ART & MUSEUMS
Visual Arts at Harbourfront Centre
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.
Fordlandia: The Lost City of Henry Ford
Plagued by waste, violence and vice, the company town built for rubber had trouble from the beginning, and it never did bounce back. The photographer Dan Dubowitz sets his lenses on the what’s left of Henry Ford’s failed attempt at a Brazilian jungle-set utopia – a miniature Midwest community mostly abandoned since 1945. To May 31 (opening reception May 5, 2 to 4 p.m.). Free. Bau-Xi Photo , 324 Dundas St. W., 416-977-0400.
From front-man Jason Pierce and his band, the new album Sweet Heart Sweet Light is vintage Spiritualized – high-flying and muscular, with some Lou Reed here and a little Beach Boys and Burt Bacharach there – but with an inspiring uplift to it. May 5, 8 p.m. $34.50. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., 1-855-985-5000.
Byram (Slakah the Beatchild) Joseph gets in touch with his sixties soul-child side with the album The Other Side of Tomorrow, a band effort that evokes the sunshine and free spirit of early Lenny Kravitz. May 11, 9 p.m. $10 (at door). Awtash, 419 College St., 416-203-8008.
The Convent of Pleasure
What might an aristocratic woman of 17th-century England, dead set against marriage and men, do with her life? Using a blend of spoken-word theatre, music and movement, the Toronto Masque Theatre suggests, given the dearth of roller-derby career options at the time, that she could withdraw from society to create an all-female community. May 11 and 12, 8 p.m. $20 to $40. Hart House Theatre, 7 Hart House Circle, uofttix, 416-978-8849.
You’re invited to man the trenches for a First World War drama with a life-size horse-puppet as its mane attraction. A front-row “trench seat,” available for $29 on a daily rush basis, puts audience members so close to the action they’ll be able apply for veteran’s benefits. $35 to $175. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., 416-872-1212.
Given her nude scene in The Graduate a few years ago at the then-Canon Theatre, Kathleen Turner is blatantly known to Toronto audiences. Here, in a touring drama, the husky-throated actress plays a tough-nut nun who sponsors a drug-addicted teenager. May 8 to 13. $50 to $150. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W., 416-872-1212.
How to Disappear Completely
The lighting designer Itai Erdal puts himself in the spotlight when he stars in a one-hander about his dying mother – a period of months they shared together. May 8 to 12 (8 p.m.) and May 13 (2 p.m.). $30 to $35. Factory Theatre Mainspace, 125 Bathurst St., 416-504-9971.
Dubbed by the New York Times as “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation,” Young Jean Lee challenges audiences to rethink their pre-existing beliefs with a serious, radical comedy that uses five black actors to explore African-American clichés. May 9 to 12, 8 p.m. $15 to $45. Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000.
The Sounds of Movies: The Master of the Film Score
The Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which often has paid attention to the rich history of Jewish songwriters, now celebrates the sweet science of soundtrack with a sidebar schedule of films with chosen-one composers. As well, the festival digs those rhythms and Jews with the closing-night gala presentation of a.k.a. Doc Pomus (May 13, 7:30 p.m.,Bloor Cinema). To May 13. $8 to $20 (free student rush seats). Various theatres, tjff.com or 416-324-9121.
The Met – Live in HD: Wagner’s Ring Cycle
Preceding the roll-out of screenings of Robert Lepage’s landmark production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Metropolitan Opera Company, Susan Froemke’s documentary Wagner’s Dream (May 7, 6:30 p.m.) chronicles the mammoth operatic undertaking that included a disastrous opening night of the first part, Das Rheingold, when the set malfunctioned and deprived the evening of its crescendo. May 9, 12, and 17 (6:30 p.m.) and May 19 (10 a.m.). For list of participating theatres:metoperafamily.org.
From the House of Mirth
Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel The House of Mirth was a damning appraisal of the American Gilded Age aristocracy. Here, the imaginative choreographer James Kudelka employs female dancers, male singers and an orchestra for a full-length piece (commissioned by Coleman Lemieux and Compaignie) on a young woman who doesn’t play society’s rules and is ground to pieces as a result. May 9 to May 13, $50. The Citadel, 304 Parliament St., 416-364-8011.