10th Annual

Basement Revue at the
Dakota Tavern and The Great Hall

Every Thursday in December: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th.


For 10 years The Dakota Tavern has been the home of The Basement Revue's annual December series.


Curated and hosted by
Jason Collett & poet Damian Rogers


One frosty winter night in 2007, Jason Collett’s Basement Revue was born at Toronto’s intimate Dakota Tavern. Since then, it’s been Toronto’s best kept secret — not for any lack of attendance, but because it is literally a secret. 

The wildly popular half-literary-half-music series sells out every season without the performers’ names ever being announced. These loyal audiences have learned to expect to see a veritable who’s who of contemporary Canadian fiction, music, and poetry gathered in a cross-pollinating variety show, and the mystery of not knowing who might be called to the stage next provides a certain type of unpredictable excitement. Over the years, the Basement Revue has debuted original collaborations by notable pairings such as Feist and Michael Ondaatje, A Tribe Called Red and Joseph Boyden, and that time when Margaret Atwood stepped up to the mic in front of one of Toronto’s most celebrated bands and said with her deadpan wit, “Hit it, Sadies.”. In addition to running one of Toronto's most interesting live residencies, the Basement Revue has continued to evolve outside its series at the Dakota Tavern. 

For three years running, Collett and Rogers have produced and curated The Basement Revue for Toronto’s Luminato Festival — the nightly after party of the ten-day festival, where performers from around the world have shared the stage with local artists for a multi disciplinary showcase, unique to that festival's breadth of talent. With the joint curatorial assistance of Joseph Boyden and A Tribe Called Red, the Revue produced a sold-out fundraiser at The Opera House in December 2014 for No More Silence, a non-profit that “aims to develop an inter/national network to support the work being done by activists, academics, researchers, agencies and communities to stop the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women.” In the spring of 2015, the Basement Revue went on the road for the first time, producing and curating a sold-out show for the NAC's Ontario Scene Festival. And now, a forthcoming podcast series will make it possible for the most magical moments to reach an even larger audience.


Past Basement Revues have boasted an impressive roster

Featuring Anne Waldman, Daniel Lanois, Naomi Klein, Gord Downie, Rufus Wainwright, Marina Abromovic, Buck 65, Shad, Bahamas, Broken Social Scene, Andy Kim, Snowblink, AroarA, Linda Spalding, Ken Babstock, Sheila Heti, Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Dennis Lee, Hal Wilner, CA Conrad, Torquil Campbell (Stars), John K. Sampson (Weakerthans), K-OS and more.