Urban Planner: What's On In Toronto This Week, June 15-20

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Urban Planner: What’s On In Toronto This Week, June 15-20

In this week's edition, lots of Pride-affliated programming, with comedy, music, Nuit Rose, and the first official parade; plus, Luminato, Hooded Fang, Peaches, The Taste of Little Italy Festival, and more.

The Spiegeltent returns to Toronto as part of Luminato this year. Photo by Thierry Franco.

The Spiegeltent returns to Toronto as part of Luminato this year. Photo by Thierry Franco.


Thursday, June 15

This year’s edition of the Luminato Festival is, in the words of new festival director Anthony Sargeant, “in transition.” That transition is widely seen as pulling back from the festival’s enormous (and expensive) spectacles of recent years, and evolving into a festival that works more in tandem with existing local arts companies. To be sure, there are still plenty of big ticket events over the festival’s 11 days—operas, ice skating shows, and the hip-hop dance show Breakin’ Convention. But Torontonians in particular are likely to flock to the Spiegeltent at David Pecaut square; the famous cabaret show, returning after more than a decade’s absence from Toronto, will host nightly guests and previews of acts in the festival.

To June 25, various venues and times, FREE-$79.

Taping tonight: CBC’s Podcast Playlist Live. The popular and locally produced podcast round-up, hosted by Matt Galloway and Lindsay Michael, has invited several popular podcasts— including the improvised sci-fi adventure Illusionoid, Outside The March’s The Spoke storytelling series, and Vicky Mochama and Ishmael Daro’s current affairs-focused Safe Spacefor a live event. Hot Docs members get discounted (and even free) tickets; regular patrons top out at $6.

Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema (506 Bloor Street West), doors at 6:30 p.m., $16 (members FREE-$12).



As part of the Dancemakers Minifest 2017, choreographer Andrea Spaziani is hosting Overwhelmica, a talk and walk beginning at Dancemaker’s Distillery District studio. Following Spaziani’s lecture, the audience and company will travel to Cherry Beach, where the company has some surprises in store (it’s a safe bet it will involve an outdoor dance performance).

Dancemakers (15 Case Goods Lane, Studio 301), 8:30 p.m., FREE.

Veteran local pop-rockers Hooded Fang headline a release show tonight for their fifth full-length album, Dynasty House. Joining them on the bill: Polaris Prize alumni and art-noise makers, Yamantaka/Sonic Titan, and Hex, an outfit of alumni from Girls Rock Camp Toronto.

The Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West), doors at 8 p.m., $13 in advance, $15 at the door.


Beardoncé plays Dionne and Jesse Weafer plays Cher in Clueless: Live! Photo by Michael Hughes.

Beardoncé plays Dionne and Jesse Weafer plays Cher in Clueless: Live! Photo by Michael Hughes.


Friday, June 16

Inspired perhaps by the recent success of the Mean Girls live read, Clueless Live! is putting a queer spin on the classic 90s film by casting local drag queens Beardoncé as Dionne and Jesse Weafer as Cher in the tribute show, which will expand beyond a live read with musical performances and more. The cast also includes recent Dora nominees Jahlen Barnes (Passing Strange) and James Daly (Master Harold… and the Boys), as well as Alex Furber, Jennifer Walls, and Cara Pantalone.

Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), 8 p.m., $20.

Angelwalk Theatre is tackling CanCon’s leading ladies—Céline Dion, Anne Murray, Alanis Morisette, and many more—for their Everybody’s Got A Story cabaret, a “celebration of Canadian Women in Music.” Tapped to bring these pop standards to the stage: Kelly Holiff, Elena Juatco, Sabryn Rock, Michelle Bouey, and Sarite Harris.

To June 17, Toronto Centre For The Arts (5040 Yonge Street), Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., $25-$49.

Longtime CBC 3 and CBC Music host Grant Lawrence has just published a book, Dirty Windshields: The Best and Worst of the Smugglers Tour Diaries, documenting his salad days touring with his 90s punk band, The Smugglers. The band is back together and possibly generating new material for a follow-up, with the cross-Canada tour arriving tonight, accompanied by Duotang, Needles//Pins, and The New Enchanters; the book will be available at the merch table.

The Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West), doors at 9 p.m., $20.


Chantel Marostica hosts the Pride edition of the White Girl Wasted comedy showcase. Photo by Scott McLean.

Chantel Marostica hosts the Pride edition of the White Girl Wasted comedy showcase. Photo by Scott McLean.


Saturday, June 17

It’s College Street’s turn for a weekend shut-down to vehicular traffic, from Bathurst to Shaw streets, for the popular annual Taste of Little Italy Festival—the neighbourhood was recently touted by the Toronto Star‘s Christopher Hume as an example of the best street design Toronto has to offer. There will be street-side food vendors, of course, and music at corners all along the strip.

To June 18, Friday 6:30-1 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., FREE.

It’s not the North by North East longtime attendees are used to— the music festival has split its various components even further apart, with little connection to this weekend’s NXNE Game Land and next weekend’s Port Lands music festival. The Game Land component, billing itself as an “eSports extravaganza,” is free all weekend at Yonge-Dundas Square, and will feature Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter, and Starcraft competitions, as well as lots of branded pitches from gaming and car companies.

To June 18, Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas Street East), Friday 2 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., FREE.

The Pride version of Nuit Blanche, Nuit Rose, looks a lot like the annual all night arts takeover of the city. There are four zones—the Church Village, Regent Park, Kensington Market, and West Queen West; everything is free and it kicks off at 7 p.m. and goes late (the official end time is 2 a.m., but some events may go later). The highlight of the night is likely to be the Light Parade, the first official parade of Pride Month, with “What Lies Between Venus and Mars?” as this year’s theme.

Various venues, 7 p.m.-2 a.m., FREE.

The Pride edition of White Girl Wasted, White Gay Wasted, will pretty much be the same as the regular edition, with the bill comprised of female-identifying (and this month, all queer) comics who will be (at least) five drinks in by the 11 p.m. showtime. Comics on the bill include Elvira Kurt, Anasimone George, and Adrienne Fish, with your (non-binary) host, Mx. Chantel Marostica.

Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), doors at 10:30 p.m., show at 11 p.m., $10 in advance, $15 at the door.


James Smith gets a group hug from his Lessons In Temperament creative team after winning the 2016 SummerWorks Best Production award. Photo by Dahlia Katz/SummerWorks.

James Smith gets a group hug from his Lessons In Temperament creative team after winning the 2016 SummerWorks Best Production award. Photo by Dahlia Katz/SummerWorks.

Sunday, June 18

The 2016 SummerWorks Best Production award-winning show, Lessons in Temperment, produced by Outside The March and featuring writer/performer James Smith tuning a piano (and telling autobiographical stories) each night at a different secret location, is getting a 10-show remount here in Toronto before moving south to New York City to join Soulpepper’s off-Broadway summer takeover. (Many shows are already sold out, so book soon.)

To June 28th, various (secret) locations, 7:30 p.m. nightly, $20-$35.

Singers (and best pals) Rielle Braid and Kholby Wardell, former castmates in the musical hit Ride The Cyclone, are both self-confessed neurotics and perfectionists, and are working out those faults in their strongest milieu: cabaret performance in their new show We’re Not Perfect.

120 Diner (120 Church Street), 8:30 p.m., $20.


Monday, June 19

They won a Harold Award last Monday for their contributions to Toronto theatre; now The Bellows panel series is hosting a night where the theme might conceivably help you become as celebrated in the theatre community (or whichever community you’re part of, really). Titled “Don’t Be That Guy,” it’ll feature a panel of backstage veterans—the Bellows producers—telling cautionary tales (with a bit of salacious gossip mixed in, with names possibly changed) of what not to do if you don’t want to alienate your co-workers and collaborators on a creative endeavour.

Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington Avenue), 7:30 p.m., PWYC.

Back again after their resounding success last year, Second City and the Musical Stage Company is presenting the second annual Showtunes Karaoke night in support of Pride Toronto. Hosted By Jennifer Walls and Nug Nahrgang, a live orchestra will back up volunteer singers who get up to sing musical theatre standards.

Second City Toronto (51 Mercer Street), 8 p.m., $15.

You might think she’s here for Pride, given her outspoken stances in support of all things queer and intersectional, but Peaches is actually in town to kick off a week of NXNE-affliated club showcases. All week, curators like The Rural Alberta Advantage, CBC’s Raina Douris, and July Talk’s Leah Fay are programming showcase nights across town, but tonight, Merrill Nisker will hold court at the largest venue.

Phoenix Concert Theatre (410 Sherbourne Street), doors at 9 p.m., $26.50.


The 2016 Toronto Candlelight AIDS Vigil. Photo by Brittany Carmichael/Torontoist.

The 2016 Toronto Candlelight AIDS Vigil. Photo by Brittany Carmichael/Torontoist.


Tuesday, June 20

The now international Drag Queen Story Hour series has been getting a lot of attention lately, but here in Toronto, Fay & Fluffy’s Storytime has been quietly entertaining and educating kids and adults monthly for a while now. The Pride edition, Proud Voices, will feature special guest reader and author Catherine Hernandez (M is For Mustache).

Glad Day Bookshop (499 Church Street), 6 p.m., FREE.

Former Torontoist theatre critic Johnnie Walker’s latest play, Shove It Down My Throat, is based on a real life purported assault and gay-bashing, and the show is getting a workshop reading as part of Buddies In Bad Times’ Queer Pride programming. The cast for the reading is top notch, including Alex Plouffe, Chala Hunter, G. Kyle Shields, and more.

Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), 8 p.m., $10.

The annual 2017 Aids Candlelight Vigil is tonight, once the sun goes all the way down, a somber note in the festive and fiesty Pride Month programming, commemorating those lost to, and those still struggling with, the still relevant and life-changing disease. The theme for this year’s Vigil is “In the Spirit of Wellness & Healing.”

Barbara Hall Park (519 Church Street), 9 p.m., FREE.


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

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