The best parties of the week include the kickoff of the AGO’s 1st Thursdays, a birthday party for Alexander Keith’s, and a five-dollar rap show.
Thursday: 1st Thursdays at the AGO
Music by Bahamas. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West. Advance tickets sold out, $12 at the door. Doors at 6:30 p.m.
I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am delighted. After the ROM’s unprecedented success with last spring’s Friday Night Live series, it was only a matter of time before an institution like the AGO would follow suit with their own party. It’s an effort to get 19-plus crowds into cultural epicentres with boozy bait, where you can talk and drink and dance (or whatever) around art you will probably never buy, but art that you can certainly endorse. To kick off the first monthly instalment, 1st Thursdays will feature the exhibition in honour of Evan Penny, who created this piece I’m obsessed with in real life as part of the Drake Hotel’s permanent collection. The artist will speak about his first solo show and his larger-than-life sculptures, “which straddle the line between object and image, presenting the human form both as we see it and as it can be imagined through the distorting lens of photography and digital media.” But the event features a lot more action revolving around Penny’s work: a solo set by Bahamas (Barrie-bred emerging star Afie Jurvanen); free nude life-drawing classes; the launch of DesignTALKS, a lecture series featuring leading local designers focused on small space design (this month: Trevor Kruse); and a champagne/wine bar by FRANK restaurant in the gift shop to get that wallet good and loose. Better still, you can wander the gallery until 11 p.m. The ROM’s FNL returns next week, but will Thursday become the new Friday? Find out more about the AGO’s happenings here.
PRO TIP: Jeff Blackburn—who I’ve praised so much here you’d think I was on his payroll—will debut his newest solo exhibition, “Catalog”, at The Mascot, with a cross-section of his work featuring themes of “the transitory nature of personal interaction, presentation of self, [and] the downfall of celebrity.”
Thursday: The $5 Rap Show
With various performers. Rancho Relaxo, 300 College Street. $5 (obvs.) Doors at 9 p.m.
This is the kind of thing I like: straight-up music. For $5 (with no wonky web tickets), you can take in a night of rap music of the unencumbered variety. After a September sojourn, The $5 Rap Show—which has been going strong since 2010—is back with yet another fresh offering of indie hip-hop artists. Tonight’s edition features Whistler, BC’s Animal Nation (“harmonicas, guitars, and drum machines with turntables, sampling, and banjos”), Ottawa’s Philly Moves (“an upbeat, positive hip-hop duo”), and Prolific (“a conscious and political poet armed with a mic”). More or Les and WordBurglar host. (Damn, I wish I would have thought of that stage name.) Find out more here.
Friday: Alexander Keith’s Birthday Festival
Featuring Matt Mays with special guest Dwayne Gretzky. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue. $10 tickets here. Doors at 7:30 p.m.
I’m a big enough Keith’s fan (or of any beer, really) to care about the brand’s birthday. It’s also Thanksgiving weekend, and if you’re not homeland-bound, there are worse things you could be doing. Plus, Steve Rock and Good Kids are behind this one, so a good time is almost guaranteed. In honour of the beer’s 217-year history, the party will make its way across Canada. Tomorrow night, Alexander lands here at Evergreen Brick Works—and he’s bringing friends and food for a night of “unforgettable experiences.” The $10 ticket doesn’t get you on-the-house food/beer, but you will get free shuttle service to the venue and a performance by Matt Mays with special guest Dwayne Gretzky. And the food: Rock Lobster, Neptuno Oysters, Fidel Gastros, Caplansky’s Deli Truck and way more. Find out more here.
Friday: POP KULT’s One-Year Anniversary
With various DJs. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West. $10 advance tickets here. Doors at 10 p.m.
POP KULT came around just after I started this party patrol gig, and it’s the jam that sold me on the idea of profiling the Mansion clan’s Happy Endings dim-sum dance party. Less wontons and more werq, POP KULT is a night-long mashup of the genre, from chart-topping hits to rising stars. At this session, ex-punk rocker Mike Simonetti (the music boss who brought you Chromatics) will bring retro-infused disco and pared-down house. They’re also celebrating the reincarnation of music blog 647broadway. More music by Brandon Sek and Famou$ Players. Oh, and the photobooth I like so much/find so funny is back. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for reduced $10 tickets at the door. It’s subject to capacity, so maybe don’t plan to roll up at midnight.
Sunday: DJ Dougie Boom’s Long Weekend Jam
The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West. $10. Doors at 10 p.m.
Ah, Sunday. I feel meh about the idea of lonely long weekenders paying to party with other lonely long weekenders, but a party featuring DJ Dougie Boom will be worth it if you really want to do the anti-/post-Thanksgiving thing and dance the stuffing off your hips. I mean, Dougie is one of the original DJs in a world of wannabes, having shared the stage with Chromeo, Holy Fuck, and Thunderheist. This jam promises to be genre-bending and fancy footwork-inducing. Happy Thanksgiving!