Urban Planner: May 3, 2013
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Urban Planner: May 3, 2013

In today's Urban Planner: Love Letters Cabaret schools audiences on ladylike behaviour, Kevin McDonald at Comedy Bar, and the Elastocitizens play the Horseshoe Tavern.

Dancers rehearse for the Love Letters Cabaret. Photo by Ross Thomson.

  • Performing Arts: The Love Letters Cabaret is back with The Lady, a series of lessons on “proper” ladylike behaviour, with nods to the silver screen idols and pin-ups of the 1940s. Choreographed by Pastel Supernova, the show features over a dozen dancers and performers. There are dinner packages available as well. Moskito+Bite (423 College Street), 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25 in advance / $30 at the door. Details
  • Talks: For the annual InFORMING CONTENT creation laboratory weekend, Volcano Theatre partners with University of Toronto’s Jackman Humanities Institute to combine new theatre ideas with new academic ones. The weekend begins with a public lecture by the institute’s fellows (Friday May 3, 7 p.m.), then the artist participants spend all Saturday and Sunday mornings creating new site specific works based on those themes, which they’ll then present to the public (Sunday May 5, 3–6 p.m.). Jackman Humanities Institute (170 St. George Street, 10th floor), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Comedy: The Canadian comedy community rightfully regards the members of The Kids in The Hall as homegrown legends, and this weekend, like Hercules and The Hitman before him, Kevin McDonald will be in residency at Toronto’s Comedy Bar. The comedian, who recently did another stint in the writer’s room on Saturday Night Live, is in town to teach a workshop and will guest on some of Comedy Bar’s most popular shows: Catch 23 Improv (Friday May 3, 8 p.m.), Mantown (Friday May 2, 10:30 p.m.), Monkey Toast (Saturday May 4, 8 p.m.), Bad Dog Theatre Presents… (Saturday May 4, 10 p.m.), and Sunday Night Live (Sunday May 5, 9:30 p.m.). Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., $10. Details
  • Music: Canadian feature film Picture Day, which opens May 24 at the Tiff Bell Lightbox, has already racked up awards on the festival circuit, including best picture at the Whistler Film Festival, as well as best performance award for breakout star Tatiana Maslany, whose starring role(s) in BBC America’s Orphan Black is also earning high praise. Picture Day also stars the Elastocitizens’ frontman Steven McCarthy, who appears in the film backed by his band. The Elastocitizens are headlining a pre-release party at the Horseshoe Tavern, backed up by Boys Who Say No and The Ninja Funk Orchestra. Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West), 9 p.m., $10 at the door.. Details


  • Photography: David Kaufman’s Early Sunday Morning photography exhibit simultaneously celebrates the heritage of Toronto’s architecture, while pleading for its preservation, in the face of gentrification and condo development. The building facades and structures, rich in texture and colour, are each captured at their most beautiful—basking in the light of early morning. Twist Gallery (1100 Queen Street West), 11 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Fans of the seminal 1968 horror-film classic, Night of the Living Dead, will delight in Night of the Living Dead Live, a new theatrical production of the story. Despite a weak second act, it’s a fun black-and-white romp with some inventive deaths—and even a chipper musical number. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., $20–$80. Details
  • Theatre: In 1897, Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler wrote a play so scandalous that at first he only shared it among his friends. It wasn’t publicly staged until 1920 and, unsurprisingly, it caused an uproar. The ruffled feathers had to do with La Ronde‘s frank discussion of sexual relationships—in particular, those between members of different social classes. But while the acts themselves were originally left up to the audience’s imagination, Soulpepper Theatre’s current, modernized adaptation goes all the way with its sex scenes. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $22-$68. Details
  • Theatre: Life x 3 presents the tale of Henry and Sonia, who have to deal with a couple that unexpectedly shows up to dinner a day early. The best part? In this play, you get to see three different versions of the evening’s events. Directed by Andrew Lamb (My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding). Unit 102 Theatre (376 Dufferin Street), 8 p.m., $25, $20 for students, seniors, and art workers. Details
  • Theatre: Falsettos, a groundbreaking and Tony Award–winning musical, comes to town for a short run, presented by The Acting Up Stage Company. The story takes us to New York City in 1979, where the Sexual Revolution is hot, AIDS is on the rise, and Marvin, a husband and father, has decided to leave his family for a man. Directed by Robert McQueen and starring Darrin Baker, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Sarah Gibbons, Michael Levinson, Eric Morin, Stephen Patterson, and Glynis Ranney. Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East), 8 p.m., $39-$55. Details
  • Theatre: David Yee examines lifes interconnectivity in Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave. The play follows an escort in Thailand, a housewife in Utah, and a Catholic priest in India, and how their lives are simultaneously brought together and torn apart by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21-$53. Details
  • Theatre: Edward Roy and Gavin Crawford star as two 50-something spinster sisters in the gender bending A Few Brittle Leaves. Residing in a suburb of London, Viola and Penelope are faced with the inevitability of aging and the question of whether to abandon their search for love. That is, until the new vicar comes to town and turns their world upside down. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), 8 p.m., $20-$30. Details
  • Theatre: There are few playwrights whose names can double as adjectives (think “Shakespearean,” or “Beckettian”). But Race, now on at Canadian Stage, makes us want to coin a new one of those words. That’s because of the opening scene, where a black lawyer named Henry Brown addresses a white man with the line “You want to tell me about Black folks?” while leaning back in his office chair at the end of a long boardroom table. It’s distinctly Mamettian.

    The American playwright David Mamet is known as much for his portrayal of fast-talking, morally ambiguous businessmen as he is for “Mamet speak,” his unique style of verbose, curse-filled, overlapping dialogue or long-winded speeches. His 2010 script Race is no different—in fact, it might be his most Mamettian to date. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to its subject matter (as the title suggests). Discourse surrounding race, privilege, language, and cultural history consumes the entire play. Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East), 8 p.m., $24 to $99. Details

  • Theatre: In theatre, it’s one thing to have an idea. It’s another to actually see the idea through. And it’s another thing entirely to see it happen a second time.

    “It’s nerve-wracking because we’re not new anymore, so it’s not as easy to get people excited about it as it was last year when it was a new and shiny thing. Like, ‘Are those scrappy kids going to pull it off?'” says Alex Johnson, project director of The Playwright Project, which is about to launch its second edition. By “those scrappy kids,” Johnson is referring to the collective of independent theatre companies that joined forces last year to create The Tennessee Project, a week-long festival that toured a series of Tennessee Williams one-act plays through seven Toronto neighbourhoods. The idea was that each play would perform in a new venue each night, but that those venues would be familiar places like bars, restaurants, or community centres, and the crews would not only perform in neighbourhoods (from North York to Greektown to Roncesvalles), but would volunteer for local projects and organizations as well. It was an ambitious gamble for a bunch of young theatre-makers frustrated by a lack of time and resources to stage their own work. But according to Johnson, it was a resounding success.
    Multiple venues, 8 p.m., $15. Details

  • Theatre: In A Few Brittle Leaves, when the lights came up on the quiet, conservatively decorated home of the Pie sisters, in the small British township of UpsyDownsyshire, it didn’t take long for this unassuming setting to get a disproportionately loud response from the audience. Applause and laughter erupted when the crowd caught sight of the elderly Pie sisters themselves: Viola, a tall woman dressed in a grey-and-brown sweater and a floor-length skirt, with her mousy hair tucked away on her head; and Penny, a shorter, stouter woman in a purple dress and matching jacket, with a sleek blonde bob. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), 8 p.m., $20 – $30. Details
  • Comedy: Comedy and life partners Matt Baram (CityTV’s Seed) and Naomi Snieckus (CBC’s Mr. D) are workshopping a new show format (“come see it get built right before your eyes!”) in a weekly residency in April and May at Second City’s Training Centre. The master improvisers and co-creators of Script Tease have been busy touring and on television of late, and these Baram and Snieckus shows will be a rare opportunity to see our 2010 hero nominees in a back to basics comedy format. John Candy Box Theatre (70 Peter Street), 8:30 p.m., PWYC. Details
  • Dance: Next Steps presents four days of contemporary and traditional dance as part of the CanAsian International Dance Festival. Showcasing everything from Turkish Whirling to Japanese Butoh, the performances and films draw from a wide range of Asian ideas and expressions. Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West), 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25-$30. Details

Happening soon:

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 us with all the details (including images, if you’ve got any), ideally at least a week in advance.