Weekend Planner: January 2–3, 2009
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Weekend Planner: January 2–3, 2009

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 all of its details—as well as images, if you’ve got any—to [email protected].

Photo by tenaciousme.

SPORTS: For Toronto sports fans lamenting the lack of local football since the Argos’ season ended in November, the annual NCAA International Bowl can fill that void. Held every year at the Rogers Centre, the Bowl is the only post-season NCAA game played outside of the United States, and promises all the pageantry and infectious excitement of the college football tradition. This year, the Northern Illinois University Huskies will face off against the University of South Florida Bulls. ESPN anchor Mike Gleason will do the play-by-play, while former CFL quarterback and current ESPNU college football analyst John Congemi will provide colour commentary. Come by the Rogers Centre early for a pre-game pep rally with marching bands and cheerleaders from both participating schools. Rogers Centre (1 Blue Jays Way); Saturday 12 p.m.; $30–$55.
CELEBRATION: This year marks the fortieth anniversary of Canadian-Chinese diplomatic relations, which were officially established by Pierre Trudeau in October 1970. Since then, the relationship has flourished—according to a recent speech by Stephen Harper, China is now Canada’s second-largest trading partner and third-largest export market, while our Chinese-Canadian population has grown to approximately 1.3 million people. This weekend, celebrate both the New Year and four decades of Chinese-Canadian partnership with Carnival China Style, a spectacular production in which China’s epic history and culture will be conveyed through music, dance, and visual performance. Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe Street); Sunday 7:30 p.m.; $28–$50.
MUSIC: Music collective Jordaan Mason and the Horse Museum is comprised of “a linguist, a beekeeper, a francophone, a novelist, and an X-Men nerd.” (So says their record label.) Their quirky sound has been compared to the idiosyncratic folk stylings of Okkervil River and Neutral Milk Hotel, and this Saturday, they perform at the Holy Oak Cafe to launch their debut release, Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head. The high-concept album challenges the hetero-normative conventions of pop music by telling the story of a troubled marriage between two gender-confused lovers, and the drama doesn’t stop there—the album includes tales of a man giving birth, a horse wedding, and naturally, the apocalypse. Holy Oak Cafe (1241 Bloor Street West); Saturday, 9:30 p.m.; FREE.
THEATRE: In the context of contemporary musical theatre, the operetta seems like a quaint relic of old-timey silliness, often focusing on the romantic misadventures of foppish aristocrats. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, however, the operetta was at the height of fashion and was adopted by some of the most renowned composers of the period, including Gilbert and Sullivan and Johann Strauss II. Although it has fallen out of favour with the masses (an operetta doesn’t have the angst and social agenda of a rock opera, nor does it offer the hummable pop ditties of, say, a television glee club), the operetta has retained its elegance and musical pedigree. This weekend, check out Toronto Operetta Theatre’s production of Countess Maritza, a 1924 operetta by Hungarian composer Emmerich Kálmán, which encapsulates all the European glamour of a bygone era. Jane Mallett Theatre (27 Front Street East); Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; $39–$78.
TRADE SHOW: Planning a spring wedding? Whether you’re having an extravagant affair for five hundred guests or a wedding barbecue in your backyard, the Total Wedding Show has everything you will need for the big day in one room, from cakes to flowers to bands and DJs. In addition to over 350 retail and service booths, there will be daily bridal fashion shows, prizes, and the city’s biggest bridal gown sale. International Centre (6900 Airport Road); Saturday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; $15 (FREE parking).
DANCE: Christmas may be over, but the festive season is technically afoot until the end of this weekend. Soak up your last ounces of holiday cheer at The Nutcracker before it closes up shop this Sunday. In 1995, choreographer James Kudelka’s opulent production of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet premiered, and since then, it has become a yearly highlight for the National Ballet of Canada. Kudelka’s adaptation brings the story back to the composer’s own time: the enchanted wintry landscape of nineteenth-century Russia, complete with a magnificent imperial palace, a giant Fabergé egg, and a dancing horse. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West); Saturday, 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.; $33–$102.