Feist’s comeback concert, Hot Docs and eight other things to see, do, hear and read this week
Feist’s long-awaited comeback
Leslie Feist has a habit of taking her time between records, but the wait since 2011’s Metals has seemed especially long (fun fact: Drake has sardined four albums into the same time span). In March, she teased her return with the lo-fi rocker “Pleasure,” the title track off her new 11-song LP. Hear the rest of it live at this album release show. Thursday, April 27. $55. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre.
Hot Docs’ hottest tickets
The fest is back with a fresh line-up of documentaries that enamour, enlighten and challenge. Among the highlights: Bill Nye: Science Guy, in which the sixth-grade science-class hero tries to carve out a more grown-up niche by taking on creationist and climate change deniers. Gilbert is a candid look at screechy voiced comedian Gilbert Gottfried’s life as a husband and father after 45 years in show business. And Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press documents the Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel lawsuit that led to Gawker Media’s dissolution. Thursday, April 27 to Sunday, May 7. $17–$24. Bloor Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
A soothsaying novel on the small screen
Margaret Atwood’s dystopian opus The Handmaid’s Tale is now more than 30 years old, but, these days, it seems ominously prescient: fundamentalist Christians seize control of the U.S. government, strip women of their rights, exile minorities and prompt more than a few people to flee to Canada. The book owes it sudden second wind to both Trump’s election and this TV adaptation. Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss stars as Offred, a rebellious concubine who stumbles into a resistance movement after an illicit affair, while Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black), Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) and Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter) round out the cast. Sunday, April 30. Bravo.
A six-nation dinner in the 6
In the face of Trump’s travel ban, Toronto restaurateur Hemant Bhagwani has organized the 6ix Banned Nations Dinner. The evening celebrates the dishes of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and proceeds will support YMCA’s Immigrant Services Program. $75 (includes drinks and tip). Thursday, April 27. Indian Street Food Co.
A devastating one-woman play
Pamela Mala Sinha’s harrowing solo show, Crash, shook Toronto’s theatre scene like a land mine when it debuted in 2012—the same year it took home a Dora Award for best new play. In it, she combines confessional theatre, tortured dance steps and projections to tell the story of an unnamed woman stumbling through the aftermath of being raped by an intruder in her Montreal apartment. Ten years after the attack, she’s still grappling with guilt and shame when the memory emerges during her father’s funeral. Wednesday, April 26 to Saturday, April 29. From $25. Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
A prehistoric thriller
Claire Cameron has a knack for harrowing survival sagas. Her latest, The Last Neanderthal, flashes between two timelines: 40,000 years in the past, as a teenage Neanderthal girl struggles through wintry barrens; and the present day, when an archaeologist discovers her bones. She launches the novel with a reading and chat this week. Tuesday, April 25. Free. No One Writes to the Colonel.
A mythical, shot-in-Toronto TV series
The supernatural conceit at the heart of this anticipated TV series: that ancient gods live among us, leading seemingly ordinary lives, running funeral parlours and pounding back shots. In the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s cult novel, Odin, disguised as a con man named Mr. Wednesday (Deadwood’s Ian McShane), leads the old gods in a holy war against the “new American gods” of money and technology with the help of a fresh recruit, Shadow Moon (the divinely toned Ricky Whittle). Keep an eye peeled for familiar locales in the visually stunning first season—the show was filmed in Toronto. Sunday, April 30. Starz.
The TSO’s take on The Hockey Sweater
You’re a Québécois child in 1946. You love the Montreal Canadiens, idolize Maurice Richard and, like all your friends, hope to receive a Habs jersey with his number on it for Christmas. Instead, under the tree, you find a sweater with the blue-and-white logo of those hated rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since 1979, Roch Carrier’s story has become shorthand for Canadian childhood. Backed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Carrier himself narrates a new musical adaptation, featuring a wistful, specially commissioned score by Hamilton’s Abigail Richardson-Schulte. Saturday, April 29. $26.50–$38.75. Roy Thomson Hall.
A rebellious dancer’s Canadian debut
During the Iranian election protest of 2009, Afshin Ghaffarian helped found a secret dance company in Tehran. His story inspired a biopic, Desert Dancer, which the Aga Khan Museum screens this Wednesday. Then, this weekend, the museum hosts Ghaffarian for his Canadian debut, Too Loud a Solitude, a chaotic solo performance about censorship and oppression. Saturday, April 29. From $40. Aga Khan Museum.
Songs from inside a POW camp
This concert’s title, Messianic Revelations, refers not only to the spiritual minimalism of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt but also to the surname of French composer Olivier Messiaen. They’re a good pairing: the quiet rapture of Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror) nicely contrasts the eight movements of Messiaen’s craggy but ultimately hopeful Quartet for the End of Time. He wrote the piece inside a German POW camp during WWII. With the help of other prisoners and even their captors, they performed it for inmates and guards on a cold night in January 1941. Sunday, April 30. $45. Mazzoleni Concert Hall.
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