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The Weekender: nine things on our to-do list (yes, including Halloween events)

The Weekender: nine things on our to-do list (yes, including Halloween events)

1. CINDERELLA: ROCK THE BALL The annual fundraising gala for the Canadian Opera Company, Operanation is always a place to see and be seen. This year’s bash is a rock ’n’ roll take on Cinderella that was inspired by the upcoming production of La Cenerentola, the Gioacchino Rossini opera based on the fairy tale. Think, all the city’s PYTs, amazing food and cocktails and, oh yeah, a joint COC/Broken Social Scene performance.

Oct. 29. $150. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231, coc.ca.

2. SHEEZER Significantly upping the coolness quotient of cover bands everywhere, this all-female Weezer tribute group is also way better than most girl groups, past and present (you do remember Sugar Jones, right?). Their rendition of “Buddy Holly” has garnered raves, but we’re partial to “Say It Ain’t So.” Also, Rivers Cuomo thinks they’re cool. If that’s not enough of an endorsement, we don’t know what is. Oct. 29. $10. The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W., myspace.com/sheezerfanclub.

3.    HALLOWEEN MOVIE MARATHON We admit it: as children, we were less interested in clever Halloween costumes. It was the one night we could be a princess, and we took advantage, dammit. Our tastes have matured slightly since then. This Friday, we’re going as one of the Henchgirls from rock-opera horror flick Repo! and heading to the Bloor Cinema’s cult movie marathon: Halloween (7 p.m.), Repo! (9 p.m.) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (11:30 p.m.). Oct. 29. Prices vary. Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., 416-516-2330, bloorcinema.com.

4.    UPART CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR Like the Gladstone’s other contemporary art event, Come Up to My Room, UpArt is an exhibit of installations by up-and-coming Toronto artists, collectives and indie galleries. Site-specific projects by the likes of Daisuke Takeya, Stephanie Avery and Joseph Reyes are on display in the second-floor exhibit space. We’re intrigued by Terry Tanner’s Trading Post, located in the Art Bar, where we’re told people will be able to swap all sorts of things, including Canadian Tire money, sound advice and zombie slaves, apparently. Oct. 29 to 31. $5. The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635, gladstonehotel.com.

5.    THE 11TH ANNUAL NIGHT OF DREAD A more sombre take on All Hallow’s Eve, this annual event starts with an hour-long procession through the streets of the city; community members can “parade their private and collective fears” before returning to Dufferin Grove Park to take in stilt dancers, fire spinners and folk music. Honestly, we’re more into part B than part A, and we’re showing up early to make sure we score a choice costume, part of a selection provided by Clay and Paper Theatre. Oct. 30. PWYC, suggested donation $10. Dufferin Grove Park (at Dufferin and Bloor Streets), clayandpapertheatre.org.

6.    THE AUGUST STRINDBERG HALLOWEEN SPECTACULAR The National Theatre of the World, brainchild of three funny people (Second City’s Naomi Snieckus and Matt Baram and Ron Pederson of MadTV/CanStage), is a progressive Toronto theatre company that produces monthly improv plays. This August Strindberg–inspired performance (he’s known for “dramatic psychological tragedy”) is preceded by discussion and reading of Strindberg works and followed by cocktails and partying. Oct. 31. $12. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Ave., 416-504-7529, artsboxoffice.ca.

7.    PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT: THE MUSICAL Based on the Oscar-winning 1994 Aussie film, this musical has just as much fabulosity as the original. Two drag queens and a transsexual pack their feathered headdresses and take off on a trip across the Australian Outback in an old bus named Priscilla. Hijinks, ’70s dance numbers and confetti ensue. Until Jan. 2, 2011. $35–$130. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

8.    TORONTO INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2010 TIAF is the second arty event of the weekend, and its guest speakers, activities and cross-genre exhibits make it a great intro to the city’s art scene. For behind-the-scenes programming, check out the New Contemporaries, the Young People’s group for the Canadian Art Foundation. Beyond cocktail parties, the group visits studios, takes tours of private collections and institutions like OCAD. For TIAF, members will get a VIP tour of the fair, scoping out special projects by Jeremy Laing and Castor. Oct. 29 to Nov. 1. $18. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W., tiafair.com.

9. CADBURY HAUNTED HOUSE (FREE!) The Gladstone Avenue Cadbury factory hosts a haunted house each year with free treats (chocolate, of course) for the trick-or-treaters. No need for parents to worry about frightening the kids—it’s a family-friendly event. Oct. 31. From 5:30 p.m. 277 Gladstone Ave.

(Images: candy by Freeloosedirt, pumpkins by Christine Zenino, Jack-o-lanterns by Kathy Kimpel.)

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