Plum Viewing

Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly round-up of arts and culture to enjoy online.

Hello lovely readers! Plum is back after a wee break. So sorry about that. Life has a fun way of creeping up on you (bonus points if you can name the song!) and well, it’s been a little crazy.

And, speaking of crazy, what a week our friends across the pond have had. Oh my. The drama, the zingers (god the brits are SO good at these!) and in the end, the resignation. All in the span of 24 hours. If this has left you a little confused, a reporter from Sky News tried to set us straight and well, failed in spectacular style. But, our pretend Prime Minister from Love Actually, Hugh Grant (@hackedoffHugh) summoned the Twitter gods and well, this clip dropped into our lives: The Sky News reporter’s bungled explanation of what had happened set to The Benny Hill theme tune. To sum up the week that has been, it is perfection. Here it is.

So, with that start, here are this week’s picks!

The Montreal Jazz Festival is back live and in person and so far, it has been just wonderful. Mr. Fairs and I are certainly enjoying it. Tonight, we have the Brubeck Brothers Quartet awaiting for us and tomorrow, here are a few acts to check out live if you’re in town or get to know at home: Jean-Michel Blais, Bebel Gilberto and of course, to end this year’s festival, who better than The Roots.

And, staying with festivals, the Ottawa BluesFest kicked off last night and wow, what a line-up! Running until July 17, here’s a few performances to consider checking out: Hometown girl Alannis Morissette is here; a personal favourite of mine, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (fresh off their headline at Montreal Jazz Festival), and a new favourite Nikki Hill (do check her out — you will not be disappointed!)

And, not to be left out, for those of us who might prefer a softer touch in our musical soundtrack, we have the Festival of Sound, a world-renowned chamber and classical music festival in scenic Parry Sound. Beginning on July 11 and running through the end of July, there are so many wonderful performances to enjoy. Here are a few highlights: The Marigolds, art bluesy, part jazzy, and part traditional country and bluegrass; David Jalbert, named one of the 15 best Canadian pianists of all time by CBC Radio; and Cameron’s Choice, featuring Cameron Crozman on cello; David Jalbert on piano. I had the good fortune of seeing Cameron Crozman perform live and trust me when I say he is a talent to watch!

Okay, now that we have the music needed to get us moving, let’s turn our attention to plays because it is the season of the Fringe!

The Montreal’s Fringe Festival wrapped a couple of weeks ago and now it’s time for Toronto and of course the Fringe Mother, Edinburgh to kick off. Here are a few highlights from both:

First up Edinburgh, which runs from August 5 — August 29, so we still have time to get there. The Guardian has us covered with their top 50 shows to see. Again, here’s a taste that just might have us booking a flight (with carry-on luggage only!): Alan Cumming, in his solo dance theatre debut, plays Robert Burns; At 83, Sir Ian McKellen is reprising his role as Hamlet, in the company of a troupe of ballet dancers led by choreographer Peter Schaufuss, and famed director Ivo van Hove brings his adaptation of A Little Life, based on Hanya Yanagihara’s novel of the New York friendship.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the Toronto Fringe Festival, which runs until July 17. This year’s festival includes 88 productions from sketch comedy and new musicals to solo monologues and children’s programming. It’s too early to have too many favourites to recommend but critics so far have been raving about The Boy Who Cried, describing it as ‘a surprising funny yet gripping story led by a stellar cast’. And, PRUDE written and performed by Lou Campbell, a solo show about the pressures put on people to party, drink, take drugs and have sex. Our friends at Now Magazine have more to say here.

Okay, staying in Toronto, if you haven’t already done so, please do visit Ed Burtynsky’s powerful exhibition In the Wake of Progress. It’s difficult to find the words to properly describe the importance and sheer scale of this exhibit. I’ll borrow from Luminto’s show notes to provide a description: “Enveloped by 30 foot screens, audiences will be taken on a journey through images and films from throughout Burtynsky’s 40 year career bearing witness to the stark impacts of human industry on the planet, choreographed to a striking original score.” It runs until July 17 at the Canadian Opera Company Theatre and you can reserve your ticket here.

And to end, another plug for Partial (after all, this is my newsletter :)). This week, we shared Partial’s Picks: 6 artists you should know in beautiful BC. Such a privilege to champion these wonderful artists. Please do see for yourself here — and remember we ship everywhere :)

Have a great weekend and see you next week!

And, if you’d like to receive Plum Viewing weekly, send me a note at maggiefairs@gmail.com and I will add you to my mailing list.

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