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Culture

Welcome to TIFF 2014

Survival guides, reviews, and other fun stuff

events

Urban Planner: July 18, 2013

In today's Urban Planner: a festival of Iranian culture, Riverdale Farm holds a fundraiser, and You're Next screens at the Lightbox.

  • Festivals: Tirgan, the world’s largest Iranian festival, is making its summer return to the Harbourfront Centre to bring you a weekend of arts and culture showcasing Iranian diversity. Some of the highlights include a performance by Vancouver Pars National Ballet, short films by Shirin Neshat (with a Q&A), learning to cook Iranian cuisine with Najmieh Batmanglij, and a variety of art projects happening all weekend long. Click here for the full itinerary. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queen’s Quay West), 12 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Festivals: The UNITY Festival is back for a fifth year of beatboxing, poetry, breakdancing, and more in venues across the city. The event comes from UNITY Charity, which is an after-school program that teaches youth about positive self-expression. On the agenda: a two-on-two beatboxing battle, a breakdancing battle, a concert event in Yonge-Dundas Square (which features Talib Kweli, Rich Kidd, and Scott Jackson, among others), and an afternoon with spoken-word artists. Multiple venues, 12 a.m., Ticket prices vary. Details
  • Fundraisers: Riverdale Farm, a beloved hotspot for families and schools, was recently in danger of being closed down. Luckily, the farm was allowed to power on, but not without the help of the community. The Riverdale Farm Stewardship Group is holding a fundraiser in the hopes of collecting $25,000. It’s an opportunity to support the farm and spend an evening with neighbours. Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester Street), 5:30 p.m., $30. Details
  • Theatre: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged is back again for a three-day stretch of hilarious insanity. For the uninitiated, this performance does exactly what’s promised in its name. It performs all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays in just 87 minutes. It sold out all last summer so consider picking up your tickets while you can. Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace), 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., $49. Details
  • Parties: Comedy and partying: what more could you ask for? Mammalian Diving Reflex, the zany performance company, is celebrating their 20th year with a giant party at Gladstone. On the agenda: playing socialist games, a dance party that’ll stretch into the late hours of the night, cake, dares, and…free haircuts. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Film: The horror fiends at Rue Morgue have paired up with Entertainment One for July’s CineMacabre, presenting a free screening of Adam Wingard’s You’re Next. Follow a wealthy family on a weekend trip to their country mansion where, naturally, they’re preyed upon by a group of killers donning animal masks. If an on-screen bloodbath isn’t tempting enough, there will also be all sorts of prizes up for grabs. Arrive early, seating isn’t guaranteed! TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 9 p.m., FREE. Details

Ongoing…

  • History: The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.

    Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), 12 a.m., $27 (Includes general admission). Details

  • Theatre: If Fringe and SummerWorks aren’t enough to satisfy your summer theatre cravings, the world-renowned Stratford Festival is now only a bus ride away from downtown Toronto, thanks to the new Stratford Direct bus route (“the best thing [the Festival] has done in years” according to one usher at the Avon Theatre). Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino has put together a season to please tastes from the traditional to the extravagant. Here’s what we think about five of Stratford’s current productions. Multiple venues, 12 a.m., $25–$175. Details
  • Art: Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea is a new exhibition from the Toronto Reference Library that gathers a number of rare items that explore the theme of the possible and the impossible. Some of the highlights on display are La vingtième siècle: la vie électrique (a rare French book that shows how scientific discoveries would have affected people in 1955), Tame (a sci-fi pulp magazine), and Worldly Wisdom (watercolour that depicts a Leonardo da Vinci-like figure creating a winged flying machine). You’ll find the exhibition in the library’s TD Gallery. Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street), 12 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Soulpepper Theatre collaborates on a Joe Orton play, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s artistic producer Brendan Healey. Guest director Healey has coached some Soulpepper theatre stalwarts—Stuart Hughes, Fiona Reid, Michael Simpson, and David Beazley—for this dark comedy about a charming lodger who incites illicit passions among his other housemates. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 8 p.m. and 8 p.m., $5-$68. Details
  • Food: If you enjoy great variety in your food as well as live music then be sure to check out Tasty Thursdays at some point this summer. This weekly Nathan Phillips Square event brings different international dishes and music to City Hall to add some much needed delicious fun to your lunch break. Some of the styles you’re likely to see include reggae, rock, tribal rhymes, soul, and cuban salsa. Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West), 11 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Art: CUE, a non-profit arts organization that encourages artistic expression from the city’s fringes, hosts “Margin of Eras.” The exhibit gathers over 20 different artists’ work for display in a pop-up gallery on Wednesdays to Sundays for two weeks in July. For the launch party on Friday, July 12 at 7 p.m., there’ll be a live New Orleans jazz band, and more. Abandoned convenience store (Queen St. W. and Gladstone Ave.), 12 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Music: Travel back to turn-of-the-century Paris—La Belle Époque—with the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Established and up-and-coming classical musicians gather for this three-week festival to celebrate works by French composers such as Ravel, Debussy, and Fauré. Lectures, workshops, interviews, and concerts will take place in various venues across the city. Multiple venues, 1:30 p.m., Various prices. Details
  • Dance: Dancing on the Pier is back for its third year! If you didn’t participate in this great dance series last year, be sure not to miss out this time around. For the uninitiated, this weekly series offers different live bands and instructors to help you find your groove along the waterfront all summer long. Featuring music by the Toronto All-Star Big Band and Ricardo Barboza. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queen’s Quay West), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Sports: Some people unwind with retail therapy, others do yoga. Now you can combine both activities with free yoga in the Town Square at The Shops at Don Mills. Regardless of your skill level, bring a mat and join the group for sessions twice weekly, courtesy of Titika. Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Performing Arts: Cats is a challenging musical to stage for a number of reasons. The narrative is thin and strange; the lyrics are drawn primarily from T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, with more borrowed from some other Eliot poems, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” (which original director Trevor Nunn adapted into the song “Memory”) and “Moments of Happiness.” The result is not so much a story as ideas and character sketches. Old Deuteronomy, patriarch of the Jellicle Cats, calls the creatures together once a year to celebrate, and for one cat to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer (essentially, to die and be reincarnated). Most of the songs detail the adventures and virtues of a single cat in particular, essentially serving as that cat’s audition for the honour of ascension. Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street), 7:30 p.m., $60–$110. 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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