A chat with Margaret Atwood, a dazzling new ballet and seven other things to do this week
A conversation with CanCon icon Margaret Atwood
The queen of Canadian fiction chats with George Stroumboulopoulos about The Heart Goes Last, her sharpest social critique since The Handmaid’s Tale. Its post-apocalyptic premise: in the midst of an economic meltdown that’s driven the poor to homelessness and the wealthy to offshore havens, a jobless young couple tries to ensure a modest middle-class future by selling their souls to a sinister social experiment. Wednesday, November 11. FREE. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., torontopubliclibrary.ca.
A crash course in the modern vinyl boom
Want to learn more about why vinyl is making a comeback? Ever wondered what happens when a needle rides a groove? Want to impress your hippest friends? OG Toronto producer DJ Agile is breaking down the basics of vinyl appreciation in this hour-and-a-half-long talk and demo, featuring a trio of special guests who will share crate-digging tips, explain the science of top-quality sound and show off the Reference Library’s 15,000-record vinyl collection. Thursday, November 12. FREE. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., torontopubliclibrary.ca.
The Winter’s Tale, an ornate new show from the National Ballet
The superstar U.K. choreographer Christopher Wheeldon teams up with the National Ballet of Canada for a triumphant take on Shakespeare’s romance about royalty, rage and redemption, in which a king seeks forgiveness after falsely accusing his wife of adultery. Look out for new principal dancers Naoya Ebe, Elena Lobsanova and Jurgita Dronina juggling the lead roles. Saturday, November 14 to Sunday, November 22. From $37. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., national.ballet.ca.
A food festival at St. Lawrence Market
Attendees at the all-you-can-eat-and-drink Evening at the Market get to stroll around St. Lawrence after hours, sampling snacks from participating vendors, all in support of FoodShare Toronto. Among the many highlights: flaming saganaki from Yianni’s Kitchen, and oysters from Seafront Fish Market, shucked by the Ceili Cottage’s bivalve boy wonder, Patrick McMurray. And what’s an event like this without acrobatics? Zero Gravity Circus will be on site performing feats that nobody should try on a full stomach. Thursday, November 12. $75. St. Lawrence Market, 92-95 Front St. E., 416-392-7219, stlawrencemarket.com.
A theatrical Hawksley Workman concert
In a little more than 15 years, the Freddie Mercury of CanRock has released 11 full-length albums, acted in a couple of films, toured a one-man cabaret and played drums in the Canadian supergroup Mounties. His music is just as varied as his career, wandering between arena-appropriate glam-rock bangers (remember “We Will Still Need a Song”?) and sentimental piano ballads. Saturday, November 14. $40.75. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., ticketmaster.com.
A Roald Dahl Day screening of Fantastic Mr. Fox
Before it was a stop-motion film by Wes Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox was a children’s book by Roald Dahl. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is revisiting the movie’s roots on the sixth annual Toronto Roald Dahl Day (who knew?) with a screening of the flick. Come early to hear the top three submissions in a writing contest that asked kids to explore “what if the Fantastic Mr. Fox lived in today’s Toronto?” Saturday, November 14. $9.73. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., hotdocs.ca.
Seminar, a writer’s take on Whiplash
Stratford vet Tom McCamus plays Leonard, a respected novelist turned brash and irritable editor in Mirvish’s production of the Broadway hit. When four young writers in New York fork over money to tap his wisdom, they’re subjected to wildly non-traditional teaching, biting favouritism and a web of fierce alliances and courtships. Saturday, November 14 to December 6. $19–$99. Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge St., mirvish.com.
A two-week Indigenous dance festival
Twenty Indigenous artists deliver as many performances during Weesageechak Begins to Dance, a festival from Native Earth Performing Arts. Watch for Montreal-based choreographer Lara Kramer’s Tame (Nov. 12 and 14), a comically perverse three-woman dance piece set in a confined apartment, and Weesageechak veteran Kenneth T. Williams, whose In Care (Nov. 21) examines the relationship between Indigenous people and family-services organizations. Wednesday, November 11 to Saturday, November 21. $15. Aki Studio Theatre, 585 Dundas St. W., nativeearth.ca.
A folksy world music show by Beirut
Zach Condon, the uke-strumming Santa Fe musician behind Beirut, was inspired by a mishmash of jazz lessons, local mariachi bands and Neutral Milk Hotel. As his reputation grew, so did his band: Condon now employs a handful a musicians to deliver the sort of folk-tinged, European-influenced indie pop he’ll perform this weekend. Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14. $44–$47. Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., ticketmaster.com.