Harbourfront Centre’s version of a battle of the bands is the centrepiece of The Soundclash Festival, three days of programming featuring new and innovative music acts. The festival kicks off Friday night with performances from Montreal’s Boundary and NYC’s Chairlift; the Soundclash Award finalists—KASHKA, Program, Brendan Philip, The Jessica Stuart Few, Grounders, and The Thing Is—all perform on Saturday, with additional evening performances by established local acts Five Alarm Funk, Born Ruffians, and The Belle Game; and on Sunday, there’s a focus on experimental family programming, where kids can learn to rap with the Rhyme Stew Crew, or play in the Moog Studio.
If Fringe and SummerWorks aren’t enough to satisfy your summer theatre cravings, the world-renowned Stratford Festival is now only a bus ride away from downtown Toronto, thanks to the new Stratford Direct bus route (“the best thing [the Festival] has done in years” according to one usher at the Avon Theatre). Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino has put together a season to please tastes from the traditional to the extravagant. Here’s what we think about five of Stratford’s current productions.
CUE, a non-profit arts organization that encourages artistic expression from the city’s fringes, hosts “Margin of Eras.” The exhibit gathers over 20 different artists’ work for display in a pop-up gallery on Wednesdays to Sundays for two weeks in July. For the launch party on Friday, July 12 at 7 p.m., there’ll be a live New Orleans jazz band, and more.
Trash Palace is a back-alley basement space that screens everything from horror classics to old kung fu flicks. Classroom films—those 16 mm oddities that helped explain everything from reproduction to workplace safety in the pre-video era—have been part of the mix since the cinema opened in 2008. Now, owner Stacey Case is giving Torontonians the chance to make their own classroom films as part of the Safety First! Make Your Own Classroom Film Festival.
When it comes to the internet, most of us consider ourselves experts (save for those who purposely live smartphone-free, in the woods.) So at Teh Internets Quiz Show, the expert contestants (for this month’s edition, comics Sean Tabares, Jess Bryson, Gene Abella, and Megan Fraser) should expect to be second-guessed a lot on the accuracy of their answers to the various custom trivia challenges, unless their answers are both right AND funny.
The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.
Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada.
We should have known that the 25th-annual Toronto Fringe Festival would be one for the books. Now, after almost one week of theatre-going, beer-tenting, and underground dancing, the Torontoist team has put the fest to the test, to see which plays shone like diamonds in the rough. We were pleasantly surprised with the results. Below, we’ve got some reviews of our favourite shows so far.
“To Be Near You” is a new art exhibition that explores the relationship of colours and experiences to our existence. These uniquely abstract pieces of art come to you via artist Christina Wollesen. The opening reception is on July 4 at 7 p.m. While you’re at Hashtag, you also have the chance to check out their “Send-A-Postcard Wall”, which lets you send art to anyone in the world so they can enjoy the show too.
In 1993, a group of psychiatric survivors, friends, and allies gathered in Parkdale to protest their marginalization and mistreatment at the hands of the medical establishment, the government, and the police. The event was called Psychiatric Survivor Pride Day.
Twenty years later, what’s now known as Mad Pride is a week-long event that mixes activism, skill sharing, and celebration of both survival and what Mad Pride organizing committee member Alisa Triest calls “mad culture.” She says that many psychiatric survivors, as well as other people who have been diagnosed with medical illnesses, have decided to reclaim the term “mad,” much like how other marginalized groups have reclaimed words that were once used as slurs against them. She says that using the word “mad” also serves several other purposes.
Soulpepper Theatre collaborates on a Joe Orton play, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s artistic producer Brendan Healey. Guest director Healey has coached some Soulpepper theatre stalwarts—Stuart Hughes, Fiona Reid, Michael Simpson, and David Beazley—for this dark comedy about a charming lodger who incites illicit passions among his other housemates.
This summer do your best to support local “HomeGrown” goods at this pop-up shop that features crafts, clothing, and food. Some of the vendors featured include Reunion Island Coffee, The Editorial Magazine, Fresh City Farms, and a whole host of others. To celebrate their launch, they’ll be throwing a party on Thursday, July 11 from 7-11 p.m. (with beats by Parasol).
Henri Fabergé’s Feint of Hart is an epic cabaret/punk opera that combines music, theatre, and film to tell the tale of a young aristocrat “whose Dionysian free spirit meets the resistance of firm Edwardian rule.” Featuring a long list of performers who you’re probably already familiar with including Doldrums, Maylee Todd, Bob Wiseman, Kathleen Phillips, and more. The show will be broken up into multiple episodes over multiple days though the ticket price covers both parts. Click here for the full schedule.
The hockey season may have ended only days ago, but we bet you’re already feeling the withdrawal. No doubt, that’s why the Second City had the bright idea to bring one of the most classic hockey films to the stage. Check out Slap Shot Live!, a comedic re-enactment of the Charleston Chiefs minor league hockey team’s fight for victory in its final season.
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.
Cover band extraordinaire Dwayne Gretzky kicks off Indie Fridays, Yonge-Dundas Square’s weekly summer music night series, on June 28. The eight-piece rock ‘n’ roll cover band most recently played Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album from beginning to end. Later in the summer, Indie Fridays’ feature acts include soul singer Saidah Baba Talibah (August 2), Polaris Prize shortlisters Plants and Animals (August 23), and hip hop innovator Cadence Weapon (August 30).