Toronto had one of it's more decent summers in recent memory. Now we're in the later half of August, which means summer is coming to an end. Eww. That means two more weekends. Don't waste them at the movies (unless you're going to see Scott Pilgrim). Here's a nudge in the right direction.
One of the dopest things to do in Toronto is going to catch a live show at the Harbourfront Centre. It's outside by the water, there's good food, there's alcohol, the acts are always decent, if not amazing. Best of all nearly all their events are FREE! Artists love it too because the overall loveliness of the venue offers a lively and responsive crowd (sometimes a hard find in Toronto) and the best view from a stage in the city (this I know from pretending to perform for huge crowds at 3am when nobody was there-- more than once). There's shows every weekend all summer and they are usually attached to an eventful and vibrant cultural festival/celebration.
This weekend the festival is the Fortune Food Cooking Festival, a celebration of Pan-Asian cuisine. And some of the artists involved happen to be friends of ours. Food, friends, (beer), it's too much WIN. Even if you're not acquainted yet, come out and get familiar.
On Saturday (August 21) at 7pm on the Redpath Stage, Santa Guerrilla will be making a return to the stage after a long, long hiatus. Lead by Alexander The (Times Neue Roman, Styrofoam Ones, Broadway Sleep) and Romeo Candido (composer, one of the writers, and director of Prison Dancer), the collective are set to start up again where they left off-- bringing Philippine roots to new audiences with their blend of electronic funk and indigenous rhythms using traditional brass instruments. Alex's and Romeo's ear for 'what works' along with theirs and the group's dedication to learning and preserving tradition are keys to their bumping sound. It's why they don't fall into the category of cheesy or World Music. Fresh from a trip learning from Kulingtang masters at a conference in San Francisco, Alexander The is probably anxious to bring it to Toronto. If you love the way the sound of the Kulintang and gong hangs in the air and makes your pupils dilate in euphoria or (especially or) if you don't know what I'm talking about, this is a must see, hear, and feel.
Right after Santa Guerrilla, at 8pm on the Sirius Stage is Maylee Todd and Pegwee Power. The first time I saw Maylee Todd perform (and yes we can claim her, she's half Filipino!) the blood from my brain gently waterfalled into my heart. So that I was made aware that "yes" there was indeed a heart there. My eyes began to droop and though I had lost feeling in my hands and face, my chin and cheeks managed to rest in my palms. Which were resting on my elbows, which were resting on my knees, which were attached to my legs, which felt like they were doing pirouettes, but were actually just crossed on the floor. I took a deep breath and heaved out my chest in order to "woooOOoOo!", to express my gratitude. But before I could, a unicorn trotted out in front of me. Suddenly, it was like someone turned down all the treble and I was staring into the oceans of blue in the unicorns eyes. A bass thump reverberated through the floor, up my spine, and penetrated the base of my soul-- the voice of the universe. The unicorn lifted a hoof and placed it on my lips "shhhh". My eyes closed and the unicorn nestled my nose with it's snout. It smelled like butterscotch. NO kidding!
ALSO, hosting at the Redpath Stage the whole weekend is the lovely Catherine Hernandez (recently unavailable, sorry. everyone.). With her content heavy body of work, I'm sure a hosting gig is a welcome change for her. Catherine's enormous talent and commanding presence will suit the role. Don't expect a boring, plastic-type. Expect hilarious and engaging and if she brings her kid, expect to want to punch or bite something's face.
Summers in Toronto are events. They start, you rush about and do your thing, then they end. They're often short and it's a long wait until the next one. I was out a bit after sunrise today, I needed a sweater. With only a couple weeks left in August we should all be scrambling to get the most of what's left of this beautiful weather and all the (free) cultural events that come with it. Come eat some amazing food, hear some amazing music, meet some amazing people, and see some amazing booty jogging by in yoga pants.