A Harry Styles show, an evening with Stephen King and seven other things to see, do, hear and read this week
One Direction’s one exception
1When One Direction splintered as all boy bands inevitably do, Zayn began crooning moody R&B, Niall strummed cutesy acoustic pop, Liam did hip hop, and Louis dove into EDM. On his self-titled debut, Harry Styles proves he’s the only heartthrob of the bunch uninterested in 2017’s Top 40 trends. The introspective, lovelorn album instead references the classic rock and Britpop of Elton John, Bowie and the Beatles (Styles’ fingerpicked ballad “Sweet Creature” is almost too close to “Blackbird”). On this tour, Styles swaps stadium shows for vibey concert-hall gigs, stripped-down Kanye West covers and the odd 1D hit. Wednesday, October 4. $96.11. Massey Hall.
A Canuck-driven Blade Runner redux
2After reprising Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford continues his late-career tour through his most famous roles with a follow-up to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic. But the real attractions of Blade Runner 2049 are two Canadians: Oscar nominees Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) and everyone’s fantasy boyfriend, Ryan Gosling (La La Land). They’ll lend moody atmosphere and smouldering charisma to this sequel, in which a new blade runner uncovers a disturbing secret that leads him to Rick Deckard, who has been missing for 30 years. Friday, October 8.
A night with Stephen King and son
3The horror maestro and his younger son, Owen, appear in Canada together for the first time to promote their joint novel, Sleeping Beauties, the classically Kingian tale of a mystical event that suddenly sends all the world’s women into a deep slumber. The father-son duo will discuss their collaborative process, the story’s contemporary relevance and what it was like for Owen to grow up in the shadow of the most famous horror author of all time. Hopefully, they get along at least as well as Jack and Danny Torrance. Thursday, October 5. $50. Koerner Hall.
The history of Toronto in 100 sketches
4Illustrator Daniel Rotsztain earned his title as Toronto’s “urban geographer” with his adorable ink drawings of all the city’s libraries. In his new colouring book, A Colourful History, he sketches more than 100 of Toronto’s historic sites—including Casa Loma, Gibson House and Todmorden Mills. Rotsztain launches the volume with an exhibition of his playful pieces, revealing a richly historic, slightly quirky side of Toronto that has weathered the tides of gentrification. Wednesday, October 4 to Sunday, October 15. Free. Todmorden Mills.
A diverse dance marathon
5Fall for Dance North is a three-night dance sampler spectacle, featuring a wide range of styles (from ballet and Irish to contemporary and street) from 10 different companies curated by artistic director Ilter Ibrahimof. Each night offers a different program, but they all conclude with 72-Person Ballpassing, a uniquely entrancing performance that combines the complex synchronization of dance with the playfulness of a schoolyard game. Wednesday, October 4 to Friday, October 6. $15. Sony Centre.
An unnerving play for the post-Ghomeshi era
6Inspired by the Ghomeshi trial, actress-playwright Ellie Moon’s new documentary play, Asking For It, probes the difficult question of consent. Moon interviewed everyone from Crown attorneys and academics to her own friends and lovers to put together a show that examines current assault laws and the ambiguities that often come with intimate relationships. Honest, funny and disturbing, the premiere will leave audiences with plenty to debate after the house lights go up. Friday, October 6 to Saturday, October 21. $20–$30. Streetcar Crowsnest.
An interdisciplinary arts fest with Lido Pimienta
7Aluna Theatre’s five-day Caminos festival features some of the best theatre, music and art from local Pan-American, Latin American and Indigenous creators. Some of the highlights: Fringe hit In Sundry Language, a series of comical vignettes about immigration, accents and the question “Where are you from?”; an autobiographical solo show from Augusto Bitter, a queer Venezuelan Catholic; and We’re in a Non-Relationship Relationship, a performance by 2017 Polaris Prize winner Lido Pimienta, pictured above. Wednesday, October 4 to Sunday, October 8. $13–$18. Aki Studio and Artscape Daniels Spectrum.
A taste of Japan’s indie rock scene
8Toronto has become an unlikely hotspot for Japanese indie rock thanks to Next Music From Tokyo, the passion project of local anesthesiologist named Steve Tanaka. Twice a year, he pays tens of thousands of dollars to tour a handful of his favourite acts from the Land of the Rising Sun across Canada. On the 11th edition’s line-up: math rockers Jyocho and Nuito, quirky pop outfit Gozen Sanji to Taikustu, and Koutei Camera Girl Drei, who put a edgy, electronic twist on Japanese idol girl groups. Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7. $14–$20. Tranzac and Lee’s Palace.
An opulent Viennese opera
9Though it premiered in Dresden in 1933, Richard Strauss’s late-life opera, Arabella—a sentimental comedy charged with the composer’s trademark lyricism—has rarely, if ever, been performed in Canada. The COC’s overdue production follows the titular heroine (played by Canadian soprano Erin Wall) and her family’s search for a wealthy husband in 19th-century Vienna, hoping that his fortunes might save them from impending bankruptcy. There are comic suitors, misunderstandings and a mischievous subplot involving Arabella’s younger sister (disguised as a boy and played by Jane Archibald), but both women are happily coupled by the final curtain. Thursday, October 5 to Saturday, October 28. From $50. Four Seasons Centre.