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News 2003

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Dusk Dances: Tuesday July 8 through Sunday July 13.

Once again the park will be alive with dances, every night for a week from 7.30 p.m. until dark. Original dances, original scores, live music, humour, virtuosity, beauty - what a thing to look forward to. Park rehearsals began in June already: a company of little "sheep," for instance, in a sheepfold complete with sheep turds, with a ram, and a shepherd carrying the traditional shepherd's curved staff. One day during rehearsal the little "sheep" even came out of their enclosure and their deadpan shepherd herded them through the farmers' market, to sample organic parsley and lettuce. These are the same folks (CORPUS) who had the audience in stitches last year with their comic dance about the Canadian Air Force squadron which had lost their planes due to cutbacks, but whose officers had retained all their goofy flying drills.

Last year there were upwards of 400 people at each dusk dance, moving around the park from dance to dance. This year it promises to be at least as good. There are dancers from the National Ballet, a break dance group called Rubberbandance, a dance that takes place in the air with the dancer suspended from a crane, and more. Pay-what-you-can. Dan DeMatteis will be making food at the oven daily, if you come to the dances hungry.

The Sylliad, Clay and Paper Theatre, July 25 to August 17:

Wednesdays through Sundays, 7.30 p.m.David Anderson put together this show with poet Michael Boughn and tall-stilt performer Mark Keetch. The show is sub-headed "My Big Fat Greek War Story," and this is what Clay and Paper say about it: "Is it a story about war? Yes. Is it a story about violence, betrayal, more violence, greed, jealousy, world conquest, (sex?), eating , more eating, tragic pride, laughter, and everything in between? Yes. Does it parallel the epic brouhaha of Homer's tragically farcical story of wear with the painful brutalities and wild absurdities of our current circumstance? Well, that's for you to decide; we wouldn't want to draw any unpleasant conclusions."

This show is also pay-what-you-can, the suggested donation being $10. The company has been rehearsing on stilts - in Mark's case, giant six-and-a-half foot high stilts. The ships are being constructed, the Trojan Horse is being painted, the various masks are being shaped in clay before the papier mache is applied. Rehearsals are every day, and they always have an audience. If you want to know more, call 416 537-9105 or visit their web site;

The Sylliad:

It's this year's giant-puppet play, outdoors in the park, presented by our park's resident theatre company, Clay and Paper Theatre. Based on the 2500-year-old Greek heroic war poem, this version has been adapted by director David Anderson, Michael Bougun, and Mark Keetch, as a political satire touching on modern warfare. It tells of a rogue state that uses a kind of double language - peace means war, etc. - and it features not only giant people-puppets but also a huge, mysterious black boat, a Trojan Horse, puppet S.U.V.'s, and other ingenious Clay-and-Paper devices. There is live music throughout, by Andrew Timor. Choreography is by Yvonne Ng. The actors have been a familiar sight in their rehearsals at the park all summer. Park users have strolled over to watch as they put their play together and practised on the giant stilts: Emma Brown, John Hombek, Robin Hurlow, Christina Kostoff, Karen Mitton, and John Slavik. Many of the actors are new to the troupe, but some are familiar friends of the park. John Slavic has been featured regularly for some years now: he was Toronto's Victorian "Mayor Howland" in The Ballad of Garrison Creek, and he was the befuddled knight, "Sir Gawain," in last year's production, called Gold, when he was followed during every performance by a swarm of laughing children from the audience. Samantha Nisbett is assistant stage manager, and Kate Heming manages the company. Performances of Sylliad are: Wednesdays through Sundays at 7.30 p.m., south of the baseball backstop.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon play:

East of the Sun, West of the Moon: A play based on a Norse folktale about a woman who marries a bear. A workshop production (funded by the Toronto Arts Council and the Laidlaw Foundation) put on by Stranger Theatre. This is a Halifax-Toronto company that includes two part-time park staff known to many park users: children's summer camp staff Kate Cayley (director and co-writer) and park baker/ Friday night supper cook Lea Ambros (designer and stage manager), as well as summer camp staff Noah Kenneally (as the bear). Noah is also a frequent participant in Clay and Paper Theatre productions.

Kate says: "East of the Sun, West of the Moon is for children and adults, and will include masks, puppetry, live music, singing and storytelling. It will hopefully get a longer run next year as part of The Cooking Fire Theatre Festival, a festival of outdoor performance that is being tentatively planned for next summer. Since this is a workshop production, it is very important to get feedback from the audience, especially small children. Please come and see and say what you think." Saturday September 6 and Sunday September 7m, 5.30 p.m. just north of the playground.

Story-tent for children, by Three Funny Hats

This group of storytellers has been doing bi-weekly shows for almost two years, at the Village Café near Bloor and Dovercourt, and in Dovercourt Park. Their story tent will be set up near the pizza oven on the first two Sundays in September, and they'll be ready to take kids (ages 4-10) for a story-and-song trip around the world. Pay what you can, Sunday Sept.7 and Sunday Sept.14, 2-3 p.m.

The first-ever hockey players' hootenanny:

In the west part of the park, in the Dufferin Street hollow by the banks of the (buried) Garrison Creek. Saturday September 13, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tim Freeman and his friends play shinny hockey at our park rink on Monday nights after closing time, all through the winter, and they often play ball hockey the rest of the year. They call their group the Dufferin Groove, partly because a lot of the players also like to make music, and they have friends who like to make music. By now there are about ten bands connected with that hockey group. The group pays a permit fee to the city but we thought they ought to also give the park something back directly - and now they will. They are going to put on a day of music and sideshows and art displays at the park. We'll supply good food from the park ovens. The bands' amplification will be pointed into the old creek bank, to keep the sound down within the valley. And there will be many different kinds of music, to suit every taste. A wonderful way to enjoy being in the park in fall.

Clay and Paper Theatre Night of Dread mask-making workshops:

Mask-making Workshop

Every weekend afternoon, there will be a work bee at the field house, to make this year's new masks and costumes for next month's annual Night of Dread Parade. If you want to try your hand at paper mache and clay molding, the Clay and Paper people will show you how it's done. You can be a part of the friendly hubbub that bubbles over at the field house all fall, until the day when the big parade is finally here. A wonderful way to meet talented people from all over the neighbourhood. Every Saturday and Sunday, 1 - 4 p.m. at the field house.

 

The Sixth Annual Native Child and Family Services "Honouring our Children" Pow Wow.

Pow Wow Tipi

Saturday September 20, 12 noon to 5 p.m This event is always on the soccer field, with giant tipis, drumming groups, dancers (adults and children), booths of souvenirs for sale, food (including free hamburgers), and a big give-away at the end. The costumes of some of the dancers are spectacular, and they are given a modern twist by the not-uncommon sight of a full-traditional-dress dancer talking on his cell phone during a break. There is also a sunrise ceremony of lighting the fire in our campfire circle, which for the duration of the pow wow, becomes a sacred fire (and the area around it becomes Indian land). Many of the participants come from a distance, since this pow wow is timed to coincide with other regional pow wows, so that the dancers can go to all of them.

The noise of amplified music in the park:

On Monday Sept.1 the basketball youth had their first-ever barbecue at the park. There had been many requests over the years, to have such a barbecue, complete with music and basketball. More recently, these young men told us that they had the feeling every kind of event could happen in the park EXCEPT one that they liked. So we told them how to apply for a city permit and they were successful (with our backing).

We warned them about the restrictions on amplified sound (85 decibels at 200 feet) and they said they would make every effort to comply. They rented a large barbecue and a sound system, and arranged with us to borrow the tables and chairs they needed.

When the barbecue finally happened, we were surprised at how many families came to it - there were small children and older people and even a few grandparents. With such a mixed group, we were also surprised that some (quite a bit) of the music included curses and graphic sexual language. And both the organizers and the park staff were dismayed to find that even though the music could not be heard at all on the west side of the rink house, it was clearly audible all over the rest of the park. People who live next to the park had a very unhappy time, and there were calls of complaint.

But there were other park users who came by to say they loved the fact that the barbecue was happening at last. The organizers made a huge amount of delicious food and they turned off the music and ended the event at exactly 9 p.m., as their permit said.

The next day a young woman came by with her 4-year-old daughter, to say they had had a wonderful time at the barbecue, and now she was back to see more of the park. We asked her how she had felt about the music. She told us that although she is a Sunday School teacher, she doesn't mind the music and doesn't take the cursing seriously. She felt her little daughter was too young to really notice. But because of the large number of children, and because of older people just walking in the park, she strongly agreed it would be better to censor the music for next year. And the organizers also, when we spoke to them the next day, agreed that next year's music must be censored.

So live and learn. The event itself was very satisfying to the participants and to some other park users. We think it ought to be continued, with these two changes:

Next year, the event has to be in the Dufferin Street hollow, with the speakers pointing into the hill, to swallow the sound. From now on, all outdoor music played in our park must be free of cursing or sexually graphic language.

Night of Dread, Oct.25:

On the morning of the big community parade (Oct.25), it rained, and the forecast for the rest of the day was nasty too. At noon, David Anderson and the other main organizers of the parade were sitting around the table at the rink house, trying to make a plan. The giant puppets can't be used if it's raining, because the papier mache melts if it gets wet. Park friend Ann Bjorseth passed by and said, "you should have the party anyway, the big fire and the music and burning the fears and all those good things. I was raised in Seattle and there we don't cancel parades just because it's raining."

But then it stopped raining anyway, and hour by hour the weather forecast improved. By 5 p.m. the first band (Lev, Beam and Orlando) was making music by the bonfire, and by 6 o'clock the parade grounds (a.k.a. the basketball court, the volleyball court, and surroundings) were packed with people in costume and samba bands and stilt walkers and giant puppets. The parade was so big it took a while longer to get it all lined up, and suddenly, off it went --in the wrong direction. It was halfway across to the east side of the park when the parade marshals realized what was happening and ran after it. At the head of the parade, they found the problem: a man whom no one had ever seen before, had marched up to the front, held up a big flag, and shouted "Here we go!" and the bands and all the people had begun to march behind him. This man was extremely reluctant to let go of his personal parade, but the marshals took the parade back anyway, turned it around and led it in the right direction, and the Night of Dread pageantry unrolled as it was intended to.

Later in the evening, half an hour after all the post-parade festivities were finished, the rain began, and it kept on raining right into the next day.

We retain past notices for public review, to retain a memory of our park activities.


Fourth Annual Night of Dread Parade

Saturday October 25, 2003 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.David Anderson and Clay and Paper Theatre will be doing it again, along with all those many people who come out to make masks and costumes prior to the day, or who just show up for their stilts or their outfits on the day of the parade. The day is as usual - after 3 p.m., get your costume, put it on, eat free food, practice your walk, admire the other strange characters, get in the line-up, hit the streets at 6. The parade route is the same as last year - up Gladstone, along Bloor to Grace, down Grace to College, along College to Dovercourt, up Dovercourt to Dewson, along Dewson to Havelock, up Havelock to the park. And then the next part of the fun starts. The parade will go through the park mocking their fears, then to the fire circle and down into the valley to honour the ancestors, then back up to the oven to dance with death and eat the roast pig and the park bread (and the sweet bread of the dead). The music will be by the Escola de Samba, by Samba Elegua, and the Jeremiahs. A wonderful, huge, amazing time for all - everyone is welcome to participate in this community parade. And if you want to have even more fun, come by the park on Saturday or Sunday afternoons the weekends preceding. You can help make costumes and help be an organizer. If you have a talent for making yourself useful you could be a parade marshall on the day of the parade. David says they need about 20 such calm, level-headed people to organize everyone else on the day of the parade - are you one of those people? They'd love to see you and let your talents shine. To find out more, call 416/ 537-9105 or visit their web site http://www.clayandpapertheatre.org/productions.htm

Parade and follow-up festivities: SATURDAY OCTOBER 25, leaving the park at 6 P.M. SHARP from the basketball court, returning to the park after and celebrating until 9 PM.

NIGHT OF DREAD MASK-MAKING WORKSHOPS

Every Saturday and Sunday, 1 - 4 p.m. at the field house. There will be a work bee at the field house, to make this year's new masks and costumes for the Night of Dread Parade. If you want to try your hand at paper mache and clay molding, the Clay and Paper people will show you how it's done. You can be a part of the friendly hubbub that bubbles over at the field house all fall, until the day when the big parade is finally here. A wonderful way to meet talented people from all over the neighbourhood.


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