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Weekend Planner: March 8-9, 2014

In this Weekend Planner: a tour of the Forbidden City, the art of Dr. Seuss, and celebrating International Women’s Day.

Model of the Forbidden City.

  • Art: If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), all day, $27 adults. Details
  • Art: You should not, would not miss this event if you’ve ever read Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or Green Eggs and Ham. Why? The Art of Dr. Seuss is coming to Casa Loma! Presented by Liss Gallery, the exhibit features over 30 paintings, drawings, and sculptures showcasing the mind of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Come during March Break (March 8-15) to take advantage of extra-Seussy programming, including storytelling, arts and crafts, and live performances. Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace), Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m., $27, $17 kids, $21 seniors. Details
  • Performing Arts: Chicka Boom is celebrating International Women’s Day the best way it knows how—with an evening full of talented female performers. Hosted by Laura Bailey and Jess Beaulieu, the showcase features comediennes Naomi Snieckus, Carolyn Taylor, Sandra Battaglini, and Robby Hoffman—and storytelling by Arianne Shaffer, musical comedy from Nadine Djoury, and dance by Karen Stern and Jane Danielson. Admission is pay-what-you-can, with all proceeds going to 416 Community Support for Women. Free Times Cafe (320 College Street), Saturday at 8 p.m., PWYC. Details
  • Music: Now here’s something to make you feel old: Green Day’s “Dookie,” Nine Inch Nails’ “The Downward Spiral,” and Soundgarden’s “Superunknown” all came out two decades ago. To distract us from the fact that time is passing far too quickly, Rancho Relaxo is hosting 1994′s 20th Birthday Party. Break out the flannel, and prepare to enjoy great covers of the year’s best songs, along with some original ones from Leprechaun 2, Fun Dip, Pole, The ’92 Blue Jays, and more. Rancho Relaxo (300 College Street), Saturday at 9 p.m., $8. Details
  • Food: Here’s an event that will help you break out of your shell (har har)—School Shucks: Oyster Class. Join the Culinary Adventure Company for an in-depth lesson that will cover oyster anatomy; how to purchase, prepare, and cook oysters; and the difference between the oysters found on the east and west coasts. Go home with a full belly, your own shucker, a recipe book, and the ability to impress your next date! Hogtown Pub & Oysters (633 College Street), Sunday at 2 p.m., $95 + HST. Details
  • Dance: Take a trip around the world in one hour with Dancenette. This intimate showcase features 10 performances by groups and solo artists that touch on a wide variety of dance styles, including hip hop, belly dance, salsa, and Celtic. Arabesque Dance Academy (1 Gloucester Street), Sunday at 7 p.m., $10 advance, $20 door. Details
  • Film: The boys at Modern Superior aren’t doctors or scientists, but they’ve come up with a sure-fire way to cure arachnophobia. Okay, we can’t verify that claim, but if you come out to Video Vengeance #4: Kingdom of the Spiders, you’re bound to have a great time, despite the film’s horrible, crawly stars. Grab a beverage and some nachos, and bask in William Shatner’s masterful performance in this 1977 cult classic. Yelling stuff at the screen is not only accepted, it’s encouraged! KITCH (229 Geary Avenue), Sunday at 8 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Poetry: In the mood for some serious wordplay? Check out the Toronto Poetry Slam Semifinals going on at the Drake Hotel Underground. Competing for a spot in the finals—and ultimately, the official 2014 Toronto Poetry Slam team—are poets Andre Prefontaine, Patrick Walters, Estefania, Optimus Rhyme, Britta B., Ketch22, MultiPurpose Hot Air Machine, and David Delisca. St. Paul, Minnesota’s Kait Rokowski will be the evening’s feature act. Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen Street West), Sunday at 8 p.m., $5. Details

Ongoing…

  • 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
  • Art: Artist Sarah Anne Johnson delves into life’s most intimate moments in “Wonderlust.” Using photography and visual arts, she explores the emotional attachment, romance, and self-consciousness that come with sex. Stephen Bulger Gallery (1026 Queen Street West), Saturday at 11 a.m., FREE. 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), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $44–$84. Details
  • Theatre: The image most commonly associated with Franz Kafka’s most famous work, the 1915 novella The Metamorphosis, is that of a giant insect trapped inside a bare, dirty room with a rotting apple lodged in his back—the bug was formerly a man named Gregor Samsa, and the room was formerly his bedroom. As we all know, this distressing and inexplicable transformation from man to bug happened in an instant, although its emotional and literary after-effects have been haunting English students ever since.

    The stage adaptation of The Metamorphosis by the Icelandic company Vesturport Theatre and London’s Lyric Hammersmith, on now at the Royal Alexandra Theatre with Mirvish Productions, is much more watchable than this introduction would suggest. The only bug you’ll see in this version is a trick of light and shadow. And that’s not the only trick up this show’s sleeve (or perhaps antenna?). Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $25–$99. Details

  • Theatre: Bollywood is the force that brings two stories of self-exploration together in Same Same But Different. After her mother’s life is changed by a run-in with the world of Indian cinema, Aisha—a Canadian-born actress—realizes that she must face her prejudices about nationality and skin colour in order to rise to stardom. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), Saturday at 2 p.m.,7:30 p.m., PWYC–$32.50+HST. Details
  • Theatre: A man, a woman, and a major life decision. That’s what makes up Tarragon Theatre’s Marry Me a Little. Set to a score of rare Sondheim pieces, this Craig Lucas and Norman René story sees a young couple grapple with love, commitment, and the daunting future. 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: In Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, on now at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace, two people—a man and a woman in their late twenties to mid-thirties—stand on an empty stage and talk. They talk at each other, mostly, about themselves and about more abstract thoughts, as time shifts in the script propel them from pivotal moment to pivotal moment. It’s a style of theatre that can go wrong in an instant—but it can also produce a work that invigorates, or even inspires, a passion for the art form. Fortunately, this one does the latter. 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: You can be taken out of a war, but can you truly remove the war from within you? This question is posed in Kawa Ada’s The Wanderers, a Buddies in Bad Times production about a father and son who flee a battle-worn Afghanistan. Though they start a new life in Canada, the horrors from their homeland refuse to be left behind. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., PWYC–$37. Details
  • Comedy: The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (TOsketchfest) returns for its 9th year to promote the best of scripted live comedy, with a lineup of over 40 troupes from across North America. Not to be missed are the live reading of Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy, a headlining performance of Gavin Crawford’s Sh**ting Rainbows, or the Slings and Arrows panel with Mark McKinney, Susan Coyne, and Bob Martin. Multiple venues, Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 8 p.m., $15–$39. 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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