Torontoist loves that you can go out and see or do something every day or night in our city, often for less per week than what a cable TV package would cost. Urban Planner is your weekly curated guide to what’s on in Toronto—things that are local, affordable, and exceptional.
Monday July 25
Best known for his role as the “never-nude” Tobias Fünke in Arrested Development (but perhaps most beloved for co-creating the seminal sketch comedy series Mr. Show), David Cross as a stand-up skews more towards political material than his absurd sketch characters, so he’ll have plenty to say about the current political climate in the US tonight, the second and last show of his two night stand in Toronto. Danforth Music Hall (147 Danforth Avenue), doors at 6:30 p.m., $49.50.
Also on tour and appearing tonight: Calgary based singer/songwriter Mark Hamilton, who performs under the moniker Woodpigeon. He’s sharing his bill with local openers Sandro Perri (who produced Woodpigeon’s new album Trouble), and Weatherman. The Burdock (1184 Bloor Street West), doors at 8:30 p.m., $10 in advance ($15 at the door).
Tuesday July 26
Sook Yin-Lee is still on CBC Radio with her mini-series Sleepover, but since the long-running Definitely Not The Opera ended, she’s had more time to focus on her music. She’ll be doing that tonight with her band JOOJ, which opens for Mongolian band Anijai. The Silver Dollar (486 Spadina Avenue), Doors at 8 p.m., $10.
Something else that’s ending: The Best of Fringe series at the Toronto Arts Centre, most of which were Torontoist‘s best of Fringe Festival picks, too. Tonight is your last chance to see Romeo & Juliet Chainsaw Massacre there, which Neil Patrick Harris enjoyed at the closing weekend of the Fringe Festival; Wednesday night is the final encore by Dance Animal: Toronto. Both shows are the early show, followed by a late show of Far Away, by Carol Churchill. Toronto Centre For the Arts Studio Theatre (5040 Yonge Street), 7 p.m. & 9 p.m., $17.75 per show, $25 double bill.
Wednesday July 27
The improvised sci-fi podcast Illusionoid has a very special guest for this month’s live taping: Orphan Black‘s Kristian Bruun, recently returned from the San Diego Comic-Con. (It probably helped that Bruun and Illusionoid cast member Nug Nahrgang were castmates in the very successful run of Songbuster: An Improvised Musical at the Toronto Fringe Festival.) Social Capital Theatre (154 Danforth Avenue, 2nd floor), doors at 7:30 p.m., $10.
Wednesday night may also be a good night to check out Hogtown, this summer’s immersive theatrical experience set in the 1920’s at “Campbell Public House”, known these days as Campbell House Museum; we say so because on the weekends, the house is crammed with audience members, and on a weekday night, you might end up seeing a scene performed just for you and your companions. A cast of nearly 40 actors, singers, and musicians move throughout the mansion and perform for wandering audience members in a fashion similar to New York’s famous Sleep No More, or last year’s Brantwood 1920-2020. There’s a main story concerning local politics and corruption on the eve of a Toronto mayoral election, but we were more intrigued by the “B” plots involving a tragic showgirl (Gabi Epstein) and her mysterious visitor (Lori Nancy Kalamanski), and the comedic moonshine duo played by Tim Ziegler and Matthew Bradley. Campbell House Museum (160 Queen street West), doors at 7 p.m., $45.
Thursday July 28
Comedic musical duo Flo & Joan (sisters Nicola & Rosie Dempsey) are prepping their act for the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Flo & Joan & Judy & Sex will be their final local show before they leave for Scotland. Also on the bill: a sketch set by Dame Judi Dench, whose Toronto Fringe show Everything Else Is Sold Out was a Best of Fringe selection, and an improv set by Sex T-Rex, who won the Second City Outstanding New Comedy award for their Toronto Fringe show Wasteland. Bad Dog Theatre (875 Bloor street, 2nd floor), 8 p.m., $10/Pay What You Can.
Friday July 29
The 800-pound gorilla of concerts tonight is Drake’s OVO Fest at The Molson Ampitheatre, with a star-studded line-up that includes Snoop Dogg, Wiz Kalifa, and undoubtably many special guests. (Drake also takes over TD Echo Beach for Caribana Day on Saturday with BeenieMan and Machel Montano, and the Air Canada Centre on Saturday and Sunday night for his Summer Sixteen tour.)
But there’s smaller, more locally focused concerts to choose from, too. Keith Hamilton, musician and long-time booker at Kensington Market venue The Boat, is hosting his Ten Year/Tenure anniversary show, with sets from his current band BEAMS, his Hamilton Trading Co. (a pre-Choir! Choir! Choir! choral outfit that sang original songs), and guest DJs spinning late into the night. The Boat (158 Augusta Avenue), doors at 8:30 p.m., $5.
Weekend July 30-31
It’s the Toronto Caribbean Festival‘s closing weekend (still colloquially known as Caribana), which means the Grand Parade. This year, the parade will be a lot more open; short barriers are replacing the crowd-hostile tall fences. In addition to the parade, there’s a family day on Sunday at Fort York, with music, plenty of food vendors, and more. Saturday July 30, CNE Exhibition Place (210 Princes Boulevard), 10 a.m.—8 p.m., $10—$100 / Sunday July 31, Historic Fort York (250 Fort York Boulevard), noon-8 p.m., FREE.
The music will have less steel drum and more pounding bass uptown at Downsview Park this weekend, where the Veldt Festival will be going twelve hours each day, with EDM superstars like Dead Maus, Steve Aoki, and Kygo scheduled to spin. Downsview Park (35 Carl Hall Road), 11 a.m.—11 p.m., $159.50-$229.50.
Something you’re liable to see a lot of at Veldt: white girls, wasted. But at least at White Girls Wasted (the comedy show), you’ll get a chance to see them perform clever stand-up; sober first, than tipsy. On the bill: Rebecca Kohler, Sandra Battaglini, Jen Sakato, and host Ashley Moffat. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 11 p.m., $5.
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