Five must-see events at Harbourfront Centres Brave festival

Brave: The Festival of Risk and Failure is a wide-ranging new festival at Harbourfront Centre that explores "the role of.

Brave: The Festival of Risk and Failure is a wide-ranging new festival at Harbourfront Centre that explores “the role of risk and failure in the creative process.” Kicking off on Thursday (July 12) and running to July 29, the annual event covers talks, musical performances, art installations, film screenings and more. Check out NOW critics’ picks for the most interesting events below and an interview with comedian Cathy Jones about her Brave stand-up set here. For the full schedule, visit

Harbourfront celebrates the cult director whose lecture kicks off the festival on Thursday by screening 10 of his features over the weekend. Saturdays triple bill of Pecker (2 pm, Studio Theatre), Cry-Baby (5:30 pm, Studio Theatre) and Hairspray (7 pm, Concert Stage) is pretty great, and Serial Mom (Sunday, 2 pm, Brigantine Room) is a blast with a crowd. Norman Wilner

Thursday (July 12) at Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 7:30 pm, $65 (talk) and screenings Friday to Sunday (July 13-15), multiple venues, free.

Toronto filmmaker Ingrid Veninger (Modra, Porcupine Lake) designed her 2015 feature which casts Pedro Fontaine as a man struggling with profound loss in Santiago to be scored by a live musician at every performance, which means that while the movie never changes, the experience of seeing it is always different. This presentation will be accompanied by Casey Manierka-Quaile and hosted by Jane Siberry. NW

July 13 at Concert Stage, 8 pm, free.

Is Tommy Wiseau brave for putting his heart and soul into one of cinemas greatest failures, or is he brave for insisting his terrible movie is in fact an ingenious comedy? Watch the film, decide for yourself, then follow it with James Francos adaptation of Greg Sesteros memoir of working with Wiseau, with Franco himself as the eccentric wannabe auteur. This double bill is licensed, so its gonna get weird. NW

July 13 at Brigantine Room, 8:30 pm, free.

Local comics Ali Hassan (CBCs Laugh Out Loud and Muslim, Interrupted) and Dave Merheje (Just For Laughs and CBCs Mr. D) come together for an evening of stand-up tackling culture, stereotypes and the difficulties of fitting in as people of colour. Up-and-comers Nour Hadidi, Carol Zoccoli and improv powerhouse duo Coko + Daphney round out the show, lending their sharp and too often unheard perspectives. Michelle da Silva

July 21 at Concert Stage, 9 pm, free.

The festivals music lineup is essentially a mini-fest based on a theme of exile. France-born Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux is the daughter of exiled parents, and her music has bluntly tackled Chiles brutal 17-year dictatorship and more recent political developments and protests in addition to feminist, anti-colonialist and environmental themes. She was nominated for a Grammy in 2015 for her Vengo album, which included Andean and Indigenous sonic touches. Other musicians playing Brave include Egypts Ramy Essam (July 27) and African music titan Thomas Mapfumo, aka the Lion of Zimbabwe (July 29). Kevin Ritchie

July 28 at Concert Stage, 9:30 pm, free. | @nowtoronto

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