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Urban Planner: March 22, 2013

In today's Urban Planner: Go see the actual greatest show on earth, take in some theatre, or check out the Toronto Urban Photography Festival.

Comedians Rob Norman and Adam Cawley together are RN and Cawls. Photo by Kevin Thom.

  • Comedy: Is there hyperbole in calling something The *Actual* Greatest Show on Earth? You be the judge, as three veteran comedy troupes—improv duo RN & Cawls, sketch trio The Illustrated Men, and improv quartet Slap Happy—entertain you, and members of the Soul City Social Club. Black Swan Tavern (154 Danforth Avenue), 8:00 pm, $10. Details


  • Photography: Lovers of photography and the city can rejoice at a new photo extravaganza: the Toronto Urban Photography Festival. This gigantic event features no less than 10 exhibitions, a variety of talks on the subject of urban photography, and a number of photo walks, so you too can get in on the practice of creating urban art. The exhibition also features the Disposable Camera Project, which places many disposable cameras around the city, leaving it up to whoever finds them to take a picture in the moment. And then you might possibly see the results in the festival. Multiple venues, March 9-23, FREE. Details
  • Talks: The Toronto Storytelling Festival returns for another year. The week-long event will take place at venues across the city. Subject matter will range from politics, to kids' stuff, to guilty pleasures, and sexual desire. Multiple venues, March 16-24, FREE-$20, depending on event. Details
  • Music: Canadian Music Week might not be as sexy as its fair-weather cousin, NXNE. There are no outdoor shows, and cycling between venues is way less fun in the freezing rain. That said, there are still tonnes of good acts. Here's the run-down, and our picks for the most promising shows... Multiple venues, March 19-24, Regular wristband $60; VIP wristband $120. Details
  • Art: If you're looking to expand your cultural knowledge of Latin America, look no further than the aluCine Festival. This showcase of all things Latin American features a wide variety of events, including film screenings, art installations, and workshops. Multiple venues, March 21-31, FREE. Details
  • Comedy: If there’s one thing that’s particularly impressive about Second City’s new mainstage show, The Meme-ing of Life, it’s how well balanced it is. As the title implies, Meme-ing is nominally a show about the internet, and certainly there is a fair bit of internet-centric humour. (One sketch, about a boy who falls into a YouTube-induced coma that can only be cured by reading, is particularly on point.) That said, it isn’t just a series of jokes about cat videos. Instead, it’s a well-thought-out show that manages to offer something for pretty much everyone, without stretching itself too thin. Second City (51 Mercer Street), 7:30 pm, $24-$29. Details
  • Theatre: Nightwood Theatre's annual festival of new creation, the Groundswell Festival, this year features a reading of a new play by Judith Thompson, productions from Montreal's Odelah Creations and Halifax's In Good Company, and nightly readings and events, including their annual Femcab Women's Day Celebration. Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street), 8:00 pm, $15. Details
  • Theatre: Theatre Lab and Pandemic Theatre have joined forces to present a limited engagement double feature. The Theatre Lab's To the Last Cry uses puppetry and masks to tell the story of a nameless peasant boy who braves a dangerous magical forest to save his dying brother. The Lost Sagas of Tjorvi the Flaccid, presented by Pandemic Theatre, takes us to a Viking world where Tjorvi struggles to prove himself worthier than his emasculating title. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street), 8:00 pm, PWYC- $25. Details
  • Theatre: One of Canada's most acclaimed and prolific young playwrights, Hannah Moscovitch, has her own mini festival at Tarragon Theatre this season. It started with This is War in January, and continues into March with three one act plays, all concerning children. Two of those three pieces make up the double bill now playing: In This World and Other People's Children. (We've got a review of the latter play here.) Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8:00 pm, . Details
  • Theatre: fu-GEN Theatre Company presents the Canadian premiere of Lauren Yee's cheeky and insightful play, Ching Chong Chinaman. The ultra-assimilated Wong family don't quite fit the Asian-American stereotype: teenaged Upton ignores chores and homework to play video games, and his sister Desi's math scores are less than stellar. Upton's solution to both problems? Hire an Asian indentured servant with an American dream. Starring Zoe Doyle, Brenda Kamino, Oliver Koomsatira, Richard Lee, Jane Luk, and John Ng. Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East), 8:00 pm, $15-$28. Details
  • Theatre: Playwright Kat Sandler has an impeccable flair for comedic dialogue, and her plays keep getting better, from early effort LOVESEXYMONEY, to Fringe hit Help Yourself, to, most recently, clever couple swap scenario Delicacy. Sandler's newest work ROCK could be her darkest yet, about an actor (Andy Trithardt) who's begun fantasizing about murder, despite a supportive girlfriend (Jen Balen) and a rock solid best friend (Tim Walker). The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West), 8:00 pm, PWYC to $20. Details
  • Dance: Experience a new side of Chinese traditional dance with TAO Dance Theater’s Weight x3 and 2. Presented by World Stage, this pair of pieces honours the old while also articulating the future of contemporary Chinese dance. Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West), 8:00 pm, $15-$40. Details
  • Theatre: The Canadian premiere of Ashlin Halfnight's Laws of Motion, about an accident that sparks a chain reaction of events, boasts a powerhouse ensemble assembled by Small Elephant Co-Op and director Chris Stanton, and is staged in a second-floor jam shop in Leslieville. Update, March 12: The show has now been extended to March 23—but they absolutely have to close after that. Jam Factory Company (2 Matilda Street), 8:00 pm, $23.53. Details
  • Theatre: For Torontonians suffering from a case of cabin fever, we highly recommend traveling to Iceland this month. It might not be the most comforting trip, but it's well worth the fare. Contrary to its title, Nicolas Billon's play—the second in his Fault Lines trilogy (which also consists of Greenland and The Faroe Islands)—doesn't take place in its namesake scenic island nation. Rather, it zooms in on a single condo in Toronto's Liberty Village, and the three people whose lives intersect in one traumatic incident there. As each character reveals his or her part to play, we learn that the trio is drawn together by far more than just coincidence. Their lives are interconnected by the almighty dollar. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street), 8:00 pm, $32-$42. Details
  • Theatre: It's hardly news nowadays when an actor disrobes onstage, giving an audience a glimpse at what's underneath a costume. It's another thing entirely when the theatre itself strips down to its bare bones. For Canadian Stage's production of THIS, by Melissa James Gibson, a Canadian playwright gaining popularity in New York City, artistic director (and director of the play) Matthew Jocelyn and set designer Astrid Janson did just that to the historic Berkeley Street Theatre in Corktown. Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street), 8:00 pm, $22 to $49. Details

Happening soon:

Urban Planner is Torontoist‘s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. If you have an event you’d like considered, email us with all the details (including images, if you’ve got any), ideally at least a week in advance.