Urban Planner: January 23, 2014



Urban Planner: January 23, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: Godard's golden age, poetry paired with chocolate, and a bloody Frankenstein.

Clown dancers of Toronto Masque Theatre's Arlecchino Allegro  Photo by Tariq Keiran

Clown-dancers of Toronto Masque Theatre’s Arlecchino Allegro. Photo by Tariq Keiran.

  • Film: Jean-Luc Godard’s effort to haul the cinema out of its infancy and into a kind of artistic maturity is the subject of TIFF Cinematheque’s newest and fullest retrospective in some time, a two-season programme entitled Godard Forever, which is intended to span the length of the filmmaker’s remarkable, varied career—from the jazz-infused improvisation of Breathless to the Marxist montage of recent work like Film Socialisme. The first half of that retrospective, a fifteen-film programme dedicated to what most consider Godard’s golden age—the period from 1960’s Breathless to 1967’s apocalyptic, decade-capping Weekend—runs this season, highlighting the period in which Godard famously moulded existing genres like Hollywood gangster pictures and musicals into his own unique creations. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West) Details
  • Theatre: Head back in time to 1930s Berlin with the Lower Ossington Theatre’s production of Cabaret, a musical based on the book by Christopher Isherwood. While the Nazis rise to power in the city, the story centres on activities at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and the blossoming relationship between a young English performer and an American writer. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), 8 p.m., $49-$59. Details
  • Books: Descant Magazine mourns endings and celebrates new beginnings with issue 163, The Brink and the Break. Join contributors George Elliott Clarke, Rocco de Giacomo, Cathy Petch, John Ryan Scrivener, Sharon Overend, and Lori Vos for the launch party, where they will be sharing their works of poetry and fiction on the topics of love, tension, and family. Charlie’s Gallery (112 Harbord Street), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Film: Before Mad Men made the ’60s ad industry look sexy, misogynistic, and rife with alcoholism, there was Lover Come Back. A 1961 film featuring Rock Hudson and Doris Day, it sees two ad agency representatives compete for a prestigious account, using very different tactics. The Revue Cinema presents a screening of this classic, followed by a discussion with industry veteran Terry O’Reilly on how the ad business is portrayed (and sometimes misrepresented) by screenwriters. The Revue Cinema (400 Roncesvalles Avenue), 7 p.m., $13. Details
  • Poetry: We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that you enjoy music, poetry, or chocolate (at least a little bit). Well, guess what? BookThugs and Troubador Slaves has all of these things! Aisha Sasha John, Mark Truscott, Stephen Cain, and Jay MillAr will all be reading their works, with music provided by Mark Martyre, and SoundSkapes by Michael Menegon. Let’s not forget that this will all go down at a chocolate shop, so you can indulge in homemade organic chocolates and other desserts while you enjoy the performances. COCO Crafted Organic Chocolates (365 Jane Street), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Performing Arts: There’s a lot going on in this city, but we bet this is the only clown and chamber music fusion event you’ll find. Arlecchino Allegro, a cabaret presented by the Toronto Masque Theatre, is best described as “a glittering musical fête gone awry.” Exploring themes of love, laughter, and celebration, the show is a peculiar but amusing mixture of improv, clowns, dance, and music. Enoch Turner Schoolhouse (106 Trinity Street), 8 p.m., $45, $40 for seniors, $20 for those under 30. Details
  • Film: For one night only, Rue Morgue is giving life to the restored Frankenstein Created Woman with its January CineMacabre screening. In one of Hammer’s more strange endeavours, Peter Cushing plays Baron Von Frankenstein. Having discovered how to isolate the human soul and transfer it between bodies, he plays God—or perhaps the devil—and transplants a wrongly executed man’s soul into his lover’s body. The result: bloody revenge. As usual, attendees will be treated to a glut of gory prizes. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 9 p.m., $10. Details
  • Comedy: There’s improv, there’s beer, and then there’s BeerProv. A curious combination of these two fun elements, The Draft pits a slew of amateur improvisers against each other in a series of elimination games. The winner gets the distinct honour of drinking from the Mini-Mug of Champions. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 9:30 p.m., $12. Details


  • Art: Virginia Woolf once remarked that “on or about December 1910, human character changed.” Whether it actually did is debatable, but the curators of “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection 1910–1918” use that year to start their exhibition of works from a tumultuous decade of innovation in European fine art. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $16.50–$25 (includes general admission). Details
  • Art: A week-long visual art and design bonanza taking place at venues across the city, the Toronto Design Offsite Festival features exhibitions, screenings, parties, talks, and tours—all of which showcase “the best in Canadian design.” It’s a not-for-profit festival, so most of the programming is free; you’ll want to check out the festival schedule for a full list of events, locations, and participating artists, companies, and galleries. All day. Details
  • Theatre: Glendon College presents the second stage production to come out of its newly formed drama club, Lionheart Productions Coeur de Lion. Written by Justin Ruttan, Dark Lady: The Musical is a fantastic romp through the life of a drag performer, set to the music of Cher. More than just a theatrical glitterbomb, the story sees the protagonist grapple with loss, love, and self-discovery. Theatre Glendon (2275 Bayview Avenue), 7 p.m., $10, $5 for students. Details
  • Theatre: Every revolution needs a leader. And though the movement to bring the classic 1980s musical Les Misérables back to Toronto is markedly different than the quest for political accountability and social equality, it has its hero just the same. After the official opening performance at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the audience likely would have followed London-based, Richmond Hill-raised performer Ramin Karimloo (as the story’s golden-hearted protagonist, Jean Valjean) anywhere he would lead. Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West), 7:30 p.m., $35–$130. Details
  • Theatre: Cameron and his grandmother share a special tradition: every Thursday night, they escape into the golden age of film together. A musical about unconditional love, The Way Back to Thursday takes us through the changes in this relationship as Cameron grows older and more distant. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7:30 p.m., PWYC-$32.50 + HST. Details
  • Theatre: You can surmise a couple of things from the title of Stewart Lemoine’s play, receiving its Toronto debut 18 years after its Edmonton premiere. Like The Exquisite Hour, which producing company the Theatre Department launched with in 2012, Pith! is not much more than a hour—brevity being the soul of wit, after all. Pithy does in part mean concise, but “pith”? Well, it can mean “the essence,” and this play is concerned with getting to the essence of play, and by extension, a play.

    Jack Vail (Ron Pederson) is a sailor and adventurer who, on a whim, decides to see what sort of adventures can be had in Providence, Rhode Island, in the summer of 1931. He’s just disembarked from a long sea voyage, and craves more genteel company, which he decides he’ll find at a Sunday church service and social. His attention is quickly drawn to a woman in mourning cloth and to her slightly less subdued companion, whom he finds sobbing over a plate of pie outside after the service. She introduces herself as Ms. Nancy Kimble (Amy Matysio), and shares the sad tale of her employer Mrs. Virginia Tillford (Daniela Vlaskalic), who has held out hope for a decade that her husband will return from a trip to South America, where he vanished. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), 7:30 p.m., PWYC–$20. Details

  • Dance: The producers of Riverdance have spawned yet another on-stage extravaganza. With a talented cast of 38, Heartbeat of Home is a high-energy show, combining Irish, Latin, and Afro-Cuban music and dance. Torontonians get the honour of seeing the production’s North American debut—take it in before it’s gone! Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria Avenue), 8 p.m., $35-$130. Details
  • Theatre: Rarely Pure Theatre brings Shakespeare’s As You Like It to the Storefront Theatre, one of the city’s new alternative presentation spaces. The company gives the story, which sees love and friendship complicated by sexual tension and gender confusion, a distinctly Canadian twist by moving the action to a wintery wonderland. The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $20, $15 students/seniors/arts workers. Details
  • Theatre: Let’s face it: being a twenty-something can kinda suck. Pumped full of confidence and aspirations, we flee the family nest…and fall flat on our faces. Avenue Q uses songs (written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx) and puppetry both to lament and poke fun at this difficult time. Much like Sesame Street, it has a cast made up of human actors who interact with a variety of furry creatures, who themselves have hands up their butts. Think that description is tasteless? This might not be the show for you—these puppets are crude and lewd, and have a taste for alcohol and porn. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), 8 p.m., $49-$59. Details
  • Theatre: With a minimalistic set, some vintage guitars, and a rock n’ roll soundtrack, Deanna Jones takes on the persona of one of music’s most notorious figures. Humourous and introspective, The Keith Richards One Woman Show leads audiences through the highs and lows of the Rolling Stones guitarist’s often ridiculous life. Fixt Point Studio (1550 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., $15. Details
  • Theatre: In 2006, the quiet town of Ipswich, England, was turned upside down by the discovery of five dead women. During this time, playwright Alecky Blythe recorded extensive interviews with the nearby residents. Set to music, these audio clips form the script to London Road, a raw piece of theatre illustrating tragedy’s ability to fortify a community. Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East), 8 p.m., $24-$99. Details
  • Theatre: The Acting Up Stage Company brings the French Antilles to Toronto audiences with its new musical, Once On This Island. Set to an exuberant Caribbean score, we see the gods test the dark-skinned Ti Moune by sending her on a quest after she falls in love with a higher-class, light-skinned man. Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East), 8 p.m., $30-$50. Details
  • Theatre: German theatre has gone over really well in Toronto in recent years. Playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig’s contribution to Volcano Theatre’s Africa project was widely praised, and twinwerks//zwillingswerk’s production of Felicia Zeller’s Kaspar and the Sea of Houses earned the company an outstanding production award at the 2011 SummerWorks (and a trip back to 2012’s festival). Now, Theatre Smash returns with Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One, a clever slice of absurdism that works well on several levels. There’s light humour when the titular character discovers that everyone finds his face repugnant, and darker tones when his new, beautiful face becomes coveted obsessively by those around him. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $13–$53. Details
  • Theatre: In Tarragon Theatre’s current mainstage production, Flesh and Other Fragments of Love, there are both a marriage and a body on the rocks, and the prognosis isn’t good for either of them. While the human figure appears pale, cold, and lifeless, the marriage is slightly more alive, and the play chronicles its last dying breaths. Surprisingly, though, the young female cadaver is by far the more interesting of the two. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21 to $53. 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.