Festival Man: Sex, Drink and Accordions

Author Geoff Berner and his accordion. Photo courtesy of This Is Not a Reading Series.

Author Geoff Berner and his accordion. Photo courtesy of This Is Not a Reading Series.

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

Join This Is Not a Reading Series for a celebration of Geoff Berner—songwriter, touring accordionist, and now author. His first novel, Festival Man: Sex, Drink and Accordions, follows the drunken stumbling of band manager Campbell Ouiniette through the Canadian music industry. Abandoned by his top headlining act, he devises a scheme to redeem himself with his girlfriend and his peers. Writer/musician Dave Bidini will be on hand to help launch the book and to discuss its dark, silly, and eye-opening aspects.

Details: Festival Man: Sex, Drink and Accordions

Eleven Accords by Christopher House

Naishi Wang, one of the dancers featured in Eleven Accords. Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh.

Naishi Wang, one of the dancers featured in Eleven Accords. Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh.

  • Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West)
  • 8 p.m.

Celebrating his 20 years as artistic director for Toronto Dance Theatre, Christopher House presents his newest piece, Eleven Accords, as part of Harbourfront’s NextSteps showcase. Featuring 12 dancers, the show was inspired by and created as a choreographic counterpoint to Music for 18 Musicians, by minimalist composer Steve Reich.

Details: Eleven Accords by Christopher House

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

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

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)
  • 1:30 p.m., 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)
  • 1:30 p.m., 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

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

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

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

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

Sunparlour Players Residency

See the Sunparlour Players every Wednesday night in October and November at Dakota Tavern. Photo by Simon Willms.

See the Sunparlour Players every Wednesday night in October and November at Dakota Tavern. Photo by Simon Willms.

  • Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Avenue)
  • 9 p.m.

Sunparlour Players, a Torontonian folk-rock institution, is taking over the Dakota Tavern every Wednesday in October and November to debut some new songs and bring new life to the older ones. To keep things fresh, they’ll be joined onstage by a different guest act every week.

Details: Sunparlour Players Residency