In this Weekend Planner: bust a chord with a weekend-long guitar festival; see a theatre show in Toronto's famous schoolhouse; check out a Mexican event with food, music, and dance; see a Marshall McLuhan–inspired exhibition on media communication; the Nujazz festival returns with some soulful sounds; take a nature walk while it's still warm; and check out some improv theatre mixed with real life stories.
GUITAR: Once upon a time, a little band called Radiohead told us “anyone can play guitar.” And with a surge in popularity thanks to recent video games and computer applications, the stage is truly open for everyone to put themselves forward as a professional-sounding guitarists. To celebrate all things guitar, get ready for The Sleepwalk Guitar Festival, an event made up of some of Canada’s finest musicians as curated by Luke Doucet. Among the many guitarists participating, the event features the Sadies, J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr.), and Luke Doucet himself. The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West), Friday to Sunday, ticket prices vary.
THEATRE: A schoolmistress hangs up her teaching hat for the last time in a play that explores the failures and secrets during her years of hard work. The Secret Life of a Schoolmistress is actually showing in one of Toronto’s oldest schoolhouses—how’s that for historical accuracy? Historic Zion Schoolhouse (1091 Finch Avenue East), Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., tickets range between $20–$29.
CULTURE: Since we’re in the middle of a peanut butter crisis, this weekend might be a good time to spice up your eating habits. With plenty of Mexican food to go around, check out Day of the Dead 2011, the traditional Mexican event to honour those who have passed. Besides a variety of food and cooking demos, there will be dance, film, art, music, and more. The Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), Saturday and Sunday, noon–6 p.m., FREE.
ART: Marshall McLuhan, the great media and communications thinker, called art a DEW line (a distant early warning system) that could effectively tell old culture what was going to happen next. The DEW Line Festival brings together artists from around Toronto to celebrate this idea with a week of art, poetry, music, and more. Together, they will explore the future of digital media and the effect it continues to have on our lives. This wide range of activities includes installations, film screenings, lectures, and much more. Click here for full schedule. Runs November 5–10, prices vary (mostly FREE events).
MUSIC: Slide into November with the return of the Nujazz Festival! Featuring such soulful heavyweights as Breakestra, King Britt, Trombone Shorty, and Roy Ayers (among many, many others), this event brings jazz acts both old and new to some of Toronto’s finest venues. Aside from the various gigs lined up, look out for workshops, films, and interactive events. Click here for full schedule and ticket listings. Runs November 5–20.
NATURE: First of all, Toronto, go ahead and congratulate yourself. While the American Northeast is shivering and shovelling through “freak” snowstorms, you’ve managed to keep warm-ish. With that said, we’ve reached probably one of the last snow-free weekends before Toronto becomes a winter wonderland. Take advantage of the fact that everything isn’t yet covered in white stuff with a nature journal walk. Bring out the family and connect with nature! High Park Nature Centre (430 Parkside Drive), Saturday, 1 p.m.–3 p.m., $2 donation.
IMPROV: The theatre of the imagination fuels True Stories, Made Up Plays—a troupe that combines a handful of great storytellers with a handful of great improvisers for one entertaining evening. The story portion features true stories that are drawn from the tellers’ experiences, while the improv portion boasts an entire play that was made up on the spot. Black Swan Tavern (154 Danforth Avenue), Sunday, 8 p.m., FREE.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.