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Urban Planner: May 13, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: paint-by-yoga, promising filmmakers, and big theatrical ideas.

A scene from Alex Cananzi's Suite Spot  Image courtesy of RUFF

A scene from Alex Cananzi’s Suite Spot. Image courtesy of RUFF.

  • Art: Yoga is all about releasing your anxieties, knotted muscles, and—in some cases—buckets of sweat. Now Paintlounge wants to help turn this workout into an artistic venture. Join instructor Hayley Lowe for A Creative Journey Workshop, a combination of yoga and painting. Focus on breathing, relaxation, and posture in a Hatha Yoga session to connect to your creativity, and then channel it into your own piece of original art. Paintlounge (784 College Street), 9 a.m., $30. Details
  • Film: Hipster or not, you probably feel pretty smug when you experience something before it becomes popular. The Ryerson University Film Festival (RUFF) is the perfect opportunity to add to your “I saw it back when…” catalogue. The pieces that graduating School of Image Arts film students have been pouring their hearts and souls into all year will screen over the course of two days. Considering Ryerson’s track record of fostering creative minds, you might just see the next TIFF buzz film before anyone else does! Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West), 7 p.m., $12 per night, or $20 for two-night pass. Details
  • Theatre: What’s brewing in Toronto’s theatre community? We’re glad you asked! The Big Ideas Festival is showcasing works-in-progress from the aspiring playwrights in the Alumnae Theatre’s New Play Development Group. Over the course of five days, the work of eight writers will take the stage—some full-length plays, and some selected scenes from upcoming productions. Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley Street), 8 p.m., FREE. 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

  • Dance: The Peggy Baker Dance Project is thinking outside the box with its new production, land|body|breath. Specially designed to exist between the paintings and sculptures of the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, this immersive show features a combination of dancers and vocalists. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), 1 p.m., Ticket included with AGO admission. Details
  • Theatre: Be honest: you’re one of those drivers who slows down to gape at traffic accidents, aren’t you? Outside the March aims to satisfy this morbid curiosity with Rosamund Small’s Vitals. In this unique, interactive theatre experience, the 30-person audience gets to accompany Anna (Katherine Cullen) as she gets dispatched out to the scene of an emergency. As the location of the performance is undisclosed, guests will pick up their tickets—and directions to the venue—at 149 Roncesvalles Avenue. 7:30 p.m., $30, $25 for seniors and those under 30. Details
  • Theatre: As the world premiere of a stage adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s famous novel, Soulpepper Theatre’s production of Of Human Bondage is the jewel of the company’s 2014 season. Not that it’s a perfect play—but it does flex the strength of Soulpepper’s acting ensemble, design team, and, well, budget. The arresting opening scene sees the play’s main character, Philip Carey, well-played by Gregory Prest, enter by rising through a trapdoor centre stage while other members of the cast appear to dissect a cadaver (they’re actually crossing bows across a double bass, which is lying horizontally on an operating table). A spotlight casts Philip’s shadow against a red-brick wall, so that the bows appear to saw through his stiff, upright body. Setting the tone for the rest of the production, the scene is striking, but not incredibly subtle. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $29–$74. 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), 8 p.m., $35–$119. Details
  • Theatre: We’re nearing the end of Tarragon Theatre‘s 2013/2014 season, and it appears we’ve also arrived at the final stage of its theme: love, loss, wine, and the gods. But that doesn’t mean the Tarragon, which has seen some major hits this year in Lungs, The Double, and The Ugly One, is phoning it in. Sean Dixon’s ambitious new script, A God in Need of Help, has produced not only one of the longer plays in the Tarragon season, but also easily the most dense and layered, mixing as it does historical fact and fiction with timeless issues of art, religion, and politics. Fortunately, that makes it the strongest mainstage show of the season thus far (we’ll see how Tarragon’s final show, The God That Comes, co-created by and featuring Hawksley Workman, performs in June). Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21–$53. 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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