contest: haus musik

I’m really excited to be giving away tickets to another Tafelmusik experience! You may remember me talking about these fun, classical events in the past. Their events are designed for the under 30 crowd as a way to learn more about classical music (and you know, be cultured).

Their next event is on Tuesday at 918 Bathurst, this immersive concert will feature a cash bar throughout the show. You can find a sample of the music you can expect in this sample on spotify.

But now! On to the contest! Simple complete this Rafflecopter. Contest closes Sunday night and the winner will be contacted by email by Monday morning. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

dining out: b. good

My boyfriend and I are trying to eat a little better (ok, its mostly him, I mean, I did have Sweet Jesus for dinner last week). We were in the Queen and Bathurst area for an event and trying to find something half-way healthy to eat and we stumbled upon b-good.

B-good has a bit of an eclectic menu, they have burgers, soups, salads and grain bowls. My boyfriend and I each had a grain bowl, which was actually more kale than grains.

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I had the toasted almond and ginger but held the mint. I was a little worried when I saw all those veggies but the sauce was quite tasty and I enjoyed the bowl. You can’t see the huge amount of kale under the veggies but there was lots of it. I was full half way through and would have been quite happy if they had a smaller portion.

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My boyfriend got the local apple and bacon but held the avocado, I think because he knew I would want to try and I can’t eat the avo. The bacon was the thickest bacon I had ever seen, the picture does not do it justice. He added chicken, which I regret not doing, not because it really needed it but because it was super delicious. They had a sign on the wall that told you where all the meats and produce came from that was being served that day. They also had a fancy kind of pop, which had a blueberry soda – I was so excited. It was a little sweet so I mixed it with the raspberry seltzer – honestly, it would have been perfect with vodka 😉

I’d recommend b.good if you’re looking for a healthy dish, they have a number of locations throughout the city and Oakville.

Have you been to b.good? What did you get?

best part of being a grown up

I think the best part of being a grown up is that you can have whatever you’d like for dinner, and one day last week I chose ice cream. I finally made it to Sweet Jesus, it was freezing cold, snowing and there was still a line!

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I had the campfire smores – it was soft serve, burnt marshmallows, chocolate sauce and graham crackers. It was so good. It was worth every single calorie! They have about half a dozen different types of ice cream cones, and they all sound delicious. My friend had cookies-cookies-cookies and cream which is exactly what you think it is. It was really good but I think I’d have my campfire smores again.

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My friend had the marshmallow latte, which honestly, was a full dessert. I don’t think you could go wrong with anything at Sweet Jesus. They are definitely decadent desserts and drinks and a special treat. But be prepared to wait, there’s even a line in the snow!

Have you been to Sweet Jesus? What’s your favourite?

toronto theatre: up the garden path

I had the opportunity to see Obsidian Theatre’s 2nd show of the season, Up The Garden Path, last night at Theatre Passe Muraille.

The story starts in Barbados in the 1960s as a woman makes the decision to travel to disguise herself as a man and travel to the Niagara region to work picking grapes. When she arrives, she discovers that she is the only one who can see a ghost from the war of 1812, trapped in a type of purgatory and decides that if he helps her keep her job on the farm, she’ll help him crossover the the other side.

The play is often funny and sweet and the acting is quite good. I am constantly impressed by the level of talent in the shows I see at small theatres across the city. Up The Garden Path runs at Theatre Passe Muraille until April 10th. Tickets start at $25 with a discount for students, seniors and art workers.

bendy for beer for a great cause

Hope you’re all having a great long weekend so far, I know it just started but that’s the most exciting time – there’s so much weekend left!

Our next Detox to Retox has been scheduled and tickets are going faster than reese’s peanut butter eggs on easter morning. The next event is extra special for a couple of reasons. 1. It is our 10th Detox to Retox! 10, I can’t believe it. How time flies. 2. This one’s for charity. We wanted to do something fun and different for our 10th D2R and we thought giving back would be the best way to celebrate this little milestone!

The next event is on April 17th at Left Field Brewery, a fan favourite. Join us and support the Shoebox Project while having a great time getting bendy for beer. The Shoebox Project is an awesome local charity that gives women living in shelters a little something special. Each shoebox has a value of around $50 and can be filled with things like makeup, candy, nail polish, gift cards, tokens and really anything that will help women feel special.

For our next event, the majority of the funds will go to the Shoebox Project. We also welcome participants to create their own shoebox or bring items that can go into a shoebox that the Detox to Retox team will create!

If you would like more information about what to put in the boxes and some of the shelters they work with, check out their site here. If you’d like tickets – you can find them here.

See you on the 17th!

little black afro’s carbon

I just got in from seeing Little Black Afro’s Carbon, if you missed my previous posts on the show you can find them here and here.

I had never been to a poetry show before, so like many times I venture out to check out the arts in this city, I didn’t know what to expect. In my mind, I kind of pictures what I had seen on tv in the 90s of coffee shops and people snapping their fingers – this was not that.

The show consisted of 16 poems, all written by the performers. They were all about something different although many of them were about growing up, adolescence and love. Some of the poems were sad and moving while others were laugh out loud funny. Through the “narrator”/”emcee”, we the audience decided the order the poems went in. The set was simple, a woodbox box/shelf, a sheet and a set of pulleys that between each poem/scene was rearranged to create a new backdrop for the poem. It was really quite impressive how seamlessly the show moved between each of the poems without knowing what order they were going to be in. I also really enjoyed that even though the poem was just written by one person, it was often performed by many. I personally found that easier to follow as it told more of a story than reading poetry. I must confess, I am an English major who never fell in love with poetry but this show just might have changed my mind.

The show only runs until Saturday at Aki Studio in the Daniels Spectrum. You can get tickets here. Also, 10% of the box office goes to Louder Than a Bomb: Youth Poetry Festival in Hamilton, so get out there and support the arts!

work out: spokehaus

I went and got my sweat on tonight! I was invited to try the new spin classes at Spokehaus this month so I filled up my water bottle, found my favourite workout clothes and headed down to Dan Leckie Way (near City Place) to try out the classes.

The studio isn’t very big, there’s one room with the bikes, a couple of change rooms and a locker area. Upon arrival, you’ll sign in and get your shoes. When you register online you pick your bike so you don’t have to worry about getting there early to get your favourite spot, just make sure you sign up early. I would also say, unless you can’t, try to come in your workout clothes, the change room although very nice and stocked with lots of toiletries, it isn’t very big.

People from the class before me were coming out covered in sweat, basically like they had all been in a hot yoga room, I was starting to get worried. I went into the room, found my bike and with the help of the very friendly staff, I got set up and locked in. On the bike was a fresh towel and a set of small weights. The class is 45 minutes in a dark room, with very loud music. The music is very important to the classes at Spokehaus – it’s like a workout in a club (without people touching you). If you ever watched Kimmy Schmidt, it’s like a legitimate version of the spin class on the show, you know, without the grossness at the end.

Although I’m not a very active person and the class was difficult for me, it wasn’t impossible and the time went by pretty quick, two things I look for in a workout. As the class was ending, two staff members came in with cool towels which felt amazing and smelled like aloe, possibly. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but it was so refreshing.

The class was over and I took of my shoes, grabbed the stuff from my locker and watched the steam come off my body. It was a great workout in a lovely facility, definitely worth checking out if you like a more energetic workout.

You can sign up for Spokehaus here and for a limited time, your first time is free.

Have you tried Spokehaus? What did you think?

upcoming show: carbon Q&A

I mentioned last week that Carbon is showing this week in Toronto. I got the chance to ask some of people involved some of my favourite questions to ask about Toronto and theatre. Here’s what some of them had to say:

 

Luke Reece- Artistic Director/Performer:
How did you get involved with Carbon?
I decided to produce this show early in 2014, just over two years ago now. I was still finding my way into the poetry scene, and doing a lot of independent theatre producing. This show seemed like the next step, and it’s been exciting to see what it has now grown into.

What excites you most about this show?
The fact that everyone’s stories are authentic. You are hearing the words come out of the person who wrote them, and I think that’s something special.

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
The audiences that are going out to poetry performances and theatre are starting to grow…slowly, but surely. Every time I have an opportunity to perform for new people in Toronto it’s a chance to continue this growth. It’s a chance for us to feed their soul with our art. I want to give them a taste of my work, and I want them to like it, so they’ll continue to see more shows in the city.

Cass Brennan – One of the Poets/Performers:
How did you get involved with Carbon?
My involvement with Carbon dates back to 2014 when I was assistant directing a show called Slammed at York University’s playground festival. After that show, our group of poets expanded to produce Carbon Copies with Little Black Afro Theatre Company. Carbon then resulted after thinking there was still more to explore with this group of artists.

What excites you most about this show?
The fact that even we as performers have no idea how the show will progress each night, is so exciting to me! There is no prepared, all encompassing emotional arc that we can bring the audience along with us on throughout the show- instead we as artists must work diligently to convey the story and feeling of each poem individually. This requires a lot of excitement and energy from both the cast and the audience who chooses the progression of the show!

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
I love the diversity of experience that exists in Toronto. Every few days I hear about the birth of a new theatre company  with a new group of artists and am given more fuel to keep creating theatre.  The theatre community in Toronto is one that is willing to explore, to get messy, to fail, to blend mediums… And I feel honoured to be a part of that.

Jordan Laffrenier – Director:
What excites you most about this show?
What excites me most about this show is the risk involved. Jordan Tanahill in his book Theatre of the Unimpressed argues, “risk and failure [are] preconditions of a transformative live event.” We can not “fail better” as artists if we do not take risks. I understand, the nature of young artists: not seeing plays and then debating about ‘how theatre needs to change.” We are not doing this. We are playing with, but building on, ideas that have been done before. We are examining questions like: what happens when the neo-futurist aesthetic (using people who do not primarily identify as performers, having them play themselves, no set linear structure) meets slam poetry?

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
The aspect I love most about directing in Toronto is the amount of support. We have an amazing community here in Toronto and experienced directors are accessible. I recall a conversation I had sitting in the basement of the Obsidian office across from Philip Akin. He talked about the importance of building young artists on the shoulders of season artists, that when he was young he did not have many theatre artists that he could look to for support, certainly none that “looked like him” (and were black). I am lucky, because of artists like him, there is a support system in Toronto. And I hope to continue that support.

I love asking people how they get involved in these awesome productions and projects going on in the city and because I’m such a Toronto nerd, I love hearing what others love about this city.

Carbon starts Wednesday, March 16th at the Aki Studio Theatre and runs until the 19th, tickets are available here, starting at $16.

dining out: the baro

Last night, I checked out this neat salad place at Queen and Spadina. Only open since February, The Baro is redefining the chopped salad.

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this is about half of the toppings you can choose from

At The Baro, you can build your own salad or you can choose from a menu of salads. I went with the baby spinach walnut and I added dried cranberries and chicken. Once you’ve picked everything, they throw it on the board and chop it up for you using a mezzaluna (super fancy knife), to your liking (there’s actually a chopped scale). My boyfriend went for the nicoise, a salad that has me until the olives.

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I chatted with one of the owners, Bill – who was super friendly and very patient as I mulled over my salad options. He told me that him and the co-owner John built the restaurant themselves. Which is crazy! The space is fun and open, which bench and bar seating to enjoy your salad. Most of the people in there last night appeared to be coming from or heading to the gym (or they just love their yoga pants – no judgement).

Bill also told me that they are obsessed with fresh. Everything to the best of their abilities is sourced locally and they make all their dressings and juices in house. And they are also obsessed with being sustainable. All of their utensils, bowls, cups and napkins are biodegradable. Nothing goes in the garbage, it either goes in the compost or in the recycling bin.img_20160309_183330.jpg

The best part about the chopped salad is every bite has some toppings. The best part of the salad is never the lettuce, so its perfect for me as a person that would actually just eat a salad of cheese and nuts (I don’t think that’s a salad anymore).

If you’re looking for something healthy in the Queen and Spadina area, which might be a great thing because there is so many yummy dessert places there – definitely check out The Baro.

Have you been to The Baro? What did you think?

coming soon: carbon

I’ve mentioned it before how I’m always blown away by the amount of theatre available in this city and now there’s another show I want to share with you.

Carbon: A Workshop Performance is coming to Toronto. This show was originally “Carbon Copies” at the 2014 Hamilton Fringe Festival (who knew Hamilton had a fringe – so. much. theatre.) and with the support of the Ontario Arts Council, it has now been developed into Carbon.

This show features five poets from the GTA. The show aims to heighten the theatricality of poetry performance and storytelling through Slam Poetry and Spoken Word. The show has a short run at Aki Studio Theatre at 585 Dundas Street E from March 16th-19th. Tickets start at $18 and there is a discount for students and art workers with 10% of the Box Office going to support Louder Than a Bomb Canada, a poetry festival in Hamilton, organized by the Hamilton Youth Poets and Nea Reid.

Tickets are available online now.