There are plenty of weeks that involve the consumption of beer in Toronto, but there’s only one true Toronto Beer Week. As craft beer’s popularity continues to grow along with the roster of brewers in this city, Toronto Beer Week is a good opportunity to take the pulse of a thriving scene—or, just to knock back a few good brews and have some fun. Whichever you prefer. Here are a few events to look out for.
Hollerado kicks off its fall North American tour for So It Goes with a big farewell show at the Danforth Music Hall. Joining the band on stage, and on tour: Vancouver’s The Zolas, and local punk rockers PUP.
Coach House Books kicks off its fall 2013 slate of publications with a Double Book Launch. In Love with Art: Françoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman, a new book by Jeet Heer, looks at the impact Françoise Mouly has had on graphic novels over the past 30 years as the art director for The New Yorker, the co-editor of Raw, and through her collborations with her Eisner-winning husband Speigelman. Heer, who will be interviewing Mouly on stage, will also talk with the Globe and Mail‘s Sean Rogers about Coach House’s reissue of The Cage, a 1970s Canadian graphic novel by Martin Vaughn-James that’s viewed as a cult classic.
Texas Comedy Massacre 2 host Xerxes Cortez celebrates a birthday at this edition of the downtown stand-up showcase. Comics on the bill include Eddie Della Siepe, Diana Love, Joel Buxton, and more.
It’s a homecoming show for Graydon James and the Young Novelists, who have recently returned from an East Coast tour. They’re joined on the bill by fellow local alt-country collective BEAMS, Montreal’s Jon Davis, and Rachael Cardiello and the Warm Electric Winter Band.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now in its 38th year, the Toronto International Film Festival is a behemoth cultural institution, a one-stop shop for everything from star-studded red carpets to North American premieres for some of the most lauded names in world cinema. The most prestigious public film festival in the world, TIFF is also a major Toronto institution, turning King Street into ground zero for filmgoers, members of the press, and celebrities alike.
As if TIFF wasn’t enough, Torontonians will be able to enjoy movies when they venture into subway stations. Starting on Friday, the seventh-annual Toronto Urban Film Festival will begin to show silent short films, each roughly a minute in length, on over 290 Pattison Onestop screens throughout the subway system. (Onestop screens are those ceiling-mounted HDTV-like displays that show headlines, ads, and train arrival times.) The movies will run every ten minutes at most stations, and they’ll play uninterrupted at Yonge-Bloor, St. Andrew, and Dundas stations.
An art exhibition called “Not So Simple“ is opening at the newly minted 2186 Dundas gallery. The show features pieces by Sherie Myers that focus on realism and portraiture (of which you can check out some samples here). The opening reception is on September 12th at 7 p.m., and it will include a performance by UKAE.
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.
The CaribbeanTales Film Showcase returns to Toronto for its eighth year, bringing films and documentaries from over 25 different countries. The opening-night gala features the world premiere of Christopher Laird’s No Bois Man No Fraid, which sees two Trinidadian martial artists enter the dangerous world of Kalinda (stickfighting). Over 10 feature pieces, and 30 short films will screen during the festival, many of which will include discussions with the respective directors.
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.
Experience Brazilian culture through the beauty of movement, courtesy of Newton Moraes Dance Theatre. Brazil, the Land of Tears and Soul uses Afro-Brazilian and contemporary movements and features dancers from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Choreographed by Newton Moraes himself, the pieces were largely inspired by the loss of his partner of 23 years.
Prepare yourselves for a theatrical double bill from actor/writer Anthony Johnston. First up is Tenderpits, a theatre/installation/rap show that tells the epic, and definitely chaotic, tale of a gay wizard’s journey from Canada to New York City. The second show is Revenge of the Popinjay—in which “someone is killing the heterosexuals!” This will be the Canadian debut of Tenderpits, which received critical acclaim in both NYC and Edinburgh.
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.