In today's Urban Planner: the CNE is here again, Everyday is Like Sunday has its premiere, and Comedy Circus comes to town.
- Festivals: The Canadian National Exhibition, that storied summer fair, opens for its 135th season. For 18 days, there will be amusement-park rides late into the night, all manner of overindulgent foods to gorge on, long-running traditions like the Warrior’s Day Parade and the Air Show, concerts by bands like The Beach Boys and The New Pornographers, and much, much more. Exhibition Place (Lakeshore Boulevard and Strachan Avenue), 10 a.m., $12–$16. Details
- Film: A new, locally made movie, Everyday Is Like Sunday, features some mainstays from our city’s comedy and music scenes. Directed by Pavan Moondi, it follows friends Mark (David Dineen-Porter) and Jason (Adam Gurfinkel) as they muddle through their semi-adult lives. It also stars Coral Osborne and Nick Flanagan, and there are turns by Nick Thorburn (Islands, Mister Heavenly) and Dan Werb (Woodhands, Ark Analog). The film has its premiere screening at the Carlton on Friday, August 16, with a Q&A and opening party after. Carleton Cinemas (20 Carleton Street), 7 p.m., $5–$9.50. Details
- Comedy: This month, Jordan Strofolino’s monthly comedy showcase at Tallboys, Comedy Circus, features special guests The Sports Brahs (Dylan Gott and Graham Kay), whose comedy/sports show is on Sirius XM Radio. Also on the bill: Sandra Battaglini, Todd Graham, and sketch duo Cheap Smokes. Tallboys Craft Beer House (838 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., PWYC. Details
- Music: Want to hear your favourite local indie stars sing some of the greatest songs of all time? Well, you’re in luck, because this weekend, Loving In The Name Of returns with some new singers, past favourites, and new covers. Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, and Ozzy Osbourne are on the setlist; Carmen Elle (DIANA, Army Girls), Vanessa Dunn (Vag Halen), and Isla Craig are on the bill. The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West), 10 p.m., $10–$12. 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), all day, $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, all day, $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), all day, 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), all day, $8.50–$12. Details
- Music: Although SummerWorks is best known as a theatre festival, the SummerWorks Music Series has developed a reputation for shows that combine music, theatre, and visual art in unexpected ways. Here are a few of them that we’re particularly looking forward to. Multiple venues, all day, Various prices. Details
- Festivals: As with so many of Toronto’s arts festivals, every year SummerWorks seems to get bigger. Bigger as in more shows, bigger as in bigger names, bigger as in international reach, and bigger in terms of its importance in premiering exciting new work. Two major hits from last year’s festival, Iceland and Terminus, have since been seen on larger stages.
- Film: The best film-viewing event on the open seas (well, Lake Ontario) is back for another summer of free screenings. Sail-In Cinema projects films on a two-sided screen in the harbour. This means you can watch either from shore with your own blanket and chairs or, if you have a boat, from the water. Each screening will start at dusk. Sugar Beach (25 Dockside Drive), 9 p.m., FREE. Details
- Dance: Princess Productions presents four days of contemporary movement during the Dance: Made in Canada festival. Serge Bennathan, Yvonne Ng, and Cylla von Tiedemann have curated three series, showcasing a total of seven dance works performed by artists from across Canada. A special late-night series entitled What You See Is What You Get boasts 10-minute pieces from choreographers who are chosen on a lottery basis. Betty Oliphant Theatre (404 Jarvis Street), 7 p.m., $10–$25. 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
- Music: Cover band extraordinaire Dwayne Gretzky kicks off Indie Fridays, Yonge-Dundas Square’s weekly summer music night series, on June 28. The eight-piece rock ‘n’ roll cover band most recently played Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album from beginning to end. Later in the summer, Indie Fridays’ feature acts include soul singer Saidah Baba Talibah (August 2), Polaris Prize shortlisters Plants and Animals (August 23), and hip hop innovator Cadence Weapon (August 30). Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas Street East), 8 p.m., FREE. Details
Theatre: Musical theatre has a reputation for sometimes being out of touch and old-fashioned, so the prospect of Mirvish Productions bringing a tour of Cole Porter’s 1934 musical Anything Goes to Toronto wasn’t especially heartening at first—even if this particular production, by New York City’s Roundabout Theatre Company, won three 2011 Tony Awards.
But say, pal, wouldn’t you know, we were downright tickled to have such a good time at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The jokes are still corny, the songs still melodramatic, and the script still has some pretty racist content, but the show manages to transcend its era. Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West), 8 p.m., $29–$130. Details
- Comedy: Bad Dog Theatre’s newest show is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to romantic comedies like Love, Actually. Toronto, I Love You features the Bad Dog Repertory Players, and is directed by Kirsten Rasmussen. The show runs weekly on Friday nights through August, and for obvious reasons, sounds like a great date event. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $10–$12. Details
Theatre: In the 31st year of Shakespeare in High Park, Canadian Stage has programmed two productions that are performed on alternating evenings. The two plays could not be more different.
Both Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew involve manipulative spouses and deceptive plots—but where one ends in marriages and love, the other ends with bloodshed and terror. One is infamously problematic, and the other is one of Shakespeare’s most popular. And the two directors, Ted Witzel and Ker Wells, both of whom join Shakespeare in High Park after completing a directing program held in collaboration between Canadian Stage and York University, only exaggerate the differences. High Park Amphitheatre (1873 Bloor St. W.), 8 p.m., PWYC. Details
- Theatre: Revisiting history is more fun with a soundtrack, as you’ll find in The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream. Based on the story of one of rock’s most influential bands, this Broadway-show-meets-concert takes the audience back through the ’60s with hit songs like “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’,” and “It’s a Beautiful Morning.” Produced and directed by the legendary Steven Van Zandt, the show combines performance, archival footage, live narrative, and film reenactments. Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West), 8 p.m., $59–$200. 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.