An all-star cover concert, a Skittles pawn shop and six other things this to do this holiday season
Cover Me Impressed, an indie all-star show
You know Blue Rodeo’s tunes, but do you know the songs that inspired them? At this second annual cover concert, Jim Cuddy and a team of local indie talent—including Devin, his son and a master musician in his own right—will play their favourite tunes. The line-up includes Broken Social Scene co-founder Brendan Canning, members of bubbly indie-pop outfit The Elwins and another father-son duo: ex–Davenport MP Andrew Cash (of defunct punk band L’Étranger) and his son Sam, who hosts the show with his bluesy backing band, the Romantic Dogs. All proceeds and donated canned goods support the Daily Bread Food Bank and Sketch Working Arts. Saturday, December 26. $5 or a canned food donation. Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., leespalace.com.
A shop where you can trade bad Christmas gifts for Skittles
If your holiday loot includes snow globes, Snuggies or miscellaneous items shaped like moustaches, stop by the Skittles pop-up pawn shop, where you can swap just about anything for its equivalent in Skittles. Just how much sugar you’ll get depends on how awesome—or, more likely, repulsive—your present is (go here for an online appraisal). Everything that’s traded in will be donated. Saturday, December 26 to Wednesday, December 30. Skittles Pawn Shop, 242 Queen St. W., skittlespawn.com.
The Polar Bear Dip, a frigid way to deal with a New Year’s hangover
Forget hair of the dog. This Arctic-calibre dare calls for fur of the bear. On January 1, more than 500 people will mark the arrival of the New Year by running into the freezing water of Lake Ontario in nothing more than bathing suits. Why would anyone do that, you ask? To raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. Last year’s Dip raised more than $75,000. Friday, January 1. Sunnyside Pavilion Park, 1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W., torontopolarbear.com.
A double screening (with drinking games!)
What better way to spend the night before the night before Christmas Eve than playing group drinking games based on a couple of underrated holiday movies? The Steady Café is hosting Drunken Cinema, screening both crime-com Go (starring a young Sarah Polley) and feel-good slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night, each with its own game and rules. Admission includes props (yes, props), popcorn and treats. Wednesday, December 23. $5–$8. The Steady Cafe & Bar, 1051 Bloor St. W., thesteadycafe.com.
Our Last Tango, a doc about tango’s most captivating couple
María Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes met as teens in Buenos Aires. They fell in love, became dance partners (though he could hardly dance at the time), married and divorced (many times over), mentored Liza Minelli and Robert Duvall, and, regardless of whether they loved or hated each other at the time, danced together for 50 years. Argentinian director German Kral’s documentary, which was produced by New German Cinema king Wim Wenders, incorporates harsh and insightful interviews into a string of cleverly choreographed dance sequences that illustrate the couple’s life stories. Friday, December 25 to Monday, January 4. $9.73. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., bloorcinema.com.
Planet ROM, an astral escape from the festive fuss
Had enough holiday stress? The ROM is ignoring all the festive vibes with a two-week-long interstellar exhibition. Attendees will be able to examine a Mars rover prototype, handle a Mars meteorite, check out space gloves on loan from Chris Hadfield, stargaze in a pop-up planetarium and shoot space debris in a cosmic arcade. Saturday, December 26 to Sunday, January 3. $17. Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Pk., rom.on.ca.
A sing-along Sound of Music screening
You’ve had 50 years to learn the words—now it’s time to join in. TIFF screens the resplendent 1965 musical, featuring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, in full-screen Technicolor with karaoke subtitles. The show includes a 25-minute introduction and a bag of props to be used during the film. Lederhosen are encouraged. All ages. Saturday, December 26, Sunday, December 27 and Saturday, January 2. $16–$22.75. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., tiff.net.
A festival for experimental comedy
The Comedy Bar’s New Formats fest is a five-day incubator for unseen, untested comedic concepts. Past fests have yielded venue favourites like Rapp Battlez and Weird Al Karaoke, and last year’s line-up included So You Think You Can Rant and a stand-up routine that doubled as a dance party. Not every show is a winner (that’s why they’re all free), but with titles like Tinder Surprise, we expect good things. Saturday, January 2 to Wednesday, January 6. FREE. Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor St. W., comedybar.ca.
An earlier version of this post mistakenly stated that Planet ROM would include moon rocks and allow visitors to try on Chris Hadfield's space gloves.