Left Field Brewery Open House

Mark and Mandie Murphy stand on what will soon be the busy production floor of Left Field Brewery.

Mark and Mandie Murphy stand on what will soon be the busy production floor of Left Field Brewery.

  • Left Field Brewery (36 Wagstaff Drive)
  • 2 p.m.

Right now, the building that has just been leased by Mandie and Mark Murphy, the pair of masterminds behind Left Field Brewery, is still a raw, empty space. One of a series of small industrial buildings in an otherwise residential neighbourhood in Leslieville, the property—with its huge ceilings and fragmenting paint, strange bathrooms and gnarly little office spaces—is lovely in the way that abandoned buildings loved by urban explorers are lovely. Only the Left Field Brewery banners hanging proudly from the rafters like championship pennants hint at what it soon will become, but you can see the potential in the lonely space—a poky alcove with a skylight begging to become a patio, a huge main area ready to be filled with the sound of production equipment.

Details: Left Field Brewery Open House

Emotional Creature

Emotional Creature features performances by  women between 13 and 19 years of age. Photo by Aliyah Guillemette, courtesy of V-Day Toronto.

Emotional Creature features performances by women between 13 and 19 years of age. Photo by Aliyah Guillemette, courtesy of V-Day Toronto.

  • Young People's Theatre (165 Front Street East)
  • 8 p.m.

V-Day Toronto has found thirteen exceptional young women between the ages of 13 and 19 to appear on stage—some in their theatrical debut—for Emotional Creature. Based on Eve Ensler’s book, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Lives of Girls Around the World, the production is made up of music and spoken-word pieces inspired by the lives of girls from all over the globe.

Details: Emotional Creature

SHREW

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • 8 p.m., 2 p.m.

Recently, the Storefront Theatre (which received an honourable mention in our 2013 Heroes section) found itself literally underwater when a water main break dumped seven feet of water in its basement. A campaign to help the indie venue recover from the flood is ongoing, but in the meantime, the show must (and will) go on: its production of SHREW, a witty adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy of the sexes using puppets and a Klondike Gold Rush setting, will close out its run at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Details: SHREW

Series 8:08 Performance Workshop

  • Collective Space (221 Sterling Rd, Unit #5)
  • 8:08 p.m.

Social media slagging aside, it’s not often that regular showgoers get to provide a performer with their critiques. The Series 8:08 Performance Workshop is breaking down those walls. Its dance showcase puts the spotlight on pieces still in development or recently created by professional and up-and-coming local choreographers. Following the performances, audience members will have the chance to provide written feedback and speak one on one with each of the artists.

Details: Series 8:08 Performance Workshop

Something Strange: The Girl to Gorilla Show

  • Cherry Cola's Rock n Rolla Cabaret and Lounge (200 Bathurst Street)
  • 9 p.m.

Something Strange is going ape with The Girl to Gorilla Show! If you’re in the mood for something weird and wonderful, this savage sideshow is where you need to be. Awaiting your arrival are Gracie Klutz the Gorilla Lady, Mysterion the Doctor of Mentalism, a bug-eating Nancy Bocock, Ali Kat the Pain Proof Wild Woman of Kilimanjaro, and many more.

Details: Something Strange: The Girl to Gorilla Show

Ongoing…

The Guggenheim Comes to the AGO

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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).


Want more TIFF coverage? Torontoist‘s film festival hub is right over here.
Details: TIFF 2014 Scenes: Tuesday–Thursday Nights, Featuring Good Kill, Maps to the Stars, The Imitation Game, Jauja, Laggies, and More

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

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

Heartbeat of Home

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

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)
  • 2 p.m., 8 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

Little Women

  • Scarborough Village Theatre (3600 Kingston Road)
  • 2 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

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

A Masked Ball (Un Ballo in Maschera)

Scene from Un Ballo in Maschera, or A Masked Ball. Image courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company.

Scene from Un Ballo in Maschera, or A Masked Ball. Image courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company.

  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West)
  • 4:30 p.m.

The Canadian Opera Company brings a tale of forbidden love to its stage with Verdi’s A Masked Ball (Un Ballo in Maschera). Given an almost-modern treatment, the story has been transplanted to early 1960s America, where the romantic entanglements are played out against a background of Kennedy-era political tensions.

Details: A Masked Ball (Un Ballo in Maschera)

Idiot’s Delight: Not Exactly Theatre for Dummies

Dan Chameroy and Raquel Duffy. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Dan Chameroy and Raquel Duffy. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • 7:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.

The word “idiot” was originally used in ancient Greece to describe a person unconcerned with public affairs like politics, but dedicated to following private pursuits. The setting of Robert E. Sherwood’s 1936 romantic comedy Idiot’s Delight, a failing luxury hotel in the Italian Alps called the Hotel Monte Gabriele, initially seems to be full of idiots: newlyweds on their honeymoon, a group of burlesque singers and their manager, a blissfully genial waiter, and a couple of ornery managers sour over the lack of business. And when a spark flies between a beautiful and mysterious Russian and a smooth-talking American showbusinessman, while the other guests dance, drink, eat, and sing, there’s another piece of juicy plot that can be used to distract themselves, and the audience, from the war that’s literally raging outside the hotel windows.

Details: Idiot’s Delight: Not Exactly Theatre for Dummies

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)
  • 2 p.m., 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

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

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

The Metamorphosis Is a Topsy-Turvy Spectacle

Unnur Ösp Stefánsdóttir as Greta and Björn Thors as Gregor in The Metamorphosis. Photo by Simon Kane.

Unnur Ösp Stefánsdóttir as Greta and Björn Thors as Gregor in The Metamorphosis. Photo by Simon Kane.

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

The image most commonly associated with Franz Kafka’s most famous work, the 1915 novella The Metamorphosis, is that of a giant insect trapped inside a bare, dirty room with a rotting apple lodged in his back—the bug was formerly a man named Gregor Samsa, and the room was formerly his bedroom. As we all know, this distressing and inexplicable transformation from man to bug happened in an instant, although its emotional and literary after-effects have been haunting English students ever since.

The stage adaptation of The Metamorphosis by the Icelandic company Vesturport Theatre and London’s Lyric Hammersmith, on now at the Royal Alexandra Theatre with Mirvish Productions, is much more watchable than this introduction would suggest. The only bug you’ll see in this version is a trick of light and shadow. And that’s not the only trick up this show’s sleeve (or perhaps antenna?).

Details: The Metamorphosis Is a Topsy-Turvy Spectacle

Afterplay

  • Campbell House Museum (160 Queen Street West)
  • 8 p.m., 2 p.m.

What would happen if two characters from different books were to meet up outside their narratives? This is the basis of Brian Friel’s Afterplay, which explores the hypothetical relationship between two Anton Chekhov creations—Sonya from Uncle Vanya and Andrey from Three Sisters. For the price of admission, you’ll also get to indulge in authentic Russian tea during the performance, courtesy of the Campbell House.

Details: Afterplay

Electro/Acoustic: Music For Humans and Machines

  • Harbourfront Centre, Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West)
  • 8 p.m.

The Art of Time Ensemble goes all Metal Machine Music for its latest showcase. Okay, not that particular album—but it will be featuring a mix of electronic and instrumental music by contemporary composers like Jonathan Goldsmith, Jean Piché, and Christos Hatzis, for Electro/Acoustic. As with most Art of Time shows, there’ll be a variety of performers (besides the musicians, of course): for instance, the Hatzis piece will feature Benjamin Kamino dancing choreography by Peggy Baker.

Details: Electro/Acoustic: Music For Humans and Machines

Touch My Stereotype’s Hypothetical Spectacle

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

The funny folks in Touch My Stereotype have an exciting new show to help us get through this dreary season. Their three-day-long revue—Hypothetical Spectacle— is packed with music, comedic sketches, videos, and more from Amanda McQueen, Lars Classington, Russell McLeod, Sima Sepehri, Robert Murphy, Liz Johnston, Eitan Shalmon, Padraigh MacDonald, and Chantale Renee.

Details: Touch My Stereotype’s Hypothetical Spectacle