In today's Urban Planner: check out a Darker Side of Funny, Bruce McCulloch comes to town, and the BackDora Awards.
- Comedy: Sketch troupe Tony Ho, recently profiled in the Grid‘s Funny People series, isn’t afraid to go black in its pursuit of comedy, so it’s a natural headliner for A Darker Side of Funny. Host Marc Hallworth also welcomes Fratwurst and Paddy MacDonald to this special edition of Jokebox Comedy Lounge’s weekly cabaret series. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 7:30 p.m., $5. Details
- Music: Pop-crooner Sean Nicholas Savage headlines this typically eclectic Silent Shout showcase, co-produced with Burn Down The Capitol, with Detroit’s Jamaican Queens, local mash-up artist JFM, and Silent Shout mainstays Bad Passion supporting. The Handlebar (159 Augusta Avenue), 8 p.m., $7. Details
- Comedy: When last we spoke to Bruce McCulloch, he and the rest of legendary sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall were in the midst of returning to the CBC with a new mini-series, Death Comes to Town. In the three years since then, McCulloch has written and performed a few solo live shows, including The Pink Dot Diaries at SF Sketchfest last year and, more recently, Young Drunk Punk here at Toronto Sketchfest in March. He has two upcoming performances at Hugh’s Room, on July 22 and 23. Hugh’s Room (2261 Dundas Street West), 8:30 p.m., $25 advance, $30 door. Details
- Offbeat: No poop jokes, please: weekly musical theatre cabaret SINGular Sensation presents the first annual BackDora Awards, a tongue in cheek ceremony celebrating Toronto’s small-stage stars, the people who sing and entertain in Toronto backrooms and lounges. Based in part on the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, there will be performances by Billy Elliot’s David Light, cabaret performers Gabi Epstein and Chris Tsujiuchi, and more, plus awards, of course. (Formal attire encouraged.) Statler’s Lounge (487 Church Street), 10 p.m., FREE. Details
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
- Film: When Animal House first turned the toga into suitable party attire in 1978, the landscape of the film comedy was forever altered. TOGA! The Reinvention of American Comedy, a new film series that kicked off Wednesday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, seeks to chart the changing comedic sensibilities that have occurred in the years since the film’s release. From big budget blockbusters, to libido-fuelled sex romps, to carefully calibrated exercises in nuance and timing, the selections in the program are some of the funniest films ever made. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 12 a.m., $8.50–$12. 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., $5-$68. Details
- History: Looking to brush up your cultural and history knowledge on all things Toronto? Heritage Toronto 2013 Tours offers you an enormous chance to learn tons and tons about the city you love via walking tours, bike tours, and more. Some of the events on the agenda of this weekly series include tours of Fort York, Korea Town, Don Valley, and Black Creek. It’s running all summer long so don’t miss out! Multiple venues, 12 a.m., FREE. Details
- Dance: Like something out of a movie (except, you know, Footloose), you can spend your summer nights dancing in the open air of the Town Square. Join Dexter and Janice of DjDance as they lead Latin Salsa classes twice a week, all summer. Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
- Theatre: Perhaps Soulpepper’s most ambitious theatrical project yet, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America is a seven-hour epic set against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis of the 80′s and 90′s. The play earned a Pulitzer Prize and Tony awards (for the stage versions), and Golden Globes and Emmys (for the HBO miniseries.) Broken down into Parts I and II (sub-titled Millennium Approaches and Perestroika), the company is presenting the two plays in repertory on a nightly basis (save for Sunday evenings) and strongly urges viewers to see them in order. (Full day “marathons” begin in August.) There’s a video with director Albert Schultz and the cast’s thoughts on the project during rehearsal; previews being on July 19, with Millennium Approaches opening on July 31 and Perestroika) on August 1. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $5-$68. Details
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.