What to do in Toronto this week: February 17-23

NOW critics pick the city's best music, stage, books, film and art events


These are our top event picks for the week of February 17-23. For more events listings, visit nowtoronto.com/events.

Community

Family Day March for Wet’suwet’en

March in support of Indigenous Trans Mountain pipeline opponents in northern BC. Organizers are asking participants to bring banners.

February 17. 2 pm. Free. 750 Bloor West, meet outside Christie station. See Facebook event page for more info.

Stage

How To Fail As A Pop Star 

Multimedia phenom Vivek Shraya’s solo theatre show (one of our most-anticipated theatre shows for February) about her bid failed bid for super-stardom opens this week.

February 18-March 1. Berkeley Street Theatre. $49-$79. See listing.

Lady Sunrise 

Marjorie Chan’s play, set in contemporary hyper-consumerist Vancouver, is that rare production where the writer, director and ensemble cast is all female and Asian-Canadian.

February 20-March 8. Factory Theatre. $40-$50. See listing.

Trixie Mattel

The singer, actor and drag performer brings her Grown Up tour to town.

February 22. Danforth Music Hall. Doors 7 pm, all ages. $42.50-$200. ticketmaster.ca.

Music

Emily King

This New York singer/songwriter’s 2019 album Scenery earned NNNNNs – and she’s already released a new one. These two shows will find her playing in similar stripped-down fashion. 

February 17-18. Drake Hotel. Doors 8 pm. $29.50-$99. See listing.

Wolf Parade

Montreal indie rockers are back to the trio formation in which they first blew up 15 years ago, and their new album Thin Mind feels like not much has changed – in a good way. 

February 18-19. Mod Club. Doors 8 pm. $30. See listing

Raven’s Vision 

The local queer party collective (one of our most buzzed-about musical artists of 2019) is releasing its first compilation, Silk & Lace, bringing its electronic music scene out of the underground. Special guests include Desiire, Benedicte, James Baley, LAL, R. Flex and TiKA – all of whom are on the compilation. 

February 21. Unit 28 pm. $5 suggested. 

Bat For Lashes

Theatrical British pop musician Natasha Khan plays a rare Toronto show in support of her 80s horror-inspired album Lost Girls.

February 22. Phoenix Concert Theatre. Doors 8 pm. $25-$50. See listing.

Cat Video Fest

Cat Video Fest returns to Hot Docs for two screenings on February 22 and 23.

Film

Losing Ground

A restored version of Kathleen Collins’s semi-autobiographical 1982 debut screens at the Paradise Theatre. Kenneth Montague will introduce the film and critic and programmer Sarah-Tai Black will lead the post-screening discussion.

February 19. Paradise Theatre. 6:30 pm. Free. paradiseonbloor.com

Disability On Film

Critic Angelo Muredda’s four-part series explores sexuality and disability on screen.

February 20. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre. 7 pm. $10. eventbrite.ca.

Pendance Film Festival

The third annual indie film fest screens 37 films,  including the latest features by Werner Herzog, Ani Simon-Kennedy, James Sweeny, Mira Fornay, Shola Amoo and others.

February 20-23. TIFF Bell Lightbox and AGO’s Jackman Hall. $14-$125. pendancefilmfestival.ca.

Cat Video Fest

Escape into cuteness at annual event. Ten per cent of ticket sales go to Toronto Cat Rescue.

February 22-23. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Sat 2 pm, Sun 12 pm. $15. hotdocs.ca.

Art

Winter Stations

The sixth annual design competition transforms lifeguard stations into art installations that animate otherwise desolate east-end beaches from Family Day weekend through early spring. Check out photos here.

February 17-March 31. Kew and Woodbine beaches. Free. winterstations.com

Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair

Showcase of more than 300 contemporary artists from Canada and abroad, with art battles, chats, Untapped Emerging Artists Competition, art walks and more.

February 20-23. Better Living Centre. Thu 7-11 pm (opening night party), Fri 11 am-10 pm, Sat 11 am-8 pm, Sun 11 am-6 pm. $12.50-$16, opening night party $35. theartistproject.com.

Diane Arbus: Photographs, 1956-1971

The influential American photographer known for intimate black-and-white portraits gets her first Canadian solo show in almost 30 years. Read more here.

February 22-May 17. Art Gallery of Ontario. $25, free for annual pass holders. ago.ca.

Books

William Gibson

The Canadian sci-fi novelist who coined the term “cyberspace” chats about his new novel Agency.

February 19. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. 6:30 pm. $11.50. hotdocs.ca.

What Can We Do With Blackface And Other Racist Materials In Canadian Archives?

What should contemporary archivists do when they find historical images of Blackface? Ryerson PhD student Emilie Jabouin and assistant professor Cheryl Thompson ponder this question as they discuss how to reckon with such images. (Read our interview with Thompson about the enduring use of Blackface in Hollywood.)

February 20. Toronto Reference Library. 7 pm. Free. See listing

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