A Pink Floyd opera, a Margaret Atwood documentary, and five other things to do in Toronto this week
A Pink Floyd opera
1Pink Floyd’s famous 1979 rock opera, The Wall, is now a literal opera. Loosely based on the life of the group’s founder, Roger Waters, Another Brick in the Wall follows fictionalized rockstar “Pink” as he looks back over his war-torn childhood through to his days as a rising star and his eventual descent into madness. November 13 to 23, Meridian Hall.
A Margaret Atwood documentary
2Margaret Atwood, you may have noticed, is having a pretty busy year yet again: a new season of The Handmaid’s Tale, a new Booker-winning novel, a new documentary about her, and, oh, did we mention she’s about to turn 80? In Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word Is Power, viewers get a glimpse of her childhood in the Canadian wilderness through to the set of The Handmaid’s Tale and up to the release of The Testaments. During the year of filming, directors Nancy Lang and Peter Raymont also captured some of Atwood’s final moments with her late partner, Graeme Gibson. November 14 to December 10, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
An architectural film festival
3Design and architecture geeks take note: the Architecture & Design Film Festival, which has been running in New York for a decade, is debuting in Toronto this week. That translates to a program of compelling films and talks, including The Human Shelter, an anthropological investigation into the concept of “home,” and Miracle on 42nd Street, about the little-known history of the Manhattan Plaza apartments (keep an eye out for familiar faces like Alicia Keys, Larry David and Samuel Jackson who all, at one point, lived there). November 14 to 17, TIFF Bell Lightbox.
A romantic holiday market
4We love the Distillery District’s Christmas Market for its romantic spirit: strings of white lights overhead, jingle bell tunes and enthusiastic revellers. Plus, the cobblestone walkways are lined with vendors selling local artisanal goods, like jars of maple syrup and ethically-sourced knits. After shopping, we highly recommend grabbing some mulled wine or stopping by Mill Street Brew Pub for a hearty stout. November 14 to December 22, Distillery District.
An Orpheus complex
5The myth of Orpheus—the musician who can only reclaim his beloved Eurydice from the underworld if he leads her out without glancing back—has been adapted by the likes of Rushdie, Rodin and Monteverdi. But the legend presents a challenge for ballet: how do you lift someone without looking at her? In this world premiere of Orpheus Alive, choreographer Robert Binet solves that conundrum by swapping his protagonists’ genders, so Eurydice is a ghostly man and Orpheus his dynamic female saviour. A score by acclaimed composer Missy Mazzoli completes this update. November 15 to 21, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
A bloody good time
6Earlier this year, a Niagara Falls man was fined $15,000 for smuggling nearly 5,000 live leeches out of Russia. Bad news for him, but good news for the ROM, which snapped up several of those parasites for its new exhibition, Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches. Some 30,000 species—including the absolutely horrifying sea lamprey—will be displayed alongside immersive histories of vampire hunting and Victorian bloodletting. Visitors will even get a primer on identifying and healing bites, in case they cross a bloodsucker IRL. November 16 to March 22, Royal Ontario Museum.
A Céline Dion album release
7On Friday night, French-Canadian singer Céline Dion is dropping her 12th English studio album, Courage, and her fans aren’t taking it lightly. To celebrate this upcoming album (not to mention a year of headline-making outfits), fans are partying all night long. If you don’t already know your Céline by heart, you best study up… Expect everything from this music icon’s best hits to remixes, lesser-known ballads, swag giveaways and even a performance by Céline go-go dancing twins (actually). November 15, Gladstone Hotel.