The Weekender: a deli duel, Lilith Fair, a burlesque festival and five other items on our to-do list
1. MASALA! MEHNDI! MASTI! (FREE!)
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, this huge South Asian arts and culture festival is a must-attend, if only for the concerts. Bollywood playback singer Suzanne D’Mello (who appears on the soundtracks of some major hits, including Slumdog Millionaire) and Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad will both be performing. July 23 to 25. Exhibition Place, 200 Princes’ Blvd., 416-666-9494.
2. STING WITH THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC CONCERT ORCHESTRA
Sting is a member of various exclusive clubs: people who are in two halls of fame (Songwriters and Rock and Roll), who have won 16 Grammys, who have played themselves on TV and in the movies (The Simpsons, Bee Movie, Brüno), and who get to epically reinterpret songs from their own 30-plus-year music careers with the help of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Membership in that last one is pretty much just Sting. July 23. $46.25–$191.75. Molson Amphitheatre, 909 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 416-870-8000, livenation.com.
3. DELI DUEL (FREE!)
There’s little we like more than battles for supremacy, especially when the clash is between delicious foodstuffs. This weekend, chefs from Caplansky’s, Goldin’s and The Stockyards go brisket to brisket in a bid to be crowned creator of the best smoked-meat sammie. Food and drink tickets are on sale for taste testers; proceeds go to the Stop Community Food Centre. July 25. Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St., thestop.org.
4. TWELFTH NIGHT
The precursor to all those teen comedies where boy meets girl who is disguised as a boy and also in love with him, but he’s in love with another girl (fine, it was only that one horrible Amanda Bynes movie), the classic comedy gets a Roaring Twenties make-over by director Jeremy Hutton. As flapper dresses and speakeasies are significantly cooler than Bynes, Hutton’s adaptation is already winning the race for best modern reimagining of the original play. To July 24. $10. Philosopher’s Stage at Philosopher’s Walk, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park Cres., 416-978-8849, uofttix.ca.
5. LOVE, SASKATCHEWAN (FREE!)
All those Canadians who aren’t from Toronto obviously have us all wrong. What do they mean, we don’t care about anything outside the GTA? Look, this weekend at Harbourfront is all about Saskatchewan, our favourite perfectly trapezoidal province. Art, film, comedy, famed Saskatchewanites. Saskatchewanians. Whatever they’re called, we’re celebrating them! July 23 to 25. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
6. THE NEW BLOOR FESTIVAL (FREE!)
For one day, the street goes car-free between Dufferin and Lansdowne, like a Bloor West version of Kensington’s Pedestrian Sundays. And like the Kensington event, Bloordale’s festival is family friendly, with local performers, art exhibits, vendors and plenty of patios. July 24. Bloor St. W. between Dufferin and Lansdowne, newbloorfestival.com.
7. LILITH FAIR
Making its, er, “triumphant return” this summer—we’ll just pretend those cancelled tour dates and dropped headliners happened to some other girl power–heavy concert, yes?—Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair is in town this weekend. Schadenfreude aside, it’s a good chance to see Chantal Kreviazuk, Mary J. Blige and the aforementioned McLachlan all on the same stage. July 24. $57.25–$267.75. Molson Amphitheatre, 909 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.
8. TORONTO BURLESQUE FESTIVAL
There’s more than just a little bump and grind going on at this annual festival—there’s a lot. Troupes from across the country, the U.S. and France will be in town and ready to shake what their mamas gave them. This weekend, don’t miss Friday night’s Glamour Gala at Revival ($35, 783 College St.), where the talent is all Canadian. July 21 to 24. Various locations, torontoburlesquefestival.com.