Thursday: AGO 1st Thursdays
With a performance by Basia Bulat. AGO, 317 Dundas Street West. Advance tickets sold out, $12 rush line policy in effect. Rush line at 6 p.m., doors at 6:30 p.m.
Happy New Year! How much fun did you have last Monday night? Okay then, how much fun did you resolve to have in 2013? Since I’ve given mad love to the ROM’s Friday Night Live series (which isn’t back until May), all my good vibes are now going towards the AGO’s 1st Thursdays, a night of art and music and food and culture. The late-2012 editions of this jam sold out repeatedly, and clearly, they show no signs of skipping a beat. For tonight’s hoedown, the theme is simple: “Back to the Garden: Re-imagining the Canadian Landscape.” Highlights include: a 9:30 p.m. solo performance by Juno and Polaris Prize nominee Basia Bulat, visuals by Toronto artist Stephanie Comilang, a one-night-only participatory mural project by wondrous street artist Dan Bergeron, and a special pop-up series featuring, among others, a performance by badass artiste Sook-Yin Lee. And so much more: DJs, fish and chips, poutine, tacos, etc. Find out more here.
Friday: Feast in the East
Featuring various performers. Polyhaus, 388 Carlaw Ave. $7 advance tickets (with free meal!) at Circus Books & Music, The Film Buff, Grasshopper Records, and Soundscapes; $10 at the door. Doors at 9 p.m.
It’s fun to (playfully) tease the east end about its perfectly calm and level-headed brand of after-dark action, and in my recent Dirty 30 round-up, I argued that the ‘hood has a good groove going in spite of it all. The east end kicks off 2013 with wicked fun courtesy of Feast in the East, the monthly series that blends music, food, and 360-degree satisfaction for the senses. I won’t rave too hard except to say that Feast in the East is blissfully unaware of how totally cool (and a little sexy) it really is. As always, this month’s bookings are ace: Yacht Club featuring Ben Cook of Fucked Up fame; Digits, the electro-pop Toronto wunderkind recently name-dropped in BlackBook magazine’s best of 2013; electro-rap by Beta Frontiers; and shoegaze synth from Miss Elizabeth. Also: art by Adrian Dilena. And it’s all ages. Find out more here.
Friday: Strip Spelling Bee, post-apocalypse edition
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St. $10 at the door, free if you compete (plus one drink ticket). Sign-up at 10:30 p.m., bee starts at 11 p.m.
The Strip Spelling Bee was the subject of my first Night Shift column of 2012, so it’s only fitting that we begin the new year by checking back in. For this instalment, your host Sherwin encourages costumes reflecting what you’d wear for the end of the world. So, basically, grunge-sexy. “The game is played a lot like strip poker, but it’s a spelling bee—and it’s played in front of a live audience of hooters, hollerers and hecklers who want to see some smart and sexy skin.” Here’s how it goes: You arrive early and sign-up for free (only 10 spots are available), and one by one you answer a hard-as-fuck word. If you get it right, sit down. If you get it wrong, strip a layer off. By evening’s end, things get full frontal. Winners and strippers get prizes. No photos, and snitches get a free drink. Check the complete rules here, and have fun!
Sunday: The Brewer’s Backyard Brew Year’s Day
Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave. Free admission, pay-as-you-go for beer and snacks. Doors at noon.
After six much-hyped editions in 2012, The Brewer’s Backyard starts its new season with a selection of winter warmer–style ales, which are also known as cures for seasonal ails. If you haven’t heard, TBB “takes the concept of a beer garden to the next level” and “gives you a chance to learn about, try, and meet the people behind the best beer Ontario has to offer.” This edition features six breweries—the most to date, including a selection from the Junction’s new Indie Alehouse—and Hawaiian street food from Big E’s Grinds. Did I also mention there’s a heated indoor serving area and a skating rink outside? Yup. Winter fun for early nights. Find out more here.
Wednesday: Steam Whistle’s Indie Outsider opening night
Steam Whistle Brewery, 255 Bremner Boulevard. Free. Doors at 7 p.m.
End the party week just like you started it: with some art. For its January visual love-in, Steam Whistle is presenting a show curated by Runt (alias: Alex Currie), the visionary behind the famed Lee’s Palace mural. Dubbing it “The Hanna Barberic Show,” Runt has collected five “indie outsider” artists—“each with an unmistakable style”—to bring our dark nights to life. Look for works by Mike Parsons, Menno Krant, David Irvine, and John Abrams, each exploring themes from “pop culture, film, music, urban life, and art-at-large.” Fun fact: Steam Whistle doesn’t charge rent or take commission, generously helping local artists show for the first time. The exhibition runs until the end of the month. Check out Runt in action below.