The Company We Keep

  • Jazz Bistro (251 Victoria Street)
  • 7 p.m.

The Company We Keep cabaret series is a brand-new monthly event that features an evening with Theatre 20′s founding artists. Some of the upcoming performances include a tribute to musical theatre, an evening of entertainment in French and English, and an “At Your Request” evening. Also, if you’re willing to pay more, you can get a Prix Fixe dinner before the show starts.

Details: The Company We Keep

Phèdre @ Wrongbar

  • Wrongbar (1279 Queen Street West)
  • 7 p.m.

Indie act Phèdre is dropping by Wrongbar for a set with some friends. The group has just announced a new album, Golden Age (you can watch/listen to the opening track above), and will be joined at this gig by Blue Hawaii and DJ Moon King. It’ll probably be a pretty trippy experience.

Details: Phèdre @ Wrongbar

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 Burlesque Festival

  • The Virgin Mobile Mod Club (722 College Street)
  • All day

If you’re looking to make your summer much hotter than it already is, check out the 6th Annual Toronto Burlesque Festival for some sexy dancing and amazing costumes on stage. Featuring dozens and dozens of performers from across Toronto, New York, and a variety of other places across North America, this year’s sizzling four-day event features a jam-packed opening show, a late night shakedown, and a burlesque brunch.

Details: Toronto Burlesque Festival

The Hidden Film Festival Keeps its Lineup Under Wraps

We can't actually tell you which movie this still is from, because its identity is a secret until it screens at the Hidden Film Festival.

We can't actually tell you which movie this still is from, because its identity is a secret until it screens at the Hidden Film Festival.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

When was the last time you went to the movies without knowing what was on? Probably never.

Indeed, these days, because of the power and reach of multimillion-dollar movie promotion campaigns, you’re lucky if you don’t know the plot from start to finish before you get comfy in your theatre seat.

The Hidden Film Festival, coming to Toronto on July 27, turns convention on its head by asking audience members not only to come see a movie without knowing anything about it in advance, but also to become critics by tweeting, blogging, and telling the world at large about what they’ve seen. With screenings in Dublin, Paris, London, and Toronto during July, it’s hoped that the daring, experimental nature of the festival will attract attention to largely unseen flicks.

Details: The Hidden Film Festival Keeps its Lineup Under Wraps

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)

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

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.

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

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)
  • 2 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

The Trial of Ken Gass

  • Sterling Theatre (163 Sterling Road)
  • 8 p.m., 2:30 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

Christie Pits Film Festival

  • Christie Pits Park (Bloor and Christie streets)
  • 9:15 p.m.

Who doesn’t love outdoor film screenings? The Christie Pits Film Festival is a chance for you to check out some free films in the park with your Toronto neighbours. The films that will be shown are Gimme Shelter (July 14), Shut Up and Play the Hits (July 20), Buena Vista Social Club (July 21), and The Last Waltz (July 28), That Thing You Do! (August 4).

CORRECTION: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 The July 7 viewing of That Thing You Do! was rained out, so it’s been moved to August 4.

Details: Christie Pits Film Festival