What notable Torontonians are watching, reading and listening to this March

What notable Torontonians are watching, reading and listening to this March

Pop culture recommendations from Eden Grinshpan, Tennyson King, Gina Sorell, Patrice Goodman and Gurdeep Ahluwalia

Photo by Getting Captured Photography
Workin’ Moms (CBC Gem)

Recommended by Gina Sorell, actor and writer of The Wise Women

“I’m late to this show but I enjoy watching creator and star Catherine Reitman’s character navigate the nutty world of public relations. The writing and the cast are all terrific, and I love that it’s set in Toronto. It’s a joy to see familiar locations pop up. I’m also a working mom, which means I’m often multitasking and find myself laughing out loud as I watch the show and bounce on my mini trampoline in my living room.”


Dune (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer

Recommended by Alex Porat, musician

“Hans Zimmer’s score for Dune is one of the best things I’ve ever listened to. It keeps me company while I go for walks and runs, wash the dishes and drive. There are moments in the music that are so haunting they leave me frozen, while other moments are the perfect motivation to sprint several hundred metres—it makes you feel like you’re the main character in a movie. I’ve listened to it non-stop since I watched the film in November of 2021.”


Close-Up (the Criterion Channel)

Recommended by Maziyar Khatam, filmmaker

“This brilliant piece of Iranian docufiction tells the true story of a cinema buff who impersonates his favourite director, cons a family into believing they will star in his next movie and is subsequently arrested. Director Abbas Kiarostami reconstructs the peculiar incident—casting the real people involved to play themselves—and follows it up with footage from the ensuing trial and verdict.”


Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz

Recommended by Eden Grinshpan, writer of Eating Out Loud, and host, Top Chef Canada

“Saffitz covers all the baking basics (focaccia, tarte tatin) but also puts a sophisticated twist on a lot of my favourite baked goods (the salted halvah blondies and babkallah). My four-year-old daughter and I have been baking a lot during the pandemic. She loves to crack eggs, dump in all the ingredients, sift flour and, obviously, eat all the batter.”



Recommended by Nana aba Duncan, Carty chair in journalism, diversity and inclusion studies at Carleton University

“Told in a mix of Spanish and English, this podcast is so fun, smart and deep. It immerses you in Panama City and the colourful buses that play reggaeton, and gets into the socio-economic and cultural factors of how the music has been produced and consumed. The host, Ivy Queen, is a major voice in reggaeton, and her authenticity is part of the magic. It’s a rich and delicious listen.”


Photo by Wendy Mcalpine
Hope Matters by Lee Maracle, Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter

Recommended by Susanna Kearsley, writer

“In November, the writing community lost one of its most accomplished storytellers and generous teachers, Lee Maracle. She left us with a wealth of writings to remember her by, but my favourite—and the one that’s been back on my nightstand lately—is the book of poetry she wrote with her daughters, with its beautiful titular poem that shines like a light for me in these uncertain times.”


Photo by Gennelle Cruz
Disintegration by the Cure

Recommended by Grae, musician

“This is definitely the Cure’s darkest and saddest album, but I find comfort in its sound. When the world seems bleak, I turn to music that has heavy emotional content because it feels like the artist understands what I’m going through, like I have their support. I especially enjoy ‘Pictures of You,’ which is super sad, but gorgeous. And the first notes of ‘Disintegration’ always send shivers down my spine.”


Dopesick (Disney plus)

Recommended by Aalia Adam, co-host of Global News Weekend

Dopesick is one of the few shows I’m unable to binge because each episode makes me too angry to continue. Based on the non-fiction book by Beth Macy, it tells the story of Purdue Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis, marketing its ‘wonder drug’ (OxyContin) as non-addictive. Michael Keaton stars as a doctor who becomes addicted, and Rosario Dawson plays a federal agent trying to end the crisis.”


Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Recommended by Gurdeep Ahluwalia, host, CHFI Mornings

“If you’ve never read Malcolm Gladwell’s 2005 book, it’s time. I refer back to it if I’m ever equivocating or facing a big decision. It’s all about trusting your gut instinct. When you walk into a room and get a bad vibe, or conversely, when you meet someone and immediately feel a sense of trust, there’s a reason for that. We get very good at creating fairly accurate snapshot impressions of people and situations over the years. Gladwell has an amazing way of selling you on an idea by colouring it with real-life examples and stories, then letting your brain fill in the blanks.”


Photo by Basia Wyszynski
You Must Remember This

Recommended by Marlowe Granados, writer

“I’ve listened to all the episodes of this podcast over the past few years—more than 200 hours of host Karina Longworth’s voice. She focuses on forgotten Hollywood history—like the murky story of Frank Sinatra’s mafia ties or the entertainment industry blacklist of the ’50s. Longworth tells these stories from multiple angles and unravels the secrets of the old studio systems during Hollywood’s Golden Age.”


Photo by Arden Wray
Only Connect

Recommended by Anna Fitzpatrick, writer

“This BBC quiz show, hosted by the charmingly acerbic Victoria Coren Mitchell, has contestants vying to find the common denominator between increasingly cryptic clues. There’s a strange comfort in watching a show where I would likely never have a chance in hell of winning, and on the odd occasion that I do correctly answer a question, I get to ride that high for days.”


Harsh Reality: The story of Miriam Rivera

Recommended by Naomi Snieckus, actor

“This extraordinary podcast is about a stunning, bold, ambitious model from New York who was the star of the 2003 reality TV show There’s Something About Miriam, in which six men competed to win cash and her love. In the finale, the producers disclose her trans identity as a big reveal. Rivera is an inspiration for her strength and resilience. She rose above the way she was treated and chose to not let it define her, but remain a fighter for what she believed in.”


Photo by Leann Weston
Run Towards the Danger by Sarah Polley

Recommended by Patrice Goodman, actor

Run Towards the Danger is the best book I’ve read in ages. Polley doesn’t just delve into her past; she blasts dynamite into her most visceral memories of childhood stardom and collisions with maturity, and rises from hardship like a phoenix again and again. She lays bare her hard-won lessons with a mixture of poetry and popcorn. Her formidable intellect, famous charm and devastating vulnerability show up in every sentence.”


Photo by by Tyra Sweet
Sort Of (CBC Gem)

Recommended by MK Morris, comedian

“This dramedy, created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, follows a gender-fluid South Asian millennial on a journey to self-discovery. The writing is bang on, the directing is phenomenal, the performances are pitch perfect—my mum and I binged it in a matter of days. More of this content please! It’s a story about someone finding their way in life, and after feeling lost for two years, I think we all can relate.”


Photo by Jen Quires
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

Recommended by Tennyson King, musician

“Finnegan’s memoir has been my great escape. He takes the reader through his life from the mid-’60s to the mid-aughts. He was raised in California and Hawaii and started surfing at 10. As a young adult, he took his board and travelled the world—the South Pacific, Australia, Asia and Africa—camping on beaches, staying in villages and sleeping in cars, all in the search of the perfect wave.”


Franklin Carmichael 1,000-piece puzzle

Recommended by Shirley Eikhard, musician

“Jigsaw puzzles—the bigger the better—are like meditation for me because I only focus on finding the next piece, and I can go for hours without thinking about anything else. My favourites are paintings by Lawren Harris and Franklin Carmichael from the Group of Seven. I love a challenge, and some days, I only get three or four pieces, but it’s the doing that is fun.”


Death Note (Netflix)

Recommended by Sophie Powers, musician

Death Note is my all-time-favourite new-generation anime. It’s about a high school student who finds a notebook with murderous powers. The show’s music is heavy metal, but also moody and dark. I used to think it was a bizarre soundtrack, but it has really grown on me. Overall, the storyline is so grimy and edgy that I’ve rewatched it several times for inspiration. It’s one in a million.”