Youth on voting reform and on stage in Concord Floral; plus, Toronto's Growing Pains and bizarre crafts.
Urban Planner is your weekly curated guide to what’s on in Toronto—things that are local, affordable, and exceptional.
Monday, October 3
If there’s any justice, Soulpepper’s production of Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna will be extended through to the end of the month to Halloween. The play itself takes place following a Halloween party held by Montreal’s drag queen community, where the title character has had a disastrous night out. It’s not horrific, per se, but there’s some brutality in how Damien Atkins and Jason Cadieux’s aging gay couple rip into each other, homing in on each other’s weak spots. And the second act, which is mostly a slow burn monologue by the sensational Atkins, makes excellent use of designer Yannik Larivee’s massive upstage mirror flats, which give the audience a funhouse perspective of itself as Hosanna recounts her real-life nightmare experience. Young Centre (55 Mill Street), to October 15, various dates and times, $5–$94.
Comic Meg MacKay has put her own spin on the talk show format with Reverse Late Nite for a year now, hosting fellow comedians and more odd talent on a monthly basis. Tonight’s edition will feature cake, “presents,” sketches, and more, with guests that include Globe and Mail columnist Andrew Clark, stand-up Shirley Whalen, and Christophe Davidson. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 9:30 p.m., $5.
Tuesday, October 4
Most people are aware that the “first past the post” voting system is broken and in need of change. Leadnow is holding a youth town hall to meet with the people with the most to gain from electoral reform (in the long run, at least) and solicit their opinions in round-table discussions. Snacks, drinks, and TTC tokens will all be freely available. 519 Community Centre (519 Church Street), 7 p.m., FREE.
Litmus Theatre’s new adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s seminal Brave New World is a subtly terrifying look at societal trends, staged to full effect in a converted bakery and factory—appropriate considering the denizens of the World State happily toil in massive work spaces. (Litmus has a history of staging horror in unusual spaces, but for this ambitious production, they’ve shaped the theatre for their own uses.) A first-rate cast, including Eli Ham as a disturbed new addition to society and Nehassaiu deGannes as the calculating World Controller, helps show the potential pitfalls of engineering Utopia. For tonight only, in place of the show (which runs to October 16), a group of artists, including Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah, and Jijo Quayson, will present Brave New Theatre, an evening of “response” pieces to the Litmus production—exactly the sort of original thinking that the World State would want to suppress. Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue), to October 16, 7:30 p.m., PWYC–$38.
A quiet night out with new music from four local indie music veterans, including Drew Smith (a.k.a. Dr. Ew, Bunny, and of The Bicycles), Laura Barrett (of The Hidden Cameras), Henri Fabergé (of The Adorables), and Torontoist alumna Robin Hatch (of Sheezer and Dwayne Gretzky). Holy Oak Cafe (1241 Bloor Street West), 9 p.m., PWYC.
Wednesday, October 5
For 12 days, international performing arts festival Rutas Panamericanas presents shows from around the world, including some shows that give Old World art a New World spin, such as new adaptations of Shakespeare—a Bolivian Hamlet and a New Zealander Othello. There’s plenty of locally sourced work among the international acts, too, such as the 25th anniversary re-staging of B Current’s Diaspora Dub (which also appeared this past weekend at Nuit Blanche and will be showcased Friday at the ROM) and a new work by Canada Reads winner Carmen Aguirre called Broken Tailbone. Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East), to October 16, PWYC–$25.
Monthly improv showcase White Rhino Comedy gets two chances to impress this month. On October 5, the core crew (Wayne Jones, Matt Folliott, Ken Hall, and Kris Siddiqi) is joined by guests like Mark Little and Ashley Botting; on October 12, they welcome the likes of Pat Thornton and Paloma Nuñez. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), October 5 and 12, 9:30 p.m., $12.
Thursday, October 6
GenNext invites Torontonians to join them for a guided Regent Park walk, modelled after the popular Jane’s Walks. Arguably more than any other downtown area, Regent Park has undergone massive change in the past couple years, and guides will point out historic aspects of the community, as well as new ones. Dixon Hall (58 Sumach Street), 5:30 p.m., FREE.
As part of the CityAge Toronto Summit, which is taking place October 6 and 7 at the MaRS district, the new documentary series Growing Pains is getting a special screening of its first two episodes and a post-film panel discussion featuring director Gregory Greene, former mayor David Crombie, and Marcy Burchfield, executive director of the Neptis Foundation. Unlike the summit itself, which starts at $300, the Growing Pains event, including the cocktail reception, is free, provided you RSVP in advance. Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Avenue), 7 p.m., FREE (registration required).
The third season of Hot Damn Queer Slam opens in its new home at Buddies in Bad Times tonight with its first-round open mic, second-round full slam, and featured performer Truth Is…, who’s opened for k-os and Angela Davis. While Buddies is its Toronto home, HDQS has editions all over Ontario, and the winners of its slams (including tonight’s) will be entered into a championship slam in April to win entry to Capturing Fire, an international queer summit and slam in Washington, D.C.. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), sign-up at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m., PWYC.
Friday, October 7
One of our top plays of 2015, Concord Floral, has returned in a new production at Canadian Stage. Co-created by Jordan Tannahill (one of our People to Watch in 2015), Erin Brubacher, and Cara Spooner, along with their teen collective, we called the original production “a tense, spooky, but also frequently funny mystery that takes in both horror-movie tropes and classical allusions.” Many of the original cast members have returned, plus a few new participants (Toronto Life did a recent photo essay profiling some of the teen’s bedrooms). St. Lawrence Centre (27 Front Street East), to October 16, 7 p.m., PWYC–$79.
Weekend, October 8–9
After seven years of promoting local female comedians, West End Girls is being retired by producer and host Daniela Saioni, who’s busy these days as a writer for television. (Torontoist profiled the series at what’s turned out to be its mid-life.) The final bill features LLWMUL alumnae DeAnne Smith and Aisha Brown, plus Hoodo Hersi, Nick Nemeroff, Natalie Norman, and more. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), Saturday, 7 p.m., $10.
Mesmerizing local alt-folk outfit Snowblink is holding court at the Burdock this Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate the recent release of their new album Returning Current. Sarah Pagé will be their special guest both nights; on Saturday, they’ll be joined by GREX and the Drumheller Horn Section, while Sunday promises to be “an Intimate Multi-sensory Experience.” The Burdock (1184 Bloor Street West), Saturday and Sunday, doors at 8:30 p.m., $12 in advance, $15 at the door.
It’s the final weekend of the seasonal Waterfront Artisan Market, which has been popping up in HTO Park one weekend a month since May. More than 50 vendors, artists, and tradespeople will be on hand to hawk their unique food, crafts, and wares along the park’s waterline and boardwalk. HTO Park (339 Queens Quay West), Saturday–Monday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., FREE.
And if the crafts at the Waterfront Artisan Market aren’t weird enough for you, you’ll definitely want to check out The Bazaar of the Bizarre, an indoor market and jamboree of all things strange and macabre, including puppets, magicians, dancers, and more, plus a list of more than 60 vendors. Pia Bouman Studio (6 Noble Street), Sunday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m., FREE.
Have a tip for Urban Planner? Let us know via email, ideally more than a week in advance.
Did you like this article? Do you love Torontoist? Support articles like this by becoming a Torontoist subscriber for only a couple dollars a month. Get great perks and fund local journalism that makes a difference—support Torontoist now.