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events

Weekend Planner: April 26-27, 2014

In this Weekend Planner: the International Day of Dance, a metal battle, and orienteering with the family.

Can you dance all day? Prove it at the COBA Dance and Drum-a-thon. Photo courtesy of Collective of Black Artists.

  • Dance: It’s the International Day of Dance, so you can imagine what we’re going to suggest you do. But busting a move shouldn’t happen only in the safety of your living room, so join the Collective of Black Artists (COBA) for an all-day Dance and Drum-a-thon. Learn hip hop, Caribbean, Bollywood, dancehall, jazz, African dance, and more from COBA dancers and special guest instructors. Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East), Saturday at 9 a.m., $5 per class, or $25 for full day. Details
  • Outdoors: Before we all became dependent on smart phones and GPS, we relied on things like maps and compasses to get around (crazy, right?). Return to these simpler times with the Family Nature Walks Orienteering event. Teach your kids valuable navigation skills, and learn about the environment as you make your way through a fun course across High Park. High Park Nature Centre (440 Parkside Drive), Saturday at 1:30 p.m., $2. Details
  • Music: Toronto is turning things up to 11 for two straight weekends, as the Wacken Metal Battle semifinals rage on at Hard Luck Bar and the Rivoli. Each night, five bands will play in hopes of making it to the final round, and ultimately, the Wacken Open Air Metal Festival in Germany. Warm up those neck and hand muscles, as there’s plenty of headbanging and horn-throwing to be done with Santuarium, Shotgun Cure, Psycho Mad Sally, the Parallax, and My Hollow taking the stage on April 26, followed by the Blackcloud Syndicate, Burning the Day, Endemise, Our Covenant, and Shattered Remains on May 3. Multiple venues, Saturday at 9 p.m., $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Details
  • Outdoors: Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassadors wants you to help decrease the risk of used diapers and other unpleasantries spoiling the beach this summer. How? By participating in The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. In 2013, thousands of volunteers removed more than 99,280 kilograms of garbage from sites across Canada. Tommy Thompson Park (1 Leslie Street), Sunday at 10 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Sports: If your ideal Sunday afternoon includes sweaty guys and body slams, you’re in luck. Victory Commonwealth Wrestling returns to the El Mo for an epic battle between Chunk E Fresh and Bad Boy Buddy Boone, along with appearances by Mysterion, the Yin Yang Express, Goliath Ayala, Eddie Sapps and more. El Mocambo (464 Spadina Avenue), Sunday at 3:30 p.m., $15 + fees. 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

  • Theatre: Every year, Playwright Project brings theatre lovers together to celebrate one deserving writer. This year, Caryl Churchill’s works will get the spotlight treatment for two weeks at The Downstage. Vinegar Tom, A Number, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, and Three More Sleepless Nights will each be showcased several times throughout the festival. The Downstage (798 Danforth Avenue), Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m., $10–$15. Details
  • Theatre: Broken people, obsession, loss, war, and poverty don’t usually make for the most uplifting stories. But what if love were thrown in? Of Human Bondage does just that. Regarded as one of the world’s greatest novels, it has been brought to life by playwright Vern Thiessen, and will make its world premiere on the Soulpepper Theatre stage. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), Saturday at 1:30 p.m., $29–$74. 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 workBerkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $22–$49. Details
  • Theatre: Despite its provocative title, there’s actually very little that’s controversial about Mike Bartlett’s Cock, making its Canadian premiere at the Theatre Centre. Its subject matter might have been viewed as more controversial in 2009, when the play premiered at the Royal Court in London—but after five years, this story of a love triangle between two men and a woman has lost part of its taboo-challenging appeal. Luckily, though, its emotional appeal has endured. The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $25–$35. Details
  • Theatre: If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth. Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $35–$119. Details
  • Theatre: It’s 1977, and a group of friends in England are gathering for a soirée. A pretty standard concept, that’s for sure, but Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party takes things to another level with a playful romp through the lives of these suburban socialites. Witness the hilarity and awkwardness as the hostess from hell metaphorically tears her guests to pieces. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), Saturday at 2 p.m.,7:30 p.m., $25–$29.50. Details
  • Theatre: Erin Shields’ Soliciting Temptation, premiering now at Tarragon Theatre, was highly anticipated—it’s the first new play since 2010 from the eminent female playwright, known for the Governor General Award-winning If We Were Birds. In some respects, it lives up to the hype. It deals with the difficult, often-overlooked subject of child sex tourism, and it does so thoughtfully and with nuance. The overall experience, though, is somewhat underwhelming, because the compelling ideas explored are undercut by an implausible premise. Tarragon Theatre, Extra Space (30 Bridgman Avenue), Saturday at 2:30 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $21–$53. Details
  • Theatre: Up until Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez made that movie, the word “Gigli” was associated with images of beauty, the splendour of the opera, and, more specifically, the renowned Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. In Irish playwright Tom Murphy’s The Gigli Concert, originally written in 1983 and on stage now at Soulpepper Theatre, the singer’s voice represents not only beauty, but hope itself—the one saving force that can pull its two central characters from deep depressions. And, thankfully, the journey to the other side is infinitely more watchable than the previously mentioned Hollywood film. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), Saturday at 7:30 p.m., $29–$74. 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.), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m., $39–$69. Details
  • Performing Arts: Mixed Company Theatre has an emerging artists program, and those young artists, collectively known as Project Boomerang, are presenting an interactive performance piece entitled Unemployment Unanimous: A 12-Step Program for Millenials. Focusing on the odd and biased media coverage of the employment habits and lifestyle choices of those born between 1980 and 2000, the collective will use multimedia and performance methods to tackle “the tough questions around expectation, entitlement, and adaptability.” 157 Carlton Street (157 Carlton Street), Saturday at 8 p.m., $10-$15. 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), Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $22. Details
  • Theatre: Most unsolicited messages from admirers to famous writers do not result in collaborations: but when Lindsay Cochrane, kindergarten teacher and English literature grad, emailed Yann Martel, the acclaimed author of Life of Pi, about adapting one of his novels into a stage play, the two ended up joining forces. The result is Cochrane’s first play, Beatrice & Virgil, on now at Factory Theatre (in a co-production with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre). With the help of director Sarah Garton Stanley, Cochrane has made an impressively valiant effort to wrangle some large, abstract, and troublesome ideas into a well-crafted work of live theatre. Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street), Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $23–$45. Details
  • Theatre: Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Desdemona find new life in Danya Buonastella, Dean Gilmour, Nina Gilmour, and Michele Smith’s Death Married My Daughter. In this satire, these women—resurrected from the swamps of death—take great pleasure in shaking up Man’s society while exposing their murderers and abusers. The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West), Saturday at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:15 p.m., $23. 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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