In today's Urban Planner: classic backroom comedy, and studying Spielberg's greatness.
- Film: Film critic Shlomo Schwartzberg is spending his Mondays for the next several months on a lecture series about the career of one of America’s greatest commercial filmmakers. Defining Greatness: Director Steven Spielberg launched on January 20 with a examination (and clips) of some of Spielberg’s greatest hits (E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Lincoln). On January 27, the series looks at early films like Duel and Jaws, before moving weekly through the rest of Spielberg’s body of work. There’s a flat fee of $90 for the whole series, or drop-in prices for single lectures. Miles Nadal JCC (750 Spadina Avenue), 7 p.m., $6-$11.25. Details
- Comedy: The venerable weekly stand-up comedy showcase ALTdot Comedy Showcase, now in its 18th year, has a typically solid lineup of performers scheduled for the last Monday of January. Alex Pavone, Gavin Stephens, Chris Locke, and more join this week’s host Matt O’Brien on the Rivoli’s backroom stage. The Rivoli (334 Queen Street West), 9 p.m., $5. 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
- Film: Jean-Luc Godard’s effort to haul the cinema out of its infancy and into a kind of artistic maturity is the subject of TIFF Cinematheque’s newest and fullest retrospective in some time, a two-season programme entitled Godard Forever, which is intended to span the length of the filmmaker’s remarkable, varied career—from the jazz-infused improvisation of Breathless to the Marxist montage of recent work like Film Socialisme. The first half of that retrospective, a fifteen-film programme dedicated to what most consider Godard’s golden age—the period from 1960’s Breathless to 1967’s apocalyptic, decade-capping Weekend—runs this season, highlighting the period in which Godard famously moulded existing genres like Hollywood gangster pictures and musicals into his own unique creations. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West). 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.