Toronto Concerts & Entertainment

InspiraTO's Playwriting Contest

Do you want to write a play? What about starting with a really good ten-minute one? If you would like to see your work come to life on stage, you should take a crack at the InspiraTO playwriting contest. Canada's largest ten-minute play festival is entering it's ninth season and is looking for talent. It takes place May 29 to June 7, 2014 at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto. The deadline to submit your work is December 18th, 2013 and there are no submission fees. Click here for more details. Rosie :)

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Ten Years of TIFF

2013 marks a couple of big milestones for my husband and I. Ten years of marriage, and ten years of attending the Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF makes the end-of-summer-blues much easier to handle. When September rolls around, the excitement of the festival takes over. The Scoop is going to be very busy with TIFF over the next couple of weeks so I thought I would share some of my favourite photos from the last decade of festival-ing until I return. (Movies on our 2013 schedule include American Dreams in China, Prisoners by Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, the George Clooney-produced August: Osage County and Enough Said starring the late great James Gandolfini.) It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Our first batch of TIFF films. Primer, Shane Carruth's science fiction drama about the accidental discovery of a means of time travel, absolutely blew us away. It was one of my favourite Q&A's of all time.

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I couldn't care less about celebrities except at film fest, because they bring their cinematic awesomeness via their writing/acting/directing skills to my beloved city. Stars love TIFF because Toronto film fans are typically very chill and don't freak out. Here is Adrian Grenier, whose documentary Shot in the Dark details his journey to track down his estranged father. It was excellent.

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The Last Kiss, a 2006 romantic dramedy based on the 2001 Italian film L'ultimo Bacio, brought some serious talent to Toronto.Tony Goldwyn directed and Paul Haggis wrote the screenplay. One of my favourite festival moments happened when they walked on stage and my husband leaned over and whispered, "I am blinded by the talent!"

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Philip Seymour Hoffman made his directorial debut in the 2010 romantic comedy Jack Goes Boating. He was also the star. He was absolutely delightful introducing his film, and during the Q&A after.

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Sometimes, something happens at film fest where you see a movie like the 2004 British drama The Libertine which starred Johnny Depp as the debauched 17th century poet the Earl of Rochester. You think it is absolutely fantastic, and then when it comes out in theatres later it's a complete dud. That also happened in 2009 with Jennifer's Body, a black comedy horror written by Diablo Cody. I truly thought Megan Fox was amazing in this movie, but she got absolutely no love for it when it came out later.

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We have seen dozens of amazing movies over the years including the Tony Kaye abortion documentary Lake Of Fire, the British drama The Last King of Scotland starring Forest Whitaker, Jason Reitman's satirical comedy Thank You For Smoking and one of the sweetest films I have ever seen, Mon Meilleur Ami. There have been some duds in there too- I love Colin Firth but Trauma, the 2004 psychological thriller he starred in, was awful. (He was completely charming at the Q&A of course, and that almost made up for it.) Good or bad, I love each and every film fest experience we have had. See you at the movies! Rosie :)

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Free Movies in Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square

What in the hell's diversity? Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship. If you recognize those lines from one of my favourite movies of all time- Anchorman, The Legend of Ron Burgundy- then you are probably excited for the sequel, and you even may feel like rewatching this gem. You should know then that there are free film screenings in downtown Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square on Tuesdays in the summer, and the next movie scheduled on July 16th is none other than this hilarious and ridiculous 2004 hit.

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This summer the City Cinema theme is "Cult Classics" and the upcoming flicks include Napoleon Dynamite and a Spaceballs and Serenity double feature. The shows start around sunset and are cancelled if it rains. Follow the Yonge-Dundas Square Twitter account @ydsquare for cancellation alerts. Click here for the complete list of movies scheduled for summer 2013. I don't know what we're yelling about! Rosie :)