Pride’s launch party, Robyn’s Field Trip set and eight other things to do this week
A Pride launch party hosted by Bruce LaBruce
June’s edition of First Thursdays, the AGO’s superb art-party series, doubles as a kick-off bash for the first-ever Pride Month. The gallery has tapped queer film icon Bruce LaBruce to fire up the festivities—and he invited Alvin Ailey–trained performance artist Narcissister and the bizarre body artist Ron Athey (who contorts and pierces his own flesh during shows) to dazzle the crowds. London electropop act No Bra and underground New York DJ Gio Black Peter provide a live soundtrack. Thursday, June 2. $13–$16. AGO, 317 Dundas St. W., ago.net.
Sake night in Canada
Kampai Toronto’s fifth annual sake festival—the largest of its kind in Canada—begins this Friday in the Distillery District. More than 60 sake breweries, along with some of the city’s top Japanese restaurants (Miku, Kingyo, Blowfish, Zakkushi), will converge in the Fermenting Cellar to serve samples of their stuff. Friday, June 3. $45–$100. The Fermenting Cellar, 28 Distillery Ln., sakeinstituteofontario.com.
Robyn and the National at Field Trip music fest
The 2016 edition of Arts and Crafts’ indie blowout features slowcore saints the National and Sweden’s poppiest export, Robyn. Also on the program: the rocking guy-girl glory of July Talk, Of Montreal’s adventurous rock, Charles Bradley’s funky soul and obligatory Broken Social Scene member Jason Collett. Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. $75–$200. Fort York and Garrison Commons, 250 Fort York Blvd., fieldtriplife.com.
Return to Grace, a spot-on ode to Elvis
Anyone who’s been to a karaoke night or strolled around Yonge-Dundas Square has probably seen a half-decent Elvis impersonator, but Toronto’s Steve Michaels is the real deal, from the hair to the hips to the blue suede shoes. In this retrospective rock ’n’ roll tribute, he relives the milestones of the King’s career—his early days in Memphis, his controversial Ed Sullivan slots, his iconic 1973 concert in Hawaii—punctuated by spot-on renditions of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Hound Dog.” Tuesday, May 31 to Sunday, June 12. $30–$150. Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria St., returntograce.ca.
A lofty dance adaptation of Le Petit Prince
National Ballet principal dancer Guillaume Côté makes his full-length choreographic debut with this adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved children’s novella. It captures the wonder and whimsy of the eponymous little dude and his aviator friend through spellbinding movements and effects: floating sceptres, soaring paper airplanes and spinning chairs. June 4 to 12. From $37. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., national.ballet.ca.
Woodpigeon’s break-up album bash
Sine Calgary songwriter Mark Andrew Hamilton released the beautiful folk-rock record Thumbtacks and Glue three years ago, a messy relationship (and eventual break-up) bounced him between Hamilton, Vienna, Beuones Aires and riot-filled Istanbul. The sounds of those cities influence his heartbroken new record, Trouble, a gently wistful album that evokes Sufjan Stevens. He hits Lee’s Palace alongside New York alt-rock vets Nada Surf. Friday, June 3. $25.50. Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., ticketfly.com.
Zachari Logan’s fantastical pencil sketches
Logan’s surreal pastels and sculptures meld the human form with natural foliage. In his blue-on-white pencil drawings, a man’s beard doubles as a grapevine, a head of hair morphs seamlessly into an octopus’s tentacles and, in one full-colour portrait, Leaves, grass and animals make up the body of a slouching figure. The intricate works are bursting with detail, begging to be closely examined. Friday, June 3 to Saturday, July 2. Paul Petro Contemporary Art, 980 Queen St. W., paulpetro.com.
Marienbad, a dance piece that’s perfect for Pride
Jordan Tannahill, the city’s hottest theatrical iconoclast, teams up with Toronto Dance Theatre’s Christopher House for a provocative dance work. The show uses text, images and movement to tell the story of two queer men from vastly different eras. Wednesday, June 1 to Saturday, June 4. $26. Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester St., tdt.org.
A city-wide art exhibition featuring the work of Kim Kardashian
This week, Torontonians might start spotting some odd pieces of art on their way to work: brains. The Brain Project, a fundraiser for brain health and dementia research, is rolling out 100 sculptures all across the city by as many international artists and celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy, French street artist Mr. Brainwash and Canadian abstract painter Joseph Drapell (above). See them before collectors start snatching them up later this summer. Various locations, brainproject.ca.
Adam Lee’s eerie nature paintings
Purple skin. Green skies. Orange lakes. Australian artist Adam Lee’s landscapes and portraits exist somewhere between realism and dreamscape, tapping the cool colour schemes of infrared images or an iPhone’s inverted-colour mode. His paintings—of still, owl-like beasts or a bear towering over a mountainous horizon—are both beautiful and ominous. Friday, June 3 to Saturday, July 2. Angell Gallery, 1444 Dupont St., Unit 15, angellgallery.com.