The Weekender: Arcade Fire on the Island, Backstreet Boys at the Amphitheatre and seven other events on our to-do list
1. SOUTH PACIFIC
Though we have nothing but love for indie theatre, sometimes what we really want is show tunes. Enter South Pacific. Since its 1949 premiere, this Rodgers and Hammerstein–penned play has won a bevy of awards and popularized some of the most beloved show tunes, including “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.” It’s kind of the quintessential Broadway musical and thus fulfills our need for an over-the-top, big-budget musical perfectly. Aug. 12 to Sept. 5. $28–$200. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-644-3665, dancaptickets.com.
2. TORONTO AFTER DARK FILM FESTIVAL
Toronto has something of a soft spot for zombies, which will be apparent this weekend when thousands dress up as brain-eating monsters for Saturday’s zombie double feature at this year’s After Dark film fest, the best place to scare yourself silly this weekend. Aug. 13 to 20. $13 per screening. Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., www.torontoafterdark.com.
3. HOT AND SPICY FOOD FESTIVAL (FREE!)
There are so many puns we could be making about this annual food fest (“Harbourfront heats up,” “spice up your life, or at least your weekend,” etc.), but we are not making them. Instead, we’re making a schedule; we have to split our time between the performances (check out Delhi 2 Dublin, a bhangra-Celtic fusion ensemble) and sampling grilled jerk skewers and hot, sour and sweet parfaits at the regular 10 Tastes to Try Before You Die sessions and the International Iron Chef competition. Aug. 13 to 15. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
4. BACKSTREET BOYS
Though we’ve long since abandoned our teenybopper phase, we are not adverse to a little nostalgia—hence our guaranteed presence at Molson Amphitheatre this weekend. They’ll never break our hearts, you know. Aug. 14. $42.25–$89.75. Molson Amphitheatre, 909 Lake Shore Blvd. W., 416-870-8000, livenation.com.
5. EVERGREEN BRICK WORKS WILD BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL (FREE!)
Live music, kid-friendly activities and a blueberry pie contest are all on offer at this fruit-inspired fest, but the big draw is the chance to taste-test dishes prepared by some of the city’s most famous chefs, including Cava’s Chris McDonald, The Drake’s Anthony Rose and Pangaea’s Martin Kouprie. Aug. 15. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., ebw.evergreen.ca.
6. A MIDSUMMER’S SLOW DANCE NIGHT IN TORONTO
There are some people whose high school dances were right out of a teen movie; think impossibly luxe school gyms, nerdy girl make-overs and super-romantic slow dances. For the rest of us, dances were crowded, sweaty affairs with more drama than romance. This slow-dance-only party is a chance for a do-over, with the adorably retro addition of dance cards and “designated dancers” for wallflowers. Aug. 14. 9 p.m. $10. Dovercourt House, 805 Dovercourt Rd., slowdancenight.blogspot.com.
7. SUMMER $1 BOOK SALE (FREE!)
We know some hardcore bibliophiles—the type whose bookshelves groan under the weight of their tomes. OK, that’s us. But we’re still hitting Literature for Life’s annual book sale, where upwards of 1,000 books of all genres are on sale for $1. Aug. 15. 28 Glengrove Rd., literatureforlife.org.
8. INDIA DAY 2010 (FREE!)
Celebrate the anniversary of India’s independence with this free one-day festival at Yonge-Dundas Square. Arrive mid-morning for the extravagant parade, which makes its way down Yonge Street toward the square, or show up later and get mehndi, gorgeous jewellery and tasty eats in the outdoor market. Aug. 14. Yonge-Dundas Square, panoramaindia.org.
9. ARCADE FIRE
After rave reviews for their latest release (The Suburbs, released August 3), a headlining gig at Lollapalooza (last week) and an appearance on The Daily Show (Thursday), the Montreal indie rockers are back in Toronto for the follow-up to their two surprise concerts back in June. Even better, opening are local roots rockers The Sadies and our new favourite, Janelle Monáe. Aug. 14. $64.50. Olympic Island, ticketmaster.com.