The Weekender: Onegin, Canada Blooms and six other events on our to-do list
1. CANADA BLOOMS
Walking through the grounds of this huge flower-focused festival is like bypassing the last weekend of winter and all of spring and jumping right into summer. We’ll be hanging out in the six acres of fully blooming gardens, pretending it’s July. With lectures, demonstrations and even gardens curated or inspired by Juno-winning artists like Ben Heppner and Jully Black. To March 20. $18. Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes Blvd., 416-263-3322, canadablooms.com.
A hit at 2009’s SummerWorks festival, this remount is racy and thought provoking at the same time. Set in 1920s Paris, it follows two Canadian expats living in the titular ’hood and working as nude models: one’s the archetypal libertine; the other decidedly more self-conscious. But that’s where any dependence on formula ends. Writers Maev Beatty and Erin Shields, who also play the two women, chip away at the audience’s assumptions about each character at every turn. March 17 to April 2. $15–$35. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., 416-504-7529, artsboxoffice.ca.
3. TORONTO BREWSTER SERIES: MARY BETH KEEFE
The hilariously-named Barley’s Angels is a ladies-only beer appreciation club with outposts all over the world. The latest get-together, hosted by Toronto chapter organizer Mirella Amato (the country’s first female certified Cicerone, or beer sommelier), is a speakers series and beer tasting that highlights four under-30 “brewsters” from the G.T.A. On offer this Saturday: beers from the Keefe clan’s Granite Brewery. March 20. $25–35. The Twisted Kilt, 1954 Yonge St., barleysangels.ca.
4. THE FANTASTICKS
This modern take on Romeo and Juliet isn’t just an update of the Bard’s most famous play. It’s also a record breaker: first performed off-Broadway in 1960, it ran for 42 years and 17,162 consecutive performances, only closing in January 2002. Soulpepper brings the much-beloved show back to the stage with this run, which features Krystin Pellerin and Jeff Lillico as the sweethearts and William Webster and Michael Hanrahan as their feuding fathers. To June 18. $28–$65. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill St., Bldg. 49, 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.
5. WATER: THE EXHIBITION
Forget diamonds, gold, even oil: The single most precious resource on the planet is definitely water. We’ve known this since our Sesame Street days, but this fun and eco-conscious exhibit is the perfect way to introduce the idea to the kids. They’ll get to create a virtual rainfall, take a peek at all the micro-organisms that live in a single drop of water, poke at a water-cycle sculpture that includes water in all its three states and get up close and personal with some water-loving critters, like newts, frogs, fish and even a Gila monster. To September 5. $31. Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park, 416-586-8000, rom.on.ca.
Ballet great John Cranko is something of a legend. Known for his takes on Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew and this work, he’s a fave of the National Ballet—all three are in regular rotation in the company’s repertoire. Onegin, an adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s novella in verse about unrequited love, tells the story of the simple Tatiana and her suitor, Eugene, who’s the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. Obviously, their story isn’t going to end happily, but it’s told so beautifully that we can’t bring ourselves to mind. March 17 to 20. $21.50–$201. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595, national.ballet.ca.
7. GRAPHIC DETAILS: CONFESSIONAL COMICS BY JEWISH WOMEN (FREE!)
This event, an exhibit of autobiographical comics by Jewish women, is definitely a little niche. Featuring rough storyboards, sketches and full graphic novels (many exhibited in public for the first time here), it’s an examination of the role Jewish women have played in the development of cartooning. The confessional artwork boldly addresses themes of sex, politics and bodily functions—even in the pioneering publications of the ’70s and ’80s, like Wimmen’s Comix and Twisted Sisters. To April 17. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-638-1881 x4270, kofflerarts.org.
8. SEX+ FILM FESTIVAL
The Keyhole Sessions are regularly held sex-positive, risqué life-drawing classes. The organizers of those sessions bring their sensibility to this new festival, which brings together a series of films that explore themes like power, music and art through the lens of the erotic. This Sunday’s screening is Diary of a Nymphomaniac. March 20. $12. The Royal Cinema, 608 College St., thekeyholesessions.com.
(Images: The Fantasticks, Cylla von Tiedemann; Canada Blooms, Matt MacGillivray; Miss Lasko Gross from A Mess of Everything)