In today's Urban Planner: shocking educational films, the madness of Stratford, and a comedic launch.
- Film: Many horror fans can recall the first time they encountered the genre, and how it affected their lives. But chances are that our first tastes of gore and terror came from the most unassuming and well-meaning sources. The Black Museum welcomes author Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women) to its stage for School of Shock. Referencing several decades worth of educational films, PSAs, and drunk-driving commercials from around the world, Janisse will examine our long-standing relationship with morbid subject matter and imagery. The Royal Cinema (608 College Street), 9 p.m., $12 in advance, $15 at the door. 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
Film: You’d be hard-pressed to think of a filmmaker more frequently linked to his national cinema in the popular imagination than Satyajit Ray, whose work in the 1950s brought an independent streak to the production of Indian cinema as famously as Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless countered the establishment of French costume dramas around the same time. Yet prior to the 1990s, you might have found it equally difficult to name a major international figurehead who was as underrepresented at repertory screenings, so dire was the state of the films’ prints.
Twenty years after the Academy Film Archive restored the Bengali director’s deteriorating and otherwise endangered negatives and made proper retrospectives possible, TIFF Cinematheque offers “The Sun and the Moon: The Films of Satyajit Ray,” a far-ranging program that gives Toronto audiences the opportunity to see the fruit of that labour as well as the work of arguably India’s most influential filmmaker. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West). Details
- Art: “Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes“ is a collaborative effort of the AGO and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, in New York City, where the exhibition recently wrapped up after a one-year run. The displays are organized by themes relating to Anishinaabe concepts of place and spirituality, and how they interact with the outside world. One of the most intriguing themes is “cottager colonialism,” which suggests that the colonization of indigenous land continues by way of vacationing tourists. Political statements are scattered throughout the exhibition, from Nadia Myre’s bead-covered pages of the Indian Act to the use of historical indigenous status documents in Robert Houle’s “Premises” series. Floral beaded bags and leggings, meanwhile, provide inspiration for the contemporary paintings of Christi Belcourt, an Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award recipient. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $19.50 (included with general adult admission). Details
- Theatre: Only about two hours away from Toronto, madness is infiltrating the town of Stratford, Ontario—but fortunately, it’s the kind that produces delightful results. Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino has designed this year’s season around the theme “Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge,” and explores it through everything from jukebox musicals to Shakespearean tragedies. And with the festival’s increasingly popular twice-daily bus service to and from downtown (in its second year), it’s easy to get a taste of what the mania is all about. Here’s Torontoist‘s take on a sampling of this year’s festival offerings—Ira Glass and his opinions notwithstanding, a whole lot of people would welcome a chance to spend some time with the Bard and some of Canada’s most esteemed artists. Multiple venues, all day, $25–$133. Details
- Film: Every part of our city will be drenched in WorldPride this summer, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Bent Lens: Pride on Screen comprises nearly two months of screenings, exhibits, and speaking engagements that reflect the broadness of our LGBT community. Check out films under the stars in David Pecaut Square, take in a conversation with Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black, and much more. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West). Details
- Performing Arts: If you were to tell a sandwich artist to give you “the works,” you’d end up with a delicious concoction overflowing with a wide range of tastes and textures. The SummerWorks Performance Festival can be described in the same manner. Over the course of 10 days, multiple venues across the city will be flooded with plays, musical performances, and other artistic productions. As a primarily juried showcase, SummerWorks brings the best and most creatively courageous pieces to the stages. Multiple venues, all day, $10-$20 per ticket. Details
- Photography: Our fascination with fame and celebrity isn’t new—and this is illustrated in Izzy Gallery’s newest exhibit, Terry O’Neil: The Man Who Shot the Sixties. A photographer from the U.K., O’Neill snapped iconic shots of everyone from The Beatles and Rolling Stones to Brigitte Bardot and Faye Dunaway. The opening party features an appearance by O’Neill himself, and his “photographs from the frontline of fame” will remain on display until the end of August. Izzy Gallery (106 Yorkville Avenue), 11 a.m., FREE. Details
- Comedy: After leaving its Danforth location in 2011 to become performing (and training) nomads (most recently, with a long-term residency at Comedy Bar), improv company Bad Dog Theatre has finally settled in a new home near Bloor and Ossington. With Comedy Bar and the Storefront Theatre just a block away, Bad Dog’s arrival turns the strip into a destination for comedy of all kinds. To celebrate its new performance space and training centre, the Bad Dog Comedy Theatre Launch Week will feature tons of special guests nightly, including Vancouver’s Sunday Service, Atlanta’s Dad’s Garage, and, of course, the Bad Dog Repertory Company. Early 7 p.m. shows are free, followed by two nights with headliners, and every night ending in a late-night party or showcase event. Bad Dog Comedy Theatre (875 Bloor Street West), 7 p.m., FREE-$50. 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.