Category: festivals

planet in focus film festival

I spent the weekend at the Planet in Focus film festival. I saw over ten films this weekend and they were all really well done. I found they all had varying degrees of relation to the environment and their messages were quite varied. I saw a number of films about our food supply, I’ve never been one to think too much about my food but this weekend really opened my eyes. Other films were about the destruction of wild life and natural resources around the world.

There was one thing I really liked about this film, often times with documentaries, regardless of their topic, you can often feel helpless after watching them. The filmmaker has done an excellent job of explaining the problem but sometimes the answers on the solutions may seem unfathomable. It can seem like we are powerless against the issue but Planet in Focus did a great job of empowering the audience. On their site, each of the film’s have their own page, and on this page there are action items. Each one has one or two items you can do to help the problems addressed in the film, it can be signing a petition, or join an organization. It was a great way to engage the audience without everything seeming so hopeless. It is also a great way for you to get involved if you missed the film but are still concerned about the issues addressed.

If you would also like to get involved in the film festival throughout the year, they are offering a membership to their “Salon Verte” screenings that occur every month at the AGO. Memberships start a $50 and help bring environmental film to schools.

I really enjoyed my weekend at the film festival, I would really recommend checking out this amazing program in Toronto.

week two of planet in focus giveaway

It’s week two of my giveaways for Planet in Focus! This week I’ve got 4 sets of two tickets to Fest Forums. Each Fest Forum film is followed by a discussion with the director of the film. Two events will be at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and two will be at the AGO.

The Fest Forum films will be:
Burning Ice followed by a climate change discussion with director Peter Gilbert
GMO – OMG followed by a GMO Discussion with director Jeremy Seiffert
Bidder 70 followed by an activism discussion with directors George and Beth Gage
Carpe Diem followed by a great lakes discussion with director Charlotte Engel

You can win two tickets to one of the Fest Forum by using the Rafflecopter below, contest closes Saturday night at 11:59pm. Best of luck to everyone! a Rafflecopter giveaway

seven comedians, one week

I went to Just for Laughs for the first time this year, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. For $99, I got a headliner act and 4 smaller ahows, i also had the option to get credit back for each show, if i checked in – which essentially meant, I could see every smaller act of the festival. When I purchased the tickets back in July, seeing a headliner plus 4 smaller shows didn’t seem like so far away, it was a bit much to take on but this was my adventure this week.

Note: I wrote each blog post following each show, they probably could have been individual blog posts, but they are not. Enjoy!

Friday, September 20th
For our headliner, we chose Sarah Silverman. She had a great opening act. He made me laugh out loud multiple times throughout his act. I really hope I can see him perform again sometime. Sarah was pretty good. She was so offensive. I’ve never watched her whole act before but it was offensive. She was really great though at interacting with the audience. I found her to be at her best when she seemed to be improvising.

Sunday, September 22nd
Tonight was Janeane Garofalo was tonight and she was great. Her show was very conversational and I could relate to a lot of her set.  I know it sounds a little ridiculous but a lot of what she was saying made sense, particularly on babies, she doesn’t want to have then but a fat baby is going in her mouth, I get that. She is extremely well-spoken and intelligent. A long time ago, a drama teacher told me that you get cheap laughs when you using swearing and that its more authentic if you don’t do it. This rule seemed great tonight. Awesome show, next stop on the just for laughs train is Tuesday with Sean Patton.

Tuesday, September 24th
So, I won’t lie, I thought Sean Patton was Sean Cullen. I was incorrect. Tonight brought us to the comedy bar near Ossington and Bloor. The act was indeed Sean Patton and it has been a long time since I laughed liked that. He was the perfect amount of offensive and hilarious. His storytelling was impeccable and you had to believe him because there’s no way he could make that stuff up. It was so ridiculous but also honest, it was great. I can’t believe we’re more than half way through the festival. The daunting 5 shows seems more manageable when its this funny.

Thursday, September 26th
Tonight was the fourth show. It was at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at the exhibition grounds. I don’t care for going to the ex grounds because it is not easy to get to and parking is expensive. This was my first time at this theatre. The theatre was a fair size, and I don’t think there was a bad seat in the house. The bathrooms on the other hand could use any kind of update. But, enough about the surroundings, we were there to see some comedy. Tonight was John Mulaney, he is the genius behind the stefon character. This was the biggest venue I had been to since last Friday, so there was an opening act. You know we were surprised and excited when it was Sean Patton! Some of it was the same jokes from the other night but it was still funny. John Mulaney was really funny as well. His humour was based mostly on his childhood and it was great. I could definitely see him going on to write shows or movies and I look forward to watching it. Tomorrow is our fifth and final show, should be good.

Friday, September 27th
Well, we survived. 5 shows, 7 different comedians. Tonight was Kyle Kinane. He was quite funny, it didn’t feel like I was laughing out loud, but I was definitely enjoying him. His opening act, Rob Mailloux, had me laughing out loud, maybe because I related to him far too much. He was the perfect opening act for me, Just slightly offensive not more than necessary.

At the end of the week, I’m pretty tired but I did really enjoy seeing all these up and coming comedians this week plus Sarah Silverman I think if I were to do it next year, even though the pass is cheaper,  I would probably do a pay-as-you-go for a couple of comedians I really want to see. Do you have a new comedian you’re following? Let me know in the comments.

what I loved at beerfest

Yesterday was one of my favourite days of the year. It was my day at Beerfest in Toronto. It was a beautiful day in the city. There was a ton of vendors, I tried my best to try things I’ve never had before, here are a few of my favourites, oddly, none of them are actually just beers. 

1. Somersby Blackberry – I’ve been waiting for weeks to try this, since I first saw it in the LCBO magazine. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it in any stores, despite their ad campaign. It was refreshing and delicious. They also made beer cocktails, somersby and kronenberg blanc. It was absolutely fantastic. I’m a big fan of beer cocktails.

2. Coors Light – I know this is a beer but they were making beer cocktails at their booth. The one I liked was a cranberry drink, with just a hint of cinnamon. Mixed with the beer made it a great drink. Perfect for when you want a cocktail, but not a hard liquor.

3. Smirnoff Ice – They had two new flavours, the Fruit Punch Ice VII and the Raspberry. They were both really good. They weren’t overly sweet. I’m sure they would also taste great mixed with beer. 

4. Sully’s Hot Dogs – You can’t drink all day without food. We had great hot dogs from Sully’s. The best part had to be the bread. They butter-toast it. It tastes the outside of a grilled cheese sandwich. It was really great. 

Those are my top picks. As I mentioned, none of them are just beer, maybe that’s because I was trying new things and some of them I didn’t love. Sometimes with things like beer, you have to stick to what you know. I was really impressed with the items above. Hopefully you’ll get the chance to enjoy one on a patio before the summer is out.