Urban Planner: October 18, 2011
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Urban Planner: October 18, 2011

Today in Toronto: get pumped up for the International Festival of Authors at a pep rally; stop by for a laugh on day one of the Toronto Improv Festival; listen to a lecture to find the cause you want to fight for; and check out an all-Canadian cast in the renowned Broadway play The Normal Heart.

The cast of The Normal Heart. Front: Sarah Orenstein and Jonathan Wilson. Back: Ryan Kelly, Mark McGrinder, Marl Crawford, Paul Essiembre, Jeff Miller, Jonathan Seinen, and John Bourgeois. Photo by John Karastamatis.

LITERATURE PEP RALLY: If you’re a bibliophile, you have probably been counting the days until the International Festival of Authors opens. While tomorrow is the official start, you can get a quick taste of the excitement today at an IFOA pep rally, “complete with pom-poms and cheering,” as well as contests and book giveaways. A number of authors will be on hand, including Elizabeth Abbott, Lauren B. Davis, Joe Dunthorne, Brian Francis, Joshua Knelman, Ruth Roach Pierson, and Johanna Skibsrud. Ryerson University (intersection of Victoria and Gould streets), 10 a.m.–11 a.m., FREE.

COMEDY: On most nights there are a few great options to check out an improv show in the city, but this week brings much more activity than usual with the Toronto Improv Festival starting today and running until Saturday. The 10th anniversary of the festival will feature more than 150 performers from across Canada and the United States. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 7 p.m., $5–$60.

TALK: Living in a tree may have seemed like a good idea as a child, but the practicalities make it difficult for most people. Not one to be easily deterred, environmentalist and activist Julia Butterfly Hill climbed into a redwood tree in 1997 and stayed there for more than two years to try to protect a forest. Tonight, Hill is in Toronto for a talk entitled “What’s Your Tree?” about finding a cause you’re willing to fight for. Hart House Library (7 Hart House Circle), 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m., FREE.

THEATRE: Three-time Tony Award–winning play The Normal Heart is now playing in Toronto with an all-Canadian cast. The Joel Greenberg–directed performance has been called “one of the 100 greatest plays of the twentieth century.” Larry Kramer’s piece is set between 1981 and 1984 and tells the story of a group of friends during the beginning of the AIDS crisis in New York City. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), 8 p.m., $25–$35.

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].