An urban planner, a flâneur, and a cultural director walk into a salon… The Toronto Public Library welcomes the City of Toronto’s Chief Planner Jen Keesmaat, writer Shawn Micallef, and Regent Park’s Cultural Hub Director Seema Jethalal to a special edition of its Star Talks series, entitled Toronto Ideas Jam, for a wide-ranging discussion of ideas for Toronto’s future. There will be a cash bar reception from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., at which point the discussion, moderated by Toronto Star columnist Royson James, is set to begin. RSVP is required for the limited number of (free) tickets.
One of Toronto’s theatrical highlights last year wasn’t held on a stage, didn’t cost any money, and appeared once every four weeks or so, for just a single night at a time. It was indie theatre company Small Wooden Shoe‘s Difficult Plays and Simple Songs, for which the company and its friends would gather together in a Parkdale home in the midst of renovations to read plays aloud and sing. Artistic director Jacob Zimmer spoke to us about what inspired the series, what makes a difficult play so difficult, and what can be expected when Difficult Plays resumes on November 25.
Theatre company Nobody’s Business is presenting Scheherazade, a new adaptation of the classic 1001 Nights, this coming January at the Next Stage Theatre Festival. To raise funds for the large ensemble production, the company is hosting a storytelling fundraiser, complete with a fine meal. At 1001 Bites, attendees will get to be among the first diners to visit the new Playa Cabana Barrio, a Mexican restaurant in Koreatown. Stories will be spun in between courses by local talents like Paul Hutcheson, Erin Fleck, and Sam S. Mullins.
It’s too rare that comedians and theatre actors share a stage, though it happens far more often in TV and film. For the comedy show Mixed Company, veteran improvisers like Colin Mochrie, Aurora Browne, and Sandy Jobin-Bevans pair off with stage actors like Christine Horne (Farther West), M. John Kennedy (No Exit), and Grace Lynn Kung (Yukonstyle). Given that many of these performers have shared screen time in shows like Rookie Blue, Murdoch Mysteries, and Being Erica, they’ll no doubt enjoy tripping each other up for laughs.
This event’s price was originally listed as $8, when it should have been $10. We regret the error.
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).
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.
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.
“Telling: An Audio Survey of Parkdale,” curated by Phil Anderson and Tara Bursey, gathers site-specific audio clips that relate to spaces across Parkdale. The opening reception and panel discussion (where the public will get the chance to discuss the different works) are on November 7th and November 13th respectively (both at 7 p.m.).
The Toronto Public Library launches its fifth-annual On Stage Arts Series, giving Torontonians inside glimpses of new upcoming plays with the artistic directors of different companies. On October 28, Factory Theatre co-artistic director Nigel Shawn Williams talks with The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble playwright Beth Graham; on November 4, Studio 180 AD Joel Greenberg talks about Gods of Carnage; on November 11, recent Siminovitch Prize recipient Chris Abraham, AD of Crow’s Theatre, chats with Marcus Youssef and James Long, writers and performers of Winners and Losers; and on November 25, Theatre Passe Muraille’s associate artistic producer Rob Kempson will be on hand to discuss the play he’s written, The Way Back to Thursday.