This week’s best parties include a free show by L.A.’s Saint Motel, an art opening by Jonathan Ball, the Gladstone Hotel’s annual exhibit of rising art stars, and the much-anticipated return of Strip Spelling Bee!
Thursday: Best In Show at the Gladstone
1214 Queen Street West. #WQW Runs until March 31. Free. 7 – 9 p.m.
My patience is wearing a little thin with the whole dancing and clubbing thing, so The Night List has resolved not to point you in the direction of dark spaces with thumping bass this week. Instead, try something a little less demanding (and demeaning), like Best in Show, the Gladstone Hotel’s annual, month-long exhibition of rising art stars. Curated by James Hewitt, I promise this will be a welcome change of pace. Browse fresh, innovative work by budding talents that will have you discussing something other than your drink order or the outfits of people around you. It’s a group show with 14 artists, with works exploring themes “ranging from social commentary to the fantastic abstraction of the human form, namely the traditional portrait.” Can’t make it tonight? It runs daily from noon to 5 p.m. until the end of the month. Find out more here.
Friday: “The Good” by Jonathan Ball, an art opening at Liss Gallery
140 Yorkville Ave. #YRV Free with RSVP. 6 – 9 p.m.
There’s seldom a reason to go to Yorkville for an art opening these days (see above), but Jonathan Ball has arrived—or, well, that is to say he’s already here and totally worth the trip. Ball, a 416 native with studio space in Little Italy, is known for his gutsy, apocalyptic fine art as much as he is for his anatomical airbrushing on live subjects. He’s also a master of mediums, tackling everything from mixed media to traditional oil and exploring the world of graffiti to comment on pop culture. He’s also proven himself to be haunting with a camera. Ball’s new show at Liss Gallery, The Good, is a testament to the artist’s vast range: look for a collection of works on canvas and photography. To attend, simply RSVP to info@LissGallery.com. View some of Ball’s previous work and find out more about him here, then watch the video below to see his last airbrush event at Liss Gallery.
Friday: Strip Spelling Bee is back!
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street. #DTN. $10. Doors at 10:00 p.m., sign-up at 10:30 p.m.
Way back in January—which feels like fifty columns ago—I went to a little thing where people tried to spell difficult words and then took off their clothing when—fine, if—they got it wrong. It’s my favourite Montreal buddy Sherwin’s Strip Spelling Bee, and it needs little to no introduction, since it plays out exactly how it sounds. Every two months or so, Sherwin VIA Rails it into town with his brand of R-rated fun for more-than-willing Torontonians in need of something other than “douchebag” debauchery. It’s really one of the best nights you can have that’ll give you a tinge of that sweet grade-school nostalgia—but with, like, boobs and balls. Hey, we’re all adults now and full frontal is totally in. (Have you seen Shame?) Anyway, anyone can be a strip speller, but you’ve got to sign up by 10:30 p.m. and there are only 13 spots. Otherwise, sit back and feel free to cheer and yell and holler. But no booing, okay? Everyone is beautiful. Find out all about it here.
Saturday: preview Spoon, a not-quite-finished play by Spencer Charles Smith
At Studio Theatre, 4 Glen Morris Street. #ANX Free, reserve advance tickets here. Saturday, 8p.m., Sunday 2 p.m.
If there were ever a not-quite-finished play that was primed to receive an incredible amount of off-Broadway buzz, it would be Spoon by Spencer Charles Smith. It’s all anyone’s been asking me about, so now I’m telling everyone about it. The three-person show is described as “a post-dramatic implosion of queer aesthetic,” and is currently in its “laboratory workshop” incarnation. That means: the team depends on audience feedback and interest with intentions of expanding Spoon into a feature performance this summer. It’s also the inaugural performance from Straight Camp, a new production company for emerging queer artists and allies “dedicated to the development and production of performance that disturbs our notions of Normal.” (They could also use some start-up funding, so donate to the cause here.) Back to the play itself: expect “sexy violence [Writer's Note: although violence is never sexy], campy music and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of cutlery.” Plus, there’s probs huge servings of metaphor to eat with all that cutlery. Oh, and it’s rounded out with coarse language, explicit sexuality, nudity and extremely loud noises. Well, I’m all ears. Tickets are free, but you must reserve in advance. Find out more here.
Tuesday: Nu Music Nite with The Whirly Birds and Saint Motel
Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen Street West. #QNW Free. 8 p.m.
They say the best things in life are free, right? Well, you can give props to girl-and-boy blogging duo (and friends) Sidewalk Hustle for doing their part to bring you one of life’s simplest pleasures: free music. On Tuesday night, join them for the debut Toronto gig by freshly-minted L.A. band Saint Motel, sharing the bill with SF Morie Band, Harlan Pepper and The Whirly Birds. The gigs are part of the Horseshoe’s Nu Music Nite, the work of Edge 102.1’s Dave Bookman. It’s not a secret (sorry, Owen Pallett), but it is sort of like Elvis Mondays at The Drake (sorry, no free food). Do you have anything better to do on a Tuesday night? I don’t. Now enjoy the newest video by Saint Motel—composed entirely of 16mm clips for this post-LDR world. It’s already inched its way onto my “25 Most Played” list in iTunes.