The Weekender: Iain Baxter&, the Carnegie Hall Show and six other items on our to-do list
1. SUMO ROBOT CHALLENGE
This long-running robot fight club—it turns 20 this year—is, in part, a fun way for OCAD U students, local high school kids and other members of the robot-happy public to expand their “imaginations [and] electronic, mechanical and fabrication skills.” But mostly, it’s a chance to pit tiny, metallic warriors against one another in combat. Let there be blood (or strewn robot insides). March 3. $5. OCAD U Auditorium, 100 McCaul St., 416-977-6000 ext. 332, ocadu.ca.
2. LA FILLE MAL GARDÉE
This historic ballet—it was first performed in Bordeaux in the late 1700s—is funny and sweetly innocent without veering into the saccharine. Lise, a maiden from a small French village, is in love with Colas, a handsome young farmer. Her meddlesome mother has other plans—she wants to set her up with the dull son of a wealthy landowner. The young lovers get their happy ending, of course, but it’s the pastoral capers that get them there that makes this a ballet a classic. To March 4. $25–$234. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595, www.national.ballet.ca.
3. IAIN BAXTER&: WORKS 1958–2011
Conceptual artist Iain Baxter& is a 50-year veteran of the Canadian art scene. Born ampersand-less in England, Baxter& (Baxter, then) grew up in Calgary, studied in Idaho and Japan and went on to create interdisciplinary works that combined photography, sculpture, painting, drawing and performance. Oh, and he legally amended his last name in 2005, to better reflect what the AGO calls his “collaborative approach to art.” This retrospective features 100 of Baxter&’s works, which are peppered with QR codes that allow visitors to interact with each one through videos, audio clips and their fully enabled comments sections. There’s even an “interaction station” (shaped like an ampersand, naturally) where visitors can respond to questions from Baxter& via Twitter. March 3–August 12. $19.50. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648, ago.net.
4. POWER OF MOVEMENT
Mostly, we do our downward dog and sun salutations for our own good. You know, inner peace and better balance. But this fundraising event for the Arthritis Research Foundation is about more than perfecting our form. The one-hour mega-session, hosted by YogaFit Canada’s Lisa Greenbaum, is aiming to raise $100,000 for arthritis research. It’s beginner-friendly (although there will be something for more experienced yoga lovers, too) and afterward there will be healthy snacks. March 4. The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., powerofmovement.ca.
5. OBEAH OPERA
Outside of young adult fiction and history books, Salem, Massachusetts, is a fairly normal city with a fairly normal level of paranormal activity (by which we mean probably none). But in the late 17th century, many thought otherwise. Most people know about Salem’s infamous witch trials, and real history buffs might be able to name Tituba, an Indo-Caribbean slave owned by one of the townsmen, as the first person to be accused—but this a capella opera takes a closer look at Tituba’s story. It’s directed by Ahdri Zhina Mandiela, performed by Saidah Baba Talibah, Joni NehRita, Macomere FiFi, Saphire Demitro and a chorus of 10 women, and written and composed by Nicole Brooks. To March 4. $30. 918 Bathurst, 918 Bathurst St., obeahopera.com.
6. JUNO CONCERT SERIES 2012
The nice thing about the Junos (aside from providing deserving Canadian musicians with some new hardware, obviously) is that organizers are pretty aware of what the whole thing is all about: great Canadian music. That’s why there’s always a concert series leading up to the big night, and why people we actually want to listen to are invited to perform. This month’s show will be produced by North by Northeast and features a rock star lineup including the Arkells, The Beauties, The Order of Good Cheer, Jason Collett, members of Born Ruffians, By Divine Right, Cuff the Duke and Our Lady Peace. March 3. $20. The Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W., junoawards.ca.
7. THE CARNEGIE HALL SHOW
This comedy show is a throwback to the days of variety shows: there are improv sketches, various performers (aerialists, burlesque dancers, singers) and, of course, special guests. Produced by the National Theatre of the World and performed by Second City alums Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus, Mad TV’s Ronald Pederson and acrobat-turned-comic Chris Gibbs, we’re going to categorize this as old-timey with a modern (nearly naked?) twist. March 2. $12. The Second City, 51 Mercer St., 416-343-0011, secondcity.com.
8. LA LISTE
Sylvie Drapeau plays a woman overcome with guilt after the death of her neighbor, Caroline. Convinced she may have been able to prevent it, she compulsively makes lists of the events leading up to Caroline’s death. In this spare production, playwright Jennifer Tremblay takes an intense look at how we relate to one another. A bit of trivia: La Liste was the winner of 2008’s Governor General Award for French Drama. To March 4. $33–$48. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St., theatrefrancais.com.