The Bicycle Opera Project
They are not reinventing the wheel, but they are reimagining opera. The Bicycle Opera Project is a young troupe of tenors, sopranos and instrumentalists who pedal their way from gig to gig, arriving thirsty and a little dirty but otherwise fit to present pieces of contemporary Canadian opera. The productions are stripped down for the sake of mobility, which leads to lean and accessible presentations. Sounds like a dubious proposition? Don’t knock it ’til you sprocket. (July 12 and 13, Westben Festival, Campellford, Ont.; July 15, Hamilton; July 20, Bayfield, Ont.) Brad Wheeler
The Great War: The Persuasive Power of Photography
The diverse uses of photography – as truth-teller, manipulator, propaganda vehicle, surveillance tool, memento, impassive witness – got a real work-out during the First World War.
Earlier wars – most notably the Crimean and the U.S. Civil War – had been subject to the photographer’s gaze but not as voluminously and extensively as the 1914-18 conflict.
To mark the centennial of that war’s start, the National Gallery in Ottawa is exhibiting more than 400 photographs and photo-based works – from the personal to the panoramic, the military and the political – culled by NGC photography curator Ann Thomas from a dozen national and international collections. (Through Nov. 16.) James Adams (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa)
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Folk festivals are motivated to book popular acts to draw big crowds, but they also decorate their lineups with obscure artists, to excite festivalgoers in unexpected ways. For good or for bad, it is sometimes the duty of journalists to spoil the surprises. So, while the annual event at Jericho Beach is headlined by Joan Baez, you must be made aware that the relatively unknown gospel bluesman Leo Welch and the church-singing Como Mamas are not to be missed. While Baez preaches to the converted, the other performers will blow minds freshly and appeal to new flocks. Either way, amen. (July 18 to 20) B.W.
Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel had impressive chemistry in the big-screen comedy Bad Teacher (2011), and the two reunite for another Jake Kasdan outing: Sex Tape. The studio describes it thus: “When Jay and Annie first got together, their romantic connection was intense – but 10 years and two kids later, the flame of their love needs a spark. To kick things up a notch, they decide to make a video of themselves trying out every position in The Joy of Sex in one marathon three-hour session. It seems like a great idea – until they discover that their most private video is no longer private.” (July 18)
Maggie Wrobel (Claire Folger/Sony Pictures)
This Magazine launch
It’s summertime, and the reading is easy. But could it be even easier? Quite so, for those fortunate enough to attend Wednesday’s launch of the summer reading issue of the venerable This Magazine, where new fiction and poetry will be presented in astounding bounty. Hosted by the magazine’s literary editor, poet Dani Couture, the evening will feature readings by horror novelist Tony Burgess and poets Aisha Sasha John and David Seymour. Poetry and horror! Together at last! (Supermarket, 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto; July 16) Jared Bland