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ARTS TORONTO - May 6th Edition

This Sunday from 8-9 a.m., it’s another edition of Arts Toronto with your host Mark Wigmore on Jazz FM91

This episode:

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is playwright August Wilson's Broadway hit, first staged in the early 1980s. It premiered in this country with Jazz legend Jackie Richardson in the lead role. A new Soulpepper production at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts has given the story fresh energy. It’s Chicago in the 1920s, a city on a collision course with change - and through it all plays the Blues. August Wilson’s masterpiece shows how a routine music recording session becomes the front line for issues of race, power, and opportunity. This time the lead is singer and actress, Alana Bridgewater. Her credits include Porgy and Bess, Spoon River, We Will Rock You, as well as slew of film and television roles. Alana joins Mark in studio for a poignant conversation about Ma Rainey and how her story lends to modern times.

Alana Bridgewater on the set of Soulpepper's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

And, with threes left for Toronto's most popular art exhibit, Mark revisits a special interview. On location at the Art Gallery of Ontario! The blockbuster exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors opened to much fanfare. The exhibition has commanded international attention, thanks to sell-out runs in Washington, Seattle and Los Angeles. Yayoi Kusama is an interesting artist to be at the heart of a 21st century exhibit enjoying unprecedented demand. At 88-years-old, her paintings, plush sculptures, mirror rooms and polka dot installations have captured the imagination of Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennialls alike; not to mention their social media feeds. She got her start in her native Japan before moving to New York City in the late 50s; palling around with Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keefe and Allan Kaprow. Her work with these titans, and her unusual childhood, would inspire her to experiment with environmental and performance art. She became a hit in Europe throughout the 60s, and found her footing with the work she is so famous for now; playing with mirrors, electric light and polka dots. She’s a poet, a writer, an activist and an artist, and after 7 decades of exploration, a major exhibition of her work is in Toronto for the first time. Mark Wigmore speaks with curator Adelina Vlas on location at the AGO.

Yayoi Kusama

All that, and beautiful jazz for a Sunday morning.

Catch the show from 8-9am on Sunday or online at

(Images courtesy of Soulpepper Theatre Company and the Art Gallery of Ontario)

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