An amped-up Arkells show, an avant-garde film exhibit and five other things to see, do and hear in Toronto this week
An amped up Arkells show
1Few bands rep Canada as proudly as the Arkells. The Hamilton-bred rockers are known for sprinkling their music with hometown references: their first album, Jackson Square, was named after a local mall, their most recent music video, People’s Champ, was filmed on the streets of Hamilton and the band’s lead singer Max Kerman channeled inspiration from his music icon Gord Downie to write the band’s fifth studio album. After playing the city’s largest concert since Pink Floyd’s 1975 show, the Arkells made it clear that they want their performances to be on par with history’s most memorable stadium rockers, like Queen and Journey. Now, they’re back on tour to promote their most adventurous album to date. Rally Cry takes their signature dance-worthy, electric guitar–heavy sound and injects it with a bit of Afropop. Saturday, February 16. $54–$269. Scotiabank Arena.
A portrait of changing cityscapes
2At the end of the 19th century, in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, Paris was under constant construction—much like Toronto is now. A new AGO exhibit showcases changing cities and their inhabitants with thematic works by French impressionist painters such as Monet, Degas and Pissarro. While impressionism is generally associated with idyllic landscapes and alluring muses, these artists also went deep into the belly of industrial capitalism. The exhibit offers a glimpse into the grittier side of impressionism—one more concerned with railroads, factories and commerce than bowls of fruit or water lilies. Saturday, February 16 to Sunday, May 5. $25. AGO.
A bite-sized Pinter production
3The works of the Nobel Prize–winning British playwright Harold Pinter were famously described by critics as comedies of menace, where the most mundane situations quickly take a turn for the absurd, and horrific scenes are portrayed with a chilling civility. To mark the 10th anniversary of his death, Soulpepper is packing 10 of his shortest works into a 90-minute buffet of sketches to offer a glimpse into the mind of one of the world’s most influential dramatists. Saturday, February 16 to Sunday, March 10. $38–$97. Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
An avant-garde film exhibit
4The Belgian-born filmmaker Chantal Akerman became an avant-garde legacy in 1975, when she was just 24 years old. Her three-hour epic film, Jeanne Dielman, focused on the mundane rituals of a mother who works as a sex worker in the afternoon, and helped define Akerman’s signature style: silent, languid and illustrative of how remarkable the ordinary can be. In MOCA’s new exhibit, one of her earliest works, In the Mirror, is screened alongside her final—scenes of desolate deserts that she created a few months before her death in 2015—as a glimpse into the evolution of an artist. Thursday, February 14 to Sunday, April 21. $10. MOCA.
A commemorative Walk off the Earth concert
5Burlington indie-pop group Walk Off The Earth has come a long way since their days of singing covers on YouTube. Best known for their rendition of Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to know,” where all five band members play the same guitar simultaneously, Walk off the Earth is well-versed in the art of multitasking. Members effortlessly play multiple instruments at once and frontman Gianni “Luminati” Nicassio occasionally creates a one-man band by looping together ukulele, drums, keyboard and harmonica. While their concerts are known for their high-energy (there’s often confetti, beach balls and sing-alongs), this performance will take on a heavier tone. The tour marks their first without Mike Taylor (better known as “Beard Guy”), who died last December, and will commemorate the late band mate. Friday, February 15. $43–405. Sony Centre For Performing Arts.
A multitasking maestro
6Seven years ago, Grammy Award–winning soprano Barbara Hannigan made her conducting debut in Paris with a performance of Ligeti’s complex Mysteries of the Macabre. But instead of playing the traditional role of a baton-wielding maestro, she led the orchestra and sang simultaneously. Her multitasking talents have made her a global force in opera. For her Toronto concert, Hannigan will pull off a similar feat by conducting Haydn’s Classical-period symphonic and the concert suite from Alban Berg’s opera Lulu while singing the high solo in a medley of show tunes by Gershwin. Wednesday, February 13 and Thursday, February 14. $40.75–$154. Roy Thompson Hall.
A weekend-long movie marathon
7 Next Wave Film Festival is basically TIFF’s younger sibling. The three-day movie marathon features a slate of programming curated by aspiring film buffs and includes a mix of throwbacks, as well as shorts and feature-length indie films. On this year’s agenda: cult classic 10 Things I Hate About You, ’90s rom-com But I’m a Cheerleader, Nana—a quirky comedy about a grandmother who wants to stay hip with the kids—and Slut in a Good way, a coming of age story about the awkwardness of adolescent sex and relationships. Friday, February 15 to Sunday, February 17. Select films free under 25, $14 for adults. TIFF Bell Lightbox.