In today's Urban Planner: mythical dances, swell broads, and exploring queer relationships.
- Dance: Spend your lunch hour with singers and dancers from Opera Atelier as they descend upon the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for a free performance, thanks to the Canadian Opera Company. In preparation for their upcoming production of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s Persée, they’ll be giving a sneak peek at the show, which follows the heroic journey of Perseus as he fights Medusa in an effort to save the life of Princess Andromeda. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West), 12 p.m., FREE. Details
- Books: A champion of the 21st-century family, TouchWood Editions is celebrating the release of their fifth book on the topic, A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships. This anthology looks at lesbian, gay, and transgender relationships and families, and includes personal essays by straight writers who have LGBTQ parents or children. The launch will feature live readings by Kate Barker, S. Bear Bergman, Nathan Burgoine, Jason Dale, Dorianne Emmerton, Bruce Gillespie, Max Mosher, Maya Saibil, and Keph Senett. Ben McNally Books (366 Bay Street), 6:30 p.m., FREE. 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
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. , all day, 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
- Film: Let’s be honest: you can’t call yourself a true film buff unless you’ve seen the classics—by which we mean those that came before the “talkies.” If you need a quick catch-up course, you’re in luck—the Toronto Silent Film Festival is taking over various theatres across the city for six straight days. One film will be showcased per day, and paired with live and improvised music. Even if you’re familiar with The Wind (1928), City Girl (1930), The Circus (1928), Seven Years Bad Luck (1921), The Last Command (1928), or every Charlie Chaplin film, you’ve never seen them quite like this! Multiple venues, 7 p.m., $10–$20. 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
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.