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ARTS: Bloor St. Culture Corridor celebrates Black History Month (Feb. 2020)

February 27th, 2020 · No Comments

February corridor offerings abound

A Tafelmusik presentation, The Indigo Project, which starts Feb. 27 at 427 Bloor St. W. (Trinity St-Paul’s) is a musical journey exploring the implications of the blue dye that touched the lives of the lowest classes. COURTESY TAFELMUSIK

By Meribeth Deen­

For many institutions on the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, Black History Month is every month. However, if you’re keen to jump into the spirit of the month, there are plenty of ways to do that between Bathurst and Bay streets.

If you find yourself on Bathurst, head directly to A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (Bloor and Spadina). They have a stellar line up of events that you do not want to miss, and the bookstore will be offering 20 per cent off on “essential” books to celebrate African Liberation Month (Franz Fanon, W.E.B DuBois, Walter Rodney, Roxane Gay). On February 20, enjoy the Literary Salon with Roger McTair, who will discuss his short story collection My Trouble with Books.

Also on February 20, Rivka Campbell will discuss Jews of colour with a focus on Jews of Jamaica at the Miles Nadal Jewish Cultural Centre (750 Spadina). Campbell, a Jewish woman of Jamaican descent, seeks to build community among Jews of colour in Canada while opening dialogue about cultural and ethnic diversity. Campbell has faced challenges finding harmony in both the Black Canadian and Jewish communities. She’s called herself “too Black to be Jewish, too Jewish to be Black,” but despite her challenges, Campbell says she still finds ways to be meaningfully involved in her Jewish community, even serving as a synagogue administrator in Toronto.

Throughout the month of February, Alliance Française (24 Spadina) invites visitors to travel across Africa by viewing the photographs of Nadine McNulty. McNulty photographed families throughout the continent over a 20-year period, and her work focuses on quickly disappearing traditional ways of life. On February 28, the exhibition will be accompanied by a performance by Njacko Backo, a percussionist, singer, storyteller, choreographer, and songwriter/ composer who has been performing for children and adults since his childhood in Cameroon. His programs for children and youth draw on parallels and differences between Canadian and African family life.

Starting on February 27, Tafelmusik (427 Bloor) presents the cross-cultural multimedia project The Indigo Project, created by Alison McKay. This musical journey explores the vast social, cultural, and political implications of the blue dye that touched the lives of Europe’s lowest classes and its courts, North American slave plantations, and current-day garment workers. 

On a completely different note – but not to be missed – is the world premier of Up TO and Including Their Limits, a new performance by the internationally-acclaimed artist Cassils at the Gardiner Museum (11 Queen’s Park). Cassils is known for jaw-dropping feats that highlight non-binary and trans visibility and violence, like pummelling a 2,000 lb block of clay and being set on fire in front of a live audience. Only 100 tickets have been released, and they’re going quickly!

These are just a few of February’s highlights of the Corridor, and they offer an important message: even the middle of winter is full of culture and colour in Toronto. So be sure to make the most of it.

Tags: Annex · Arts