First Thursdays at the AGO Feat. Cadence Weapon

  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • 7 p.m.

If you haven’t yet managed to get in on this always-sold-out-experience, you have yet another chance to get tickets to the next edition of AGO’s First Thursdays. This week’s installment features two-time Polaris Prize nominee Cadence Weapon, who will be headlining with his blend of rap and electronic music. And as usual, there will be other DJs spinning tunes while attendees get a chance to wander galleries, speak with artists, and even make some art themselves.

Details: First Thursdays at the AGO Feat. Cadence Weapon

Laugh Sabbath

Photo courtesy of Laugh Sabbath.

  • Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
  • 9:30 p.m.

Prepare yourselves for another edition of Laugh Sabbath! This week’s show will be hosted by Tim Gilbert, and will feature familiar faces such as Pat Thornton, Tom Henry, Sarah Grange, Adam Christie, and more (there’s also an open mic spot available if you’re feeling the urge to stretch your funny bone).

Details: Laugh Sabbath

Ongoing…

The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

  • Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
  • All day

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.

Details: The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

A Sampling of the Stratford Festival

Scott Wentworth as Tevye, with Jacquelyn French (Hodel), Keely Hutton (Chava) and Jennifer Stewart (Tzeitel) in Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

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.

Details: A Sampling of the Stratford Festival

Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea

  • Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street)
  • All day

Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea is a new exhibition from the Toronto Reference Library that gathers a number of rare items that explore the theme of the possible and the impossible. Some of the highlights on display are La vingtième siècle: la vie électrique (a rare French book that shows how scientific discoveries would have affected people in 1955), Tame (a sci-fi pulp magazine), and Worldly Wisdom (watercolour that depicts a Leonardo da Vinci-like figure creating a winged flying machine). You’ll find the exhibition in the library’s TD Gallery.

Details: Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea

TIFF Throws A Toga Party For Comedies

Will Ferrell finds out it's so good once it hits the lips in Old School. Image courtesy of the TIFF Film Reference Library.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • All day

When Animal House first turned the toga into suitable party attire in 1978, the landscape of the film comedy was forever altered. TOGA! The Reinvention of American Comedy, a new film series that kicked off Wednesday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, seeks to chart the changing comedic sensibilities that have occurred in the years since the film’s release. From big budget blockbusters, to libido-fuelled sex romps, to carefully calibrated exercises in nuance and timing, the selections in the program are some of the funniest films ever made.

Details: TIFF Throws A Toga Party For Comedies

Cordially Yours Craft Sale and Rock Show

  • Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas Street West)

Get crafty for a great cause at the Cordially Yours Craft Sale and Rock Show. Peruse the wares of over a dozen vendors, while Irina Lipkin paints live on site, and Ronnie Hayward, Sport of the Future, Max Kelly & Tony Allen, The Beverleys, The Très Bien Ensemble, The Back 40, and Run with the Kittens provide the soundtrack. Half of the show’s proceeds will be donated to the Red Door Shelter.

Details: Cordially Yours Craft Sale and Rock Show

Tasty Thursdays

  • Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West)
  • 11 a.m.

If you enjoy great variety in your food as well as live music then be sure to check out Tasty Thursdays at some point this summer. This weekly Nathan Phillips Square event brings different international dishes and music to City Hall to add some much needed delicious fun to your lunch break. Some of the styles you’re likely to see include reggae, rock, tribal rhymes, soul, and cuban salsa.

Details: Tasty Thursdays

Toronto Summer Music Festival

The rising stars of 2012's Toronto Summer Music Academy. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Summer Music Festival.

  • Multiple venues
  • 12 p.m.

Travel back to turn-of-the-century Paris—La Belle Époque—with the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Established and up-and-coming classical musicians gather for this three-week festival to celebrate works by French composers such as Ravel, Debussy, and Fauré. Lectures, workshops, interviews, and concerts will take place in various venues across the city.

Details: Toronto Summer Music Festival

Dusk Dances

Photo by jbach from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

  • Withrow Park (Bain and Logan Avenues)
  • 6 p.m.

While city parks are usually populated by drunk hipsters, dogs, or goose poo, this is the week that dance takes over. Dusk Dances brings groups from all over Canada to perform four very different choreographies—including a boxing dance battle—in various spots throughout Withrow Park. Follow host Dan Watson as he takes spectators from one eclectic piece to the other.

Details: Dusk Dances

Yoga in the Town Square

Shop till you drop, then stretch it out with a free yoga class in the Town Square. Photo courtesy of the Shops at Don Mills.

  • Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road)
  • 7 p.m.

Some people unwind with retail therapy, others do yoga. Now you can combine both activities with free yoga in the Town Square at The Shops at Don Mills. Regardless of your skill level, bring a mat and join the group for sessions twice weekly, courtesy of Titika.

Details: Yoga in the Town Square

Dancing on the Pier

  • Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West)
  • 7 p.m.

Dancing on the Pier is back for its third year! If you didn’t participate in this great dance series last year, be sure not to miss out this time around. For the uninitiated, this weekly series offers different live bands and instructors to help you find your groove along the waterfront all summer long. Featuring music by the Toronto All-Star Big Band and Ricardo Barboza.

Details: Dancing on the Pier

The Trial of Ken Gass

  • Sterling Theatre (163 Sterling Road)
  • 8 p.m.

Playwright and director Bobby Del Rio touches on the struggle artists face in The Trial of Ken Gass. Based on the real-life dismissal of a Canadian theatre legend, the play sees Ken Gass continually put on trial for crimes of which he knows nothing. The part of Gass will be played by a different actor every night, including Peter Keleghan, Art Hindle, Diane Flacks, Greg Dunham, and Dinesh Sachdev.

Details: The Trial of Ken Gass

Anything Goes is a Real Trip

Rachel York and a bunch of dancing sailors in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Anything Goes, presented by Mirvish Productions. Photo by Joan Marcus.

  • Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

Musical theatre has a reputation for sometimes being out of touch and old-fashioned, so the prospect of Mirvish Productions bringing a tour of Cole Porter’s 1934 musical Anything Goes to Toronto wasn’t especially heartening at first—even if this particular production, by New York City’s Roundabout Theatre Company, won three 2011 Tony Awards.

But say, pal, wouldn’t you know, we were downright tickled to have such a good time at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The jokes are still corny, the songs still melodramatic, and the script still has some pretty racist content, but the show manages to transcend its era.

Details: Anything Goes is a Real Trip