Same Same But Different

Anthony Malarky and Anita Majumdar from Same Same But Different. Photo by Michael Cooper.

Anthony Malarky and Anita Majumdar from Same Same But Different. Photo by Michael Cooper.

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

Bollywood is the force that brings two stories of self-exploration together in Same Same But Different. After her mother’s life is changed by a run-in with the world of Indian cinema, Aisha—a Canadian-born actress—realizes that she must face her prejudices about nationality and skin colour in order to rise to stardom.

Details: Same Same But Different

Love and Other Struggles

  • Hirut (2050 Danforth Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

In the aftermath of Valentine’s Day, it’s likely that you have romance on the mind. Spoken word artists Jennifer Hosein and Bänoo Zan definitely do, and they’ve joined up with singer-songwriter Tim Maxwell to present Love and Other Struggles. Using poetry, prose, folk, and blues music, they’ll both lament and revel in all matters of the heart.

Details: Love and Other Struggles

Mark Forward

Comedian Mark Forward. Photo by Lauren Hammersley.

Comedian Mark Forward. Photo by Lauren Hammersley.

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

Over the course of 15 years in stand-up comedy, Mark Forward has told his fair share of great and not-so-great jokes. To commemorate his career milestone, he’s decided to resurrect his best and worst bits from years past at Comedy Bar. If you’ve never seen him before, this is your chance to find out what you’ve been missing.

Details: Mark Forward

Ongoing…

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

Life Is Good, When it’s This Cabaret

Photo by Seanna Kennedy.

Photo by Seanna Kennedy.

  • Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue)
  • All day

It’s 1931 in Berlin, and the Nazis are on the brink of supremacy. But there remains another side to the city—one that’s decadent, permissive, and artistic. And that’s the world we meet when we’re beckoned into the extravagant and sleazy Kit Kat Klub by eccentric Emcee and his troupe of saucy dancers, performing “Willkommen.”

Cabaret’s primary plotline begins with the arrival of American writer Cliff Bradshaw (David Light). Without a real agenda, he’s come to Berlin to work on his novel and teach English. A patron of the Kit Kat Klub, he catches the eye of the star performer Sally Bowles (Kylie McMahon). A natural stunner, Sally is a bubbly young Brit with a powerhouse voice, a dancer’s grace, and a reputation for flitting from man to man like a bumblebee in a flowerbed. It’s not long before she and Cliff fall in love—though the question of whether he’ll be able to satisfy her wild side constantly hangs over their heads. The sweetness lacking in their relationship can be found in the romantic pairing of the boarding house landlord Fraulein Schneider (Adeen Ashton Fogle) and Jewish shop owner Herr Schultz (Don Berns). As appealing as they are, though, these middle-aged lovebirds are just as susceptible to trouble and heartbreak as their younger counterparts.

Details: Life Is Good, When it’s This Cabaret

Wavelength Festival Continues to Experiment

20130206Wavelength14
  • All day

At the risk of making a terrible pun, there is a long-standing series of music events in Toronto that has always been on, well, a different wavelength. Wavelength is Toronto’s longest-running underground concert and festival series, and while it has undergone several permutations and frequency changes over the years, its passion for the innovative, the breakthrough, and the gloriously strange has never altered. What began in 2000 as a weekly curated performance series with a penchant for unearthing extraordinary talent (it featured early performances by Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, Fucked Up, and Crystal Castles) has become an annual music festival, a monthly concert series, regular workshops and educational events, and a new Artist Incubator series of events.

Details: Wavelength Festival Continues to Experiment

Be Mein Valentine

  • Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West)

Skin Tight Outta Sight and Boylesque T.O. know exactly how to get you warmed up for V-Day. Their Be Mein Valentine burlesque revue has returned for its fifth year, and is just as naughty as ever. Bathed in the decadence of Weimar Republic Berlin, this cabaret is full of forbidden pleasures. Hosted by Sexy Deutsch Mark Brown, Balonia Wry, and Ginger Darling, the night will see performances from special guest Dolly Berlin, as well as musicians Big Rude Jake and Laura Desiree.

Details: Be Mein Valentine

Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival

Shawna Caspi hosts a Songwriting Series showcase (and performs a set herself) at the Winterfolk Festival this weekend. Photo by Roni Hoffman.

Shawna Caspi hosts a Songwriting Series showcase (and performs a set herself) at the Winterfolk Festival this weekend. Photo by Roni Hoffman.

  • All day

The Danforth will be abuzz with acoustic songs for three days this weekend, as the 2014 Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival takes over four venues just east of Broadview Avenue. The Black Swan Tavern, Dora Keogh Irish Pub, Terri O’s, and the Globe Bistro’s stages will be full all day with local and visiting folk musicians, including Tony Quarrington, Lynn Miles, and Swamperella. Many of the shows are free of charge, although a select few require cover; for the full schedule of the three day festival, visit the website.

Details: Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival

From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru

Ichimaru playing the shamisen. Image courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Ichimaru playing the shamisen. Image courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

  • Textile Museum of Canada (55 Centre Avenue)
  • 11 a.m.

Ichimaru—once one of Japan’s most famous geishas—left the profession in the 1930s to pursue a career in entertainment. Never really leaving her past life, she became known for adorning herself in the traditional geisha garb when performing in concert or on television. “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru” exhibits several decades’ worth of outfits and personal effects, shedding light on the woman behind the makeup.

Details: From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru

“Poetic Poverty; Experiments in Living”

Poetic Poverty; Experiments in Living examines the life of starving artists. Image courtesy of Erin Loree.

Poetic Poverty; Experiments in Living examines the life of starving artists. Image courtesy of Erin Loree.

  • Creatures Creating (822 Dundas Street West)
  • 12 p.m.

Those who work in the arts are well acquainted with the balancing act between creative work and life-sustaining day jobs. “Poetic Poverty; Experiments in Living” explores the notion of the starving artist, and why it’s a life so many choose to lead. This two-week show features works by Erin Loree, Stella Cade, Kevin Columbus, and more.

Details: “Poetic Poverty; Experiments in Living”

Aneemah’s Spot

  • 918 Bathurst (918 Bathurst Street)
  • 1 p.m., 8 p.m.

First performed in Toronto at the 2012 SummerWorks Festival, Aneemah’s Spot uses poetry and music to tell the story of two lifelong friends coming to terms with a tragedy caused by gun violence. Toronto-specific and set in the “millennial MegaCity,” this two-hander starring Amanda Parris and Shomari Downer has already had a one-night-only showing in Mississauga. There’ll be five performances at the 918 Bathurst Centre over this weekend.

Details: Aneemah’s Spot

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

The 35th Rhubarb Festival Looks Back and Forward

Laura Nanni is the director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre's annual Rhubarb Festival (and looks fierce promoting it, too). Photo by Tanja-Tiziana.

Laura Nanni is the director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre's annual Rhubarb Festival (and looks fierce promoting it, too). Photo by Tanja-Tiziana.

  • Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street)
  • 2 p.m.

At 35 years old, the Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre may be nearing middle age, but it’s still the place to go if you’re looking for experimental, boundary-breaking, not-your-theatre-next-door kind of stuff in Canada. Every February, Buddies in Bad Times warms up the Church Street neighbourhood with public works, cabarets, live performance art, and a robust lineup of emerging and established artists pushing their own limits and those of the political and cultural moment.

Festival director Laura Nanni is taking the opportunity to look at Rhubarb’s trajectory: this year’s lineup revolves around significant works of the past, and prophetic interpretations of the future. At the same time, with 34 successful years behind it, Nanni and the Rhubarb team have faced an unexpected challenge in getting the 2014 edition off the ground: a funding denial from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

We spoke to Laura Nanni to get her perspective this year’s festival, and the repercussions of the funding gap.

Details: The 35th Rhubarb Festival Looks Back and Forward

The Ugly One Plays Both Faces Well

Naomi Wright and Hardee T. Lineham discuss the drastic facial reconfiguration of David Jansen's Lette in Theatre Smash's production of The Ugly One. Photo by James Heaslip.

Naomi Wright and Hardee T. Lineham discuss the drastic facial reconfiguration of David Jansen's Lette in Theatre Smash's production of The Ugly One. Photo by James Heaslip.

  • Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

German theatre has gone over really well in Toronto in recent years. Playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig’s contribution to Volcano Theatre’s Africa project was widely praised, and twinwerks//zwillingswerk’s production of Felicia Zeller’s Kaspar and the Sea of Houses earned the company an outstanding production award at the 2011 SummerWorks (and a trip back to 2012′s festival). Now, Theatre Smash returns with Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One, a clever slice of absurdism that works well on several levels. There’s light humour when the titular character discovers that everyone finds his face repugnant, and darker tones when his new, beautiful face becomes coveted obsessively by those around him.

Details: The Ugly One Plays Both Faces Well

Così fan tutte

  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West)
  • 7:30 p.m.

What do you get when you combine Mozart and Atom Egoyan? Così fan tutte, a wryly comedic opera. Also known as The School For Lovers, it sees two couples struggle with issues of faith, desire, and temptation. The Canadian Opera Company welcomes the return of Egoyan, who will be directing this winter season opener.

Details: Così fan tutte

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

Heartbeat of Home

  • Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria Avenue)
  • 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

The producers of Riverdance have spawned yet another on-stage extravaganza. With a talented cast of 38, Heartbeat of Home is a high-energy show, combining Irish, Latin, and Afro-Cuban music and dance. Torontonians get the honour of seeing the production’s North American debut—take it in before it’s gone!

Details: Heartbeat of Home

Little Women

  • Scarborough Village Theatre (3600 Kingston Road)
  • 8 p.m.

The Scarborough Music Theatre brings Louisa May Alcott’s classic Civil War story to the stage for a short run. Little Women follows the lives and struggles of four young sisters as they grow up while their father is off at war. Directed by Michael Jones, this musical features spirit-lifting and tear-jerking performances by Lauren Lazar, Katie Wise, Carina Cautillo, and Sarah DaCunha.

Details: Little Women

Flesh and Other Fragments of Love: A Rocky Production

Nicole Underhay and Maria del Mar in Flesh and Other Fragments of Love. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Nicole Underhay and Maria del Mar in Flesh and Other Fragments of Love. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

In Tarragon Theatre’s current mainstage production, Flesh and Other Fragments of Love, there are both a marriage and a body on the rocks, and the prognosis isn’t good for either of them. While the human figure appears pale, cold, and lifeless, the marriage is slightly more alive, and the play chronicles its last dying breaths. Surprisingly, though, the young female cadaver is by far the more interesting of the two.

Details: Flesh and Other Fragments of Love: A Rocky Production

Arrabal

Juan Cupini and Micaela Spina star in Arrabal. Photo by Eugenio Mazzinghi.

Juan Cupini and Micaela Spina star in Arrabal. Photo by Eugenio Mazzinghi.

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

Told through South American music and dance, Arrabal is the story of a young girl desperate to find out what happened to her father after the Argentine military made him disappear when she was just a baby. Her search leads her to the Tango clubs of Buenos Aires, where she discovers both the truth, and herself.

Details: Arrabal

Tribes

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

Even though Billy was born deaf, his family strived to raise him the same way they would have a hearing-able child. Tribes sees him learn what it is to hear and be heard when he meets Sylvia, a young woman who is gradually becoming deaf herself. Presented by A Theatrefront Production, Canadian Stage, and Theatre Aquarius, this emotional play stars Stephen Drabicki and Holly Lewis.

Details: Tribes

Embracing the F Word in Untitled Feminist Show

The cast of Young Jean Lee's Untitled Feminist Show. (Black bars not included in the live show.) Photo by Blaine Davis.

The cast of Young Jean Lee's Untitled Feminist Show. (Black bars not included in the live show.) Photo by Blaine Davis.

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

Young Jean Lee’s theatrical mantra—”What’s the last thing in the world I would ever want to write?”—has resulted in creative battles against some pretty intimidating opponents: religion (Church), death and mortality (We’re Gonna Die), and black racial stereotypes (The Shipment, which came to Toronto in 2012), to name a few. But the risks have paid off so far: Lee has amassed a loyal and influential following in New York City. Her fans and collaborators have included the late Lou Reed and his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson; the Talking Heads’ David Byrne; former Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna; and Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz. According to the New York Times, she’s “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation.”

Details: Embracing the F Word in Untitled Feminist Show

Hidden Restrictions in Free Outgoing

Anusree Roy as Malini and Andrew Lawrie as Sharan. Photo by John Lauener.

Anusree Roy as Malini and Andrew Lawrie as Sharan. Photo by John Lauener.

  • Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street)
  • 8 p.m., 2 p.m.

At first, the rise of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram seemed to herald nothing more than a new kind of annoying exercise in narcissism and a devastating black hole for productivity. But, as we all know by now, they had a far darker side: although those of us who were young and vulnerable when these networks emerged are now, we hope, informed enough to use them with care, younger people, who live much of their lives online, have a large and potentially dangerous platform from which to broadcast their immature and stupid mistakes. The negative repercussions of social media aren’t limited to embarrassing photos or inane political rants—teens are being charged with cyber-bullying and, as was the case for two teens in India, a leaked video can lead to a national scandal.

Anupama Chandrasekhar’s play Free Outgoing is partly inspired by the latter, the story of two teens who videotaped themselves having sex and triggered a moral panic in India over sex-crazed teens when the video went viral.

Details: Hidden Restrictions in Free Outgoing

An Evening in July

Briana Templeton and Gwynne Phillips star in An Evening in July. Photo by Shannon Laliberte.

Briana Templeton and Gwynne Phillips star in An Evening in July. Photo by Shannon Laliberte.

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

Be among the first to get a taste of Templeton Philharmonic’s dark new comedy, which will be presented as part of its Canadian Stage residency. Created by comediennes Gwynne Phillips and Briana Templeton, An Evening in July reveals the quirks of two very different sisters as they host a fancy—albeit off-beat—party.

Details: An Evening in July