Urban Planner: August 19, 2009
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Urban Planner: August 19, 2009

Urban Planner is Torontoist’s daily guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every morning. If you have an event you’d like considered, email all of its details—as well as images, if you’ve got any—to [email protected].

Suzanne Hawkins as Dido and Olivier Laquerre as Aeneas in Opera Erratica‘s production of Dido and Aeneas. Photo by Tony Hoffmann.

THEATRE: It would be impossible to claim that opera was dead in Toronto, with our new-ish, state-of-the-art opera house right downtown. But tickets to see a COC production will set you back at least seventy bucks for the cheapest seats (from which you’ll need a really good pair of opera glasses). Enter Opera Erratica visionary Patrick Eakin Young. With the launch of the innovative Underground/Opera series, Young offers Torontonians another option to enjoy opera, while pushing it beyond its limits and challenging us to rethink the genre. Tonight’s premiere, Henry Purcell‘s Dido and Aeneas, is based on Book IV of Virgil‘s epic poem, The Aeneid, and tells of the Queen of Carthage’s ill-fated love of the hero Aeneas. The production combines period music performed by Toronto-based ensemble Classical Music Consort (helmed by Ashiq Aziz), avant-garde video projections, and contemporary staging. Enjoying the show in a converted church in Cabbagetown just heightens the overall experience. Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester Street); 8 p.m.; $38, $22 for those under 30, tickets available online or by calling 416-978-8849.
MULTIMEDIA: Torontonians love their bikes. Just take a look out the streetcar window at rush hour or head down to the beach on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Torontonians really, really love their bikes. And how better to pay tribute to the two-wheeler in its many shapes and forms than by hosting a festival all about the bicycle? After being hit by a bus while riding his bike in New York City, Brendt Barbur still loved bikes enough to start the Bicycle Film Festival, turning a bad experience into a celebration of that mode of transport. Barbur brings an infectious sense of fun and wonderment to the festival, which honours the bicycle through music, art, and film. Now in its ninth year and held in thirty-nine cities worldwide, the BFF pulls into Toronto today. The love-in starts tonight at Bikes Rock, featuring Toronto post rockers Do Make Say Think. Polish Combatants Hall (206 Beverley Street), 9 p.m., $22 (tickets available online).
WORDS: Now hear this!, a literacy program that connects professional authors with community groups, students, and aspiring writers to promote Canadian literature and develop self expression, presents its bi-monthly reading series, Hear/Hear. Showcasing the program’s writers-in-residence, this evening’s installment features Andrew Daley, Colin Frizzell, Mariko Tamaki, and Rebeca Rosenblum. The Free Times Cafe (320 College Street), 6–8 p.m., FREE.
FOOD/MUSIC: On Fresh Wednesdays (every Wednesday from mid-July until the end of August), the Farmers’ Market at Nathan Phillips Square offers a wide range of fresh Ontario-grown fruits and vegetables, and a free live show by local talent. Swing by on your lunch hour today and enjoy this week’s concert by the Gypsy Flame Band, whose energetic performances combine traditional Eastern European music and Russian gypsy dances. Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West); market: 8 a.m.–2 p.m., concert: noon–2 p.m.; FREE.