The Weekender: TIFF Kids International Film Festival, The Tales of Hoffmann and six other items on our to-do list
1. TIFF KIDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
This film fest is for the city’s smallest movie lovers. Aimed at kids three and up, TIFF Kids (formerly Sprockets) features tot-appropriate features and shorts from around the world, both live action and animated. This weekend, our picks include Chimpanzee, Disney’s latest nature documentary; Alfie, the Little Werewolf, a Dutch feature about accepting who you really are, featuring a little boy who turns seven and suddenly starts sprouting hair, claws and sharp, sharp teeth; and McB, a doc about a group of elementary school children in New York who stage a production of Macbeth. Post-screening, kids take part in a Shakespeare-themed workshop. To April 22. $8.50–$12. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433, tiff.net.
2. THE TALES OF HOFFMANN
The COC kicks off its spring season with this Jacques Offenbach opera. The titular character, played by American tenor Russell Thomas, is a poet and storyteller in love with Stella, an opera singer. At a local tavern with his friend Nicklausse (actually his Muse in disguise) and his rival Lindorf, Hoffmann is convinced to sing a song to the eagerly listening revelers (he’s quite drunk at this point). The ensuing performance relates his pursuit of three prior great loves—and how they were thwarted by a cast of demonic villains, all played by bass-baritone John Relyea. We’re most excited about the famed Barcarolle duet from act two. To May 14. $12–$318. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231, www.coc.ca.
3. SING! THE TORONTO VOCAL ARTS FESTIVAL
For Glee wannabes—or those who enjoy synthesizer-free vocals—there’s this a cappella music fest, and it’s the only one of its kind in the city. Workshops, panels and concerts (from groups like the Nylons, Swingle Singers and the New York Voices) are all part of this year’s lineup. April 13. Various prices. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
4. TITANIC AFTERNOON TEA
The maiden voyage of the Titanic ended 100 years ago this Saturday, and while it’s slightly morbid, we totally get the impulse to mark it somehow. Conveniently, the Windsor Arms will be paying tribute to the ship with a commemorative tea. The event’s menu is inspired by the original tea menu aboard the Titanic (though Windsor Arms favourites will also appear), and guests get to take home a Royal Doulton plate featuring the ship. Reservations required. April 14. $75. Windsor Arms Hotel, 18 St. Thomas St., 416-971-9666, windsorarmshotel.com.
5. UNO, THE ART SHOW
We can’t decide what we like most about this street art exhibition/street party, because there’s art to look at (street artists like Mike Giant, Sam Flores, Greg Lamarche, Skam, Shingo Shimizu and Angie Fey will have work on display), ’90s hip hop to listen to (courtesy of Mastermind and DJX) and food to eat (tacos from La Carnita will be for sale). April 13. Admission is free. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., lacarnita.com.
6. MAD COUTURE CATWALK
Eleven senior Workman Arts artists have created 33 pieces of wearable couture for this runway-style installation. Meant to encourage discussion about mental illness and creativity, each item of clothing speaks to the theme—look for a dress made up of recovered childhood mementos in Catherine Jones’ Trauma, Memory and Body collection, and a swing coat featuring brightly coloured drug paraphernalia in Sheri Ranger’s Controlled Substance collection. April 13. $25. Weston Family Learning Centre, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648, ago.net.
7. GREEN LIVING SHOW
Whether it’s in your grocery cart, closet or medicine cabinet, making the more eco-friendly choice gets easier once you’ve seen the many options available at this annual consumer show. Focused on “educating the public about easy and workable solutions for leading a sustainable lifestyle,” it offers taste tests featuring locally sourced ingredients plus some eco-friendly wine and beer, test drives of hybrid cars and even a forum dedicated to green jobs. Donate e-waste (cellphones, computers, etc.) and you get in free. April 13 to 15. $15. Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd., greenlivingshow.ca.
This dark comedy by Aussie playwright Louis Nowra is semi-autobiographical. The protagonist is a recent grad named Lewis, living in Melbourne in the ’70s. He’s broke and desperate for work, so when he’s offered a job at a mental institution—which involves bringing the patients “out of their shells”—he signs on. Here’s a sampling of the patients: Roy, a manic-depressive; Ruth, who has OCD; food-obsessed Cherry; pyromaniac Doug; and Henry, a former lawyer who doesn’t speak. None of them sing or speak Italian, but they decide to perform Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte. April 13 to 28. $20. Alumnae Theatre Main Stage, 70 Berkeley St., 416-364-4170, totix.ca.