1. NUIT BLANCHE (FREE)
We wish good luck to those who aim to see all there is to see at this year’s sundown–to–sun-up contemporary arts fest, but for those who are a little less ambitious more realistic, we offer our picks from the 134 installations on the schedule: The Feast of Trimalchio, a video installation that reimagines Petronius’s Satyricon (Zone A); The Heart Machine by Christine Irving, an interactive sculpture that shoots fire (Zone B); and TIFF Movie Studio Playhouse, which allows visitors to create film shorts that will be projected on the Lightbox atrium wall (Zone C). October 1. Various locations, scotiabanknuitblanche.ca. Check out our expanded 2011 Nuit Blanche guide »
2. SPRING AWAKENING
Spring Awakening is a musical take on Frank Wedekind’s controversial play of the same name, originally banned when it was written in 1892. It’s a coming-of-age tale set in small-town Germany in the late 1800s and follows a group of teens as they discover their own sexuality. Due to adult themes, we do not recommend bringing your children. To October 8. $45–$60. Lower Ossington Theatre, 100A Ossington Ave., 416-915-6747, lowerossingtontheatre.com.
3. TORONTO PALESTINE FILM FESTIVAL
Now in its fourth year, the Toronto Palestine Film Festival showcases the diverse stories and voices of the Palestinian community. The opening film, Pomegranates and Myrrh, is the first feature film from Najwa Najjar, about a dancer whose husband is imprisoned for resisting the confiscation of his family’s land. Apart from our time at the movies, we’re especially looking forward to checking out this weekend’s panel discussion about how Arab women are represented in contemporary media. September 30 to October 7. $7–10. Various locations, tpff.ca.
4. BATTLE OF THE BUBBIES (FREE!)
For the second year in a row, the crew at Caplansky’s will host an epic throwdown showcasing the talents of real and wannabe bubbies (but men are also welcome). It’s all in an effort to find the best matzoh ball–makers in the city, but this year the stakes are even higher: the judges are actual bubbies. October 1. Caplansky’s Deli, 356 College St., 416-500-3852, caplanskysdeli.com.
5. CANADA’S WALK OF FAME FESTIVAL
This celebration of Canadian art features performances by musicians Adam Cohen, Bedouin Soundclash and Steppenwolf and comedians Mike Macdonald, Jessica Holmes and Jon Dore, as well as screenings of Canadian films (evidently Jim Carrey’s appearance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is sufficiently Canadian, since it will be screening). We’re looking forward to taking in concerts by Chantal Kreviazuk, Jully Black, K’Naan and Burton Cummings, but will likely skip screenings of Austin Powers and The Proposal. Shows at the David Pecaut Square and Monarchs are free to attend, but all Massey Hall events will be ticketed. September 29 to October 2. Various locations, 416-367-9255, cwofest.ca.
6. HIGH PARK HARVEST FESTIVAL (FREE!)
This kid-friendly fest couldn’t feel more autumnal if it tried—pumpkin decorating, wagon rides and apple cider (warmed by a bonfire, no less) are all on offer at this annual High Park event. We suggest piling on knit sweaters and taking the kids out for face painting, crafts, a drum performance and stories (some fees in effect). October 2. Colborne Lodge, High Park, 416-392-6916, toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm.
7. ANOTHER AFRICA This multimedia-meets-theatre production by Volcano Theatre is an update on last year’s Dora-nominated Luminato success The Africa Trilogy. Focused on the relationship between Africa and the West, the evening includes a brand-new prologue by Ugandan writer Deborah Asiimwe, in addition to two other short plays. The prologue is an adaptation of a West African fable about a mysterious woman who moves into town and the impact she has on the villagers, Shine Your Eye is set in an Internet scam office in Nigeria, and Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God follows two couples, all medical professionals, discussing the continent at a dinner party. To October 22. $22–$99. Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E., 416-368-3110, canstage.com.
8. THE IMAGINED CITY: MASSEYS AND THE MASSES (FREE!)
Toronto frequently shows up in movies pretending to be other cities—think New York, Chicago and wherever Resident Evil is set—but in books, the Big Smoke has no choice but to proudly stand out as itself. Local author and York University professor Amy Lavender Harris discusses various literary versions of Rosedale and Forest Hill. October 1. Forest Hill Library, 700 Eglinton Ave., 416-393-7706, torontopubliclibrary.ca.