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ARTS: Culture Corridor thrives online (Apr. 2020)

May 1st, 2020 · 2 Comments

At your fingertips and while in your pjs – enjoy it!

By Meribeth Deen

We’re a month into the new COVID reality, so at this point, you’ve either re-shaped your life entirely and decided to stay inside forever, or you are going absolutely bananas staring at your own four walls and talking to your cat. We’re obviously not going to tell you to hit the town, or tell you how to spend your time in general, but we are here to remind you that opportunity abounds. So many of the organizations affiliated with the Bloor Street Culture Corridor have stepped up to find innovative ways to keep connecting to the city. This might be the moment where the internet takes over our lives, and this might be the beginning of a whole new artistic and community flourishing. Either way, offerings are changing and shifting as quickly as COVID news, so make a point of staying up to date. Facebook and Instagram are your new best friends for doing so… now let’s get you inspired.

At this stage you are probably sick to death of whatever streaming service you watch TV and movies through, so don’t forget about Hot Docs, which normally screens films at the Ted Rogers Cinema. Their collection is available through a number of services, including Apple TV, Crave, Encore, CBC Gem and more. There are hundreds of films available, screened at past festivals and at the Ted Rogers Cinema. Look up Hot Docs at home for staff picks, trailers, and information about where to watch these documentaries.

Check in with the Music Gallery’s Facebook page to find out about live-streamed performances and talks on Mondays and Fridays. Done in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre, the interviews (Mondays) highlight creative individuals, veterans, and elders who stand out in Toronto’s musical history. On April 27, Suba Sankaran will interview Professor Trichy Sankaran, percussion virtuoso, Indian music scholar and producer as well as the founding director of Indian music studies at York University. Friday evening (7pm) performances are being built around an instructional piece by Xuan Ye, adapted from a piece she couldn’t perform in person. The goal of these events is to connect artists who might not otherwise get the chance to work together, and bring the spirit of community and experimentation into people’s living rooms.

Pick up the phone for a unique theatrical and cultural experience offered by Instituto Italiano de Cultura and Dopolavoro Teatrale (DLT). The two have teamed up to create an intimate and immersive experience at a distance with Theatre On Call. “The goal of Theatre On Call is to become somewhat of a counter-virus that spreads and generates artistic responses, supporting the two categories of people that immersive theatre brings together best: artists and audiences,” explains DLT. One such experience can be booked at any time and goes on for six days: How to Improve Life in Your Living Room with DLT artists Franco Berti and Violante Binazzi, offers tips about artistically capturing life’s moments and involves daily tasks. Other performances shift regularly, so check out the Instituto’s Facebook page. All offerings occur on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Now, if your body can’t get outside and stretch, at least your brain can. Learning a language is a great way to do it, and Alliance Francaise is making it easy. Not only are all courses now being offered online, their Facebook page is highlighting their instructors favourite online learning portals and unique opportunities like “speak dating,” to practice your language skills – for free.

The Toronto Reference Library, like all libraries, is closed to the public. Keeping up with library updates is a great way to stay positive, though. Not only has the Toronto Public Library partnered with local food banks to turn branches into food distribution centres, they have also loaned out 3-D printers to a team at Toronto General Hospital to produce personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers. Plus, TPL Digital Services has put out a guide to 38 Ways to Use the Library From Home. There are a ton of resources for kids, including online tutoring for students between kindergarten and grade 12 and dial-a-story, which offers stories for kids in more than 16 languages. There’s also access to movies, music, book clubs, and e-books for all ages.

When you’re done with putting information in your brain, it’s time for output, and the Bata Shoe Museum is there to help. Every week, they’re putting out sneaker-themed drawing prompts aimed to spark imagination and creativity. They’ve also got colouring sheets based on shoes in their collections. As you might expect – they’re hoping you will share what you make.

The Miles Nadal Jewish Cultural Centre has lots of online happenings for everyone, but plenty of fun for kids in particular. They’ve hosted online pre-school aquatic bingo, a show with Lost & Found Puppet Co., and of course Shalom Sesame, with Passover Grover. Check out their Facebook site for more upcoming fun.

All this goes to show that Toronto’s artists and cultural institutions are still there for you, and if you can’t come out of this thing smarter, at least you’ll come out of it cross-eyed. So don’t forget to stick your head out a window, and breathe in some unusually fresh Toronto air. Stay safe and stay healthy.

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Tags: Annex · Arts

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