In today's Urban Planner: running like a rogue, a theatrical jungle adventure, and an undead TV host.
- Books: National Post columnist Ben Kaplan is proof that regular guys can become competitive marathon runners. Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now: The Rogue’s Guide to Running the Marathon—a product of his experience—straddles the line between memoir, guidebook, and inspirational self-help bible. Containing weekly training schedules, and pro tips on nutrition, shoes, and running form, this book aims to transform the greenest amateurs into advanced runners in just one year. Staying true to his music journalist background, Kaplan also includes a list of great running tracks recommended by artists like the Black Keys and Dolly Parton. Join him for an evening of music, celebrity appearances, and sneaker giveaways at the launch party. Samuel J. Moore (1087 Queen Street West), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
- Theatre: Minimalism is taken to a new level in the Theatre Department’s Pith! It’s 1931, and Jack Vail is cooped up in a living room with a grieving widow and her stoic housekeeper. With only four chairs, a phonograph, and imagination at his disposal, he takes them away on a South American jungle adventure. Directed by Ron Jenkins, this award-winning play stars Ron Pederson, Daniela Vlaskalic, and Amy Matysio. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7:30 p.m., $20, PWYC on Tuesdays. Details
- Performing Arts: If we know Torontonians, we’re sure that everyone is dying—er—undying for an opportunity to see a zombie host a late-night television program. Which is why we want to tell you about Mullet’s Night Show, a variety showcase for comedians, musicians, and other performance artists. Hosted by Mullet the Zombie Clown, this debut event at the Rivoli will see appearances by sketch and improv group 2-Man No-Show, musician Alissa Vox Raw, spoken word artist Bruce Hunter, and Marvel comic book artist Leonard Kirk, and stand-up by Sandra Battaglini and Mullet’s co-host Robin Archer. The Rivoli (334 Queen Street West), 10 p.m., $10. Details
- 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), 12 p.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
- Theatre: The Next Stage Theatre Festival is back with a diverse and compelling slate of ten plays, all by artists who’ve previously contributed to the Fringe Festival. While a few of these shows have been produced at the Fringe, a number of them are brand new, and you still have almost a week in which to check out as many as you can. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street), all day, $15 Main/Studio, $10 Antechamber. 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 Misérables 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), 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., $35–$130. 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: Playwright Erin Fleck has spent the past month in residence at Videofag, (super-heroic runners-up in our Heroes of 2013 poll), and the result is a short workshop run of Unintentionally Depressing Children’s Tales, a shadow puppet performance of adult fairy tales. The show’s not for children, but adults attending may feel they’ve regressed a bit: the storefront venue’s being turned into a “blanket fort” for the performances, with mostly floor seating (be prepared to get cozy with other audience members). Videofag (187 Augusta Avenue), 8 p.m., PWYC ($10 suggested). 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.