Go to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, see a Simpsons-inspired play and eight other things to do this week
Go crazy for comics at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival
Toronto has always been a comics town—Joe Shuster even modelled Superman’s Metropolis after our skyline. Our glorious geekery hits its zenith this weekend at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, a cartoon blowout featuring panels, readings and meet-and-greets from hundreds of doodlers. Highlights include the YA graphic novelist Jillian Tamaki; local satirist and Marvel writer Chip Zdarsky; and Scott McCloud, an American comics superstar whose dazzling new graphic novel, The Sculptor, is easily the most exciting release of the year. Saturday May 9 and Sunday May 10. FREE. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., 416-395-5577, torontocomics.com.
See an apocalyptic comedy inspired by The Simpsons
Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play is an immersive theatre experience that combines two of our most pervasive obsessions: doomsday and The Simpsons. Anne Washburn’s brilliantly clever comedy takes place in a post-apocalyptic society, where a group of ragtag survivors recreate the famous Simpsons episode “Cape Feare”—the one where Sideshow Bob gets out of prison—to preserve both their culture and their sanity. Saturday May 9 to 31. $29.95–$59.95. Aztec Theatre, 1035 Gerrard St. E., outsidethemarch.ca.
Attend a Cinco de Mayo fiesta on King West
Steve Gonzalez, a former Top Chef Canada fan fave and the chef at the Latin American restaurant Valdez on King West, is throwing a week-long party for Cinco de Mayo, including a guacamole smackdown, a taco fest and a rooftop barbecue. On the day itself, he’ll be wrangling a rowdy street party with live music, tequila cocktails and all-you-can-eat snacks from Valdez, Momofuku, Rose and Sons, Fonda Lola and Mata. Tuesday May 5. $45. 606 King St. W., 416-363-8388, valdezrestaurant.com.
Find flower power on Queen East
The Toronto Flower Market, inspired by old-world blossom bazaars in Amsterdam and London, brings together local growers and bouquet artists for the most vibrant floral fantasia we’ve seen since Oz’s poppy fields. This year, it will take place in a Riverside parking lot on the second Saturday of each month through October. Every square inch will be perfumed with rambling roses, stately orchids, bright dahlias and puffy peonies. Saturday May 9. FREE. 659 Queen St. E., torontoflowermarket.ca.
Descend into madness with the Canadian Opera Company
Before Hitchcock or Polanski had ever touched a camera, the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and his Austrian contemporary Arnold Schoenberg were creating epic, expressionist works of psychological horror. In Robert Lepage’s operatic double-bill at the COC this week, the Gothic stage mirrors the dark depths of the human psyche—first in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, about a new bride discovering lurid secrets in her husband’s locked closet, then in Schoenberg’s Erwartung, in which a woman searches a spooky forest for her lover’s corpse. Wednesday May 6 to 23. $49–$424. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231, coc.ca.
Chill out to the sounds of Toro y Moi
The South Carolina artist Chaz Bundick, who records under the moniker Toro y Moi, changes his schtick with every new album: first came looped-out chillwave, then slinky R&B, then psychedelia. They all come together on his latest record, What For, which also dips into disco, acid-rock guitar and pop anthems. He performs this week in Toronto, with an opening set from the shoegazing L.A. band Vinyl Williams. Tuesday May 5. $32.25. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., 1-855-985-5000, thedanforth.com.
Fall through a rabbit hole with the Canadian Children’s Opera Company
Our obsession with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland shows no sign of abating—the National Ballet brought back its whimsical adaptation earlier this year, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp will reteam for a new Alice in 2016, and, this weekend, the Canadian Children’s Opera Company debuts the world premiere of a new opera based on the novel. The one-act production plays down Carroll’s creepier tendencies, focusing instead on the sheer magic of the Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, Queen of Hearts and White Rabbit, who will be played by the star COC tenor Benoit Boutet. Thursday May 7 to 10. $15–$35. Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, canadianchildrensopera.com.
See designer goods made out of brunch foods
In her new exhibit at Division Gallery, the Toronto-born, New York–based multimedia artist Chloe Wise showcases Chanel-branded sex chairs and Louis Vuitton bags made of PBJ sandwiches. Each cheeky piece simultaneously ridicules and celebrates art, sex, fashion and food—and triggers a Pavlovian craving for an overpriced plate of brunch. Friday May 8 to June 13. FREE. Division Gallery, 45 Ernest Ave., 647-346-9082, galeriedivision.com.
Hear Jessie J perform her hooky hits
The British pop star Jessie J has produced some of the most memorable earworms in recent memory. (She’s responsible for Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” and David Guetta’s “Repeat,” as well as her own hits, like “Price Tag” and “Bang Bang.”) This week, the champion belter swaps out her usual stadium-show stage pyrotechnics for a more intimate concert at the Danforth Music Hall. Thursday May 7. $45.50–$50.75. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., 416-778-8173, thedanforth.com.
Pay tribute to fallen stars at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival
In the past year, the Jewish community has lost some of its most indelible icons, including Mike Nichols, Joan Rivers and Leonard Nimoy. Each one gets an archival screening at this week’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival, as do Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling and the Canadian character actor Al Waxman. Also on our must-see list: Hebrew Superheroes, about the rise of Israeli comics; The Kindergarten Teacher, a Cannes hit about a woman who becomes obsessed with her prodigal student; and Irwin and Fran, an acerbic documentary about the stand-up satirist Irwin Corey. To Sunday May 10. $9–$14. Various venues, 416-324-9121, tjff.com.