A Céline Dion concert, a winter festival and four other things to do in Toronto this week
A much-anticipated Célinaissance
1First, she redeemed the Vegas residency, performing 1,000-plus shows in a custom-built coliseum at Caesars Palace. Then she emerged as a delightfully campy style icon, turning Paris’s streets into her catwalk. Now, Céline Dion brings her, ahem, titanic exuberance back to the world stage, with her first international tour in more than a decade. This two-night stint to promote Courage, her glittery new pop album, promises epic outfits and lung-rattling renditions of all her hits (“That’s the Way It Is,” “All by Myself,” “Because You Loved Me”—the list, like her heart, will go on). December 9 and 10, Scotiabank Arena.
A frigid festival
2This year’s Festival Of Cool—an annual showcase of talent from the coldest regions on earth—puts the spotlight on the Arctic Circle, its diverse cultures and, especially, Indigenous languages. During the five-day festival, visitors get a glimpse into arctic living through art, films, and a lecture in partnership with the Munk School of Global Affairs. Ikumagialitt, an all-female performance group, will make their Toronto debut with a light show, throat singing, and a Greenlandic dance. December 10 to 15, Harbourfront Centre.
A grunge victory lap
3To finish off the decade, the iconically grungy Pixies are playing a small, intimate concert at the Phoenix that’ll feel more like a pre-holiday get-together than an all-out rager. There’s no pre-determined setlist for this series of shows: rather, they’ll choose from nearly 90 songs just before each performance to make the concerts unique. December 12, the Phoenix Concert Theatre.
A rapper’s delight
4It’s been a hell of a year for DaBaby, a North Carolina–born rapper who, after releasing his first two albums this year, is already close to becoming a household name. The star released Baby On Baby in March; building on the buzz, he released Kirk just six months later. Those aren’t his only achievements in music: he’s also been featured on tracks with stars like Lizzo, Post Malone and Lil Nas X. In the week after his second album release, he was featured on 12 of the 25 songs on Rolling Stone’s top 100 chart. Expect a lively show featuring giant inflatable baby costumes and playful interludes between songs with comical skits about police chases and prison feuds. December 10, Rebel.
A lesson in personal finance
5True story: In 1995, Patrick Combs, a 29-year-old semi-successful author, cashed a phony junk mail $100,000 cheque on a whim. To his surprise, the bank actually cleared it and Combs was eventually able to fight off the bank to keep his riches. Combs went on to write a book about his extraordinary experience, Man 1 Bank 0, which is now an onstage show, Cash Me If You Can. This performance of a down-on-his-luck (con) man who basically won the lottery is a hilarious laugh-out-your-seat comedy about luck, cheque fraud and lofty determination. Expect to walk out of the theatre questioning the value of a dollar. December 10 to 22, Berkeley Theatre.
A night of golden age throwback classics
6Christmas with Frank and Judy is an intimate and festive cabaret throwback that’s sure to get you fully immersed in holiday spirit. The night will be a mix of duets, dance, piano and storytelling to honour two of the world’s best entertainers: Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland, as performed by a talented crew of local actors and musicians. And yes, be prepared to hear a melancholy Garland-style take on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” December 12, Lower Ossington Theatre.