Mostly Unplugged—Naria: A Night at the Opera

The songbirds of Naria. Photo courtesy of Naria.

The songbirds of Naria. Photo courtesy of Naria.

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

An aria is a lengthy vocal piece in an opera, accompanied by instrumentation. Throw in an ‘N’ and you have Naria, a four-piece, proudly Canadian (the ‘N’ stands for “north”) female vocal group. Join them on the beautiful Casa Loma terrace as they perform their original opera, pop, techno, classical, and world-infused compositions.

Details: Mostly Unplugged—Naria: A Night at the Opera

TV Trivia Night: Back to School Part II

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

TV Trivia Night is celebrating its one-year anniversary, and what better way than to host a trivia event featuring two shows that only lasted one year each? Back to School Part II requires you to get studious about two short-lived high school series—My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks. Come with a team of six, or show up alone and make some new friends as you answer a barrage of trivia questions in the form of video montages, audio clues and more.

Details: TV Trivia Night: Back to School Part II

Dearly Beloved’s CD Release Party and Tour Launch

Toronto's Dearly Beloved is taking its tough love overseas. Photo courtesy of Dearly Beloved.

Toronto's Dearly Beloved is taking its tough love overseas. Photo courtesy of Dearly Beloved.

  • Cherry Cola's Rock N' Rolla Cabaret and Lounge (200 Bathurst Street)
  • 8 p.m.

Toronto desert-rockers Dearly Beloved have some big things to announce. They’ve broken new ground, having just signed a deal to release their latest album, Hawk vs. Pigeon in Europe and the UK. The band has also recorded a brand-new single featuring Sloan’s Patrick Pentland. Before Beloved heads overseas for what should be a face-melting few weeks of touring, it’s taking a moment to celebrate at one of its members’ favourite live venues. Come by, pick up the album, and help send these guys on their way.

Details: Dearly Beloved’s CD Release Party and Tour Launch

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

Arti[face]: A Wink And A Nod Can Mean So Much

  • Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West)
  • All day

Arti[face]: A Wink And A Nod Can Mean So Much is a new exhibit of photo-realistic paintings by Jane Duncan (who was named an emerging artist in the 2013 Artist Project). The exhibit focuses on blank-slate toy models and aims to “animate and create a multitude of unique subtle narratives and moods using only the most basic tools and conventions of portraiture.” You can check out a preview of the exhibit here. The opening reception is on August 29th and starts at 7 p.m.

Details: Arti[face]: A Wink And A Nod Can Mean So Much

BEARS IN THE STREETS *the world as I’ve seen it

Image courtesy of Jeff Blackburn.

Image courtesy of Jeff Blackburn.

  • Gallery 431 (431 Roncesvalles Avenue)
  • All day

BEARS IN THE STREETS *the world as I’ve seen it is a solo art exhibition by Jeff Blackburn featuring works that involve bears, which act as guides through various cityscapes (see above for example). Visitors will have the chance to see different public spaces from around the world (with bears!). The opening reception will be held on September 1st and will start at 7 p.m.

Details: BEARS IN THE STREETS *the world as I’ve seen it

The World According to “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”

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  • Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West)
  • 10 a.m.

Ai Weiwei is a 56-year-old artist confined to his home in Beijing for creating work critical of the Chinese government and Chinese culture. There are video cameras outside his house, his phone lines are tapped, his blog was deleted, his Shanghai studio was destroyed in 2010 by authorities, and his passport was confiscated in 2011. To this day, he’s unable to leave his country. Even so, Ai Weiwei has had a large presence in Toronto over the past few months.

This past June, he did a performance piece with artist Laurie Anderson during the Luminato Festival, using Skype. His Zodiac Heads have been installed, temporarily, in the reflecting pool in front of City Hall. At this year’s Nuit Blanche, a large-scale version of his sculpture of bicycles, Forever, will take over Nathan Phillips Square. And beginning August 17, the Art Gallery of Ontario is displaying “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”, a retrospective of the work he produced before and after the Chinese government’s crackdown on his activities helped him find new international acclaim.

Details: The World According to “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”

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

Angels in America Is Worth the Marathon Running Time

An Angel (Raquel Duffy) appears to AIDS patient Prior Walter (Damien Atkins) in Angels in America. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

An Angel (Raquel Duffy) appears to AIDS patient Prior Walter (Damien Atkins) in Angels in America. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

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

Many people now routinely consume television series in marathon benders, blowing through DVDs or Netflix downloads in a few evenings or a weekend. It’s that sort of experience—but live, of course—that awaits audiences at Soulpepper’s production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, which offers over six hours of impeccably staged and performed theatre either in two long evenings or over the course of one full day, with multiple intermissions and a meal break.

Details: Angels in America Is Worth the Marathon Running Time

Second City’s New Show Is a Heroic Effort

Allison Price, about to lose her patience with Stacey McGunnigle. Photo courtesy of Second City.

Allison Price, about to lose her patience with Stacey McGunnigle. Photo courtesy of Second City.

  • Second City (51 Mercer Street)
  • 8 p.m.

You might expect a show called We Can Be Heroes to be a send-up of superhero films, but Second City’s new mainstage production is actually a celebration of minor, everyday acts of heroism ranging from giving advice to a bullied child to managing not to be a jackass at your friend’s wedding.

Details: Second City’s New Show Is a Heroic Effort

Fortune and Men’s Eyes Needs to Refocus

David Coomber, Alex Fiddes, Cyrus Faird, and Julian DeZotti play four inmates in Fortune and Men's Eyes. Photo by Guntar Kravis.

David Coomber, Alex Fiddes, Cyrus Faird, and Julian DeZotti play four inmates in Fortune and Men's Eyes. Photo by Guntar Kravis.

  • Dancemakers Studio (9 Trinity Street)
  • 8:05 p.m.

The drama that happens within prison walls is perfect material for storytelling, hence the prevalence of jailhouse material in action movies, TV dramas like Oz, and plays like John Herbert’s controversial 1967 hit, Fortune and Men’s Eyes. Though Fortune is one of Canada’s most published scripts, modern audiences haven’t heard from inmates Smitty, Mona, Queenie, and Rocky in quite some time. BirdLand Theatre, known for successful productions of Assassins, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and last year’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, is currently mounting the play in a Distillery District dance studio. Their aim is to showcase this iconic piece of Canadian theatre history, known for exposing the mental and sexual abuse that happens to people in confinement. Unfortunately, this version carries little of the original production’s impact.

Details: Fortune and Men’s Eyes Needs to Refocus