By now, you’re probably familiar with TED Talks. An independently organized Toronto edition, TEDxToronto, is back for another year. This time, the theme is “The Choices We Make.” Above, you can see a clip from one of this year’s speakers, Steph Guthrie, who was also one of our 2012 “hero” nominees. The whole event will be streamed live, online.
“THE DOT SHOW” is a pretty cool-looking exhibition of Laura Clayton’s art, which consists of dots. Thousands of dots. (It’s supposed to deal with the concept of Horror Vacui.) Above, you can see a sample of the Clayton’s work (there’s more on the gallery website). The opening reception will be held on September 26th, at 7 p.m.
White Ribbon’s Walk A Mile In Her Shoes is returning for a fifth year, inviting men from across the GTA to strut their stuff in high heels in the name of helping to end violence against women. The fundraiser has raised over $390,000 over the past five years. Click here to register.
Join the Canadian Opera Company as it kicks off its 2013/2014 season of free lunchtime concerts with a special Meet the Young Artists showcase, dedicated to the late Lotfi Mansouri, COC’s former general director. Get acquainted with each member of the Ensemble Studio as they perform their favourite arias. Ensemble Studio graduate Simone Osborne will make a guest appearance.
Wednesday was not a great day for feminism, if feminism means getting upset when a prominent Canadian author and University of Toronto professor says he doesn’t care much for any literature written by women, or when an engagement ring must be “earned” by making a man 300 sandwiches. Needless to say, Louise Pitre’s one-woman autobiographical show, On The Rocks, couldn’t have opened on a day when audiences were more ready to hear the personal story of one of Canada’s biggest female theatrical role models—especially in a production created by an all-female crew lead by director Jen Shuber.
Juno-nominated indie group The Wooden Sky and Classical Revolution are teaming up to bring you a show in partnership with the White Ribbon Campaign (the world’s largest movement to end violence against women). This sure-to-be-exciting set will take place at Grace Church on-the-Hill, so you already know the acoustics are going to be great. Consider revisiting our recap of The Wooden Sky’s travelling show, which was one of the highlights of SummerWorks.
FIXED is a play by Zack Russell that describes itself as a “cross-generation mash-up of gay inventors looking for their fix.” The show’s main character, Gayle, invents a hook-up app that broadcasts men right into a user’s home. What could go wrong?
The Emergency Monologues is an evening of shock-horror comedy during which EMS ambulance driver Morgan Phillips turns true on-the-job stories into a stand-up routine. Be warned: you may hear such tales as the one about the man who cut off his own penis, the girl who got her leg caught in a bike, and more. Evalyn Parry will be opening. Check out the clip above to see what you might be in for.
While the Toronto International Film Festival may have shifted into a more relaxed mode, it’s still offering plenty of opportunities to gawk at movie stars—they’re just a little more spread out. Midweek, fans could catch the premieres of Good Kill (Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot), Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg’s new bit of oddness), The Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch as World War II cryptographer Alan Turing), Jauja (Viggo Mortensen, and we don’t know much else really), Laggies (Sam Rockwell and Keira Knightley in a comedy about people taking their sweet time to grow up), October Gale (Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman in a thriller/drama set in a remote cabin), Pawn Sacrifice (about the chess duels between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer), The Cobbler (Adam Sandler’s latest) and Escobar (Benicio Del Toro is the famous drug kingpin).
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Face to Place,” a photo exhibition at St. Lawrence Market’s Market Gallery, is a raw and nostalgic attempt at capturing urban life in a city that’s constantly changing.
A coalition of campus groups at the University of Toronto has organized an alternative orientation week for those with alternative ideas on gender assignment and norms. Disorientation Week presents Gender Revolt!, a week-long series of free talks and group discussions on the “ongoing struggles against capitalism, white supremacy, colonialism, and heteronormativity.” Speakers include Torontoist 2012 hero Steph Guthrie and G20 activist Kelly Rose Pflug-Back; the keynote speaker will be author and activist Sarah Schulman.
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.
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.
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.
FeverGraph Theatre Company wants you to get mad (and perhaps go mad) over their new stage production. Look Back in Anger focuses on four people, and the anger that cripples each of them. Rather being a study of hot tempers, the play examines our common desire to feel something deeper than what reality delivers, our sense of futility, and the anger that ensues. Directed by Anita La Selva, the piece was co-conceived by its performers: Eli Ham, Adriano Sobretodo Jr., Tosha Doiron, and Zoë Sweet.