A Meat Loaf musical, a podcast festival and six other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A formidable Meat Loaf musical
1After its hit London run, Jim Steinman’s new musical, Bat Out of Hell, roars across the pond for every Canadian who’s ever sung karaoke to that mini-opera of sweaty teenage lust “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” or sobbed along to the power ballad “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.” Inspired by Meat Loaf’s 1977 album, the show employs classic revved-up rock songs to tell a futuristic fairy tale of adolescent love and rebellion, accented by leather jackets, aviator shades and rumbling motorcycles. Saturday, October 14 to Sunday, December 3. $29–$119. Ed Mirvish Theatre.
A week of spooky cinema
2This week, ghouls, goblins and things that go bump in the night get together for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, Toronto’s annual summit of horror and genre cinema. This year’s highlights include the opening night gala My Friend Dahmer (about going to high school with the infamous killer) and a live appearance by everyone’s favourite killer doll, Chucky. Thursday, October 12 to Friday, October 20. $13.50. Scotiabank Theatre.
A podcast lover’s paradise
3Ten of your favourite podcasts jump out of your earbuds and onto the Hot Docs stage during this four-day festival. Highlights from the expanded lineup include live recordings of the pop-culture phenomenon Missing Richard Simmons (about the search for the reclusive fitness guru), Another Round (a weekly discussion on culture, race and gender by BuzzFeed staffers Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu, shown above) and the dependable Canadian crowd-pleaser Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids (a hysterical open mike of goofy Grade 1 assignments and angsty teen diary entries). Thursday, October 12 to Sunday, October 15. From $15. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
A city-wide improv fest
4With more than 100 performances over nine days, the Big City Improv Festival is Canada’s largest improv showcase. This year’s highlights include performances by K$M, Squad Goals Birthday Party, Coko and Daphney, and The Yes Men, plus the premiere of A Very Specific Place, a site-specific show by Second City alumni Jan Caruana and Rob Baker at Siberia Vintage. Friday, October 13 to Saturday, October 21. $12–$15. Various venues.
A quirky book’s stellar turn onstage
5The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won seven Olivier Awards in London and five Tonys on Broadway. Now the National Theatre’s dazzling dramatization of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel arrives in Toronto. Playwright Simon Stephens’ clever adaptation takes audiences inside the unique mind of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old math whiz with an autism spectrum disorder, as he sets out to solve the mysterious murder of a neighbour’s dog. Marianne Elliott (War Horse, Angels in America) directs, and Joshua Jenkins, star of the show’s U.K. tour, reprises his role as Christopher. Tuesday, October 10 to Sunday, November 19. $38–$119. Princess of Wales Theatre.
Canada’s best up-and-coming digital artists
6This week is your last chance to check out the video art gunning to win the third annual EQ Bank Emerging Digital Artist Award, the first award of its kind in Canada. The exhibition includes a mythical history of the Internet that plays out like a text-based game, a YouTube video mash-up about residential schools and a GIF-based work that experiments with the relationship between images and sounds. Until Thursday, October 12. Free. 121-401 Richmond St. W.
A Canadian indie rock double bill
7Vancouver supergroup the New Pornographers have pumped out infectious power pop for 20 years, tweaking their guitar rock with synths and experimental flourishes to stay fresh. On their new album, Whiteout Conditions, they’re down a man (songwriter Dan Bejar bowed out to focus on his other project, Destroyer), but duo A. C. Newman and Neko Case more than hold their own with effortless harmonies. The band is backed up by local favourites Born Ruffians, whose tunes dwell in the same indie sphere, albeit with more bite—no one yelps quite like front man Luke Lalonde. Saturday, October 14. $18.94–$39.50. Massey Hall.
An all-female music marathon
8Women in Music is one part conference, one part music festival. During the day, workshops, lectures and panels will address women’s place in the music industry, while every night is a party, with performances by buzzy acts like Maybe Baby, Pony, Mackenta, Witch Prophet and Falcon Jane. Wednesday, October 11 to Friday, October 13. $8–$12. Drake Underground.
A pop-up gallery on Queen West
9A rustic Queen Street furniture store becomes a pop-up art gallery during Navette’s Place, an exhibition of art that depicts marginalized subjects. Portraits by artists Iman Bhatti, Malcolm Emilio, Curtia Wright and Brendan Yhip explore issues of sex, race and identity, while the store’s homey decor is meant to convey a sense of belonging. Thursday, October 12 to Sunday, October 15. Free. Rusty Hinges.