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.
LITERARY and LECTURE
Fantastic Pulp Show
Dames, dime novels and science fiction are the attraction at the annual show of kitschy cover magazine art. May 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (lecture at 1:30 p.m.). $3. Lillian H. Smith Branch Library, 239 College S., 416-393-7748.
Top Ten Event
The Dalai Lama won't return your phone calls and Deepak Chopra is all "buy my book" when you ask him about the meaning of life. Fortunately, 10 motivated people – including monologist Sandra Shamas, former mayor David Miller and Juno-winning singer Jully Black – take 10 minutes each to divulge the things people should know before they die. May 10, 7:30 p.m. $50 to $150 (for the Stephen Lewis Foundation). Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge St., toptenevent.com.
Comic Arts Festival
A celebration of comics and graphic novels animates the enthusiasts, with a legion of international cartoonists on hand. The Doug Wright Awards gala happens today (7 p.m.) at the AGO's Jackman Hall. May 5 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and May 6 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Reference Library, 789 Yonge, torontocomics.com.
Street Tribute: The Glenn Gould Prize Salutes Leonard Cohen
At a Massey Hall concert on May 14, the poetically hat-wearing icon Leonard Cohen receives tribute. At the preceding, more casual affair next weekend, solo performers and ensembles occupy the downtown core – oh to be a bird on the telephone wires. May 11 and 12, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. glenngould.ca/leonard-cohen-street-tribute.
Observational humour on cereal, sneakers and cell phones makes the evening pass enjoyably, if not excitingly. The exasperated star of the famous sitcom that bore his name squawks up a storm on the second of two nights at the Sony Centre. May 5, 7 and 9:30 p.m. $80.10 to $114.10. 1 Front St. E., 416-368-6161.
We're Funny That Way
Funny, as in peculiar? Or funny, as in ha-ha? Both, actually. Festival producer Maggie Cassella hosts the 15th (and final) event of queer comedy. May 10 to 12 (opening gala, with Broadway's Betty Buckley. May 10, doors at 7 p.m., $200 to $250). Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555.
Francesco Diabetes Fundraiser
While Salvatore (Big Pussy) Bonpensiero of The Sopranos makes you an offer you can't refuse – "pay up or I'll break your face" – the zippy pop-music proposal of singer Tia Brazda is equally hard to turn down. May 5, 7 p.m. $100 (table for two). Cadillac Lounge, 1296 Queen St. W., 416-536-7717.
Who was it that lit their considerable fire? Guitarist Randy Bachman, figure skater Patrick Chan, fashionista Bernadette Morra, actress Lisa Ray and the incomparable singer Jackie Richardson talk about the people who ignited their artistic spark at a fundraiser for Children's Aid Foundation. May 6, 11:30 p.m. $250. Carlu, 444 Yonge St., ignitethespark.ca.
Scrabble with the Stars
The ad-libbing comic Colin Mochrie makes up words when he plays Scrabble. He calls it "improv." Fellow celebrities Arlene Duncan, Debra McGrath, Gordon Pinsent and Amy Sky lay tiles for an evening in benefit of housing for retired performers. May 7, 6:30 p.m. $150. Arcadian Loft, 401 Bay St., scrabblewiththestars.ca, 1-800-838-3006.
Toronto Maple Leafs
True story: At last year's home opener at Christie Pits, we had peanuts and popcorn and Crackerjack, and we didn't care if we ever came back – we just stayed there, ball game after glorious ball game, all season long. Tomorrow it starts again, against the Ottawa Fat Cats. May 6, 2 p.m. Free. Christie and Bloor streets. leafsbaseball.weebly.com.
All our lives we've been told, "It's no cakewalk." But today (at 1 p.m., meeting at the southeast corner of College Street and Augusta Avenue) an actual cakewalk happens with a stroll that highlights the bakery buildings of the city's west side, home to awesome things made with flour, frosting and food colouring. It's just one of the many guided neighbourhood look-sees that celebrate the work of urban advocate Jane Jacobs. May 5 and 6. Free. janeswalk.net
Spelling Bee of Canada
How do you spell trouble? Get a bunch of students aged six to 14 from across the province to compete for money and glory in a time-honoured, brow-furrowing, nerve-rattling quiz of memory prowess. May 6, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free (register at spellingbeeofcanada.ca). Delta Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerrard St. W.
Contact Photography Festival To June 6. scotiabankcontactphoto.com.
Walking Our Walk: Art on the Island May 12. 416-973-4093, harbourfrontcentre.com.
Walnut Studios Spring Show & Sale May 12. walnutstudios.com.