This week, the final days of the SummerWorks Festival, and the opening of Assembly Theatre and Bad Dog's Blockbuster Week; The Night Market, Taste of The Danforth, and Kultura festivals; shooting stars, sex worker rights, and saving lives from overdoses.
Friday, August 11
Yesterday, we posted about the best shows we’ve seen so far at the SummerWorks Performance Festival—but also, that some shows are one-time only. That was supposed to be the case with Are We Not Horses, a “sci-fi summer musical” collaboration between theatre company Small Wooden Shoe and Torontopia-era band Rock Plaza Central, who were last at SummerWorks back in 2008, still coasting on the steam of the concept album they’ve turned into this show. But the late night performance sold out advance tickets before the festival even opened, leading to the addition of an afternoon matinee—so if you can get Friday “sliders,” you can see the reunited band and special guest performers Elley Ray Hennessy, Nicole Stamp, and Liz Peterson, as far-future itinerant robot workers (there will be limited at the door tickets for both shows).
Factory Theatre Mainspace (125 Bathurst Street), 2:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., $15-$35.
Toronto’s opioid crisis hasn’t garnered quite as much attention as that of Vancouver’s (or the recent White House headlines), but it’s ramping up quickly, as evidenced by over two dozen overdoses in one weekend at the end of July—four of which were fatal. The City’s co-ordinated response continues to lag, so many Torontonians are taking advantage of the availability of free naloxone overdose prevention kits (and training, when you call ahead) at pharmacies across the GTA. If you’d prefer to learn how to use them in a group setting, there’s a group naloxone training session taking place this afternoon, that won’t require advance notice or ID—just drop in for 15-20 minutes.
Sherbourne Health Centre (333 Sherbourne Street), 3 p.m.-6 p.m., FREE.
The annual Kultura Festival promotes Filipino-Canadian art and performance, and kicked off last night with a late night party at Kensington Market hot spot Cold Tea. Tonight, there’s an art exhibit and late night music showcase at two locations on Augusta (187 and Double Double Land, respectively), but the bulk of the weekend’s programming takes place at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park, where an all-day event on Sunday features a street eats competition, marketplace, and concert series.
To August 13, various times and venues, FREE/PWYC.
Camp Wavelength fast approaches—it’s happening next weekend—and while the programming is all taking place on the mainland this year, tonight’s Camp Cruise, a collaboration between Red Bull Sound Select and Wavelength Music Series, will get you pretty close to the islands, as you set sail with a bunch of great music acts, including Cadence Weapon, Greys, and Vallens.
The River Gambler (333 Lake Shore Boulevard East, Pier 31), boarding at 7 p.m., set sail at 8 p.m., FREE w/ Camp Wavelength pass, $3 w/ RSVP, $10 rush.
Saturday, August 12
The annual Taste of The Danforth will have the east end along the Danforth locked down to vehicular traffic from Friday afternoon to Sunday night, as hordes of Torontonians descend on the strip to try—well, everything. Greek culture is the mainstay of the festival and area, though there are, like the ancient Grecian empire, diverse cultures enveloped and embraced within the festival’s culinary and cultural bounds.
To August 13, Danforth Avenue from Broadview Avenue to Jones Street, Friday 6 p.m.-11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon-11 p.m., FREE.
Back East to the core, where today will see the annual SlutWalk depart from Church and Wellesley and make its way to Allan Gardens, where speakers, especially those with connections to the struggle for sex worker rights (a theme for this year’s activism), will address the assembled marchers. Organizers are making it clear that children and families are welcome; there’ll be a park meet-and-greet after the march and rally.
Barbara Hall Park (519 Church Street), 2 p.m., FREE.
From the east end of the core, down to the Lower Don Lands, where the annual Toronto Waterfront Night Market is this year moving to a new and unusual location: the Hearn Generating Station. Unfortunately, Toronto Fire has recently decreed the building is unsafe to enter, but not to worry: the food midway, featuring 150 different scheduled vendors, will all be taking place in the shadow of the massive structure. One benefit of the food and entertainment all being outside: if you’re there after dark, it could be a great place to watch tonight’s Perseid meteor shower, away from the lights of the city.
To August 13, Hearn Generating Station (440 Unwin Street), Friday 4 p.m.-midnight, Saturday 2 p.m.-midnight, Sunday 2 p.m.-10 p.m., FREE.
Sunday, August 13
Bring a can, leave with a book. That’s the fundamental concept of the CanYouReadFestival, a family-friendly, day-long event taking place today at the Harbourfront Centre. Non-perishable donations can be redeemed for Culchahworks Arts Collective’s “Culchahbucks,”which can be spent at the curated book fair set up by Cuchahworks, the International Festival of Authors, and others. There’ll be lots of family-friendly programming, but also “book tents” where you can read some of your new finds.
Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), 11 a.m.-6 p.m., FREE (w/ food donation).
After a spate of closings of small performance venues in the west end—including the Queen and Dufferin location of the award-winning Unit 102 Theatre—there’s finally a new one opening. Unit 102 and Leroy Street Theatre are joining forces to open a new, nearby space, and members of both companies will be on hand for The Assembly Theatre Grand Opening. There’s a ribbon-cutting ceremony and facilities tour happening in the early afternoon, and then an evening party later tonight (presumably, a number of local theatre types will head there after the SummerWorks Festival wraps up).
The Assembly Theatre (1479 Queen Street West), ribbon cutting at 2 p.m., party at 7 p.m., FREE.
Monday, August 14
One week (plus) performance festival (SummerWorks) ends, another begins: The Summer Blockbuster Week, at Bad Dog Theatre. There are several shows each night for six nights, featuring new concepts by company members and guest comedians, all inspired in some way by films and pop culture, including riffs on Arrested Development, Law & Order, and Jeopardy, as well as new concepts by troupes like Songbuster, Your Kids, and Tony Ho.
To August 19, Bad Dog Theatre (875 Bloor Street West), various times, $5-$60 (all festival pass).
Tuesday, August 15
The weather might hold for another month–or this month’s Fireside Tales could be the last of the season. So co-hosts and co-producers Helder Brum and Rhiannon Archer have some ringer guests appearing, including Kirsten Rasmussen (Second City, Healing From Heartbreak), Bob Kerr (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), and Garrett Jamieson.
Dufferin Grove Park firepit (875 Dufferin Park), 8 p.m., FREE.
Wednesday, August 16
This month’s guest speaker at Dark Nights TO is Chantel Marostica; comic, producer, and Mirthful Mx. In The 6ix. They’ll be chatting with host Joss McNeil about producing and performing across Canada as a non-binary comedian, and the big changes in their past year—as well as possibly revealing some upcoming high-profile gigs. (Note the later-than-usual start time—comics are at their best after it actually gets dark.)
Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., PWYC.
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