What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

Pop culture recommendations from Sid Seixeiro, Akintoye, Hannah Traore, Martha Schabas, Jordan Gavaris, and more

Photo by Jacqueline Ashton
love life (To long for)

Recommended by Keesha Chung, filmmaker and co-founder of Collective Culture

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

“At the end of 2021, when the world started to fall silent again, I found comfort in this meet-cute anthology series. Each episode focuses on a single relationship in the main character’s life. The series debuted with Anna Kendrick, and I especially love the second season with the right place‘s William Jackson Harper. Over the course of 10 episodes, viewers watch him evolve and mature after a nasty divorce.


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

The important cinema club

Recommended by Marko Balaban, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Program Director

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

“Hosts Will Sloan and Justin Decloux’s exploration of cinema is exhaustive and delivered in an unpretentious way. Start with an episode about the directors you know, and you’ll soon learn more about Wakaliwood and Indonesian cult films.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Photo by Peter Stranks
Landscapers (To long for)

Recommended by Jordan Gavaris, actor

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Photo courtesy of Warner Media

“This is the best and least talked-about miniseries I’ve seen in a while. It’s a true account of the 1998 murder of an elderly British couple, whose bodies weren’t discovered until ten years after the crime. It’s told from unexpected angles, including a cowboy western sequence, and the acting by Olivia Colman (playing the deceased’s daughter) and David Thewlis (playing her husband and alleged accomplice) is so good it feels like witchcraft.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Photo by Jac Harriet
recess therapy

Recommended by Hannah Traore, gallery owner

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

recess therapy is an Instagram series that makes me laugh every morning. It is presented by comedian Julian Shapiro-Barnum, who interviews children about their daily lives, struggles, hopes and dreams. The slogan is: ‘Little children, big questions, free advice.’ I woke up this morning when Julian asked a little boy if he knew what bad words were. The child was so ashamed that he didn’t want to say it out loud. Instead, he spelled: STOOPID. The ensuing conversation was filled with sheer innocence. It’s the best way to start my day.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

Freetown Sound by Blood Orange

Recommended by Akintoye, musician

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

“Over 17 tracks, alternative R&B artist Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, illustrates the combination of sadness and grace embodied by black people worldwide. He uses spoken word to direct the stories, completely immersing the listener in the music. I often find political albums too long and serious to listen to on a regular basis, but this one combines R&B and funk for a smooth listening experience that will make you want to put it on repeat.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Photo by Liz Beddall
Portrait of Vera by Frederick Varley

Recommended by Martha Schabas, writer

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

“My eyes tend to glow in a room with Group of Seven landscapes, but I love visiting Varley’s portraits in the AGO. His subjects stare at you as if they want to talk; there’s something jovial in just looking at them. One of my favorites is Portrait of Vera from 1935. Varley painted his lover, Vera Weatherbie, over and over, and here she looks distant and a little annoyed, maybe she’s had enough of being painted.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Photo by George Pimentel
Beyond the romance

Recommended by Robyn Citizen, festival programming director at TIFF

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

“In this YouTube series, Toronto journalist Carolyn Hinds interviews critics and fans of Korean romantic dramas. For me it has become an enlightening guide to the genre and how storylines and tropes connect with other series. I watched my first K-drama, Winter Sonata, provided in 2006 on bootleg VCDs by the Korean couple who owned the corner bodega near my Brooklyn apartment, and since then my fandom has grown. And Torontonians can start their own obsessions this year with the Summer of Seoul series on TIFF Bell Lightbox, starting July 8 with the first two episodes of Winter Sonata.


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Photo by Alex Tran
“Temporary Secretary” by Paul McCartney

Recommended by Fawn Parker, writer

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

“Last winter my husband and I stayed in a hut in Pontypool (perhaps best known from the horror film of the same name). He had a three-hour Zoom meeting one night, so I sat in the car in my parka and listened to a playlist of all of McCartney’s reissues and some ‘Temporary Secretary’ covers. I tried not to act weird – the WiFi was bad and it was the only playlist I had in offline mode, but it never made me sick.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

money robbery (Netflix)

Recommended by Sid Seixeiro, co-host, Breakfast Television

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Thanks to Netflix

money robbery seems like a cheap heist series at first, but it soon turns into an immersive, mind-blowing journey set in real-time, 24-style. A band of misfits attacks the Spanish government to its core, making strange allies along the way. Netflix picked it up in 2017, cutting episodes, and it became one of the most talked-about shows in the world. It has five seasons of adrenaline, but you still want more.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Photo by Ashley Fraser
All beings, great and small (CBC gem)

Recommended by Eleanor McMahon, President and CEO of Trans Canada Trail

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Thanks to CBC Gem

“Last year I started watching this series about a 1930s British vet with my 96-year-old mother. It’s something we can do together – even when we’re not together – and we both love the story, which speaks to a simpler time with a community of individuals who understand their interdependence and rely on each other every day. It’s also unadulterated positivity and good storytelling – and both are a welcome antidote to the challenges of the moment.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

Sibling Rivalry

Recommended by Joseph Amenta, filmmaker

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

“The sound of strange voices communicating with humor is something I can listen to all day long. This intensely honest podcast from artists Bob the Drag Queen and Monét X Change will have you doubling down on hysteria one minute and pondering challenging social issues the next.


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

Six: the recording of the musical cast

Recommended by Ophira Calof, comedian

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July
Photo by Joan Marcus

“This show is a pop concert-style retelling of the lives of Henry VIII’s wives that was set to open on Broadway just before Covid-19. Luckily for the world, a studio recording already exists with the delights of Anne Boleyn singing lyrics such as, Everyone calm down, it’s the will of God† It’s catchy, funny, the characters take their story and there’s a lot of puns – the perfect soundtrack for every day.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

Fly on the wall

Recommended by Scott Tucker, host, Energie 95.3

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

Launched in January, this podcast is hosted by Dana Carvey and David Spade and features hour-long interviews with former SNL cast members, such as Tina Fey and Chris Rock, and hosts, including Rob Lowe, Tom Hanks and Jon Hamm. My favorite episode so far is the one with Lowe – he makes a great Lorne Michaels impression.”


What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

Field Requiem by Sheri Benning

Recommended by Laurie D. Graham, writer

What Torontonians Watch, Read and Listen in July

“This collection of poems is about the death of the family farm on the prairie. Benning charts the destruction of the land by industrial farming and marks her love for all that is lost. Large scale farming is a very violent act and you really feel its effects when you read this book. I thought about my own family history and the grief that permeates the great failed experiment to fill the native land with landowners, which has caused so much damage.”

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