In today's Urban Planner: an occult history of Toronto, an outdoor concert at Casa Loma, and a discussion on the topic of conceptual literature.
- Books: The word “occult” typically conjures images of pentagrams, candles, and conspicuous Goth characters; but it hasn’t always been that way. Professor Gillian McCann reveals a different view of Victorian/Edwardian era Toronto and the occult in her presentation, An Occult History of Toronto. Using research from her book Vanguard of the New Age: The Toronto Theosophical Society 1891-1945, Dr. McCann argues that members of the occult movement were involved in a broad range of issues such as labour debates, women’s rights, socialism, and alternative religion. Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street), 1 p.m., FREE. Details
- Music: Catch a live show at Toronto’s ultimate outdoor venue: the Casa Loma terrace. Enjoy a drink, barbeque, and a spectacular view of the city while taking in the sounds of Jesse Pitcher. Let him take you on a nostalgic journey with classics from ’90s rock to current pop, arranged to fit his unique acoustic style. Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace), 7 p.m., $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Details
- Books: Learn about the history of the conceptual literature movement straight from two of its founders: experimental poets Kenneth Goldsmith and Christian Bök. Their discussion will be followed by a reading of various conceptual texts. Harbourfront Centre, Studio Theatre (235 Queens Quay West), 7:30 p.m., $15. Details
- Theatre: One of the Fringe Festival’s greatest successes, and definitely Soulpepper’s biggest post-millennial hit, Ins Choi’s corner store comedy Kim’s Convenience returns for another extended run into the the summer season. Most of the principal cast, including Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as larger-than-life patriarch Appa, are back. Here’s our review of the first Soulpepper remount. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $5–$68. Details
Music: The 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival descends on the city this Friday (that is, June 21) with a huge “free for all” event. That means all of Friday’s programming at every Jazz Festival venue is, yes, completely free of charge. There will be concerts from local favourites Molly Johnson and Mary Margaret O’Hara, plus a show by Smokey Robinson and Martha Reeves, who will be launching the fest from its epicentre, Nathan Phillips Square.
Here’s a rundown of some of the shows worth checking out on Friday—and during the rest of the festival, when you’ll actually have to pay. Multiple venues, 12 a.m., Prices vary. Details
History: The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.
Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), 12 a.m., $27 (Includes general admission). Details
- Film: While most festivals are geared towards some specific audience—like the Inside Out Festival or the Jewish Film Festival, for instance—where ReelHeart International Film Festival separates itself from the pack is by welcoming all submissions, as long as they have what the organizers deem to be “real heart.” Big Picture Cinemas (1035 Gerrard Street East), 12 a.m., Tickets $12. Details
- Theatre: There are a lot of chefs in the kitchen for the Canadian premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, a triptych set in three time periods that tells the stories of amateur actors (played by real actors) involved in staging performances of the story of Christ. Three different Toronto independent theatre companies, all with reputations for innovative staging and creation in their past work, each tackle one of the three acts. Ordinarily, such a complicated arrangement would be to a show’s detriment, but not in this case. While you need to be prepared for a marathon of theatre (the show runs four hours, incluing two intermissions), you’re certainly going to get your money’s worth. Eastminister Church (310 Danforth Avenue), 7 p.m., $25—$30. Details
- Performing Arts: Cats is a challenging musical to stage for a number of reasons. The narrative is thin and strange; the lyrics are drawn primarily from T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, with more borrowed from some other Eliot poems, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” (which original director Trevor Nunn adapted into the song “Memory”) and “Moments of Happiness.” The result is not so much a story as ideas and character sketches. Old Deuteronomy, patriarch of the Jellicle Cats, calls the creatures together once a year to celebrate, and for one cat to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer (essentially, to die and be reincarnated). Most of the songs detail the adventures and virtues of a single cat in particular, essentially serving as that cat’s audition for the honour of ascension. Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street), 7:30 p.m., $60–$110. Details
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.