1. INSIDE OUT LGBT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL
The annual Inside Out fest, which focuses on cinematic expressions of queer culture, is obviously all about the movies, but there are also talks and parties on the agenda. This weekend, catch Sagat, a documentary about the enigmatic adult film star François Sagat, and Bullhead, a gritty crime drama centering on the illegal hormone trade in cattle ranching. After digesting a bit of film, there are two after-parties: the special Inside Out edition of Sodom (Saturday) and the trans-focused Transplanetarium (Sunday). To May 27. $6–$13. Various locations, 416-599-8433, insideout.ca.
2. A FLORENTINE TRAGEDY AND GIANNI SCHICCHI
The two parts of this COC double bill have similar characteristics: they’re both one-act performances and they’re both good for a few laughs. The first part of the evening is the Canadian premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy, which is a satire about a merchant who finds out his wife has been canoodling with the Prince of Florence. The second part, Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, follows eight greedy members of the Donati family who find out their wealthy relative, Buoso, has left all his belongings to a monastery—a real tragedy. They hatch a plan to get their due, but things don’t work out quite the way they thought they would. Renowned soprano Catherine Malfitano directs, Sir Andrew Davis, who made his COC debut with last year’s Ariadne auf Naxos, conducts, and leads Alan Held and Gun-Brit Barkmin make their company debuts. To May 25. $12–$318. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231, coc.ca.
3. VICTORIA DAY CANOE TOUR
It’s the first long weekend of the summer, and the weather report has us excited for warm and (mostly) sunny days. Clearly, we should be spending as much time outside as possible. A good way to catch some rays (and, hey, maybe get some exercise) is this canoe expedition to the Toronto Islands, which is only offered on long weekends. Attendees will paddle around the islands in a historically accurate Voyageur canoe, with stops at the Donut Island bird sanctuary and Centre Island. Registration required. May 21. $30. Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre, 283A Queens Quay W., 647-448-6985, canoetoronto.com.
4. DESIGN ON DUNDAS (FREE!)
Organized by Ryerson students, this competition pits local high schoolers against one another in design and engineering challenges. Once the challenges are complete, their finished products are then tested and judged by working engineers. The organizers also get to show off a little—they’ll be showcasing a Formula SAE racecar and a concrete toboggan designed and built by students in the mechanical engineering and civil engineering programs. May 18. Yonge-Dundas Square, designondundas.ca.
5. SWAN LAKE
The Bolshoi Ballet is one of the world’s oldest—it was founded in the late 1700s—and most celebrated companies. And if Swan Lake is not one of the oldest ballets, it’s certainly one of the most celebrated. (It’s kind of a perfect match.) Based on a Russian folk tale, Swan Lake is the story of Odette, a maiden who is turned into a swan by Von Rothbart, an evil sorcerer. Cursed to remain a swan by day and only able to return to her true form at dusk, Odette meets Prince Siegfried one evening and love ensues, naturally. But when Von Rothbart discovers the romance, he curses Siegfried, too. To May 19. $71–$255. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca.
6. HARBOURKIDS: THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL CIRCUS FESTIVAL (FREE!)
Circus performers of all sorts—acrobats, stilt walkers, daredevils and jugglers—descend on the Harbourfront Centre for this 10th annual big top-inspired festival. Zero Gravity Circus is co-producing the event, which will include a workshop on crazy balloon animals, and wannabe clowns can visit the Clownification Station for face painting and Clowning 101 (kids can try tumbling and aerial hoop tricks and bounce on a mini-trampoline with the help of industry pros). May 19–21. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W, 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
7. PLUTO IS STILL DEAD AND OTHER GOOD NEWS
Poor Pluto. Once the ninth planet in our solar system, it was sadly demoted in 2006 by a team of scientists including Mike Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology. At this weekend’s event, Brown—and U of T’s astronomy department—will explain why this happened in the first place. In his keynote speech, Brown discusses Pluto’s fate and answers audience questions. Planetarium tours and a screening of PBS’s Neil deGrasse Tyson-narrated doc, The Pluto Files, are also on the agenda. May 19. Admission is free. J.J.R. MacLeod Auditorium, Medical Science Building, University of Toronto, 1 King’s College Rd., uoft.me/mikebrown.
8. LIVE WRONG AND PROSPER!
Like all Second City revues, this comedy show incorporates sketches, musical numbers and copious amounts of improv. And also like all Second City revues, this one—which is focused on fame junkies and all the crazy and sometimes unethical ways they try to get noticed—is hilarious. To July 1. $24–$29. The Second City, 51 Mercer St., 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.