This week, Aisha Brown and Georgea Brooks headline stand-up shows; in town concerts from Doldrums, Sloan, and Dorothea Paas; crawl Parkdale for Tibetan momos, the waterfront for Iranian culture, and Campbell House for Toronto's Prohibition history.
Friday, July 28
Winnipeg-based Indigenous-focused magazine Red Rising is arriving in Tkaronto on tour to launch Issue 6: Revolt! Four contributors to the issue—Victoria Inglis, Vanessa Gray, Roxanne Greene, Shanese Steele—will speak at the launch party, as well as a panel discussion on Indigenous resistance through art and literature by local Indigenous activists. Your entry donation gets you their latest issue, as well as Issue 5: LOVE.
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (16 Spadina Road), 6:30 p.m., $10 (suggested donation).
One of the comics we profiled in last year’s Local Ladies Who Make Us Laugh (which has since become Mirthful Mx. In The 6ix, or MMIT6), Aisha Brown is headlining the downtown Yuk Yuk’s location this weekend, with guest comics including Laurie Elliott, Graham Chittenden, and Nick Beaton. (You might also recognize Brown for her recent roti rhyming with Runnin’ At The Mouth.)
To July 29, Yuk Yuk’s Downtown Toronto (224 Richmond Street West), various times, $20.
Not heading out of town for WayHome, but still want to check out some fine music talent? Doldrums, who’s been quiet of late, has just released a new LP called Esc, and he’s got a terrific bill of local acts for the release party, including Phèdre and Petra Glynt.
The Baby G (1608 Dundas Street West), doors at 9 p.m., $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
Saturday, July 29
Beer (a LOT of it—416 kinds, according to The Beer Store’s promotional material), bands (including Method Man, Sloan, and Alan Doyle), and BBQ. The appeal of The Festival of Beer isn’t hard to sum up. Individual tickets for Friday were sold out as of press time, so “hop” to.
To July 30, Exhibition Place Bandshell Park (210 Princes Boulevard), Friday 3 p.m.-11 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon-8 p.m., $42.50-$95.
The Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance is less about the foxtrot and cha-cha-cha, and more about drag and voguing—but there may very well be extravagant gowns. The local faction of the queer dance and fashion movement, organized into “houses,” is holding the fourth annual KiKi Awards Ball, and this year’s theme is fairy tales, or “Once Upon a Kiki.” There’s lots of good-natured competition, and for the first time, the event will be unticketed—though you’ll have to pay for you and up to seven friends to book a table for the awards show, ball, and after-party.
The 519 Community Centre (519 Church Street), 8 p.m., by donation (tables $50-$100).
The rescheduled mainland version of Camp Wavelength is still a couple of weeks away, but Wavelength Music Series plans to start spreading the word with a Wavelength Warm-Up Party, featuring Montreal acts CO/NTRY and Hoan, and local act Dorothea Paas. If you already have a festival pass, it’s just $5.
Monarch Tavern (12 Clinton Street), doors at 9 p.m., $12 in advance, $15 a the door, $5 w/ Camp Wavelength pass/ticket.
One of the first comics we ever profiled in our annual LLWMUL/MMIT6 series, Georgea Brooks, has been Los Angeles-based for the past half decade, but she’s in town and headlining a hometown set, with 2016 alumni Jackie Pirico, Helder Brum, Evan Desmarais, and Ashley Moffat.
Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 9:30 p.m., $10.
Later in the night at Comedy Bar, The Sketchersons Experiment will feature the cast of the weekly Sunday Night Live sketch show, trying something a little different: a day-before improv set, featuring some of the show’s alumni, and a few more special guests. If you’re in the main space beforehand at 8:30 p.m. for the special Saturday edition of Rapp Battlez, you can “upgrade” for a mere $5.
Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 11 p.m., $10 (or $5 w/ ticket stub from Rapp Battles).
Sunday, July 30
The annual Tirgan Festival, celebrating Iranian-Canadian culture, runs all weekend at the Harbourfront Centre, with concerts, theatre and dance performances, panel discussions, and more. There’s also a women’s leadership conference integrated into the weekend, featuring speakers from the Iranian dispaora across the world—but no one will fault you if you just want to sample some snacks at Tastes of Persia, see Modern Times Theatre’s remount of the Dora-winning Arash, or party late into the night, indoors or outdoors, with DJ Mohsen.
To July 30, Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), Friday 6 p.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-2 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., FREE-$65.
We wrote all about Students For a Free Tibet’s 2017 momo crawl earlier this week, so if you need to know more about why you’d want to try a bunch of momos, go read that. If you already know and love the little pocket snacks, your hardest choice will be which one of the 11 Parkdale restaurants you won’t use your $20 Moma “passport” at (but you could always just pay cash for the 11th…)
Various venues in Parkdale, 1 p.m.-5 p.m., $20.
Hopping the pond from the U.K. (where it was a hit at the Camden Fringe Festival) to make its Canadian premiere, Permanence, a “two-hander” by American playwright Cyd Casados, opens with a frenetic sexual tryst in a 1990’s Manhattan artist’s studio between Rebecca (Samantha Michelle), a hospital resident, and Steve (Ludovic Hughes), the painter. The play looks at their friends-with-benefits arrangement as it evolves tenuously, with both continuing to have sex with other people. There’s a curiously old-fashioned moral baked into the script—can one love another without loving oneself?—that undercuts the angst its millennial writer is exploring. Director Hannah Price competently uses the many scene cuts as brief unscripted interactions between her constantly-changing-outfits actors, to give the relationship between them a bit more development, but we’re not sure it’s possible to give the characters as written enough context to make us really care what happens to them—these are very, very privileged people. Hughes is suitably charismatic as the confident but lonely bachelor, but we had difficulty hearing some of Michelle’s lines, even in the intimate studio space (it’s possible she was ill for the performance we attended), and her numb-to-the-world nymphomaniac character came across as flat and dull on stage to us. Still, the production has local fans—though the reception from other critics has been mixed.
To August 6, Tarragon Theatre Extraspace (30 Bridgman Avenue), Tuesday-Saturday 8 p.m., Saturdat-Sunday 2:30 p.m., $22-$32.
Monday, July 31
Over 170 singers will collaborate on Opera For All, Maestro Alvaro Lozano Gutierrez’s programming of popular choral selections from such operas as Carmen and Madama Butterfly. The chorus is primarily drawn from students in the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre’s opera programs, and also features pianist Clive Walton.
Trinity-St. Paul’s (427 Bloor Street West), 7 p.m., $15.
For five years now, the weekly Monday night musical theatre open mic SINGular Sensation has been producing an annual BackDoora Awards, a cheeky nod to the Dora Awards, giving out citations of their own design to regulars and mainstays of Toronto’s indie cabaret and musical theatre scenes. Host and producer Jennifer Walls, who was the cover star of NOW Magazine‘s special Fringe Festival edition this month, also incorporates a public voting category for the recently finished festival. If you can’t make it in person for the red carpet (hosted by Jenna Warriner, doing her best Joan Rivers) or awards ceremony, you can still follow all the proceedings on Facebook Live.
Statler’s Piano Bar (487 Church Street), red carpet at 9:30 p.m., awards at 10 p.m., FREE.
Tuesday, August 1
Like SINGular Sensation, the cabaret series Doored at Double Double Land has been going for five years now, but back when it started, producers Life of A Craphead (Amy Lam and Jon McCurley) said they’d do just 30 of them, and this will be the last of the irregularly scheduled series. This final edition of Doored will feature some longtime contributors and audience favourites, including Bridget Moser, Laura McCoy, and Aliya Pabani (host of The Imposter podcast). (Double Double Land’s a very snug venue, so there were few tickets left as of press time.)
Double Double Land (209 Augusta Avenue), 7:30 p.m., $7.
It’s been exactly a year since Torontoist last covered Hogtown, the immersive theatre experience that has audiences follow characters around the historic Campbell House on the eve of a 1926 Toronto mayoral election. Prohibition is on every character’s lips—will it be repealed, and will incumbent Thomas Foster (Jerome Bourgault), who supports the Temperance movement, be overtaken by challenger Sam McBride (Mark Prince)? The audience watches the first half of the show in groups, to make sure key characters are established, before being given free reign to follow whoever they like for the second half of the evening. Many of the roles from last year’s premiere have new actors portraying them, and some material (mainly musical) has been added, but the major plot lines appear to be the same; rather than follow singer Maddy Foster (Karen Slater) between the basement speakeasy and the upstairs bedroom again (a “track” the Globe and Mail‘s critic recently followed), we chose to spend more time on the main floor for this visit, seeing the developing relationship between Ronnie McBride (Sappho Hansen Smythe) and Ben Stein (Gord Gammie), and also, following the effervescent Elanor O’Grady Hunt (Jaymee Fuczek). Hogtown pales considerably in comparison to massive immersive undertakings like Sleep No More in New York City, or (more locally) Brantwood, but it’s an amusing slice of local history with some fun (if stock) characters.
To August 20, Campbell House Museum (160 Queen Street West), Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m., $59.
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