Seeing Dolly Parton perform live at the Molson Amphitheatre was like a dream coming a true. No, I didn’t grow up dreaming of seeing that blonde country singer with the big boobs who sings sad songs, but Dolly’s music always seemed to be playing somewhere in the background. What made seeing the country legend perform live for nearly two hours ethereal was the collectively warm ethos of the audience. With their hybrid, modern takes on country garb, everyone was just so…happy. It was a nice environment to be part of.
When the pint-sized singer took to the stage, it was like a queen sitting at her throne. There was a definitive feel of reverence for the woman who has endured fame for over 50 years. From her infectious giggle to her sometimes salty anecdotes, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.
Her setlist perfectly captured her multi-decade songwriting successes. There was some bluegrass, a few early hits, and even some gospel, but it was when the opening notes of Islands in the Stream and the ubiquotous 9 to 5 filled the theatre did it begin to feel like church on a sunday…in a good way.
This woman is a knockout, true talent. Her vocals were beyond crisp, and her penchant for rhinestones and glitter was not hidden in any way. I’m very grateful I got to see her.
Favorite performance? Hmm, tough one. Obviously I want to say Nine to Five, but if I had to choose, Coat of Many Colors really hit home (as it usually always does). I wish she did sing “Hard Candy Christmas”, but hey, she couldn’t sing everything.
I love the summer, I really do. But you know what I like about the scorching heat? That heat that makes you feel like you just opened the oven door after an afternoon of marathon baking? Well, I like the option of stepping into nice, cool air conditioned facilities whenever I want. I’m not a brute. I’ll walk all the way up to five minutes in order to receive said cooled environment.
SO when I heard that Pride Toronto was having an all-day drag event on July 2nd, 2016 to celebrate the festivities, I thought “Wow – what a great idea! I would love to see some of Rupaul’s Drag Race best contestants entertain me in their elaborate outfits and immaculate make up.” I said those words exactly. That was until I found out the event was going to be OUTDOORS. Yes, you read that right. No respite from the sure-to-be extreme heat that Toronto loves to throw up in the dead of summer.
I had no idea what to expect when checking out the Acting Up Stage production of the stage musical version of the classic documentary “Grey Gardens”. Was it going to be a farce? Would it be a veritable humorous look at Edith Bouvier Beale, and her daughter, Edie, the two stars of 1976’s “Grey Gardens”? I just didn’t know. I did know there was a Broadway production of this musical retelling starring the incomparable Christine Ebersole, and I happened to catch her performance of the showstopper “The Revolutonary Costume for Today”, but that was the extent of my familiarity with the musical.
The documentary film, on the other hand, is vital part of my film canon of favorites. Revisiting the film every few years brings me a different perspective on the documentation of these two women with big dreams, big souls, and, most sadly of all, empty pockets. I just don’t think the world was ready for them. I think you’ll feel the same way too if you haven’t seen the film already.
Back to last night’s spectacle on modern society and the plight of maniacal hope. The musical was breathtaking and refreshing. It not only didn’t poke fun at the situations that had befallen this mother/daughter duo, but it shed some light on a relationship that was at once both stifling yet interdependent beyond words. The two women were shadows of one another, not whole without the other. Little Edie, played ferociously by the amazing actress Lisa Horner of stage fame and success. It was a tour-de-force performance, and I was clearly not the only audience member riveted by every mannerism, every movement that Horner made on the stage. With eloquent stage production that was subtle but effective, “Grey Gardens” as a musical is a commentary on modern society’s insatiable need to build someone up and watch them fall.
You can read more about the show online at your own leisure because I can’t and don’t want to summarize this beautiful production for you. It’s intimate and claustrophobic, but also emotionally and mentally open. I really, really, really liked it. All my Torontonian readers, please, please go see it. It’s only here for a short time at the Berkeley Street Theatre (https://goo.gl/LkpnAM).
Hello Our Stylish Friends and Loyal Readers!
Reading Other People will be covering all of the glitz, glamour and classroom sessions at the upcoming Gentlemen’s Expo in Toronto from September 25th to 27th. The shin dig is going to be held at the Metro Convention Centre and will be full of swag. We are genuinely excited to learn about the newest craft beers and whiskies, get some tips on grooming, and have some q & a time with Spike Lee. Yes – you read that correctly. The genius behind Do The Right Thing will be there.
The attractions lined up for this year’s expo range from the truly sensational to the semi-dangerous, and Reading Other People will be right there to share with you all of the action as it happens.
You know what’s coming up in t-minus 33 days? No, not the return of Empire. No, it’s not TIFF either. It’s the return of the stylish and so not pretentious The Gentlemen’s Expo.
An awesome and ingenious concept, The Gentlemen’s Expo is the encapsulation of the modern, cool dude. But fret not you just as cool modern women, there are many things for you to savour as well throughout the weekend of September 25-27, 2015.
You’re only lying to yourself if you say you’re not interested in clothes, or music, or some yummy craft beer. It’s the vices of life that are going to be on full display at the Expo, and with your trusty drink tickets in hand, the craft beer will be yours for the tasting.
Check out the promo reel for 2014’s well-received Expo. If it looks like an all out party, that’s because it was, and I cannot wait to be part of it for the 2015 installment. There’s going to be the cream of the crop of vendors and exhibitors, like…
…to name but a few.
Leading up to the 2015 event, Reading Other People will be sharing highlights of what’s planned, as well as live covering the event starting September 25th. So get your fedoras ready, and iron out your fancy socks, because Reading Other People is going to be taking notes.
Tix are now available so pick ’em up now. And stay tuned for more updates on Expo-related goodness. We’re going to be profiling some of the awesomeness of what’s in store. Did we also mention there’s going to be a HYPNOTIST?!!
We also have a contest that will be posted soon on how to get free tickets to check it out for yourself.
Last night, we ventured into the Pan Am Games mania at Exhibition Place in Toronto. Littered with Canadian flags and enormous lawn chairs, the grounds were clean and easy to navigate. It was a warm night in Toronto so sweat was on the brow of most people, but considerably more so for those participating in the many concurrent competitions that were underway.
I had never heard of Roller Figure Skating as a competitive sport prior to the release of the Pan Am 2015 Games schedule released way back in September 2014. Obviously intrigued at the idea of seeing the allure of figure skating on roller skates was enough for me to pick up tix right away.
I have something to admit. I’m a comedy nerd. So when I heard that Amy Schumer was coming to Toronto, I had to get tickets. I was thrilled to find out that two of my comedy favourites, Mike Birbiglia and Dave Attell, were also on the bill.
Amy Schumer pulled together an amazing line up for the Trainwreck Comedy Tour in support of her first feature film, Trainwreck. The comedy, directed by comedy guru Judd Apatow, co-stars Vanessa Bayer, Mike Birbiglia, Colin Quinn and Dave Attell. The show proceeds benefited the David Lynch Foundation.