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The Weekender: Toronto International Burlesque Festival, Movies in the Park and six other items on our to-do list

1. TORONTO INTERNATIONAL BURLESQUE FESTIVAL
Now in its fifth year, this steamy fest gives attendees a chance to meet and greet with burlesque babes, get some tips and tricks from experts at themed workshops, catch performances by burlesque royalty like Roxi Dlite, Michelle L’Amour and Burgundy Brixx and cheer on performers at the annual Strip Search competition. To July 22. $15–$350. Various locations, torontoburlesquefestival.com.

2. BACKBEAT
Before Sergeant Pepper, Abbey Road and Ringo Starr, The Beatles were a quintet (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe) playing smoky bars in Liverpool. This musical stage show, fresh off a run in London’s West End, picks up just as the band leaves England for the red light district of Hamburg, Germany, where they hope they’ll make it big. July 21–September 2. $36–$130. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.

3. SPORT
Just in time for Olympic fever, this new Science Centre exhibit looks at the science behind sports, whether it’s how much force is in a gymnast’s landing or how fast a fastball really goes. Kids can “race” a 10-metre dash against an Olympian, a cheetah and a dino, get up close and personal with bones at the larger-than-life Skeleton Wall and learn about the physics, chemistry and biology of various sports. To January 6, 2013. $22. Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Rd., 416-696-1000, ontariosciencecentre.ca.

4. FESTIVAL BANA Y’AFRIQUE
Fans of the pan-African music scene will be pleased to know that it is well-represented at this annual festival. Look out for performances by Moto Kapia (Democratic Republic of Congo), Donné Roberts (Toronto, by way of Madagascar) and headliner Diblo Diabla (Democratic Republic of Congo). July 20–22. $10–$15. Various locations, 416-735-0169, afriquenouvellemusique.org.

5. HOT AND SPICY FOOD FESTIVAL (FREE!)
This foodie-friendly fest is made for heat seekers—or at least those with a high tolerance for heat and/or pain. A variety of cuisine is represented, whether it’s the diverse participants in the Taco Takedown (Luis Valenzuela, Matt Basile and Vanessa Yeung, among others), Zane Caplansky’s smoking demonstration or a very on-trend street food segment. Thematically appropriate movies (Ratatouille and El Bulli: Cooking in Progress are both on the lineup), “spicy” dance and live music round out the weekend’s offerings. July 20–22. Admission is free. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

6. MOVIES IN THE PARK (FREE!)
There are very few summer events better than taking a blanket, grabbing some snacks and taking in an outdoor movie. This most recent open air screening series features film favourites like Ghostbusters, The Princess Bride and this week’s pick, Raiders of the Lost Ark. July 22. Admission is free. Riverdale Park East, 550 Broadview Ave., moviesinthepark.wordpress.com.

7. PORCH VIEW
This program of contemporary dance features local residents of Seaton Village performing choreography by Nova Bhattacharya, Michael Caldwell, Maxine Heppner, Karen Kaeja and Allen Kaeja on their front porches. Audiences embark on a guided tour of the neighbourhood via stops at each non-professional performer’s home, before arriving at Vermont Square Park for an interactive finale. July 19–22. PWYC. Seaton Village, Euclid and Bloor, kaeja.org.

8. LIVE GREEN TORONTO FESTIVAL (FREE!)
Eco-friendly everything is the focus of this free, healthy living event. Expect local, organic or otherwise earth-friendly eats, green products and services, a kids’ zone complete with a paint-it-yourself mural, seed planting and other activities. There’s also a full-day concert featuring sets by Canadian artists like Fefe Dobson, Suzie McNeil, Faber Drive and JRDN. July 21. Admission is free. Yonge-Dundas Square, toronto.ca/greentorontofestival.

 

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