Torontoist's weekly roundup column returns—as does the SheDot and We're Funny That Way comedy festivals, Feast In the East, and Global Marijuana March.
Thursday, May 4
The fourth annual SheDot Festival this week showcases funny women from Toronto, Canada, and beyond. Highlights this year include a special headlining set by Nikki Payne, a panel with the creators of The Baroness Von Sketch Show (recently picked up for broadcast in the U.S.), and a “bucket list” showcase of neophyte comics who’ve been studying under female stand-up whisperer Dawn Whitwell, as well as special festival editions of shows like Yas Kween and Crimson Wave Comedy. While all the performers are female-identified, there are a few token men participating in the panel and workshop series, such as veteran TV writer and producer Gary Peterson, SiriusXM’s Ben Miner, and this writer.
To May 7, various venues & times (see schedule here), FREE-$20.
Another comedy festival running this week, the We’re Funny That Way Festival, was first produced in 1997 by Maggie Casella and David Adkins, and returns this year after several years on hiatus. A gala fundraiser on Wednesday night precedes the festival proper’s programming, which includes a Kander and Ebb cabaret by Ryan G. Hinds, a set by rising U.S. star Sam Jay, and a Larger Than Life variety show.
To May 6, Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley Street) Various times (see schedule here), $10-$50.
Following Pamela Sinha’s Crash in Soulpepper Theatre’s Solo Series, Haley McGee’s I’m Doing This For You is a quirky immersive theatre event, in which the audience is conscripted to take part in a surprise party. McGee’s hostess has prepared cupcakes, drinks, balloons, and more, but as the audience waits for the guest of honour, we learn that her motives for the surprise are complicated. As McGee related last week at a Dark Nights speaker’s event, the show began life in short workshops here in Toronto, but hit its stride internationally, touring to Finland, Japan, and the U.K., where it’s won several awards. Now, McGee has brought it home for a very brief run.
To May 6, Young Centre For the Performing Arts (55 Mill Street), Wednesday-Saturday, 8 p.m., Saturday, 4 p.m., $25-$60.
Kicking off tonight at D-Beatstro with a teen showcase, and running all weekend, the Major//Minor Bloordale Music And Arts Festival is an all-ages festival celebrating music and creativity in the West End. Highlights include a Girls Rock Camp Showcase, a Saturday afternoon “adults” showcase featuring Kashka and Tonkapuma, and free workshops on bicycle repair, hair styling, and record manufacturing.
To May 7, various venues and times (see schedule here), all shows and workshops ALL AGES and PWYC.
Saturday, May 6
It draws a massive, fragrant crowd downtown every year, and this year, there’s considerable hope that the parade’s purpose will soon be legalized in Canada. We’re referring, of course, to the Global Marijuana March, which will meet at the traditional “high noon” for a blaze-up behind the provincial legislature. At 2 p.m., the very casually organized crowd will step off (very unlike Sunday’s Battle of The Atlantic parade), making its way to Yonge and Dundas Square (make room, “Jesus Saves” shouters).
Queen’s Park (47 Queen’s Park Crescent East), noon-5 p.m., FREE.
Local musician Eamon McGrath has organized a parade of his own across Toronto in order to launch his debut book, Berlin-Warszawa Express. He’ll start out on the Danforth at Circus Books and Music for a solo performance and reading, and then head west to Little Italy’s Monarch Tavern for an evening show with guests like Dave Bidini and Joel Thomas Hynes, followed by an upstairs afterparty with DJ Bradshaw. (Buying a book at the 4 p.m. reading will get you in for cheap to the evening show.)
Various venues and times (see schedule here), 4 p.m. onwards, FREE-$10.
Saturday marks the sixth anniversary of Feast In the East, a music and culinary event that brings together foodies and indie music fans. In advance, tickets include the free dinner; at the door, tickets may still get you a taste of this month’s carrot and onion sliders, and will definitely get you in to see Phedre, Fake Humans, Zones, and more.
Jam Factory (2 Matilda Street), 9 p.m., ALL AGES, $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
Sunday, May 7
Busy theatre performer Heath V. Salazar has only been performing as Gay Jesus for less than a year (they were recently profiled by Daily Xtra), fitting in drag performances between roles in hit shows like Dance Animal and The Chasse-Galerie. Warning, Trigger will be their first full-length cabaret show, with guest turns by fellow Dance Animal Kevin Vidal, and musical theatre performer Chiano Panth.
120 Diner (120 Church Street), 8:30 p.m., $20.
Monday, May 8
Actor, comedian, and writer Jon Blair is going to be a busy traveller this summer, performing his solo sketch show at the Montreal Fringe, and joining theatre troupe Sex T-Rex for a Western Fringe Festival tour. To raise some gas money, he’s previewing his new solo sketch material at Jon Blair Bums a Ride, one night only here in T.O..
Bad Dog Theatre (875 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $10.
Tuesday, May 9
Popular relaxed rock outfit Real Estate plays tonight at the Danforth Music Hall, and tickets are going fast. But if you’d like to see a new Toronto band with similarly sunny pop tunes that’s about to break, consider heading West along Bloor to the Burdock, where Bunny will be playing, with Andre Ethier opening. Bunny’s line-up include members of the Bicycles, Born Ruffians, and more, and the under the radar and rising band’s been signed to the U.K.’s Tin Angel Records, with a debut album scheduled for release in July.
Burdock (1184 Bloor Street West), doors at 8:30 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $8 in advance, $10 at the door.
Urban Planner is your weekly curated guide to what’s on in Toronto—things that are local, affordable, and exceptional.