TIFF, the return of Toronto Fashion Week and eight other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A leaner, meaner TIFF
1For 42 years, TIFF has done one thing: get bigger. For the first time, it’s downsizing, slashing its total film count by 20 per cent. Why? We’ll be the first to admit the 11-day bacchanal could be a little overwhelming. Still, the thinner fest remains North America’s mightiest cinematic buffet. Some of the highlights: fest opener Borg/McEnroe, about the warring tennis stars; Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany in the Boston Marathon bombing pic Stronger; Guillermo del Toro’s merman romance The Shape of Water; Long Time Running, a Tragically Hip documentary; and two Matt Damon films, including the shot-in-Toronto Downsizing. Thursday, September 7 to Sunday, September 17. Prices vary. Various venues.
The return of Toronto Fashion Week
2After being cancelled in 2016, Toronto Fashion Week is back for three packed days. Highlights include shows from labels like Lucian Matis and Pink Tartan, a Salvador Dalí fashion exhibition, a conversation with legendary designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and a party DJed by comedian Russell Peters. For a more detailed breakdown of events, see our Toronto Fashion Week guide. Tuesday, September 5 to Thursday, September 7. Prices vary. Yorkville.
Circus with a dash of the X Games
3Cirque du Soleil’s newest production, Volta, starts with the simple story of a game show host hungry for fame. It’s not long before things go full Cirque: skip rope on steroids, hip hop–inflected parkour runners, an army of bungee jumpers and, in an uncharacteristic twist, a BMX routine in which five bikers spin, backflip and tailwhip atop specially designed ramps. It’s big-top circus showmanship with an extreme-sports edge, all timed to a synth-pop soundtrack. Thursday, September 7 to Sunday, November 26. From $49. Port Lands.
An artistic take on the Twitterverse
4Stephen Andrews’s best-known creation is perhaps a 500,000-piece mosaic on the hotel once known as Trump Tower—a panorama of faces commissioned to celebrate, ironically, multiculturalism long before the Donald’s presidency. There are traces of the current political moment in Andrews’s new exhibition, too. It includes paintings of mirrors, a metaphor for the echo chamber of today’s Twitterverse, plus drawings of nature and current events, like an eerie depiction of street violence rendered in inverted colours. Friday, September 8 to Saturday, October 7. Paul Petro Contemporary Art.
Alvvay’s synth-filled sophomore record
5Three years ago, the East Coast outfit Alvvays hijacked Toronto airwaves with their out-of-the-blue self-titled debut, a lo-fi masterpiece filled with beachy guitar riffs and frontwoman Molly Rankin’s dispassionate drawl. Where that record was the sonic equivalent of a fun-filled summer fling, its melancholy follow-up, Antisocialites, is like an autumn breakup (check out the wistful, surf rock–inflected single, “In Undertow”). Fans will have plenty of time to learn the lyrics before the band’s four-night Mod Club marathon in December. Friday, September 8. Royal Mountain Records.
Comedy for a good cause
6This week, the Second City is rounding up some of its funniest alumni for fundraiser show benefitting the Rainbow Camp, a one-week retreat for LGBT youth and kids in queer families. Comedian couple Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath host the evening with their daughter, Kinley, alongside performers from The Beaverton, Baroness Von Sketch Show, Mr. D, The Red Green Show and Workin’ Moms. Sunday, September 10. $30. Second City.
Snapshots from behind the scaffolding
7For most Torontonians, the revitalization of Union Station has been an endless, traffic-jamming nightmare. For Larry Towell, it was a dream. Over the course of several years, the Magnum photographer snooped around the station to document the construction (including the daily removal of up to 900 tonnes of excavated earth), the workers tasked with completing it and the commuters navigating the labyrinthine terminal. His photos are both a historical record of the massive undertaking and a vivid, human portrait of the city’s busiest transit hub. Saturday, September 9 to Saturday, October 14. Stephen Bulger Gallery.
A wistful tour of 1980s New York
8In his collection of essays Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik captured the je ne sais quoi that defines Parisian life. In this bittersweet memoir, At the Strangers’ Gate: Arrivals in New York, he attempts to do the same for New York City, taking readers back to Manhattan in the 1980s—a time of imaginative art, Wall Street greed and urban decay. The book chronicles Gopnik’s early professional life and wanders between the walls of the MoMA and the halls of the New Yorker, profiling scenesters like Richard Avedon, Jeff Koons and Robert Hughes along the way. It’s an incisive tribute to the dying days of the old New York. Tuesday, September 5. Knopf.
A throwback art expedition
9In 1917, the painter Tom Thomson died mysteriously on Canoe Lake. A century later, 11 Canadian artists—including Lonny Doherty, Andrew Peycha and Mark Berens—have retraced his steps, travelling through Thomson’s beloved Algonquin Park and painting along the way. This month, they show off what they created in an exhibition called Untamed Things. Opens Friday, September 8. Arta Gallery.
A filmmaking farce
10Capitalizing on the success of their beloved Budapest rom-com, Parfumerie, Soulpepper heads back to Hungary for Picture This. Set during the silent-movie era, this frantic comedy focuses on a ragtag group of artists with dreams of making it big on the silver screen, who scramble to impress a visiting Hollywood producer by shooting an entire Napoleonic epic in just two weeks. Based on Melchior Lengyel’s 1924 play The Battle of Waterloo, Morris Panych and Brenda Robins’ fresh adaptation stars Soulpepper favourites Michelle Monteith, Gregory Prest and Nancy Palk. Saturday, September 9 to Saturday, October 7. From $35. Young Centre for the Performing Arts.