Urban Planner: Here's What's On In Toronto This Week, May 24-30

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Urban Planner: Here’s What’s On In Toronto This Week, May 24-30

This week, the city opens its doors; ride into Bike Month with Councillor Mike Layton; and catch the final edition of a drop-in play-reading series at the Gladstone.

Amanda Parris. Photo courtesy of CBC.

Amanda Parris. Photo courtesy of CBC.


Wednesday, May 24

Two panels tonight tackle the role of media as opponents of public figures who lie and obfuscate, with a particular focus on an American president who does so habitually. The first panel of The Media as Opposition: Covering Trump in a Post-Truth Era will feature Amy Goodman and Juan González of Deomcracy Now!, Glenn Greewald and Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept, Vicky Mochama of Metro, and moderator Hannah Sung; the second panel will be a talk between Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and David Walmsley, editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail.

Wednesday, May 24, Roy Thompson Hall (60 Simcoe Street), 6:30 p.m., $45.


This month’s edition of Dark Nights will feature Amanda Parris. In addition to her role as host of CBC Arts programme Exhibitionists, she’s also a playwright-in-residence at Cahoots Theatre Company, and has another play being produced by Obsidian Theatre this fall. Parris will be speaking about her work profiling artists, as well as her own artistic practices.

Wednesday, May 24, Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West, Room 207), 7 p.m., PWYC.


To celebrate the Horseshoe Tavern’s 70th birthday, The Rheostatics, who are themselves legendary, are playing a four-night stand at the storied venue, with a slate of local openers. First on deck tonight: Friendly Rich.

May 24–27, The Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West), doors at 8:30 p.m., $30.


Vanessa Smythe. Photo by Nancy Ribiero.

Vanessa Smythe. Photo by Nancy Ribiero.


Thursday, May 25

The fractious relationship between the queer community and Toronto Police isn’t improving any time soon, despite the recent invite from a queer police group in New York City to parade there. Besides the most recent targeting of queer citizens in Marie Curtis Park, there’s a long history of Toronto police targeting queer Torontonians. Queers Crash The Beat! will feature a panel speaking on various aspects of police discrimination, with reps from BLM Toronto, The Butterfly, and Aids Action Now, plus U of T law professor Mariana Valverde.

Thursday, May 25, The 519 (519 Church Street), 6:30 p.m., FREE.


Most of The Soulo Festival, featuring one-time only storytelling performances, is happening at the Red Sandcastle Theatre over the next four days and nights, but tonight’s gala is taking place in a boxing gym. That’s because said gym is the setting for a story by TO Newsgirls founder Savoy Howe, who’s spent 25 years coming up in the boxing world and encouraging women to take up the pugilistic pastime. Howe will be in the ring, “soulo”; tickets are going fast, though there may be a few at the door.

Thursday, May 25, Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club (388 Carlaw Avenue, #108), 8 p.m., $25 in advance, $20 at the door.


Just down the street, another much softer-in-content solo show will also be making its debut. Lip Synch Sleepover is the new work by poetic performer Vanessa Smythe, in collaboration with director Mitchell Cushman of Outside the March, and Crow’s Theatre. Her previous hit show, In Case We Disappear, focused on adult romance, but this new one looks at childhood love and dreams. Smythe’s most recent tag line: “Let’s come together to remember something good.”

May 25–26, Streetcar Crowsnest (345 Carlaw Avenue), 8:30 p.m., $20.


Todd Glass headlines the first annual United Comedy Festival at Comedy Bar this weekend. Photo by Michael Maples.

Todd Glass headlines the first annual United Comedy Festival at Comedy Bar this weekend. Photo by Michael Maples.


Friday, May 26

Simone Schmidt’s most recent project as Fiver, Audible Songs From Rockwood, is garnering all sorts of press and interest for its inspiration and detailed historical dive into the lives of patient-prisoners at a now-shuttered psychiatric facility near Kingston, Ontario. Fiver’s first of three shows in support of the album last night was sold out, but at press time some tickets remain for tonight‚ in part because it has moved to a church on St. Clair after the original Toronto Island venue became inaccessible.

Friday, May 26, St. Matthew’s Church (729 St. Clair West), doors at 7:30 p.m., show 8–9:30 p.m., $15.


Graham Isador’s Situational Anarchy, a one man show about his complicated (non-)relationship with transgender singer Laura Jane Grace of Against Me, was a critical hit at the 2016 SummerWorks Festival (#4 in this list). Isador is giving eight performances of the show this week and next week and all proceeds for the “pay what you want” run are being donated to the Trans Life Line.

May 24–June 3, Stop Drop & Roll (300 College Street), Wednesday–Saturday, 8 p.m., Saturday June 3, 4 p.m., $15 in advance, PWYC at the door.


Empire Comedy is launching the first annual United Comedy Festival in conjunction with visiting comedy star Todd Glass, who headlines the new initiative. Glass has five shows over three nights, surrounded by quirky programming including Edmontonian Wayne Jones’s daredevil drink and improv show Nine Wines, SASS Comedy with headliner Aisha Brown, and several Showcase Supremes. Glass’s headliner shows run $25 each; the others run between $5 and $15 (and there’s a possibility Glass might pop up on their bills too).

May 25–28, Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), various times, $5–$25.



Kurt Marble plays the Masonic Temple as part of Wavelength’s programming for Doors Open Toronto.


Saturday, May 27

The annual Doors Open Toronto event now spans two days and helps Torontonians access, for free, many usually shuttered public buildings across the city. Cultural institutions participating (there’s a long list here) also have special programming, but this year, it’s the shows by Wavelength Music Series that intrigue us most, especially Kurt Marble playing the Massonic Temple, the recently refurbished concert venue that’s been closed for years and is still months away from an official opening.

May 27–28, various venues and times, FREE.


From all indoors exploration, to a day spent outside; the CBC Music Fest features nearly two dozen acts, including Serena Ryder, Keys N’ Krates, IsKwé, and more. There’s child-friendly programming as well, and kids 12 and under are free (make sure you bring ear protection for the littlest ones).

Saturday, May 27, Echo Beach (909 Lake Shore Boulevard West), doors at 1:30 p.m., show at 2:15 p.m., $39.50 (children 12 and under FREE).


Later in the evening, and definitely not for all ages, this month’s edition of Lunacy Cabaret, a free-wheeling showcase of clown, circus, and cabaret acts, will be even more gaudily colourful than usual—it’s their Luau edition. The usual warning that acts are entirely uncensored should be mentioned; also, anyone who’s deathly allergic to pineapple might want to steer clear (food has been known to be thrown).

Saturday, May 27, Centre of Gravity (1300 Gerrard Street East), doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $20 in advance, $25 at the door.


Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington. Photo by Grant D in the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington. Photo by Grant D in the Torontoist Flickr Pool.


Sunday, May 28

Councillor Mike Layton and his family are famously known as ardent cyclists, and he’s hosting the annual Bike With Mike today, which is an outdoor party kicking off Bike Month in Toronto. There’ll be free tune-ups, clinics, and entertainment, plus BBQ, kids’ activities, and the Blessing of the Bikes by clergy from Trinity St. Paul’s.

Sunday, May 28, Christie Pits (750 Bloor Street West), noon–5 p.m., FREE.


Spend all day with your bike or spend all day walking? The latter choice will draw thousands today to the first 2017 edition of Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market, a closed-to-cars street festival that takes over the neighbourhood. The car garden is back in place, and there’ll be lots of music outdoors, including the Soul Sunday Street Party. (After 7 p.m., plenty of neighbourhood establishments will be welcoming the crowd inside.)

Sunday, May 28, Kensington Market, noon–7 p.m., FREE.


Bike to Work Day in 2014. Photo by Russell Sutherland in the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Bike TO Work Day in 2014. Photo by Russell Sutherland in the Torontoist Flickr Pool.


Monday, May 29

Another Bike Month event Monday morning kicks off early with almost a dozen different group rides to City Hall as part of Bike TO Work Day. The group commute ends at City Hall, where there’ll be free breakfast and Bike Month paraphernalia.

Monday, May 29, various locations converging on Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West), rides begin at 7 a.m., breakfast 8–9 a.m., FREE.


With the weather warming up, a lot of indoor programming is wrapping up for the summer, including the Howland Company’s Reading Group. The final edition of the free drop-in play reading series will feature Duncan MacMillan’s People, Places and Things, about an actress who suffers a mental breakdown on stage and joins a therapy group to deal with her substance abuse issues. If you’d like to cold read, make sure you get there before the 7 p.m. start to sign up.

Monday, May 29, The Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar (1214 Queen Street West), 7 p.m., FREE.


Keith Klassen and Natalya Gennadi in a scene from Oksana G. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Keith Klassen and Natalya Gennadi in a scene from Oksana G.. Photo by Dahlia Katz.


Tuesday, May 30

Tapestry Opera Artistic Director Michael Mori wrote a column for us last week, describing the process of creating Oksana G., a new opera that tackles the difficult topic of sex trafficking. It must have hit a chord, because the first show is already sold out, and the shows on Friday and Sunday are close—so your best bet to see the show is the final performance tonight.

May 24, 26, 28, 30, Imperial Oil Opera Theatre (227 Front Street East), 8 p.m., $50–$175.


Urban Planner is your weekly curated guide to what’s on in Toronto—things that are local, affordable, and exceptional.

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