The Weekender: Super Bowl XLVII Party, Tristan und Isolde and five other items on our to-do list

The Weekender: Super Bowl XLVII Party, Tristan und Isolde and five other items on our to-do list

Ben Heppner as Tristan before a projection by Bill Viola in the COC’s production of Trisan und Isolde (Image: Michael Cooper)
 

1. KUUMBA (FREE!)
Harbourfront kicks off Black History Month with the 17th edition of its annual Kuumba festival (“kuumba” means “creativity” in Swahili). Highlights include a would-be 10th anniversary celebration for the recently departed Trane Studio, a performance by soul and spoken word artist Dwayne Morgan and The Story Of Lover’s Rock, a documentary about the titular British reggae genre. There’s also storytelling, dance workshops and drum circles where kids can learn about the history of various instruments. February 1–3. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com

2. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE
There are still a few tickets left for most of the performances of this Canadian Opera Company run of Tristan und Isolde, Richard Wagner’s melancholic ode to longing. Canadian tenor Ben Heppner tests his voice in the punishing lead role across from Melanie Diener, in a production by Peter Sellars, an opera world star who’s making his COC debut as a director. This same production, with thematically linked video projections by Bill Viola, left New Yorker critic Alex Ross in a “state of dazed bliss” when he saw it in Paris. $60–$390. To February 23. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231, coc.ca

3. SUPER BOWL XLVII PARTY
Hoping to build on their Canadian fan base, the NFL is reprising last year’s official Super Bowl party for the match-up between the Ravens and the 49ers. This year, the festivities include autograph signings and a Q&A with Oakland Raiders great Tim Brown and former Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, as well as a performance by the Dallas Cowboys Miami Dolphins cheerleaders and some New Orleans–inspired food. Oh, and the game itself too, broadcast on multiple HD screens around the Sound Academy. $20. February 3. Sound Academy, 11 Polson St., nfl.com/SuperBowlCanada.

4. EVERY LETTER COUNTS
Things are looking up at the Factory Theatre after an annus horribilus that saw the forced departure of long-time artistic director Ken Gass, and a subsequent wave of bad publicity and creative boycotts that nearly sank the season. Interim artistic directors Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams—both of whom have a long history with the company—are determined to make theatrical lemonade out of the year’s lemons. The new season opener, written by Aquino and directed by Williams, is about the notion of legacy as experienced by a Filipino family. $32-$42. January 26–February 24. Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St., 416-504-9971, factorytheatre.ca

5. MIDNGHT MRKT (FREE!)
This is the first in a new monthly series which pairs shopping with music, art and street food at 2nd Floor, a new event space on King West. Expect clothing and accessories from Diptych, Dusk Till and Rack and Ramble and beats from DJs Neoteric, Lucie Tic and Johnny Hockin. The festivities get underway at 8 p.m., and turn more clubby as the night progresses. February 1. 2nd Floor, 461 King St. W., Facebook page

6. KILLER OF SHEEP
TIFF launches a new retrospective this week on the L.A. Rebellion, a ’60s and ’70s movement of black filmmakers who endeavoured to offer an alternative to mainstream Hollywood depictions of black America. On Saturday, TIFF’s artistic director Cameron Bailey will introduce a special screening of Charles Burnett’s landmark 1977 film Killer of Sheep, which epitomizes the genre’s unflinching realism in its depiction of life in Watts, an L.A. ghetto. It’s also representative of the genre’s methods—the whole thing was shot for less than $10,000. $12. February 2. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433, tiff.net

7. TORONTO TEA FESTIVAL
With tea shops popping up all over the city, it’s high time for a festival devoted to the stuff. The inaugural event features over 30 exhibitors offering samples, as well as talks on tea-related topics (like The Myths of Chinese Tea Culture and Tea Mixology 101) and even a pair of tea ceremonies, one Korean and one Chinese. $15. Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., 647-868-9858, teafestivaltoronto.com