A busker bonanza, all-you-can-eat gelato and four other things to see, hear and do in Toronto this week
A busker bonanza
1What do a baguette-duelling Marie Antoinette, a stilt-drumming troupe and a guerrilla-folk punk band (a.k.a. the Lemon Bucket Orkestra) have in common? Aside from being weird, wacky and wonderful, they’ll all be performing at the Toronto International Busker Fest. The outdoor street fair returns for the 25th year to transform the Beaches into an outdoor stage for a weekend of one-of-a-kind performances. Friday, August 30 to Monday, September 2. Free. Woodbine Park.
A Hootie and the Blowfish sing-along
2Even in their heyday, Hootie and the Blowfish were synonymous with dad rock—albeit, eminently catchy dad rock. Twenty five years since their debut album, and 14 years since their last release, not much has changed. (Although frontman Darius Rucker has become a cowboy boot–wearing country solo star.) The band’s easy, breezy familiarity will undoubtedly bring out nostalgia lovers ready to belt “Only Wanna Be with You” at top volume. And, for their first tour in 10 years, Hootie et al has finally dropped new sing-a-long-friendly music. Thursday, August 29. $75–$284. Budweiser Stage.
A tale of marital treachery on rewind
3Harold Pinter’s most famous play (and the only one to inspire a Seinfeld plot, the famous backwards episode in season nine), Betrayal, recently enjoyed an acclaimed London revival starring Tom Hiddleston. Now Soulpepper takes on this intricate romantic drama, which unfolds in reverse chronology as it traces a seven-year extramarital affair from its cool aftermath to its fiery beginnings. Pinter knows of what he writes: the work was inspired by his own dalliance while married to the actress Vivien Merchant. Wednesday, August 28 to Sunday, September 15. $38–$83. Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
An Asian comedy showcase
4For decades, Hollywood’s token Asian character resembled the buck-toothed Mr. Yunioshi from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, played by a white man with an exaggerated accent. Thankfully, box-office-busters like Crazy Rich Asians, Canadian gems like Kim’s Convenience and indie darlings like The Farewell starring Awkwafina, have shifted the entertainment landscape. RICE, an Asian comedy showcase, brings together some of the top Asian comedy stars of the moment, including Ron Josol (Showtime, Just For Laughs) and Vong Show (MTV, Logo Network, Comedy Cares). Their gut-busting performance comes with an endorsement from Sandra Oh. Thursday, August 29. $16.34. Rivoli.
A gelato feast
5Commitment phobes who hold up the line dithering over vanilla versus chocolate can have both at Dolce Gelato’s all-you-can-eat party. With 60 flavours to choose from (toasted marshmallow, bubble gum, tiramisu, watermelon, etc.), you can shovel tiny plastic spoonfuls of rainbow-coloured goodness into your mouth with abandon. The award-winning gelato maker Ezequiel Gomez will be in-house to sign the napkins of true gelato devotees. Friday, August 30. $15. Dolce Gelato, College Street.
A multicultural bash
6When it opened in 2014, the Aga Khan was the first museum in the western world dedicated entirely to Islamic art and culture. To commemorate its fifth anniversary, the museum is hosting a cross-cultural celebration that will include an international roster of performers and activities, including a Persian jazz band, a Filipino hip-hop troupe and Bhangra dance classes. Guests also have free run of the museum’s exhibits and galleries. Saturday, August 31. Free. Aga Khan Museum.