2014 Toronto Fringe Festival Preview

The Bad Dog Theatre Repertory Players present Toronto, I Love You at this year's Toronto Fringe Festival. Photo by Julie Osborne.

The Bad Dog Theatre Repertory Players present Toronto, I Love You at this year's Toronto Fringe Festival. Photo by Julie Osborne.

  • All day

With more than 130 shows and additional programming, the Toronto Fringe Festival can be overwhelming. And since the shows are picked mostly via a lottery system, finding one that will be worth your time and money can be a crapshoot—though the best shows can and have gone on to eventual Broadway runs and major film adaptations. We’ll help you get the most out of your Fringe experience with a rundown of the festival’s promising and potentially can’t-miss shows—and we’ll be back with reviews as the festival progresses.

The festival begins with opening ceremonies behind Honest Ed’s at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4, and features some afternoon and evening premieres that day and Thursday, July 3. The festival really kicks off on Friday, July 5, and there’ll be programming every day from noon to midnight until Sunday, July 13.

Details: 2014 Toronto Fringe Festival Preview

Secret Teatime

  • Site Bee (1550 Queen Street West)
  • 7 p.m.

Impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of tea after attending Secret Teatime, a Japanese ceremony and workshop. Learn about “chanoyu,” the ritual tea ceremony, and how to make the perfect cup of matcha. Bring two dollars and a few non-perishable items to donate to the Red Door Family Shelter: they’ll get you tea and a secret sweet treat.

Details: Secret Teatime

The Bull and the Rose

Photo by Levent Erutku.

Photo by Levent Erutku.

  • Red Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen Street East)
  • 7:30 p.m.

Summer heat with a Spanish twist comes to the Red Sandcastle Theatre as it welcomes some of Toronto’s finest flamenco artists for The Bull and the Rose, an evening of dance, music, and wine. The intimate performance stars Virginia Castro Durán, a graduate of Málaga’s Superior Conservatory of Dance, and features Tamar Ilana on vocals backed by the event’s producer, Dennis Duffin, on guitar.

Details: The Bull and the Rose

Mean Girls at Harbourfront Centre

  • Harbourfront, WestJet Stage (235 Queens Quay West)
  • 9 p.m.

Put down that burn book, find a picnic blanket, and head down to Harbourfront Centre for a screening of Mean Girls. It’s the opening film in the Centre’s Free Flicks summer series, which this year focuses on funny women. Tina Fey’s ten-year-old film was also shot in Toronto, so you and your best frenemies can have fun spotting local sites on the big screen.

Details: Mean Girls at Harbourfront Centre

Ongoing…

A Journey Into the Forbidden City

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  • Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
  • All day

If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.

Details: A Journey Into the Forbidden City

Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength

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  • Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West)
  • All day

“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.

Details: Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength

TIFF Unveils Bruce LaBruce’s Skin Flicks

Still from L.A. Zombie.

Still from L.A. Zombie.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • All day

Anyone seeking proof that all it takes for a radical to become part of the establishment is a little bit of endurance need only look to “Skin Flicks,” TIFF Cinematheque’s retrospective of the films of Toronto zine impresario, radical, occasional pornographer, and queercore filmmaker Bruce LaBruce.

A farm boy who left his rural digs for a more urban life in Toronto in the mid-‘80s, LaBruce first turned heads on the scene with his publication (along with partner and Fifth Column frontwoman G.B. Jones) of the seminal queer punk zine J.D.s, which distinguished itself from punk culture through its queer vision, and from mainstream LGBT culture through its aggressive DIY aesthetic and radical politics. From that fertile underground world came the first of LaBruce’s experimental Super 8 shorts, including Boy, Girl—ground zero for later thematic obsessions such as neo-skinheads and surveillance.

Details: TIFF Unveils Bruce LaBruce’s Skin Flicks

Bent Lens: Pride on Screen

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • All day

Every part of our city will be drenched in WorldPride this summer, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Bent Lens: Pride on Screen comprises nearly two months of screenings, exhibits, and speaking engagements that reflect the broadness of our LGBT community. Check out films under the stars in David Pecaut Square, take in a conversation with Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black, and much more.

CORRECTION: June 16, 2014, 3:50 PM This post originally stated that the outdoor screenings of Bent Lens will focus on Derek Jarman and Bruce LaBruce, but that is not the case.

Details: Bent Lens: Pride on Screen

Terry O’Neill: The Man Who Shot the Sixties

Elton John entertaining the masses. Photo by Terry O'Neill.

Elton John entertaining the masses. Photo by Terry O'Neill.

  • Izzy Gallery (106 Yorkville Avenue)
  • 11 a.m.

Our fascination with fame and celebrity isn’t new—and this is illustrated in Izzy Gallery’s newest exhibit, Terry O’Neil: The Man Who Shot the Sixties. A photographer from the U.K., O’Neill snapped iconic shots of everyone from The Beatles and Rolling Stones to Brigitte Bardot and Faye Dunaway. The opening party features an appearance by O’Neill himself, and his “photographs from the frontline of fame” will remain on display until the end of August.

Details: Terry O’Neill: The Man Who Shot the Sixties

Twelve Angry Men

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • 8 p.m.

If you haven’t heard of Twelve Angry Men, you’ve likely seen it parodied in a number of movies and television shows over the years. Now here’s your chance to see the real deal, on stage, thanks to the Soulpepper Theatre Company. Watch the drama unfold in a claustrophobic deliberation room as one dissenting juror unravels what is supposed to be an open-and-shut murder case.

Details: Twelve Angry Men