Three Daniel Caesar shows, a Die Hard quote-a-long and seven other things to see, do, hear and read over the next two weeks
Daniel Caesar’s musical marathon
1The best-kept secret of Toronto’s R&B renaissance is, well, no longer a secret. One sold-out concert quickly ballooned into a string of five shows this month (there are just three left), where hometown throngs will hear Caesar’s buzzy debut album, Freudian, in full for the first time. It’s overflowing with slow jams, including the breakout earworm “Get You,” as well as uplifting anthems like the back-to-back singles “We Find Love” and “Blessed.” When every other moody 20-something in town is trying to sound like The Weeknd, Caesar’s optimistic tunes are refreshingly bright and beautiful. To Wednesday, December 20. $22–$28. Danforth Music Hall.
A Die Hard quote-along
2Yippee ki-yay, moviegoers: this year, you can quip along with John McClane and Hans Gruber at Hot Docs’ screening of everybody’s favourite Christmas movie. The night features festive drinks and a pre-show hosted by comedian Thomas Rivas. Saturday, December 23 and Sunday, December 24. $18. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
A hit-filled Serena Ryder show
3Two years after releasing her platinum hit “Stompa,” Juno-winning singer-songwriter Serena Ryder stomps onto the stage of the Danforth Music Hall, wrapping up a tour in support of the dual release of her sixth album, Utopia, and her EP Electric Love. On recent tour stops, she’s wasted no time getting to the hits, including “What I Wouldn’t Do” and “Weak in the Knees.” Friday, December 22. $53. Danforth Music Hall.
An absurb Toronto-shot satire
4CityPlace, York University and the Aga Khan Museum all get a star turn in Downsizing, a Toronto-shot social satire from director Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways). It stars Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig as a stunted middle-class couple who decide to undergo a bizarre medical procedure that shrinks them down to the size of G.I. Joes—a radical solution to global overpopulation. The fun is in watching the film play out the implications of life at five inches: miniature homes are cheaper, dinners are crumb-sized, and border guards bite their nails over the threat of tiny terrorists sneaking into their country. It’s an outrageous premise, but the bite-size comedy packs giant ideas about capitalism, consumerism and conformity. In theatres Friday, December 22.
Movies the way they were meant to be seen
5Some movies just aren’t the same on Netflix. The TIFF Bell Lightbox’s annual Magnificent 70mm festival returns with more classic movies projected on glorious 70mm film, including Lawrence of Arabia, E.T., 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Thing, Vertigo, two recent Christopher Nolan hits and more. Saturday, December 23 to Sunday, January 7. $17. TIFF Bell Lightbox.
A solstice parade in Kensington Market
6It’s the longest night of the year, so you might as well have a party. The 28th annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice Parade turns the eclectic neighbourhood into a spectacle of fire-breathers, shadow plays, lanterns, and more. Thursday, December 21. Free. Kensington Market.
A mighty Messiah
7The TSO has performed the Messiah for more holiday seasons than we can count, but they keep things fresh with guest conductors. This year, Matthew Halls, formerly of the Oregon Bach Festival, leads the orchestra, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and a quartet of soloists through a modified score with a massive Victorian-era sound. Monday, December 18 to Saturday, December 23. $52–$113. Roy Thomson Hall.
A Yeezy Christmas
8Two days after Christians celebrate the birth of the son of God, Toronto celebrates the man who claimed, “I am a God.” Track and Field’s Kanye Westivus offers all the Yeezy you can handle: a My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy/Yeezus listening party, two hours of Kanye deep cuts and a late-night dance-party. Proceeds support Sistering, a local charity supporting marginalized women. Wednesday, December 27. $10. Track and Field.
An icy New Year’s Eve party
9Toronto’s largest New Year’s Eve bash (on ice, that is) is the Skate and Dance Party at Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink. DJs will spin everything from disco to EDM to salsa in anticipation of the new year. Sunday, December 31. Free. Harbourfront Centre.