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culture

Weekend Planner: July 12-13, 2014

In this Weekend Planner: crack codes at the St. Lawrence Market, celebrate Bastille Day, or get serenaded at Mel Lastman Square.

Get up close and personal with belly dancers and the Arabesque Orchestra at the last-ever Al Khaima. Photo by SH Photography, courtesy of Arabesque Academy.

  • Offbeat: This is one of those fun activities where a little bit of education gets snuck in, without your really noticing. The St. Lawrence Market Scavenger Hunt pits teams against each other in a competition to find clues throughout one of Toronto’s oldest neighbourhoods. Since the theme is “Then and Now,” the 19 riddles and codes will focus on more than 200 years of local history and art. Berczy Park (35 Wellington Street East), Saturday at 12 p.m., $25. Details
  • Dance: If you’ve ever wanted to share an intimate space with bellydancers and live musicians, this may be your last chance to do so! The final Al Khaima happens this weekend, with a great lineup of solo performances set to the music of the Arabesque Orchestra. Arabesque Dance Academy (1397 Yonge Street), Saturday at 8 p.m., $15 in advance, $20 at door. Details
  • Festivals: Finally, an event to which you can wear a beret without looking like a douche! Indulge in all things French at the Bastille Day Celebration, hosted by Wychwood Barns. Start off the day with a picnic (with cheese and baguettes galore, no doubt), participate in themed games and activities, and peruse a market full of goods made by French artisans and craftspeople. The traditional “Bal Populaire” will cap things off, with prizes, music, dancing, and, of course, wine. Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street), Sunday at 12 p.m., FREE, $10 for the Bal Populaire. Details
  • Music: It’s going to be hard adhering to the “day of rest” idea this summer, with Sunday Serenades taking over Mel Lastman Square every weekend. Your toes will tap, your fingers will snap, and before you know it you’ll be dancing up a storm to some of the most talented big bands in the GTA. Check out Sophisticated Swing (July 13), the Mississauga Swing Band (July 20), the Toronto All-Star Big Band (July 27), the Bob Cary Orchestra (August 3), the Metro Big Band (August 10), and the Swing-Shift Big Band (August 17). Mel Lastman Square (5100 Yonge Street), Sunday at 7 p.m., FREE. Details

Ongoing…

  • Art: If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), all day, $27 adults. Details
  • Art: “The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon

    “In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore

    These quotations, which welcome visitors to Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $25 adults. Details

  • Theatre: With more than 130 shows and additional programming, the Toronto Fringe Festival can be overwhelming. And since the shows are picked mostly via a lottery system, finding one that will be worth your time and money can be a crapshoot—though the best shows can and have gone on to eventual Broadway runs and major film adaptations. We’ll help you get the most out of your Fringe experience with a rundown of the festival’s promising and potentially can’t-miss shows—and we’ll be back with reviews as the festival progresses. , all day, $8.50–$14. Details
  • Film: You’d be hard-pressed to think of a filmmaker more frequently linked to his national cinema in the popular imagination than Satyajit Ray, whose work in the 1950s brought an independent streak to the production of Indian cinema as famously as Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless countered the establishment of French costume dramas around the same time. Yet prior to the 1990s, you might have found it equally difficult to name a major international figurehead who was as underrepresented at repertory screenings, so dire was the state of the films’ prints.

    Twenty years after the Academy Film Archive restored the Bengali director’s deteriorating and otherwise endangered negatives and made proper retrospectives possible, TIFF Cinematheque offers “The Sun and the Moon: The Films of Satyajit Ray,” a far-ranging program that gives Toronto audiences the opportunity to see the fruit of that labour as well as the work of arguably India’s most influential filmmaker. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West). Details

  • Music: The Waterfront Blues Festival (July 11–13), now in its 10th year, has recently “merged” with the wildly popular Beaches Jazz Festival (July 18–27), making the second half of July all-music-all-the-time in the Beach. Woodbine Park is the hub for both of these festivals, with things being rounded out by the Beaches Jazz Festival’s StreetFest along Queen Street East. Those looking for jazz will likely be disappointed by StreetFest—what you will get, though, is a fun Taste of the Danforth vibe and some epic people-watching. It’ll also be ground zero for Toronto’s well-heeled Baby Boomer set, so if you’re anxious to bust out your favourite Hawaiian shirt, now’s your chance. But if you aren’t into dancing to “Play That Funky Music White Boy” played on a pan flute, get yourself directly to one of the Beach’s fine patios, and check out one of our top picks for the Waterfront Blues Festival and Beaches Jazz Festival. FREE. Details
  • Film: Every part of our city will be drenched in WorldPride this summer, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Bent Lens: Pride on Screen comprises nearly two months of screenings, exhibits, and speaking engagements that reflect the broadness of our LGBT community. Check out films under the stars in David Pecaut Square, take in a conversation with Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black, and much more. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West). Details
  • Photography: Our fascination with fame and celebrity isn’t new—and this is illustrated in Izzy Gallery’s newest exhibit, Terry O’Neil: The Man Who Shot the Sixties. A photographer from the U.K., O’Neill snapped iconic shots of everyone from The Beatles and Rolling Stones to Brigitte Bardot and Faye Dunaway. The opening party features an appearance by O’Neill himself, and his “photographs from the frontline of fame” will remain on display until the end of August. Izzy Gallery (106 Yorkville Avenue), Saturday at 11 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Parties: A year from now, the 2015 Pan Am Games will begin in Toronto, so organizers have arranged a two-day party—1 year to go! #WeArePanAm Party—to ramp up excitement for the 2015 event. There’ll be many entertainers playing the stage out front of City Hall, including Machel Montano, Walk Off the Earth, and Los Van Van. And of course athletes like Canadian cycling legend Curt Harnett, Raptors star Greivis Vasquez, and track-and-field phenom Perdita Felicien will appear over the two days. Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West), Saturday at 12 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Fans of oddball British humour—rejoice! The Lower Ossington Theatre has brought the genius of Monty Python’s Eric Idle to Toronto with their rendition of Spamalot. Watch as flying cows, killer rabbits, and all sorts of bizarre elements come together to tell a twisted version of the legendary story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m., $49–$59. Details
  • Music: There’s bound to be a lot of barbecuing, beaching, and boozing around the city this summer, so we’d like to suggest something a little more refined to keep things balanced. The Music in the Garden series features weekly performances by a variety of unique musical groups, amid the luscious greenery of the Toronto Music Garden. The Akwesasne Women Singers start things off on July 3 with a showcase of English and Mohawk songs, followed by Music from the Garden of India (July 24), an all-female fiddling supergroup (July 31), the Nagata Shachu taiko drumming ensemble (August 21), the Veretski Pass Trio (September 4), and many more. Toronto Music Garden (479 Queens Quay West), Sunday at 4 p.m., FREE. Details

Happening soon:

Urban Planner is Torontoist‘s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. If you have an event you’d like considered, email us with all the details (including images, if you’ve got any), ideally at least a week in advance.

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