A drag queen extravaganza, a refugee love story and five other things to see, hear and do in Toronto this week
An unconventional love story
1 For her latest drama, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, Toronto playwright Hannah Moscovitch took inspiration from her great-grandparents, two Jewish Romanian refugees who set out to build a new life together in Canada after fleeing disease and persecution in Eastern Europe. But their love story subverts the typical romantic narrative: it’s about practicality, survival, and overcoming the anti-Semitic and anti-immigration sentiments of their time. Part play, part klezmer concert, the show features songs co-written and performed by mightily bearded folk musician Ben Caplan, who also narrates in the flamboyant role of The Wanderer. Tuesday, April 16 to Sunday, May 26. $30. Tarragon Theatre.
An alternative comedy show
2Two years ago, Toronto comedian Anasimone George decided she was sick of misogynistic, racist and homophobic jokes that always seemed to pop up in stand-up sets. She decided to start Shade, a comedy series that gives the stage to women, comedians of colour and those who identify as LGBT. The latest show features headliners Nour Hadidi (Just For Laughs) and comedy festival veteran Bee Bertrand. Saturday, April 20. $22. Rivoli.
A drag queen extravaganza
3If the weekly episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race aren’t cutting it, you can get your fix in real time. Some of the show’s fiercest queens are taking over the Village for a runway show packed with lip syncs and death drops. The guest of honour is All Stars’ season 4 winner Trinity the Tuck, who will perform alongside season 11 contestants Shuga Cain and A’Keria C. Davenport and Toronto queens Devine Darlin, Beardonce, Scarlett Bobo and Priyanka Love. Saturday, April 20. $47–$87. The Phoenix Concert Hall.
A green art installation
4For the seventh year, artists and designers are turning the Gladstone Hotel into a series of Come Up to My Room–style eco-friendly installations. Each creation explores our relationships with energy, be it negative, positive, wasteful or renewable. Expect mossy sculptures, mini rooftop gardens, rooms filled with beach stones and scenes of apocalyptic flooding. This year’s exhibit also features talks on houseplants and environmentally friendly home renovations. Wednesday, April 17 to Sunday, April 21. $10. The Gladstone Hotel.
A campfire story session
5Summer is coming, and a group of optimistic comedians (including Chris Locke, Adrienne Fish, Freddie Rivas and Clare Belford) are taking advantage of the above-zero temperatures and hosting a night of outdoor storytelling. Expect the hilarity of a standup show in the intimate setting of a bonfire circle. And yes, there will be marshmallows. Tuesday, April 16. Pay what you can. Dufferin Grove Park.
A Japanese fan festival
6International Fan Festival, a three-day tribute to Japanese culture and anime, is like a mini-Comicon, with voice actors, cosplayers galore, meet-and-greets and a J-Pop dance party. The stellar lineup of VIPs includes singer and voice actress Megumi Nakajima, Disney cosplayer J Stryker and Canada’s own Sugar Lyn Beard. Friday, April 19 to Sunday, April 21. $30–$70. Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
An out-of-this-world IMAX marathon
7As part of the Images Film Festival, the Cinesphere is screening five original IMAX commissions about space and nature that are best viewed on the big screen. The lineup includes Embers and Giants, an up-close look at old-growth forests, and Canadian artist Michael Snow’s Cityscape, which uses a 360 degree rotating camera to present Toronto in an entirely new perspective. Thursday, April 18. $10–$15. Cinesphere.