The Weekender: Tim Burton exhibit, Christopher Hitchens vs. Tony Blair and six other items on our can’t-miss list

The Weekender: Tim Burton exhibit, Christopher Hitchens vs. Tony Blair and six other items on our can’t-miss list

Christopher Hitchens, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Nick Drake 

1. MUNK DEBATE: CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS VS. TONY BLAIR
We live in a world where Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift sweep awards shows and the Black Eyed Peas manage to ruin a perfectly good ’80s anthem, but don’t worry! All is not lost. We also live in a world where a debate of the value of religion between a former PM (Tony Blair) and an outspoken journalist (Christopher Hitchens) is the hottest ticket in town. When Roy Thomson Hall sold out, organizers arranged for a live broadcast at the Toronto Reference Library. Nov. 26. $25–$80, live broadcast $18. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-872-4255, roythomson.com.

2. NICK DRAKE TRIBUTE
Even though singer-songwriter Nick Drake didn’t achieve fame and fortune while he was alive—he died in the early ’70s after a long struggle with depression, at only 26 years old—he had become an icon by the ’80s. Such bands as REM and The Cure list him as an influence on their own music, he’s the subject of several documentaries (one of them narrated by Brad Pitt), and his songs regularly appear on movie soundtracks. This tribute concert, which features a string octet, is also a fundraiser for CAMH. Nov. 28. $35. Trinity–St. Paul’s United Church, 427 Bloor St. W., ww2.ticketpro.ca/event.php?event_id=337.

3. THE ONE OF A KIND CHRISTMAS SHOW AND SALE
We fully intend to buy stuff (ceramics, jewellery, furniture, clothing, accessories and art) for other people at this annual sale, which features work by 800 artisans. We just reserve the right to pick out a few presents for ourselves, too. To Dec. 5. $10. Direct Energy Centre, 100 Princes’ Blvd., oneofakindshow.com/xmas10.

4. TIM BURTON EXHIBIT AND RETROSPECTIVE (FREE!)
Tim Burton’s career as a director, producer, writer, illustrator and something of an oddball has spanned 27 years and includes several generations’ childhood faves: Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas and, more recently, Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland. This five-month exhibit, a revamped version of MoMA’s original, includes more than 700 of Burton’s paintings, drawings, puppets and storyboards, plus special screenings, like this weekend’s Burton Blitz, when a selection of his films will be shown back-to-back. Nov. 26 to April 21, 2011. $22.75. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 330 King St. W., tiff.net.

5. LOAN SHARKING
We love any kind of dance, but choreographer Victor Quijada’s unlikely pairings of funny, graceful, theatrical group pieces with classical scores makes for an especially entertaining performance. Plus, his seamless integration of B-boying, ballet and contemporary is just really cool. Nov. 26. $33.50. Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

6. CAVALCADE OF LIGHTS
We’re suckers for tradition, so this Saturday we’ll be scoping out the best spot at Nathan Phillips Square to watch the huge Christmas tree light up. The lighting is followed by a live concert by Shawn Desman, Divine Brown and Sarah Slean, a fireworks display and a skating party. Nov. 27. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W., toronto.ca.

7. CHASSE GARDÉE HOLIDAY POP-UP CLOSET
We don’t have much room in our closet (and what room we do have we’re saving for the spoils of our Boxing Day sale hunting), but a holiday sale at one of our favourite shopping spots is too good to pass up. We’re sure we can accommodate a new frock or two. Besides, proceeds go to the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation—it’s practically Grinch-like to miss it. Nov. 26 to 28. Chasse Gardée, 1084 Queen St. W., 416-901-9613, chassegardee.com.

8. OZZY OSBOURNE
Colour us shocked. Here we were thinking Ozzy was all about reality TV and mumbling incoherently at every opportunity, but apparently the Prince of Darkness still rocks out. See the proof at the ACC this weekend. Nov. 27. $29.50–$89.50. Air Canada Centre, 50 Bay St., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.