The Weekender: Soupstock, Cat Power and six other events on our to-do list

The Weekender: Soupstock, Cat Power and six other events on our to-do list

The Normal Heart returns to Buddies in Bad Times this week (Image: John Karastamatis)

In the wake of last year’s wildly successful Foodstock, over 200 chefs from across Canada—among them, Susur Lee, Anthony Walsh, J.P. Challet and Jamie Kennedy, Aaron Joseph Bear Robe and just about every other famous Toronto chef you’ve ever heard of—are gathering, spoon held high, at Woodbine Park to protest the Melancthon Mega-Quarry. The event is BYOBAS (bring your own bowl and spoon) and will take place rain or shine, so come prepared—though a poncho might be a good idea anyway if you’re prone to spills. All funds go to the Canadian Chefs’ Congress and the David Suzuki Foundation. October 21. $10 for 3 servings. Woodbine Park, Lake Shore Blvd. E. and Coxwell Ave.,

The 33rd annual IFOA kicks off its two-and-a-half-week run at Harbourfront this week. Sadly, headliner Alice Munro has been forced to back out due to health problems, but there are still plenty of readings and interviews to satisfy even the pickiest bookworm. Some highlights from the weekend: Jonathan Goldstein reading from I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow, Gordon Pinsent interviewed by Shelagh Rogers about his recent autobiography Next and the 45th anniversary of House of Anansi publishing house. October 18–28. $18–$50. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000,

The TIFF Bell Lightbox is the hub for this annual festival of 79 First Nations–centric films, seven of which are Canadian premieres. Among the selections: We Were Children, a feature about residential schools; Charlie Zone, a crime-and-punishment tale starring Glen Gould; and The Lesser Blessed, a coming-of-age story starring Benjamin Bratt. Alanis Obomsawin’s most recent film, The People of the Kattawapiskak River, opens the festival, and documents the housing crisis that took over Canadian news in 2011. Workshops, panels and a closing night awards show cap off the five-day program. October 17–21. $7–$12. Various venues, 416-585-2333,

Back onstage after last year’s acclaimed run, Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking play opens this weekend in a Studio 180 production at Buddies in Bad Times. Directed by Joel Greenberg, The Normal Heart explores the AIDS crisis as seen from an activist and writer’s perspective in 1980s New York City. At the centre of the drama: the fight to be defined by who you are, not what you have. October 19–November 18. $30–$45. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555,

You just can’t keep a good Russian down, it seems. Maxim Vengerov—star violinist, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, all-purpose classical-world heartthrob—returns to the bow after a few years focused on conducting to join the TSO for Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Indeed, the Renaissance man will be setting the bar for multitasking by conducting and playing the solos for the latter. October 20. $39–$149. Toronto Symphony Orchestra, 212 King St. W., 416-593-7769,

The countdown to the spookiest night of the year heats up as Canadian and international horror films descend on the city. This year, the festival will be coming home to the newly renovated Bloor Hot Docs Cinema with films such as My Amityville Horror, American Mary and Cockneys Vs. Zombies (if it’s anything like Attack the Block, we’re sold). This year also introduces Toronto After Darkcade, a showcase for horror, sci-fi and fantasy indie video games. So grab some Halloween candy and get ready to have your pants scared off. October 18–26. $14 or $168 for a festival pass. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., 416-637-3123,

Finding herself jilted by long-time boyfriend Giovanni Ribisi for a model earlier this year, the average singer-songwriter might have stepped away from the fame game for a little while. But not Chan Marshall. Like the title of her new album, Sun, Cat Power is rising again (after a four-year hiatus) to remind listeners that there’s life after love (and turning 40). Kool Haus should be in for a more upbeat performance than she’s given on previous tours, although as usual, there’s no guarantee she’ll be sticking to the set list this time. October 20. $43.75. Kool Haus, 132 Queen’s Quay E., 1-855-985-5000,

If you see a hoard of the undead lurching around the downtown core, don’t initiate Phase One of your escape plan just yet. The Zombie Walk has become a proud Toronto tradition, and will be celebrating its 10th anniversary by partnering with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The ghoulish fun starts at Nathan Phillips Square, and is followed by free musical performances. Afterward, head to the Powerhouse of Terror for a show by illusionist Lucas Wilson, or the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Keep the costume and makeup on; you’ll blend in perfectly. October 20. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W.,