Comicon, a chat with Zadie Smith and eight other things to do this week
The geekiest weekend of the year
Thanks to the new batch of Star Wars flicks, Comicon 2017 will feel more like 1977, complete with roaming legions of Vaders, Stormtroopers and Jedi. The annual summit of geeks and gamers will also feature a panel with the original cast of Degrassi, as well as stars from the Big Bang Theory, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham. Plus, celeb photo sessions, panels, steampunk clothing sales and more nerd merch than Comic Book Guy would know what to do with. Friday, March 17 to Sunday, March 19. From $20. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, comicontoronto.com.
A chat with Zadie Smith
The acclaimed author of White Teeth and Swing Time hits the Lightbox for a screening of Merchant-Ivory’s 1985 classic A Room with a View. She’ll discuss how the film influenced her work and talk about repressive cultural and sexual attitudes in Edwardian England. Part of TIFF’s Books on Film series. Monday, March 13. $14. TIFF Bell Lightbox, tiff.net.
A modern reimagining of a 17th-century play
Governor General’s Award–winning playwright Erin Shields revamps Sir John Vanbrugh’s 1697 comedy The Provoked Wife as The Millennial Malcontent. When a frustrated young couple stray from their disappointing marriage, they find themselves entangled in a drama involving a YouTube celebrity, a music blogger, a PhD student and a party girl. To Sunday, April 9. $55–$60. Tarragon Theatre, tarragontheatre.com.
Rick Mercer on Canadian comedy
Does living north of the border make you funnier? CanComedy warhorse Rick Mercer and Video on Trial alum Sabrina Jalees join Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders for a wide-ranging discussion on the Canada’s comedic identity. Part of the Gardiner Museum’s Canada 150 celebrations. Wednesday, March 15. $15. Gardiner Museum, gardinermuseum.on.ca.
A hoser comedy’s long-awaited second act
The 2011 movie Goon was that rare thing: an über-Canadian flick that was a box office hit. Six years later, the boys are returning to the rink in Last of the Enforcers. Writer-actor Jay Baruchel takes over the director’s seat in this belated sequel, in which the threat of new ownership forces bouncer-turned-enforcer Doug “The Thug” Glatt (Seann William Scott) to rejoin his hockey team, the Halifax Highlanders. As a returning vet, he trains a bench of newbies and butts heads with an old enemy who’s since earned the captain’s C. Returning stars Alison Pill and Eugene Levy join Goon newcomer Elisha Cuthbert for another raunchy comedy à la Judd Apatow. Opens Friday, March 17.
A TED-style guide to Toronto’s booming tech scene
The city’s start-up community converges at TechTO, where innovators give five-minute presentations on the secrets to their success and the exploding tech industry. This edition’s speakers include Kirk Simpson, the CEO of the online accounting service Wave, and former Facebook exec Steve Irvine, on his company Integrate.ai and the future of AI. Monday, March 13. $20. RBC WaterPark Place, techtoronto.org.
A freewheeling Wilco show
A listener might justifiably assume that, when an aging dad-rock band named Wilco releases back-to-back albums called Star Wars and Schmilco, said group has phoned it in. On the contrary, the rootsy Chicago outfit—long associated with opaque experimentation and snobby fans—seems to finally be having some fun. Wednesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 16. $39.50–$85. Massey Hall, masseyhall.com.
A Handel opera on the high seas
Not so long ago, Handel opera performances were a rarity—according to one study, not a single one was staged between 1754 and 1920. But, these days, the composer is enjoying an operatic second wind. One result of that renaissance: this vibrant U of T interpretation of the little-known Imeneo, the story of a young woman torn between marrying the man she loves and the man who saved her from pirates. Expect daring director Tim Albery to add a characteristic contemporary spin to the production. Thursday, March 16 to Sunday, March 19. From $40. MacMillan Theatre, rcmusic.ca.
A City, an experimental documentary play
Greg MacArthur’s documentary-style play is inspired by the experiences of a real Montreal-based theatre company. With tableau-like scenes, text, storytelling and a dash of fiction, it tells a darkly funny story about four artists whose lives change after a famous friend mysteriously dies. Tuesday, March 14 to April 2. $20–$40. Artscape Sandbox, brownpapertickets.com.
The zany Real Estate Wealth Expo
At last, your chance to see self-help guru Tony Robbins, Dragon Jim Treliving and rapper Pitbull at the same event. Whatever their qualifications, these and other superstars will dish out nuggets of wisdom on how to survive and thrive in the logic-defying real estate market in more than 30 workshops on investment strategies, motivational tactics and more. Saturday, March 18. From $149. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, realestatewealthexpo.com.