A Pearl Jam concert, a conversation with Tony Kushner and 10 other things to do this week
Two gut-punching Pearl Jam shows
The grunge icons graduated from garages to stadiums with their abrasive, riff-based rock. Their recent records are mellower and more mature: 2009’s Backspacer had an indie feel and a couple of acoustic ballads, front man Eddie Vedder recorded an entire solo album on ukulele in 2011, and the lyrics of 2013’s Lightning Bolt are fixated on aging. But their live shows still deliver the devastating power of early singles like “Even Flow” and “Jeremy.” Tuesday, May 10 and Wednesday, May 11. $87.50. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., ticketmaster.com.
A talk with Tony Kushner
The Pulitzer-winning playwright is still best known for his two-part theatrical epic Angels in America, a heavy, heady account of AIDS in the ’80s. His sprawling oeuvre also includes plays, books and scripts for Oscar-nominated films like Spielberg’s Lincoln and Munich. In this talk, Kushner discusses how he translates slippery, complex subjects onto the page. Monday, May 9. $29–$69. Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge St., mirvish.com.
A Little Too Cozy, an operatic dating show
Against the Grain Theatre, the iconoclastic opera troupe known for staging Mozart in dive bars, adapts Wolfie’s sex romp Così Fan Tutte into a raunchy Bachelor-style game show. The old cynic Don Alfonso transforms into a moustachioed Chris Harrison, and the crowd doubles as a live studio audience, with cues to laugh, clap and cry. Thursday, May 12 to Saturday, May 21. $35–$95. Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Studio 42, 25 John St., againstthegraintheatre.com.
A party where everyone wins a piece of art
At Mercer Union’s fundraiser gala, every attendee with a ticket takes home an original piece of art. The gallery has commissioned 25 artists to create small-scale prints on paper. Guests will pick which piece they take home when their ticket number is randomly drawn. The catch: once you’re up, you have just one minute to choose. Wednesday, May 11. $175. Mercer Union, 1286 Bloor St. W., mercerunion.org.
Hawksley Workman’s tribute to Bruce Cockburn
Workman’s dramatic glam-rock is one thing on an album; it’s an entirely different animal onstage. In this collaboration with the Art of Time Ensemble, he pays tribute to the jazz-tinged folk-rock of Bruce Cockburn with an eclectic cabaret that will fuse songs from both artists’ back catalogues with classical arrangements and theatrical antics. Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14. $25–$59. Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 235 Queens Quay W., artoftimeensemble.com.
The Testament of Mary, an alternative history of Jesus’ mother
This weighty one-woman show, an adaptation of Irish author Colm Tóibín’s 2012 novel, recounts the life of Jesus through the eyes of his mother. It’s set in the years after Christ’s death, as disciples flock to Mary for sacred stories, only to find her delivering less-than-holy tales. The controversial play captures the conflicting emotions—pride, wistfulness, frustration, even envy—of Christ’s bereaved mother, played here by Soulpepper vet Nancy Palk. Tuesday, May 17 to Saturday, June 18; previews to Monday, May 16. $25–$60. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln., soulpepper.ca.
Cheryl Strayed on the story behind Wild
In the span of five years, Strayed lost her mother, divorced her husband and started using heroin. To escape the devastation, she hiked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and detailed the journey in Wild, the bestselling book that inspired the Oscar-nominated film. At TIFF’s Books on Film screening of the movie, Strayed tells her story and speaks about adapting her memoir for the screen. Monday, May 9. $35. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., tiff.net.
A baroque-pop set by Ben Folds
On his newest album, So There, the American singer-songwriter departs from the gentle, emotive alt-rock of his early years in favour of bouncy baroque pop. The record features a concerto performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and clever, quick-moving collaborations with the New York chamber ensemble yMusic. Wednesday, May 11. $50.75–$71.25. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., ticketmaster.ca.
JessGo’s pop-art gallery opening
If you haven’t seen Jessica Gorlicky live-painting at parties around the city, you’ve probably come across her bright, poppy work for Google, Sephora or the Olympics. This weekend, she debuts Toronto’s newest gallery, a bright space filled with colourful portraits and playful sculptures—like a giant Gumby and life-sized Monopoly pieces. Drop by between noon and 5 p.m., when Gorlicky will be painting a new piece for the crowds. Saturday, May 14. Free. Jessica Gorlicky Designs, 660 Caledonia Rd., unit 105, jessgo.com.
Steer, a sci-fi dance piece
In this futuristic solo show from Zata Omm Dance Projects choreographer William Yong, motion sensors and infrared cameras capture the movements of a wired-up dancer on a dark stage, then instantaneously project spooky, sci-fi visuals. One step might distort a video of a human face; another could spawn gridded lines of light. The result is a surreal, engaging World Stage spectacle. Wednesday, May 11 to Saturday, May 14. $34. Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W., harbourfrontcentre.com.
Marvellous Creatures, an exhibition of ancient animals
The manuscripts, ceramics, jewellery, glass and other works in the Aga Khan Museum’s new show depict birds, beasts and other beings from centuries of Islamic legends and fables. Whether they date from the seventh century or the 21st, the works are vibrant, intricately detailed and bursting with stories waiting to be discovered. To Sunday, September 11. $20. Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., agakhanmuseum.org.
The Odd Couple, the original bromantic comedy
Soulpepper founders Diego Matamoros and Albert Schultz star as neurotic newsman Felix and slovenly sportswriter Oscar in Neil Simon’s droll play. When their marriages crumble, they move in together and, of course, hilarity ensues. Tuesday, May 10 to Saturday, June 11. $94. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln., soulpepper.ca.