Class on Stage

  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West)
  • 11 a.m.

Here’s something you don’t get to do very often. The National Ballet of Canada is pulling back the curtains slightly to give the public a chance to check out the dancer’s daily ritual. In Class on Stage you’ll get an up close look at how ballet dancers train, which will be led by Artist-in-Residence, Rex Harrington (Senior Ballet Master, Peter Ottmann, will be doing the commentary).

Details: Class on Stage

Independent Label Market

  • Ryerson University Campus Common (50 Gerrard Street East)
  • 11 a.m.

Amidst the chaos of NXNE, you might come across as sorts of music that you’ve deemed worthy of getting your hands on. The Independent Label Market offers just the opportunity to search for records (all vinyl, no mp3s) from Canada’s finest indie labels. Some of the participating companies include Paper Bag Records, Arts & Crafts, The Outside Music Label, Last Gang Records, and many others.

Details: Independent Label Market

Global Reddit Meetup Day

Unite with fellow redditors at a global meetup. Image courtesy of Reddit.

  • Trinity Bellwoods Park (155 Crawford Street)
  • 2 p.m.

Reddit is once again hosting its worldwide meet-up for its users so if you haven’t seen the sunlight for a while, now’s a good chance to get out there and see what’s up. The Toronto Global Reddit Meetup will start at Trinity Bellwoods Park, which will be an all-ages bash featuring some fun in the park. The second half of this day will then take place at The Office Pub for some 19+ happenings.

Details: Global Reddit Meetup Day

Luminato 2013: Concerto for Piano & Pasteboards Speaks To Everyone

Paz Sabater and Miguel Puga. Photo by Joaquin Puga.

  • Koerner Hall (273 Bloor Street West)
  • 3 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

When Miguel Puga first spoke after performing a couple of introductory card tricks, it was in part to apologize for his broken English. The Spaniard, known also as MagoMigue (yes, that’s pretty much Spanish for Magic Mike), may not have the greatest command of the language, but he then proceeded to prove his assertion, as trite as it may sound, that magic possesses a universal power that can transcend ordinary communication. Blessed with a naturally funny presence and an undeniable gift for showmanship, Puga’s expert card manipulations were every bit as impressive as the apparent telepathic abilities he put to good effect on more than one occasion.

Details: Luminato 2013: Concerto for Piano & Pasteboards Speaks To Everyone

A Sondheim Jazz Project

  • Chalkers Pub Billiards & Bistro (247 Marlee Avenue)
  • 6 p.m.

Lovers of Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim can feel free to unleash their giddiness. A Sondheim Jazz Project is exactly what it sounds like. A group of jazz artists have taken the melodies of some of Sondheim’s tunes to the compositions of Wayne Shorter, Terence Blanchard, and more. Click here to listen to some of the rearranged tracks for yourself (from their debut album, City of Strangers).

Details: A Sondheim Jazz Project


NXNE 2013: Genre By Genre, Our Best Bets

Fans in Yonge-Dundas Square during NXNE 2011. You too could be this stoked.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

It’s hard to believe, but if North by Northeast was a person, it would be old enough to drink this year. The festival, which started out 19 years ago as a pale imitation of Austin’s South by Southwest, is now a force to be reckoned with in its own right. It’s a place where up-and-coming acts from around the world come to get noticed. It also provides a few of Toronto’s best free concerts in any given year, lined up back-to-back.

Every year, we come out of NXNE with a new favourite band that we refuse to shut up about for the rest of the summer. The only problem is, finding that new favourite band involves sorting through literally hundreds of contenders. We’ve managed to come up with a totally subjective list of acts worth seeing, broken down by genre, to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

Here are a few key tips that apply to fans of all genres.

Details: NXNE 2013: Genre By Genre, Our Best Bets

New Toronto Production of Cats Meets Expectations

Cats Ensemble. Photo by Racheal McCaig.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 1:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Cats is a challenging musical to stage for a number of reasons. The narrative is thin and strange; the lyrics are drawn primarily from T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, with more borrowed from some other Eliot poems, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” (which original director Trevor Nunn adapted into the song “Memory”) and “Moments of Happiness.” The result is not so much a story as ideas and character sketches. Old Deuteronomy, patriarch of the Jellicle Cats, calls the creatures together once a year to celebrate, and for one cat to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer (essentially, to die and be reincarnated). Most of the songs detail the adventures and virtues of a single cat in particular, essentially serving as that cat’s audition for the honour of ascension.

Details: New Toronto Production of Cats Meets Expectations

Passion Play‘s Journey Through Time

The Director (Jordan Pettle) speaks to "J" (Andrew Kushnir) while they rehearse the crucifixion scene.

  • Eastminister Church (310 Danforth Avenue)
  • 1:30 p.m.

There are a lot of chefs in the kitchen for the Canadian premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, a triptych set in three time periods that tells the stories of amateur actors (played by real actors) involved in staging performances of the story of Christ. Three different Toronto independent theatre companies, all with reputations for innovative staging and creation in their past work, each tackle one of the three acts. Ordinarily, such a complicated arrangement would be to a show’s detriment, but not in this case. While you need to be prepared for a marathon of theatre (the show runs four hours, incluing two intermissions), you’re certainly going to get your money’s worth.

Details: Passion Play‘s Journey Through Time

Fred Caron’s Trust Isn’t an Issue

  • HUNTCLUB (709 College Street)
  • 6 p.m.

HUNTCLUB brings Montreal artist Fred Caron’s Trust Isn’t an Issue to its gallery for a two-week exhibition, beginning with an opening on Monday, June 10. The street artist is focusing on aspects of Stockholm syndrome for his installation’s short run in Toronto; later this summer, he’ll be the co-curator for on-site art at the Osheaga Festival. In addition to the opening, Caron is also doing an artist’s talk on Tuesday, June 11 at 7 p.m.

Details: Fred Caron’s Trust Isn’t an Issue

Bard in the Park: The Merry Wives of Windsor

Bard in the Park presents Merry Wives of Windsor. Image courtesy of Bard in the Park.

  • Kew Gardens Park (2075 Queen Street East)
  • 7 p.m., 2 p.m.

It’s a sure sign of summer when theatre productions start popping up in green spaces across Toronto. Launching into their eighth season, Bard in the Park is happy to present The Merry Wives of Windsor. In this Shakespearean comedy, the vain, yet cowardly, knight Sir Falstaff attempts to pursue two wealthy women in hopes of financial gain. Embarrassment ensues.

Details: Bard in the Park: The Merry Wives of Windsor

Arts & Crafts X Norman Wong Photography Exhibit

  • 1093 Queen Street West, Unit 2 (1093 Queen Street West)
  • 7 p.m.

Canadian indie music label, Arts & Crafts, are celebrating their tenth anniversary. As part of the celebrations, they’re showing a new exhibition from Toronto photographer, Norman Wong. The exhibition features images of various artists over the years including Feist, Kevin Drew, Emily Haines, and many more. You’ll be able to buy a book of photography there and a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to Testicular Cancer Canada and MusiCounts.

Details: Arts & Crafts X Norman Wong Photography Exhibit

An Interview With Carmen Choreographer Davide Bombana

National Ballet of Canada Performers rehearse for Carmen.

  • Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West)
  • 7:30 p.m.

Even if you aren’t familiar with the opera Carmen, chances are you’re familiar with at least some of its score (if you are, chances are equally strong that you’ll have a difficult time getting this melody out of your head today). Though initially a flop when it debuted in 1875, Carmen went on to enjoy critical acclaim and has since become one of the most performed operas of all time. It’s now omnipresent in popular culture.

Details: An Interview With Carmen Choreographer Davide Bombana

Asiansploitation: The Text Generation

Jeff, Gene, Franco, Lana, Byron, and James à la Star Trek: The Text Generation. Photo courtesy of Asiansploitation.

  • George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire Place)
  • 8 p.m.

Set your phone to vibrate and prepare for a voyage into uncharted territory with Asiansploitation: The Text Generation. Self described as “sketch comedy with a slant,” the show tackles important issues such as our culture’s dependency on technology, while imagining what the love life of Star Trek‘s Data might be like. Audience-influenced scenes and song parodies abound!

Details: Asiansploitation: The Text Generation

Sappho…In 9 Fragments

Victoria Grove in Sappho...In 9 Fragments. Photo by Robert Piwko.

  • Videofag (187 Augusta Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

A poetic and acrobatic one-woman show, Sappho…In 9 Fragments has already played to acclaim in London, England. Directed by Jessica Ruano and starring Victoria Grove, this show by Jane Montgomery Griffiths plays with myth and modern day romance, juxtaposing Greece’s first female poet with the seduction of an American chorus girl. The play has a brief two-night run at Videofag before moving on to dates in Ottawa and Montreal later this month.

Details: Sappho…In 9 Fragments

Luminato 2013: Ronnie Burkett’s The Daisy Theatre

Puppeteer Ronnie Burkett plays with an assortment of marionettes old and new in his nightly cabaret show, The Daisy Theatre. Photo courtesy of Luminato.

  • Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street)
  • 9:30 p.m.

Ronnie Burkett has solidified his reputation as Canada’s premiere solo puppeteer with complex full-length plays, like the Memory Dress Trilogy, or last year’s “apocalyptic comedy” Penny Plain. So it’s a rare treat to see him cut loose and perform The Daisy Theatre. It’s a free-wheeling show that’s different each night, with audience participation, special guests, and some new marionettes and stage trappings paid for out of Luminato’s coffers.

Details: Luminato 2013: Ronnie Burkett’s The Daisy Theatre

Luminato 2013: Jason Collett’s Courtyard Revue

Cover band extraordinaire Vag Halen playing a special Basement Revue show at Luminato in 2013 . Photo by David Leyes.

  • Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street)
  • 11:30 p.m.

Jason Collett’s Basement Revue has long been a local hot ticket for those with an interest in what the lanky musician and his Broken Social Scene pals are up to—with a generous mix of other literary, theatrical, and cultural talents mixed in. The nightly late-night Luminato edition, the Courtyard Revue, staged in the lobby of Canadian Stage’s Berkeley Street Theatre (and spilling out into the open-air courtyard), is offering more of Collett and co-producer Damian Rogers’ carefully selected programming. The difference, however, is that, with a larger venue and profile due to Luminato, some of the acts look to be more than one-night-only tryouts.

Details: Luminato 2013: Jason Collett’s Courtyard Revue