A night with Anderson .Paak, a massive burger festival and five other things to see, hear and do in Toronto this week
A groovy songster
1Anderson .Paak’s music fuses funk, neo-soul, jazz and rap, capped off with his trademark scratchy-smooth voice. His newest release, Ventura, delivers social commentary without sacrificing its feel-good grooves: it calls out Trump’s wall and applauds Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who took a knee during the U.S. national anthem to protest racial injustice. Onstage, .Paak is an impressive multi-tasker—he simultaneously drums, raps and flashes his pearly whites, which he’s dubbed “the best teeth in the game.” Saturday, June 1. $106–$238. RBC Echo Beach.
An artsy 1920s funhouse
2The latest addition to Toronto’s pop-up craze is the most extravagant yet. Housed inside an old Buddhist temple just off Queen West, the Funhouse transforms more than 7,500 square feet into an Instagrammable interdimensional art maze. Each of the 14 colourful rooms—some of which were created by musicians like Jazz Cartier, The Beaches and Lights—has a different theme: there’s a post-apocalyptic universe that can be explored with augmented-reality tech, a tree-filled jungle scene (complete with a life-size elephant) and one room inspired by Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, September 22. $28–$40. 101 Lisgar St.
A Tragically Hip–inspired ballet
3Gord Downie is known for his distinctive voice, poetic lyrics and ability to pull off double denim, but he once said his favourite thing to do was dance. Even as his body began to fail, he sprinkled every performance with moves that were entirely his own: brisk tap numbers, jukebox-style swingalongs and grand jetés over his microphone stand. In this heartfelt tribute, the Alberta Ballet has choreographed a contemporary piece set to 20 tracks from the Tragically Hip’s archives. The ballet is set in a dystopian world where two clans—one the descendants of love, tolerance and peace; the other of hate, greed and fear—fight to inherit the Earth, and it delivers the same kinetic energy Downie always brought to the stage. Thursday, May 30 to Saturday, June 1. $55.39–$178.39. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
A burger spectacular
4It’s sun’s out, (burger) buns out at Yonge and Dundas Square this weekend. For three days, more than two dozen of the city’s top vendors will set up shop to compete for the BurgerMania festival’s sought-after “best burger” title. Expect unconventional toppings and patties stacked like high rise towers (Holy Chuck manages to fit six on a single burger) from Marben, The Stockyards, Mama’s Boys Burgers and Cherry Street Bar-B-Que. Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2. Free. Yonge and Dundas Square.
A glimpse at the Dutch Golden Age
5Rembrandt inspired a generation of Dutch and Flemish artists with his masterful realism and uncanny ability to convey human expression. Now, Torontonians can see his influence first-hand in this collection of more than 60 still lifes, genre scenes, portraits, landscapes and architectural paintings. The exhibit offers a glimpse into 17th-century Dutch life through the lens of its most skilled and faithful chroniclers. Among the highlights: the quaint expanse of Hendrick Avercamp’s Winter Landscape Near a Village (shown above) and the stoic portrait of Maria Bockenolle, wife of Reverend Johannes Elison, by Rembrandt himself. Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, September 15. $22.50–$28. ROM.
A Union Summer kick-off
6Toronto’s Union Summer market is back for its fourth season. Throughout the summer, Union Station is transformed into a venue for arts, culture and food. Film nerds can hit up Wednesday-night movie screenings (A Star is Born, Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody are all on the lineup), concert-goers can catch a performance by Juno-nominated brother-sister duo The Reklaws, and foodies can pick up street eats from city staples like WVRST, El Catrin, Union Chicken Rotisserie and the Carbon Bar. Friday, May 31 to Saturday, August 3. Free. Sir John A Macdonald Plaza.
A solo symphony
7At just 23 years old, the Australian singer-songwriter Tash Sultana has mastered 20 instruments. On Sultana’s 2018 debut album, Flow State, they created, arranged and looped every sound—including (but not limited to) guitars, pan flutes, trumpets, saxophones, keyboards, synths, mandolins, drum machines and vocals. The result is an intricately layered mix of surf-rock riffs, psychedelic flourishes and brooding electronica with enough loop pedals to make anyone’s head spin. Half the fun of seeing Sultana play live comes from wondering which instrument they’ll pick up next. Friday, May 31. $46–$64. RBC Echo Beach.
An earlier version of this post included the Twenty One Pilots concert, which has been cancelled due to the NBA Finals.