Fingerstyle guitarist Ewan Dobson is returning to his childhood home in the Beach in August, for a special performance at Castro's Lounge on Sunday, Aug. 18.
Dobson has established himself as one of the top instrumentalists in the world, with guitar competition wins from the local to the international level. In 2009 he was the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, and placed third at the international competition the same year. His videos on Youtube have over 20 million combined views (over 12 million for the song Time 2 alone), and he's released eight albums, four on respected US label Candyrat Records.
Dobson began his six-string journey playing heavy metal and rock on electric guitar, applying the structured discipline of his classical training. His work now includes everything from bluegrass to folk, covers of video game soundtracks and even metal, played on an acoustic guitar. His latest album, released this year, is titled Acoustic Metal. The double-disc release features one CD of collaboration with Slovenian drummer Zack Bevelacqua. The material is heavy but still performed on an acoustic guitar; familiar sounds to some include two covers of Swedish metal heroes In Flames, as well as a version of the theme to the horror film Halloween. The second CD contains the same songs without percussion, as well as seven extra tunes (including a Star Wars medley). Nothing if not prolific, immediately after finishing Acoustic Metal, Dobson recorded World Candies, an independently released digital album of music from around the globe.
Dobson grew up on Golfview Avenue, attending Norway and Glen Ames as a child. Though he now lives north of the city, he is looking forward to returning to his childhood stomping grounds for the concert at Castro's. The show takes place on Sunday, Aug. 18, at 4:30 p.m. Castro's is at 2116 Queen St. E., a couple blocks east of Lee. Admission is $10. For more on Dobson, visit ewandobson.com or search his name on Youtube.
Upper Beach resident Julian Taylor is appearing at the Taste of the Danforth festival, at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11.
The Julian Taylor Band is the flagship artist of the soon-to-be-launched DK Recordings, a label run by the owners of Allen's and Dora Keogh on the Danforth. Taylor began his career in music as a teen, playing open stages around the city, including performing (and working) at the Gull and Firkin on Queen Street East.
Since then, Taylor has become an award-winning singer and songwriter, releasing seven albums and 10 top-40 singles, both solo and with his former band Staggered Crossing. More recently, he has gravitated towards the music that inspired him as a child, leaning more to soul and R&B, and less towards the straight-ahead rock sounds of his previous outfit.
Taste of the Danforth is free to attend, and the Julian Taylor Band's show will cap off a weekend that regularly sees hundreds of thousands of food and music lovers converge on the Danforth from Broadview to Jones. For more on Taylor, visit juliantaylorband.com.
Guild Festival Theatre presents The Misanthrope, by Molière, at the Guild Gardens Greek Theatre at the Guildwood Inn park.
Guild Festival Theatre Artistic Director Sten Eirik describes the title character as “the Hamlet of the comedies of manners,” hinting at the fun in Molière’s genre-bending, thought-provoking masterpiece.
Called one of the world's funniest and wisest comedies, The Misanthrope tells the story of Alceste, a character who refuses to play a polite role in society, constantly critical of the flaws and hypocrisies of those around him. He falls in love with Célimène, whose behaviour and actions he dislikes, but who he is powerless to resist.
Beachers involved in the production include stage manager Victoria Wang, assistant director Helen Juvonen and board member Tyler Seguin.
The play runs until Aug. 11, with performances running at 7:30 p.m. nightly Wednesdays through Sundays, and matinee performances on Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25, or free for children under 12. For more information, visit guildfestivaltheatre.ca, or call the box office at 416-915-6750.
Beachers spending time out of town this summer still have the option to support local talent.
Dawna Joy Wightman may be best known locally for her play Life As A Pomegranate, which went from Essentia on Queen Street, to off-Broadway, and back to Toronto for a run at the Fringe Festival in a laundromat. The show will be performed in eastern Ontario on Aug. 24, at the Grange of Prince Edward County Winery. For more information visit the venue’s website at grangeofprinceedward.com.
Wightman is also performing in Helen, Annie and Alec: The Helen Keller Story, by Sharyl Hudson, for several August dates at The Bell Homestead National Historic Site in Brantford. Directed by Kurt Reisz, the play will run on Aug. 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17. For more information visit branttheatre.com or call 519-761-0781.
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