The Weekender: All-Girl Pillow Fight League, a Spice Girls tribute band and five other items on our to-do list
1. THE PENELOPIAD
A “mix of tragedy, burlesque and Victorian melodrama,” this much-anticipated theatrical adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 2005 novella is a response to Homer’s The Odyssey. While Odysseus is off fighting the Trojan War and taking two decades to make his way home, Penelope (played by Megan Follows) fends off 108 potential husbands. In the original, the happy ending (ha) includes Odysseus’s return and the subsequent slaughter of Penelope’s unfaithful maidservants and spurned suitors. But this is Penelope’s version of the story, and it doesn’t quite end with mass murdering (for shame, this is theatre!). To Jan. 29. $28–$46. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Mainspace, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555, nightwoodtheatre.net.
2. JULIE WEISS
Julie Weiss has been creating ensembles for plays, TV and movies since the mid-1970s. In other words, she really knows her stuff. And even though only the most dedicated of film buffs tend to fangirl over behind-the-scenes creative types like Weiss, she’s worked on enough blockbusters to attract attention (from plebes and the people who hand out awards). With a resume that includes Steel Magnolias, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Twelve Monkeys and American Beauty, it goes without saying that there are plenty of insider secrets to be divulged. Sure, they’re likely to be about Weiss’s creative process, life and career highlights, not celebrity gossip, but it’s still worth checking out this CAFTCAD-sponsored talk. Jan. 14. $40. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., caftcadpresentsjulieweiss.eventbrite.ca.
3. WANNABE: THE SPICE GIRLS TRIBUTE BAND
The Spice Girls are icons, and the fact that we can’t indulge in middle school nostalgia at one of their girl power–fuelled concerts is tragic. That being said, there’s no point in longing for the past when there are some new girls in town who might be able to fill the girl power void. Meet Wannabe, an 11-member musical collective made up of Humber Music and Ryerson Theatre grads with a goal to recreate those halcyon days of 1998, complete with outrageous (and amazing) costumes, horrifying platform shoes and plummy British accents. It’s going to be awesome. Jan. 14. $17. El Mocambo, 464 Spadina Ave., facebook.com/events/293726413990656/?ref=ts.
4. TORONTO INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW
In Toronto, January currently means being in the midst of some global warming–induced strangeness. But even though it’s warm outside, it’s still colder and drearier than ideal, and it’ll be months before the glorious days of summer return. A visit to this year’s annual Boat Show might serve as a reminder of those cannonballs in the deep end (or whatever it is you do). Dreamers and boat owners alike can go on a demo ride in canoes, kayaks and paddle boats or sit in on a seminar with Amazing Race contestant Zac Sunderland (okay…), while those interested in living fast and loose can catch the wakeboarding demos. Jan. 14 to 22. $18. Direct Energy Centre, 100 Princes Blvd., torontoboatshow.com.
5. THE BLUE DRAGON
Quebec native Robert Lepage has some serious thespian cred. Over the past few years, he directed the Canadian Opera Company’s 2009 premiere of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, wrote and directed Cirque du Soleil’s Totem and created a new, season-spanning production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen for the Metropolitan Opera of New York. And now, Mirvish is producing this new play, a follow-up to his 1980s The Dragon’s Trilogy. The protagonist from that trilogy, artist Pierre Lamontagne, is now a Canadian expat in Shanghai, and he finds his nicely ordered life turned upside down thanks to two women: one Canadian, the other Chinese. To Feb. 19. $25–$99. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.
6. SACRED WATERS OF ROMAN EGYPT (FREE!)
We’ve been reading Stacy Schiff’s Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Cleopatra and, consequently, reconsidering forgotten dreams of being intrepid Egyptologists. Realistically there will be no actual career change, but we’ll be all ears at this lecture, by U of T doctoral candidate Nathalie Lacoste, about the role water played in Egyptian religious rituals. Jan. 13. Earth Sciences Library, University of Toronto, 5 Bancroft Ave., Room 142, 647-520-4339, http://thessea.org.
7. BEDLAM: ALL-GIRL PILLOW FIGHT REVUE PRESENTS BASHED!
For the most part, all-girl pillow fights are the fuel of teen boy fantasies, not reality. And when it is reality, it’s not quite what those poor, misguided boys were hoping for. Lingerie is a no-go; better to imagine something more along the lines of a roller derby game minus the wheels. Hilarious, swagger-heavy nicknames and over-the-top personas are standard, violence is allowed (encouraged, really), and the audience drinks and heckles like it’s a Raptors game. If that isn’t titillating enough, there’ll be a burlesque performance. Jan. 14. $20. Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., bedlampillowfighting.com.