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Radar: The Children's Hour, Simmer Down, Souljazz Orchestra, Sea Change, Real Live Girl, The Complete History of Civilization, Best of the Fest

THEATRE | The Children's Hour
Written in 1934 by American playwright Lillian Hellman, The Children's Hour is generally considered too troublesome to stage because its cast consists mainly of children. The play takes place at a strict all-girl boarding school, and when a student runs away to escape the discipline of the two head-mistresses, she tells her parents her teachers are having a lesbian affair. The accusation has tragic consequences for all involved, and leads to what is known in theatre circles as "ripping good drama." The Upper Canada Repetory Company, well-equipped to tackle the play with its roster of adult and child performers, mounts the classic work for two nights only this weekend.
The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen St. W., $25 general, $20 students and seniors, Friday 8 pm, Saturday 2 pm and 8 pm

PARTY | Simmer Down
I saw a girl wearing flip-flops on the street yesterday, which means that this week's sunny weather has fooled at least some of us into thinking spring is just around the corner. No doubt we'll be buried in two feet of slush a week from now, but until then let's all pretend climatic liberation is at hand with Simmer Down, Kensington's favourite island sounds party. Bringing you the best in reggae, ska, calypso, and Afrobeat the Simmer Down DJs will raise you up with good vibes and drop you on the up beat.
Augusta House, 152 Augusta Ave., $5 (free before 11 pm), 10 pm

MUSIC | Souljazz Orchestra
Six piece Afro jazz combo the Souljazz Orchestra heats up Revival tonight in celebration of the release of their latest record Rising Sun. Performing as part of this weekend's NuFunk Festival, Souljazz blends the hottest grooves from both sides of the Atlantic to create infectious songs infused with a healthy dose of soul and a political consciousness. The reviews for Rising Sun are in and critics from coast to coast are hailing it as one of the best Afrobeat records of the last few years, so you can bet Revival will be swinging to the sweet sound of Africa tonight. With Dub Monkey and DJ John Kong.
Revival, 783 College St., $15 advance, $20 door, 10 pm

THEATRE | Sea Change
Artist-driven theatre company Theatre Caravel presents an evening of new works tonight with Sea Change, its quarterly multi-disciplinary show. Sea Change aims to bring together artists working in different mediums to strengthen Toronto's creative community and encourage new works. Tonight sees performances by Spoken Word artist Angelica LeMinh, winner of Fringe's 24 Hour Play Competition Krista Dalby, singer Lara Martin, photographer Dominika Dittwald, and clown Stevie Jay. If that's not enough to whet your creative appetite, satisfy yourself with the homemade baked goods which are free with admission.
Cinecycle, 129 Spadina, $7, 7:30 pm

THEATRE | Real Live Girl
In 2003, Damien Atkins's had a runaway hit with Real Live Girl. The play garnered rave reviews, netted two Dora Awards, and was held over due to popular demand. Seven years later the play returns for one night to explore the gay male fascination with femininity. Atkins charts the growth of his inner girl through the creation of a host of characters and basically singing his heart out with a repertoire of ultra-girlie songs like "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair." A veteran of Toronto's theatre scene and a consummate performer, Atkin's piece is both an emotional and thought-provoking glimpse at the psychology of gender and a spectacle of pure entertainment. The abnormally high cost of tickets goes to benefit cash-strapped Buddies in Bad Times, the world's oldest and largest (officially) queer theatre company.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., $100, 8 pm

GALLERY | The Complete History of Civilization
Not content with simply looking at the objects in our city's museums, Scott Sawtell decided to paint them. The idea behind his latest exhibition, aptly titled The Complete History of Civilization, is that we need not accept galleries' and historians' classifications of culture, so rigidly defined in the glass cases and themed rooms of the modern museum. Fracturing, abstracting, and combining the images of artifacts, Sawtell re-focuses attention on the artifice of the gallery environment and away from the presented meaning of the artifacts themselves. Whoa, a gallery show about galleries. I believe this is what is known as "meta." Runs til March 28.
Le Gallery, 1183 Dundas St. W., Free, Reception tonight 7 pm - 10 pm

COMEDY | Best of the Fest
The Toronto Sketch Comedy's Best of the Fest Encore Show was one of hundreds events across the country that fell victim to the Olympic gold medal hockey game last weekend. Originally scheduled on the same evening of that glorious event, organizers wisely rescheduled it for tonight and avoided forcing Torontonians to choose between the thing we do best (hockey) and the thing we do second best (comedy). Best of the Fest welcomes back Haircut, Last Call Cleveland, and Accidental Company, the three winning sketch comedy troupes from last November's Sketch Comedy Festival for an evening hilarity hsosted by Little Mosque on the Prairie's Brandon Firla.
Second City, 51 Mercer St., $12, 10:30 pm

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Photo: "public art 2b" by sweetie pie press, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.


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