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What to do in Toronto from Jan. 19 to 25: See the Darkness, experience the Happy Show and much more

Justin Hawkins of British rock group The Darkness receives the award for Best British Group on stage at the Brit Awards in London, February 17, 2004.

Stephen Hird/Reuters


Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show

"I am usually rather bored with definitions," says Sagmeister, the Austria-born, New York-based graphic designer. "Happiness, however, is just such a big subject that it might be worth a try to pin it down." After investigating joy for ten years, the collaborator with musicians David Byrne and jolly Lou Reed and has produced an exhibition of maxims blown up into print, sculpture and interactive forms. To March 3. $8 to $15.20. Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., 416-363-6121.

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Adventures with Sherlock Holmes

An exhibit collects unusual books, rare manuscripts, film posters, artwork and artifacts from the holdings of the Toronto Public Library's Arthur Conan Doyle Collection. Magnifying glasses not supplied. To March 10. Free. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., 416-393-7131 or

Human Rights Human Wrongs

Curator Mark Sealy, who has a special interest in photography and its relationship to social change, identity politics and human rights, has selected more than 300 historical prints from the important Black Star Collection in his examination of whether images of political struggle and suffering work for, or against, humanitarian objectives. Jan. 23 to April 14. Ryerson Image Centre, 33 Gould St., 416-979-5164 or



"Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressed," the seventies soft-rockers crooned, "that I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed." The Sister Golden Hair singers – featuring two-thirds of its original lineup – hit five Ontario theatres this week (with no planned Sunday gig, thankfully). Jan. 19, Mississauga's Living Arts Centre; Jan. 22, Kingston's Grand Theatre; Jan. 23, Brock University Centre for the Arts, St. Catharines; Jan. 25, Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts; Jan. 26, Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts.

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The Spanish singer and fusionist Concha Buika (pronounced BWEE-kah) layers harmonies and rhythms inimitably, working boldly across the fields of swinging scat-jazz, tuneful pop and emotive flamenco. Jan. 25, 8 p.m. $35 to $75. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., 416-408-0208.

The Queen Extravaganza

Freddie Mercury rises, sort of: The rhapsodic rock band Queen is resurrected by a tribute-band presentation of memorable material, including hits Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Another One Bites The Dust, You're My Best Friend and Killer Queen. Jan. 21, 8 p.m. $41.10 to $85.85. Sony Centre, 1 Front St. W., 1-855-872-7669 or


Archie Alleyne's 80th Birthday

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Paintbox Bistro, part of an initiative that aims to revitalize Regent Park as a real and active and diverse Toronto neighbourhood as opposed to the old, isolated public-housing complex, launches a jazz series with performances by legendary drummer Archie Alleyne and the magnetic guest vocalist Jackie Richardson. Jan. 19, 8 p.m. $15 (performance) to $40 (with dinner). 555 Dundas St. E., 647-748-0555.

The Darkness

"I'm in a band with my brother and my two best mates," sings Justin Hawkins, the self-explaining frontman of Suffolk's finest glam-rockers. After a landing a coveted support spot on Lady Gaga's tour of Europe and Africa, the flamboyant, reunited quartet hit the road in support of its third album, Hot Cakes, an LP which, by definition, sells like that. Jan. 21, 8 p.m. $46. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., 1-855-985-5000.



A true tale of the rescue of six Irish freedom fighters from a colonial prison in Australia in 1876 is told by Andrew Musselman, who plays more than a dozen characters (with accents of American, Irish, English, Australian, French, Afro-American and Caribbean) with only a desk, chair, lamp and a bottle of Scotch for props. To Feb. 2. $20. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, 16 Ryerson Ave., 416-504-7529 or

The Wizard of Oz

We're not saying the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical is going to be in town for a while, but City Council is thinking about adding a bike lane to the yellow brick road. A warm spectacle involving flying monkeys, a ruby-slippered farm girl and some famously singable songs settles in for an extended run. $35 to $175. Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria St., 416-872-1212.

The Amorous Adventures of Anatol

A self-loving lothario works his way through seven women in Arthur Schnitzler's 1920 Viennese romance, here adapted as a saucy, contemporary comedy by Morris Panych. To Feb. 10. $27 to $53. Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827.

The Penelopiad

Megan Follows stars as Penelope, the long-suffering wife of Odysseus who, in Margaret Atwood's audacious re-imagining of Homer's The Odyssey, retells the epic from the perspective of the home front – reliving the 20 years she spent waiting for her hero to return from the Trojan war to Ithaca. To Feb. 10. $38 to $45. Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555 or

A Woman of No Importance

Lord Illingworth, a devoted flirt and witty Wildean dandy, is confronted with his scandalous past involving a respected widow in Oscar Wilde's dark comedy about English upper class society. Jan. 25 to Feb. 9. $20. Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley St., 416-364-4170.


Dance Weekend

Think of this as a speed-dating approach to acquainting yourself with the city's varied dance troupes and artists. Two days of one-after-the-other performances shed light on 32 companies, with two world premieres and dance films adding to the attraction. Jan. 19 and 20, 1 to 7 p.m. $10 (minimum donation). Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000 or

Shen Yun

The Chinese Communist Party might shun the Shen, but the New York-based company is a hit elsewhere. Established in 2006 by expatriate Chinese artists and connected to a spiritual sect banned in China, the troupe's mandate is to "restore and revive Chinese traditional culture," which it does in flashy sound-and-vision fashion. Jan. 19 (2 and 7:30 p.m.) and Jan. 20 (2 p.m.). $67 to $208.75. Sony Centre, 1 Front St. E., 1-855-872-7669 or

The Body in Question

The acclaimed American choreographer Deborah Hay has a pair of her solo pieces – News (2006) and At Once (2009) – adapted and danced by the highly capable Christopher House. Jan. 19 (8 p.m.) and Jan. 20 (2 p.m.). $20 to $26. Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester St., 416-967-1365 or


Gavin Crawford's Bits & Pieces

Why this comedian isn't bigger internationally is one of show biz's most confounding mysteries. For the second night of a two-night stand, the gifted Canadian does this and that on Downton Abbey, Rufus Wainwright and Hugh Jackman. Jan. 19, 7 p.m. $15 to $20. Flying Beaver Pubaret, 488 Parliament St., 647-347-6567.

Altered States

Has anyone ever hypnotized a chicken into thinking it's a human? The mind-blowing comedic hypnotist Brandon – not "The Great Fundini," or anything like that – reaches into subconscious minds and pulls out hilarity and hijinks. Jan. 20, 7 p.m. $10 to $15. Flying Beaver Pubaret, 488 Parliament St., 647-347-6567.


Kama Reading Series

The theme of this edition of the popular series, which is dedicated to erasing poverty through literacy, is O Canada, with authors James Laxer, Samantha Nutt and Noah Richler discussing topics inherent in their new books Tecumseh & Brock: The War of 1812; Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies & Aid and What We Talk About When We Talk About War, respectively. Jan. 23, 6:30 p.m. $60 ($275 for five-part series). Park Hyatt, 4 Avenue Rd., 416-977-0008.


Wanna See a Casino on the Toronto Waterfront?

Round and round the discussion goes – where it stops, nobody knows. Concerned citizens gather for a community discussion on the merits of a local place for slots, Wayne Newton and roulette. Jan. 19, 1 to 4 pm. Free. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge,

Monster Jam

How much road rage to the gallon do you think a vehicle called "Grave Digger" gets? Pulverizing, fearsomely named behemoths with tires the size of condominiums run wild and entertain the type of crowds turned off by the sophistication of stock car racing. Jan. 19 (7 p.m.) and Jan. 20 (2 p.m.). $29.05 to $66.85. Rogers Centre, 1 Blue Jays Way, 1-855-985-5000 or

Come Up To My Room

With 25 installations involving 40 artists and designers, we can safely say that the Gladstone Hotel is fully booked. A four-day festival of public-space projects, guided tours and outside-the-box room ideas take over the boutique lodging house. Jan. 24 to 27, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635,

Interior Design Show

We're no experts, but it is safe to say that race-car beds are out of fashion in 2013. Fortunately, for diaper-toting designophiles and parents of growing children, this year's IDS pays attention to nurseries, bedrooms, playrooms, even classrooms. Get ideas on crib-pimping and more through a series of exhibits dedicated to kids and families. Jan. 24 to 27 (Jan. 24, opening night party, $55 to $60; Jan. 25, professional trade day; Jan. 26 and 27, general admission, $19 to $22. Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.,


Music Therapy Concert

If you're not sure of the medicinal properties of music, just have a listen to the feel-good piano pop of the songstress Darelle London, one of the sunshine performers offering their talent in support of the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund. Song-in-his-heart comedian Sean Cullen is also on a bill emceed by the affable Barenaked Ladies drummer Tyler Stewart. Jan. 20, 8 pm. $10. The Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W., 416-535-0200 or


The Magic Horn

The Magic Circle Mime Company tells the story of the magic of musical instruments, with help from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, whose own brass is capable of much razzle-dazzle as well. Jan. 19, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-872-4255.


Toronto International Boat Show To Jan. 20. Direct Energy Place,

The Way We Feel: A Celebration of the Music of Gordon Lightfoot To Jan. 20. Hugh's Room, 416-531-6604.

Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting To Jan. 20. AGO, 416-979-6648.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch To Jan. 27. Drake Hotel,

Freckleface Strawberry To Feb. 24 (Sundays). Lower Ossington Theatre, 416-915-6747.


Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience Jan. 31. Massey Hall, 416-872-4275.

Al Purdy Tribute Feb. 6. Koerner Hall, 416-408-0208 or

Solange Feb. 22. The Hoxton,

Major Lazer Feb. 28. Music Hall, 1-855-985-5000.

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite March 1. Music Hall, 1-855-985-5000.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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