Freehand Books Spring Bash

  • Type Books (883 Queen Street West)
  • 6 p.m.

Freehand Books is celebrating the releases of two of their newest authors tonight, and they want you to join them for readings (and refreshments). Ali Bryan presents her debut novel Roost, a humourous account of a thirty-something single mom coming to grips with the chaos of family life. Paulo da costa’s new story collection The Green and Purple Skin of the World explores the forces that both hold us together and pull us apart.

Details: Freehand Books Spring Bash

Falsettos

  • Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East)
  • 7 p.m.

Falsettos, a groundbreaking and Tony Award–winning musical, comes to town for a short run, presented by The Acting Up Stage Company. The story takes us to New York City in 1979, where the Sexual Revolution is hot, AIDS is on the rise, and Marvin, a husband and father, has decided to leave his family for a man. Directed by Robert McQueen and starring Darrin Baker, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Sarah Gibbons, Michael Levinson, Eric Morin, Stephen Patterson, and Glynis Ranney.

Details: Falsettos

Make Some Noise: Laina Dawes

  • Runnymede Public Library (2178 Bloor Street West)
  • 7 p.m.

Forget everything you’ve been told, the Toronto Public Library now wants you to Make Some Noise with their new series of events focusing on local music. This edition features Laina Dawes, author of What Are You Doing Here?, which chronicles what it’s like to be a black female metal fan. She’ll be joined by CBC’s Garvia Bailey, and musician Saidah Baba Talibah to discuss their experiences in Toronto’s heavy music scene.

Details: Make Some Noise: Laina Dawes

Shakespeare Slam

Rufus Wainwright is one of many performers appearing at Shakespeare Slam. Photo by Tyna Tyrell.

Rufus Wainwright is one of many performers appearing at Shakespeare Slam. Photo by Tyna Tyrell.

  • Koerner Hall (273 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

The Stratford Festival is celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday with Shakespeare Slam, a night of music, debate, and performance. Featuring special guests Rufus Wainwright, Torquil Campbell of Stars, New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik, and performances from Stratford Festival company members.

Details: Shakespeare Slam

Still Standing You

  • Harbourfront Centre, Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West)
  • 8 p.m.

Belgian-Portuguese dance duo Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido explore the nature of male friendship in the World Stage production of Still Standing You. Pushing themselves to their physical limits, they use their bodies to illustrate notions of touch, tenderness, violence, and struggle. Please note that the show contains full frontal nudity.

Details: Still Standing You

Ongoing…

I Thought There Were Limits

Kika Thorne's Singularity. Photo by Scott Massey, courtesy of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

Kika Thorne's Singularity. Photo by Scott Massey, courtesy of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

  • Justina M Barnicke Gallery (7 Hart House Circle)
  • All day

When’s the last time you attempted to reconceptualize the dimensions of space? If it’s been a while, you might consider checking out a new exhibition called I Thought There Were Limits, which aims to do just that. This particular exhibit is unique in that the artwork forms a relationship with the site itself (in this case, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery). The work on display is brought to you by curator Julia Abraham (as part of the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto). The artists include Karen Henderson, Yam Lau, Gordon Lebredt, Kika Thorne, and Josh Thorpe.

Details: I Thought There Were Limits

Illustrator Gemma Correll Fills a Toronto Shop With Pug-Themed Merch

A pugerrific pillow print.

A pugerrific pillow print.

  • Magic Pony (680 Queen Street West)
  • All day

For someone well known for her expressive and awwww-inducing drawings of pugs, U.K.-based illustrator Gemma Correll came to her love of the animal late. “I was always a cat person growing up, so I think the pug was like my gateway dog,” she said at Magic Pony, an art and design shop on Queen West that is currently hosting The Mr. Pickles Fan Club, the first Canadian exhibition of her work.

Details: Illustrator Gemma Correll Fills a Toronto Shop With Pug-Themed Merch

It’s a Full House in True West

It's brotherly love between Lee (Stuart Hughes) and Austin (Mike Ross) in True West. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

It's brotherly love between Lee (Stuart Hughes) and Austin (Mike Ross) in True West. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • 7:30 p.m.

Sam Shepard’s plays are famously all about man as a caged animal, prowling and brooding around his enclosure (usually a North American domicile), eventually tearing it apart like an untrained puppy suffering from separation anxiety. He is a man’s man’s writer, the lone wolf in the wilderness that so many young males fantasize about—even, it often seems, Shepard himself.

As his most famous work, one of Shepard’s Family Trilogy, True West is a great example: two brothers, Hollywood screenwriter Austin (Mike Ross) and the petty-thieving vagabond Lee (Stuart Hughes), somehow end up house-sitting for their mother while she’s on vacation in Alaska (though only Austin was asked to do so). It’s clear in the script that both men make solo trips outside the walls of their mother’s suburban home, but we never see them apart from each other. That’s because Lee and Austin are two halves of the same man. In fact, it’s common for the two main actors to alternate the roles throughout a run of the show.

Details: It’s a Full House in True West

A Brimful of Asha

A Brimful of Asha. Photo courtesy of Tarragon Theatre.

A Brimful of Asha. Photo courtesy of Tarragon Theatre.

  • Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

Real-life mother and son, Asha and Ravi Jain, share the stage to tell their true, amusing story of cultural and generational clash in A Brimful of Asha. While on a trip to India, Ravi’s parents decide it’s time to introduce him to potential brides, despite his lack of desire to get married.

Details: A Brimful of Asha

Race Gets Under Your Skin

There's black, white, and a lot of grey area in David Mamet's Race at Canadian Stage. Photo by David Hou.

There's black, white, and a lot of grey area in David Mamet's Race at Canadian Stage. Photo by David Hou.

  • Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East)
  • 8 p.m.

There are few playwrights whose names can double as adjectives (think “Shakespearean,” or “Beckettian”). But Race, now on at Canadian Stage, makes us want to coin a new one of those words. That’s because of the opening scene, where a black lawyer named Henry Brown addresses a white man with the line “You want to tell me about Black folks?” while leaning back in his office chair at the end of a long boardroom table. It’s distinctly Mamettian.

The American playwright David Mamet is known as much for his portrayal of fast-talking, morally ambiguous businessmen as he is for “Mamet speak,” his unique style of verbose, curse-filled, overlapping dialogue or long-winded speeches. His 2010 script Race is no different—in fact, it might be his most Mamettian to date. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to its subject matter (as the title suggests). Discourse surrounding race, privilege, language, and cultural history consumes the entire play.

Details: Race Gets Under Your Skin

Visitations Brings Immersive Thrills to the Drake Hotel

Image courtesy of The Mission Business.

Image courtesy of The Mission Business.

  • Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West)
  • 9 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

A fragile young woman obsessed with an old mechanized box containing an ancient (and possibly deadly) artifact calls upon a clairvoyant, a paranormal investigator, and a parapsychologist to assist in unlocking its secrets. No, it’s not a new AMC series, or an upcoming summer blockbuster—it’s Visitations, the new immersive-theatre experience by The Mission Business, creator of last year’s epic bio-horror theatrical extravaganza, Zed.TO.

As with Zed.TO, the audience is very much at the heart of the action in Visitations, exploring rooms, decoding messages, solving puzzles, and trying to prevent a catastrophe—or perhaps being used to bring one about. The more you bring to the experience, the more fun you’ll have in return.

Details: Visitations Brings Immersive Thrills to the Drake Hotel