2018 in arts – continues


Canadian Stage brought over Yann Bourgeois’s troupe for a performance of He Who Falls, the gravity defying, wordless (but not music-less) piece in which a handful of performers tell a story with nothing but running, walking, hanging off things, falling off and jumping. Jordan Tannahill’s Declarations, also at CanStage, told of death of a parent through a build-up of verbal declarations (often descriptions of things and people) each tied to specific physical gestures. The production of Michael Healey’s Drawer Boy at Passe Muraille wasn’t very good, but this was the first time I’ve seen the piece and it’s one of those perfectly ticking, discursive, multi-layered plays that we don’t often find today. Lulu v.7 // Aspects of a Femme Fatale by BIBT and The Red Light District at Buddies–a wack-out-loud adaptation of Wedekind’s play Pandora’s Box on which Berg’s opera Lulu was based–was a brilliant and audacious mess. Loved loved loved the new production of Linda Griffiths’ one-woman play Maggie and Pierre at Tarragon Workspace. Julius Caesar via National Theatre Live was a brisk and intelligent interpretation of the Shakespeare classic with cross-sex (and of course race-indifferent) casting. A few mehs too, some abroad, some local: Vincent Macaigne’s absurdly loud and spectacular Je suis un pays at Theatre de la Colline, the NT’s Absolute Hell, and Theory at Tarragon, which unfolds gloriously until about 3/4 in, when it completely switches to another genre and wrecks itself.


Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art finally reopened this year! Without a cafe or anything like that, so come well fed or you will have to trek back to Bloor to get a bite, or dine, if there’s room, in the posh Drake resto two parking lots away. Forno Cultura cafe apparently ought to appear on the ground floor of Moca eventually? That aside, I saw an excellent video installation Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape by British artist Andy Holden which uses Looney Tunes animation to talk about human predicament–economic, political, existential. It was worth sitting through the whole thing, and the room was constantly full.

In early spring this year, I caught the big Vikings exhibit at the ROM just before it closed. I did not know that the followers of Wotan (and accompanying gods which any opera lover will know from Wagner) had objects like tweezers and Buddha statuettes in their homes. They pillaged far and wide, and they traded as extensively. There was some evidence (not too much of it on display) that some women too, sometimes, have been trained as warriors.

The rest is all abroad: my first visit to the Musee Rodin, a return to Centre Pompidou for an exhibit on El Lissitsky & friends, both in Paris, and in Munich the Lenbachhaus museum for the Alfred Kubin retrospective (extraordinary; among the highlights of the decade), the Museum of the City of Munich (history of the city, and city’s present) and Museum Brandhorst for Cy Twombly.

A very special mention on this list goes to Toronto’s  Gibson House, which was, as far as I can tell, the only space in the city to mark the centenary of the granting of the female franchise on the federal level to the majority of Canadian women. Are there no feminist or women’s studies historians left in the museum circles in Toronto? I am puzzled. The Brits marked the anniversary throughout 2018, erected statues, covered the issue extensively in all kinds of media.


Loveless directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev
Sally Potter’s The Party
Steven Spielberg’s The Post
Armando Ianucci’s Death of Stalin
Disobedience, based on Naomi Alderman’s eponymous novel, dir. Sebastian Lelio
The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Did not live up to expectations: Haneke’s Happy End, On Chesil Beach, Hereditary (awful), Can You Ever Forgive Me (never reading the NYT film criticism again), Nothing Like a Dame (probably better for TV than the big screen; nothing new said, a few dull moments and a couple of awkward ones)

The Party trailer:


Stay tuned for 2018 in Books before end of year

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