Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength

  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • All day

“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon

“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore

These quotations, which welcome visitors to Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.

Details: Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength

Pillow Fight Toronto 2014

Photo by Jessica Buck from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

  • Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West)
  • 3 p.m.

Toronto has dealt with some frustrating issues of late (and we don’t just mean the weather), but Newmindspace has a solution: Pillow Fight Toronto 2014. The theme of the day is Superheroes vs. Villains, so come dressed as your favourite comic, anime, or completely made-up character. Just be sure to read the rules before you come, and play nice!

Details: Pillow Fight Toronto 2014

The Ladies of The Sketchersons’ Stag & Doe Fundraiser

Sketchersons member Ann Pornel will be manning the kissing booth, and may get pied at night's end.

  • Baltic Avenue (875 Bloor Street West)
  • 7 p.m.

The Sketchersons are sending a contingent of members—Allison Hogg, Ann Pornel, Alessandra Vite, and Alexandra Wylie—to Boston for this summer’s Women in Comedy Festival. But before the ladies take to the road, they’re doing a bit of fundraising for the road trip. Hence their Stag & Doe fundraiser; admission is free, but you’ll want to bring cash for raffles, games, a kissing booth, and a chance to bid on one of the ladies getting pied in the face at the end of the night.

Details: The Ladies of The Sketchersons’ Stag & Doe Fundraiser

Asian Music Series

  • Multiple venues
  • 8 p.m.

Small World Music Society is celebrating Asian and South Asian Heritage Month with the Asian Music Series. Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion, Sultans of String, Jonita Gandhi, and Shafqat Amanat Ali are among the many talented artists who will perform in venues across the city throughout April and May.

Details: Asian Music Series


A Journey Into the Forbidden City

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

If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.

Details: A Journey Into the Forbidden City

Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey

See the costumes of Downton Abbey in real life at Spadina Museum. Image courtesy of Carnival Films.

  • Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Road)
  • All day

If a period drama has ever inspired you to visit the past, but you couldn’t because you didn’t have access to a time machine, listen up! The Spadina Museum is taking history, television, and fashion fans alike back to the Edwardian era with its “Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibit. Twenty pieces from the hit show will be on display, along with the City of Toronto’s own collection of garments from the time. Attendees will also be treated to Downton Abbey–themed tours of the century home.

Details: Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey

Spur Festival

Photo by Dylan Hewitt.

  • All day

Taking place in five Canadian cities for the second time, The Spur Festival brings together thinkers, innovators, and academic and creative types for a series of lectures, meetings, and performances on “nationally relevant and locally nuanced” ideas. Here in Toronto from April 3 to April 6, the festival will include noted lawyer Michael Geist on free speech, an urban planning panel moderated by Shawn Micallef, talks by author Cecil Foster and photojournalists Rita Leistner and Mike Kamber, and much more. Many of the events, including the opening and closing parties, are free; a few have ticket prices ranging from $10 to $30. For full details, visit the festival’s website.

Details: Spur Festival

From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru

Ichimaru playing the shamisen. Image courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

  • Textile Museum of Canada (55 Centre Avenue)
  • 11 a.m.

Ichimaru—once one of Japan’s most famous geishas—left the profession in the 1930s to pursue a career in entertainment. Never really leaving her past life, she became known for adorning herself in the traditional geisha garb when performing in concert or on television. “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru” exhibits several decades’ worth of outfits and personal effects, shedding light on the woman behind the makeup.

Details: From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru

On Stage On Demand

Of Mice and Morro and Jasp is already fully reserved, but other past Fringe hits in the On Stage On Demand series are still open. Photo by Alex Nirta.

  • The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West)
  • 1:30 p.m.

Great theatre comes and goes, and you either see it while it’s playing, or wait for a remount. The On Stage On Demand series is looking to change that by capturing past hit indie plays on film—and they’re opening up the performances for free to a live audience. The shows being performed and taped include past hits like Of Mice and Morro and Jasp (which is already fully reserved), Antoine Feval, and Supperfesta. Admission is free, but you’ll want to reserve your tickets before the shows hit capacity.

Details: On Stage On Demand

Toronto Silent Film Festival

  • Multiple venues
  • 2 p.m.

Let’s be honest: you can’t call yourself a true film buff unless you’ve seen the classics—by which we mean those that came before the “talkies.” If you need a quick catch-up course, you’re in luck—the Toronto Silent Film Festival is taking over various theatres across the city for six straight days. One film will be showcased per day, and paired with live and improvised music. Even if you’re familiar with The Wind (1928), City Girl (1930), The Circus (1928), Seven Years Bad Luck (1921), The Last Command (1928), or every Charlie Chaplin film, you’ve never seen them quite like this!

Details: Toronto Silent Film Festival

ReelWorld Film Festival

From Stefan Jäger's Horizon Beautiful. Image courtesy of ReelWorld.

  • Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas (2190 Yonge Street)
  • 4 p.m.

Now in its fourteenth year, the ReelWorld Film Festival has expanded its reach. For five days in Toronto, followed by three in Markham, it’s bringing over 79 films to the screen. Diversity is the name of the game with features, shorts, webisodes, and music videos from twenty different countries on the bill.

Details: ReelWorld Film Festival


From a previous presentation of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Photo courtesy of The Classical Theatre Project.

  • Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street)
  • 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

There’s no rule that says theatre has to be formal and boring. The Classical Theatre Project is capitalizing on this with ShakesBeer, an engaging presentation of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Grab a pint and watch as three actors attempt to play every role in every story the Bard ever wrote. As one might surmise from the description, things will likely get ridiculous.

Details: ShakesBeer

Chamber Films: The Cinema of Matías Piñeiro

Still from Viola.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • 7:30 p.m.

“I think of them as chamber films,” Matías Piñeiro says of the four intimate and beautifully crafted films that make up an intensive TIFF Cinematheque program called Divertimentos: The Films of Matías Piñeiro, running from April 3 to April 6 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Speaking to us over the phone ahead of the retrospective, which spans his still early but already accomplished career, the 32-year-old Argentine filmmaker seemed pleased with the title that programmer Brad Deane selected, which suggests something musical and modest—a host of informal ensemble pieces.

Details: Chamber Films: The Cinema of Matías Piñeiro

Dark Matter

Kat Letwin. Detail of a photo by Stephen Hargreaves.

  • The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

Circlesnake Productions closed out the Storefront Theatre’s 2013 season with their production of the TTC crime comedy Special Constables. Now, they’re the first full production in the space since February’s flooding, and space is where their new show is set—it’s a science-fiction adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Dark Matter follows Captain Marlow as she travels to a remote space colony to confront Commander Kurtz, who’s “gone rogue.” As per their previous show, expect a show that translates film’s big-budget effects into highly physical staging for the small stage.

Details: Dark Matter

Marry Me a Little Not Quite Enough

Elodie Gillett and Adrian Marchuk play ill-fated lovers in Marry Me a Little. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

In line with Tarragon Theatre‘s theme for it 2013/2014 season– “Love, Loss, Wine and the Gods”—the company is currently presenting two one-act plays that document the journey of two very different romantic relationships. The first, in the Tarragon Extra Space, is Duncan MacMillan’s brilliant Lungs, which receives an equally brilliant production from director Weyni Mengesha and actors Lesley Faulkner and Brendan Gall. Lungs is a touching and entertaining portrayal of a couple in love—but above all, it’s honest. It’s that honesty that the show next door in the Tarragon Mainspace, Stephen Sondheim’s song cycle Marry Me a Little, is lacking.

Details: Marry Me a Little Not Quite Enough


Juan Cupini and Micaela Spina star in Arrabal. Photo by Eugenio Mazzinghi.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

Told through South American music and dance, Arrabal is the story of a young girl desperate to find out what happened to her father after the Argentine military made him disappear when she was just a baby. Her search leads her to the Tango clubs of Buenos Aires, where she discovers both the truth, and herself.

Details: Arrabal

My Narrator and The Death of Me

(R-L) Jorge Molina, Chris O'Sullivan, Laura Jabalee, Penelope Corrin. Photo by Samantha Hurley

  • Unit 102 Theatre
  • 8 p.m., 2 p.m.

Sparrowhawk Theatre knows that times are tough, which is why it’s presenting two one-act plays for the price of one! Directed by Steven Holmberg, Norm Foster’s My Narrator and The Death of Me promise to be honest, unique, and un-pretentious theatre experiences for both audience and cast. Prepare to get up close and personal with stars Penelope Corrin, Roger Doche, Laura Jabalee, Jorge Molina, and Chris O’Sullivan at this intimate venue.

Details: My Narrator and The Death of Me

Conte d’amour: Toronto’s Most Controversial Love Story

Photo by Robin Junicke.

  • Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West)
  • 8 p.m.

Over a year ago, the Globe and Mail‘s theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck wrote about the death of the standing ovation in Canada. “The gesture is no longer exceptional,” he argued, explaining it’s become an obligatory nicety in theatres across the country. Well, he wasn’t wrong. And while it’s not entirely a terrible trend, it’s downright depressing to think that audiences are simply trying to convince themselves they’ve had a good time no matter what’s happened onstage.

But this past Tuesday night, at the curtain call for World Stage’s current offering (which has only two shows remaining, on Friday and Saturday nights), Conte d’amour, there was no obligatory Standing O. Though a good portion of the audience did leap to their feet—a few even yelling, “Bravo!”—many others remained seated. Some clapped; some didn’t. There were even two boos, which came from Nestruck himself. By now, this is common knowledge to anyone following the debate surrounding the most controversial and talked-about show to hit Toronto for some time.

Details: Conte d’amour: Toronto’s Most Controversial Love Story

Alex Nussbaum

Alex Nussbaum. Photo by David Leyes.

  • Yuk Yuks (224 Richmond Street West)
  • 8 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Local stand-up Alex Nussbaum has given more thought to technology than many of his counterparts, writing a Fringe Festival show about our connection to our personal devices, and getting considerable airplay on SiriusXM for his first album Absolutely Free!* (Not Actually Free). Nussbaum is recording material for his follow-up album, A Number of Bits, which is partly based on how his career has changed since SoundExchange began collecting royalties. He’ll headline four shows at Yuk Yuk’s over two days, which will double as tapings.

Details: Alex Nussbaum