Gamercamp 2013

  • Hotel Ocho (195 Spadina Avenue)
  • All day

The annual festival for lovers of video games (of all ages), Gamercamp, kicks off on Friday, November 1 with a daytime conference and evening party. On Saturday and Sunday, the exhibition and arcades run 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the salon series—featuring designers from Assassin’s Creed and Antichamber—continuing at 7 p.m. both evenings.

Details: Gamercamp 2013

TIFF’s First Major Original Exhibition Traces David Cronenberg’s Evolution

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  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • 12 p.m.

It’s not every day that a media tour opens with the injunction not to photograph “the sex blob,” but so began TIFF’s preview of “David Cronenberg: Evolution,” the organization’s first large-scale touring exhibition (for now, it’s stationed at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s HSBC Gallery). It’s an exhaustive, stunning look at some of the wildest, most perverse creations of a pioneer of the body-horror genre—who also happens to be Canada’s most internationally renowned filmmaker.

Details: TIFF’s First Major Original Exhibition Traces David Cronenberg’s Evolution

MANTOWN Re-Animates Halloween

MANTOWN (with guest Wayne Jones at far right). Photo by Paul Aioshi.

MANTOWN (with guest Wayne Jones at far right). Photo by Paul Aioshi.

  • Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
  • 10:30 p.m.

Not sure what to do with your Halloween costume the day after Halloween? MANTOWN, this year’s winning troupe for Best Improv Group at the Canadian Comedy Awards, wants you to wear it, stains and other damage intact, for a “walk of shame” half-price discount on admission to its show. Guests The Sexy Dead and Rob Baker will also join the troupe on stage—and at the dance party afterwards.

Details: MANTOWN Re-Animates Halloween

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

“David Bowie Is” Is Taking Over the AGO

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  • Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West)
  • All day

When it was originally unveiled at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (England, not Ontario), the “David Bowie Is” exhibition shattered attendance records, selling over 42,000 advance tickets. Now that the show has come to Toronto, it’s easy to see why it was so successful. Composed of over 300 objects from David Bowie’s personal archive, spanning his entire career, the exhibit is arranged and presented as a completely immersive experience, enveloping visitors in a kaleidoscopic visual and aural landscape that would be overwhelming if it weren’t so brilliantly arranged and intelligently guided.

Details: “David Bowie Is” Is Taking Over the AGO

Stephen King and Eleanor Catton Headline the 2013 International Festival Of Authors

2013 Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton will be participating in four events at this year's International Festival of Authors. Photo by Robert Catto, courtesy of IFOA.

2013 Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton will be participating in four events at this year's International Festival of Authors. Photo by Robert Catto, courtesy of IFOA.

  • Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West)
  • All day

For its 34th birthday, the International Festival of Authors is actually getting younger. One of the themes this year is Brave New Word, a Huxleyan allusion referring not to the demise of books (a Brave New World scenario), but to the next generation of notable writers participating in the festival. Among this group is Canadian-born author Eleanor Catton, who last week, at age 28, became the youngest person ever to win the Man Booker Prize (for her second novel, The Luminaries).

Details: Stephen King and Eleanor Catton Headline the 2013 International Festival Of Authors

Evil Dead The Musical Returns to Toronto

Ryan Ward and Laura Tremblay in Evil Dead The Musical. Photo by David Hou.

Ryan Ward and Laura Tremblay in Evil Dead The Musical. Photo by David Hou.

  • The Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.)
  • All day

Since its humble beginnings in the back room of Toronto’s Tranzac club back in 2003, Evil Dead The Musical has steadily risen in infamy as a ridiculously fun, tongue-in-cheek, gore-soaked musical experience. From those earliest shows, the musical has gone on to make an off-broadway debut, to win and be nominated for several Dora awards, and to play in dozens of cities around the world, from Montreal and Vancouver to Tokyo and Madrid. It was high time that the show make a triumphant homecoming to a stage in Toronto, and it finally has, at the Randolph Theatre.

Details: Evil Dead The Musical Returns to Toronto

The Norman Conquests

Soulpepper's artistic director Albert Schultz in rehearsal for The Norman Conquests. Photo by Nathan Kelly.

Soulpepper's artistic director Albert Schultz in rehearsal for The Norman Conquests. Photo by Nathan Kelly.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • All day

Like the company’s recent triumph, Angels in America, Soulpepper’s newest show, The Norman Conquests, requires multiple trips to the theatre—or a hearty constitution for a full day of marathon attendance. Unlike Angels in America, the three instalments of The Norman ConquestsTable Manners, Living Together, and Round and Round the Garden—are comic in nature and small in scope, with each instalment taking place in a different part of a couple’s house. Written by prolific British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, the three-part series features veteran members of the Soulpepper ensemble, and can be “enjoyed individually or in any combination.”

Details: The Norman Conquests

The Nefarious Bed and Breakfast

Dr. Nefarious and his henchman, Half-Ape. Photo by Linn Øyen Farley.

Dr. Nefarious and his henchman, Half-Ape. Photo by Linn Øyen Farley.

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • 7:30 p.m.

Once a famed Canadian supervillain, Dr. Nefarious has retired to pursue a less evil existence out of the public eye. This new life includes a bed and breakfast, which he has opened with his invisible wife and his henchman, Half-Ape. Of course, with a setup like this, the B&B is guaranteed to get all sorts of normal guests…or not. Join the motley crew of The Nefarious Bed and Breakfast as they bumble through their opening weekend.

Details: The Nefarious Bed and Breakfast

Troubles Found Farther West

Matthew MacFadzean as Thomas Shepherd and Tara Nicodemo as May Buchanan in Farther West. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Matthew MacFadzean as Thomas Shepherd and Tara Nicodemo as May Buchanan in Farther West. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

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

Soulpepper Theatre’s production of Farther West begins with an arresting image—a lithe young woman and a much older, much wider man lie naked next to each other on a bare cot. The woman, we learn, is May Buchanan, who traveled across Canada in the 1870s and 1880s as a prostitute, and then as a brothel owner. She begins to tell her story as she shoves her john off her and gets dressed.

Details: Troubles Found Farther West

Go Hear the People Sing in Les Misérables

Ramin Karimloo will make you weep, or at least want to give him a hug, as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Ramin Karimloo will make you weep, or at least want to give him a hug, as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

  • Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West)
  • 7:30 p.m.

Every revolution needs a leader. And though the movement to bring the classic 1980s musical Les Misérables back to Toronto is markedly different than the quest for political accountability and social equality, it has its hero just the same. After the official opening performance at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the audience likely would have followed London-based, Richmond Hill-raised performer Ramin Karimloo (as the story’s golden-hearted protagonist, Jean Valjean) anywhere he would lead.

Details: Go Hear the People Sing in Les Misérables

The Rocky Horror Show

  • Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

In the movies, when a car breaks down in the middle of nowhere it usually leads to sexy times, amusing adventures, or utter terror. The Rocky Horror Show is all of the above. In case you’ve somehow managed to avoid watching it on TV every October, the story follows the exploits of newly engaged (and stranded) couple Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, who are forced to stay overnight in the strange home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. A Toronto Halloween tradition, the theatrical production of this cult classic returns to the stage for the sixth straight year, starring Cory Strong, Amanda Milligan, and Adam Joshua Norrad.

CORRECTION: October 4, 2013, 11:25 AM This post originally referred to its subject by an incorrect name. The theatrical version of Rocky Horror is called the The Rocky Horror Show, not The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Details: The Rocky Horror Show

Prayers for the New World

Image by Alex Brown.

Image by Alex Brown.

  • Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street)
  • 8 p.m.

Local playwright Laura Cockburn-Tulk has written two new one-act plays that Glasswater Theatre is premiering together as Prayers For the New World. The double header will have a limited run at the Berkeley Street Theatre. In the first play, Confessions, a Soviet-era spy discovers that she can communicate across space and time with an accused Salem witch while the two are imprisoned; in the second play, Gone Home, the mysterious death of a child tests a family’s bond during the the Second World War.

CORRECTION: October 19, 2013, 12:00 PM This event originally stated that one of the plays is titled Communion, but the correct title is Confessions. We regret the error.

Details: Prayers for the New World

dirty butterfly

Lauren Brotman in dirty butterfly. Photo by Joe Bucci.

Lauren Brotman in dirty butterfly. Photo by Joe Bucci.

  • Aki Studio Theatre (585 Dundas Street East)
  • 8 p.m.

Jamaican-British playwright Debbie Tucker Green isn’t afraid to touch on heavy subjects, bringing them to light with a blunt but poetic voice. Her play dirty butterfly tells the story of three people—two black and one white—living in a poor London neighbourhood. The thin walls of their tenement houses don’t allow for secrets, and so the harsh realities of domestic violence and racial economic divides are exposed. Presented by Bound to Create Theatre, the play features gut-wrenching performances from Kaleb Alexander, Beryl Bain, and Lauren Brotman.

Details: dirty butterfly

Puppet Up: Uncensored Both Frightens and Delights

Puppeteers Michael Oosterom, Brian Henson, and Tyler Bunch. Although they won't be appearing in Toronto, the bunnies will be. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Puppeteers Michael Oosterom, Brian Henson, and Tyler Bunch. Although they won't be appearing in Toronto, the bunnies will be. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 8 p.m.

On stage now at the Panasonic Theatre are 85 tiny pieces of artwork. Beautifully detailed, textured, colourful, and startlingly evocative, these creations are intensely mesmerizing—even when hanging lifeless on a display wall, their toothless mouths gaping open.

When they get hands stuck up their asses, though, it’s an entirely different story.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Mirvish Productions announced an expanded season last month that includes the following: Chicago, starring Elvis Stojko; this year’s Toronto Fringe hit The Musical of Musicals, the Musical!; and Puppet Up: Uncensored, which began a short engagement in Toronto last night. Billed as “a live, outrageous, comedy, variety show for adults only,” the show elicited genuine childlike enthusiasm from audience members. They had likely grown up watching Jim Henson’s beloved puppets on the The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock (or in the more sinister Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal). But Puppet Up: Uncensored is a very different from your average puppet show. Co-created by Brian Henson (Jim’s son) and comedian Patrick Bristow under the Henson Alternative label, these puppets are weird, foul-mouthed, and dirty. Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie would be appalled.

Details: Puppet Up: Uncensored Both Frightens and Delights

All Our Happy Days Are Stupid and Weird and Touching

(Part of) the cast of All Our Happy Days Are Stupid by Sheila Heti. Photo by Jordan Tannahill.

(Part of) the cast of All Our Happy Days Are Stupid by Sheila Heti. Photo by Jordan Tannahill.

  • Videofag (187 Augusta Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

Sheila Heti is getting by with a little help from her friends.

In her acclaimed novel, How Should a Person Be?—which has attracted favorable notice from The New York Times, The New Yorker, Salon, and others—the 36-year-old writer documented her epic struggle to write a play about two families who meet on vacation in Paris. The play is her nemesis, a challenge seemingly insurmountable, and it throws her confidence and her friendships for a loop. Until now, that is, because that very play, All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, had its world premiere on Thursday night.

Details: All Our Happy Days Are Stupid and Weird and Touching

Savage in Limbo Sparks Basement-Bar Epiphanies

The cast of Savage In Limbo. From left to right: Melissa D'Agostino, Diana Bentley, Nick Abraham, Tim Walker, and Caitlin Driscoll. Photo by Matt Campagna.

The cast of Savage In Limbo. From left to right: Melissa D'Agostino, Diana Bentley, Nick Abraham, Tim Walker, and Caitlin Driscoll. Photo by Matt Campagna.

  • The Downstage (798 Danforth Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

In keeping with play’s basement-bar motif, your program for Bob Kills Theatre’s production of Pulitzer-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley’s Savage in Limbo comes in a drink-menu format. The venue, a newly renovated basement hall called The Downstage (previously used by the Playwright Project and other independent companies), has undergone considerable changes, and now boasts blacked-out walls, more lighting, and an actual (albeit small) stage. But most of Savage Limbo, described by Shanley as a “concert play,” is set in the round on broken-down beer-box flooring that’s supposed to suggest a neighbourhood watering hole. There, a motley assortment of dreamers and malcontents are trying to change their lives.

Details: Savage in Limbo Sparks Basement-Bar Epiphanies

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)
  • 10 p.m., 7:30 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