Chances are you’ve already given up on your New Year’s resolution to try new things or exercise more. Redeem yourself in just one evening by getting your sweat on and learning two different dances at the Toronto School of Burlesque. An hour-long Can Can Cardio class with St. Stella kicks things off (ha, get it?) before Miss Kitty Litteur takes everyone back in time for some Retro Go Go.
This post is going to upset as many people as it will intrigue, but here goes! The Toronto Festival of Clowns is back for its ninth year of painting the town’s noses red, bringing five days of performance art. These aren’t your typical birthday clowns; programming at the Pia Boulman School and the Brockton Collective ranges from bouffon acts to dating games and from dramatic pieces to puppet shows, and will feature special appearances by Morro and Jasp, and Mullet the Zombie Clown.
If you’ve walked around downtown at all in the last couple of years, there’s a good chance you’ve come across dance parties that have spontaneously broken out to the music of some pretty unique buskers. Those buskers would be Turbo Street Funk, and they’ve graduated from performing on the corner to taking the spotlight at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern to celebrate the release of their first album. George Koller, their friend and producer, will also be performing with his band, The Shuffle Demons.
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).
“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon
“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore
These quotations, which welcome visitors to “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.
Now in its 24th year, the Inside Out festival offers an eclectic mix of LGBT-themed films from Canada and around the world. Setting up shop at venues ranging from the TIFF Bell Lightbox to Videofag, the festival mixes screenings, panel discussions, and receptions for equal parts edification and entertainment—all in the name of “challenging attitudes and changing lives.”
If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth.
Outside the March seems to be Toronto’s favourite indie theatre company. Director Mitchell Cushman built up quite a buzz after consecutive hits Mr. Marmalade and Terminus, both of which were praised for their unconventional use of space (the former was set in a kindergarten classroom, the latter placed both the actors and the audience on the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre), so his next project had been highly anticipated. Vitals, written by Rosamund Small, was the first script for Outside the March developed specifically for a site-specific space, and its original run had to be extended even before opening night. Then, only a few days into the run, it was extended again to June 1. And though Vitals isn’t the best show in Outside the March’s history, there’s a reason that tickets have been flying.
If we’ve learned anything from slasher flicks, it’s that having sex leads to death. Returning to the stage to mark its 25th anniversary, Brad Fraser’s Love and Human Remains pursues this dark train of thought. Set in Edmonton, the play tells the story of a bunch of sexually frustrated and dysfunctional twenty- and thirty-somethings grappling with life and love, while a killer lurks in their midst.
Few fads have stood the test of time quite so well as dance movies from the 1980s. Now, one of the best films from this era has been adapted for the stage. Flashdance—The Musical revisits the story of a young female steel welder with a desire to dance, set to a score of iconic songs such as “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” “Maniac,” “I Love Rock and Roll,” and many more.