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Urban Planner: August 7, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: the wonderful craziness of SummerWorks, beach cleanups, and reading rotten writing.

From The Good Story  Photo courtesy of SummerWorks Performance Festival

From The Good Story. Photo courtesy of SummerWorks Performance Festival.

  • 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
  • Outdoors: If the image of turtles getting caught in plastic pop can rings doesn’t make you care for the environment, imagine going for a dip on a hot day—and diving right into a floating diaper. Gross, right? This is why we should all take part in the Sunnyside Beach Cleanup. It’s a win-win-win situation as Torontonians get a clean place to hang out, nature gets a small break from our destructive tendencies, and the fist 200 volunteers to sign up get tickets to the Corona SunSets Festival on August 16. Sunnyside Park (1755 Lakeshore Boulevard West), 5 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Books: You and your friends probably don’t sit around reading excerpts from classic novels and poems to each other. But everyone enjoys a good trainwreck! (Isn’t that why the internet exists?) This is the thought behind Sara Bynoe’s Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing. Kick back and let engaging readers take you through the most hilariously terrible written passages in existence. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 7 p.m., $10. 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Dance: Celebrating 20 years of midsummer outdoor evening dance experiences, Dusk Dances returns to Withrow Park for its 20th anniversary season, featuring six pieces performed nightly for seven nights (there are also special 2 p.m. matinees on Thursday, August 7, and Sunday, August 10.) More than a dozen dancers will perform original pieces set in the park’s sunny glades, shaded areas, and splash pools. If you love what you see, there will be another run in the fall at Fort York—but there’s no guarantee the weather will be as warm, of course. Withrow Park (Bain and Logan Avenues), 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., PWYC. Details
  • Music: If the patio is your summer destination of choice, Roy Thomson Hall wants to sweeten your sun-soaking with its Live on the Patio music series. Every week you can enjoy a few drinks, food from Barque Smokehouse, and great entertainment, while unwinding next to a charming urban pond. Check out Sun K and Grey Lands (July 17), Francesco Yates (July 24), Belle Starr (July 31), and the TSO Brass Quintet (August 7). Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe Street), 5 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Sports: Align your body, ease your mind, and get your retail therapy all in one stop this summer at the Shops at Don Mills. Bring your mat for free Yoga in the Town Square every Tuesday and Thursday, courtesy of Titika. Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Dance: If the warm weather makes you feel like dancing, well, Harbourfront is where you need to be. Get your groove on every Thursday until the end of summer at Dancing on the Pier. Live music from the likes of the Toronto All-Star Big Band, Sean Bellaviti, and Luis Orbegoso will provide the soundtrack to each themed evening. Got two left feet? No problem! Instructors will be on hand to get your steps in order. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Music: There’s bound to be a lot of barbecuing, beaching, and boozing around the city this summer, so we’d like to suggest something a little more refined to keep things balanced. The Music in the Garden series features weekly performances by a variety of unique musical groups, amid the luscious greenery of the Toronto Music Garden. The Akwesasne Women Singers start things off on July 3 with a showcase of English and Mohawk songs, followed by Music from the Garden of India (July 24), an all-female fiddling supergroup (July 31), the Nagata Shachu taiko drumming ensemble (August 21), the Veretski Pass Trio (September 4), and many more. Toronto Music Garden (479 Queens Quay West), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: If the thought of battling crowds at the Aquarium has you feeling a little crabby, may we suggest an underwater voyage of a different kind? Bring the kids (or your adult friends, whatever) to the Lower Ossington Theatre’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr. The classic story of a whimsical mermaid, a land-living prince, and her desire to be part of his world has been specially adapted for younger audiences, and will only be onstage this August. Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Avenue), 7 p.m., $29.99- $59.99. 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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