, where those several stone (I thought) tables stood with chess/checkerboards cut into them. Usually there would be at least a couple games going on, almost always involving men, while other tables would be taken up with people just chatting and maybe a few homeless folks (often from Seaton House, behind my apartment) resting their feet. So maybe you can see why I was more disturbed seeing those tables gone than I was about Sam's closing.

A couple years ago in the old job, I got to work on describing Goin' Down the Road for Citytv (so if you see it turn up on City or Bravo, try to turn on the Secondary Audio Program and maybe you'll hear me). Oh, btw, if you don't know the movie, you may remember the parody SCTV did in their all-Cancon episode (hint: in the original, the guys are not doctor and lawyer and a CBC guy doesn't try to revive a dead woodchuck). Anyway...so as I worked on the movie, I noticed the boarding house Pete and Joey had to move into with Joey's knocked-up wife as they continue their downward spiral. To this day, I'm almost positive it was the same boarding house as the one on Pembroke, just up the little street from my apartment. Not much had changed in 30 years - people come here thinking it's a city of opportunity, they find they were wrong, and they get desperate. We'll see where I am a few months from now.