This week features Doc Pickles, David Miller, and GRTTWaK...it feels like Torontopia all over again!
Urban Planner is your weekly curated guide to what’s on in Toronto—things that are local, affordable, and exceptional.
Monday, January 9
In 15 years of non-professional experts lecturing, their stage has been graced by such notable Torontonians as Jordan Tannahill and Desmond Cole (the same night, a decade ago), Mayor (at the time) David Miller, and this writer. Now, Trampoline Hall is digging into its extensive archives to launch a weekly podcast, featuring one lecture at a time, plus a Q&A. For this special launch party, the usual TH rules are suspended; the event will feature perennial host Misha Glouberman explaining the process for the podcast, and general carousing after. The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West), doors at 7 p.m., start at 8 p.m., FREE.
Tuesday, January 10
Performance artist Jess Dobkin has previously created shows that twisted the everyday, where she acted as proprietor of a newsstand and of a breast milk bar. But her latest solo creation, The Magic Hour, has loftier aims: to use the conceits of magic to address the trauma of sexual violence. Created over the past three years in residence at the Theatre Centre, it’s a rare two-week run for the internationally renowned artist, who tends to do brief “pop-ups.” To January 21, The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West), Tuesday–Saturday, 8 p.m., $17-$30.
It’s a bit hard to draw a bead on what the Comedytron Chatshow is, exactly: it’s “not a conventional stand-up show nor talk show. It’s a comedy variety show!!” Tuesday’s “pilot” features Todd Graham, Marty Topps, Michael Kolberg, and more, plus “audience participation” and hosts Andie Hong and Niesha Davis. The Social Capital (154 Danforth Avenue), 8 p.m., PWYC.
Wednesday, January 11
Green 13, a group of concerned citizens of Ward 13 (Parkdale-High Park), hosts a symposium entitled The Power of Cities to Tackle Climate Change. Their keynote speaker for the evening is former mayor of Toronto, and current CEO of WWF Canada, David Miller. Swansea Town Hall (95 Lavina Avenue), 7 p.m., FREE.
Brunch Club’s hands-on crafting and comedy series Arts and Laughs, a popular event in Montreal, is launching a weekly series here in Toronto for the next three months. Their first edition, appropriately titled “Firsts,” will feature comics Mark Little, Natalie Norman, Sophie Kohn, and more, with hosts/crafting facilitators Drew Picklyk and Asaf Gerchak. Christie Pits Pub (814 Bloor Street West), 7 p.m., $5.
Thursday, January 12
The 10 shows comprising the Next Stage Theatre Festival, which we previewed last week, are in full swing, with some shows selling out daily. During this second and final week of the festival, additional programming facilitated by artistic incubator Generator launches. Urgent Exchange features panel talks on crowdsourced topics. The first Twitter-sourced topic, What is Criticism in An Age Where Anyone Can Be a Critic?, features Now magazine stage & film editor Glenn Sumi, Toronto Star critic Carly Maga, Mooney on Theatre senior writer S. Bear Bergman, and University of Windsor professor (and recent Nathan Cohen Award judge) Michelle MacArthur. The second, to be held Sunday afternoon, is a community discussion entitled The White Guy Shuffle: Changing Hiring Practices in Canadian Theatre. Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue), Thursday, 7 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m., FREE.
A key figure of the 2000’s Torontopia movement, Doc Pickles—a.k.a. Duncan MacDonell—was the longtime host of the Wavelength music series during the days that the series presented rising music acts like Broken Social Scene, The Constantines, Owen Pallett, and many more. Now, the musician and father is in a pickle himself, having been laid off on Christmas, and some acts associated with his hosting heyday, including Entire Cities, Laura Barrett, More or Les, and relative newcomers Young Doctors in Love, are banding together for a benefit concert entitled Pickles Aid to tide McDonell over until he’s found another full-time gig (he’s pledged to donate the money to Doctors without Borders once he’s financially in the clear again). Junction City Music Hall (2907 Dundas Street West), 8 p.m., $7.
Friday, January 13
Based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel, the Tony-award winning musical The Secret Garden gets three concert performances at the recently renovated Jeanne Lamon Hall at Trinity-St. Paul’s. Along with a full orchestra and more than a dozen musical theatre performers, the cast includes Adam Brazier (Theatre 20), Erin Fisher (Canadian Opera Company), and Gabi Epstein (Mirvish’s Once). To January 15, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre (427 Bloor Street West), Friday–Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, 6:30 p.m., $39–$79.
Launched at the first annual Festival of New Formats (whose own seventh edition wrapped last week), Rapp Battlez‘s absurd mix of toe-to-toe throwdown format and comedic characters has become one of the most popular monthly shows at Comedy Bar. The series celebrates its seventh anniversary tonight, with such bouts as Honey Bee (Courtney Gilmour) facing Honey Nut Cheerios Bee (Dan Curtis Thompson) and Ross Geller (Meg MacKay) facing George Costanza (Darren Springer). Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 10:30 p.m., $5–$10.
Weekend January 14–15
The Evergreen Winter Village was a daily celebration between Christmas, New Years, and up until this past weekend. Now, the mostly outdoors festival—featuring arts vendors, a street food market, and lots of family-friendly activities—scales back to weekends in January and February. To February 28, Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Avenue), Saturday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., FREE.
Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller has said his favourite version of the smash hit apocalypse chase film is in black and white. Mad Max: Fury Road (Black & Chrome Edition) has just two screenings, one this Saturday and one next Thursday, January 19. Witness it! Saturday, Royal Cinema (608 College Street), 7:30 p.m., $8.
Veteran Toronto music maker Marker Starling (previously known as Mantler and a.k.a. Chris A. Cummings) is playing an album release show for his new covers LP. Entitled I’m Willing, it features covers of songs by John Cale, Sergio Mendez, and Bobby Cole (“Perfect Day“, with guest vocalist Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab). Saturday, The Burdock (1184 Bloor Street West), doors at 8:30, $15.
Last week, Dan Burke’s Class of 2017 bill, night one, included acts from across the country. Show two of the series focuses on all Ontario acts, including Toronto-based bands Possum and Crazy Bones, Lindsey’s The Kents, and Ottawa’s New Swears. Saturday, Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West), doors at 8:30 p.m., $10.
The always sold out reading series Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids, anticipating packed houses, is hosting two shows this Sunday to spread out the readers and the rapt audience: a matinee and an evening show, both of which will be taped and potentially be used in a future radio/podcast broadcast. Sunday, Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick Avenue), 3:30 p.m. & 8 p.m., $10.
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