SummerWorks Soirée and Launch Party

Sook Yin Lee, Adam Litovitz, and Max Chandler collaborate on the poetry experiment Four Words, as part of the SummerWorks soiree fundraiser.

  • The Campbell House (160 Queen Street West)
  • 6:30 p.m.

In advance of this year’s SummerWorks in August, the festival is hosting a star-studded soirée in the evening for VIPs, followed by an open-to-the-public launch party later in the night, featuring talent from the festival. For the dinner, which is catered by Samuel J Moore chef Alexandra Feswick, magician Joe Culpepper, performance artist Sunny Drake, and Sook Yin Lee’s Four Words poetry experiment are featured on the bill; for the PWYC late night party, Henri Fabergé, Bluemouth Inc., DJ Yellow Fever and more will entertain attendees. Advance tickets are recommended for the VIP dinner, at 6:30 p.m.; or just show up for the party, starting at 9 p.m.

Details: SummerWorks Soirée and Launch Party

Friends and Outsiders

Birdtown and Swanville's Nika Mistruzzi and Aurora Stewart de Pena host Friends and Outsiders, a "little performance festival," this weekend. Photo by James DiDionato.

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

Birdtown and Swanville takes over the Videofag space for three nights for Friends and Outsiders, a “little performance festival” featuring bite-size performances from past, present, and Birdtown and Swanville affiliated artists. This includes music from Weaves, comedy from Kathleen Phillips, theatre from Nobody’s Business Theatre, and a short film by Sofia Bohdanowicz.

Details: Friends and Outsiders

A Tribe Called Red, with Yes Yes Y’all DJs, Lido Pimienta, Sitting Bear Singers

  • The Opera House (735 Queen Street East)
  • 9 p.m.

Recently named to the Polaris long list (and heavy favourites to make the short list), A Tribe Called Red headlines a night of music with both electronic and native influences. The Ottawa-based trio’s brand-new album Nation 2 Nation turned heads live at SXSW this spring, and got them profiled recently in the Washington Post.

Details: A Tribe Called Red, with Yes Yes Y’all DJs, Lido Pimienta, Sitting Bear Singers


Streets & Alleys

  • #Hashtag Gallery (801 Dundas Street West)
  • All day

Streets & Alleys is a series of photographs that originated from the artist’s bike rides through Toronto’s back alleys and side streets. The exhibition, which runs as part of Bike Month, is particularly relevant as it takes a close look at the role the bicycle plays in everyday life. The project is described by the artist as one that “would unite my experience as a documentary photographer with my love of bicycles.” The opening reception takes place on June 20.

Details: Streets & Alleys

A Guide to the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival

The Bobby Sparks Trio.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

The 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival descends on the city on June 21 with a huge “free for all” event. That means all of Friday, June 21’s programming at every Jazz Festival venue is, yes, completely free of charge. There will be concerts from local favourites Molly Johnson and Mary Margaret O’Hara, plus a show by Smokey Robinson and Martha Reeves, who will be launching the fest from its epicentre, Nathan Phillips Square.

Here’s a rundown of some of the shows worth checking out on Friday—and during the rest of the festival, when you’ll actually have to pay.

Details: A Guide to the 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival

Indigenous Arts Festival

  • Fort York, Garrison Common (100 Garrison Road)
  • All day

To honour the First Nations and Métis experience during the War of 1812, Fort York is hosting the Indigenous Arts Festival, which offers three days of dance, music, theatre, and more. Among the activities are dance work, The Honouring; a book launch of historical portraits by Donald B. Smith (who will be speaking as well); as well as what will likely be a memorable sunset ceremony.

Details: Indigenous Arts Festival

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

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)
  • 7 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

New Toronto Production of Cats Meets Expectations

Cats Ensemble. Photo by Racheal McCaig.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 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

The Man in Black

Stephanie Hutchison, Jonathan Renna, McGee Maddox, and Kevin D. Bowles in The Man in Black. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.

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

Who says ballerinas can’t wear cowboy boots? Dancers of the National Ballet of Canada will do just that during the production of James Kudelka’s The Man in Black. Set to songs by the man in black himself—Johnny Cash—the choreography borrows from line, swing, and step dancing. As an added bonus, the show also includes a performance of Jorma Elo’s Pur ti Miro, Guillaume Côté’s No. 24, and George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations.

Details: The Man in Black

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