The Weekender: Buskerfest, Come Fly Away and five other items on our to-do list
1. BUSKERFEST (FREE)
As those vaguely sinister subway ads have been promising for weeks, the instrument players, joke tellers, balloon animal makers, gravity-defying superstars and all other manner of street performers have arrived. These talented altruists (voluntary admission donations go to Epilepsy Toronto) are taking over the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood for a weekend of performing, fun and—in the case of the clowns—terrifying small children. Aug. 25 to 28. Front St. E. between Yonge and Jarvis, torontobuskerfest.com.
2. COME FLY AWAY
The two-week run of this Twyla Tharp–created musical comes to an end this weekend, so if you’re a fan of Mamma Mia–style adaptations, this is the must-see event of the weekend. The story is about four couples out for the evening at the same nightclub, but this show is all about big band music, the dancing and especially the original recordings of some of Frank Sinatra’s biggest hits. To Aug. 28. $42–$135. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., dancaptickets.com.
3. FAN EXPO CANADA
Toronto’s version of Comic-Con, this pop culture convention is more like five expos in one. Comic fans, sci-fi lovers, horror nerds, gamers and anime enthusiasts descend on the city’s convention centre to get a sneak peek at upcoming releases, connect with their fanboy and girl sister and brotherhood, and meet the people behind their favourite stories. Admittedly, we’re not up on all the latest comics, but we’re happy to line up to meet Harry Potter’s Tom Felton, Sam Trammell from True Blood and the one and only William Shatner. Aug. 25 to 28. $25–$109. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 416-241-7827, fanexpocanada.com.
4. SALSA IN THE CITY SQUARE (FREE)
Know what this Saturday night needs? Music (by Cuban musicians Yani Borrell y los Clave Kings, Pablo Terry and Sol de Cuba), free salsa dancing lessons and lots of Cuban food. In celebration of this year’s Toronto-Cuba Friendship Day, the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association of Toronto is organizing an event with those very things. Convenient! Aug. 27. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W., ccfatoronto.ca.
5. FAKE PROM
Ladies and gentlemen, the most old-fashioned event of the weekend, and we mean that in a good way. If Fake Prom doesn’t conjure up images of awkward slow dances, bored chaperones and glitter everywhere, it’ll still get you with the nostalgia-inducing theme: 1940s wartime. There’ll be pinups, newsies and everything in between! Aug. 26. $20. Palais Royale, 1601 Lake Shore Blvd. W., fakeprom.com.
6. NBA JAM SESSION (FREE)
We really had no idea a “sports festival” was a thing, but this hoops-focused event at Yonge-Dundas Square seems to be one, so we’re going to go with it. We look forward to losing miserably in the 3-on-3 tournament, scoring free swag and chilling with NBA star Muggsy Bogues (the five-foot, three-inch legend who played one season as a Raptor) and Harlem Globetrotter Buckets Blakes. Aug. 27 and 28. Yonge-Dundas Square, nba.com/jamsession.
7. SUFFERING SUCCOTASH
This hilariously named weekly barbecue has been happening once a week all summer long, and we’ve missed it every single time, which is unacceptable. This Friday is our last chance to sample Universal Grill’s jerk chicken, ribs, yam frites, slaw and, of course, succotash. Our goal is to arrive early and eat as much as we possibly can. Aug. 26. $16. Universal Grill, 1071 Shaw St., universalgrill.ca.