The Weekender: New Creations Festival, Cory Doctorow and six other events on our to-do list

The Weekender: New Creations Festival, Cory Doctorow and six other events on our to-do list

Writer Cory Doctorow, Sumo Robot Challenge and composer John Adams 

1. ELECTRONICA MEETS ORCHESTRA
Once a year, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra hosts a festival to prove that sometimes, classical music can be just as edgy as Lady Gaga. The entire program of this year’s New Creations Festival is rife with boundary-pushing examples of musical innovation, but we’re most intrigued by Saturday’s program: composer John Adams conducts the Canadian premiere of his jazzy City Noir, while DJ and composer Mason Bates presents his electronica composition Liquid Interface. March 5. $32–96. Roy Thomson Hall, 416-593-4828, tso.ca.

2. SUMO ROBOT CHALLENGE 2011
Since 1992, this quirky design competition has pitted robots designed by OCAD U students, high schoolers and the general public against one another in epic battles of technological supremacy. Head downtown to find out whose robot is the better fighter, dancer and, yes, painter. March 5. $5. OCAD U Auditorium, 100 McCaul St., 416-977-6000 ext. 332, ocad.ca.

3. CORY COMES TO TOWN (FREE!)
Cory Doctorow is many things: Boing Boing co-editor, young-adult author, ex-Torontonian and Internet celebrity. He’s also back in town this weekend, but not, as one might expect, to give us the rundown on post-scarcity economics or liberal copyright laws. Instead (and, dare we say, even better), he’s reuniting with his old writers group, the Cecil Street Irregulars, for a special weekend version of the popular Chiaroscuro Reading and Workshop Series. Fans will get a sneak peek at his upcoming novel, Pirate Cinema. March 6. Augusta House, 152 Augusta St., chiseries.webs.com.

4. GIRLFIGHT
Hosted by all-girl boxing club Toronto Newsgirls, this ladies-only tournament is also a fundraiser for Nellie’s Women’s Shelter, one of the city’s largest. In the ring, there will be eight bouts of serious fighting, while outside, audience members can jam to tunes provided by DJ duo Bangs and Blush and buy raffle tickets in the hopes of scoring free memberships to 99 Sudbury or even a gratis session with Judo champ Kimberly Ribble-Orr. March 4. $25.99 Sudbury, 99 Sudbury St., 416-929-3890, wantickets.com/girlfight.

5. ROCK THE RUNWAY
Part fashion show and part concert, this annual charity event is all about showcasing up-and-coming local talent, while also supporting worthy causes. (This year’s proceeds benefit War Child Canada’s work in Afghanistan, where the organization encourages women to become more business-savvy.) Designers showing their wares include 18 Waits, Baby Steinberg and Chris Nevin. MuchMusic VJ Sarah Taylor shares emcee duties with pop-rocker Brendan Beamish of Nights and Weekends. March 5. $40. Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, rocktherunway.ca

6. MOVIES IN THE MESS HALL: FORCE OF NATURE
Environmental icon David Suzuki turns 75 this month and, in celebration, his eponymous foundation has organized a fundraising screening of Force of Nature, his latest doc, which premiered at last year’s TIFF to rave reviews. The event is hosted at the Drake, whose restaurant is offering a prix fixe that includes roast sablefish and beet salad (both sustainable options, naturally). Reservations required for dinner. March 6. $5. Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042×1, thedrakehotel.ca.

7. MARILYN MONROE EXHIBITS
Norma Jeane Baker was the quintessential pin-up girl/movie star/sex symbol, so it’s no wonder photographers and artists like Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon and Henri Cartier-Bresson sought to immortalize her. Their work is displayed in Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe at the McMichael. A concurrent second exhibit, Marilyn in Canada, is the work of McMichael assistant curator Chris Finn, who compiled a collection of Marilyn-themed photographs, paintings, sculptures and prints from her visit Canada in the ’50s. To May 15. $15. McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Ave., mcmichael.com.

8. NOOR (LIGHT)
A new production directed by Arabesque Dance Company and Orchestra founders Yasmina Ramzy and Bassam Bishara, this intricate program highlights various forms of Arab and Spanish music and dance. Featuring 14 musicians and 17 dancers, including special guest stars violinist Fathi Aljarrah, flamenco guitarist Roger Scannura, flamenco dancer Valeria Scannura and choreographer Kranti. March 36. $3045. Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

(Images: Cory Doctorow, Joi Ito; Sumo Robot Challenge, Tom Purves)