Ian Crawford: The Magic of Reading

  • New Toronto Public Library (110 Eleventh Street)
  • 2 p.m.

Celebrate Family Literacy Day in the most natural place—the public library. Children aged 3-12 and their parents are invited to join Ian Crawford for his Magic of Reading show, which features puppets, storytelling, and, of course, magic. With the aim of encouraging reading amongst youngsters, Crawford’s performances involve a whole lot of audience participation.

Details: Ian Crawford: The Magic of Reading

Neutral’s Closing Ceremonies

Photo by Tanya Witzel from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Photo by Tanya Witzel from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

  • Neutral (282 Augusta Avenue)
  • 9 p.m.

After nearly ten years of providing a haven for Toronto’s dark subcultures, Neutral is closing its doors. Friends and patrons past and present are invited to come out for one last party, the Closing Ceremonies, to bid adieu. DJs Lazarus, Shannon, and Hangedman are only some of the entertainers who will keep things raging until sunrise.

Details: Neutral’s Closing Ceremonies

Big Rude Jake

Big Rude Jake leads the Killer 3. Photo courtesy of Big Rude Jake.

Big Rude Jake leads the Killer 3. Photo courtesy of Big Rude Jake.

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

Big Rude Jake is known for his energetic rockabilly and swing-punk sounds, but he also has a softer side. Slowing things down a little with The Killer 3, he’ll showcase the mellower, more jazz-infused songs in his repertoire.

Details: Big Rude Jake

Ongoing…

The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

20130619assyria
  • 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

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

20131029-David Cronenberg - Evolution - TIFF Lightbox-3565- Photo_by_Corbin_Smith
  • 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 Guggenheim Comes to the AGO

20131126-AGO The Great Upheaval- Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection-2168- Photo_by_Corbin_Smith
  • Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West)
  • All day

Virginia Woolf once remarked that “on or about December 1910, human character changed.” Whether it actually did is debatable, but the curators of “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection 1910–1918” use that year to start their exhibition of works from a tumultuous decade of innovation in European fine art.

Details: The Guggenheim Comes to the AGO

,

Canada’s Top Ten: Where Daniel Radcliffe, Edward Burtynsky, and a Giant Computer-Generated Spider Meet

Jake Gyllenhaal (and Jake Gyllenhaal) in Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy.

Jake Gyllenhaal (and Jake Gyllenhaal) in Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

Not content to keep it tucked away in the fall, last night the Toronto International Film Festival revealed its slate for Canada’s Top 10, the upcoming ten-day mini-festival devoted to the year’s best in Canadian filmmaking. Artistic Director Cameron Bailey joined Canadian programmer Steve Gravestock and comedian Steve Patterson to unveil the feature and short lineups, in addition to announcing a number of related talks.

Details: Canada’s Top Ten: Where Daniel Radcliffe, Edward Burtynsky, and a Giant Computer-Generated Spider Meet

North American International Motorcycle Supershow

  • The International Centre (6900 Airport Road)
  • 10 a.m.

The largest retail showcase for motorcycle enthusiasts, the North American International Motorcycle Supershow features over 500 exhibitors and over 1,000 bikes on display, plus live entertainment, the unveiling of new bikes, and a marketplace. Children under the age of six get in free, and youth six to 12 get in for just $5 (regular admission is $20).

Details: North American International Motorcycle Supershow

Ali Eisner: “Favourite Things”

Rose Cousins performing at Dakota Tavern. Photo by Ali Eisner.

Rose Cousins performing at Dakota Tavern. Photo by Ali Eisner.

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

Ali Eisner is already known for being a puppeteer, composer, and performer. Now she adds another line to her resumé with her debut photography exhibit, “Favourite Things.” As one might expect, each photo in the show depicts a cherished moment, person, or item in her life—you’ll find shots of everything from travelling and architecture, to puppets and musicians such as Kathleen Edwards, Ron Sexsmith, and Serena Ryder.

Details: Ali Eisner: “Favourite Things”

The Nutcracker

Elena Lobsanova in The Nutcracker. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Elena Lobsanova in The Nutcracker. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West)
  • 1 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

Ensure that visions of sugarplum fairies will be dancing in your head this holiday season by grabbing tickets to the National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker. Choreographed by James Kudelka, this dreamy story set in Imperial Russia has everything from snow queens to fight scenes, with rich costuming, a live orchestra, and compelling performances from some of the best in ballet.

Details: The Nutcracker

See It at Least Once

The touring cast of Once jams together at an Irish open-mic night. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The touring cast of Once jams together at an Irish open-mic night. Photo by Joan Marcus.

  • Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West)
  • 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

Once upon a time, there was a film called Once. It was made for dirt cheap in 2006 by writer and director John Carney, shot in 17 days, and starred two unprofessional actors. Fast-forward seven years, and those stars—Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová—are Oscar winners, the movie has grossed almost US$9.5 million, and a Broadway musical based on the story walked away from the 2012 Tonys with eight awards, including Best Musical.

Now Toronto gets to take part in Once‘s Cinderella story, as the touring production continues its run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until early 2014, rounding out Mirvish’s holiday offerings: Aladdin for the kids, Les Misérables for an outing with your parents, and for a romantic night at the theatre with your folk-music-loving significant other, this simple story of two broken-hearted Dubliners who find a connection through music.

Details: See It at Least Once

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

  • Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Avenue)
  • 2 p.m., 7 p.m.

Proving that Bible stories can be pretty entertaining, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat returns to the stage in Toronto for a short three-week run. This Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, with lyrics by Tim Rice, is based on the story of Joseph of Canaan’s “coat of many colours.” Debuted in the mid-70s, this is the first Lloyd Webber-Rice opera to ever be performed in public.

Details: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

The Little Mermaid

The cast of The Little Mermaid. Image courtesy of Ross Petty Productions.

The cast of The Little Mermaid. Image courtesy of Ross Petty Productions.

  • Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street)
  • 2 p.m.

You know what they say—things are better, down where it’s wetter. Keeping that in mind, why not escape the cold, and enter the underwater world of The Little Mermaid. Straying from the sugar-coated Disney version, Ross Petty’s production draws on Hans Christian Andersen’s story, tying in humour to make this family program both relevant and entertaining.

Details: The Little Mermaid

Belly-Dance Workshop

Learn to belly dance with Yasmina Ramzy. Photo by Nomad Bakr, courtesy of Arabesque Dance Company.

Learn to belly dance with Yasmina Ramzy. Photo by Nomad Bakr, courtesy of Arabesque Dance Company.

  • Arabesque Dance Academy (1 Gloucester Street)
  • 2:30 p.m.

Do your New Year’s resolutions include getting fit or trying a new hobby? Either way, taking part in a Belly-Dance Workshop is one way to battle the January blahs. Led by Yasmina Ramzy—choreographer and founder of the Arabesque Dance Academy—the classes will focus on both traditional belly dance and folklore, and are suitable for those with two left feet or extensive training.

Details: Belly-Dance Workshop

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

Little Shop of Horrors

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

What happens when your common household plant develops a taste for blood? Well, naturally it turns into a feisty, R&B-singing beast vying for global domination. Or at least that’s what happens in the cult classic sci-fi spoof, Little Shop of Horrors. Check out this off-Broadway hit at the Lower Ossington Theatre during its three week run.

Details: Little Shop of Horrors

DJ Skate Night

  • Natrel Rink, Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West)
  • 8 p.m.

It’s time to lace up! Harbourfront Centre has brought back its weekly DJ Skate Nights at Natrel Rink, overlooking the lake. Make the best of winter, and get your skate on to the sounds of some of Toronto’s premiere DJs and party-makers, like Skratch Bastid (Dec 14), Cherry Bomb (Feb 1), and DJ Starting from Scratch (Feb 22).

Details: DJ Skate Night

The Sketchersons 10-Year Anniversary Celebration

  • Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m., 9:15 p.m.

In 2004. Gary Rideout Jr., Pat Thornton, and Tal Zimmerman formed the Sketchersons, and set out to establish an outlet for local comedic talent—the result was Sunday Night Live. Now, with over 200 shows, awards, and tours of North America under their belts, they present The Sketchersons 10-Year Anniversary Celebration. Join them for four nights of comedy, which will include year-specific “best of” shows featuring alumni casts and new content mashups. The weekend wraps up with a Best of 2013 spectacular.

Details: The Sketchersons 10-Year Anniversary Celebration

The Musical of Musicals, The Musical!: Theatre That’s Niche and Nerdy

Dana Jean Phoenix, Mark Cassius, Paula Wolfson and Adrian Marchuk in Musical of Musicals, the Musical!. Photo by Josie Di Luzio.

Dana Jean Phoenix, Mark Cassius, Paula Wolfson and Adrian Marchuk in Musical of Musicals, the Musical!. Photo by Josie Di Luzio.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 8 p.m., 2 p.m.

The musical spoof is a theatrical genre all its own, and it’s one that thrives in the indie universe of the Fringe Festival circuit. Of course, it was at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival that The Musical of Musicals, The Musical! became a runaway hit. Its hokey, jokey sense of humour, hummable tunes, and highly experienced cast stood out from the hundred-plus other low-budget productions—so much so that David Mirvish plucked it from obscurity and placed it in the Off-Mirvish lineup. But until last Thursday, we had yet to see if its success so far was a Fringe fluke or the real deal.

Details: The Musical of Musicals, The Musical!: Theatre That’s Niche and Nerdy

Avenue Q’s a Cure for the Blues

Princeton, Rod, and Lucy the Slut are some of the characters you'll meet on Avenue Q. Image courtesy of Avenue Q.

Princeton, Rod, and Lucy the Slut are some of the characters you'll meet on Avenue Q. Image courtesy of Avenue Q.

  • Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue)
  • 8 p.m., 2 p.m.

Let’s face it: being a twenty-something can kinda suck. Pumped full of confidence and aspirations, we flee the family nest…and fall flat on our faces. Avenue Q uses songs (written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx) and puppetry both to lament and poke fun at this difficult time. Much like Sesame Street, it has a cast made up of human actors who interact with a variety of furry creatures, who themselves have hands up their butts. Think that description is tasteless? This might not be the show for you—these puppets are crude and lewd, and have a taste for alcohol and porn. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Details: Avenue Q’s a Cure for the Blues