New Zealander Ruban Nielson briefly had the music blogger community obsessed with uncovering his identity when he anonymously released Ffunny Ffriends, which became the first single for Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Now a full band with two Americans (Jake Portrait and Riley Geare), the band is signed to JagJaguwar and returning to Toronto in the midst of a long tour supporting their sophomore release, II. Their show will also feature guests Foxygen and Wampire.
Curated this month by Amy Langstaff, the long-running Trampoline Hall lecture series features Christina Bagatavicius on “Hoarding the Best: Life as a Maximizer”; David Jamieson on “Meta-Cognitive Mismatch and Relationship Strife”; and Sheila Murray on “Brown’s Town, my Dad’s Town” this month. Hosted as always by Misha Gluberman, and this instalment also features a set by the Misanthrope Specialty Company.
Spend your lunch hour with Ballet Creole and their new drum and dance production, courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company. Tounkande, which means “the gathering of people,” celebrates the cultural heritage of the Malinke people. Elements from the drummers’ backgrounds are infused into the production, which combines songs, dances, and rhythms of Guinea, West Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago.
You can never remember what to pick up from the grocery store, but you can recite every ’90s sitcom line by line. Does this sound familiar? Well friend, tonight is your time to shine as the Gladstone hosts TV Trivia Night, the Seinfeld edition. Come alone, or with a team of up to six people, and get ready to answer questions to win both prizes and prestige. Special treats will be given to those who dress up.
The vocal coach on Global’s Canada Sings! and an international cabaret superstar, Sharron Matthews plays a two-night stand at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, where she’s an artist in residence. Full Dark will showcase new songs and stories by the wisecracking diva, backed by a three-piece band.
World Stage presents Lear, a retelling of Shakespeare’s tale of family, legacy, and tragedy, with Canadian legend Clare Coulter in the title role and director Philip McKee.
The Bourbonite Regret Society of Toronto, a rapscallion group of musicians who dabble in spirits and country-infused music, is holding its second official party. BRST members The Old Salts also happen to be celebrating the release of their Blue Collar EP. They’ll be performing, along with fellow BRST member Mikey Chuck Rivers, and friends The Most Loyal and Gavin Slate.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, Vireo Research is hosting a screening of Miss Representation. In this film, writer and director Jennifer Siebel Newsom aims to expose mainstream media’s failure to portray women in positions of power and influence in America. Proceeds benefit Because I am a Girl, Plan Canada. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Vireo Research partner Jacquelyn Salnek.
Tonight the Toronto Public Library presents Chris Upfold, the TTC chief customer service officer, as part of their Thought Exchange program. Join him for TTC Transformation: Service, Safety and Customer Satisfaction as he discusses future plans for the system, including improvements to customer service, safety, and accessibility.
Steam Whistle Brewing gets biblical with their March art show, Voice of Patmos, inspired by the Book of Revelation and its rich descriptions of otherworldly scenes. The show features Toronto-based illustrators Andrei Georgescu, Ginette Lapalme, Patrick Kyle, and Chris Kuzma who have each created pieces based on their own interpretation of the text. The opening gala is tonight, the show runs all month.
The ladies of The Songbirds are coming together tonight to pay tribute to some stellar female vocalists. They’ve taken your favourite tunes, and re-arranged them to suit their unique four-part harmonies. No genre is forgotten, as they salute everyone from Aretha Franklin and Dolly Parton to Lady Gaga.
Let’s Get Hot! boasts a lineup of some of the best emerging and established stand up comedians in Toronto. Come celebrate the birthdays of hosts Chris Locke and Aaron Eves with Brian Barlow, Adam Christie, Nick Flanagan, Jordan Foisy, Dylan Gott, Todd Graham, Amanda Brooke Perrin, Kathleen Phillips, and The Kids in the Hall‘s Scott Thompson.
This year’s edition of the Sketch Comedy Festival boasts headliners including Eugene Mirman (March 9), Bruce McCulloch (March 11), and Michael Ian Black (March 12). There are also visiting troupes from Winnipeg (Hot Thespian Action), Montreal (Uncalled For), and Vancouver (Peter ‘n Chris), plus a wide variety of local outfits. It’ll all wrap with a closing show featuring the Sketchersons,
joined by special guest host and wrestling legend Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
Sketchfest runs at The Randolph Theatre, Lower Ossington Theatre, and Comedy Bar.
Who says classical music has to be hundreds of years old? The New Creations Festival spotlights the hottest in contemporary orchestral music with a line-up that includes a composition called A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City by Tod Machover (who also guest curated this festival), a violin concerto by Owen Pallett, and much more.
As part of the I Heart Jokes Festival, a group of brave comedians is hosting an always entertaining evening of strip comedy. For the uninitiated, the rules are simple: every time a comedian fails to get a laugh at a joke, they’re forced to remove an article of clothing. Featuring hosts Dom Pare and Evan Desmarais, and comedians Bobby Kanuff, Amanda Brooke Perrin, Dylan Gott, and others.
The folks at Good Kids and She Does the City are collaborating on a special edition of their ’90s party series, with a costume party and homage to those 30-year-olds in high school, a.k.a. the kids of Beverly Hills, 90210. Dress up as Brenda, Dylan, Brandon, Kelly, or David, either solo or as a group, and you could snag a $200 top prize, or consolation drink prizes. Resident DJs Caff and Fawn will keep the tunes spinning until 3 a.m., and yes, there will be a photo booth.
Let’s be honest: if you prefer the original Star Trek series over Next Generation, you’re probably kidding yourself. For the true believers, you’ve got a chance to meet the entire cast of the latter classic at Toronto ComiCon (Sean Astin from The Lord of the Rings will also be there) as well as the opportunity to check out a world of geekiness in comics, anime, sci-fi, and more. Engage!
Lovers of photography and the city can rejoice at a new photo extravaganza: the Toronto Urban Photography Festival. This gigantic event features no less than 10 exhibitions, a variety of talks on the subject of urban photography, and a number of photo walks, so you too can get in on the practice of creating urban art. The exhibition also features the Disposable Camera Project, which places many disposable cameras around the city, leaving it up to whoever finds them to take a picture in the moment. And then you might possibly see the results in the festival.
This is International Women’s Week; in its honour this Feminist Art Conference is bringing a large number of artists together for a day of art and discussion. Panels include “Fertile ground: Body Politics and Sexuality,” “Creating Our Own Narrative: Responding to Gendered Violence,” and “Black Exoticism: Fetishization of the Black Female Body.”
The great book series, Impossible Words, returns for another edition of readings from popular authors. This week’s event features author Kevin Chong, who has written four books, including Neil Young Nation (a Book of the Year in multiple media outlets). He’ll be interviewed on stage by two members of Toronto Street Writers, Sagan Yee and Rob Saffrey.
If you’re finding it difficult to get through the original version of Homer’s classic, The Odyssey, there’s nothing like a musical edition to help make things more clear. Odyssey: The Musical tells the epic journey of Odysseus and the struggles he faces as he makes his way back home after the fall of Troy. The music and lyrics come from Khamsina, one of Victoria College’s students.
The I Heart Jokes Festival is wrapping up this weekend and they’re definitely going out with a bang. The night’s headliner is Eugene Mirman, who has performed on many late-night shows, as well as Flight of the Conchords, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and many others. The event also features host Steph Tolev, and sets by Chris Locke, Evan Desmarais, and Rob Mailloux.
Here’s a nice treat for those who love listening to good music in unusual locations. The Bruce Peninsula Trio—namely Neil Haverty, Matt Cully and Misha Bower—will be playing a show at the historic Campbell House Museum, one of Toronto’s oldest houses. Click here to listen to some of their music.
The March 11 edition of weekly stand-up showcase ALTdot Comedy Lounge has an especially strong bill. Hosted this week by Andre Arruda, some of the comics featured include Ryan Belleville (Almost Heroes, The LA Complex), Ron Sparks (Straight Man, web series The Newsdesk with Ron Sparks), and Nile Seguin (CBC’s The Debaters, Just for Laughs Festival).
SINGular Sensation is a weekly musical theatre cabaret and open mic, in which a mix of professional and amateur actors/singers take turns on Statler’s small stage belting and crooning musical numbers, with live accompaniment. Tonight, cabaret ingenue Jenna Warriner guest hosts, and in addition to the regular participants she’ll be welcoming several (unofficial) Disney princess impersonators. They’ll be previewing some of the songs from the following weekend’s Happily Ever After, a benefit for Free the Children.
Motivational Mondays is a monthly inspirational speaker series hosted by Michel Neray. Its guests for March will include author Chuck Bastie, inspirational comedian Jacquie Hermans, and entrepreneur coach Deepak Manchanda. The evening starts with dinner and drinks at 6 p.m. The speakers will take the mic later in the night.
Looking for something to do tonight that is both amusing and intellectually fulfilling? U of T and the Treehouse Group have the perfect event: Science at the Movies. Enjoy a screening of Gattaca, then join Professor Donald Ainslie (philosophy), and Professor Lucy R. Osborne (medicine and molecular genetics) for a scientific discussion and examination of the film.
What might we see through the eyes of a child? ChildSight tries to answer that question by pairing selected artwork with audio commentary from children who participate in the Kaleidoscope in-school art program. The opening reception on Thursday, March 21st also includes awards presentations, drinks, and, of course, a chance to check out the show itself.
Think you have what it takes to sing like an opera star? Test your talents today with soprano and artist educator Kyra Millan, as she leads a unique interactive concert, courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company. Warm up with some fun vocal exercises, then learn and sing the Papageno-Papagena duet from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Millan will also perform The Girl in 14G, as well as excerpts from The Tales of Hoffmann and La fille du régiment, so you can see how the real pros do it.
The WordStage reading series returns to celebrate more of Toronto’s established and up-and-coming writers of poetry, prose, and drama. Tonight’s stellar lineup consists of Marcia Johnson, Cris Costa, Stephen Humphrey, as well as Michael Scott and David Proctor of Wooden Rocket Press.
The next best thing to eating chocolate is making your own, which you can do tonight, courtesy of Chocolate Tales. Learn a brief history of chocolate and how it goes from bean to the bar. Then, roll up your sleeves and be led through a tutorial on making bonbons, trufﬂes, soufﬂés, and more. Everyone goes home with a gift wrapped package of their creations.
And now for an event that is exactly what it sounds like: The Joke Club. Join sketch comedians David Dineen-Porter, Zabrina Chevannes, Canadian Comedy Award winner Steven Patrick Adams, and Nick Flanagan for a night of laughs. Hosted by Twitter sensation and peculiar Brit, Avery Edison.
Too Soon: The Contemporary as Method will try to tackle a tricky question: how do we study contemporary art while simultaneously living with it? The conference will take place over two days, the first of which will kick off with a keynote from Gaetane Verna, director of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.
The latest installment of Nerd Nite Toronto features an unmissable combination of things: fireworks and baseball. A presentation by amateur pyrotechnician Sunny M. Hope will explore the history and chemistry of fireworks. A second presentation, by Danielle Van Wagner, takes a look at how female baseball fans are perceived by the public.
Local comedian Helder Brum, known for his garage shows, claymation vids, and dodgeball stamina, hosts a variety show tonight with a wide variety of guests, including fellow stand-up Pat Thornton, improv duo The Sufferettes, and musical guest Laura Barrett.
The Canadian premiere of Ashlin Halfnight’s Laws of Motion, about an accident that sparks a chain reaction of events, boasts a powerhouse ensemble assembled by Small Elephant Co-Op and director Chris Stanton, and is staged in a second-floor jam shop in Leslieville.
The show has now been extended to March 23—but they absolutely have to close after that.
British singer-songwriter Kate Nash returns to Toronto with her third album, Girl Talk. She’s been busy, having spent the time since 2010’s My Best Friend is You setting up her own label to support other artists, launching the Kate Nash’s Rock n Roll for Girls After-School Music Club, and more. Last year, the pop culture–savvy multi-tasker also released a tribute single to Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, and produced a stage version of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer musical episode “Once More With Feeling” for Halloween. Nash comes after two openers; her set is scheduled for 11:30 p.m.
Nine-piece funk band The Soul Motivators has only been playing live for a little over a year, but it has already become a popular draw at nightspots around town. Tonight, the band headlines its EP release party, with DJs Voltaire (of the Soul Surrender series) and Andy B. Bad.
The Toronto Storytelling Festival returns for another year. The week-long event will take place at venues across the city. Subject matter will range from politics, to kids’ stuff, to guilty pleasures, and sexual desire.
It’s probably been a while since somebody turned to you and said “let’s go to Ontario Place,” what with it being closed and all, but now you’ve finally got a reason to return. The third annual St. Party’s Day is a monster celebration of the Irish event, and features traditional Irish dancing, Celtic dance lessons, and live music performances taking place over the two-day festival. Don’t forget to wear green.
There are plenty of St. Paddy’s Day events taking place around the city, but here’s something a bit different from the traditional night of heavy drinking. The Yeats Project, created by Sarah Jerrom, is a nine-piece chamber jazz group whose vocals consist of the poetry of W.B. Yeats. The venue is a church, so you know the performance is going to sound amazing.
Due to popular demand, The National Ballet of Canada has brought Romeo and Juliet back to the stage for a short run. Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky gives new life to Shakespeare’s story of star crossed lovers, set to the romantic Prokofiev score.
A group of burlesque performers is redefining Beatlemania with Beatles-Lesque: A FAB Burlesque Parody. The show, which promises to tell a scantily-clad version of the story of the fab four, will feature a variety of performers, including Coco Framboise and Tanya Cheex. The night’s hosts will be Sgt. Sketchy and Wolfman Lennon.
If you’ve been missing the Shakespeare in the Park events that usually roll around come summertime, here’s something that’s just as entertaining. ShakesBeer is a pop-up theatre tavern, and a more informal way of appreciating the Bard. An abridged version of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays will be performed…in 87 minutes. And true to its name, there will also be beer.
If you’ve got a bunch of cogs, clocks, and/or goggles lying around, you may want to strap them together and jump into this steampunk party. Darkrave offers multiple rooms of musical entertainment, including industrial, electronic, and dubstep. Of course, you don’t have to dress up, but if you don’t you’ll be missing out on the $100 cash prizes awarded to the best dressed.
Yeah, it could be real or it could be fake, but there’s no denying that watching someone get hypnotized generally leads to some good times. Hypnotist Paul Norrish will be the entertainer of the evening and will be taking volunteers from the audience to create this hypnotic show. And who knows? It might be you who gets to go up on stage to explore the power of your own mind.
Even if you don’t own or ride a motorcycle, it’s well worth getting a glimpse into motorcycle culture with the Toronto International Motorcycle Springshow. There will be model bikes on display (both new and vintage); a fashion show, a “Bikes of the Century” installation; and a showbike builders competition, with custom bikes competing for over $20,000 in prizes.
One of Canada’s most acclaimed and prolific young playwrights, Hannah Moscovitch, has her own mini festival at Tarragon Theatre this season. It started with This is War in January, and continues into March with three one-act plays, all concerning children. Two of those three plays form the double bill now on: Little One and Other People’s Children. (We’ve got a full review right here.) Later this month Other People’s Children will continue, paired with another one-act piece called In This World.
Endlessly debated and argued over since its first episode, Lena Dunham’s Girls wrapped up its second season this week, and the folks at The Beaver, who are big fans, are celebrating. They’re kicking off with a marathon viewing of both seasons starting at 6 p.m. Afterward, they’ll be playing both official and unofficial selections from the show’s soundtrack late into the night.
Veteran comedy troupe The Illustrated Men—Bruce Hunter, Adrian Truss, and David Huband—have been performing live sketch and improv together since 1987. They’re playing a three-week residency on Mondays this March at the Red Sandcastle Theatre. March 4 their guests are Linda Kash, and Aurora Browne; March 18 they’re joined by Tony Rosato, Carolyn Scott, Bob Wiseman and a mystery musical guest. (The March 11 instalment is already sold out, however—unsurprising, since that’s when they welcome Colin Mochrie and Debra McGrath.) Reservations can be made over the phone at (416) 845-9411.