A Beatles ballet, a Yoko Ono art show and seven other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A Beatles-themed ballet
1Fifty years after Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, the Lonely Hearts Club Band learns how to dance. In Pepperland, superstar choreographer Mark Morris enlists a troupe clad in vibrant, ’60s-style outfits for a throwback spectacle that blends the Beatles’ twist-and-shout energy with classical dance forms. An unorthodox chamber band—sax, keys, percussion and theremin—provides the soundtrack, a mix of Fab Four–inspired original compositions and the classic album’s songs, including “Penny Lane” and “A Day in the Life.” Saturday, February 24. $55–$145. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
Five days of stellar female dance
2This week, Peggy Baker Dance Projects launches Map by Years, a five-day program featuring new work by extraordinary female dancers. The centrepiece performance is Unmoored, an emotional collaboration between the legenedary Baker herself and choreographer Sarah Chase that explores Baker’s relationship with her late husband. Wednesday, February 21 to Sunday, February 25. $22–$30. The Theatre Centre.
Yoko Ono’s peculiar art show
3Yoko Ono has gracefully transitioned from international punchline to beloved elder stateswoman, outlasting her critics by remaining uncompromisingly herself. Now, days after her 85th birthday, Ono debuts The Riverbed, a new exhibition of ceramic, stone and paper works. It’s vintage Yoko: an immersive “repository of hopes and dreams for individuals and for the world” that combines heavy symbolism, pacifist politics and audience participation. Thursday, February 22 to June 3. Free with admission. Gardiner Museum.
Shy Kids’ hometown love-in
4“I Was in New York,” the new single from the Toronto indie-pop outfit Shy Kids, is our favourite music video in recent memory. With a bit of artistic wizardry, it transforms Toronto into the Big Apple: the TTC becomes the MTA, the CN Tower becomes the Statue of Liberty, Yonge-Dundas becomes Times Square. It’s a standout track on In A State, the band’s lush, orchestral sophomore album, which they’ll release with a hometown show this week. Thursday, February 22. $15. Lee’s Palace.
A weekend of non-stop art
5More than 250 painters, illustrators, sculptors and photographers will peddle their wares at the Artist Project, a three-day market that should please both art aficionados and novices who want to fill that empty wall. The event is all about breaking down the barriers between artist and audience: patrons buy work directly from the artists, often learning how and why the piece was created. Plus: 20 up-and-coming creatives showcase their work at the Untapped Emerging Artists Competition. Friday, February 23 to Sunday, February 25. $15. Better Living Centre.
A play for Pacific Mall patrons
6Governor General Award–winning playwright David Yee gives audience a glimpse inside Chinese shopping malls in No Foreigners, his new multidisciplinary play. Combining theatre and video, the innovative experience tells several stories spanning multiple cities, languages and eras to explore the role of malls in the Chinese identity. Wednesday, February 21 to Saturday, February 24. $18. The Theatre Centre.
A binge-worthy new Netflix series with Toronto roots
7Toronto-born Veena Sud, best known for developing AMC’s The Killing, is the creator of Seven Seconds, a timely new Netflix series about race and the law. Set in Jersey City, the show chronicles a high-profile police shooting, from the incident (a white cop injures a black teenager) to the attempted cover-up and the ensuing media firestorm. Premieres Friday, February 23. Netflix.
An orchestral barn burner
8Handel’s ode Alexander’s Feast is based on a John Dryden poem subtitled “The Power of Music,” and there’s plenty of might here: the Tafelmusik baroque orchestra, its exemplary chamber choir and a trio of soloists show off emotions that range from amorous to martial. The piece tells the story of Alexander the Great and his lover Thais enjoying a celebratory feast in the newly captured city of Persepolis. The event’s entertainment, a scheming bard named Timotheus, proves to be more than just folly: he manipulates Alexander into putting the city to the torch. Thursday, February 22 to Sunday, February 25. $39–$121. Koerner Hall.
An evening of bold, genre-busting remixes
9Canadian Stage launches its Voices³ concert series with a performance by the Italian duo Musica Nuda. Singer Petra Magoni and double-bassist Ferruccio Spinetti will play a range of classic pop and classical pieces in their offbeat jazz-punk-rock style to create something both pleasingly familiar and fresh. Thursday, February 22 to Saturday, February 24. $35.10–$69. Berkeley Street Theatre.
Never Miss Another Great Event
An earlier version of this post contained incorrect information about the performances dates of Map by Years.