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Summerworks Theatre Festival

Weekend Roundup, August 12 to 14

Friday: Cirque du Soleil offers high-flying spectacle (photo by Daniel Auclair)

Friday, August 12
Come one, come all to the Grand Chapiteau for the opening weekend of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem. Behold a cast of colorfully costumed characters whose feats of strength and grace are sure to amaze!

Experience an entire weekend of Pan-Asian culture as Harbourfront Centre’s Fortune Cooking Food Festival begins tonight. Among many activities, visitors can watch an Iron Chef competition, sample a variety of Asian cuisine and partake in cooking demonstrations.

Revel in the golden voice of theatre star Colm Wilkinson, who takes the Four Seasons Centre stage tonight and Saturday. Wilkinson’s performance includes a mix of famous Broadway hits from plays such as The Phantom of the Opera, as well as Irish ballads and contemporary pop favourites.

Saturday: Britney's back! (photo by chicagofabulousblog.com)

Saturday, August 13
Head to the Air Canada Centre to witness the return of Britney Spears, who brings her Femme Fatale tour to Toronto. The pop star is accompanied by an all-female line-up of special guests, including hip hop diva Nicki Minaj, Jessie and the Toy Boys, and Nevo.

Yonge-Dundas Square hosts this year’s India Day celebration. The festivities kick off with a parade down Yonge Street featuring floats that highlight India’s cultural diversity.

Support green farming initiatives at the first annual Conscious Food Festival at Fort York. The festival promotes local and natural foods and includes live music, vendors and seminars on food values.

Sunday: The Third Floor is just one of many SummerWorks plays showing today (photo by Wojtek Arciszewski)

Sunday, August 14
Don’t miss the final day of SummerWorks Theatre Festival, an event dedicated to showcasing new Canadian plays to theatr- going audiences. Even today there are numerous plays to see!

Join party-girl popster Ke$ha, whose Get $leazy tour rolls into the Molson Canadian Ampitheatre, with guests LMFAO and Spank Rock.

Brace yourself for Ron Sparks’ Celebrity Roast of Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) at the Drake Hotel. A night full of comedic insults and attacks by enlisted “roasters” is sure to ensue during this comedy hour.

Hot Date: SummerWorks’ Seasonal Stage

Little One is among SummerWorks' 2011 offerings (photo by Natasha Mytnowych)

AUGUST 4 TO 14 The annual SummerWorks Theatre Festival brings to the city a slew of provocative and powerful productions reflecting Canada’s cultural zeitgeist. More than 40 plays, workshops and even musical performances comprise this season’s schedule, with highlights such as Little One by Hannah Moscovitch, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour and the Toronto premiere of Euridyce by Sarah Ruhl. New this year, the Performance Bar features the city’s most virtuosic theatrical improvisers in wild and woolly routines every night of the festival. Various venues, $10 per performance, multi-show passes available; call 416-504-7529 or visit here to purchase.

Weekend Roundup, August 13 to 15

Take advantage of Toronto’s summer festival season before it passes you by!

Friday: See Philman George (a.k.a. the Rhyming Chef) at Harbourfront Centre's Hot and Spicy Food Festival

Friday, August 13
The annual After Dark Film Festival begins today, Friday the 13th! The Bloor Cinema (a local landmark) features a week of new and independent horror, sci-fi, action and cult films from around the world. Favoured by none other than Quentin Tarantino, this film festival is one of Toronto’s can’t-miss events.

True to the marketers’ words, you can “touch the puck that touched a nation” this weekend at the Hockey Hall of Fame. That puck, which Sidney Crosby shot past U.S. goalie Ryan Miller to end the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament, is now on display at the Hall’s Double Gold exhibit, which celebrates victories by both the men’s and women’s teams. Visitors can also stand in awe of Crosby’s stick and gloves, coach Mike Babcock’s lucky tie, and Hayley Wickenheiser’s jersey.

Start your weekend right by partaking in the first night of the Hot and Spicy Food Festival, part of the Harbourfront Centre’s World Routes slate of festivals. Tour the Red Hot Marketplace and taste spicy marinades, sauces, and dips (if you dare) and sample top chef Jamie Kennedy’s spiced frites. Then head to the stage to hear some sizzling international music!

Toronto’s historic Casa Loma hosts “A Clue to Murder” tonight! A riff on the classic board game, this dramatic murder mystery unfolds while you wine and dine. As the meal draws to a close, guests sift through the clues to guess the murderer, weapon, and room in which the mischief occurred. Miss Scarlet, in the library, with the candlestick, anyone?

Saturday: Renowned indie rockers Arcade Fire sing about The Suburbs

Saturday, August 14
India Day celebrations kick off with a parade down Yonge Street this morning, in honour of the country’s independence. Follow the floats to Yonge-Dundas Square, which hosts multiple cultural events and activities throughout the day! Sample Indian cuisine, buy local crafts, get a henna tattoo and enjoy live entertainment!

Cheer on the Toronto Argonauts as continue a fierce rivalry with the Montreal Alouettes. Off to a (surprisingly) strong start this season, the Argos hope to maintain their winning ways at the Rogers Centre.

Make your weekend a little greener! Learn about (and sample) sustainable cuisine at the Conscious Food Festival. Chat with local farmers, try Ontario wines, chow down on a grass-fed beef burger or artisan ice cream, and view chef and farmer demonstrations. Don’t forget to bring your own reusable bag if you’re planning to shop!

Catch one of the Western world’s hottest music groups, as Arcade Fire storms the stage tonight on the Toronto Islands! The Montreal-based band is set to perform songs from their newest critically acclaimed album, The Suburbs. Hip hop/R&B maverick Janelle Monae opens.

Sunday: Will Andy Murray amongst the Rogers Cup finalists?

Sunday, August 15
See the stars of men’s tennis battle at the Rogers Cup final today! With a multimillion-dollar prize and bragging rights heading into the U.S. Open on the line, its sure to be an exciting match.

It’s the final day of the SummerWorks Theatre Festival! This indie theatre expo gives emerging Canadian talent the chance to be seen. With plays showing all day, all over Toronto, nothing should keep you from being in the audience.

Another last chance: Catch the Bard’s Bus Tour, a travelling theatre troupe that’s set to perform Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night outside at Todmorden Mills this evening. This comedy of mistaken identity is sure to keep you laughing!

Cheer your favourite horse to victory in the Breeders’ Stakes. The final race in this year’s Canadian Triple Crown is a 1.5-mile turf derby run this afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack.

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.

Hot Date: Seasonal Staging

The Hidden Cameras perform as part of the SummerWorks Theatre Festival

AUGUST 5 TO 15 Toronto nurtures emerging artistic talent this month as the SummerWorks Theatre Festival returns. The largest juried stage festival in the country presents more than 40 independent productions and performances, as well as workshops and walking tours of the Theatre District. Among the many creative endeavours is Molotov Circus by Winnipeg playwright Debbie Patterson the well-reviewed show follows a dysfunctional family of carnival freaks—and Miss Caledonia, a one-woman play by Second City alumna Melody A. Johnson. In addition, the fest’s music series stages two intimate concerts by theatrically inclined indie band The Hidden Cameras. Various venues and times, $10 per show; call 416-504-7529 or click here for information and tickets.

Weekend Roundup, August 7 to 9

Friday: Whimsical contemporary art at MOCCA.

Friday: Whimsical contemporary art at MOCCA.

Friday, August 7
Gawk, Giggle and admire the quirky, psychedelic cartoons and drawings that make up the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art’s Pulp Fiction group exhibition.

Get messy! It’s rib night at Toronto’s new favourite smokehouse, Stockyards BBQ. Here, the scrumptious ribs—of both beef and pork varieties—are smoked for 8 hours, which ensures an excellent meat-falling-off-bone factor.

Cheer on the hometown heroes of yesteryear as more than 30 players and coaches from the Toronto Blue Jays’ 1992 and 1993 World Series-winning teams are honoured prior to tonight’s game. Among the champions in attendance: Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, John Olerud and Tom Henke.

Saturday: Souvlaki and more at the Taste of the Danforth.

Saturday: Souvlaki and more at the Taste of the Danforth.

Saturday, August 8
Listen to indie songstress St Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) play her signature brand of cabaret-pop at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern.

Sample tasty Greek treats, meet some local celebrities and dance to traditional bouzouki music during the weekend-long Taste of the Danforth.

Savour South Asian cuisine at Zaika, a food festival serving up regional tastes at Harbourfront Centre.

Sunday: The funky sights of east Chinatown (photo by Wyliepoon).

Sunday: The funky sights of east Chinatown (photo by Wyliepoon).

Sunday, August 9
Find out why Bob Wiseman will never become a Canadian Idol in the Summerworks Theatre Festival show, Actionable. The former Blue Rodeo guitarist dissects his work using powerpoint, accordion, guitar and a casio keyboard in a show for mature audiences.

Spend an afternoon in east Chinatown. It might not be as grand as its Spadina Avenue counterpart, but you can’t beat the dim sum at the Pearl Court restaurant (633 Gerrard Street East, 416-463-8778). After lunch, head north on Broadview Avenue to Riverdale park for a picturesque view of the city’s skyscrapers.

August Hot Date—Summerworks Theatre Festival

Erin Shields and Maev Beatty present <i>Montparnasse</i> at the Summerworks Theatre Festival.

Erin Shields and Maev Beatty present Montparnasse at the Summerworks Theatre Festival.

AUGUST 6 TO 16 For 10 days, the annual Summerworks Theatre Festival presents 41 juried indie plays, along with nine concerts and three walking tours at five performance galleries. The lineup features Montparnasse—an erotic portrayal of artists in 1920s Paris—Brechtian cabarets like The Ecstasy of Mother Theresa, and XXX Live Nude Girls, an opera for Barbie dolls. Musical highlights include Matthew Barber, Miracle Fortress and The D’Urbervilles. Various venues, $10 to $12; call 416-504-7529 for tickets.