In today's Urban Planner: a double-bill of comedy powerhouses, and a first-time-ever live taping.
- Comedy: Comedians Andrew Johnston and Sara Hennessey know how to keep busy. Both spent the year touring the country separately; this summer, Hennessey performed at various Just for Laughs shows in Montreal, while Johnston mounted his annual cabaret, Bitch Salad, to a sold-out audience as part of WorldPride. The two Toronto comedy mainstays have decided to close out the summer together by performing as a double bill for a live taping this Friday, August 22, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre with special guests Emma Hunter, Tim Gilbert, and Heidi Brander. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), 7:30 p.m., $10 at the door. Details
- Comedy: Comedian Norm Sousa (co-host of Discovery’s Never Ever Do This at Home), like most comedians these days, has a podcast. Rather than just a ramble on about a particular topic, however, he, along with his co-host Andy Hull, interviews a guest after that guest has done something for the first time ever—for the First Time Ever podcast. Past podcast highlights have included comic and long time teetotaller Jan Caruana‘s first drinking session, and Becky Johnson‘s first-ever major league baseball game, but many episodes have revolved around the guest’s first time seeing a seminal film. For the first edition of First Time Ever Live, there’ll be a public screening of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Predator, followed by the live taping with guest Evany Rosen. Bad Dog Comedy Theatre (875 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., PWYC. 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
- Art: Toronto has increasingly strived to honour the region’s First Nations—whether by acknowledging the historical presence of the Mississaugas of the New Credit on current City land or commemorating pre-European communities and trade routes. Now the Art Gallery of Ontario is following suit, staging an exhibition that highlights Anishinaabe artists from the Great Lakes region and making a greater effort to include indigenous art in its Canadian galleries. “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
- Theatre: Only about two hours away from Toronto, madness is infiltrating the town of Stratford, Ontario—but fortunately, it’s the kind that produces delightful results. Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino has designed this year’s season around the theme “Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge,” and explores it through everything from jukebox musicals to Shakespearean tragedies. And with the festival’s increasingly popular twice-daily bus service to and from downtown (in its second year), it’s easy to get a taste of what the mania is all about. Here’s Torontoist‘s take on a sampling of this year’s festival offerings—Ira Glass and his opinions notwithstanding, a whole lot of people would welcome a chance to spend some time with the Bard and some of Canada’s most esteemed artists. Multiple venues, all day, $25–$133. 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
- Festivals: It doesn’t seem possible, but the downtown Yonge Street strip is about to get a whole lot more colourful over the next few days. Scotiabank Buskerfest is taking over every open space from Queen to College, throughout Dundas Square, Trinity Square, and the Ryerson campus. Pay what you can to be entertained, astonished, and humoured by free-roaming acrobats, magicians, artists, dancers, musicians, and more. Proceeds from the festival support Epilepsy Toronto. , 12 p.m., PWYC. Details
- Theatre: Mystic Forest Productions is presenting a week-long run of a selection of theatrically staged Robert Munsch stories, entitled Munsch At Play. There’s a twist to their kids theatre offering, too: the performers are “professional actors from different mental and physical abilities.” That means the cast includes performers such as veteran stand-up comic Andre Arruda and actor Krystal Nausbaum, who was a bright light in the Judith Thompson show Rare. There are two shows a day, and they’re recommended for the younger set—but if you’re a big Robert Munsch fan, you’ll know his work can be appreciated at any age. Toronto Public Library, Palmerston Branch (560 Palmerston Avenue), 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., $5–$10. Details
- Film: There’s a moment in the 2002 Academy Award telecast where the camera pans across the crowd during a standing ovation for the freshly minted Best Director winner Ron Howard and finds, standing in the aisle together with conspiratorial grins on their faces, none other than David Lynch and Robert Altman, a pair of high-profile losers who the comparatively green Howard had just bested. Altman never won that competitive Oscar before his death in 2006 (though he did get an honorary award in 2001), but even more so than Lynch he’s become a bellwether of quality American filmmaking—a roguish sort who brought an idiosyncratic authorial signature to studio films in the 1970s. Tied to the upcoming release of Toronto filmmaker Ron Mann’s profile of the late filmmaker, TIFF Cinematheque’s retrospective “Company Man: The Best of Robert Altman” is a fine introduction, screening 18 of the iconoclastic filmmaker’s most important works. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 6:30 p.m., Prices vary. Details
- Theatre: If the thought of battling crowds at the Aquarium has you feeling a little crabby, may we suggest an underwater voyage of a different kind? Bring the kids (or your adult friends, whatever) to the Lower Ossington Theatre’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr. The classic story of a whimsical mermaid, a land-living prince, and her desire to be part of his world has been specially adapted for younger audiences, and will only be onstage this August. Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Avenue), 7 p.m., $29.99- $59.99. 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.