The Weekender: Cirque du Soleil’s Totem, Britney Spears and six other items on our to-do list
1. CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: TOTEM
Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show, Totem, traces the “evolution of humankind”— but don’t expect hard science. Considering the stage looks like a giant turtle and there are lots of acrobatics, pyrotechnics and seriously sparkly costumes, we’re thinking it’s more magic and high fantasy than high school biology. Aug. 10 to Oct. 9. $65–$265. Under the Grand Chapiteau, Port Lands, cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/totem.
2. FORTUNE COOKING FOOD FESTIVAL (FREE!)
How we feel about this annual pan-Asian food fest is how we feel about most of the summer’s food festivals: we like the musical and dance performances, but we like eating more. There’s an entire series of events entirely about dumplings! Also on our radar: the (Not) Just Desserts market, which features sweets and treats from across Asia, a Tai Chi performance, Yakudo drumming and a weekend-long Iron Chef–style competition. Aug. 12 to 14. Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.ca.
3. BRITNEY SPEARS
It’s easy to forget her half-hearted dancing amid the multitude of peppier, more Disney-ish (read: younger) pop princesses who have topped the charts in the past decade or so, but Britney Spears was once the ne plus ultra of pop music stardom. Maybe she isn’t the queen anymore, but her latest album debuted at number one, her songs are all over the airwaves, and the woman can certainly still put on a show. Check her out this weekend with Nicki Minaj and two bands we’ve never heard of. (Come on, they’re not who you’re getting all glittered up for anyway.) Aug. 13 and 14. $29.50–$350. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.
4. DA KINK IN MY HAIR
The original run of this funny, poignant play was a Fringe Festival success, and Da Kink went on to play at Theatre Passe Muraille before breaking box office records at the Princess of Wales Theatre and spawning a TV series. Set in a Toronto hair salon that caters to Caribbean women, owner Novelette engages with her clientele about “gettin’ some good lovin’,” among other topics you’d only ever discuss with your stylist. We have a feeling this remount, which has a brand-new ensemble cast, will be just as good as the original. Aug. 13 to 21. $37–$77. Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.ca.
5. GLADSTONE RUMMAGE SALE (FREE!)
The Gladstone has found itself in the same situation many of us do around this time (by which we mean, summer): too much stuff and not enough places to put it. In the time-honoured tradition of packrats everywhere, the Gladstone is trying to get rid of some of its stuff and make a little cash while doing so. Head over for an early brunch and then get rummaging. August 14. The Ballroom, The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635, gladstonehotel.com.
6. DANCE: MADE IN CANADA
Twice a year, local dancer and choreographer Yvonne Ng co-organizes a festival to celebrate contemporary Canadian dance. In this edition, she and two other dance icons, Peggy Baker and James Kudelka, have each curated their own dance series with distinct themes and performers. Also in the lineup, a late-night series called What You See Is What You Get ($15), in which a group of dancers perform pieces that are selected by lottery. To Aug. 14. $28. Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis St., 416-504-7529, princessproductions.ca.
7. SUMMERWORKS THEATRE FESTIVAL
This summertime arts and theatre festival is one of our favourites—there’s always something entertaining/thought-provoking/just plain good in the festival’s offerings (like, say, last year’s controversial Homegrown, about the playwright Catherine Frid’s relationship with a member of the Toronto 18). Our picks for this weekend’s must-sees include Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, a retelling of the myth about wood nymph Eurydice and her husband, the poet Orpheus, from her point of view, and Hannah Moscovitch’s new play, Little One. To Aug. 14. $15. Various locations, 416-504-7529, www.summerworks.ca.
8. CITY CHASE TORONTO 2
At its heart, this “urban adventure” is basically a four- to six-hour scavenger hunt throughout Toronto. Like an extra-local version of Amazing Race, participants try to beat one another to different checkpoints, where they have to undertake challenges. We can’t predict what’s in store for this feats-of-strength-meet-marathon event, but previous challenges have included eating a nine-pound burger, pulling a car using nothing but muscle, a “blind” wall climb and even whitewater rafting. Aug. 13. $150 per team. Meet at 100 Queen St. W., 905-282-0770, mitsubishicitychase.com.