A Blue Jays art show, Lilly Singh’s book launch and eight other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A bright, bold Blue Jays art show
Toronto artist Samara Shuter is best known for her vibrant, colourful paintings of men’s suits. Just in time for the Jays’ home opener, she turns her eye to the baseball diamond for Bleeding Blue, a striking series of faceless player portraits against zany backgrounds. Wednesday, April 5 to Sunday, April 30. Steam Whistle Brewing.
Superwoman’s bubbly book launch
Scarborough’s Lilly Singh has conquered YouTube (11 million subscribers and counting) with her boundless energy, glittery get-ups and roster of goofy on-screen characters. With this talk and Q&A, she launches her new memoir, How to Be a Bawse, which funnels her online celebrity onto the page, dishing the details of her meteoric rise from living in parents’ house to buying an L.A. mansion and hanging out with Hollywood’s biggest stars. Wednesday, April 5. $46. TIFF Bell Lightbox.
A rocker’s stage debut
Torquil Campbell, the front man of local indie band Stars, swaps his songbook for a script in his first play, True Crime. Accompanied by a guitarist, he plays 30 different characters, many of them aliases of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a real-life German swindler who moved to the U.S. and posed as an aristocrat, physicist and art collector. Gerhartsreiter also murdered a man in California and married a woman whom he’d convinced that he was a Rockefeller. The charade collapsed in 2008, when he kidnapped his daughter and was sentenced to life in prison. Tuesday, April 4 to Saturday, April 15. $20–$40. Crow’s Theatre.
A coffee lover’s paradise
This weekend, Toronto gets its first annual Coffee and Tea Expo. Since you probably spend most of your day topping up your mug anyway, stop by to try an array of new beans and brews served by some of the city’s best indie cafes, like MoxTea and Canadiano. Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9. $15. The Glass Factory.
A small world after all
Robert Lepage is a giant of French-Canadian theatre—literally so in this imaginative one-man show. He wanders around intricately detailed miniatures of 1960s Quebec City, including a scale model of 887 Murray Avenue, the apartment building where he grew up, which opens like a book to reveal the private lives of its tiny residents. Lepage invites audiences to enter his story, recalling vignettes from his childhood: his grandmother’s dementia, a public poetry reading, a family death. It’s a magical, multi-layered look at the seeds of one man’s identity. Friday, April 7 to Sunday, April 16. $35–$114. St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
American War, a bleak soothsaying novel
A spookily resonant novel about America on the brink of a second civil war, Omar El Akkad’s gripping tale is set at the end of this century. As the plague-ridden North and South engage in a vicious battle over fossil fuels, one young woman rises up to lead the southern resistance. Out now. Penguin Random House.
A politically charged roots rock record
Since their debut album 10 years ago, The Wooden Sky has proven to be the finest folk-rock act in town. The band should have no trouble hanging onto that title with Swimming in Strange Waters, a vibrant blend of high-energy indie, blue-eyed soul and solemn acoustic numbers. Beneath layers of swirling organs, chunky guitars and crisp percussion, there’s some serious subject matter: front man Gavin Gardiner quivers about refugees, Keystone XL and familial scars inflicted by his abusive grandfather. Friday, April 7. Nevado Records.
The secret stories of an east-end sari shop
No playwright has documented Indo-Canadian life more astutely than Anusree Roy, the powerhouse behind Pyaasa, Brothel #9 and Sultans of the Street. Her newest work, Little Pretty and The Exceptional, follows Simran and Jasmeet, two sisters preparing to open a sari shop on Gerrard Street with their overprotective father. The venture awakens the family’s dormant demons—namely, their mother’s suicide—and demolishes taboos around mental health in the South Asian diaspora. Thursday, April 6 to Sunday, April 30. $15–$35. Factory Theatre.
An album for the end of the world
Timber Timbre’s lo-fi rock is like the surreal soundtrack to a Lynchian dream: it chugs slowly, pairing sinister lyrics with even spookier melodies. Recording in a chateau on the outskirts of Paris, the Canadian trio channelled their unease about the new world disorder into their dystopian record, Sincerely, Future Pollution, a dark, synth-heavy effort crowned by singer Taylor Kirk’s deep croon. The apocalypse has never sounded so good. Friday, April 7. Arts & Crafts.
An intergenerational classical concert
Johann Sebastian Bach fathered 20 children between two wives, and it’s no surprise at least a few of them took after their dad. This concert, Bach: Keeping It in the Family, includes work by the better known of the gang: Carl Philipp Emanuel, whose quirky symphonies took an adventurous approach to structure, and Wilhelm Friedemann, who hewed more closely to Bach’s baroque counterpoint. There’s also an orchestral suite by C. P. E.’s godfather, Georg Philipp Telemann. Appropriately, the father-daughter team of oboist Alfredo Bernardini and violinist Cecilia Bernardini tackle the program. Wednesday, April 5 to Sunday, April 9. From $15. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre.