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Urban Planner: April 11, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: a comedic return engagement, and blackhearted burlesque.

  • Comedy: It’s been three years since Todd Glass made his Comedy Bar debut—and liked the then-fledgling comedy venue so much, he returned for another three-night stand later that summer. The veteran comic and creator of a critically acclaimed eponymous podcast is doing four stand-up sets over two nights for this return engagement, with special guest Rob Mailloux and a rotating lineup of local hosts and openers, including Mark Forward, Steph Tolev, and Helder Brum. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., $20. Details
  • Offbeat: The world-famous SuicideGirls outfit has put together a travelling show called Blackheart Burlesque, which is currently touring Canada. The recent profile in AV Club of a longtime member makes it clear that these days, it’s quite competitive to become an official member, and this troupe’s already done Australia and western Canada, so by the time they arrive here in Toronto, they’ll definitely have their routines down pat. The Opera House (735 Queen Street East), 9 p.m., $25. Details

Ongoing…

  • 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: “The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon

    “In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore

    These quotations, which welcome visitors to Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $25 adults. Details

  • Festivals: A week of performing arts programming created by artists 21 and under, The Paprika Festival features readings, theatre and dance performances, and social events that aim to encourage youth involvement in the arts and foster the creation of art by young people. The festival boasts many alumni in the arts and arts-related fields, and this year’s crop of budding writers, directors, and performers may give young-at-heart attendees a glimpse of future Dora-winning work. There’s a double bill of workshopped shows each night of the week, with readings beforehand and late-night cabaret programming afterward. Over the festival’s closing weekend, the evenings turn into full days of arts events. All main-stage shows are $5; unlimited access festival passes can be purchased for $50. Many events are free of charge. For the full programming schedule, consult the festival’s website. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), FREE–$5, $50 festival pass. Details
  • Fashion: If a period drama has ever inspired you to visit the past, but you couldn’t because you didn’t have access to a time machine, listen up! The Spadina Museum is taking history, television, and fashion fans alike back to the Edwardian era with its “Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibit. Twenty pieces from the hit show will be on display, along with the City of Toronto’s own collection of garments from the time. Attendees will also be treated to Downton Abbey–themed tours of the century home. Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Road), all day, $25–$30 + tax. Details
  • Festivals: Taking place in five Canadian cities for the second time, The Spur Festival brings together thinkers, innovators, and academic and creative types for a series of lectures, meetings, and performances on “nationally relevant and locally nuanced” ideas. Here in Toronto from April 3 to April 6, the festival will include noted lawyer Michael Geist on free speech, an urban planning panel moderated by Shawn Micallef, talks by author Cecil Foster and photojournalists Rita Leistner and Mike Kamber, and much more. Many of the events, including the opening and closing parties, are free; a few have ticket prices ranging from $10 to $30. For full details, visit the festival’s website. FREE–$150. 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
  • Theatre: After a long, cold winter, Toronto is coming alive with The Sound of Music! This Rodgers and Hammerstein classic will brighten the Randolph Theatre stage for four weeks with some of the best-known and loved musical pieces in theatre history. Set against the darkness of Nazi-occupied Austria, the story centres around Maria—an aspiring nun—and the von Trapp family she learns to love. The Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.), 7:30 p.m., $39–$69. 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: Zack and Abby are the couple that others envy—the ones who seem to have it all. But secrets hide behind the beautiful home, the loving marriage, and the promising careers. Company Theatre’s Belleville—produced in association with Canadian Stage—explores the darkness that’s revealed in this seemingly perfect relationship after Abby finds her husband at home one day when he’s supposed to be at work. Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street), 8 p.m., $22–$49. Details
  • Theatre: The Storefront Theatre presents two great plays for the price of one, with the Swell Broad and The Homemaker Double Bill. Set in the 1950s, Brooke Banning’s Swell Broad follows an unlikely relationship between the hopelessly romantic Stuart, and Delilah, a woman with a less-than-favourable view of love, men, and commitment. Continuing in a similar vein, Laura Anne Harris’s The Homemaker examines the life of small-town 1960s housewife Janette Pettitpas, who tells the story of her marriage—and alcoholism—though poetry, dance, puppetry, and song. The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $20, $15 students. Details
  • Theatre: We’ll bet you’ve never had a dinner party quite as interesting as this one. Mark Leith invites you to sit down with the founder of political spin, Edward Bernays; the inventor of propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebbels; and the spearhead of the war on terror, Karl Rove—in the Act 2 Studio Works production of Dinner With Goebbels. Red Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen Street East), 8 p.m., $22. Details
  • Performing Arts: The Art of Time Ensemble remounts its intriguing meditation on the letters exchanged by author John Berger and artist John Christie, I Send You This Cadmium Red. The Ensemble creates the musical soundscape, while actors Julian Richings (whom we recently profiled) and John Fitzgerald Jay read the correspondence, and Vancouver video artist Bruce Alcock provides visual projections. Harbourfront Centre, Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West), 8 p.m., $25–$59. Details
  • Dance: After a year-long hiatus, the Arabesque Dance Company has re-emerged with a new program, to debut as part of NextSteps, which will bring more than 20 belly dancers and musicians from both Toronto and Montreal to the Harbourfront stage. Sawah (Arabic for “traveller” or “wanderer”) is a combination of Eastern and Western music and dance, and brings together styles ranging from traditional to modern. Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West), 8 p.m., $19–$39. Details
  • Theatre: Meet Cathy and Jamie, a mid-twenties New York couple who fall in and out of love over the course of half a decade. While it doesn’t involve a groundbreaking premise, The Last Five Years chooses to tell the story of their relationship in a unique fashion: Cathy’s perspective starts from the end and works backward, while Jamie’s simultaneously moves forward chronologically. The only intersection of their narratives occurs during their wedding, at the halfway point of the play. The Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester Street), 8 p.m., $25 advance, $30 door. 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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