A Bruno Mars concert, a new Second City show and six other things to see, do, hear and read this week
Bruno Mars’s blinged-out antics
1Versace on the floor, strawberry champagne on ice, 24-karat magic in the air—Bruno Mars knows how to live it up, and his shows are as luxe as his lyrics. He’ll bring twinkling gold confetti, pyrotechnics and a swaggering crew of synchronized backup performers who ooze throwback showmanship. Of course, the main event is the non-stop barrage of chart-toppers like “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Just the Way You Are” and—wait, what was that one about funk? Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27. $115–$250. Air Canada Centre.
A swimmer’s tragic life story
2Gillian Best, a Bristol-based Canadian writer, takes the beach read theme literally: her debut novel, The Last Wave, is set on the shores of Dover and chronicles the life of Martha, a woman who has swum the English Channel 10 times. At different points in her life, she uses the sea as an escape from maternal responsibility, from her British family’s stiff upper lips and from sickness—her husband’s dementia and, eventually, her own cancer. It’s literary and lucid, following a compelling character through six decades’ worth of angst and illness. Saturday, Aug. 26. House of Anansi.
A Lionel Richie–Mariah Carey double bill
3Their tour is called “All the Hits,” so there’s no question as to what will be on the docket when Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey team up at the ACC this week: “Hello” and “Endless Love” on one end, “Touch My Body” and “Always Be My Baby” on the other. Expect a glitzy, multimedia spectacle—and, hopefully, a full sound check beforehand. Thursday, August 24. $45–$500. Air Canada Centre.
A sprawling Star Trek art show
4Art: the final frontier. These are the works of 50 North American artists. Their mission: to create paintings, sculptures and illustrations based on the 50-year history of the Star Trek franchise. To go where no art exhibition has gone before. This week, Super Wonder’s Star Trek show will give Kirk, Picard, Spock and others their rightful place on a gallery wall. Opens Friday, August 25. $10. Super Wonder Gallery.
The Second City’s blistering Trump gags
5Even without the aid of Alec Baldwin’s bronzed mug, the Second City’s political parodies have been putting Saturday Night Live’s all-star cast to shame since the dog days of Donald Trump’s campaign. In the election-era romp Come What Mayhem!, a troupe member comically negotiated with a jumper on the roof of Toronto’s Trump Tower; Everything Is Great Again riffed on American health care and self-congratulatory Canadians; and the 150-themed Canada: A Thinking Man’s America continued the hilarious trend. So we expect big things—and more than a few jabs at the POTUS—from the troupe’s fresh faces in its 80th mainstage revue, Party Today, Panic Tomorrow. Opens Wednesday, August 23. From $26. The Second City.
A dose of summer schadenfreude
6The Slate family is having a rough night: parents Mia and Michael discover a Madoffian scheme has drained their bank accounts, and hard-partying son Finn is blacked out in a snowbank. Joanne Proulx’s novel We All Love the Beautiful Girls details the aftermath, as the affluent young family’s lives dissolve into a chaotic spiral of affairs and secret escapes. She preys on simmering class anxieties to craft a dark thriller about the pretense, deception and destruction that ensues when rich people lose their safety net. Tuesday, August 22. Viking.
A cinematic tribute to the late George A. Romero
7Toronto’s George A. Romero, who died last month, was known for defining the zombie genre, but there was more to his career than just the walking dead. The Revue Cinema pays tribute to the Night of the Living Dead auteur with a rare 35mm screening of Martin, his greatest non-zombie film. As he did with zombies, Romero reinvents a horror archetype with this thoughtful, melancholy story about a disturbed young man who thinks he’s a vampire in a crumbling Pennsylvania town. Saturday, August 26. $13. Revue Cinema.
A creepy-crawly prom party
8It’s been five years since Toronto’s last Fake Prom, an elaborate summer dance party for adults. And, befitting an event that has risen from the dead, the theme of the 2017 instalment is “Beyond the Grave.” Vampires, mummies, werewolves, zombies, and other frightening things are welcome at this dress-up dance, where grown-ups can finally have the ideal prom experience they were denied as awkward teenagers. Friday, August 25. $20. Palais Royale.