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The Weekender: Winterlicious, Barrymore and six other can’t-miss events

The Weekender: Winterlicious, Barrymore and six other can’t-miss events

1. CONNECTING: TORONTO IS AN AWFUL CITY As part of the ROM’s regular Connecting series, Toronto Star urban affairs columnist Christopher Hume expounds on gridlock, pollution and—shudder—transit. Counterintuitively, Hume also explains how the much-yearned-for “better future” is happening right now. Jan. 28. $50. Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000, rom.on.ca.

2. WINTERLICIOUS The most delicious part of winter is here! In addition to the prix fixe menus at some of the city’s best restaurants, there are 14 extra foodie events, including a maharaja-themed evening at the AGO, a Chinese New Year celebration at Spice Route and an Iron Chef–style competition at Fort York between C5’s Ted Corrado and Beast’s Scott Vivian.

Jan. 28 to Feb. 10. toronto.ca/special_events/winterlicious.

3. COME UP TO MY ROOM 2011 All our artsy friends will be hanging out at the Gladstone this weekend—it’s time for the hotel’s annual alt-design event, in which 44 artists and designers create installations in 11 rooms and a host of other spaces. Kick things off with Saturday’s free Love Design Party, featuring jams by Toronto DJs Denise Bendon and Joe Blow in the Gladstone’s ballroom, the site of a gorgeous installation by LeuWebb Projects. To Jan. 30. $10. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635, comeuptomyroom.com.

4. ASPECTS OF OSCAR: OSCAR’S TRIOS Jazz great Oscar Peterson knew how to assemble a great trio. The definitive Oscar Peterson Trio, composed of the man himself, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown, has been name checked as one of the most influential groups in jazz, while later groups covered Beatles songs and produced albums like 1973’s The Trio with guitarist Joe Pass and bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, which netted a Grammy. This weekend’s concert is part of the Royal Conservatory’s concert series honouring the “Maharaja of the keyboard” and features performances by pianist Benny Green, bassist Peter Washington, drummer Willie Jones III and guitarist (and long-time Peterson collaborator) Ulf Wakenius. Jan. 29. $20–$65. Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor St. W., 416-408-0208, rcmusic.ca.

5. BARRYMORE Forgive us this loss of composure, but Captain Von Trapp is back in the city! One Hollywood legend (Christopher Plummer) stars as another (John Barrymore) in a limited-run restaging of this Tony-winning play. Set in 1942, it takes on Barrymore’s career highs and personal lows (unsuccessful marriages, family drama and severe alcoholism). To March 9. $55–$150. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 416-872-5555, barrymoretheplay.com.

6. LIVE LOVE LARGE BENEFIT CONCERT A good old rock ’n’ roll concert starring three local indie darlings—Hooded Fang, Gentleman Reg and Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers—and other acts, this is more than just a good live show. It’s also a fundraiser for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. The goal is to raise $15,000. Jan. 28. $25. The Metropolitan Community Church, 115 Simpson Ave., livelovelarge.org.

7. TV SPEC SCREENPLAY READING (FREE!) The ongoing Wildsound Screenplay Festival features a program of selections from the U.K., Israel, the U.S. and Canada. This weekend’s big draw? A live reading of an original script for one of our favourite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother. RSVP required. Jan. 29. National Film Board Mediatheque, 150 John St., 416-973-3012, wildsound.ca/screenplayfestival.html.

8. STRIP SPELLING BEE Grade school spelling bees are among our proudest childhood memories, but this sexed-up take on the competition is strictly adults only. The number of strip-spellers allowed is capped at 15, but the audience of “hooters, hollerers and hecklers” is decidedly not. Jan. 28. $10. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., stripspellingbee.blogspot.com.

(Images: Gladstone Hotel by monkeyseemonkeypoo, Hooded Fang press photo, Christopher Plummer by csztova)

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