ART & MUSEUMS
There was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire, which meant, among other things, that it was always afternoon tea somewhere. An exhibition of pots, mugs, and bone china captures a 400-year social history of the cuppa-loving imperialists. To Sept. 16, daily. $6 to $12. Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen's Park, 416-586-8080.
Afterimage: Tod Ainslie's Vision of the War of 1812
Using only a primitive pinhole camera, photographer Tod Ainslie of Burlington, Ont., surveyed battles sites associated with the War of 1812. Twenty-two of the images – placid, haunting and devoid of human life – compellingly commemorate lives lived and lost during that early 19th-century fight. To Feb. 24, 2013. $12 to $15. Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park, 416-586-8000.
The pioneering jazz-rock guitarist brings his neat spaceship of note-bending and intriguing improvisation to Hugh's Room. June 5, 8:30 p.m. $40 to $42.50. 2261 Dundas St. W., 416-531-6604.
If nothing else the latest record from the crafty indie band wins an award for the cheekiest title. The cool-headed singer Janine Stoll leads an interesting crew at a tiny venue, where a delightfully unexpected sort of folk-pop – as found on their Award Winning Album – is spotlighted. June 7, 14 and 21. PWYC. Not My Dog, 1510 Queen St. W., 416-532-2397.
The confident bass-baritone Daniel Lichti joins Montreal's Pentaèdre Wind Ensemble and accordionist – yes, accordionist – Joseph Petric for a particular arrangement of Schubert's lonely poetic odyssey, Winterreise (Winter Journey). June 3, 2 p.m. (1:15 p.m. pre-concert chat). $40. Sharon Temple, 18974 Leslie St. E., Sharon, Ont., 905-478-2389.
Einstein on the Beach
"A person who never made a mistake," Einstein said, "never tried anything new." When the Robert Wilson-Phillip Glass collaboration debuted in 1976, operatic ground was broken; their dreamy piece of abstract performance art was highly innovative. The work, inspired by the life of the bushy-faced physicist, is now being presented at Luminato and elsewhere for the first time in 20 years, allowing new generations to experience the original epic production. June 8 and 9 (6 p.m.) and June 10 (3 p.m.). $25 to $175. Sony Centre, 1 Front St. E., 416-368-4849 or luminato.com.
You're invited to man the trenches for a First World War drama with a giant puppet of a horse as its big gun. 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 to apply for veterans benefits. $35 to $175. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., 416-872-1212.
La Belle et la Bête
Much like the great surrealist director Jean Cocteau, who magically adapted the classic French tale in 1946, this retelling of Beauty and the Beast is an interpretation for adults – a multimedia creation that uses virtual-reality techniques to tell the story of love and redemption. (Part of Luminato.) June 8 to June 12 . $49 to $99 . Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front St. E., 416-368-4849 or luminato.com.
Created for the Stuttgart Ballet in 2008, Kevin O'Day's abstract adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy about a brooding Danish prince makes its North American premiere with the National Ballet of Canada. Expect a succinct, highly physical style of ballet, somewhere between classical and contemporary. To June 10. $25 to $234. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595.
Andrew Davidson's 2009 novel The Gargoyle covers multiple genres – gothic, erotica, and horror – but we never saw an adaptation that uses breakdancing coming. Larchaud Dance Project offers a modern, intense take on an unconventional romance. June 2, 8 p.m. $25. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., 416-504-7529 or danceworks.ca.
East End Comedy Revue
Jeff Elliott, Jen Grant and the inimitable Sean Cullen, who keeps his mind nimble and warm beneath a bowler, say funny things. That's it. That's what they do. Go see them do it. June 2, 8 p.m. $20 (ticket web.ca). Dominion on Queen, 500 Queen St. E., 416-368-6893.
LITERARY and LECTURE
Toronto Jewish Book Festival
His controversial, acclaimed memoir was titled Foreskin's Lament, and when he explained the use of Anne Frank in his first novel, Hope: A Tragedy, he said that "sacred cows make the best burgers." The virtuoso American humorist Shalom Auslander is interviewed by Toronto author Michael Wex on the annual literary event's first night (June 4, 8 p.m., $25). June 4 to 7. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., 416-638-1881, ext., 4281 or kofflerarts.org.
Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Readings
International nominees David Harsent, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sean O'Brien and Joanna Trzeciak, along with Canadian contenders Ken Babstock, Phil Hall and Jan Zwicky, read from poetry collections shortlisted for the major literary prize. As well, the recipient of the Lifetime Recognition Award – the name of the sonnet star is a secret – will be announced. June 6, 7:30 p.m. $7.50 to $12.50. Koerner Hall , 273 Bloor St. W., 416-408-0208.
Picasso and the Art Market
Picasso's last words were "drink to me." Sure thing, Pablo, as long as you're buying. Molly Ott Ambler and Elizabeth Gorayeb of Sotheby's discuss the market for the great artist's works, including pieces that have sold for prices topping $100-million (U.S.). June 6, 7 p.m. $12 to $20. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648 .
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Blonde in Fifties Hollywood Cinema
Some gentlemen prefer it hot, while others like it blonde. A salute to the light-haired ladies Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Lana Turner, Doris Day, Jayne Mansfield and Judy Holliday begins with screenings of Howard Hawks's 1953 musical comedy starring the baby-voiced Mrs. Joe DiMaggio and the brunette bombshell Jane Russell (June 3, 1 p.m. and June 5, 6:30 p.m.). June 3 to Aug. 26. $8.50 to $12. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433.
Worldwide Short Film Festival
They're short with us, but never rude. The annual flurry of flick-length flicks kicks off with an 80-minute program of the year's top cinematic tots (June 5, 7 p.m. and June 10, 9:30 p.m., at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W.). June 5 to 10. $10 to $20. Various venues (box office at 756 Bathurst St .). worldwideshortfilmfest.com.
Canadian Sport Film Festival
There's no greater drama than the underdog in the athletic arena, a trope well explored in the films of this fourth-annual festival. We have Rwandan children determined to get to Johannesburg for the 2010 World Cup ( Africa United), a 57-year-old Swedish woman's return to drag-racing ( A Mother's Comeback), and Quebec civic boosters hoping to convince a verbose boxing legend to help with a charity event ( Seeing Ali). June 7 to 8 . $7 to $12 ($30 pass). TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-968-3456.
Hidden Gardens and Private Spaces
Ten private plots, tucked along quite back lanes or set in hidden alcoves, make up a self-guided tour in historic Cabbagetown. Proud gardeners will be on site to answer questions on their small places of innovative greenery. June 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. $15 . 89 Winchester St., 416-363-9914 , www.cabbagetownpa.ca.
Veggie Pride Parade
You can talk the talk, but can you stalk the stalk? Celery-lovers unite for a walk of musicians, dancers, jugglers and fun-seekers, who'll parade down Yonge Street for a different kind of veg-out. June 2 , noon to 3:30 p.m. Beginning at Asquith Avenue, near Toronto Reference Library; ending at Trinity Square. veggieprideparade.ca.
Telling Tales Out of School
If school was this much fun, we would have never dropped out. In benefit of People for Education, the zany Mary Walsh hosts an event that sees actor Gordon Pinsent sing, the hilarious Women Fully Clothed troupe cracking wise and playwright Michael Healey reading from a scandalous work. June 3, 6:30 p.m. $125 ($200 for two). Young Centre, 55 Mill St., 416-534-0100 or peopleforeducation.ca.
Earth Day Canada Gala
The melodically gifted and passionate enviro-activist Sarah Harmer is the keynote speaker for a star-studded green-going affair. She'll discuss the ways art can affect social change. Also, the Sadies do their cosmic country thing, comedian Shaun Majumder affably hosts and eco-friendly foodies feast and fete organically. June 6, 6:30 (dinner, $250) or 9:30 (entertainment, $150). Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W, earthday.ca/gala.
The Love Lettering Project
For eight years the writer and artist Lindsay Zier-Vogel has penned adoring odes and whimsically distributed them willy-nilly to places all around the city, to be discovered later by strangers. On Monday, she holds a workshop on the writing of random love letters. June 4, 7 to 10 p.m. The Avro, 750 Queen St. E., 416-466-3233.
Transit Of Venus
Venus is our closest planet, but we don't really keep in touch. On Tuesday, Earth's celestial sister passes in front of the sun – a rare visible "transit" that won't happen again until 2117. Viewing parties happen at Varsity Centre (299 Bloor St. W.; register at universe.utoronto.ca) and the Ontario Science Centre (770 Don Mills Rd.). June 5, 5:30 p.m. , Solar viewing glasses provided.
Laura's Cow: The Legend of Laura Secord
An iconic Canadian heroine, who perilously warned the British forces of a sneak American attack during the War of 1812, receives the bicentennial commemoration treatment with a new family-friendly opera, commissioned by the Canadian Children's Opera Company. June 7 to 10 (previews begin June 6). $15 to $35. Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-368-4849 or luminato.com .
Art of Time: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band To June 2. Enwave Theatre, 416-973-4000.
Toronto Coin Expo To June 2. Toronto Reference Library, torontocoinexpo.ca.
Waterfront Blues To June 3. Woodbine Park, waterfrontblues.ca.
Toronto Festival Of Clowns To June 3. Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement, torontofestivalofclowns.com.
Script Tease Project To June 3. Theatre Passe Muraille, 416-504-7529.
Through the Garden Gate: Resplendent Rosedale June 9 and 10. torontobotanicalgarden.ca.
Toronto Roller Derby June 9. Bunker, Downsview Park, torontorollerderby.com.
Woofstock June 9 to 10. St Lawrence Market neighbourhood, woofstock.ca.
Beaches Arts and Crafts Show June 9 to 10. Kew Gardens, beachesartsandcraftsshow.ca.
Toronto Island House & History Tour June 10. Ward's Island, 416-203-0902.