The Toronto Fringe, a Brian Wilson concert and six other things to do this week
See your childhood literary hero read from her new book for grown-ups
Judy Blume’s kid-lit catalogue grapples with first periods and secret crushes. But, every so often, the author examines life on the other side of 13. Here, she presents her first adult novel in 15 years, In the Unlikely Event, a historical family narrative set against a series of plane crashes that shook Blume’s hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the early ’50s. Monday, June 29. Free. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., 416-393-7148, torontopubliclibrary.ca.
Head to Stratford for a classic Greek tragedy
In Oedipus Rex, the prophecy-plagued King of Thebes sets out to solve the murder of his predecessor, only to find out that he himself is the killer. What’s worse: the old king was his estranged dad, and his new wife is actually his mother. Dora winner Daniel Brooks directs Sophocles’ epic tragedy of fate and free will, while Niagara-on-the-Lake native Gord Rand takes on the title role. Tuesday, June 30 to Sept. 18. $25–$134. Tom Patterson Theatre, 111 Lakeside Dr., Stratford, 1-800-567-1600, stratfordfestival.ca.
Discover tomorrow’s theatrical sensations today
The Toronto Fringe Festival—the annual indie-theatre showcase that launched ’Da Kink in My Hair and Kim’s Convenience—returns with a fresh lineup of lucky lottery-winning productions, chosen from more than 800 local, national and international applicants. Expect 148 eclectic shows from companies like Empty Box Theatre Company, known for reinterpreting classics as feminist, political plays; Steven Edwards Productions, a youth troupe from Trinidad and Tobago; and Winnipeg’s Autistic Productions, which stages plays by and about artists on the autism spectrum. Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 12. $5–$12. Various locations, 416-966-1062, fringetoronto.com.
Introduce your kids to a local comedy institution
Equal parts silly and spooky, Second City’s family-friendly Vampire Campfire follows a group of troublemaking juvenile ghouls who are forced to spend their summer at a remedial camp for monsters. With singing, dancing and plenty of audience interaction, the show will tickle little ones’ funny bones while still delivering the signature Second City style to keep parents amused. Recommended for ages five to 13. Wednesday, July 1 to Sept. 3. $14. Second City, 51 Mercer St., 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.
Pig out at Fort York
Sample top-notch Toronto cuisine in one place at Taste of Toronto, a four-day feast featuring freshly made small plates from Richmond Station, the Harbord Room, Bannock, the Drake, Barque, Splendido and more. Also on offer: culinary master classes, extravagant cooking demonstrations and a market of prepared foods from the city’s finest cheesemongers and top independent breweries. Thursday, July 2 to Sunday, July 5. $19–$30 entry; food prices vary. Fort York, 250 Fort York Blvd., 416-960-5312, tasteoftoronto.com.
Catch a notoriously volatile band before they combust once again
The only thing more confounding than Death Grips’ music, with its cryptic lyrics, noisy experimentation and punk sensibility, is the group’s offstage behaviour. The Sacramento electro-rap crew—and self-described “conceptual art exhibition”—supposedly called it quits in the middle of a summer 2014 tour, when they posted a farewell scrawled on a napkin to Facebook. Then, they continued making music anyway. Their latest release, a double album called The Powers That B, may be their most accessible yet, though that’s not really saying much. Friday, July 3. $26–$35.25. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., 416-778-8163, thedanforth.com.
Pick up some good vibrations
You only need to look to the recent biopic Love and Mercy to be reminded of head Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s history of mental health struggles, legal squabbles and creative blocks. But the music trumps all: through his poignant lyrics, rich falsetto harmonies and innovative instrumentation, Wilson reshaped pop music in the 1960s and built a legacy that’s still inspiring artists half a century later. His summer tour comes to town this weekend. Saturday, July 4. $79.50–$99.50. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., 416-778-8163, thedanforth.com.
Remind yourself that not all teens are Snapchat-addicted slackers
Since 2007, the feel-good Youth Day fest has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors to celebrate youth achievements. Whether they’re performing onstage with a dance and music ensemble, showing off their photography or sporting outfits they designed on their own, the inspiring teens participating in this event will show you a good time—and, quite possibly, restore your faith in humanity. All ages. Sunday, July 5. Free. Yonge-Dundas Square, 1 Dundas St. E., 416-813-0909, yd-toronto.com.