Culture Days, the nationwide did-you-know-there-are-artists-iving-among-us? celebration being held over the next three days, is a great idea. But how do you deal with it in a city like Toronto, where every day is a Culture Day?
Oh, and don't forget that next weekend is Nuit Blanche.
Being a pan-Canadian affair, Culture Days must by political necessity treat a market town in agricultural country the same way as a regional centre or the nation's capital.
On top of that, Culture Days is a voluntary effort, so any local coordination depends on the strength and stamina of the people trying to get the job done.
There is so much going on here that Toronto would need its own website to help manage the choices. Instead, Torontonians are being presented with a mad jumble of options that they have to take the time and energy to sort through. It's a worthwhile effort, given how many artists, musicians, dancers and large producers have lined up special, free events for this grand arts-tasting menu. But how many people who don't already have a sense of what their interests are will make the effort to figure this out? How many people will keep on keeping on with whatever they would normally do during a nice early-fall weekend?
Lost in all of this are regularly-scheduled events. Here are a couple of small-scale musical efforts backed up by large-scale talents that are not part of Culture Days:
*Tapestry New Opera Works has harvested its latest crop of opera kernels, sown at an its annual composer-librettist laboratory, and will serve them up, gently roasted and buttered at the company's spacious rehearsal studio in the Distillery District, this evening to Sunday. Details here.
*Parkdale's Gallery 345 has a recital series called The Art of the Piano, which has three very different, yet equally compelling offerings:
-Tonight: Eckhardt-Gramatte competition laureate Claudia Chan plays a clever mid-century programme, divided evenly between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries;
-Saturday: New works by Toronto's inventive composer-improviser-pianist John Kameel Farah on Saturday evening;
-Sunday: Adam Sherkin presents an eclectic programme that includes new work of his own alongside John Adams' China Gates and some of Rachmaninov's Corelli Variations. Hmm.
To give you a taste of Sherkin, here's a freshly made music video of him performing his own work, Three Preludes, form 2003. True to the spirit of the 19th century prelude, each effort sounds as if Sherkin is making it up as he goes along: