Welcome to The Varsity’s guide to navigating the vast Arts & Culture scene in Toronto. Our selections are either free, pay-what-you-can (PWYC), or inexpensive, so you won’t have to worry about the old pocketbook in most cases. Do find out the hours of operation be- fore you head over to these theatres, galler- ies, and museums and make sure to pick up the postcards or flyers that are conveniently stacked or scattered in the common areas of these locales; they’ll often lead you to more groovy happenings.
// Visual Variety Pack
Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas St. W. $15 for students, FREE on Wednesdays from 6-9pm (except for special exhibitions—hiss). Try and catch the stun- ning Chuck Close exhibit before it closes on September 15th. 416.979.6648
952 Queen St. W. FREE. Swanky-swank; wear a skirt—if you’re a girl. Power ties for the boys. Catch Canadian artist Tom Dean’s exhibition starting in September. 416.921.6540
9 Ossington Ave. FREE. A self-proclaimed Electronic Media Arts Centre for all you tech- lovers. 416.599.7206
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art
111 Queen’s Park. $8 for students, FREE the first Friday of every month after 4 p.m. Don’t bring your elephant. 416.586.8080
Magic Pony Shop and Gallery
694 Queen St. W. FREE. Friendly and fun store houses a cozy, little shoebox of a gallery at the back. Flip through the new Banksy book, or ogle the Marcel Dzama salt-and-pepper shakers while you’re there. 416.861.1684
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA)
952 Queen St. W. FREE. Look for the slender, cerulean tree trunks at the entrance of this excellent museum. Also check out the more diminutive surrounding galleries while you’re in the neighborhood. 416.395.0067
The Power Plant
231 Queen’s Quay W. FREE in the summer, pocket change in the fall semester. A little off the beaten path, The Power Plant specializes in an assortment of contemporary art and multimedia. 416.973.4949
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen’s Park. $17 for students, $10 af- ter 4:30 p.m. on Fridays. Wander the newly- opened Crystal and check out the exhibit of Martin Howard’s antique typewriters. DING! 416.586.8000
Stephen Bulger Gallery
1026 Queen St. W. FREE. This elegant space shows primarily documentary-style, contem- porary photography perfect for introspective observers. 416. 504.0575
Whippersnapper Gallery (pictured above)
587A College St. FREE. Hip and cheeky stu- dent-run gallery features the work of young up-and-comers, as well as hosting thematic parties and the monthly all-ages music series
// Everybody Dance Now
Harbourfront series: NextSteps
Premiere Dance Theatre, Queen’s Quay Terminal. Admission TBA, but there will be student and rush options available. Try and catch the stellar company Pro ArteDanza during their limited engagement, Oct. 3-6. www.harbourfrontcentre.com
Integrated Dance Artists Collective
Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester St. $18 for students. side [a]ffects runs Sept. 12-16 at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. www.idac. ca
National Ballet of Canada
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Student ticket prices are TBA, but let’s hope they’re not staggering—we want to catch the Jerome Robbins triple-bill West Side Story Suite, Glass Pieces (featuring mu- sic by Philip Glass), and In The Night running Nov. 8-18. www.nationalballet.ca
All over Toronto. FREE. Sept. 29, 7:05 p.m. until dawn. Top picks: Dance Ontario pres- ents Ghostly Apparitions, a participatory choreographic experience with choreogra- pher Viv Moore in the Distillery District (55 Mill St). Kaeja d’Dance presents Karen Kae- ja’s Bird’s Eye View at Casa Loma. Ame Hen- derson/Public Recordings presents open field study (all together now), a DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event at Bellevue Square in Kensington Market. www.nuitblanche/ liveinculture.ca for full festival line-up and maps.
// Thrilling theatre
Buddies in Bad Times
PWYC Sunday matinees: $15 for students the rest of the week. Toronto’s Queer theatre, with a sexy and smart range of plays in their 07/08 lineup, including Nightwood’s Hyste- ria festival in October, and the on-the-fringe Rhubarb! fest in February—a great place to discover interesting and unconventional productions before they strike it big-ish. www.buddiesinbadtimesthetheatre.com
Canadian Opera Company
C’mon, what’s more cathartic than watching a powerful tenor pour out his emotions in Italian? With $20 tickets for under-30’s going on sale one week before opening, make sure you book these prime seats pronto. Student ID required. www.coc.ca
Canadian Stage Company
Berkley St Theatre/Bluma Appel Theatre Monday night PWYC! Box office opens at 10 a.m. the day of. Take a friend to see The Pil- lowman, Martin McDonagh’s grisly drama directed by David Ferry; opens Sept. 17 at the Berkley St. Theatre. www.canstage.com
Sunday PWYC matinee. Great atmosphere— catch the multicultural Crosscurrents festi- val, early 2008. www.factorytheatre.ca Soulpepper Theatre Company Although not exactly cut-rate, there are $30 student tickets available for Soulpepper’s stellar 07/08 lineup. Break the bank for Chekhov’s Three Sisters, directed by László Marton: month-long run opens Aug. 30. www.soulpepper.ca
Sunday PWYC matinee; student tickets always under $20—just bring I.D. Insider info: U of T students past and present make their mark in the impressive selection of new works in T’Gon’s 07/08 season check out current student Hannah Moscovitch’s drama East of Berlin opening October 16, and Daniel MacIvor’s How it Works, opening November 6, featuring recent UCDP grad Bethany Jillard. www.tarragontheatre.com
Theatre Passe Muraille
Sunday PWYC matinee. With new artistic di- rector Amy McKim at the helm, TPM’s 07/08 season is looking up, particularly with the remount of Michael Healey’s 1999 hit The Drawer Boy. www.passemuraille.on.ca
T.O. Tix / HipTix
Tickets half price (plus handling). Available the day of or in advance, online or in per- son at the T.O. Tix booth located at Dundas Square (Yonge and Dundas). Visit the T.O. Tix website for a full list of what’s available. HipTix are special $5 student tickets, also available online or in person. Remember to exchange your confirmation printout for tickets at the theatre. Valid student ID re- quired. www.totix.ca
Note—Previews: Most of these theatres of- fer preview ticket prices between $10 and $20. Previews are the performances that go up before the official opening of a produc- tion. This can either be really interesting or not so much. It’s a coin-toss—which is all part of the allure.
// Let’s Get Literary
Strong Words presented by Indie Politik
The Gladstone Hotel Art Bar: $5. The montly series going into its junior year features established authors like George Elliot Clarke and total unknowns (with un- fortunate names like Spencer Butt) reading works as fresh as the pint the bartender just poured you.
This Is Not A Reading Series
The Gladstone Hotel: FREE! Pages Bookstore fronts this ecletic collec- tion of writers and readings, located in the Gladstone’s darkly romantic Melody Bar (darkly romantic, when they’re not doing karaoke). September through to May locals present their works, field questions from the audience, and sign some books. Last season featured fantastic finds from FOUND Magazine and a live boxing competition (the writer totally got his ass kicked).
Sneaky Dee’s: $5 This is a steal for the quirky lecture series, now held amongst nachos and cold beers in the always-packed upstairs of Sneaky Dee’s at College and Bathurst. Past topics have included slut profiling, a history of a reader’s own face, and uh, early child- hood education by mayoral-hopeful Kevin Clarke. Curated and read by Toronto’s liter- ary hoi polloi (who also double as readers), the series was created by McSweeney’s con- tributor Sheila Heti.
// Film Screenings
The Cinema Students Union Presents Free Friday Films
Innis Town Hall: FREE. Why shell out 15 clams to see an Adam Sandler vehicle for the eighth time when your local student union plays it bigger, better, and for free? Held in Innis Town Hall, CINSSU programs personal faves (Muriel’s Wedding, anyone?), classic art-house (Bob La Flambeur), and gives the occasional sneak-peek in their free pre- views (The Departed). Also worth checking out is their WTF? Wednesdays series which puts a whole new spin on the phrase “cult favorite.”
Sneaky Dee’s: PWYC. Kickass indie bands for a price you decide every Sunday? Now that’s entertainment. Organized by Ryan Mc- Claren, past gigs have included Julie Doiron, The Robot Ate Me and the badassedness of Toronto’s Entire Cities. Seriously, I could go on forever…so check it out and read the on- line zine at www.wavelenghttoronto.com
Pitter Patter Nights
The Boat: PWYC. Same deal as Wavelength, except more often (usually Thursday through Sunday). Booked by local indie-su- per-hero Keith Hamilton, Pitter Patter Nights has a reputation for showcasing great bands like Action Makes, The Airfields, and Fjord Rowboat and before they get huge. Check www.pitterpatternights.com for complete listings.