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events

Urban Planner: February 7, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: Local band meets the Beatles, interactive movies, and a long winter festival.

Dwayne Gretzky is ready to stir up some Beatlemania at the Horseshoe. Image courtesy of Dwayne Gretzky.

  • Performing Arts: Tired of the snow and cold yet? Too bad! We still have another two months to go. Helping us through this misery is Long Winter: Year Two, Volume Four. It’s more than just a concert—it’s a veritable three-ring circus of performance. While a pile of bands will be playing—like TEENAGER, Sheezer, and Gingy—you can also expect dance by the Chimera Project’s Company B, an arcade, live readings, art, and food. The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West), 7 p.m., PWYC. Details
  • Film: Ever enjoyed a movie so much that you wanted to be in it? 360 Screenings can make that dream a reality. Combining film with live theatre, they allow audiences to get up close and personal with notable movies by re-enacting pivotal scenes, and then follow that with a screening of the film. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, LOVE will be the theme of the night. The catch? The (downtown Toronto) venue will be kept secret until 24 hours beforehand. 7 p.m., $60, $30 for those under 30. Details
  • Music: Is there anything this band can’t do? Dwayne Gretzky, Toronto’s own supergroup, is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s television debut with Ed Sullivan Presents: The Beatles. Get your dancing shoes on, warm up the vocal chords for some fan-girl screaming, and join the band as it covers a load of early Beatles tunes. Don’t fret if you can’t make it out; these guys will be playing a different show at the Horseshoe every Friday in February. Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West), 9 p.m., $10. Details
  • Comedy: Black History Month is certainly important, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be serious. Kicking off the month-long observance with a bit of humour is the Underground Comedy Railroad Show. Comprised entirely of black Canadian comedians, the tour is making nine stops across Canada, starting with Toronto. Go check out the uniquely hilarious perspectives of Rodney Ramsay, Andrew Searles, Keesha Brownie, Daniel Woodrow, Gilson Lubin, Trixx, and Kwasi Thomas. Baltic Avenue (875 Bloor Street West), 10 p.m., $15 advance/$20 door. 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), 8 p.m., $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), 11 a.m., $6-$15. Details
  • Art: Those who work in the arts are well acquainted with the balancing act between creative work and life-sustaining day jobs. “Poetic Poverty; Experiments in Living” explores the notion of the starving artist, and why it’s a life so many choose to lead. This two-week show features works by Erin Loree, Stella Cade, Kevin Columbus, and more. Creatures Creating (822 Dundas Street West), 12 p.m., FREE. 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), 7:30 p.m., PWYC-$32.50 + HST. 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), 7:30 p.m., $24-$365. Details
  • Theatre: The word “idiot” was originally used in ancient Greece to describe a person unconcerned with public affairs like politics, but dedicated to following private pursuits. The setting of Robert E. Sherwood’s 1936 romantic comedy Idiot’s Delight, a failing luxury hotel in the Italian Alps called the Hotel Monte Gabriele, initially seems to be full of idiots: newlyweds on their honeymoon, a group of burlesque singers and their manager, a blissfully genial waiter, and a couple of ornery managers sour over the lack of business. And when a spark flies between a beautiful and mysterious Russian and a smooth-talking American showbusinessman, while the other guests dance, drink, eat, and sing, there’s another piece of juicy plot that can be used to distract themselves, and the audience, from the war that’s literally raging outside the hotel windows. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $29–$74. 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), 8 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), 8 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), 8 p.m., $49-$59. 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), 8 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), 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), 8 p.m., $30-$50. Details
  • Dance: Growing up in Pittsburgh, Kyle Abraham enjoyed the sounds of Motown and hip hop, which were provided by just two local radio stations. In 2009, both stations abruptly went off the air. At the same time, Abraham’s father lost his speech to Alzheimer’s. Surrounded by silence, Abraham choreographed a dance. His creation, The Radio Show, pays tribute to urban culture while telling stories of loss and identity. Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West), 8 p.m., $39. 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), 8 p.m., $13–$53. Details
  • Theatre: The Scarborough Music Theatre brings Louisa May Alcott’s classic Civil War story to the stage for a short run. Little Women follows the lives and struggles of four young sisters as they grow up while their father is off at war. Directed by Michael Jones, this musical features spirit-lifting and tear-jerking performances by Lauren Lazar, Katie Wise, Carina Cautillo, and Sarah DaCunha. Scarborough Village Theatre (3600 Kingston Road), 8 p.m., $27. 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), 8 p.m., $21–$53. 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), 8 p.m., $10–$40. Details
  • Dance: Told through South American music and dance, Arrabal is the story of a young girl desperate to find out what happened to her father after the Argentine military made him disappear when she was just a baby. Her search leads her to the Tango clubs of Buenos Aires, where she discovers both the truth, and herself. Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street), 8 p.m., $44-$84. 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), 8 p.m., $22-$47. 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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