Casa Loma “Open Garden Access” Nights

Spend an evening among flowers at Casa Loma. Photo by eric robinson, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Spend an evening among flowers at Casa Loma. Photo by eric robinson, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

  • Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace)
  • 4 p.m.

Want to get out of the city this summer but can’t afford anything beyond a lame “stay-cation”? Casa Loma wants to help ease the pain with Open Garden Access nights. Roam four acres of impeccably kept gardens and green spaces, covered with hundreds of roses and native wildflowers. If they weren’t perched upon an escarpment with a breathtaking view of the city, you might totally forget that you’re still downtown.

Details: Casa Loma “Open Garden Access” Nights

Cara Matthew: All That Jazz

  • Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace)
  • 7 p.m.

Feel like doing something fancy? How about relaxing amongst spectacular gardens overlooking the city while being serenaded by a jazz singer? No, it’s not too good to be true. Join jazz and blues vocalist Cara Matthew on the Casa Loma terrace, where she’ll be performing a variety of hits from artists like Billy Joel, Aerosmith, and Bob Dylan in her own style.

Details: Cara Matthew: All That Jazz

Author Interview: Chuck Klosterman

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

Best known for his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, author and columnist Chuck Klosterman has made a career out of dissecting American pop culture. Now, on the eve of releasing a collection of essays on villainy, I Wear the Black Hat, he’ll sit down for an interview with Canada AM film critic Richard Crouse. Join them for a celebration of Klosterman’s past work, and a sneak peek into his eighth release.

Details: Author Interview: Chuck Klosterman

The Trial of Ken Gass

  • Sterling Theatre (163 Sterling Road)
  • 8 p.m.

Playwright and director Bobby Del Rio touches on the struggle artists face in The Trial of Ken Gass. Based on the real-life dismissal of a Canadian theatre legend, the play sees Ken Gass continually put on trial for crimes of which he knows nothing. The part of Gass will be played by a different actor every night, including Peter Keleghan, Art Hindle, Diane Flacks, Greg Dunham, and Dinesh Sachdev.

Details: The Trial of Ken Gass

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

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

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

What to See This Weekend at the 2013 Beaches International Jazz Festival

KC Roberts and the Live Revolution play the Beaches International Jazz Fest on Thursday.

KC Roberts and the Live Revolution play the Beaches International Jazz Fest on Thursday.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

The Beaches International Jazz Festival marks its 25th anniversary as it wraps up its 2013 edition this weekend. On tap are lots of cover bands, pan flute-led ensembles, and a sea of boomers in Hawaiian shirts walking their dogs.

Is that “Cheeseburger in Paradise” you just heard? Probably. Is that 70-year-old white gentleman in the “Canadian Tuxedo” doing a Bob Marley cover? You bet he is. One love, Toronto. Calling this event a jazz festival at this point is just illogical. The flavour is really more akin to the Taste of the Danforth, or Taste of the Kingsway,than a music festival.

So what’s the best way to enjoy this fest? Grab a seat on one of Queen Street East’s many great patios, get a bite and drink and soak up the great weather and the people watching. If you’re interested in going specifically for the music, don’t linger or wander. Head directly to see one of our top three picks, which are below.

Details: What to See This Weekend at the 2013 Beaches International Jazz Festival

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

CityPlace Farmers’ Market

Now buying fresh, local produce is as convenient as trotting down to the neighbourhood Sobey's. Photo courtesy of MyMarket.

Now buying fresh, local produce is as convenient as trotting down to the neighbourhood Sobey's. Photo courtesy of MyMarket.

  • 3:30 p.m.

Condo-ville isn’t exactly known for its access to organic and locally grown foods. MyMarket is trying to change that with weekly farmers’ markets set up in the in the Northern Linear Park. Residents can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables virtually from their doorstep, while supporting local farmers. Everyone wins!

Details: CityPlace Farmers’ Market

Celia Palli Residency

Join Celia at the Cameron House every Tuesday in July. Photo courtesy of Celia Palli.

Join Celia at the Cameron House every Tuesday in July. Photo courtesy of Celia Palli.

  • Cameron House (408 Queen Street West)
  • 6 p.m.

Nelly Furtado’s backup singer and opening act since 2009, Celia Palli is stepping out of the shadows as a singer-songwriter. Born in Spain, and raised in the Netherlands, Palli will be spending July in her adopted home of Toronto for a residency at the Cameron House.

Details: Celia Palli Residency

Yoga in the Town Square

Shop till you drop, then stretch it out with a free yoga class in the Town Square. Photo courtesy of the Shops at Don Mills.

Shop till you drop, then stretch it out with a free yoga class in the Town Square. Photo courtesy of the Shops at Don Mills.

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

Some people unwind with retail therapy, others do yoga. Now you can combine both activities with free yoga in the Town Square at The Shops at Don Mills. Regardless of your skill level, bring a mat and join the group for sessions twice weekly, courtesy of Titika.

Details: Yoga in the Town Square

New Toronto Production of Cats Meets Expectations

Cats Ensemble. Photo by Racheal McCaig.

Cats Ensemble. Photo by Racheal McCaig.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 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

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

Anything Goes is a Real Trip

Rachel York and a bunch of dancing sailors in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Anything Goes, presented by Mirvish Productions. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Rachel York and a bunch of dancing sailors in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Anything Goes, presented by Mirvish Productions. Photo by Joan Marcus.

  • Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

Musical theatre has a reputation for sometimes being out of touch and old-fashioned, so the prospect of Mirvish Productions bringing a tour of Cole Porter’s 1934 musical Anything Goes to Toronto wasn’t especially heartening at first—even if this particular production, by New York City’s Roundabout Theatre Company, won three 2011 Tony Awards.

But say, pal, wouldn’t you know, we were downright tickled to have such a good time at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The jokes are still corny, the songs still melodramatic, and the script still has some pretty racist content, but the show manages to transcend its era.

Details: Anything Goes is a Real Trip

Bruce McCulloch Trades the Hall for the Stage

Bruce McCulloch at San Francisco Sketchfest 2012. Photo by Ameen Belbahri.

Bruce McCulloch at San Francisco Sketchfest 2012. Photo by Ameen Belbahri.

  • Hugh's Room (2261 Dundas Street West)
  • 8:30 p.m.

When last we spoke to Bruce McCulloch, he and the rest of legendary sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall were in the midst of returning to the CBC with a new mini-series, Death Comes to Town. In the three years since then, McCulloch has written and performed a few solo live shows, including The Pink Dot Diaries at SF Sketchfest last year and, more recently, Young Drunk Punk here at Toronto Sketchfest in March. He has two upcoming performances at Hugh’s Room, on July 22 and 23.

Details: Bruce McCulloch Trades the Hall for the Stage

City Cinema: Cult Classics

  • Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas Street East)
  • 9 p.m.

Cult films are generally defined as obscure pieces, or box-office bombs, that have been shunned by the mainstream but are beloved by a dedicated underground fanbase. And while Yonge-Dundas Square is hardly a little-known moviehouse tucked away in the trendiest part of the city, it is a great place to watch movies outdoors. Every Tuesday, the City Cinema: Cult Classics program will feature fan-favourite films like Edward Scissorhands (July 9), Napoleon Dynamite (July 23), and The Goonies (July 30) in the square.

Details: City Cinema: Cult Classics