The Weekender: Chromeo, Assassins and six other events on our to-do list
This musical—with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, based on the book by John Weidman—opens in the midst of a carnival shooting gallery, a device that’s used to tell the stories of nine different people who attempted to assassinate the U.S. President (and sometimes succeeded). Far from being totally depressing, Assassins prompts the audience to think about the would-be killers’ motivations. It’s also a really good show—which is probably why it cleaned up at 2004’s Tony Awards. To Feb. 20. $35. The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen St. W., 416-504-7529, artsboxoffice.ca.
2. DANCE ONTARIO DANCEWEEKEND 2011
We’re enthusiastic rump shakers, so we’re pretty excited for this weekend’s annual weekend of dance. Pros from across the province and right here at home will be showcasing their moves. Expect everything from ballet to bharatnatyam to belly dance from such companies as Kaeja d’Dance, Gadfly Dance Company and Cadence Progressive Ballet Co. Jan. 21 to 23. $10 minimum donation. Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
3. PANDEMONIUM MACHINE
OK, this one is a little weird, but stick with us. Eccentrically mismatched performers—such as curator Diana Kolpak, Fringe Festival vet Rachelle Elie and “Scandinavian super-group” K-AMP—join forces in this clowns-meet-cabaret show. While totally unconventional, last year’s inaugural show sold out, so we’re betting it’s just unusual enough. Jan. 22. $15. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., 416-504-7529, artsboxoffice.ca.
4. ROBBIE BURNS DAY CELEBRATION
We weren’t the type of kid who could appreciate a good haggis (to be honest, we aren’t the type of adult who can appreciate a good haggis), but Toronto’s children are clearly more adventurous than we were, judging by this family-friendly celebration of the poet’s life and work. We’re not ashamed to admit we’d rather leave the sheep stomach to the kiddies and stick to shortbread and live music. Jan. 23. $5.71. Mackenzie House, 82 Bond St., 416-392-6915, toronto.ca/culture/mackenzie_house.htm.
5. YOLANDA BE COOL
This awesomely named Aussie band has been all over every radio station imaginable with their breakout single “We No Speak Americano.” The song would be annoying if it weren’t so danceable. Plus, the band named itself after a line from Pulp Fiction. That’s just awesome. Jan. 21. $15. The Mod Club, 722 College St., 416-588-4663, ticketweb.ca.
6. [email protected] FESTIVAL
Brainchild of TSO conductor Peter Oundjian, this annual music fest is basically a birthday bash for the legendary composer, who would be an impressive 255 this year. Festivities kicked off earlier in the week, but this weekend, catch contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux performing a selection of arias spanning Mozart’s life. To Jan. 30. $32–$148. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St.; Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., 416-593-4828; and George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., 416-872-1111, tso.ca.
7. DJ SKATE SATURDAY NIGHTS (FREE!)
House music is the order of the day, er, night at this weekend’s Harbourfront skating party. Kids and grown-ups alike can get down to high-energy tunes courtesy of DJs Andy Reid, YUG and Simon Jain. Jan. 22. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
We’ve always had a soft spot for this cheeky Montreal synth-pop duo. With the launch of their supremely danceable third album, Business Casual, last year, it seems like most of Toronto agrees: their Saturday show at the Opera House is already sold out. Luckily, there’s also a Sunday night date. Judging by the video for “Night by Night,” we’re expecting some serious fancy footwork. Jan. 23. $35. Opera House, 735 Queen St. E., 416-466-0313, ticketmaster.ca.
(Images: Dave 1 by Matt Janicki, Karen Kaeja by Cylla von Tiedemann and Peter Oundjian by Cylla von Tiedemann.)