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This week in Toronto: Electric Messiah, a Godot who shows and The Nutcracker


As singer, songwriter and de facto co-owner of Metric, Haines is truly the business. But with a new album from that band coming and a Broken Social Scene reunion just done, Haines goes in a slightly different direction. Three bandmates from her Metric and BSS pedigree join in to present Haines’ solo LP Choir of the Mind live, a piano-driven trip into the corners of her mind, far world away from Metric’s slick going and BSS’s rambles. (Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 8 p.m.)

Chris Young

WEDNESDAY

No Stone Unturned

Watch this if: You want a fresh look at the painful history of the Troubles.

On a June evening in 1994, two men in balaclavas came into a pub in the village of Loughinisland in Northern Ireland and shot 11 men, killing six. The crime remains unsolved, a fact that led American documentarian Alex Gibney to conduct his own investigation decades later. This December selection for Hot Docs’ Doc Soup program uncovers evidence of a coverup by officials wary of the case’s potential impact on the Northern Island peace process. Producer Trevor Birney will do Q&As after the two Wednesday screenings; Gibney joins him via Skype after Thursday’s showing. (Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., 6:30 and 9:15 p.m., also Thursday at 6:45 p.m.)

—Jason Anderson

Knightfall

Watch this if: You’re feeling battle-deprived with Game of Thrones off the air.

There will be blood — and plenty of swordplay — in this TV drama about the quest to retrieve the Holy Grail by the Knights Templar, a real-life Catholic military order that existed from the 12th to 14th centuries and is mythologized in popular 20th-century works such as Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey’s Lord Gillingham) stars and look for another Downton alum, Jim Carter, a.k.a. Mr. Carson, playing a pope. (History at 10 p.m.)

—Debra Yeo

THURSDAY

1779

See this if: You’re keen on an artist at the top of her game.

Shelley Niro’s had quite a year, starting in February with a Governor General’s Award, then a major exhibition at Contact in May and then the $ 50,000 Scotiabank Photo Award. The capper is 1779, a major solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, where she’s looking at her Mohawk heritage through the frame of Niagara Falls: a symbol of both intense loss in the colonial land-swallowing endgame and, looking to the future, ideally of healing and hope. (Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King St. W., until March 18, 2018)

—Murray Whyte

FRIDAY

The Virgin Suicides

Watch this if: You’re still crushing hard on Josh Hartnett.

A dreamy adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel about five enigmatic sisters who beguile the boys in the Detroit suburb they share in the ’70s, The Virgin Suicides didn’t just the establish the crush-worthiness of stars Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett: it also proved Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter was a hugely talented director in her own right. The 1999 cult fave — which was mostly shot in Toronto, BTW — launches a TIFF retrospective of all seven of Sofia Coppola’s features. (TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 6:30 p.m.)

—J.A.

SATURDAY

Dianne Reeves Quintet

Watch this if: Your chestnuts need a good jazzing up.

Ready or not, here comes the Christmas parade, beginning with Andy Kim’s annual extravaganza on Wednesday. If seasonal cheer of a more focused variety does it for you, Reeves’ weekend visit for a night of seasonal song and a few of her jazz faves is the individual standout. Tidings of comfort and joy will get pitch-perfect voicing from the Grammy winner. The bonus is that you won’t find a better sonic environment in which to get your Yule on. (Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., 8 p.m.)

—C.Y.

Godot Has Come

Watch this if: You hate open endings.

Godot might be the most famous character in theatre history that you never see. In Samuel Beckett’s dark comedy classic, Vladimir and Estragon famously wait for this faceless figure for the duration of the play. But the pioneer of absurd theatre in Japan, Minoru Betsuyaku, imagines what would happen if Godot appeared in Godot Has Come. Toronto companies Why Not Theatre and Fu-GEN Theatre Company bring this seminal piece of Japanese theatre, by Theatre Office Natori, to Toronto for one night only. (Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St., 7:30 p.m.)

—C.M.

The Nutcracker

Watch this if: You think the holidays are made for spectacle.

You don’t have to be a child to cherish the National Ballet of Canada’s annual Christmas production, created in 1995 by James Kudelka. It’s a feast for the eyes and ears with its consummate dancing, expertly played Tchaikovsky score, and dazzling sets and costumes. And did we mention it has dancing bears? (Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W., until Dec. 30)

—D.Y.

SUNDAY

Mark Lewis

See this if: If you like your Canadiana slow and sombre.

For Mark Lewis, among Canada’s best known artists and surely Hamilton’s No. 1, it’s closing night at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where his exhibition Canada travels oblique terrain related to our home and native land. For those not slaked by his three languorous video meditations there, Lewis is also showing at Daniel Faria Gallery, his local dealer, with three more from the same series, including one shot at Gander’s time capsule of an airport: a cool little pocket of 1950s Modernism and the deflated hope its internationalist style contains. (Daniel Faria Gallery, 188 St. Helens Ave, until Jan. 13.)

—M.W.

TORONTO STAR

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