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Lula Lounge

Weekend Roundup, February 25th to 27th

Friday: Ladysmith Black Mombazo enlivens Roy Thomson Hall

Friday, February 25
Gather at Roy Thomson Hall tonight to have your spirits lifted by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The South African a capella group—known for its stirring harmonies—is slated to perform songs from its latest album, Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu.

Join Anne Sofie Von Otter and Brad Mehldau at Koerner Hall as they perform selections from their recent effort, Love Songs. The immensely talented Swedish mezzo-soprano and American jazz pianist are adept at playing everything from Brahms to the Beatles.

This evening offers a final opportunity to hear the melodies of The Magic Flute, as performed by the Canadian Opera Company at the Four Seasons Centre. Toronto-based soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian is among the talented cast of this beautiful Mozart opera.

Saturday: Bloor-Yorkville's IceFest offers all manner of frosty sculptures

Saturday, February 26
Bloor-Yorkville’s annual Icefest runs all weekend long at the Village of Yorkville Park. Today, visitors can view a “Circus Extravaganza” with ice sculptures of elephants, lion tamers, fortune tellers, and more. The big top atmosphere also offers magic tricks, acrobatics and yummy cotton candy, too.

Follow a young girl’s battle for liberty as Brothel #9 opens tonight at Factory Theatre. Telling the story of a girl who struggles for freedom after being sold to a brothel in Calcutta, the play is a true testament to the endurance of the human spirit.

Drama lovers will also find interest in the final day of Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival, which presents new works by female playwrights. The Happy Woman closes the festival, and features a panel discussion following its performance.

Sunday: See Sacred Moon (detail pictured) and other works by El Anatsui at the Royal Ontario Museum

Sunday, February 27
Today offers the final opportunity to view the Royal Ontario Museum’s acclaimed exhibition, When I Last Wrote You About Africa, by El Anatsui. The Ghanaian artist transforms overlooked and discarded objects into monumental sculptures that reflect global, local, and his own personal history.

In celebration of the Juno Awards’ 40th anniversary, Lula Lounge hosts a performance by the Juno Jazz All-Stars tonight. Eight Juno-winning artists—including Guido Basso, Don Thompson and Dave Young—take the stage at this sure-to-be-smoking show.

Looking for a fun way spend Oscar night? Walk the red carpet to the Drake Hotel’s own Oscar Party. The evening of entertainment features popcorn, drinks, a cinematic trivia contest with great door prizes, and, of course, a viewing of the Academy Awards.

Weekend Roundup, August 6 to 8

Rock the weekend with a slew of musical performances, or take some time to appreciate good food, great drinks, and even some tennis!

Friday: Hear the world-music stylings of Dominic Mancuso

Friday, August 6
Explore our urban environment from a different perspective. The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art’s large-scale group exhibition, Empire of Dreams, showcases works by Toronto-based artists that examine the dynamic interactions between humans and their surroundings.

Spend some time browsing the bounty of beautiful vintage furniture, decor accessories, jewellery, apparel and more at the Summer Antiques Show. This annual event at Sherway Gardens is a treasure-hunter’s dream.

Make tracks to Yonge-Dundas Square this evening and let King Sunshine capture enliven spirit with music. With a fusion of disco, funk and house beats, this dynamic group will have you dancing the night away.

Sway to the multicultural singer-songwriter stylings of Dominic Mancuso. The Juno-winning Italian-Canadian takes the stage tonight at Lula Lounge.

Saturday: Mezzo-soprano Roxana Constantinescu performs at the Summer Music Festival

Saturday, August 7
Bear witness to boundless creativity during the SummerWorks Theatre Festival. Dozens of innovative plays are on-stage today—at such venues as the Factory Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille—to satistfy any dramatic preference.

Eat, drink and be merry at Toronto’s Festival of Beer. The popular event floods Exhibition Place with more than 120 types of beers from 60 brewers, plus a variety of finger foods to satisfy your hunger.

Enjoy a Free Family Weekend at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament. On top of the chance to see the tourney’s qualifying-round action at the Rexall Centre, kids of all ages can enjoy plenty of games, activities, free tennis lessons and lots of prizes to be won.

The Toronto Summer Music Festival is still going strong. Tonight, Roxana Constantinescu and Gordon Gietz come together for a powerful operatic performance of Mahler’s Song of the Earth—reimagined for a chamber ensemble—plus the world premiere of composer Glenn Buhr’s Red Sea.

Sunday: Paul McCartney's back at the ACC

Sunday, August 8
Feast on delicious Greek and Mediterranean cuisine today as the ever-popular Taste of the Danforth. Mixing culture, history, food and community, this enormous street festival celebrates the flavours of Greece (and Toronto’s own Greektown) with live performances, activities and, of course, a whole lot of Hellenic cuisine.

Hear some of your favourite Beatles and Wings classics anew as Paul McCartney brings his Höfner bass to the Air Canada Centre. Though he’s been in the business for more than 40 years, Sir Paul retains the energy of youth, as his “Up and Coming” tour attests.

Complete your weekend with laugh-out-loud sketch comedy at The Second City. The talented crew’s  show, An Evening with Second City, gathers highlights from past performances along with new jabs at current affairs and lots of fresh improvisation.

Experience classical music like never before at Harbourfront Centre’s What is Classical? festival. One of its intriguing elements is The Labyrinth Project, which uses the structure of a maze to help listeners contemplate the musicality of different instruments.

Jazz Fest Picks—June 26 to 28

Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins

The annual TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival officially kicks off Friday night with two major headline performances, both at 8 p.m. Die-hard jazz fans will surely pack the Four Seasons Centre to experience a collective bout of tenor madness with legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins. The venerable musician gained prominence in the 1950s through his effortless, harmonically innovative playing in a renowned group with Max Roach and Clifford Brown, and on his own recordings such as Saxophone Colossus, Way Out West and the seminal Night at the Village Vanguard. His creative output has rarely flagged since—just two weeks ago the 78 year old garnered three trophies, including musician of the year, at the annual Jazz Awards, determined by more than 450 members of the Jazz Journalists Association. Across the street at the Nathan Phillips Square mainstage (Queen and Bay streets), exciting outfit Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings re-invigorate retro soul and R&B with funky horns, hard-driving rhythms and singer Jones’s incomparable set of pipes. You’ll be dancing long after the band takes its bow! Also on Friday, Toronto- based pianist Hilario Duran and guitarist Luis Mario Ochoa bring their lauded Afro-Cuban stylings to Lula Lounge (7:30 p.m. 1585 Dundas St. W., 416-588-0307), while Canada’s jazzy jack of all trades, Don Thompson, teams up with guitarist Reg Schwager at Mezzetta Restaurant (9 p.m.)

Saturday offers a surfeit of shows, with three hip options of particular note: top-tier avant-electro-jam-jazz trio Medeski, Martin and Wood showcase their improvisational prowess under the stars at Nathan Phillips Square (8 p.m.); super-cool six-stringer Charlie Hunter—who has plied his trade alongside musicians as diverse as D’Angelo, Mos Def and Norah Jones—sits down for two groovy sets at The Pilot (9 & 11 p.m.); and Chicago post-rock band The Sea and Cake bring their underground sound to Supermarket (9:30 p.m.). The resto-jazz crowd is well-served tonight by local lights Dave Young and Robi Botos—the bass-and-keys duo can be found at Mezzetta (9 p.m.).

And if you’re still craving tunes as the weekend winds down, Sunday offers a full slate to satiate. Highlights on this day include a pair of performances from the festival’s “Jazz by the Lake” series at Harbourfront Centre. Here you’ll be treated to some Home Cookin’ with Jackie Richardson and Joe Sealy (7 p.m.), plus the evocative, unclassifiable sounds of the Maria Schneider Orchestra (9 p.m.), which counts among its number Ingrid Jensen, the Vancouver-born, New York-based trumpter.