Monsoon:Synthesis

Justin Gray and his Bass Veena. Photo courtesy of Justin Gray.

Justin Gray and his Bass Veena. Photo courtesy of Justin Gray.

  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West)
  • 12 p.m.

Tradition meets invention in the music of Monsoon:Synthesis—and you can check out the ensemble at this event being presented by the Canadian Opera Company. Experience an hour of Indian Classical music fused with the modern stylings of the bass veena, an instrument designed by bassist Justin Gray. He’ll be accompanied by Ed Hanley on tabla and Derek Gray on Tibetan bowls and percussion in this special showcase that will include both North Indian ragas and original compositions.

Details: Monsoon:Synthesis

Jane Austen Dance

  • North York Central Library (5120 Yonge Street)
  • 6:30 p.m.

Jane Austen fans may know that Pride and Prejudice recently turned 200 years old. To celebrate, Karen Millyard of the York Regency Society is hosting a Jane Austen Dance at the Toronto Public Library. Join her as she explores the history of Regency dance through images, demonstrations, and a dance lesson. Period-appropriate attire is encouraged. Call 416-395-5639 to reserve your spot.

Details: Jane Austen Dance

Steam Whistle Staff and Friends Art Show

From the Steam Whistle Brewing Staff and Friends Art Show. Image courtesy of Steam Whistle Brewing.

From the Steam Whistle Brewing Staff and Friends Art Show. Image courtesy of Steam Whistle Brewing.

  • Steam Whistle Brewing (255 Bremner Boulevard)
  • 7 p.m.

This month, art and charity come together for the Steam Whistle Staff and Friends Art Show. All of the art displayed in this collaborative exhibit has been created and donated by staff and friends of Steam Whistle Brewing. Each piece will be sold off in a silent auction, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to charity. Join them for the kick-off party, which will feature live music—and of course, beer!

Details: Steam Whistle Staff and Friends Art Show

TV Trivia Night: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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

Because of the Halloween season, and because the popularity of the event’s first edition, TV Trivia Night is doing another Buffy the Vampire Slayer-themed event. Grab up to five friends (and maybe a stake) and prepare to answer a variety of Buffy trivia questions that will come at you via the hosts, audio clues, and live skits. Prizes will be awarded to winners and to those who dare to dress up. Stick around after the trivia battle for the screening of a classic episode.

Details: TV Trivia Night: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Time Stands Still

  • Unit 102 Theatre (376 Dufferin Street)
  • 8 p.m.

Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still tackles themes of journalistic morals and the downfalls of success, while exploring the intricacies of love and friendship. Injured in an explosion in the Middle East, photojournalist Sarah and her partner James return home, their relationship changed by her injuries.

Details: Time Stands Still

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

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

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

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  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

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

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

Alligator Pie

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

Feeling nostalgic for your childhood? Alligator Pie brings the children’s poems of Dennis Lee (who also, you might recall, wrote the Fraggle Rock theme) to life on the stage. This Dora Award–winning production promises music, tons of imagination, and overall good fun for the whole family. Above, you can watch Lee recite the title poem at a previous edition of Word on the Street.

Details: Alligator Pie

TIFF Feels the Rhythm of the Night With Claire Denis

Claire Denis and Alex Descas on the set of 35 rhums.

Claire Denis and Alex Descas on the set of 35 rhums.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • 6:30 p.m.

The punchiest distillation of Claire Denis’s film style might well be in 2002’s Vendredi soir, a sublime romance in its own right and a highlight of Objects of Desire: The Cinema of Claire Denis, TIFF Cinematheque’s upcoming retrospective of the celebrated French auteur’s work.

Details: TIFF Feels the Rhythm of the Night With Claire Denis

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

Growing Up (Slowly) in Moss Park

Graeme McComb and Haley McGee in Moss Park. Detail of a photo by Michael Cooper.

Graeme McComb and Haley McGee in Moss Park. Detail of a photo by Michael Cooper.

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

When we go to the theatre (especially if the plan is to write about the experience), we try to leave everything going on in the world offstage in the lobby. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done. This was the case when we went to see Moss Park just a few hours after the mayor of Toronto had announced that, while he had indeed smoked crack cocaine, he wasn’t going to do anything at all to atone for his misdeeds.

Details: Growing Up (Slowly) in Moss Park

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

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