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events

Weekend Planner: February 1-2, 2014

In this Weekend Planner:

Scene from Un Ballo in Maschera, or A Masked Ball  Image courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company

Scene from Un Ballo in Maschera, or A Masked Ball. Image courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company.

  • Sports: The weather outside might be frightful, but that means nothing to hardcore cyclists. Want to prove that you’re also one of those tough Canadians? Then go out winter-biking on the Coldest Day of the Year Ride. Starting at Queen’s Park, the trail ends at Dufferin Grove Park, where there will be a skating rink, roaring campfire, and hot chocolate. Queen’s Park Circle (Bloor Street West and Avenue Road), Saturday at 12:15 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Music: The Balconies are diving headfirst into 2014, putting out their sophomore effort, Fast Motions in the final days of January. A Torontonian indie-pop band with ’80s glam metal sensibilities, they’ve only gotten bigger, better, and more badass since the drop of their first EP. Join them for a special album release show with Say Yes, as they kick off what will likely be a whirlwind year. Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor Street West), Saturday at 9 p.m., $10.50 + fees. Details
  • Film: Calling all fans of campy, over-the-top, schlock horror! Rue Morgue and Carlton Cinemas have teamed up for a special presentation of Troma Entertainment’s Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1. Playing on present-day societal fears, this fun sci-fi film takes place at Tromaville High School, where two young lovers—Chrissy and Lauren—are forced to fight gangs of their violent, mutated classmates in hopes of saving the world. An exclusive Q&A with actors Catie Corcoran, Asta Paredes, and Clay von Carlowitz will follow the screening. Carlton Cinemas (20 Carlton Street), Saturday at 9 p.m., $9.50 adults, $7 students. Details
  • Offbeat: Whether you have a passion for all things scaled and slithery, or are determined to get over your fear of snakes, you’ll want to check out the Toronto Reptile Expo. Learn about cold-blooded creatures from some of the most educated people in the industry, take a gander at the displays, and maybe even find a new pet! The Bunker, Downsview Park (40 Carl Hall Road, Studio 3), Sunday at 9 a.m., $10 adults, $5 children and seniors. Details
  • Performing Arts: The Canadian Opera Company brings a tale of forbidden love to its stage with Verdi’s A Masked Ball (Un Ballo in Maschera). Given an almost-modern treatment, the story has been transplanted to early 1960s America, where the romantic entanglements are played out against a background of Kennedy-era political tensions. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West), Sunday at 2 p.m., $24-$332. Details
  • Theatre: Even though Billy was born deaf, his family strived to raise him the same way they would have a hearing-able child. Tribes sees him learn what it is to hear and be heard when he meets Sylvia, a young woman who is gradually becoming deaf herself. Presented by A Theatrefront Production, Canadian Stage, and Theatre Aquarius, this emotional play stars Stephen Drabicki and Holly Lewis. Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street), Sunday at 2 p.m., $22-$47. Details

Ongoing…

  • 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
  • Theatre: It’s 1931 in Berlin, and the Nazis are on the brink of supremacy. But there remains another side to the city—one that’s decadent, permissive, and artistic. And that’s the world we meet when we’re beckoned into the extravagant and sleazy Kit Kat Klub by eccentric Emcee and his troupe of saucy dancers, performing “Willkommen.”

    Cabaret’s primary plotline begins with the arrival of American writer Cliff Bradshaw (David Light). Without a real agenda, he’s come to Berlin to work on his novel and teach English. A patron of the Kit Kat Klub, he catches the eye of the star performer Sally Bowles (Kylie McMahon). A natural stunner, Sally is a bubbly young Brit with a powerhouse voice, a dancer’s grace, and a reputation for flitting from man to man like a bumblebee in a flowerbed. It’s not long before she and Cliff fall in love—though the question of whether he’ll be able to satisfy her wild side constantly hangs over their heads. The sweetness lacking in their relationship can be found in the romantic pairing of the boarding house landlord Fraulein Schneider (Adeen Ashton Fogle) and Jewish shop owner Herr Schultz (Don Berns). As appealing as they are, though, these middle-aged lovebirds are just as susceptible to trouble and heartbreak as their younger counterparts. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), $49-$59. Details

  • Food: Time once again for the City of Toronto’s annual cold-weather enticement to get people out to fine dining establishments, the Winterlicious Festival. Over 200 restaurants have signed up to offer lunch and dinner prix-fixe menus over the official two-week period (many of them continue the pricing for longer), and the City’s also arranged for a number of different culinary events as well. For a full listing of the restaurants participating, visit the City’s website. $15–$45. Details
  • Fashion: Ichimaru—once one of Japan’s most famous geishas—left the profession in the 1930s to pursue a career in entertainment. Never really leaving her past life, she became known for adorning herself in the traditional geisha garb when performing in concert or on television. “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru” exhibits several decades’ worth of outfits and personal effects, shedding light on the woman behind the makeup. Textile Museum of Canada (55 Centre Avenue), Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., $6-$15. 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 the 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), Saturday at 1:30 p.m.,7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m., $35–$130. Details
  • Theatre: Chances are, you have a couple of pictures on your phone that were taken for “someone special.” But what if they got shared with the world? Nightwood Theatre’s Free Outgoing focuses on the issues of sexuality and safety in our digital age. The play follows the plight of Deepa, a scholarly 15-year-old girl living in the conservative city of Chennai. When the sex video she makes with her boyfriend goes viral, she must deal with the fallout of becoming India’s most watched teenager. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $25-$45. Details
  • Dance: The producers of Riverdance have spawned yet another on-stage extravaganza. With a talented cast of 38, Heartbeat of Home is a high-energy show, combining Irish, Latin, and Afro-Cuban music and dance. Torontonians get the honour of seeing the production’s North American debut—take it in before it’s gone! Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria Avenue), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $35-$130. 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), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m., $49-$59. Details
  • Theatre: Cameron and his grandmother share a special tradition: every Thursday night, they escape into the golden age of film together. A musical about unconditional love, The Way Back to Thursday takes us through the changes in this relationship as Cameron grows older and more distant. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), Saturday at 2 p.m.,7:30 p.m., PWYC-$32.50 + HST. Details
  • Theatre: In 2006, the quiet town of Ipswich, England, was turned upside down by the discovery of five dead women. During this time, playwright Alecky Blythe recorded extensive interviews with the nearby residents. Set to music, these audio clips form the script to London Road, a raw piece of theatre illustrating tragedy’s ability to fortify a community. Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $24-$99. Details
  • Theatre: Morro and Jasp are clown sisters created and played by Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee, comedians and Factory Theatre writers-in-residence. In their newest adventure, they fall on hard times and take up acting in hopes of making ends meet. Of Mice and Morro and Jasp sees them attempt to bring the classic John Steinbeck tale to the stage. Will they succeed? Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m., PWYC-$25. Details
  • Theatre: The Acting Up Stage Company brings the French Antilles to Toronto audiences with its new musical, Once On This Island. Set to an exuberant Caribbean score, we see the gods test the dark-skinned Ti Moune by sending her on a quest after she falls in love with a higher-class, light-skinned man. Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $30-$50. Details
  • Theatre: You can surmise a couple of things from the title of Stewart Lemoine’s play, receiving its Toronto debut 18 years after its Edmonton premiere. Like The Exquisite Hour, which producing company the Theatre Department launched with in 2012, Pith! is not much more than a hour—brevity being the soul of wit, after all. Pithy does in part mean concise, but “pith”? Well, it can mean “the essence,” and this play is concerned with getting to the essence of play, and by extension, a play.

    Jack Vail (Ron Pederson) is a sailor and adventurer who, on a whim, decides to see what sort of adventures can be had in Providence, Rhode Island, in the summer of 1931. He’s just disembarked from a long sea voyage, and craves more genteel company, which he decides he’ll find at a Sunday church service and social. His attention is quickly drawn to a woman in mourning cloth and to her slightly less subdued companion, whom he finds sobbing over a plate of pie outside after the service. She introduces herself as Ms. Nancy Kimble (Amy Matysio), and shares the sad tale of her employer Mrs. Virginia Tillford (Daniela Vlaskalic), who has held out hope for a decade that her husband will return from a trip to South America, where he vanished. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), Saturday at 2 p.m.,7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., PWYC–$20. Details

  • Theatre: German theatre has gone over really well in Toronto in recent years. Playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig’s contribution to Volcano Theatre’s Africa project was widely praised, and twinwerks//zwillingswerk’s production of Felicia Zeller’s Kaspar and the Sea of Houses earned the company an outstanding production award at the 2011 SummerWorks (and a trip back to 2012′s festival). Now, Theatre Smash returns with Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One, a clever slice of absurdism that works well on several levels. There’s light humour when the titular character discovers that everyone finds his face repugnant, and darker tones when his new, beautiful face becomes coveted obsessively by those around him. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), Saturday at 2:30 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $13–$53. Details
  • Theatre: In Tarragon Theatre’s current mainstage production, Flesh and Other Fragments of Love, there are both a marriage and a body on the rocks, and the prognosis isn’t good for either of them. While the human figure appears pale, cold, and lifeless, the marriage is slightly more alive, and the play chronicles its last dying breaths. Surprisingly, though, the young female cadaver is by far the more interesting of the two. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), Saturday at 2:30 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $21–$53. Details
  • Theatre: What do you get when you combine Mozart and Atom Egoyan? Così fan tutte, a wryly comedic opera. Also known as The School For Lovers, it sees two couples struggle with issues of faith, desire, and temptation. The Canadian Opera Company welcomes the return of Egoyan, who will be directing this winter season opener. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West), Saturday at 4:30 p.m., $24-$365. Details
  • Outdoors: It’s time to lace up! Harbourfront Centre has brought back its weekly DJ Skate Nights at Natrel Rink, overlooking the lake. Make the best of winter, and get your skate on to the sounds of some of Toronto’s premiere DJs and party-makers, like Skratch Bastid (Dec 14), Cherry Bomb (Feb 1), and DJ Starting from Scratch (Feb 22). Natrel Rink, Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), Saturday at 8 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Comedy: Bad Dog Theatre launches its 12th annual Globehead Tournament for the month of February, and the teams slated to compete are particularly stacked this year. Along with Torontoist favourites like the National Theatre of the World, Tony Ho, and the Sufferettes, there’s a bunch of new teams featuring some of our favourite improvisers, including Michael Fassbender (Picnicface’s Kyle Dooley and Versus Valerie’s Hannah Spear, who just won an IAWT award) and the Muggers (Two Weird Ladies’ Mandy Sellers and Illusionoid’s Nug Nahrgang.) The preliminary rounds run Friday and Saturday the first two weekends in February; the quarter-finals, Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15; and the semi-finals and finals, February 21 and 22. For the full schedule and ticket pricing, check out Bad Dog’s website. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), Saturday at 8 p.m., $10–$40. Details
  • Markets: Winter might make us want to hibernate and rely solely on the stock of food in the freezer, but don’t let it! Come out to Steam Whistle’s Winter Farmer’s Market to pick up fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and organic meats—all the while supporting local farmers. It’s worth venturing out into the cold, don’t you think? Steam Whistle Brewing (255 Bremner Boulevard), Sunday at 10 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: It’s almost the end of the beginning for Ken Gass’s new company, Canadian Rep Theatre—the Toronto theatre stalwart’s highly anticipated return to the director’s chair after his now-infamous firing from Factory Theatre in 2012—as its inaugural production prepares to close this Sunday. With the establishment of Canadian Rep Theatre, that particular saga has come to an end (meanwhile, the watered-down renovation of Factory he lost his job over is wrapping up too, and it looks like a TTC station), and Toronto theatre audiences will get to see new works from playwrights Judith Thompson and George F. Walker—works originally programmed in that ill-fated season at Factory Theatre that moved with Gass when he built a new professional home for himself.

    Kicking off the season is another name on par with Thompson and Walker: Wajdi Mouawad. Although Mouawad is known best for the drama Scorched, which was adapted into the Oscar-nominated Incendies, Gass brings us one of his lesser-known plays, Pacamambo, originally written for young audiences. Pacamambo is also about endings, or rather, the most final of endings: death. The Citadel (304 Parliament Street), Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $16–$36. 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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