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Urban Planner: April 26, 2013

In today's Urban Planner: Critical Mass, a vaudeville show "from the belly of a whale," and the first Uma Nota event of 2013.

  • Wheels: This monthly Critical Mass downtown ride, which occurs on the last Friday of every month, will be the first of 2013 that won’t (hopefully) require dressing for cold weather. Cyclists of all ages will gather for the 6:30 p.m. departure from the southeast corner of Bloor and Spadina, and travel in a pack on a random route through the city’s core. Matt Cohen Park (393 Bloor Street West), 6:30 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Offbeat: Emily Pearlman and Nicolas Di Gaetano of Mi Casa Theatre, in town for a week to do some filming with the proprietors of Videofag, are capping their visit with a two-night stand of their vaudeville show Live From The Belly of A Whale: A Concert With Stories. It’s the Ottawa-based pair’s first performance back in Toronto since their 2010 SummerWorks show Countries Shaped Like Stars, which ranked among our very favourite things at that fest. Videofag (187 Augusta Avenue), 8 p.m., PWYC. Details
  • Music: When The Wavelength Music Series celebrated its 13th year with their annual festival, among the many highlights was the return of a local supergroup that boasts Maylee Todd, Laura Barrett, and members of The Bicycles and Born Ruffians in its roster. As a collective, The Adorables coalesce around one man: Henri Fabergé, a mercurial and outlandish persona. Many of The Adorables have been involved in recent Henri Fabergé projects, like the Feint of Hart, a theatrical mini-series being remounted this summer at Videofag; but this Dan Burke-assembled showcase will be the first full headlining set for the collective in years. The Silver Dollar Room (486 Spadina Avenue), 9 p.m., $7. Details
  • Music: The first Uma Nota event of 2013, Uma Nota: Hot Spring Edition will feature Brazilian-born and Toronto-based songstress Aline Morales, Foly Kolade’s Asiko Afrobeat Ensemble and DJs K-Zar Dubwise, and General Electric. The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West), 10 p.m., $12—$15. Details

Ongoing…

  • Theatre: Fans of George A. Romero will be pleased to hear that, according to one cast member of Night of the Living Dead Live, the seminal zombie film director has already given two thumbs up to the stage adaptation of his horror film classic, which is having its world premiere here in Toronto. The savvy marketers behind NoTLDL have arranged for after parties on Thursday nights of the run (free for ticket holders, $10 for the public), and for Romero to do a post show talkback after the early shows on May 4 and 5. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., $20–$80. 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 p.m., $24-$29. Details

  • Theatre: Sam Shepard’s plays are famously all about man as a caged animal, prowling and brooding around his enclosure (usually a North American domicile), eventually tearing it apart like an untrained puppy suffering from separation anxiety. He is a man’s man’s writer, the lone wolf in the wilderness that so many young males fantasize about—even, it often seems, Shepard himself.

    As his most famous work, one of Shepard’s Family Trilogy, True West is a great example: two brothers, Hollywood screenwriter Austin (Mike Ross) and the petty-thieving vagabond Lee (Stuart Hughes), somehow end up house-sitting for their mother while she’s on vacation in Alaska (though only Austin was asked to do so). It’s clear in the script that both men make solo trips outside the walls of their mother’s suburban home, but we never see them apart from each other. That’s because Lee and Austin are two halves of the same man. In fact, it’s common for the two main actors to alternate the roles throughout a run of the show.
    Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $5–$68. Details

  • Theatre: Falsettos, a groundbreaking and Tony Award–winning musical, comes to town for a short run, presented by The Acting Up Stage Company. The story takes us to New York City in 1979, where the Sexual Revolution is hot, AIDS is on the rise, and Marvin, a husband and father, has decided to leave his family for a man. Directed by Robert McQueen and starring Darrin Baker, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Sarah Gibbons, Michael Levinson, Eric Morin, Stephen Patterson, and Glynis Ranney. Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East), 8 p.m., $39-$55. Details
  • Theatre: David Yee examines lifes interconnectivity in Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave. The play follows an escort in Thailand, a housewife in Utah, and a Catholic priest in India, and how their lives are simultaneously brought together and torn apart by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21-$53. Details
  • Theatre: Real-life mother and son, Asha and Ravi Jain, share the stage to tell their true, amusing story of cultural and generational clash in A Brimful of Asha. While on a trip to India, Ravi’s parents decide it’s time to introduce him to potential brides, despite his lack of desire to get married. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $27-$53. Details
  • Dance: Belgian-Portuguese dance duo Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido explore the nature of male friendship in the World Stage production of Still Standing You. Pushing themselves to their physical limits, they use their bodies to illustrate notions of touch, tenderness, violence, and struggle. Please note that the show contains full frontal nudity.
    Harbourfront Centre, Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West), 8 p.m., $15-$35. Details
  • Theatre: Edward Roy and Gavin Crawford star as two 50-something spinster sisters in the gender bending A Few Brittle Leaves. Residing in a suburb of London, Viola and Penelope are faced with the inevitability of aging and the question of whether to abandon their search for love. That is, until the new vicar comes to town and turns their world upside down. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), 8 p.m., $20-$30. Details
  • Theatre: There are few playwrights whose names can double as adjectives (think “Shakespearean,” or “Beckettian”). But Race, now on at Canadian Stage, makes us want to coin a new one of those words. That’s because of the opening scene, where a black lawyer named Henry Brown addresses a white man with the line “You want to tell me about Black folks?” while leaning back in his office chair at the end of a long boardroom table. It’s distinctly Mamettian.

    The American playwright David Mamet is known as much for his portrayal of fast-talking, morally ambiguous businessmen as he is for “Mamet speak,” his unique style of verbose, curse-filled, overlapping dialogue or long-winded speeches. His 2010 script Race is no different—in fact, it might be his most Mamettian to date. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to its subject matter (as the title suggests). Discourse surrounding race, privilege, language, and cultural history consumes the entire play.
    Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East), 8 p.m., $24 to $99. Details

  • Comedy: Comedy and life partners Matt Baram (CityTV’s Seed) and Naomi Snieckus (CBC’s Mr. D) are workshopping a new show format (“come see it get built right before your eyes!”) in a weekly residency in April and May at Second City’s Training Centre. The master improvisers and co-creators of Script Tease have been busy touring and on television of late, and these Baram and Snieckus shows will be a rare opportunity to see our 2010 hero nominees in a back to basics comedy format. John Candy Box Theatre (70 Peter Street), 8:30 p.m., PWYC. 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.

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