A Neil deGrasse Tyson nerdstravaganza, a Joan Baez concert and six other things to do this week
A two-night nerdstravaganza with Neil deGrasse Tyson
The American astrophysicist and host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is best known as the guy who tweets about scientific plot holes in movies like Gravity and Interstellar and schooled rapper B.o.B on the shape of the earth. If you were the type to fall asleep in high school science class, fear not: Tyson’s multimedia presentations explain the wonders of modern science in ways that are engaging for adults and accessible for children. Wednesday, February 24 and Thursday, February 25. $73–$96. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., ticketmaster.com.
Gig, a modern Fame makeover
This new musical is The Breakfast Club meets Fame: five musical archetypes—diva, rock star, belle, rapper, groupie—vie for a chance in the spotlight. The real drama, of course, happens offstage. In line with the rock-concert aesthetic, the show’s backing band performs onstage and interacts with the handful of hopefuls. Thursday, February 25 to Sunday, March 6. $30–$59. Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge St., mirvish.com.
A stripped-down set from the unstoppable Joan Baez
In 2016, it’s easy to write off Joan Baez as more of a countercultural concept than a musician. She’s been involved with almost every major civil rights movement since the 1950s: she marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., went to jail for protesting the Vietnam War, opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Yet music has always been her medium. Over the decades, her voice has matured to a deep, earthy tone, a perfect pairing for her warm, still-optimistic folk tunes. Saturday, February 27. $60–$110. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., rcmusic.ca.
A chow-down for change
Thirty of the city’s top chefs are taking over St. Lawrence Market for FoodShare’s Recipe for Change. DaiLo’s Nick Liu, Pizzeria Libretto’s Rocco Agostino and the Tempered Chef’s Bertrand Alepée and 27 more culinary masterminds will each serve up a distinct dish, while Ontario brewers and vineyards will provide the drinks. Proceeds will provide healthy food and food education to schools and local communities. Thursday, February 25. $132.48. St. Lawrence Market South, 130 The Esplanade, foodshare.net.
The all-star choreography of The Mystery of Mr. Leftovers
This contemporary dance premiere is the first full-length solo performance from National Ballet School alumna Jillian Peever, but there are years of experience behind the routine: film, theatre and dance veteran Sharon B. Moore directs, and modern Canadian icon Peggy Baker provided behind-the-scenes mentorship. Peever’s raw, desperate movements capture the heart of the title character, a lonely adventurer yearning for companionship as he relives fragments of his life and analyzes what went wrong. Thursday, February 25 to Sunday, February 27. $25. Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester St., brownpapertickets.com.
Salt-Water Moon, a modern take on a Canadian classic
Director Ravi Jain adds a cross-cultural twist to playwright David French’s superb 1985 drama about a pair of lovers in his home province of Newfoundland in the early 20th century. When Jacob returns home from Toronto planning to reunite with his old flame, Mary, he’s devastated to learn she’s engaged to someone else—and has yet to forgive him for leaving town in the first place. Saturday, February 27 to Sunday, March 13. $35. Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St., factorytheatre.com.
A harrowing tale from the peak of K2
In her 40s, Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner climbed the most dangerous route up K2, a mountain that takes the lives of about a quarter of those who summit it (including her climbing partner). In her National Geographic Live presentation, Kaltenbrunner recounts that ascent and how she became the first woman to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000-plus-metre peaks without using supplementary oxygen. Sunday, February 28 to Tuesday, March 1. $19.50–$79.50. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., roythomson.com.
Footsteps Across Canada, a transnational, multi-genre dance fest
The six choreographers in this Dance Immersion showcase specialize in jazz, contemporary, African and more. They’re a mix of buzzy up-and-comers—like Ryerson alumnus and activist Rodney Diverlus, who performed in the Pan Am closing ceremonies—and established dancers, including So You Think You Can Dance Canada competitor Esie Mensah, who has worked with Janelle Monáe and Nelly Furtado. Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27. $34. Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W., harbourfrontcentre.com.