Queen Gallery Poetry Night X

  • Queen Gallery (382 Queen Street East)
  • 7 p.m.

Queen Gallery is celebrating its tenth Poetry Night, and the organizers want you to be a part of it. Work up some nerve, then bring your best pieces of music or works of poetry to share with the crowd. The feature performer of the evening will be Mahlikah Awe:ri, a First Nations drum-talk rapologist, poet, and activist.

Details: Queen Gallery Poetry Night X

Preserving and Pickling Vegetables

Learn to pickle your own veggies with Paul Iorfida. Photo by un_owen from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Learn to pickle your own veggies with Paul Iorfida. Photo by un_owen from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

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

With fall looming, thoughts turn to hibernation. Don’t hole up hungry this year. Instead, join Paul Iorfida for a special course on Preserving and Pickling Vegetables. Learn about hot-water baths, salt brine, and sun-drying techniques before tasting some already-preserved veggies. Call 647-725-1822 to reserve your spot in the class.

Details: Preserving and Pickling Vegetables

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

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

Just For Laughs 42: A Festival Preview

Headliner Aziz Ansari. Photo courtesy of JFL42.

Headliner Aziz Ansari. Photo courtesy of JFL42.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

The planners behind Just For Laughs 42 sure do have a good sense of humour. For starters, the name is a little bit of a joke. Anyone thinking that the “42″ refers to the number of years the comedy festival has been in operation would be sorely mistaken—it actually denotes the number of events taking place during the ten days of the festival’s run.

This year’s JFL42 will feature three headline events: appearances by Sarah Silverman and Aziz Ansari, and a live reading of an episode of Family Guy—complete with cast members and a 40-piece orchestra. But there’s plenty more worth checking out. Our overview of this year’s festival is below.

Details: Just For Laughs 42: A Festival Preview

Land|Slide Possible Futures Explores a Suburb in Flux

Duke and Battersby’s Always Popular; Never Cool.

Duke and Battersby’s Always Popular; Never Cool.

  • Markham Museum (9350 Markham Road)
  • All day

If you look out the window while riding the bus from downtown to Markham, you’ll notice the urban landscape gradually unfolding into the suburban: tight-knit city streets loosen into faster multi-lane roads, box stores assemble in beige-brick clusters, and everywhere new structures are being outstripped by even newer buildings at various stages of completion.

Markham just upgraded itself from town to city in July 2012, and is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse municipalities in the country. And while the place may not inspire many enthusiastic road-trips from downtowners, “Land|Slide Possible Futures,” a new, large-scale public-art exhibition, invites visitors to explore Markham’s history, its quickly changing present, and its potential evolution—while also challenging glib notions surrounding the suburbs themselves.

Details: Land|Slide Possible Futures Explores a Suburb in Flux

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

Craig Stickland Concert Series

Craig Stickland will do a mini-residency at the Drake in advance of his new album release. Photo by Andrew Soule.

Craig Stickland will do a mini-residency at the Drake in advance of his new album release. Photo by Andrew Soule.

  • Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West)
  • 10 p.m.

Toronto singer-songwriter Craig Stickland has been spending many a long hour in his studio of late, recording his debut album, which will drop later this year. Excited about the 30 new tracks he’s completed, he’ll be giving fans a sneak peek of his new work at a series of shows with his band at the Drake Lounge.

Details: Craig Stickland Concert Series