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Urban Planner: January 10, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: a jam-packed festival, a 24-hour performance experiment, and an open-mic showdown.

The Elephants in The Room collective looks well rested here… Photo by Moez Surani.

  • Festivals: This winter may already seem long due to the chilly temperatures, but that’s the whole point of the Long Winter series: to get you out of the house and to a warm building packed to the rafters with cool art, music, and more. Long Winter: Year Two, Volume Three has added the Hidden Cameras to the already rammed music lineup, which includes Doug Tielli, Rae Spoon, and Buzz Records labelmates Weaves and Isla Craig. Also taking place is Vish Khanna’s Long Night interview series, Henri Fabergé’s continuing Fountain of Mouth performance art project, the Long Winter Arcade, and much more. The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West), 7 p.m., PWYC. Details
  • Theatre: Theatre Passe Muraille’s Elephants in the Room collective members aren’t just staying up late for this month’s cabaret. They’re turning it into a one-time-only 24-hour performance experiment entitled A Wake For Lost Time that’ll be open for public viewing at the beginning (Friday evening from 7:30 p.m.-10:45 p.m.), midway through (Saturday midday from 11:30 a.m.–1:45 p.m.), and for the final three hours (Saturday afternoon from 3:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.). Combining “performance art, poetry, classical and post-dramatic theatre,” the entire “ritual” will be carried on a 24-hour web stream. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7:30 p.m., $10. Details
  • Poetry: The Toronto Poetry Project kicks off 2014 with the first Toronto Poetry Slam of the year, a three-round open-mic free-verse showdown. Every TPS has a featured guest, and this month it’s Janice Lee: singer-songwriter, artistic director of Kitchener-Waterloo’s Poetry Slam, and winner of the 2013 Region of Waterloo’s Best Arts Mover and Shaker. The slam kicks off at 8 p.m.; contestants must be there to sign up at 7:30 p.m. sharp. Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., $5. Details

Ongoing…

  • Film: It’s not every day that a media tour opens with the injunction not to photograph “the sex blob,” but so began TIFF’s preview of “David Cronenberg: Evolution,” the organization’s first large-scale touring exhibition (for now, it’s stationed at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s HSBC Gallery). It’s an exhaustive, stunning look at some of the wildest, most perverse creations of a pioneer of the body-horror genre—who also happens to be Canada’s most internationally renowned filmmaker. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 2:40 a.m., $15, $12 students, $5 Tuesdays. Details
  • Art: Virginia Woolf once remarked that “On or about December 1910, human character changed.” Whether it actually did is debatable, but the curators of “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection 1910–1918” use that year to start their exhibition of works from a tumultuous decade of innovation in European fine art. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $16.50–$25 (includes general admission). Details
  • Festivals Film: Not content to keep it tucked away in the fall, last night the Toronto International Film Festival revealed its slate for Canada’s Top 10, the upcoming ten-day mini-festival devoted to the year’s best in Canadian filmmaking. Artistic Director Cameron Bailey joined Canadian programmer Steve Gravestock and comedian Steve Patterson to unveil the feature and short lineups, in addition to announcing a number of related talks. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 6 p.m., $10-$20. Details
  • Theatre: For the seventh straight year, the darkness of January will be brightened by brilliant stage works. Over the course of 12 days, the Next Stage Theatre Festival takes over the Factory Theatre, featuring 10 new pieces by Fringe Festival alums. Championing the creativity of up-and-coming playwrights, the NSTF bill includes everything from street dance performances to dark satires. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street), all day, $10-$15. Details
  • Photography: Ali Eisner is already known for being a puppeteer, composer, and performer. Now she adds another line to her resumé with her debut photography exhibit, “Favourite Things.” As one might expect, each photo in the show depicts a cherished moment, person, or item in her life—you’ll find shots of everything from travelling and architecture, to puppets and musicians such as Kathleen Edwards, Ron Sexsmith, and Serena Ryder. Join her for the opening reception on January 9. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 12 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Every revolution needs a leader. And though the movement to bring the classic 1980s musical Les Miserables back to Toronto is markedly different than the quest for political accountability and social equality, it has its hero just the same. After Wednesday night’s official opening performance at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the audience likely would have followed London-based, Richmond Hill-raised performer Ramin Karimloo (as the story’s golden-hearted protagonist, Jean Valjean) anywhere he would lead. Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West), 7:30 p.m., $35–$130. Details
  • Theatre: What happens when your common household plant develops a taste for blood? Well, naturally it turns into a feisty, R&B-singing beast vying for global domination. Or at least that’s what happens in the cult classic sci-fi spoof, Little Shop of Horrors. Check out this off-Broadway hit at the Lower Ossington Theatre during its three week run.
    Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), 8 p.m., $59. Details
  • Theatre: While vacationing on the Irish Coast, a couple discovers the body of a drowned woman, awakening issues that have been dormant in their marriage. Based on the novel Une vie pour deux, Evelyne de la Chenelière’s Flesh and Other Fragments of Love is a play that straddles the line between detective mystery and ghost story, and examines issues of human intimacy. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21-$48. Details
  • Theatre: If you’re a fan of Teen Girl Squad, it will be hard to say this play’s name with a straight face. A satire about how to get ahead in the world, The Ugly One focuses on our obsession with beauty and body modification. Reuniting for this Toronto production are the original cast members—Jesse Aaron Dwyre, David Jansen, Hardee T. Lineham, and Naomi Wright. Tarragon Theatre, Extra Space (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $27-$53. Details
  • Theatre: Rarely Pure Theatre brings Shakespeare’s As You Like It to the Storefront Theatre, one of the city’s new alternative presentation spaces. The company gives the story, which sees love and friendship complicated by sexual tension and gender confusion, a distinctly Canadian twist by moving the action to a wintery wonderland. The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $20, $15 students/seniors/arts workers. Details
  • Theatre: Let’s face it: being a twenty-something can kinda suck. Pumped full of confidence and aspirations, we flee the family nest…and fall flat on our faces. Avenue Q uses songs (written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx) and puppetry both to lament and poke fun at this difficult time. Much like Sesame Street, it has a cast made up of human actors who interact with a variety of furry creatures, who themselves have hands up their butts. Think that description is tasteless? This might not be the show for you—these puppets are crude and lewd, and have a taste for alcohol and porn. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), 8 p.m., $49-$59. Details
  • Theatre: With a minimalistic set, some vintage guitars, and a rock n’ roll soundtrack, Deanna Jones takes on the persona of one of music’s most notorious figures. Humourous and introspective, The Keith Richards One Woman Show leads audiences through the highs and lows of the Rolling Stones guitarist’s often ridiculous life. Fixt Point Studio (1550 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., $15. Details
  • Comedy: What do you do when your fast food chain loses popularity amongst the 30-year-old crowd? This is the dilemma Funny Burger faces in Fast Food Follies. Its solution: hire a Parkdale hipster and a fancy “sandwich artist” to revamp the restaurant’s image. Loaded guns, cyborg lawyers, explosive diarrhea, and general madness ensue in this long-form sketch comedy serial. Unit 102 Theatre (376 Dufferin Street), 9 p.m., $10 in advance, $15 at the door. 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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