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The Weekender: North by Northeast, Russell Peters and six other items on our to-do list

The Weekender: North by Northeast, Russell Peters and six other items on our to-do list

1. NORTH BY NORTHEAST The rock stars are coming, the rock stars are coming! This weeklong music fest, conference and film festival has a 780-band-strong lineup that includes the Flaming Lips, Matthew Good, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, Bad Religion and Bran Van 3000. This weekend, catch the Canadian premiere of My Father and the Man in Black, a doc about filmmaker Jonathan Holiff’s dad—and Johnny Cash’s one-time manager—Saul (Friday); the Flaming Lips and friends at a free two-hour show at Yonge-Dundas Square (Saturday); and the oh-so-appropriate (and necessary) Hangover BBQ and Brunch (Sunday). To June 17. $25–$50 (events at Yonge-Dundas Square are free). Various locations, 416-863-6963, nxne.com.

2. DAY OF DELIGHT (FREE!) This artsy, multidisciplinary celebration of “love, courtship and desire” turns 10 this year, so expect some fun surprises—on top of the theatre, puppetry, storytelling, anonymous love notes and other artistic happenings that characterized previous years’ events, of course. June 17. Dufferin Grove Park, 875 Dufferin St., clayandpapertheatre.org.

3. RADIOHEAD As if this weekend wasn’t already music heavy enough, Radiohead is in town. The 27-year-old British band, known for its f~!@-the-rules attitude and experimental and evolving style, is on tour supporting their latest album, 2011’s King of Limbs. June 16. $81. Downsview Park, 1-35 Carl Hall Rd., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca.

4. “GET TO KNOW” BIO BLITZ AT THE TORONTO ZOO While it sounds like either the newest children’s TV show or some painful new workout trend, a bio blitz is neither. It’s actually an intense exercise in hands-on biology meant to help identify as many species as possible in a 24-hour span. For future biologists, the Toronto Zoo is hosting a mini blitz for kids 10 and up, where they can spend some time seeking out bugs, reptiles, mammals and plants (basically, anything that lives). In addition to exploring things that live, attendees can take part in art activities developed by artist and conservationist Robert Bateman. June 16. $25. Toronto Zoo, 361A Old Finch Ave., 416-392-5929, torontozoo.com.

5. CHROMA, SONG OF A WAYFARER AND ELITE SYNCOPATIONS This mixed program, made up of three short ballets, is one of the coolest additions to the Ballet’s season. The first, Chroma, is a remount of one of last season’s most popular shows. With music by Joby Talbot and the White Stripes’ Jack White, and highly kinetic choreography by Wayne McGregor, it’s a tribute to what the human body can accomplish. Song of a Wayfarer, a National Ballet favourite, originally starred Rudolf Nureyev, but in this performance principal dancer Aleksandar Antonijevic takes the stage. The beautifully staged and hilarious Elite Syncopations rounds out the trio. To June 17. $25–$234. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595, national.ballet.ca.

6. LITTLE CITY FESTIVAL (FREE!) Young book lovers will love this literary fest, which takes the form of a wild rumpus in tribute to kid lit legend Maurice Sendak. Music, a performance by Zero Gravity Circus, activities and snacks are all on offer, but our favourite attraction is likely to be the story tent, where authors will read from a selection of Sendak favourites, including Where the Wild Things Are. June 17. Sorauren Park, 50 Wabash Ave., smallprinttoronto.org.

7. RUSSELL PETERS Russell Peters, one of Brampton’s finest, returns to Canada this weekend for a show. He’s been in far away Los Angeles, where he’s been scoring guest spots in movies, getting married, becoming a dad, making Christmas specials, getting divorced and so on. Presumably, his L.A. misadventures will make for some incredible jokes in this weekend’s show, which is part of Peters’ most recent world tour. June 16. $65–$140. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca.

8. TASTE OF LITTLE ITALY (FREE!) The most tomato-y event of the summer takes place this weekend. Sure, there’s live music, impromptu dancing, kid-friendly activities and even a little shopping, but let’s be serious here. Taste of Little Italy is really about how many tasty, tasty Italian eats a person can consume without passing out or exploding or something equally dramatic. June 15 to 17. College Street between Bathurst and Shaw, tasteoflittleitaly.ca.

(Image: Sonia Rodriguez and Aleksandar Antonijevic with artists of the ballet in Chroma, Bruce Zinger)

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