THE BASEMENT REVUE CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY THIS DECEMBER
FOUR INTIMATE SHOWS AT THE DAKOTA EVERY THURSDAY IN DECEMBER BEGINNING DECEMBER 1
ONE STAR-STUDDED NIGHT AT THE GREAT HALL ON DECEMBER 22
The Basement Revue is a cross-pollinating half-music and half-literary variety show with a rock-’n’-roll sensibility and a unique Canadian voice that has blossomed into one of Canada’s most interesting live event series.
One frosty winter night in 2007, The Basement Revue was born at Toronto’s intimate Dakota Tavern. A critical and popular sensation, The Basement Revue features the best of literary and musical talent, often sharing the stage for the first time. The constant stream of musicians, storytellers, and poets provides for a certain type of unpredictable excitement. In past incarnations, audiences have encountered the mesmerizing Feist backing up a reading from Michael Ondaatje and even Margaret Atwood stepping up to the mic in front of one of Canada’s most celebrated bands and saying, with her characteristic deadpan wit, “Hit it, Sadies.”
The Basement Revue is the creation of well-known Canadian musician, songwriter and producer Jason Collett with poet and editor Damian Rogers joining as co-host and literary curator in 2009. More than a great night out, The Basement Revue is both a showcase and an incubator for Canadian culture. Its unique multi-platform model is designed to introduce emerging artists to a deeply engaged audience and to provide a supportive environment for established artists to experiment, take risks, and develop new work. As artists themselves, Collett and Rogers aim to serve their community by facilitating collaborations across disciplines and by fostering creative relationships among an expanding circle of musicians, poets and storytellers. They are committed to holding space for Indigenous voices and consider it a guiding principle to prioritize conversations and connections among Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.
This concert series has grown significantly in the last four years. Of particular poignancy was The Basement Revue’s December 2014 Opera House show, honouring a theme of reconciliation for the first time. The country still raw from the stories of Tina Fontaine and Rinelle Harper, the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada resonated in a profound way with the artists who were brought together. Co-curated with Joseph Boyden and A Tribe Called Red, the event, dedicated to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, featured collaborations between Boyden, A Tribe Called Red, and Lido Pimienta; Shary Boyle and Emily Vey Duke; Leanne Simpson and Tara Williamson; Gord Downie, Kevin Drew and Dave Hamelin; Naomi Klein and Cris Derkson; Lee Maracle, Columpa Bob, and Jennifer Castle. These performances are now featured on the National Association of Friendship Centre’s online home — NewJourneys.ca.
The Basement Revue has presented original collaborative performances by some of our country’s most celebrated musicians and writers. The Basement Revue has also shown a consistent commitment to introducing audiences to artists they have never heard before. Over the years, Collett and Rogers have curated an impressive range of established and emerging artists, which also include Broken Social Scene, Daniel Lanois, Rufus Wainwright, Bahamas, Hydra, Snowblink, Andy Kim, Torquil Campbell (Stars), Jimmy Shaw (Metric), Buck 65, K-OS, Tanika Charles, John K. Samson, Hayden, Vag Halen, Whitehorse, Arkells, Sarah Harmer, Bry Webb, Tabatha Southey, Linda Spalding, Karen Solie, Alvvays, Misha Glouberman, Leon Rooke, Kathryn Borel, David McGimpsey, Tanya Tagaq, Hannah Georgas, Reuben Bullock, Charlotte Day Wilson, TUNS, Amelia Curran, Charlotte Cornfield, Bernice, Drew Hayden Taylor, Anne Waldman, Sheila Heti, Pasha Malla, Aisha Sasha John, Jean-Marc Ah Sen, Tracey Lindberg, Ken Babstock, Dennis Lee, Lynn Crosbie, and Hal Wilner.
The Basement Revue has discovered a unique and successful way of showcasing contemporary poetry in front of an audience that the art form does not usually reach. The Revue elevates the literary element of this show by giving it a complete rock-’n’-roll sensibility. A loyal audience has been cultivated (tickets always sell out shortly after each series is announced) that continue to come to the shows, without any knowledge of who will perform, because of the high calibre of curation. As an early review from Eye Weekly put it, “For doubters who think such a stunt would never work, I have to report that I have been to literally hundreds of poetry readings in my life, and I have never witnessed a more attentive and responsive audience.”
Hosted every Thursday in December at The Dakota on December 1, 8, 15 and 29, The Basement Revue will return again to The Great Hall on December 22 for an extra special edition. Tickets are $30 for each night and can be purchased online only by visiting BASEMENTREVUE.COM. Doors open at 8:30pm.
In the meantime, The Basement Revue Podcast is now live and available for download. Subscribe now, and listen to the first three episodes right away. Recorded during the 2015 season at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto, the podcast now gives listeners that were unable to attend a front row seat to these intimate performances.
MORE PRAISE FOR JASON COLLETT’S BASEMENT REVUE
‘“Thanks for taking a chance on us,” Collett said simply, the captivating night he had arranged now over. His hosting had been immaculate.’ —The Globe and Mail
“Jason Collett’s shown us again that his perseverance, determination and above all, his vision, for this series, is stronger than ever.” —Blog TO
“An unlikely gathering of some of the city’s most prodigious indie musical and literary talents.” —National Post
“This induced cross-pollination is, on one level, an attempt to expand the audience’s palette beyond music and into disparate art forms, but it also helps to bridge the gap between disciplines.” —Soundproof Magazine