Urban Planner: August 1, 2014



Urban Planner: August 1, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: an uncommon art opening, interdisciplinary history, and a league of lady wrestlers.

Neema Bickersteth. Photo by Kerry Shaw.

  • Art: The Xpace Cultural Centre is hosting a building-wide opening reception for new work in its three exhibition spaces, and celebrating the opening of a fourth. In the Main Space, Amber Landgraff curates Uncommon Commons, featuring three artists—Mary Tremonte, Parastoo Anoushahpour, and Jp King—exploring collective creation; in the Project Space is Duncan Alexander Cameron Stewart’s multimedia piece A Room Dreaming of a Lake; in the Window Space, Elijah Montgomery’s I Am a Monster shows other sides of the Other in photos; and in the new off-site External Space, Byron Chan’s video 1997 looks at a Hong Kong buffeted by politics. Most (if not all) of the artists will be in attendance, and there will be snacks and a cash bar. Xpace Cultural Centre (303 Lansdowne Avenue), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Volcano Theatre presents a work-in-progress short run of A Moveable Beast, a new interdisciplinary performance work that uses song, dance, and projections—but no text—to cover more than a century of history through the eyes of a black Canadian protagonist. Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the performance stars soprano Neema Bickersteth, who’s solo on stage but backed up by musicians (Gregory Oh on piano), choreographers (Kate Alton, the show’s co-creator), and an impressive technical team. It’s a new artistic turn for Volcano and director/co-creator Ross Manson, neither having produced a show without a text-based script before. The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., PWYC. Details
  • Fundraisers: The League of Lady Wrestlers, “a collaborative effort aimed at subverting gender stereotypes and queering the concept of competitive sports while entertaining the masses,” has an Island Rumble planned for this fall, and to get everything ready (and the wrestlers primed) for the September event, it’s throwing a #LOLW Fundraiser. Attendees will be able to challenge wrestlers to (arm) wrestle in a round robin tournament, request a song on the karaoke mike, or get their photo taken with any number of the costumed larger-than-life characters. May Cafe (876 Dundas Street West), 8 p.m., PWYC. Details
  • Comedy: Comedy Bar is already home to Friday night 8 p.m. mainstay Catch23 Improv, the city’s most consistently funny “competitive” improv weekly. But this week, it’ll be followed by Two Strikes All-Stars, an “ultimate comedy showdown” that promoters promise is “the MEANEST show in the city.” We can’t speak to the actual level of comedic spite, but looking at a lineup that includes Second City alumnus Nigel Downer, past Torontoist hero Alice Moran, and Bonspiel Theatre’s Rob Baker, we’re confident in saying that Catch23 and Two Strikes will be the best death-match improv show double bill we’ve seen in some time. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 10:30 p.m., $10. Details


  • Art: If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), all day, $27 adults. Details
  • Film: You’d be hard-pressed to think of a filmmaker more frequently linked to his national cinema in the popular imagination than Satyajit Ray, whose work in the 1950s brought an independent streak to the production of Indian cinema as famously as Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless countered the establishment of French costume dramas around the same time. Yet prior to the 1990s, you might have found it equally difficult to name a major international figurehead who was as underrepresented at repertory screenings, so dire was the state of the films’ prints.

    Twenty years after the Academy Film Archive restored the Bengali director’s deteriorating and otherwise endangered negatives and made proper retrospectives possible, TIFF Cinematheque offers “The Sun and the Moon: The Films of Satyajit Ray,” a far-ranging program that gives Toronto audiences the opportunity to see the fruit of that labour as well as the work of arguably India’s most influential filmmaker. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West). Details

  • Art: Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes is a collaborative effort of the AGO and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, in New York City, where the exhibition recently wrapped up after a one-year run. The displays are organized by themes relating to Anishinaabe concepts of place and spirituality, and how they interact with the outside world. One of the most intriguing themes is “cottager colonialism,” which suggests that the colonization of indigenous land continues by way of vacationing tourists. Political statements are scattered throughout the exhibition, from Nadia Myre’s bead-covered pages of the Indian Act to the use of historical indigenous status documents in Robert Houle’s “Premises” series. Floral beaded bags and leggings, meanwhile, provide inspiration for the contemporary paintings of Christi Belcourt, an Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award recipient. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $19.50 (included with general adult admission). Details
  • Film: Every part of our city will be drenched in WorldPride this summer, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Bent Lens: Pride on Screen comprises nearly two months of screenings, exhibits, and speaking engagements that reflect the broadness of our LGBT community. Check out films under the stars in David Pecaut Square, take in a conversation with Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black, and much more. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West). Details
  • Photography: Our fascination with fame and celebrity isn’t new—and this is illustrated in Izzy Gallery’s newest exhibit, Terry O’Neil: The Man Who Shot the Sixties. A photographer from the U.K., O’Neill snapped iconic shots of everyone from The Beatles and Rolling Stones to Brigitte Bardot and Faye Dunaway. The opening party features an appearance by O’Neill himself, and his “photographs from the frontline of fame” will remain on display until the end of August. Izzy Gallery (106 Yorkville Avenue), 11 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Some of our city’s favourite plays are being reprised as part of On Stage On Demand. Five days will see the performance of six independent productions, with all ticket proceeds donated to charities of the playwrights’ choice. Catch Cockfight (July 31), Peter n’ Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel (August 1), Peter n’ Chris Explore Their Bodies (August 1), Baker’s Dozen (August 2), Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl (August 5), and Myth of the Ostrich (August 6). TRANZAC (292 Brunswick Avenue), 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., $5. Details
  • Theatre: Fans of oddball British humour—rejoice! The Lower Ossington Theatre has brought the genius of Monty Python’s Eric Idle to Toronto with their rendition of Spamalot. Watch as flying cows, killer rabbits, and all sorts of bizarre elements come together to tell a twisted version of the legendary story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), 8 p.m., $49–$59. 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.