OVO Fest, CBC’s answer to Friday Night Lights and eight other things to see, do, hear and read this week
Drake’s hip-hop summit
1Aubrey’s annual jam features OVO stalwarts like Majid Jordan and PartyNextDoor, but everyone knows the fest’s most exciting acts—apart from Drizzy himself, of course—never appear on the posters. Past surprise guests have included Kanye West, Rihanna and Jay-Z. It’s anyone’s guess who swings by this time around. Monday, August 7. $69.25–$229.25. Budweiser Stage.
A futuristic VR art show
2At Prosthetic Reality, art comes to life. Viewers use smartphones and tablets to interact with works by 30 international artists, digital animators and sound designers, transforming black-and-white pieces into full colour. Guests can even add their own animation to the art through a mobile app, while kids can take part in the Crayola Kids Zone, a.k.a. crayoning for the 21st century. Tuesday, August 1 to Tuesday, August 15. $15. House of VR.
A sexy, crime-filled sports drama
3Canada’s answer to Friday Night Lights is set on a soccer pitch, not a football field. In CBC’s 21 Thunder, the big league–bound players of an elite under-21 club in Montreal play and live hard, getting swept up in steamy romance and seedy crime when the cleats come off. Canadian veteran Colm Feore stars as a former gang kingpin trying to reconcile with his troubled son, a team member played by Supernatural’s R. J. Fetherstonhaugh. A young roster of actors, including footballer-turned-actor Ryan Pierce and Torontonian Emmanuel Kabongo, rounds out the cast. Premieres July 31. CBC.
The return of Ontario Place
4This long weekend, the newly reopened Ontario Place is home to the Art and Music Ontario Festival, a free fest of tunes and creations from across the province. Local electropopper Lowell headlines the music line-up, attendees can design their own pair of sneakers at the festival market, and a drone light show will cap Saturday night’s programming. Friday, August 4 to Monday, August 7. Free. Ontario Place.
An electro extravaganza
5VELD, the city’s biggest rave, gets a trifecta of global superstars—Tiësto, Zedd and Major Lazer—plus a two-day roster of other DJs who know their way around an EDM drop. This year also features a healthy hip-hop contingent, with sets from Future, Tory Lanez and Migos. Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6. $155.50. Downsview Park.
An antebellum play’s modern redux
6U.S. playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play An Octoroon takes a well-meant (but now embarrassing) melodrama from 1859 and repurposes it into a wickedly funny commentary on race today. Shaw’s Canadian premiere, directed by Peter Hinton, features a stellar cast of black, white and Indigenous actors—in whiteface, blackface and redface—telling the tale of a Louisiana plantation owner who risks losing his estate over his love for a woman of one-eighth African ancestry. To Saturday, October 14. From $55. Royal George Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Fleet Foxes’ bucolic comeback
7It took Fleet Foxes six years to release its third album, but the years don’t really show on a band that plays jangling 1960s-style folk with a pastoral 16th-century feel. Crack-Up is as timeless as the earlier albums, stuffed with four-part harmonies, mythical lyrics and lush instrumentals fit for a castle courtyard. Expect the group to fill Massey Hall with the sound when they premiere new material and reach into the catalogue for sing-alongs like “White Winter Hymnal.” Friday, August 4. $39.50–$59.50. Massey Hall.
An ode to a great Canadian pianist
8Anton Kuerti is celebrated for his probing interpretations of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms—and, more unusually for a classical artist, his commitment to social justice issues. As an anti-war and environmental activist, he gave benefit concerts before his health sidelined his performance career in 2013. He’ll be in attendance for this tribute concert, where pianist Jane Coop, mezzo Laura Pudwell and a trio of string players will play a program of Kuerti’s favoured composers and works. Thursday, August 3. Walter Hall.
A border drama’s timely revival
9Canada hasn’t always had open arms. A century ago, a devious policy effectively barred South Asians from our shores. That is, until 1914, when 376 Punjabi immigrants arrived in Vancouver aboard the steamship Komagata Maru and challenged the rule. Sharon Pollock dramatized the resulting standoff in her 1976 play, The Komagata Maru Incident, which receives a re-staging at Stratford. The show takes place on the ship and in a Chinese brothel—and, in a new twist, is narrated by an Indigenous actor. Saturday, August 5 to Sunday, September 24. From $50. Studio Theatre, Stratford.
A glimpse of the musical man behind the curtain
10You may not recognize his name, but you’ve heard his music: the German-born composer Hans Zimmer is the man behind the scores of The Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean. He’s also the rare TV and film composer who takes his show on the road, adopting a rock-and-roll persona as he delivers his distinctive sound, a fusion of classical orchestral textures with armies of synths. The live performance is both weird and rapturous, filled with guest appearances by local pop stars. Tuesday, August 1. $49.50–$175. Air Canada Centre.