Watch this if: You want some movie beefcake with a Dope Queen on the side
The freewheeling follow-up to Steven Soderbergh’s 2012 sleeper hit about a fun-loving crew of male strippers led by a never-beefier Channing Tatum, Magic Mike XXL is one of the decade’s few Hollywood sequels to elicit the same love and loyalty as the original. And you’ll find few bigger fans of it than Phoebe Robinson, the comedian, actor and co-host of the equally well-cherished and reliably hilarious podcast 2 Dope Queens. She’s in town to introduce a screening and sign copies of her recent book Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay. (TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W.)
Watch this if: You think Shakespeare needs to be messed with.
The summer season of Shakespeare is upon us, but kick yours off with an eclectic boom. Ill Met By Moonlight invites audiences into the fairy world of The Painted Lady for a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from a queer perspective, incorporating music, burlesque and the bouffon style of clown. This is likely to be an evening that’s very far from the big cottage-country festivals or the outdoor productions in your neighbourhood park. (May 14 to 19, The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave.)
Watch this if: A spacey meeting of ancient and futuristic.
Hecker’s electronic processing found a perfectly heady host in the Hearn Generating Station’s reclaimed industrial space last couple of times in. At least in terms of the venue this return is perfectly mundane, though just as anticipated, as the Vancouver native brings with him the Tokyo Gakuso ensemble, specialists in gagaku — traditional Japanese court music, and a finely balanced match for Hecker’s increasingly stripped approach. The collaboration’s two albums — last year’s Konoyo, and this month’s companion collection Anoyo — wash over you like a foggy twilight in old Kyoto, and given Hecker’s attention to setting and presentation expect the live show to amp up the strangeness beauty of it all. Regular Hecker pal Kara-Lis Coverdale opens proceedings solo, then places her organ among the ensemble’s ancient instruments for the main event. (Mod Club, 722 College St., doors 8 p.m.).
Watch this if: You want to check out Canada’s next great auteurs.
Founded by a team of young Toronto filmmakers in 2014, the FOFS aims to give some valuable support — and a chance to get their work up on a big screen — to some of the country’s most talented visual storytellers under the age of 30. Of course, movie-loving geezers who’ve aged past that cutoff are also welcome at this week’s annual program of short films by directors from coast to coast. Highlights in the 2019 set include the recent Canadian Screen Award nominee Mahalia Melts in the Rain, a lovely vignette about a difficult realization for one little girl by Montreal’s Emilie Mannering and Carmine Pierre-Dufour, and Medical Drama, a decidedly off-kilter comedy-drama by Vancouver’s Sophie Jarvis. (Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond St. W.)
Watch this if: You know or have a pint-sized polymath.
The Harbourfront Centre’s Junior Festival, which is back for its second edition this week, is kind of like Luminato, but for ages 4 and up. Created as a springtime multi-arts festival to encourage conversation, curiosity, and wonder in young audiences, the Junior Festival has a well-curated, mostly free lineup that pulls from a wide variety of genres (puppetry, plays, dance, music, visual art installations, film, and interactive workshops in craft, fashion, writing, and more) from around the world (like South Korea, Belgium, Australia, the United States, as well as Canada). Get them started young and perhaps you’ll have another festival-going partner for the rest of the summer. (May 18 to 24, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West)
Watch this if: You love a good ol’ ensemble family drama.
Former Shaw Festival artistic director Jackie Maxwell knows how to stage a dysfunctional family, which makes her a natural choice to helm Soulpepper Theatre’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning August Osage County by Tracy Letts. But of course, she also has the strength of one of the most formidable ensemble casts in recent history: Nancy Palk, Gregory Prest, Maev Beaty, Kevin Hanchard, Oliver Dennis, Laurie Paton, Leah Doz, Michelle Monteith, Diego Matamoros, Jeff Meadows, Raquel Duffy… It’s enough to make a theatre fan drool. (May 18 to June 15, Young Centre for the Arts, 50 Tank House Lane)
Watch this if: You’d like to check out George Clooney’s latest project.
The A-lister is an executive producer and director on this adaptation of the famous Joseph Heller novel set in the Second World War, but he’s not the main star. That would be Christopher Abbott (Girls) as U.S. air force bomber Yossarian. He’s joined by Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) as unhinged Colonel Cathcart, who keeps increasing bombing missions and risking lives even though the Germans are on the run. The sardonic and pragmatic YoYo wants out, which can happen if he’s deemed to be crazy, but there’s a catch: if he asks to be relieved of duty it proves he’s sane and he has to keep flying. (Citytv Now)
Watch this because: It’s a long weekend and time to get outside.
The popular electronic music series on Toronto Island is back to kick off its season and that of the outdoor concert, and after spring’s unfashionably late appearance it’s about freakin’ time, isn’t it? For this return the Iranian-American DJ and producer Dubfire (neé Ali Shirazinia), half of the ‘90s duo Deep Dish gone to one-man techno marathoner and boss of his own label, stops in to headline ahead of a slot at next week’s huge Movement Festival in Detroit, and for sure a few in the crowd will be doing that double. German duo Ame and Toronto’s Jonathan Rosa are among the main stage names for a picnic that goes all afternoon and into the night. (Hanlan’s Point, doors 2 p.m.)