Entertainment highlights as
September eases into October

Hispanic Golden Age Classics, outstanding black filmmaking and superb photo portraiture

By Byron Toben

Welcome to October as autumn leaves start to fall. That is best expressed as sung by Nat “King” Cole at the end of this article, but first, some September ending events as we ease into October.


Streaming continues even as live theatre slowly returns. For instance, New York’s Red Bull Theater (named after a Jacobean tavern, not the drink), which specializes in post-Shakespeare Jacobean theatre, has expanded into Spanish contemporary Jacobean playwrights with a revival of its benefit series for various good causes. It has now added Hispanic Golden Age Classics, streaming live on September 27 and available filmed for four days, September 28 to October 1.

Love is the Greater Labyrinth is the English translation of the Spanish classic by Sor Juana Inez, a Mexican nun, poet and playwright. Based on the Greek legend of a man who survived the ferocious Minotaur in the Labyrinth, it poses his greater difficulties surviving love later. Free but voluntary donations appreciated. 


With Arms Drawn

Scene from film With Arms Drawn – Image: Angelo Cozzi (Mondadori Publishers), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The 17th annual International Black Film Festival began on September 22 and continues to October 3. Like last year, it continues with a hybrid selection of some live shows and many streamed. In all, there are 134 films from 30 countries.

Founded by the irrepressible Fabienne Colas, this year’s version includes her foundation’s own feature, Being Black in Canada, which has been picked up by Netflix.

The Festival kicked off at the Imperial Theatre on September 22 with With Drawn Arms, a documentary about gold medallist Tommie Smith who, with bronze medallist Juan Carlos, raised a gloved fist at the medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Football quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled to protest police brutality in 2016, also appears in the film.


Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts has an ongoing exhibit until January 30, 2022, called The World of Yousuf Karsh: A Private Essence. It contains photographic portraits of famous people and others by Montreal-bred world-renowned Karsh of Ottawa.

His use of dramatic lighting, similar to studio Maurice Seymour (Chicago and New York), led to some calling Seymour “the Karsh of the United States.” I had my own portrait taken by Seymour while in my early or mid-20s when I had not yet heard of Karsh. So rest assured that I will attend this Karsh exhibit and linger over the many fine and some rare prints made available by his widow. Among the portraits are those of Churchill, Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Mandela.

As promised above, here is Nate King Cole in Autumn Leaves, a song based on a French poem by Prevert penned into English by Johnny Mercer.

Feature image: Yousuf Karsh and wife Estrellita, © Estate of Yousuf KarshBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

More articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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