Bid farewell to music fest season, stuff yourself at Oktoberfest and seven more things to do this week
Overdose on folk at the Toronto Urban Roots Festival
Festival season’s last hurrah is a roots-rock paradise, with more than 40 acts over three days. Who to see? Day one: Conor Oberst’s punk-powered Desaparecidos and Icelandic foot-stompers Of Monsters and Men. Day two: alt-country faves Wilco and cult heroes Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Day three: twang titan Neko Case and indie icons the Pixies. Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 20. Single-day tickets $89.50–$139.50; weekend pass $189.50. Fort York Garrison Common, 100 Garrison Rd., torontourbanrootsfest.com.
Watch an award-winning playwright’s sophomore production
Playwright Pamela Mala Sinha made a name for herself in Toronto’s theatre scene with her 2012 Dora Award–winning effort, Crash, a semi-autobiographical one-woman show that examines the aftermath of a rape. Happy Place, her second play and a companion piece to its predecessor, is an exploration and celebration of six diverse women, ranging in age from 23 to 60, living with depression at an in-patient care facility. To October 17. $29.50–$94. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln., soulpepper.ca.
Get sad with Sun Kil Moon
If you don’t listen closely, you might think Mark Kozelek was just another 40-something guy singing melancholic melodies over acoustic guitar picking. But his Sun Kil Moon songbook is a dense tapestry of peculiar references—to dead relatives, the school shooting in Newtown, Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard—and unexpected shots of meta-humour that transform everyday life into profound poetry. He’s also in the habit of saying stupidly insensitive things onstage these days, so, if not for the music, at least catch him for the potential controversy. Monday, September 21. $22.50. The Opera House, 735 Queen St. E., collectiveconcerts.com.
Celebrate Oktoberfest early
This weekend, a 30,000-square-foot chunk of Ontario Place’s parking lot will become the city’s unofficial Little Munich, complete with German brews, food and entertainment. The opening and closing ceremonies are 19+ events, but Saturday afternoon’s Bavarian carnival is an all-ages affair, including rides and games for the kinder (as well as the requisite food und bier). One bonus for VIP ticket holders: a flattering Alpine hat. Friday, September 18 and Saturday, September 19. $25–$100. Ontario Place, 955 Lake Shore Blvd. W., torontooktoberfest.ca.
Fall in love with Ed Sheeran (and his little guitar)
In five short years, this 24-year-old phenom has gone from a wide-eyed Londoner trying to make it in L.A. to the most-streamed artist on Spotify. The sensitive, silk-voiced troubadour has topped the charts with his earnest acoustic love songs, co-written hits for One Direction and Taylor Swift, and had his tunes featured in The Hobbit. This is your chance to see him—with his adorably tiny Martin guitar in tow—at the top of his game. Sunday, September 20. $93. Air Canada Centre, 50 Bay St., ticketmaster.com.
Get out of the gallery and take in some art
The Pan Am Games bumped the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition from its usual July date, so Canada’s largest outdoor art fair arrives this weekend instead with a fresh batch of 350 vendors. Guests can browse booths and discover handmade works by local creatives across all disciplines: drawing and painting, photography and printmaking, sculpture and ceramics, embroidery and tapestry, jewellery and textiles. Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 20. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W., torontooutdoorart.org.
Watch a film about the artist who painted the Lee’s Palace façade
Runt’s artwork is a staple of Toronto’s cityscape. His massive, Seussian murals cover Lee’s Palace, Electric Mud BBQ and stretches of Kensington Market, and his bizarre cartoon characters—birds, dinosaurs, Pac-Men—have filled the pages of TTC booklets and NXNE programmes. Augusto Monk’s new documentary Runt is the first to tell the story of the artist otherwise known as Alex Currie, a man as interesting as the art he makes. Thursday, September 17. $10. Carlton Cinema, 20 Carlton St., rainbowcinemastickets.com.
Check out a photo exhibition by Edward Burtynsky’s protégé
Hamilton artist Joseph Hartman abandoned med school to pursue photography and spent four years studying under Edward Burtynsky. In his plainly titled exhibition, Artist Studios, Hartman focuses on the workspaces of his contemporaries, discovering humility (the small, vintage office of Michael Thompson), order (the stark cleanliness of William Fisk) and chaos (the cluttered colours of Douglas Walker). Artwork $2,500–$5,000. Saturday, September 19 to October 17. Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1026 Queen St. W., bulgergallery.com.
Contemplate Nicolas Cage’s cinematic genius at a bike-in movie screening
The man that launched a thousand memes isn’t in any TIFF films this year, but he—okay, it’s actually just a life-sized cut-out—will still hit the red carpet at Nicolas Un-Caged, a bike-in screening of his 1983 cult classic Valley Girl. Before the film, you can munch on free popcorn and cotton candy as a panel of comedians and journalists debate a hotly contested question: is Nic Cage the best actor of our time, or the worst? Thursday, September 17. Free. Minto Westside Market, 25 Bathurst St., minto.com.