Radar: We're Funny That Way Comedy Festival, the Afterword Reading Society Wrap with Colum McCann, 4th Annual June Callwood Lecture, Platform No. 1, Isolated Incidents, Where's My Money?
COMEDY | We're Funny That Way
The Feds may have snubbed Toronto's gay community this week by denying funding to this year's Pride festival, but with or without government contributions Church Street will remain a global epicentre of queer culture. Throughout the year, the Village east of Yonge draws artists and tourists from around the world and an annual highlight of its cultural calendar is the We're Funny That Way comedy festival, an international showcase of homosexual hilarity. Veteran stand-up comedian and festival producer Maggie Cassella headlines the 14th edition of the festival with a performance of her Broad Variety cabaret show, which she describes as a Carol Burnett television special, but with more fisting. The world's first female-to-male transgendered comic Ian Harvie is flying in from LA for a Thursday night set, and Shelly Mars will be reprising her homo ape primatologist act. And of course it wouldn't be a Toronto queer comedy festival without the queen himself, Scott Thompson. Runs til Saturday.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street, PWYC, check schedule for full details
BOOKS AND LIT | The Afterword Reading Society Wrap with Colum McCann
Colum McCann's bestselling novel Let the Great World Spin begins with a lone figure walking a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Centre. From that real-life episode from 1974, the story unfurls into a moving allegory that has been called the first great book about the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Irish author comes to Toronto tonight to be feted by the National Post's online book club, the Afterword Reading Society, and to be interviewed by the paper's lit critics Mark Medley and Brad Frenette. Happily, McCann isn't the reclusive genius type and is often willing to give insight into his work, so if you get a chance buy him a beer at the bar, you might get end up conversing with one of the hottest international literary talents going. Rumour has it that Let the Great World Spin has been optioned for a film by JJ Abrams, who promises the movie version will be much better than the final season of Lost.
Dominion on Queen, 500 Queen Street East, Free, 7 pm
LECTURE | 4th Annual June Callwood Lecture with Ratna Omidvar
An activist, journalist, and author, June Callwood led a life that exemplified values of compassion and intelligence. When she died in 2007, the CBC called her "Canada's Conscience", a fitting tribute for a frank-speaking woman who founded over 50 social organizations in her lifetime including Casey House, the country's first AIDS hospice. Since her death the Toronto Public Library has hosted a lecture series named in her honour that explores pressing social justice issues. The fourth instalment of the June Callwood lectures will be delivered by Ratna Omidvar, the president of private diversity foundation Maytree who has worked tirelessly to implement programs to make Canadian workplaces more representative of the country's immigrant population. Seventies hit-making singer-songwriter Dan Hill will also be performing.
Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, 7:30 pm
FILM | Platform No. 1
Aaron Kopff has made a name for himself directing music videos for hot local acts like Parallels and the Ghost is Dancing. Tonight he curates an evening of short films by three emerging Toronto directors equally as talented as he is, but shrewdly keeps his own film at the top of the bill. Chris Clifford, Jennifer Kassabian, and Luke Higginson (whose recent editing credits include a music video for indie darlings Beach House) will all be premiering works before Kopff unveils Sock Tease, a ten-minute film about a sock puppet's search for love. The films aren't very long so if you show up late they'll be screened again at 11 pm, and in between Parallels will be spinning a dj set.
Cinecycle, 169 Spadina Ave., Free, 8 pm
DANCE | Isolated Incidents
Nova Bhattacharya is a master of the Indian dance tradition of bharatanatyam, but for her new solo performance she's created a style all of her own. Bharatanatyam uses exaggerated facial expressions and hand gestures to tell a story, a technique that Bhattacharya merges with contemporary sensibilities in Isolated Incidents, a full-length show that depicts three separate moments in one woman's life. A veteran of the Canadian dance scene ever since she became the first pupil of pioneering Indian-Canadian choreographer Menaka Thakkar in the early 80s, Bhattacharya expertly channels sensuous spiritual energy in her performances and her stage presence has become legendary. Isolated Incidents is her first-ever full length solo show and marks a new stage in her artistic development. Runs til Saturday.
Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre, 231 Queen's Quay West, $28 general admission, $18 students, Thursday to Saturday 8 pm
THEATRE | Where's My Money?
Dora Award-winning Ontario actor and director David Ferry helms this Parkdale production of Where's My Money?, a play about the harsh realities of monogamy by John Patrick Shanley, the writer of Doubt. The play is staged by the Alley Co-Op, a company dedicated to bringing professional theatre to the West Queen West area, and until the end of the month will find a home at the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement, which is hosting not only ballet but everything from clothing sales to circus shows these days. The play follows the entangled relationships of six thirty-somethings whose affairs seem to prove that a happy monogamous relationship, like clean energy or fat-free salad dressing, is a nice idea, but simply doesn't exist in the real world. Runs til May 30.
Pia Bouman Studio Theatre, 6 Noble Street, $20, Tuesday to Saturday 8 pm, Sunday matinee 2 pm, Saturay May 15 PWYC 1 pm matinee
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