The Weekender: Nuit Blanche, a David Sedaris reading and six other can’t-miss events
1. NUIT BLANCHE (FREE!)
Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s once-small all-night arts festival, has exploded. Now in its fifth year, there are more than 130 listed art projects in three cross-city zones, and it’s time to admit there’s no way a person could conceivably see everything. Check out our top 10 must-see events instead. Oct. 2. Various locations, scotiabanknuitblanche.ca.
When this now-celebrated play first premiered in England in the mid-’90s, critics were less than impressed (the words “a disgusting feast of filth” were used). In the intervening years, opinion on the work may have shifted, but Blasted hasn’t become any less intense. Playwright Sarah Kane uses cannibalism, rape and brutality to draw parallels between domestic violence and war. On Sunday, check out the post-show pub, where some of the artists behind the play will be on hand for discussion at a “cocktail party meets book club.” To Oct. 17. $23–$33. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555, totix.ca.
3. CIRQUE ÉLOIZE
It’s not quite as famous as that other Québécois contemporary circus troupe, but Cirque Éloize has created seven original productions since it was founded in 1993, including a performance at Vancouver’s Cultural Olympiad earlier this year. They’re in Toronto to celebrate the reopening-after-extensive-renovations-slash-50th anniversary of the Sony Centre (formerly the Hummingbird Centre and before that, the O’Keefe Centre). The show features hip hop, breakdancing, BMX bikes, acrobats, contortionists and jugglers. Oct. 1 to 9. $35–$77. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.
4. AN EVENING WITH DAVID SEDARIS
Author and funnyman David Sedaris is at Massey Hall for this one-night-only speaking engagement, where he’ll tell stories from his latest book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. The collection of stories—all told from the perspective of woodland creatures—proves that Sedaris is as hilarious and clever as ever. Oct. 2. $32–$52. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4255, masseyhall.com.
5. TREEHOUSE TALKS (FREE!)
The Treehouse Group, a “collective of Toronto-area thinkers,” regularly organizes salons and speaker series. The monthly Treehouse Talks, for example, feature interesting Torontonians talking about their work. Case in point: this month, Nogah Kornberg talks about teaching nine-year-olds about genocide, Amie Sergas expounds on the social value of roller derby, and Sasha Van Bon Bon explores decriminalizing the sex trade. Oct. 1. MaRS Discovery District, 101 College St., Room CR3, treehousetalks.com.
6. TORONTO PALESTINE FILM FESTIVAL
This annual film fest, now in its third year, always has interesting offerings. Our suggested pick is The Time That Remains, a semi-autobiographical film by Elia Suleiman that depicts Palestine from 1948 to the present day in four episodes. Catch it this Saturday at the Bloor Cinema. Oct. 2 to 8. $10 per screening. Various locations, tpff.ca.
7. CHILDREN’S TRUNK SHOW
Note that this is not a trunk show aimed at children, but at moms. The brainchild of Julie Ritchie, the event showcases the work of entrepreneurial parents who have created must-have items for kids (especially clothes and accessories), just in time for those enviable super-early Christmas shoppers. Oct. 1 and 2. $10. Holcim Gallery, Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., childrenstrunkshow.com.
Verdi’s tragic opera, which hasn’t graced a Canadian Opera Company stage for 25 years, is the story of forbidden love (are there any operas about acceptable love affairs?). Set in ancient Egypt, he’s a warrior and she’s the Ethiopian slave of a bitchy princess who ruins everything. Oct. 2 to Nov. 5. $62–$281. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231, coc.ca.
(Images: Bloor Cinema, Christopher Paulin; CFC Media Lab, Nuit Blanche)