A farewell fest at Honest Ed’s, a massive art fair and seven other things to do this week
One last chance to visit Honest Ed’s
Nostalgists can bid a final farewell to Honest Ed’s at Toronto for Everyone, a four-day festival from the Centre for Social Innovation. Before the store vanishes, the landmark will transform into a community hub, complete with interactive exhibitions, art installations and a market. A slew of events (workshops, film screenings, panel discussions) will address the elephant in the room—gentrification—as well as youth homelessness, bike lanes and inclusivity in tech. Then, a massive goodbye party will wrap up the weekend. Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, February 26. Prices vary. Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. W., torontoforeveryone.com.
A sprawling contemporary art fair
The 10th annual Artist Project features dazzling new works from 250 international and emerging painters, photographers, printmakers and sculptors. There’s a swanky opening night party; panels with curators, dealers and collectors; and a lightning-speed edition of Art Battle’s live-painting competition series. Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, February 26. $15. Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, 195 Princes’ Blvd., theartistproject.com.
The true king of Lee’s Palace
Since releasing his first single in 1969, Lee Fields has been compared to James Brown so often that he’s earned the nickname Little J. B. Since pairing up with his bluesy backing band The Expressions in 2009, the 66-year-old soul legend has truly emerged from Brown’s shadow. Still blessed with a smooth-as-silk voice, he has found a new burst of retro-cool energy with millennial listeners. One of his songs is called “I Still Got It,” but he’s never before had it so much. Saturday, February 25. $29.50. Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., ticketfly.com.
Of Human Bondage’s brilliant return
If you thought your exes were bad, meet W. Somerset Maugham. His semi-autobiographical masterpiece follows a failed artist who falls in love with a cold, cruel waitress—and she ultimately destroys both of their lives. This production—a stage adaptation by Vern Thiessen—earned praise for its potent evocation of turn-of-the-century London when it debuted in 2014. Now, it returns to Soulpepper before a run in New York City. Friday, February 24 to March 11. $32–$89. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln., soulpepper.ca.
A classical sesquicentennial show
Tafelmusik’s concerts seek to place the Baroque era in historical and geographical context. This sesquicentennial program, Visions and Voyages: Canada 1663–1763, revisits a century in which European monarchies exploited Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Ryan Cunningham, artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts, narrates a history of curiosity, greed and racism, interspersed with music by Handel, Purcell, Rameau and other Baroque giants. Wednesday, February 22 to Sunday, February 26. $41–$95. Trinity–St. Paul’s Centre, Jeanne Lamon Hall, 427 Bloor St. W., tafelmusik.org.
Skydiggers’ ode to Gene Clark
On their new album, Here Without You, the veteran CanRock band salutes legendary songwriter Gene Clark, a founding member of The Byrds. At this show, they infuse his tunes with a poppy folk sound drawn from the origins of roots, back through Woody Guthrie and Appalachian music. A few Skydiggers hits are also on the set list. Saturday, February 25. $40–$45. Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 235 Queens Quay W., harbourfrontcentre.com.
Breath in Between, a spooky love story
Playwright Anton Piatigorsky’s directorial debut may be the creepiest production you see this year: it’s about a guy named Roger, who places a newspaper ad in search of people to kill and ends up with two victims. The story picks up after the deed is done, when the psychotic protagonist falls in love with Amy, a woman he meets at a bar, and drags her into his surreal downward spiral. February 23 to March 11. $20–$40. Crow’s Theatre, 345 Carlaw Ave., crowstheatre.com.
A Murdoch Mysteries–themed escape room
In this immersive escape game based on the long-running CBC mystery series, Detective Murdoch has gone missing. Teams have just 60 minutes to solve puzzles, negotiate with old-timey actors, save the famous detective and discover the secret of Station House No. 4—that is, the historic George Brown House. Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, February 26, and Wednesday, March 1. $36–$42. George Brown House, 186 Beverly St., secretcityadventures.com/murdoch.
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings’ road-worn roots rock
Twenty years after the Hamilton blues-roots supergroup formed, they’re still at the top of their game. Kings and Kings, the band’s new album, is clean and mellow, but with a worn texture that comes from a lifetime on the road. That experience also comes across onstage, where Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden and Tom Wilson practically welcome the audience into a private hangout. Saturday, February 25. $35–$65. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., ticketmaster.ca.