Michael Chabon and Howard Jacobson are among the impressive roster of writers due to participate in the 33rd annual International Festival of Authors at Toronto’s Harbourfront from Oct. 18 to 28.
Chabon’s works include The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007), while Jacobson wrote the Man Booker Prize-winning The Finkler Question (2010). They will be joined by Paul Auster, Richard Ford, Vincent Lam, Rohinton Mistry, Alice Munro, Robert Rotenberg and many others. www.readings.org
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Between Stages: The Kalamazoo Diaries, a new comedy in development by Natalie Fingerhut, is set in a medieval-studies conference and explores the question of what can we really know about the past. Esther Arbeid directs a staged reading featuring a cast of seven. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Tuesday, June 26, 7 p.m. Suggested donation $10. 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
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War of 1812: Two hundred years ago this week, the United States declared war on Britain and its colonies in Canada. Yap Films has produced Explosion 1812, a two-hour documentary about the American attack on Toronto (then called York), preceding which the British blew up their own munitions, resulting in a huge blast that rattled windows 50 kilometres away. “It was the largest explosion that had ever been witnessed in North America and the pivotal moment of the entire war,” said executive producer Elliott Halpern. The film aired this week on History Television and is being rebroadcast on Canada Day, July 1.
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Literary Buzz: David Bezmozgis, who won a Canadian Jewish Book Award this month for his 2011 novel The Free World, told Eye On Arts at the awards ceremony that he is working on another novel. The story is set in the Crimea in the modern era and extends to Israel and Ukraine. However, unlike The Free World, it has no Canadian connection or characters.
Bezmozgis is also working on a feature film adaptation for Natasha, the title piece in his acclaimed story anthology of 2004. “If everything works out, it will be filming here next summer and I will direct it,” he said. The Toronto-based author and director (whose 2008 film, Victoria Day, is a competent and impressive piece of work) also reminisced about his first time in print. His first published story, he said, was a travel piece on the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., which ran in The CJN about 1997.
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Musical Buzz: Reports have reached us that there were some sour notes during a recent concert by Galilean-born Arab Simon Shaheen at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall. Oh, the music was all right, but in conversation Shaheen, who graduated from the Academy of Music in Jerusalem in 1978, so assiduously avoided uttering the word “Israel” that people got upset. Shaheen referred to Haifa and the Galilee as being part of Palestine and the RCM interviewer politely played along. Isn’t it about time for Palestinian nationalists to face the music that Israel really exists?
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• Book Launch Postponed: The launch of the book Letters & Pictures from the Old Suitcase, which had been scheduled for June 28, has been postponed until the fall.
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Arts in Brief
• Adam Nayman continues his analysis of the films of Stanley Kubrick with a discussion, illustrated with film clips of Eyes Wide Shut. Miles Nadal JCC, Monday, June 25, 7 to 9 p.m. $12 drop-in, students $6. 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
• Active Seniors presents light classical music performed by string quartet. $3 includes refreshments. Miles Nadal JCC, June 28, 1:30 p.m. Music begins 2:10 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
• Toronto IsReal Dance Festival offers a weekend of Israeli dancing with top choreographers with the latest moves, plus a mini Karmiel Dance Competition. Presented by Israeli Folk Dance Toronto and the MNJCC. Miles Nadal JCC, June 29 to July 1. Pre-registration required. 416-221-6280, www.israelidancetoronto.com
• July 3 is the submissions deadline for the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition. email@example.com or 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
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At the Galleries
• Summer Special is a Koffler Gallery off-site exhibition that opens at Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. W., June 21, 6 to 9 p.m. Ed’s hand-painted signs and show bills serve as inspiration for six artists who have installed pieces within the iconic bargain department store. The artists are Corinne Carlson, Robin Collyer, Barr Gilmore, Jen Hutton, Sarah Lazarovic (whose pieces grace the National Post) and Ron Terada. Until Nov. 11.
• Aging Is Living, a collection of photographs by Irene Borins Ash, aims to tell “myth-breaking stories from long-term care.” Continues at the Miles Nadal JCC until July 22.
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Out of Town: The exhibition Enemy Aliens – The Interment of Jewish Refugees in Canada, 1940-1943, opened this month at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. Toronto Rabbi Erwin Schild, author of The Very Narrow Bridge and himself a former interned refugee, was a guest speaker at the opening. The exhibit focuses on Canada’s wartime internment of some 2,300 young refugees of Nazism. Until June 2013. www.vhec.org