A night with Lily Allen, a massive art fair and five other things to see, hear and do in Toronto this week
A Lily Allen coming-of-age concert
1British R&B artist Lily Allen is known for her bluntness (see 2009’s hit track, “F-You”). This year, she amplified that quintessential attitude with the release of her candid memoir, My Thoughts Exactly—an unsparing depiction of the dark side of fame—and No Shame, a “divorce album” filled with debauchery and heartbreak. The new album comes after a long musical hiatus, but Allen hasn’t lost the brash style that made her mid-2000s music so popular. Sunday, October 28. $35–$55. Phoenix.
A massive art fair
2Art Toronto returns to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, with prestigious galleries from Canada and abroad (including MOCA and the Power Plant) exhibiting alongside solo artists. Highlights include pieces from German light artist Regine Schumann, whose acid-trippy 3-D installations combine layers and intersecting shapes to create works that are equal parts scientific and beautiful, and Toronto artist Tessar Lo, who makes comic book-inspired mixed media pieces from recycled containers, wood, cardboard, discarded IKEA pieces and shrink wrap. Friday, October 26 to Monday, October 29. Single tickets $22. Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
A TedXToronto anniversary celebration
3The speaking series is celebrating its 10th year with “Identity”—a suiting theme to mark the anniversary of an organization that has morphed significantly since its inception. As usual, the idea-churning speech bonanza features an all-star lineup, including filmmaker Julien Christian Lutz (a.k.a Director X), Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, actress and comedian Mary Walsh, 14-year-old VR developer Sabarish Gnanamoorthy and U of T sociology professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah. Friday, October 26. $250. Evergreen Brick Works.
A live docu-theatre series
4At a time when political discourse has largely been reduced to Twitter trolling, Montreal’s Porte Parole is crafting a more productive dialogue with The Assembly. The acclaimed documentary-theatre company creates plays based on social issues in Canada. Over the past year, they brought together people with opposing ideological views and asked them to hash it out on topics like immigration and free speech during a recorded session. These discussions inspired the script for a new onstage series, where actors take on the roles of the real-life participants for a discussion aimed at building bridges instead of walls. Opens Thursday, October 25. $25–$50. Streetcar Crowsnest.
An environmental film festival
5Well-timed with the UN’s recent climate change report—which states that we have a mere 12 years to prevent a climate change catastrophe—the 19th annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival uses cinema to create public awareness and conversation around issues that threaten the earth. As the largest environmental film festival in Canada, this year’s programming includes over 50 events, with a bill of films from creators around the globe, panels, a VR installation and tributes to eco-heroes like David Suzuki, John Francis and Anne Innis Dagg. Thursday, October 25 to Sunday, October 28. Various prices. Various venues.
A Canadian premiere from a feminist theatre legend
6Soulpepper hosts the Canadian premiere of Escaped Alone, an award-winning production by legendary British playwright Caryl Churchill. Celebrated for her ability to explore sexual politics and feminism, Churchill takes on similar themes in her new show, featuring an all-female cast and crew. The story focuses in on four friends, who find themselves sitting in a garden just before the apocalypse commences. As they wait for the world to end, they discuss their fears in a series of equally poetic and comedic monologues. Sunday, October 28 to November 25. $36–$97. Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
A night with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
7Through his many decades of performing, Cave and his band have experimented with everything from post-punk to alternative rock. In concert, they flip effortlessly between genres, balancing hits like “Red Right Hand” with heavier tracks from 2016’s Skeleton Tree. For their Toronto concert, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds take over Scotiabank Arena—a significant upgrade from their days of playing in the intimate Massey Hall. But as a mesmerizing frontman with a lot of energy, Cave is the type of performer who can certainly make use of a bigger stage. Sunday, October 28. $52.75–$107.25. Scotiabank Arena.