TIFF Throws A Toga Party For Comedies

Will Ferrell finds out it's so good once it hits the lips in Old School. Image courtesy of the TIFF Film Reference Library.

Will Ferrell finds out it's so good once it hits the lips in Old School. Image courtesy of the TIFF Film Reference Library.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • All day

When Animal House first turned the toga into suitable party attire in 1978, the landscape of the film comedy was forever altered. TOGA! The Reinvention of American Comedy, a new film series that kicked off Wednesday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, seeks to chart the changing comedic sensibilities that have occurred in the years since the film’s release. From big budget blockbusters, to libido-fuelled sex romps, to carefully calibrated exercises in nuance and timing, the selections in the program are some of the funniest films ever made.

Details: TIFF Throws A Toga Party For Comedies

Morningside/Highland Creek Tree Tour

Photo by mtlockca from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by mtlockca from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

  • East Scarborough Storefront (4040 Lawrence Ave East)
  • 6 p.m.

LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests), Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA), and Highland Creek Green Team have joined forces to provide guided Tree Tours to the public. Tour the tree canopy along Highland Creek in Morningside Park, while learning about the history of the region, as well as the tree planting programs available in residential areas.

Details: Morningside/Highland Creek Tree Tour

Summers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan: like The Sims for Luddites. Photo courtesy of Summers of Catan.

The Settlers of Catan: like The Sims for Luddites. Photo courtesy of Summers of Catan.

  • Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West)
  • 6 p.m.

If you’ve never played Settlers of Catan, you’re probably wondering what could be more dull than spending your evening playing a board game about old-timey landowners. But that’s because you haven’t played it, yet. Gladstone Hotel aims to change that with their Summers of Catan program. Every Wednesday, gather with other Catan-fans, drink specially discounted beer, and get settled! Bring your own boards, or use those provided.

Details: Summers of Catan

The Sopranos/James Gandolfini Trivia Night

  • The Ossington (61 Ossington Avenue)
  • 7:30 p.m.

As a mild-manned, law-abiding, office-jobbed Canadian, do you know far too much about the Italian mob? Chances are then, you’ll do well at The Sopranos/James Gandolfini Trivia Night. Brush up on your show knowledge (as if you needed an excuse to bust out your box set), and prepare to take out your opponents trivia-style to celebrate the life of a great actor and his legendary show.

Details: The Sopranos/James Gandolfini Trivia Night

Ongoing…

The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

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  • Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
  • All day

The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.

Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada.

Details: The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

Christina Wollesen: “To Be Near You”

  • #Hashtag Gallery (801 Dundas Street West)
  • All day

To Be Near You” is a new art exhibition that explores the relationship of colours and experiences to our existence. These uniquely abstract pieces of art come to you via artist Christina Wollesen. The opening reception is on July 4 at 7 p.m. While you’re at Hashtag, you also have the chance to check out their “Send-A-Postcard Wall”, which lets you send art to anyone in the world so they can enjoy the show too.

Details: Christina Wollesen: “To Be Near You”

A Sampling of the Stratford Festival

Scott Wentworth as Tevye, with Jacquelyn French (Hodel), Keely Hutton (Chava) and Jennifer Stewart (Tzeitel) in Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Scott Wentworth as Tevye, with Jacquelyn French (Hodel), Keely Hutton (Chava) and Jennifer Stewart (Tzeitel) in Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

If Fringe and SummerWorks aren’t enough to satisfy your summer theatre cravings, the world-renowned Stratford Festival is now only a bus ride away from downtown Toronto, thanks to the new Stratford Direct bus route (“the best thing [the Festival] has done in years” according to one usher at the Avon Theatre). Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino has put together a season to please tastes from the traditional to the extravagant. Here’s what we think about five of Stratford’s current productions.

Details: A Sampling of the Stratford Festival

Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea

  • Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street)
  • All day

Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea is a new exhibition from the Toronto Reference Library that gathers a number of rare items that explore the theme of the possible and the impossible. Some of the highlights on display are La vingtième siècle: la vie électrique (a rare French book that shows how scientific discoveries would have affected people in 1955), Tame (a sci-fi pulp magazine), and Worldly Wisdom (watercolour that depicts a Leonardo da Vinci-like figure creating a winged flying machine). You’ll find the exhibition in the library’s TD Gallery.

Details: Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea

Margin of Eras

  • Abandoned convenience store (Queen St. W. and Gladstone Ave.)
  • 12 p.m.

CUE, a non-profit arts organization that encourages artistic expression from the city’s fringes, hosts ”Margin of Eras.” The exhibit gathers over 20 different artists’ work for display in a pop-up gallery on Wednesdays to Sundays for two weeks in July. For the launch party on Friday, July 12 at 7 p.m., there’ll be a live New Orleans jazz band, and more.

Details: Margin of Eras

Fresh Wednesday Concerts

  • Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West)
  • 12:30 p.m.

Go on, escape the office for an extended lunch break and take in the tastes and sounds of Fresh Wednesdays. Each week, a different Canadian artist performs as you purchase baked goods and locally-grown produce from a farmer’s market. Pop singer-songwriter Justin Dubé kicks off the concert series, followed by Beat Café featuring poetry by Raine Maida (July 17), rising folk-pop stars Emma Lee and Peter Katz (August 7), and more.

Details: Fresh Wednesday Concerts

New Toronto Production of Cats Meets Expectations

Cats Ensemble. Photo by Racheal McCaig.

Cats Ensemble. Photo by Racheal McCaig.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 1:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Cats is a challenging musical to stage for a number of reasons. The narrative is thin and strange; the lyrics are drawn primarily from T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, with more borrowed from some other Eliot poems, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” (which original director Trevor Nunn adapted into the song “Memory”) and “Moments of Happiness.” The result is not so much a story as ideas and character sketches. Old Deuteronomy, patriarch of the Jellicle Cats, calls the creatures together once a year to celebrate, and for one cat to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer (essentially, to die and be reincarnated). Most of the songs detail the adventures and virtues of a single cat in particular, essentially serving as that cat’s audition for the honour of ascension.

Details: New Toronto Production of Cats Meets Expectations

Toronto Summer Music Festival

The rising stars of 2012's Toronto Summer Music Academy. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Summer Music Festival.

The rising stars of 2012's Toronto Summer Music Academy. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Summer Music Festival.

  • Multiple venues
  • 1:30 p.m.

Travel back to turn-of-the-century Paris—La Belle Époque—with the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Established and up-and-coming classical musicians gather for this three-week festival to celebrate works by French composers such as Ravel, Debussy, and Fauré. Lectures, workshops, interviews, and concerts will take place in various venues across the city.

Details: Toronto Summer Music Festival

Dancing in the Town Square

Go shopping for dancing shoes, and then put them to use in the Town Square. Photo courtesy of the Shops at Don Mills.

Go shopping for dancing shoes, and then put them to use in the Town Square. Photo courtesy of the Shops at Don Mills.

  • Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road)
  • 7 p.m.

Like something out of a movie (except, you know, Footloose), you can spend your summer nights dancing in the open air of the Town Square. Join Dexter and Janice of DjDance as they lead Latin Salsa classes twice a week, all summer.

Details: Dancing in the Town Square

Entertaining Mr. Sloane

David Beazely and Stuart Hughes in rehearsal for Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Photo by Nathan Kelly.

David Beazely and Stuart Hughes in rehearsal for Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Photo by Nathan Kelly.

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

Soulpepper Theatre collaborates on a Joe Orton play, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s artistic producer Brendan Healey. Guest director Healey has coached some Soulpepper theatre stalwarts—Stuart Hughes, Fiona Reid, Michael Simpson, and David Beazley—for this dark comedy about a charming lodger who incites illicit passions among his other housemates.

Details: Entertaining Mr. Sloane

Harbourfront Free Flicks: Invented Worlds

  • Harbourfront, WestJet Stage (235 Queens Quay West)
  • 9 p.m.

Do you feel guilty about staying indoors in front of your TV when it’s nice outside? There’s a way around that—sitting by the lake and catching great films every week with Harbourfront’s Free Flicks. This year, NOW Magazine’s Norm Wilner has chosen a crop of imagination-stretching films from notable directors and writers. From Little Shop of Horrors, to The Triplets of Belleville, and That Thing You Do!, each title resides, at least a little bit, in the fantasy world.

CORRECTION: July 3, 2013, 11:00 AM This post originally listed Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moulin Rouge! as films being shown, when they are actually just options for the audience choice film.

Details: Harbourfront Free Flicks: Invented Worlds

TIFF in the Park

  • David Pecaut Square (221 King Street West)
  • 9:15 p.m.

Love is in the air this summer as TIFF in the Park returns for another season of outdoor film screenings, showcasing the best romances from across the decades. Bring a blanket and get comfy on the lawn (yes, the Entertainment District has green space, too) to enjoy everything from Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, to Casablanca, Sleepless in Seattle, and The Notebook.

Details: TIFF in the Park

Faking Bad

  • Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
  • 9:30 p.m.

The Bad Dog Theatre Company is celebrating the return of TV’s Breaking Bad in their own special way—by putting on a tribute show. A five-week improv comedy serial, Faking Bad, follows the trials and tribulations of a high school home economics teacher looking to make easy money in the drug world. Featuring performances from Bruce Hunter, Conor Holler, Dan Beirne, Dale Boyer, Nigel Downer, James Gangl, and Craig Anderson.

Details: Faking Bad