Chris Hadfield’s Generator, a binge-worthy new crime show and eight other things to see, do, hear and read this week
An out-of-this-world variety show
1The man who brought “Space Oddity” to the final frontier returns to Roy Thomson Hall. For the third year, superstar astronaut Chris Hadfield’s Generator event combines music, art and science from around the world for a lively, free-flowing festival of ideas. This year’s special guests won’t be announced in advance, but Hadfield will definitely be there, along with the night’s emcee, the BBC’s Robin Ince. Tupperware Remix Party will provide the evening’s soundtrack. Thursday, January 11. $15–$105. Roy Thomson Hall.
The best in Canadian film
2With Oscar season in full swing, TIFF offers up 2017’s best homegrown movies. The annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival features 10 days of features, shorts, panels and talks that show the imagination and diversity of Canadian filmmaking. The festival begins Friday with Kyle Rideout’s romantic comedy Adventures in Public School and also includes Rumble, a documentary about First Nations rock stars, and Ava, the story of a young woman in Tehran. Friday, January 12 to Sunday, January 21. $14. TIFF Bell Lightbox.
CBC’s gritty new true-crime series
3CBC taps in to the true crime TV craze with The Detectives, a binge-worthy eight-part docudrama that fuses the high-stakes intrigue of Making a Murderer with the enthralling insider intel of Law and Order. In each episode, a real Canadian cop recounts the gripping details behind the most onerous investigation of their career. The stories—brought to life through scripted reenactments—span the entire country, but at least one episode is set in Toronto, where a detective hunts down a serial arsonist. Wednesday, January 10. CBC.
A tragically topical refugee saga
4Before displaced Syrians began seeking refuge in Canada, residents of another conflict-riddled nation came to our shores. Sharon Bala’s debut novel, The Boat People, tells the story of Mahindan and his young son, two refugees fleeing Sri Lanka’s civil war on a ship destined for Vancouver. When authorities discover some of the “boat people” are members of a militant faction, Mahindan ends up in a detention centre, fighting for his son’s future. Bala’s timely manuscript is a sharp examination of the global refugee crisis from both the human and bureaucratic perspectives. Tuesday, January 9. Doubleday.
A new year’s new Lear
5In various productions throughout 2018, Canada’s finest actresses will lay claim to Shakespeare’s great male characters: Prospero, Cassius, Mark Antony and Julius Caesar. First, the formidable Seana McKenna takes on the title role in Groundling Theatre Company’s stacked production of King Lear. In a smart stroke of casting, beloved Whose Line comedian Colin Mochrie plays her wise Fool. The superb cast also includes veterans of both the stage (from Shaw and Stratford) and the screen (from Orphan Black, The Calling and Letterkenny). Tuesday, January 9 to Sunday, January 28. $35. Harbourfront Centre Theatre.
A woke Mockingbird redux
6Julie, a wealthy Jamaican-Canadian screenwriter, wants to retell the Southern classic To Kill a Mockingbird from the viewpoint of the Finch family’s maternal black maid, Calpurnia. When she seeks the help of Precy, her own family’s Filipina caregiver, she triggers an explosive stand-off that gives her more of the servant’s perspective than she’d bargained for. Dora Award–winning playwright Audrey Dwyer’s gutsy new comedy, Calpurnia, will leave you cringing in your seat as it fearlessly confronts the racism and inequality festering under the surface of liberal Toronto. Sunday, January 14 to Sunday, February 4. $25–$35. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
An uproarious marital mess
7Crow’s Theatre brings back one of the most popular productions of its first season at Streetcar Crowsnest: Kristen Thomson’s Dora-nominated comedy The Wedding Party. A normal wedding becomes the setting for an over-the-top farce involving family tension, mistaken identities and a bit too much drink. Anyone with a family should be able to relate. Until Saturday, January 20. $35–$50. Crow’s Theatre.
A living, breathing art exhibition
8Thirteen artists and designers explore their relationship to nature in The Sunshine Eaters, an immersive exhibition at OCAD. Using plants, flowers and trees as their canvas, artists including Shary Boyle, Alanis Obomsawin, Nick Cave and Jessica Karuhanga create a message of hope in a time of environmental uncertainty. Wednesday, January 10 to Sunday, April 15. Free. OCAD Onsite Gallery.
A rising painter’s dreamlike art exhibition
9Toronto-based Czech artist Veronika Pausova paints hands, insects, household objects and other everyday items with a delicate wit and lively mastery of colour. Her geometrically precise and deceptively simple works provide a whimsical glimpse of the world—and they recently earned an honourable mention in the prestigious RBC Canadian Painting Competition. This month, Pausova’s paintings hang alongside her husband Carl Marin’s playfully experimental installations. Thursday, January 11 to Saturday, February 3. Franz Kaka Gallery.
An explosive demolition derby
10These are troubled times, and sometimes you just want to sit back and watch cars get crushed. Monster Jam hits Toronto this weekend with 10,000 pounds of 2,000-horsepower entertainment, soaring like fly balls across the Rogers Centre field. Saturday, January 13 and Sunday, January 14. $15–$129. Rogers Centre.
Never miss another great event
This post originally included outdated information about Chris Hadfield's Generator.