Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gracing the Stage.

My friend and fellow listings compiler and local music fan Steve Fisher has a new(ish) website. He's put together two fantastic evenings on Friday and Saturday to celebrate the launch of the website, and showcase some of the talent he's enjoyed over the past several years. [Check out Gracing the Stage.]

Steve started his Gracing the Stage weekly updates back in 2002, and has been doing so "pretty consistently" since 2004. At first a page posted to a Ryerson residence bulletin, then a small e-mailed newsletter, Steve new sends his update to a subscriber list of 1,000 people. The newsletter includes suggestions for all things performing arts, at an affordable price: live music, theatre, comedy, dance, and film. See the latest list here. An avid show-goer---catch him 5 or 6 nights a week supporting live comedy, theatre, music, or at the movies---Steve's gotta be the most knowledgeable person in this city when it comes to what's on, what's good, and who's working on what. His specialty is what's affordable and almost always local. For special events, like the Fringe, Steve puts together capsule reviews to help his subscribers navigate a dense schedule. It was thus only a matter of time before the e-mailed newsletter turned into a website with near-daily posts about the performing arts in Toronto. [Photo of Steve by Dahlia Katz.]

This weekend help celebrate the website's launch and enjoy top-notch local performers at Kensington Market's Bread & Circus (on Friday) and Bloor West's Comedy Bar (Saturday). Tickets for both nights are $12 in advance at their respective venues and Soundscapes (572 College St.), or $15 @ the door. The shows are fundraisers for the website. Here's who you'll get to see:

FRIDAY (20 feb) Launch Party Night 1 feat. Entire Cities, 10,000 to Flight, Gravity Wave, Tonka & Puma, The Williamson Playboys, Levi MacDougall, Maylee Todd, Convergence Theatre, and Carnegie Hall, with hosts Iron Cobra @ Bread & Circus (299 Augusta Ave), 8pm doors, 9pm showtime.

Entire Cities headline the Friday night show at Bread & Circus. Also performing are Gravity Wave, who I have still yet to see in its latest incarnation (Ken Farrell likes to mix things up), bass-drums duo Tonka & Puma (AKA April and Dan from Hooded Fang), and the hilarious Williamson Playboys.

Download: Entire Cities' "Cop Song" (Deep River, 2008).

Download: Gravity Wave's "Buffalo Jump" (Twin Prime Conjecture, 2008).

Watch: The Williamson Playboys perform "Hindenburg."

SATURDAY (21 feb) Launch Party Night 2 feat. Maylee & Slippers’ Sweatshop Hop, Pat Thornton, Peter Katz, Kathleen Phillips, The Remainders, Jehan Khoorshed, Melissa D'Agostino, Makesi Arthur, hosts the Flirts (Kurt Smeaton & Alana Johnston) @ Comedy Bar (945 Bloor St. W.), 8pm doors, 9pm showtime.

Saturday is less music-focused, but there are a couple singer-songwriters on the bill, followed by the Sweatshop Hop, an insane workout show requiring audience participation. Jehan Khoorshed is an Ottawa singer-songwriter, and longtime friend of Steve's. He doesn't play outside his hometown very often, but has a new record he'd love to share with more people. Peter Katz comes highly recommended by Steve. A "masterful performer," says Steve, catch him here before his major headlining show at Hugh's Room in April.

Download: "These Are The Days" off Peter Katz's 2007 release, More Nights.

Download: Jehan Khoorshed's "Jodessa" (s/t, 2008).

Watch: Sweathop Hop video.

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