Spur Festival

Photo by Dylan Hewitt.

Photo by Dylan Hewitt.

  • All day

Taking place in five Canadian cities for the second time, The Spur Festival brings together thinkers, innovators, and academic and creative types for a series of lectures, meetings, and performances on “nationally relevant and locally nuanced” ideas. Here in Toronto from April 3 to April 6, the festival will include noted lawyer Michael Geist on free speech, an urban planning panel moderated by Shawn Micallef, talks by author Cecil Foster and photojournalists Rita Leistner and Mike Kamber, and much more. Many of the events, including the opening and closing parties, are free; a few have ticket prices ranging from $10 to $30. For full details, visit the festival’s website.

Details: Spur Festival

Chamber Films: The Cinema of Matías Piñeiro

Still from Viola.

Still from Viola.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • 6:30 p.m.

“I think of them as chamber films,” Matías Piñeiro says of the four intimate and beautifully crafted films that make up an intensive TIFF Cinematheque program called Divertimentos: The Films of Matías Piñeiro, running from April 3 to April 6 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Speaking to us over the phone ahead of the retrospective, which spans his still early but already accomplished career, the 32-year-old Argentine filmmaker seemed pleased with the title that programmer Brad Deane selected, which suggests something musical and modest—a host of informal ensemble pieces.

Details: Chamber Films: The Cinema of Matías Piñeiro

West Wing Trivia Night

The cast of The West Wing. Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Television.

The cast of The West Wing. Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Television.

  • Office Pub (117 John Street)
  • 8 p.m.

To distract from Toronto’s management headaches, we suggest spending an evening straining your brain over another country’s politics. Gather your TV-obsessed friends, and head out to West Wing Trivia Night. Prepare for at least two rounds of questions, focusing mostly on seasons one through four of the series.

Details: West Wing Trivia Night

Toronto Silent Film Festival

  • Multiple venues
  • 8 p.m.

Let’s be honest: you can’t call yourself a true film buff unless you’ve seen the classics—by which we mean those that came before the “talkies.” If you need a quick catch-up course, you’re in luck—the Toronto Silent Film Festival is taking over various theatres across the city for six straight days. One film will be showcased per day, and paired with live and improvised music. Even if you’re familiar with The Wind (1928), City Girl (1930), The Circus (1928), Seven Years Bad Luck (1921), The Last Command (1928), or every Charlie Chaplin film, you’ve never seen them quite like this!

Details: Toronto Silent Film Festival

The Sufferettes

The Sufferettes. Photo by Karl Ang.

The Sufferettes. Photo by Karl Ang.

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

Improv comedy duo The Sufferettes haven’t been able to perform together in Toronto for a while now. Oh, they’ve been touring overseas plenty, but Becky Johnson and Kayla Lorette have been individually busy when both have been home. So when a late-night slot recently opened up at Comedy Bar, the two jumped at it. There are no special guests planned, nor is there any special theme—just two very talented comediennes doing their thing for a hometown crowd.

Details: The Sufferettes

Ongoing…

A Journey Into the Forbidden City

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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

The Trial of Ken Gass

Jess Salgueiro stars with a different co-star every night in The Trial of Ken Gass. Photo by Bobby Del Rio.

Jess Salgueiro stars with a different co-star every night in The Trial of Ken Gass. Photo by Bobby Del Rio.

  • Big Picture Cinema (1035 Gerrard Street East)

Playwright Bobby Del Rio was inspired to write The Trial of Ken Gass, a Kafkaesque look at a man’s encounter with an officious bureaucrat, by the ousting of Factory Theatre’s artistic director by its board of directors (who earned themselves a place in our Villains roster in 2012). The play is less interested in the scandal’s details, however, and more in the different ways people react when confronted by an unreasonable person who’s the gatekeeper for an uncaring system. To drive the point home, as in the original production, Del Rio has cast a different performer every night to play the title character, who’s put through the wringer by a mercurial investigator played by Jess Salguiero. Among the guest “Gasses” are playwright Matthew Edison, comedian Sandra Battaglini, and cabaret performer Ryan G. Hinds.

Details: The Trial of Ken Gass

Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey

See the costumes of Downton Abbey in real life at Spadina Museum. Image courtesy of Carnival Films.

See the costumes of Downton Abbey in real life at Spadina Museum. Image courtesy of Carnival Films.

  • Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Road)
  • All day

If a period drama has ever inspired you to visit the past, but you couldn’t because you didn’t have access to a time machine, listen up! The Spadina Museum is taking history, television, and fashion fans alike back to the Edwardian era with its “Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibit. Twenty pieces from the hit show will be on display, along with the City of Toronto’s own collection of garments from the time. Attendees will also be treated to Downton Abbey–themed tours of the century home.

Details: Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey

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

ReelWorld Film Festival

From Stefan Jäger's Horizon Beautiful. Image courtesy of ReelWorld.

From Stefan Jäger's Horizon Beautiful. Image courtesy of ReelWorld.

  • Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas (2190 Yonge Street)
  • 4 p.m.

Now in its fourteenth year, the ReelWorld Film Festival has expanded its reach. For five days in Toronto, followed by three in Markham, it’s bringing over 79 films to the screen. Diversity is the name of the game with features, shorts, webisodes, and music videos from twenty different countries on the bill.

Details: ReelWorld Film Festival

On Stage On Demand

Of Mice and Morro and Jasp is already fully reserved, but other past Fringe hits in the On Stage On Demand series are still open. Photo by Alex Nirta.

Of Mice and Morro and Jasp is already fully reserved, but other past Fringe hits in the On Stage On Demand series are still open. Photo by Alex Nirta.

  • The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West)
  • 7 p.m.

Great theatre comes and goes, and you either see it while it’s playing, or wait for a remount. The On Stage On Demand series is looking to change that by capturing past hit indie plays on film—and they’re opening up the performances for free to a live audience. The shows being performed and taped include past hits like Of Mice and Morro and Jasp (which is already fully reserved), Antoine Feval, and Supperfesta. Admission is free, but you’ll want to reserve your tickets before the shows hit capacity.

Details: On Stage On Demand

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)
  • 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

Dark Matter

Kat Letwin. Detail of a photo by Stephen Hargreaves.

Kat Letwin. Detail of a photo by Stephen Hargreaves.

  • The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

Circlesnake Productions closed out the Storefront Theatre’s 2013 season with their production of the TTC crime comedy Special Constables. Now, they’re the first full production in the space since February’s flooding, and space is where their new show is set—it’s a science-fiction adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Dark Matter follows Captain Marlow as she travels to a remote space colony to confront Commander Kurtz, who’s “gone rogue.” As per their previous show, expect a show that translates film’s big-budget effects into highly physical staging for the small stage.

Details: Dark Matter

Marry Me a Little Not Quite Enough

Elodie Gillett and Adrian Marchuk play ill-fated lovers in Marry Me a Little. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Elodie Gillett and Adrian Marchuk play ill-fated lovers in Marry Me a Little. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

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

In line with Tarragon Theatre‘s theme for it 2013/2014 season– “Love, Loss, Wine and the Gods”—the company is currently presenting two one-act plays that document the journey of two very different romantic relationships. The first, in the Tarragon Extra Space, is Duncan MacMillan’s brilliant Lungs, which receives an equally brilliant production from director Weyni Mengesha and actors Lesley Faulkner and Brendan Gall. Lungs is a touching and entertaining portrayal of a couple in love—but above all, it’s honest. It’s that honesty that the show next door in the Tarragon Mainspace, Stephen Sondheim’s song cycle Marry Me a Little, is lacking.

Details: Marry Me a Little Not Quite Enough

My Narrator and The Death of Me

(R-L) Jorge Molina, Chris O'Sullivan, Laura Jabalee, Penelope Corrin. Photo by Samantha Hurley

(R-L) Jorge Molina, Chris O'Sullivan, Laura Jabalee, Penelope Corrin. Photo by Samantha Hurley

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

Sparrowhawk Theatre knows that times are tough, which is why it’s presenting two one-act plays for the price of one! Directed by Steven Holmberg, Norm Foster’s My Narrator and The Death of Me promise to be honest, unique, and un-pretentious theatre experiences for both audience and cast. Prepare to get up close and personal with stars Penelope Corrin, Roger Doche, Laura Jabalee, Jorge Molina, and Chris O’Sullivan at this intimate venue.

Details: My Narrator and The Death of Me