This American Life live, a movie night with Matty Matheson and seven other things to see, do, hear and read this week
This American Life, Canadian edition
If any show can be credited with pioneering (or perfecting) the podcast, it’s This American Life. Over the past 20 years, the NPR broadcast has told unforgettable stories—about babies switched at birth, summer camps, Chicago’s first black mayor and so much more—that document the American condition, and inspired a TV adaptation, film scripts and other killer podcasts, Serial and S-Town, along the way. Ira Glass, the man at the heart of the phenomenon, takes the stage for an evening of storytelling, autobiography and insights from behind the host’s mike. Saturday, May 13. $39.50–$69.50. Massey Hall.
Diners, drive-ins and Matty Matheson
TIFF’s 2017 edition of the Food on Film festival kicks off with celebrity chef, Vice star and human canvas Matty Matheson. After a screening of the rock-and-roll classic American Graffiti, Matheson will dish on the diner grub served at Mel’s Drive-In. Admission includes some pre-show snacks from St. Lawrence Market. Wednesday, May 10. $29. TIFF Bell Lightbox.
A weekend comics mecca
Queer comics, feminist comics, historical comics, alt-comics—the Toronto Comics Art Festivals offers a whole lot more than just the superhero stories of your childhood. The fest has something for every comics fan: readings, panel discussions, workshops, art installations and a chance to hobnob with hundreds of artists at the vendor fair, including graphic novelists Jeff Lemire and Jillian Tamaki, and veteran newspaper cartoonist Aislin. Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14. Free. Toronto Reference Library.
A devastating play about disability
Crow’s Theatre caps an excellent first season in its new home with a heartrending stage adaptation of Globe and Mail writer Ian Brown’s 2010 memoir, The Boy in the Moon. It’s a candid account of how Brown and his wife, fellow journalist Johanna Schneller, raised their son, Walker, who can’t speak or live independently due to a rare genetic condition. Stitched together from passages from the book and new material from original interviews, the play delivers inspirational vignettes alongside moments of embarrassment, hopelessness and anger. Monday, May 8 to Saturday, May 27. $20–$40. Streetcar Crowsnest.
A crash course in K-pop
Sure, North Americans adore Beyoncé, Bieber and boy bands. But Koreans really, really love their pop stars. The Toronto K-pop Con offers a rare opportunity to dive into the weird world of ultra-fandom. There are meet-and-greets with the headlining groups (including KARD, BTOB, and EXID—acronyms are in, apparently), plus panels about the K-pop industry and, you know, some actual concerts. Friday, May 12 to Sunday, May 14. $44–$88. Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
A disability film fest
What happens at the world’s only ballet school for the blind? What role do people with intellectual disabilities have in discussions about city building? How do disability and sexuality collide? These are some of the questions at the heart of the films in this year’s ReelAbilities Film Festival, which highlights disability and Deaf culture through 17 movies from eight countries. Wednesday, May 10 to Thursday, May 18. $15. Various venues.
The prettiest market in town
One upside to all of last week’s rain: flowers are back in bloom. This Saturday, the Toronto Flower Market brings together 26 vendors to peddle tulips, lilacs, gerbera, freesia, hydrangeas, and a bunch of other good-looking and fine-smelling plants. Saturday, May 13. Free. Shaw Park at CAMH.
A play about a baby, part one
In Edward Albee’s The Play About the Baby, a young couple with a newborn baby are visited by an older couple who lead them on a long, strange mind game. The dark, mysterious show baffles audiences with its sharp wit, vaudevillian digressions and reality-bending story. Friday, May 12 to Sunday, May 21. $20–$25. The Rhino.
A play about a baby, part two
Linda McLean’s Strangers, Babies invites its audience to become a part of the action. In the play, a woman troubled by a tragic past tries to move on with her life. In Theatre Panik’s unorthodox staging, audience members can literally follow the action—wandering through sets, spying on characters and solving the play’s mystery for themselves. Thursday, May 11 to Sunday, May 28. $30. Artscape Sandbox.