ART & MUSEUMS
Spring Awakening: Gardiner in Bloom
All those ceramic vases, and nothing to put in them. A problem is solved with an exhibit of floral installations by nimble designers. April 26 (6:30 p.m., champagne reception) to April 29. $6 to $12. Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen's Park, 416-586-8080.
More than ever, the man on the street is a man with some sort of camera – as every TTC employee is acutely aware. The theme to this year’s month-long photography blowup is “public,” a concept stimulated by a renewed interest in street photography, with works – from six featured exhibitions and 134 open ones – that challenge the distinctions between private lives and situations more communal. April 28 to June 6 (launch party, April 27, 7 to 10 p.m., Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art). Various locations. scotiabankcontactphoto.com.
Visual Arts at Harbourfront Centre
Who are we? What makes us Canadian? War, what is it good for? Alongside commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, artists and curators examine one of the most significant events in this nation’s history through a current lens, with exhibits that include a consideration of Canada’s relationship with the British monarchy, a look at roadside pit-stop places and a study of a small-town fishing hamlet. To July 15 . Free. York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay, 416-973-4000.
Plants and Animals
The latest album from the Montreal trio is The End Of That, and yet the dynamic work might be its best and cleanest yet, with the well-written disc of restless crescendo rock and thoughtful psychedelic folk pointing towards a brighter future. April 21, 9 p.m., $15 to $18 . Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., 1-855-985-5000.
Nick Lowe and His Band
More than 60 years old now, the eighties English pop-rocker is aging as well or better than any of his contemporaries. His 2011 album is The Old Magic, and it is clear that with his blend of rootsy swing-rock and torchy ballads the Cruel to Be Kind singer still possesses a spark in his songwriter’s wand. April 23, 7:30 p.m. $41.50. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., 1-855-985-5000.
The Sounds of Science, with Yo La Tengo
When it came to sea-based cinema, the French avant-garde filmmaker Jean Painlevé was in a league of his own. Here, closing the Images Festival, a series of his vintage science films involving such things as the day-to-day activities of sea urchins or the love life of the octopus is presented with a live post-rock instrumental score by indie-music icons Yo La Tengo. April 21, 8 p.m. Advance seats sold-out (limited tickets at door; box office open at 7 p.m.). Underground Cinema, 186 Spadina Ave., imagesfestival.com.
Australian Chamber Orchestra, with Dawn Upshaw
The celebrated American soprano, with a voice likened to ray of light through a forest, sings pieces by her beloved George Crumb and a new work from jazz composer Maria Schneider. April 22, 3 p.m. $45 to $90. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., 416-408-0208.
You Can’t Take it With You
Zany American comedy came from George Kaufman and Moss Hart, who had fun and a Pulitzer in the 1930s with a Broadway play about a sensible daughter who introduces her boyfriend and his buttoned-down parents to her own oddball family. A talented Soulpepper cast is on board. From April 26 (in previews now). $51 to $68. Young Centre, 55 Mill St., 416-866-8666.
Oil and Water
The intriguing Newfoundland company Artistic Fraud is touring the feel-good true story of Lanier Phillips, the only African-American survivor of the shipwreck of the USS Truxtun near the outport town of St. Lawrence in 1942. A tale of kindness and community is told with a folk and gospel score, sung a capella. To May 6. $30 to $45. Factory Theatre Mainspace, 125 Bathurst St., 416-504-9971.
Opening this year’s international documentary festival is Alison Klayman's Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a portrait of the Chinese artist and political dissident. Other highlights to follow include Kevin Macdonald’s Marley, about the late reggae giant Bob Marley, Ballroom Dancer, a look at sequins, shaved chests and competitive dancing, and China Heavyweight, a portrait of a boxing coach training poor teens in rural China. April 26 to May 6. $5 to $14.50. Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., 416-637-5150.
Frozen shoulders, Gaelic gaiety, tap-and-kick stuff. The jig is up for the Irish step-dance institution, which winds down after 16 years of international touring. April 21 (2 and 8 p.m.). $44 to $97.50. Sony Centre, 1 Front. St. E., 1-855-872-7669.
Fans of Ann Southam are looking forward to a new work by choreographer Christopher House, who sets his piece to the minimalist piano music of the late composer, here performed by pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico, a Southam enthusiast herself. April 25 to 27 (8 p.m.) and April 28 (2 and 8 p.m.) $15 to $40. Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000.
Choreographer D.A. Hoskins sees dance in a wide context that includes multimedia and text, with his work thought by some to be a little too ambitious, but always exceedingly interesting. Set in an arena similar to an art gallery, Paris1994/Gallery looks at how memory is a constantly changing perspective through highlighted moments between lovers. April 25 to 28, 8 p.m. $15 to $35. Enwave Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000.
LITERARY and LECTURE
The troubadour chats about his new Massey Hall concert album All Live, a record originally planned for a posthumous release. But given his still-active touring schedule, there’s no end in sight for the Sundown singer. April 23, 7 p.m. Free. Indigo Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor St. W., 416-925-3536.
Mathematics Education: Are We Perpetrating a Fraud?
Do the math – at your own peril! Professor Ed Barbeau, who isn’t sure the traditional syllabus adds up right in a modern technological society, discusses the role mathematics will play in students’ lives. April 24 , 1 p.m. Free. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., 416-395-5577.
Modern Moves Made Easy
As part of National Dance Week, the modern-dance hero Peggy Baker gives a class on expression and body movement. Experience, leotards and leg-warmers are not required, but pre-registration is (at peggybakerdance.com). April 22 (and May 27). 11 a.m. $75. National Ballet School, 400 Jarvis St.
The Amazing Kreskin
Nobody’s quite sure how he does it, but we should be grateful that the veteran mentalist uses his showmanesque powers of mind-probing for entertainment, and not evil. April 23 and 24, 8 p.m. $39.50. Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front St. W., 416-872-4255.
Given that the second-helping standup John Pinette follows up his one-man show I’m Starvin’ and his comedy CD Show Me the Buffet with a new routine titled Still Hungry, you would do well to expect belly laughs at Massey Hall. April 27, 7 p.m. $39.50 to $49.50, Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4255.
In benefit of the fight against blindness, the CBC’s sharp-witted Steve Patterson and others including Frank Spadone make spectacles of themselves with a night of standup and an interactive parlour game. A pril 26, 6:30 p.m. $200. Kool Haus, 132 Queens Quay E ., comicvision.ca.
Party for the Planet
Does a polar bear do his business on an ice float? Well, not if his habitat is melting away. Environmental education is geared to impressionable minds. April 21 and 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $13 to $23. Toronto Zoo, 361A Old Finch Ave., 416-392-5900.
Toronto Art Expo To April 22. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, torontoartexpo.com.
Opera Atelier’s Armide To April 21. Elgin Theatre, 1-855-622-2787.
COC’s The Tales of Hoffman To May 14. Four Seasons Centre, 416-363-8231.
Kids’ International Film Festival To April 22. TIFF Bell Lightbox, tiff.net/kids.
In Conversation With: Kathleen Turner May 7. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 416-968-3456.
Ringo Starr June 14 and 15. Fallsview Casino, 1-877-833-3110.
Aerosmith, with Cheap Trick June 27. Air Canada Centre, 1-855-985-5000.
Santana July 14. Molson Amphitheatre, 1-855-985-5000.
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Aug. 24. Rogers Centre, 1-855-985-5000.