Urban Planner is Torontoist‘s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. 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].
Paul ‘PK’ Kingston serves up libations and laughs at Bye Bye Liver. Photo courtesy of Josh Dunkin.
This weekend in Toronto: more urban exploration than you can shake a walking stick at, a comic arts festival minus the tights and capes, a do-it-yourself fair for makers and crafters, a tribute to a fallen documentarian, a comedic spin on Aesop’s Fables, a morbid musical murder mystery, and a theatrical homage to booze ‘n’ bars.
WALKS: The weather is finally clearing up, just in time for Jane’s Walk, a series of free walking tours held on the first weekend of May each year. Begun as a tribute to urban theorist and activist Jane Jacobs and led by community members, the walks offer an opportunity to explore hidden aspects of our shared urban environment that we might not otherwise experience. With almost 200 walks to choose from this weekend, there’s bound to be something for everyone—even hipsters. And, for hipsters and non-hipsters alike, see our list of recommended Jane’s Walks. Saturday and Sunday, various times and locations, FREE.
WORDS: This weekend independent comic writers and cartoonists get their due at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which brings together some of the medium’s top talents from across the country and beyond. The heroic festival not only brings these incredibly skilled individuals together for your delight, it does so free of charge! Check out new works like Paying For It by Chester Brown and The Next Day from Pop Sandbox, or visit the tables of talented creators like Kate Beaton, Emily Carroll, Paul Pope, and Cameron Stewart. Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street), Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m., FREE.
CRAFTS: Looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Based on how much she loved that finger painting in kindergarten, it might not be a bad idea to stick with something homemade. Head on down to the Mini Maker Faire, a celebration of do-it-yourself culture featuring how-to workshops on every form of crafting, creating, building, baking, programming, and so forth. Whether you’d like to try painting with music or build yourself a putt putt boat, you’ll have plenty to do at this hands-on extravaganza. Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Avenue), Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.–6 p.m., $10 for a day pass, $15 for a weekend pass.
FILM: Hot Docs continues to educate and entertain through this weekend, with some of the best picks handily outlined on our festival hub. In addition to regular programming, the festival will be holding a screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo, in honour of its late director, Tim Hetherington, a victim of a mortar shell attack in Libya while covering the civil war. The film—which explores the dangerous lives of soldiers in Afghanistan—will be presented by Hetherington’s friend and co-director, Sebastian Junger. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), Saturday 3 p.m., $20.
COMEDY: After bringing to life such comedic hits as Gleeks and Doctor Whom, funnyman Darryl Pring has set his sights on something a bit more classic: Aesop’s Fables. Pring and a collection of local comics have set themselves the task of improvising several of Aesop’s animal-centric parables every Saturday in May in a comedy show fit for the whole family. 918 Bathurst (918 Bathurst Street), Saturday 4 p.m., $10.
THEATRE: Nobody’s hands are clean in Blood Buds, a one-act chamber musical by Anika Johnson and Barbara Johnston returning after a run at last year’s SummerWorks Festival. The dark comedy follows four friends who come together to clean an uncle’s apartment in the wake of his suicide, only to have many disturbing details come to light. It’s a murder mystery with music! Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington Avenue), Saturday 8 p.m., $20 ($15 students).
THEATRE: It’s always nice to be able to drink at a show, but how often does the show drink with you? Bye Bye Liver isn’t just a play set in a bar—it’s a play about bars, or more specifically, the eclectic cast of universal characters whose elbows shine the bartops of pubs the world over. The show, which opened in Chicago four years ago and recently came to Toronto, features a cast of local sketch and improv actors laughing, singing, drinking, and carousing in the second-floor cabaret of the Hard Rock Cafe, overlooking Yonge-Dundas Square. Remember: the drunker they get, the funnier you’ll get—or is that the other way around? Hard Rock Cafe (279 Yonge Street), Saturday 8 p.m., $15.