The Nutcracker, a movie screening with Jamie Kennedy and seven other things to do this week
The Nutcracker, an enduring holiday tradition
Ever heard of this one? In the National Ballet’s annual production, choreographer James Kudelka transposes E. T. A. Hoffman’s beloved tale to a farm in 19th-century Russia. It’s easy to take Tchaikovsky’s iconic music for granted when it’s the inescapable anthem of holiday-season TV commercials and crowded shopping malls, but this favourite—with its Russian folk dancing, elegant animal costumes and giant golden Fabergé egg—should remind audiences why The Nutcracker and its score became iconic in the first place. Saturday, December 10 to Saturday, December 31. From $39. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., national.ballet.ca.
A “ramen western” screening with Jamie Kennedy
Juzo Itami’s ode to noodles, Tampopo: A Ramen Western—the Japanese comedy about a truck-driver-turned-noodle-maker—returns to the big screen for the first time in decades this week. Starting December 9, the foodie favourite will show at TIFF Bell Lightbox, with chef Jamie Kennedy introducing the film on opening night. If all of the slurping makes you work up an appetite—and it will—you can head to Kinton Ramen: each ticket comes with a coupon for free gyoza (with the purchase of ramen, of course). $10–$14. Friday, December 9 to Thursday, December 15. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., tiff.net.
A Christmas concert with the imaginative King’s Singers
The all-male a cappella sextet’s arrangements are so elaborate that you’d swear there was a percussionist or pianist hidden in the wings. Audiences beginning to weary of the onslaught of seasonal music will find solace in this program: though there are traditional favourites, expect unorthodox performances and considerable humour in the interpretations. Sunday, December 11. $40–$95. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., rcmusic.ca.
Three nights of Tokyo Police Club hits
Newmarket’s favourite sons fashioned their latest two-part EP project to be as playful as its punny name: Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness. The songs ditch the eccentric synth rock of Tokyo Police Club’s early years for perky, danceable jams that are ripe for poppy Spotify playlists (and that, for the record, sound nothing like the Smashing Pumpkins). In these three consecutive concerts, the band launches the EPs and celebrates their 10th anniversary, so expect some old gems to appear among the newer, more sparkling singles. Thursday, December 8 to Saturday, December 10. $15–$20. Mod Club, 722 College St., ticketfly.com.
A bone-crunching Toronto edition of UFC
It’s been three years since the Ultimate Fighting Championship held one of its ferocious MMA events in Toronto, so this pay-per-view bout—featuring a showdown between reigning light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier and challenger Anthony Johnson—should be a hot ticket for Canucks craving bone-crunching combat. Saturday, December 10. $40–$375. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., ticketmaster.ca.
Hannah Georgas’s ever-changing indie sounds
The West Coast songwriter emerged with 2008’s folk-infused debut, The Beat Stuff, then went on a synth spree for her poppy, self-titled album in 2012. Her newest record, For Evelyn (named after her 98-year-old grandmother), deepens that synth-pop sound with orchestral elements. The soundscapes are denser and more ambitious, and mark a melancholy evolution in Georgas’s style. Wednesday, December 7. $22.50. Mod Club, 722 College St., ticketmaster.ca.
Lindee Climo’s quirky animal paintings
If the great Renaissance artists had turned their attention to the barnyard, their work might have looked a little like Lindee Climo’s. Her lush, colourful oil paintings depict cows, geese, horses, sheep and roosters in surreal detail. Drawing inspiration from trips to the Vatican and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, she depicts her animal subjects with affection and humour. To Saturday, December 17. Mira Godard Gallery, 22 Hazelton Ave., godardgallery.com.
The playful grooves of the Joey DeFrancesco Trio
The reigning king of the jazz organ, Joey DeFrancesco brings a playful, bebop pizzazz to old standards like “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and “Fly Me to the Moon.” With drummer George Fludas and guitarist Jeff Parker, he combines technical virtuosity with a freewheeling sense that they’re making it up as they go along—a perfect show for audiences who like their jazz light and exuberant, with a dash of showmanship. Saturday, December 10. $40–$85. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., rcmusic.ca.
A festive foodie marketplace
Starting this Saturday, Evergreen’s Winter Village will fill the Brick Works with festive activities: skating, hiking and all sorts of things to eat and drink. Visitors can grab a snack from one of 15-plus food vendors, nurse a seasonal cocktail or mulled wine from one of the “sipping containers,” and cozy up in front of a campfire. Free. Saturday, December 10 to Tuesday, February 28. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., evergreen.ca.