The Weekender: Robyn, Abstract Expressionist New York and six other events on our to-do list

The Weekender: Robyn, Abstract Expressionist New York and six other events on our to-do list

Princess Diana in a Catherine Walker dress, detail from Willem de Kooning’s Woman I and the Mad Hatter 

1. ROBYN
We’re still a tad bitter for that time last November when our favourite Swedish pop singer cancelled her hugely hyped Sound Academy concert mere hours before show time. Luckily, Robyn is back in the city and making up for lost time at the brand-new Echo Beach venue. And for those who only know her for her mid-’90s anthem “Show Me Love,” we recommend checking out some of her impossibly catchy new stuff. June 3. $29.50–$39.50. Echo Beach at Molson Amphitheatre, 909 Lake Shore Blvd. W., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.

2. DIANA: LIFE OF A ROYAL ICON
The Royal Wedding may have reignited interest in Prince William’s dad, but we’re pretty sure the public’s interest in Princess Diana never really waned in the years since her death. This show at the Design Exchange invites fans to gawk at the Princess’s most famous gowns—like ones she wore for Vanity Fair photo shoots or White House dinners—before they hit the auction block on June 23. To June 10. $10. Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., 416-363-6121, dx.org.

3. BIKE BREAKFAST AT THE BRICK WORKS (FREE!)
The bike rental service Bixi has hit the city and, despite some growing pains, it’s been pretty well received. While our inner eco-hippy is ecstatic, we do worry that all these newbie cyclists—and some of the city’s more creative riders—could use a little Cycling 101. Happily, the good people at Evergreen Brick Works are eager to oblige with this Bike Month kick-off, featuring an intro bike safety seminar, a mechanics workshop and bike rentals. And, to keep things fun, they’re even throwing in a free pancake breakfast. June 4. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., ebw.evergreen.ca.

4. WORLD OCEANS DAY
We love the zoo. (A lot. And even without pachyderms.) This weekend marks World Oceans Day, which means the endangered African penguin has returned to the zoo (there hasn’t been an exhibit for almost 20 years). Shark Week fiends may prefer the nurse and bonnethead sharks, also back with their stingray buddies at Stingray Bay. June 4 and 5. $23. Toronto Zoo, 361A Old Finch Ave., 416-392-5929, torontozoo.com.

5. ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST NEW YORK: MASTERPIECES FROM MoMA
From the 1940s to the 1960s, abstract expressionism (Jackson Pollack, Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko) thrived. It’s no exaggeration to say the innovative new style, which emerged at the tail end of the Second World War and was by influenced the Great Depression as much as by artists’ reactions to McCarthyism, changed the way people related to art. This exhibit, on loan from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, features paintings, sculptures, drawings and photos and includes both lesser-known works and some of the movement’s more famous pieces, like Willem de Kooning’s Woman, I. To September 4. $25. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648, ago.net.

6. ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
This neo-classical take on Alice’s adventures post–rabbit hole tumble makes its North American premiere on Saturday. Choreographed by ballet star Christopher Wheeldon, this gorgeous take on Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale is the National Ballet’s first collaboration with England’s acclaimed Royal Ballet. Expect an original prologue, an abundance of topsy-turvy silliness and—we hear—a surprising plot twist near the end. June 4 to 25. $21.50–$201. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595, national.ballet.ca.

7. AUTHORS BRUNCH
We’re suckers for any opportunity to pester a favourite author with questions about their plot twists, inspiration and possible sequels. That’s why we’ll be first in line at this brunch hosted by the Globe and Mail and Ben McNally Books, featuring Erik Larson (In the Garden of Beasts), Elizabeth Hay (Alone in the Classroom, Late Nights on Air), Susie Moloney (The Thirteen) and Vincent Lam (Tommy Douglas, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures). June 5. $45. Reservations required. King Edward Hotel, 37 King St. E., 416-361-0032, benmcnallybooks.com.

8. THE DRINKS SHOW
This annual cocktail-focused party, where pro mixologists shake up tasty riffs on classics and a few all-new creations, is the ideal way to kick off patio season. Think about it: drink in one hand, classic BBQ fare in the other, great tunes in the background and a crowd full of young and beautiful people. It’s perfect really—as long as there’s no more rain. June 3 and 4. $30. 99 Sudbury, 99 Sudbury St., drinksshow.com.

(Images: Princess Diana, Waddington’s; de Kooning, The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Imaging Services, John Wronn; Mad Hatter, Johan Persson)