Field Trip, the National Ballet’s take on A Streetcar Named Desire and nine other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A weekend with Broken Social Scene
1When indie label Arts and Crafts threw the first Field Trip in 2013, it was essentially an excuse to get Broken Social Scene back onstage. The sprawling supergroup headlines again this year, but don’t mistake the fest for another nostalgia trip. The band has a long-awaited album to debut, as do co-headliners Feist and French synth rockers Phoenix. Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4. $80–$125. Fort York Garrison Common.
One Brother Shy, a loner’s unlikely life story
2 Stephen Leacock Award–winning humourist Terry Fallis brings his usual wit—and a new level of poignancy—to his new novel.Alex MacAskill is an introverted 20-something software engineer who keeps to himself. But when his beloved mother dies after a long illness, he’s forced to emerge from his safe little world and confront memories of a traumatic childhood incident. The process takes him from Ottawa to London to Moscow in search of his true identity—and, unexpectedly, a twin brother. Tuesday, May 30. McClelland and Stewart.
A slick, sultry show from the National Ballet
3Fans of Tennessee Williams’ sexed-up southern drama are in for a surprise: the National Ballet’s new production of A Streetcar Named Desire diverges from the play, diving into Blanche Dubois’s troubled past, including her traumatic failed marriage and the loss of her family’s plantation. Choreographer John Neumeier, known to Toronto audiences for his sweeping Nijinsky, styles his production like a film noir, with dramatic backlighting, retro costumes and a score that alternates between the Romanticism of Prokofiev and the more jarring tones of Alfred Schnittke. Guillaume Côté does his best sweaty Brando, while Sonia Rodriguez dances the part of the fallen belle. Saturday, June 3 to Saturday, June 10. $39–$265. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
Around the world in 12 instruments
4The dozen musicians in the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra call Canada home but trace their cultural roots to Burkina Faso, Tibet, Peru, Pakistan and beyond. The instruments they play are just as varied: the tar (a precursor to the guitar), the esraj (like a sitar) and the kambélé n’goni (you just have to see it), along with down-home additions like the spoons and jaw harp. In this one-off concert, they premiere original music created to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial. It’s the feel-good performance of the month. Friday, June 2. From $45. Koerner Hall.
A date to remember
5In Blind Date, Rebecca Northan plays Mimi, a coquettish clown who picks a random audience member to be her plus-one for the evening. In Toronto, London, New York and beyond, she’s improvised her way through nearly 600 performances, often asking the audience for suggestions that sway the fate of the date. The show returns to Toronto this month, where Northan will share her role with two other actors. Tuesday, May 30 to Sunday, June 25. $55. Tarragon Theatre.
A zany, continent-hopping satire
6In Pasha Malla’s novel Fugue States, Ash, an Indo-Canadian radio host, uncovers a long-lost piece of fiction about his late father’s ancestral home, Kashmir. He’s curious about his dad’s background but hesitant to visit the war-torn region, so, in a farcical twist, his pothead friend Matt decides to go in his stead. Malla exhibited a knack for the unexpected in The Withdrawal Method—a collection of short stories about Niagara Falls running dry, among other things—and we expect similar depths of imagination in his second novel, a sharp satire about displacement, heritage and colonialism. Tuesday, May 30. Knopf Canada.
Chance the (most fun) Rapper
7Last year was stuffed with pioneering rap albums: Kanye’s The Life of Pablo, Drake’s Views, Kendrick’s Untitled Unmastered. But none of those guys seemed to have as much fun as Chance the Rapper did on Coloring Book, a mix of hip-hop swagger, bouncy wordplay and gospel (listen for the children’s choir). Tuesday, May 30. $39.25–$194.25. Budweiser Stage.
A freaky, futuristic graphic novel
8Canadian illustrator Jillian Tamaki has brought a playful sense of humour and a witty, evocative drawing style to projects like Skim (a graphic novel about a loner in a Toronto high school), This One Summer (a wistful coming-of-age story set in a Canadian beach town) and the web comic SuperMutant Magic Academy (exactly what it sounds like). Her latest collection, Boundless, presents a wry vision of how real and virtual life overlap. The uncanny short stories could double as Black Mirror episodes: a girl who obsesses over an alternate version of herself on Facebook, a viral music file that starts a cult, and animals who let humans see the world through their eyes. Tuesday, May 30. Drawn and Quarterly.
The Decades Project, a musical time machine to the 1930s
9In 2015, the TSO began chugging through the music of the 1900s in 10-year bursts. This month: the ’30s, when global turmoil powered both radical innovation and nostalgia for simpler eras. Alban Berg’s violin concerto has both, mixing Bach-style harmony with experimental techniques (June 2 and 3). Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins, a satirical sung ballet with mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta (pictured above), contrasts with the neo-Romanticism of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings (June 14 and 15). And Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s ebullient cantata, looks back to the songs of medieval monks (June 21 and 24). Friday, June 2 to Saturday, June 24. $60–$154. Roy Thomson Hall.
A fundraiser feast
10 This Sunday, Toronto Taste’s annual fundraiser for Second Harvest goes down at Corus Quay. Sixty of the city’s top chefs (Mark McEwan, Craig Wong, Elia Herrera, Jesse Vallins and Ivana Raca, to name a few) will be making just as many dishes for attendees to work their way through. Also: 30 beer, wine and cider producers will be on hand to aid in palate cleansing between bites. 19+. Sunday, June 4. $260. Toronto Taste.
YYC in YYZ
On Thursday night, Omaw’s Matt Blondin will have some help in his kitchen courtesy of Eric Hendry, the chef of Calgary’s Bar Von Der Fels (and formerly of Model Milk). Thursday’s eight-course menu has yet to be released, but if the popular Calgarian wine bar’s Instagram account is any clue, every dish is sure to be highly Instagrammable. Thursday, June 1. $80. Omaw.