David Bowie Is.. Exhibition at AGO

Besides seeing Frozen on Wednesday (read previous post), I also went to check at David Bowie Is exhibition at the AGO (Art Gallery Of Ontario). Ever since I moved to Toronto in June, I have never visited the AGO and I live so close to it. I missed out on the Ai Weiwei exhibition and I didn’t want to miss checking out this exhibition as well. It was only running until November 27 which was why I managed to purchase a ticket for the last day. It then got extended to run till Friday. It is now officially closed. Wednesdays are cheaper to go to AGO but it happens only after 6pm. So, it was very busy the day I went especially since that day was originally going to be the last day.

I didn’t know much about David Bowie beforehand. So it was interesting to learn more about him during the exhibition on what influenced his music career, fashion, theatre/acting etc. It was on two floors and it was a self guided audio tour. It was interesting to see what played and when stuff would play. The theme of the exhibition was the show different sides of David Bowie. He means something different to everyone. The only problem I had with the exhibition was that it would get really crowded at certain parts of the exhibition. I would be like lining up to see/read stuff. It was something I wasn’t use to. I have seen a couple of exhibitions at MET in New York and it’s never like this. The exhibitions at MET are one floor and the only admission for MET is a “donation”. So, technically, it is a lot cheaper in New York. I noticed I kept comparing the two as I would walk around the exhibition. It took me an hour to go through it but if I stayed to pay more attention to the details, it would have been a lot longer. Otherwise, it was a really interesting experience and I liked what they presented on David Bowie. Here’s a couple of clips below from the opening of the exhibition at AGO and a media preview of what was seen during the exhibition.

For more upcoming exhibitions and events at AGO, visit the official site.

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Frozen [REVIEW]

Frozen opened in cinemas on Wednesday (November 27). I managed to see it right after work in 3D. As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s one of my 5 upcoming movies I am excited to see. The fact that not only Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel were in it but also Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff. The movie features lots of Broadway stars and writers/directors (Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck)! It has been receiving really good reviews and a possible contender for the Oscars as it continues to do well in the box office too! The movie also just received nominations for Annie Awards which includes Best Animated Feature category. Check out the nominees. So exciting!

It’s been almost a week since I last saw the movie and I have been wanting to watch the movie again or have been listing to the songs on repeat! I really loved the movie which I knew I would! What I loved about the movie the most is the fact that it is different for the general Disney fairytale. It breaks from those norms which is also why the movie has been receiving lots of great reviews! It’s really not a love story between a “prince and princess” but the relationship of two sisters. You pretty much get everything you want from a Disney animated movie and you can see why critics have been comparing it to beloved Disney movies such as Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast etc. I really love how Anna and Kristoff’s (voiced by Kristen Bell and Jonathan Groff) relationship develops. I love how Anna is a klutz. Both Anna and Elsa do not need a “prince” to save them. All these characters are relatable and show Elsa trying to find who she is as a person, Anna wanting to help her sister and finding love etc. Josh Gad as Olaf is pretty awesome and his character really does bring the comedy out in the movie even more! I pretty much loved all his songs and his scenes! Some of my favorite songs in the movie include Let It Go, For The First Time In Forever and Do You Want To Build A Summer. My favorite song/scene was Fixer Upper (spoiler: it involves trolls and Anna/Kristoff). It was pretty amazing and hilarioue! I could keep going on and on about how much I love the movie. So, just make sure to go see it! Check out EW’s rank for the 9 original songs from the soundtrack. I still wish Jonathan Groff got to sing something that was more than 51 secs long or at least a duet with Kristen but the fact he sang as Kristoff and as Sven in his little bit was amazing! Even in his scenes where he had to voice both characters. Before Frozen, there is a Disney animated short before the movie on Mickey and Minnie Mouse which was amazing too! See a clip of that below:

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Heading Home for The Holidays! (Dec 16-January 7)

I will be heading home for the holidays on Dec 16. So, I will be back home in Vancouver for a good 3 weeks. One of the things I am most excited for when I return is all the yummy food I will be eating! Yes, I miss the food the most! Of course, I am also excited to catch up with friends and family. My life revolves around events, theatre productions and movies. So, I will definitely be going and seeing a lot of stuff when I am back home! I definitely hope so. Not even Vancouver weather will stop me! Below is a list of stuff I hope I will be doing when I am back. The ones in bold are officially confirm. I am planning on updating this post frequently as I add and confirm more stuff. (What I am planning on eating won’t be included below lol)

last updated: January 3 2013

EVENTS
Vancouver Christmas Market (till Dec 24)
Hyatt Gingerbread Lane (till Dec 27)
Vancouver Festival of Trees (till January 2)
Burnaby Village Museum: Illuminations at Heritage Christmas (till Jan 3)

MOVIES
Saving Mr. Banks
American Hustle
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Inside Llewyn Davis

Movies I’ll see in Toronto when I’m back
Her
August: Osage County

** The ones I am most likely to see will be the movies I have listed on my 5 Movies I Am Most Excited to See post.

THEATRE
Mary Poppins at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Jack & the Beanstalk: An East Van Panto at York Theatre
It’s Snowing At Saltspring at Granville Island Stage

OTHER
Gatsby Gala at Rocky Mountaineer Station (NYE PARTY)

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Les Misérables at Princess Of Wales Theatre

Last month, I saw Mirvish’s production of Les Misérables at Princess OF Wales Theatre. This was the second time I have seen the production this year. I saw the Broadway Across Canada production in Vancouver in June before I left to Toronto. The sets and everything were pretty much the same!Having seen Ever since I saw the production last month, it got an extended run and Ramin Karimloo who plays Jean Valjean in this production will now be joining the Broadway 2014 production. It was the first announcement made for the new Broadway season for Les Miserables! He is phenomenal and definitely deserves this! So, another production I have seen which involves “Broadway 2014”. It has been doing very successful! You can’t go wrong with Les Misérables. You are just going to expect yourself to be emotional during the movie. It’s just epic! Honestly, I still prefer this live than the movie! Yes, the movie had amazing performances and it was nice to see the sets and close ups on their emotions. However, it’s nothing compared to seeing people perform this live and able to show the emotion their characters through their performance. The first time I saw Les Misérables was around three years ago with The Arts Club production of it. I can never get tired on this production!

Les Misérables now runs till February 2 at Princess Of Wales Theatre. Buy tickets and for more information.

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Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival [RECAP]

I recently attended a couple of screenings during Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Nov 5-16). I would have tried to either work or volunteer for the festival but I have been so busy that I didn’t recall about the festival till a couple weeks before it was about to start! I was able to luckily be able to fit two screenings into my busy schedule. I was able to see “Come Together” screenings of short films on Nov 7 at AGO: Jackman Hall and the screening of Farah Goes Bang at The Royal on Nov 9. Details on two screenings and my thoughts on the short films/feature films I saw below:

NOV 7 – “Come Together

It was great to see a variety of short films that involved the theme of “coming together”. Having worked for Toronto Animation Arts Film Festival, I was aware of some of the filmmakers or heard of them. I really loved Lillian Chan’s Ramen Party and the characters were what goes into a bowl of ramen. So, all these characters come together and it’s like a party! It’s really cute! It was the first one out of the line up of films that were shown and that was still what I thought of after the screening. I also enjoyed Neha Junagade’s The Last Minute Groom. I really loved the animation in it. Akira Oda’s The Moon that Fell into the Sea involved the moon trying to figure out how to get back into the sky. The last scene of the short film was beautiful and of course, it made sense as to how it returned back to the sky. The ending to Armin Isarian’s Dreams in the Depths was unexpected. ?These were the films from the line up that stood out for me. There was a short Q&A after the screening where Lillian, Neha and Leslie Supnet talked briefly about their films.

NOV 9 – Farah Goes Bang

The screening started with Amrit Singh’s Dosa Hunt which was a film involving trying to find the best Dosa in New york. It was interesting but I didn’t find the film that great. It could have been done better. I enjoyed Farah Goes Bang overall. The script I found lacking at times and could have been done better. What I liked about the movie was it was very female driven. 3 best friends go on a road trip . While they are on the road trip, they learn more about themselves and what we find out what George Bush re election means to them. Why they are so dedicated to change people’s minds to vote for John Kerry. Besides the political storyline of the movie, the main part was Farah trying to lose her virginity. Only when she is most comfortable about herself is when she can let herself go! So, the movie did manage to have a deeper meaning in it. I guess I don’t really care about politics. So, the overall story didn’t win me over but I did enjoy what was presented. One of my favorite scenes is actually in the trailer. It is also near the end of the movie. The movie won the inaugural Nora Ephron prize for best female film at the Tribeca Film Festival. This was a main reason why I was considered seeing the movie when I was trying to figure out what movies to see. Luckily, I didn’t end up needing to pay and received a comp to the screening. I definitely enjoyed this more than the previous screening. I just wished I had time to see others I was looking forward to.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (REVIEW)

I finally saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire last night. As I wrote in my previous post, it is one of the 5 upcoming movies I am most excited to see! I read all three books last year. So, I saw The Hunger Games before having read the book. Even though the movie was great, my perspective was changed once I read the book. I felt the movie wasn’t as good as the book. I had no doubts that this sequel wouldn’t be an even better movie. Catching Fire in general was an amazing book and they did a really good job with the movie because it portrayed the book very well.

They captured the districts and the chaos happening in them perfectly. Even during the games, you were scared for their characters with what was happening to them. Jennifer Lawrence is outstanding and there were times where she made me want to cry or I really did feel her emotions. She’s an Academy Award winner now after all 😉 The costumes are still amazing in this movie. As I was watching the movie, I slowly remembered stuff that was going to happen in the movie or what ends up happening in Mockingjay. I am not the type of person who remembers every detail from a book a year later. Things get fuzzy! The actors I had problems with in the first movie did an even better job with their characters in this movie. I actually believed that they were their character. My favorite new characters from Catching Fire were always Finnick and Johanna. I think both Sam and Jena did an amazing job with their roles. I agree with everything that was said in this TV Spot in regards to the movie:

Anyways, I am very excited for the next two installments (Part 1 and 2 of Mockingjay). When I read Mockingjay, I knew it would make an amazing movie. That book is really action packed and so much happens in it that you will be left crying! There was a reason why Jennifer cried when she read the script too. If you haven’t read the books yet, you should definitely do so! I am definitely not going to give away what happens in Mockingjay.

I have pretty much watched most of Jennifer Lawrence’s press junket interviews for the movie! Here is some Unscripted for you all to watch:

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Aladdin at Ed Mirvish Theatre

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of seeing Aladdin The New Musical at Ed Mirvish Theatre. I loved the Disney movie while growing as many of us did! There was a point while I was growing up, I started to hate the movie. Only because my name is Jasmine. During high school, I had to deal with guys “hitting” on me and calling me “Princess Jasmine”. I also heard some terrible renditions of A Whole New World. I guess one would say being called a princess while growing up should be a compliment. All I remember was how annoyed it made me. I remember telling people later on to think of Aladdin to make it easier for them to remember my name. So, the movie pretty much shaped my childhood.

Aladdin The New Musical is making its debut at Ed Mirvish Theatre before making its Broadway debut next year! So, it’s something I had to go see since I moved to Toronto in June. I never got to see something in Canada before it made it’s Broadway debut! I love New York and I love Broadway. I still hope to one day live in New York. This production at Ed Mirvish Theatre is truly magical! Not only kids will love it but adults who have seen the movie would too. They adapted it in a way that it works for theatre and Broadway audiences. Their sets are remarkable and including the costumes and lighting designs. There is a lot of technical stuff that happens behind the scenes to make sure the production runs smoothly. So, props to all of the behind the scenes team! That was the one things that I noticed while watching this production. My favorite number is still A Whole New World. I just loved what they did with that on stage to make it beautiful and magical. I definitely loved how they made the production comedic as well. One of the things that will really draw people to see the production is that Jonathan Freeman who voices Jafar in the movie is actually playing Jafar in the production. Pretty sure everyone including myself loved the most was James Monroe Igleheart as the Genie. His numbers and things he said were awesome!

Aladdin The New Musical runs till January 5 at Ed Mirvish Theatre. Make sure to go see it! For more information & to buy tickets

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Weesageechak Begins To Dance – 26 (Nov 21-23)

Weesageechak Begins To Dance – 26 festival starts tomorrow at Aki Studio Theatre. Tickets are $15. Festival passes are only $30 and can be purchased over the phone. (416-531-1402). Day one includes a preview performance of Quilchena which is created by NEPA Artistic director, Tara Beagan. It can be seen later at Rutas Panamericanas Festival in March and later at Aki Studio for its full run (March 11-16). It will also be making its national tour next year as well. Playwright in residence, PJ Prudat will have her show Postcards happening on Day 2. She was last seen in Gromkat’s production, Tainted, which had its run at Aki Studio Theatre earlier last month. Check out the full festival line up here. Hope to see you at the festival!

Like Native Earth Performing Arts on Facebook | Follow @NativeEarth | Visit Official Site

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5 Upcoming Movies That I Am Most Excited to See

I have been spending my time watching “amazing movies”. Ones I know that are definitely going to be either considered or nominated for the upcoming award season. However, I still spend my time seeing those movies that I want to see whether is a romance movie, comedic movie or an action flick because I feel like it! There are 5 upcoming movies that are coming out soon that I MUST SEE. See which films made the list below:

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

Pretty certain that everyone is excited for this movie! I read all the books last year and Catching Fire was definitely my favorite book of the franchise! So I am happy that the reviews for the movie have been good and that the movie is considered to be better than the first! The movie is officially out on Friday but I will either be seeing this on Saturday or Sunday! CANNOT WAIT!

FROZEN

This Disney animated movie I have been dying to see when the project was first announced! Once the casting began for this movie I was even more excited for the movie! It stars Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad! Broadway and musically talented actors! I am very excited that the movie has also been getting really great reviews so far! The movie is out on November 27!

AMERICAN HUSTLE

I have been excited since the first casting news of this movie! Another David O Russell movie with both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in it! Plus Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner and Robert De Niro are in this movie! This clip with Jennifer Lawrence came out recently. It’s awesome haha. Check it out below:

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

I’ve been excited for this movie since the casting process! Honestly, the casting for the movie is amazing! It stars Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch (just to name a few). I saw the theatre production of this during the Arts Club 2012-2013 season! The play is amazing! So, I knew that a movie version of this and the casting for the movie would make it something special to see! I was hoping to see the movie during Toronto International Film Festival but I didn’t get a chance to. I did however read some reviews on the movie. I didn’t like how it mentioned that the ending was changed for the movie. It seemed problematic for the critics as well. I am interested to see if they did decide to change the ending after TIFF or not! Either way, I am still very excited to see this movie! It is out on Christmas Day (Dec 25).

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

I have also been excited about this movie when it was first announced! It stars Leonardo Dicaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill and more! I paid more attention to this movie since Jean Dujardin was also cast in the movie. I use to run a site on him for a bit. It looks like another great movie from Martin Scorsese. Plus Matthew has been in a lot of amazing movies lately! The movie is also out on Christmas Day (Dec 25)

There are a bunch of other movies that are coming up that I am also excited to watch such as Her, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks and Inside Llewn Davis. These are the upcoming movies you will see me tweet and talk about my twitter @jasjwang. I may try to blog about some of them when I get the chance.

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Regent Park Film Festival (Nov 13-16) [RECAP]

I recently volunteered for Regent Park Film Festival which happened on Nov 13-16 in Daniels Spectrum. I was looking for more film festivals here in Toronto to volunteer at when I came across the volunteer posting for this! What interested me most about this festival was that it was a free of charge community film festival! So anyone could attend the festival since it was free! There were two movies I heard about which hit the festival market, Blood Relative and Fruitvale Station that were shown during the festival which I was most excited for. Even though I wasn’t able to see any films, I did get to meet lots of great people while I was a assistant volunteer captain! I was mainly in the office running the volunteer lounge of the festival!

For more information, visit their official website. Like their facebook page and follow @RegentParkFilmFest.

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