In today's Urban Planner: a free performance by the Morgan Childs Quartet, Shakespeare with beer, and Roseanne trivia at the Gladstone.
- Music: Let the Canadian Opera Company make your lunch hour more interesting with a performance by the Morgan Childs Quartet. Led by drummer Morgan Childs himself, the quartet is a veritable dream team of Canadian jazz musicians, including saxophonist Kelly Jefferson, pianist Dave Restivo, and bassist Jon Maharaj. Join them as they embrace both new and nostalgic sounds through a joyful set list of original pieces and jazz classics. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West), 12 p.m., FREE. Details
- Theatre: The Classical Theatre Project is aiming to change the public’s opinion on live theatre one pint at a time with ShakesBeer. Following their hugely successful The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, the five-man troupe returns with a very short run of Twelfth Night. Unconventional venues, up-close-and-personal interactions with the crowd, and locally brewed beers? You can be sure that this isn’t your grandma’s stuffy Shakespeare show. Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street), 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., $57, $37 for students and seniors. Details
- Trivia: Knowing too much about dysfunctional families isn’t exactly something to brag about. Unless, of course, you’re attending the Roseanne edition of TV Trivia Night! (Which you should be.) Come alone, or with a team of up to six, and prepare to answer a barrage of questions delivered in the form of audio clues, skits, and, well, straight-up trivia questions. Feel like dressing up as your favourite character? There will be special treats in store for you. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
- Books: BookThug is celebrating the turn of the season with the launch of some great new books. Ten pieces of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction will be featured, with readings from authors Andre Alexis, Michael Blouin, Ron Silliman, Sandra Ridley, David B. Goldstein, Julie Joosten and more. All books will be available for purchase during the event. Supermarket (268 Augusta Avenue), 7:30 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), 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: If you look out the window while riding the bus from downtown to Markham, you’ll notice the urban landscape gradually unfolding into the suburban: tight-knit city streets loosen into faster multi-lane roads, box stores assemble in beige-brick clusters, and everywhere new structures are being outstripped by even newer buildings at various stages of completion.
Markham just upgraded itself from town to city in July 2012, and is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse municipalities in the country. And while the place may not inspire many enthusiastic road-trips from downtowners, Land|Slide Possible Futures, a new, large-scale public-art exhibition, invites visitors to explore Markham’s history, its quickly changing present, and its potential evolution—while also challenging glib notions surrounding the suburbs themselves. Markham Museum (9350 Markham Road), all day, FREE. Details
- Art: When it was originally unveiled at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (England, not Ontario), the “David Bowie Is” exhibition shattered attendance records, selling over 42,000 advance tickets. Now that the show has come to Toronto, it’s easy to see why it was so successful. Composed of over 300 objects from David Bowie’s personal archive, spanning his entire career, the exhibit is arranged and presented as a completely immersive experience, enveloping visitors in a kaleidoscopic visual and aural landscape that would be overwhelming if it weren’t so brilliantly arranged and intelligently guided. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $30 (includes general admission). Details
- Theatre: Like the company’s recent triumph, Angels in America, Soulpepper’s newest show, The Norman Conquests, requires multiple trips to the theatre—or a hearty constitution for a full day of marathon attendance. Unlike Angels in America, the three instalments of The Norman Conquests—Table Manners, Living Together, and Round and Round the Garden—are comic in nature and small in scope, with each instalment taking place in a different part of a couple’s house. Written by prolific British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, the three-part series features veteran members of the Soulpepper ensemble, and can be “enjoyed individually or in any combination.” Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), all day, $51–$68. Details
Art: Ai Weiwei is a 56-year-old artist confined to his home in Beijing for creating work critical of the Chinese government and Chinese culture. There are video cameras outside his house, his phone lines are tapped, his blog was deleted, his Shanghai studio was destroyed in 2010 by authorities, and his passport was confiscated in 2011. To this day, he’s unable to leave his country. Even so, Ai Weiwei has had a large presence in Toronto over the past few months.
This past June, he did a performance piece with artist Laurie Anderson during the Luminato Festival, using Skype. His Zodiac Heads have been installed, temporarily, in the reflecting pool in front of City Hall. At this year’s Nuit Blanche, a large-scale version of his sculpture of bicycles, Forever, will take over Nathan Phillips Square. And beginning August 17, the Art Gallery of Ontario is displaying “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”, a retrospective of the work he produced before and after the Chinese government’s crackdown on his activities helped him find new international acclaim. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), 10 a.m., $25 (Includes general admission). Details
- Food: Condo-ville isn’t exactly known for its access to organic and locally grown foods. MyMarket is trying to change that with weekly farmers’ markets set up in the CityPlace complex. Residents can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables virtually from their doorstep, while supporting local farmers. Everyone wins! Canoe Landing Park (Fort York Boulevard and Dan Leckie Way), 3:30 p.m., FREE. Details
- Theatre: The Tarragon Theatre opens its 2013/2014 season with Daniel MacIvor’s The Best Brothers [PDF], in which polar-opposite brothers Hamilton and Kyle Best are brought together to plan the funeral of their mother. The older, unadventurous, and conservative Hamilton naturally doesn’t see eye to eye with the free-spirited Kyle, whose boyfriend is a sex worker. Grappling with the ridiculous circumstances leading to their mother’s death (a drag queen, a loudspeaker, and Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade), the brothers must deal with each other, as well as some tough questions concerning love, family, and who should get the family dog. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21–$53. 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.