Entertainment

This week in Toronto: the Danforth laughs again, and Taylor Swift takes Toronto

Watch this if: You’re keen for a mini Parks and Recreation reunion.

Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, who starred on that beloved NBC comedy, reunite for this competition series in which people paint, draw or craft things out of wood, metal, fabric or whatever feeds their passion. Poehler told late-night host Seth Meyers it’s meant to be a TV series that doesn’t make you feel stressed or humiliated. Mind you, it is a competition, so somebody has to go home. Expect Poehler, who is not crafty, and Offerman, who’s a woodworking expert, to stitch some comedy bits into their hosting. (CTV at 10 p.m.)

—Debra Yeo

TUESDAY

20 Feet from Stardom

Watch this if: You want to see a rousing music movie in the heart of the city.

City Cinema in Yonge-Dundas Square kicks it up a notch with this week’s pick in its program of music docs that rock. The Oscar winner for best documentary feature in 2014, 20 Feet from Stardom gives some overdue attention to Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill and many more female backup vocalists whose voices may be much more familiar than their names. With its abundance of great music and incredible women artists, director Morgan Neville’s film is itself the kind of powerhouse performance that could blow the roof off a theatre. Luckily, this is an outdoor screening so chances are structural damage are nil. (July 31, Yonge-Dundas Square, 8 p.m.)

Jason Anderson

THURSDAY

Miss Chief’s Praying Hands

See this if: You want to view the latest from an important contemporary Canadian artist.

In 2017, Kent Monkman’s exhibition Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience was a major hit at the University of Toronto’s Art Museum, showcasing the artist’s signature blend of Indigenous social issues, the forms of classical art, and unique humour and wit. Monkman is now one of the country’s most recognizable artists and not just because of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, Monkman’s genderfluid alter ego, who appears in many of his paintings. Miss Chief Praying Hands is a new solo show by Monkman, exhibited by Leslieville’s Project Gallery, a big get for the relatively young gallery. (Opening reception 6 p.m., Project Gallery, 1210 Dundas St. E., on until Sept. 1)

—Carly Maga

Danforth Strong Fundraiser

Watch this if: You want to laugh in the face of tragedy.

What’s the best medicine to counter a senseless act of violence in a vibrant downtown community? At the Social Capital Theatre, it’s what they do best — laughter. This fundraiser not only helps support Danforth businesses, it will raise money for the GoFundMe campaign for the victims of the shooting and their families. The lineup features Sirius XM “Top Comic” winner Faisal Butt, sketch troupe Dame Judy Dench, and Second City alum Kirsten Rasmussen. (Social Capital Theatre, 154 Danforth Ave., 7:30 p.m.)

—CM

Atom Egoyan on Luchino Visconti’s Sandra

Watch this if: You want to hear an auteur wax poetic.

Along with being one of Toronto’s most celebrated filmmakers, Atom Egoyan’s long been one of its most passionate film fans, too. A highlight of TIFF Bell Lightbox’s summer-long series on Luchino Visconti, the Italian master’s 1965 family drama Sandra is a very special favourite of Egoyan’s. Indeed, he loves it so much, it became the subject of Sandra, an art book that was published in 2008 and included a letter he wrote to the character played in the film by Claudia Cardinale. The director gets another opportunity to express his devotion when he introduces a screening of Visconti’s classic. (TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 6:15 p.m.)

JA

FRIDAY

Taylor Swift

Watch this because: It’s Taylor Swift, silly. How can you turn away?

The juggernaut rolls on. Last year’s latest Swiftian slice Reputation, with the star settling scores while wrapped in a tight casing of electronics, provides the backbone here. And as these things go, the accompanying tour’s staging is at least half the story, including ginormous inflatable cobras and dancers in snakeskin trench coats — she’s turned that Kim Kardashian West-sized chip on her shoulder into source material — a golden throne, and colour-coded LED wristbands for the audience that synch to the potent hooks of the hits. There are plenty of those to go around, with Camila Cabello and Charli XCX given the task of warming things up and maybe taking notes. (Rogers Centre, 1 Blue Jays Way, 7 p.m., also Saturday)

—Chris Young

David Byrne

Watch this for: High concept and heady familiar tunes delivered in a not-so-big bespoke suit.

Since the dissolution of Talking Heads three decades ago, Byrne has turned into one of pop’s roving high priests and curators, unearthing nuggets of Afropop via his Luaka Bop label and continuing with the odd release of smart work on his own or in collaboration with a cast including another marquee visitor this week in St. Vincent. This American Utopia tour combines all the elements and has been getting outstanding notices, with a dozen on stage in matching, tailored grey, cooking up a setlist that includes a goodly amount of Talking Heads staples to go with the newer stuff. Sumptuous piano man Benjamin Clementine, who hasn’t been in these parts since his buzzy 2015 local intro, gets the call to open. (Sony Centre, 1 Front St. E., 8 p.m.)

—CY

SATURDAY

Second Jen

Watch this if: You think millennial comedy comes in many colours.

This series was groundbreaking when it debuted for having two Asian leads played by real-life Filipino-Chinese-Canadian Amanda Joy (Mo) and Chinese-Canadian Samantha Wan (Jen). As Season 2 begins — with an all-female creative team led by showrunner and Second City veteran Carly Heffernan — the best friends have a new place to live and are navigating their feelings about things like monogamy and dating. New to the cast are Lovell Adams-Gray (Slasher) and Oscar Moreno (Shadowlands). (OMNI at 8:30 p.m.)

—DY

SUNDAY

Dusk Dances

Watch this if: You want to soak up the last few of the summer’s outdoor performances.

Outdoor summer shows already have a magical air to them, which is only heightened if the performance is dance. The appeal of this pairing is why Dusk Dances, the annual dance series that occurs in Withrow Park in the city’s east end, is in its 24th year. This year, guest curator Michael Caldwell has put together a program featuring new tap, flamenco, contemporary and experimental works, hosted by choreographer Allegra Charleston with live jazz music and free swing-dance lessons. (Withrow Park, 725 Logan Ave., 7 p.m., on until Aug. 12)

—CM