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Culture

Welcome to TIFF 2014

Survival guides, reviews, and other fun stuff

events

Urban Planner: May 23, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: rock-and-roll photos, mysterious brews, and dreamy local music talents.

Photo by Lynn Goldsmith.

    • Books: For decades, photographer Lynn Goldsmith has been documenting rock-and-roll icons, including the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and Bob Marley. Her ninth book, Rock & Roll Stories, is a candid look back at that part of her career as a photographer. Goldsmith will be in Toronto to do a Q & A at 5 p.m. with local journalist Rob Duffy; this will be followed by drinks and a book-signing session from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Analogue Gallery (673 Queen Street West), 4 p.m., FREE. Details
    • Food: Local suds appreciator Lauren Richard hosts an evening of beer tastings at the Central, punctuated by short sets by local bands the Marks and Bunny Lapin. The event, ABCs of Beer, also has a “secret” theme: the brews you’ll be sampling will be anonymous until the reveal at the end of the event. $6 gets you the beer (the tastings, anyway) and the music. The Central (603 Markham Street), 6 p.m., $6. Details
    • Music: Dark and dreamy local act Timber Timbre, touring his new album Hot Dreams, hits a local career high with a show at Massey Hall, the venue most Toronto artists dream of playing someday—the Canadian equivalent of playing New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Tickets for the main floor and centre balcony are already unavailable, so it’s possible Taylor Kirk and company, plus their special opening guest Cold Specks, might put a capper on that dream by selling the venue out. , 8 p.m., $18.94. 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

    • Film: Now in its 24th year, the Inside Out festival offers an eclectic mix of LGBT-themed films from Canada and around the world. Setting up shop at venues ranging from the TIFF Bell Lightbox to Videofag, the festival mixes screenings, panel discussions, and receptions for equal parts edification and entertainment—all in the name of “challenging attitudes and changing lives.” Multiple venues, all day. Details
    • Theatre: Outside the March seems to be Toronto’s favourite indie theatre company. Director Mitchell Cushman built up quite a buzz after consecutive hits Mr. Marmalade and Terminus, both of which were praised for their unconventional use of space (the former was set in a kindergarten classroom, the latter placed both the actors and the audience on the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre), so his next project had been highly anticipated. Vitals, written by Rosamund Small, was the first script for Outside the March developed specifically for a site-specific space, and its original run had to be extended even before opening night. Then, only a few days into the run, it was extended again to June 1. And though Vitals isn’t the best show in Outside the March’s history, there’s a reason that tickets have been flying. 149 Roncesvalles Avenue (149 Roncesvalles Avenue), 7:15 p.m., $25–$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
    • Theatre: Meet Dean—he’s climbed the military ladder, fought in Afghanistan, and made it safely home. But home is no longer where the heart is. A dark comedy, Dead Metaphor puts a humorous spin on the difficulties of postwar life as Dean returns to a pregnant ex-wife, a lack of job prospects, and the realization that there is no place for him in the real world. Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street), 8 p.m., $19–$79. Details
    • Theatre: If we’ve learned anything from slasher flicks, it’s that having sex leads to death. Returning to the stage to mark its 25th anniversary, Brad Fraser’s Love and Human Remains pursues this dark train of thought. Set in Edmonton, the play tells the story of a bunch of sexually frustrated and dysfunctional twenty- and thirty-somethings grappling with life and love, while a killer lurks in their midst. Unit 102 Theatre (376 Dufferin Street), 8 p.m., $20 + fees. 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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