By michelle-lee : After New Orleans singer Frank Ocean cancelled due to a vocal chord injury, Drake scaled back the annual OVO Festival to one night and added British R&B singer James Blake to the show. OVO was scheduled to be held at the Molson Amphitheatre August 1st with Ocean as the headliner and Drake would headline the show August 2nd. It was to be the first time the event was expanded to two nights.
Oscar Peterson, the late jazz pianist is among 10 Mississauga residents to be honored on that city’s Legends Row on September 14th. Peterson, known worldwide, was born in Montreal but lived in Mississauga for many years. Legends Row honors residents who have shown leadership in categories of community builders, business, innovation and science. September 14th will be the inaugural launch with 10 honorees. It is expected that number will be reduced to five in future events. NHL Goalie Johnny Bower and Olympian Silken Laumann are also among the honorees.
Beyonce Blew Them Away at the ACC. With eleven costume changes and a 12-piece all-female band that included two keyboards, three back up singers and a horn section, Beyonce and her 11 dancers presented 23 numbers from her 4-album career (with new arrangements) to the screaming sold-out crowd. At one point she zip-lined from one stage to another and at the end of the concert she said, “I hope I’ve been inspiring”. The reaction from the crowd was overwhelming.
Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto drew more than one million to the annual parade August 3rd. 30,000 revelers danced along Toronto’s Lakeshore Blvd to the Exhibition grounds which was also jam packed. The event is the largest of its kind in North America and contributes greatly to Toronto’s economy. A tragedy marred the festivities when 17-year old Rueshad Grant fell under the wheels of a float truck and died of his injuries. Scotiabank and event organizers have issued statements of condolences. The investigation as to the cause of the accident is ongoing. There have been conflicting reports as to whether Grant fell off the truck or was walking beside the truck when the accident occurred at approximately 9 PM – 3 hours after the official closing of the parade.
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”, an inspirational biopic about the early years of Nelson Mandela’s struggle, will have a gala premiere in Toronto at the TIFF (Toronto International Fill Festival). The movie stars Irdis Elba (star of the cable series The Wire) as Mandela and Naomi Harris as Winnie Mandela. “Wavin’ Flag” the hit song by Somali-Canadian K’aan is featured. The TIFF runs September 5-15. For further information: 416.599.TIFF / 1.888.599.8433
lso at the TIFF – “A Band Called Death” a film about a ‘70s group formed by three brothers – David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney. Many raved about the band even though it went almost entirely unnoticed and sputtered out in the late ‘70s, their demos lying forgotten in an attic until one of Bobby’s sons discovered them in 2009. The music recorded in 1975 is only now receiving recognition.
Oscar Bound: “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”: Daniels’ (Precious, The Paperboy) new film opened August 23rd. Prior to its debut, critics were already talking Academy Awards. Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey lead an all-star cast (Terence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., David Oyelowo, Robin Williams, Lenny Kravitz, etc.) through the film loosely based on real White House butler Eugene Allen. Allen served eight Presidents and the film tells a sweeping history of the civil rights movement beginning in 1920 up to the 2008 US election of Barack Obama. Director Daniels considers The Butler both a love story and a civil rights tribute.
September 21: Maestro Fresh Wes & Friends celebrate 25 years of a groundbreaking career at Toronto’s Massey Hall. The concert will include performances from his JUNO Award-winning debut album “Symphony In Effect” as well as tracks from “Orchestrated Noise” his 2013 collaborative album. Among the guests will be K-OS, Kardinal Offishall and Classified. Tickets/info. masseyhallroythomsonhall.com – 416.872.4255
“Othello” starring Dion Johnstone and Graham Abbey (Iago) is at the Avon Theatre in Stratford till October 19th. This production as been described as “The Best Othello I’ve seen at Stratford in 46 years of theatre. It is not to be missed. Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star. Information/Tickets: 1.800.561.1600 OR stratfordfestival.ca