In today's Urban Planner: an art exhibition all about the (greatly exaggerated) rumours of Morgan Freeman's death, a talk with David Mirvish, and a menstruation-themed comedy show.
- Art: Don’t worry: everyone’s favourite crisp-voiced actor is still alive and well. “R.I.P. Morgan Freeman” is actually an art exhibition that takes inspiration from last year’s false rumours that Freeman had passed away. The show aims to honour the man best known as the guy who plays God. If the incredible image above is any indication, this is well worth checking out. Gallery 1313 (1313 Queen Street West), all day, FREE. Details
- Talks: Developer and theatre impresario David Mirvish has made a lot of headlines over the past year or so. If you’re interested in finding out what goes on in his head, consider checking out this talk with him and Toronto Star architecture columnist Christopher Hume. Legacy and the Public Realm: Dreaming with Frank Gehry is a lunchtime conversation. If you have any interest in the future of King Street West (where Mirvish is trying to build a trio of Frank Gehry condo towers), you should definitely attend! Westin Harbour Castle, Metropolitan Ballroom (1 Harbour Square), 12 p.m., $80. Details
- Comedy: The Red Panty Diaries is a charity comedy show with an interesting theme: menstruation. All proceeds from the show are going towards host Femme International’s programs in Kenya, where the organization works to destigmatize women’s bodies and keep girls in school. The night features comedians Heidi Brander, Zabrina Chevannes, Jess Beaulieu, Alannah Copetti, and Natalie Norman. Baltic Avenue (875 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $10. 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
Theatre: When we met Kat Lanteigne the day before her new play, Tainted, opened at Aki Studio Theatre, the first thing she did was apologize for her eye twitch. She had been getting less than four hours of sleep a night as she readied the production for the stage.
Tainted, directed by Vikki Anderson and presented by GromKat Productions and Moyo Theatre, is a play that takes on Canada’s tainted-blood scandal, exploring the devastating impact that tainted blood products have upon one fictionalized family. Aki Studio Theatre (585 Dundas Street East), 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., $27–$42. 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
- 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
- Comedy: You might expect a show called We Can Be Heroes to be a send-up of superhero films, but Second City’s new mainstage production is actually a celebration of minor, everyday acts of heroism ranging from giving advice to a bullied child to managing not to be a jackass at your friend’s wedding. Second City (51 Mercer Street), 8 p.m., $24–$29. Details
- Dance: ProArteDanza brings nine talented performers and a wide range of contemporary dance to the stage with Season 2013, as part of Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps series. The show features the world premiere of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony—3rd Movement, choreographed by Roberto Campanella and Robert Glumbek, as well as performances of Fractals: a pattern of chaos, and Shifting Silence. Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West), 8 p.m., $18–$39. 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.