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What to do in Toronto Dec. 30 to Jan.4: NYE with Nikki Payne, Art Thursdays and more

Nikki Payne



First Thursdays

It could be simpler to mark this on your calendar: Every first Thursday at the Art Gallery of Ontario features a popular night of art-based talk and expression. To open 2013, highlights include a solo performance by the indie-folk songstress Basia Bulat and a mural projection by the happening street artist Dan Bergeron, along with more events themed to the Canadian landscape. Jan. 3, 2013, 6:30 to 11 p.m. $10. 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648.

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Bravissimo! Opera's Greatest Hits

The year isn't over until the soprano (Spain's Davinia Rodríguez), the mezzo soprano (Italy's Annalisa Stroppa), the baritone (Canada's Gregory Dahl) and the tenors (Canada's Gordon Gietz and Korea's Ho-Yoon Chung) sing. For this annual concert, excerpts are extracted from The Magic Flute , La Traviata , Barber of Seville, La Bohème and more. Dec. 31, 7 p.m. $55 to $145. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-872-4255.

Musicians in Ordinary

An archlute and a damp cloth, please. A concert of late baroque music serenades and soothes whatever aches persist from the previous evening. Jan. 1, 2013 (2 p.m.) and Jan. 2 (8 p.m.). $20 to $25 (available at door). Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave.,

The Merry Widow

Toronto Operetta Theatre has a genuine affection for the Viennese art form, here with a story about a young widow fending off fortune-hunters while pursuing a childhood comrade. To Jan. 6. $66 to $95. Jane Mallett Theatre, 27 Front St. E., 416-366-7723.

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When it comes to power pop, there's not much mightier than the tuneful bolts from Zeus. The cool song-crafting crew, which released the memorable Busting Visions album this year, close out the annual What's in the Box festival (five nights, each with five acts). Dec. 30, 8 p.m. (Zeus on at 11 p.m.). $5. Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042.

Kevin Quain and the Mad Bastards

After a 17-year run, the Sunday-night residency of shambolic adventures in garage-jazz cabaret comes to an end. Glasses are to be raised. Dec. 30, 8 p.m. PWYC. Cameron House, 408 Queen St. W., 416-703-0811.


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The Amorous Adventures of Anatol

A self-loving lothario works his way through seven women in Arthur Schnitzler's 1920 Viennese romance, here adapted as a saucy, contemporary comedy by Morris Panych. Jan. 9 to Feb. 10, 2013 (previews begin Jan. 1). $27 to $53. Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827.

A Christmas Carol

The ghost of Christmas Past is sticking around for one more day of Soulpepper's beloved annual production of Dickens's supernatural morality tale. Dec. 29 (1:30 and 7:30 p.m.). $32 to $68. Young Centre, 50 Tank House Lane, 416-866-8666.

Snow White: The Deliciously Dopey Family Musical!

The annual Ross Petty pantomime this year features a young princess and a seven-man posse of tiny people who are famously pigeonholed as being either doctoring, irritable, jovial, laconic, shy, allergy-ridden and simple-minded. To Jan. 5. $32 to $94. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 1-855-599-9090.

The Wizard of Oz

The wizard behind the curtain is Andrew Lloyd Webber. A stage adaptation of the MGM classic film includes new music and beloved chestnuts within an over-the-rainbow spectacle. $59 to $175. Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria St., 416-872-1212.


Ballet Jorgen: The Nutcracker

This mounting comes with Mounties. A touring production of the wintry ballet is set in Canada, not Russia, with backdrops involving paintings by the Group of Seven. Dec. 30, 2 and 7 p.m. $29 to $34. Markham Theatre, Markham, Ont., 905-305-7469.


New Year's Eve Comedy Extravaganza

This will be your last chance to laugh at the so-called Mayan prophecy. Top-flight comedians including the offbeat Harland Williams and the untameable Nicki Payne get in the last words on the year that was. Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. $39.50 to $59.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4275.


Women's Arm Wrestling

They're armed, but not dangerous. In support of SickKids, ladies join hands and have at it. Dec. 29, 10 p.m. (registration), 11 p.m. (matches). The 751, 751 Queen St. W., 416-703-2171.

Polar Bear Dip

Global warming makes it harder and harder for you to rationalize your wimping out when it comes to taking the plunge into Lake Ontario for World Vision Canada. A costume element and a post-plunge party are all part of the bracing morning-after experience. Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m. $25 (plus pledges). Coronation Park, Oakville, Ont.,


The Dude's New Year's: The Big Lebowski

Face it: wouldn't we all rather be bowling? A New Year's Eve event celebrates the cult-favourite Coen Brothers' movie with a night of film, white Russian cocktails and a few frames of 10-pin shenanigans. Dec. 31, 9:30 p.m. $20. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., 416-637-3123


He has yet to throw his first (fluttering, dead-spinning and elusive) pitch, but the newly acquired Blue Jay R. A. Dickey is already a fan favourite. His story, along with that of veteran Tim Wakefield, is told through a documentary about the hard-to-master pitch and the people who make their living by tossing it. Jan. 3, 2013, 7 p.m. Tall Boys Craft Beer House, 838 Bloor St. W., 416-535-7486.


Puppetmongers: Cinderella in Muddy York

"It's nice to know that gentle, intelligent children's shows like this still exist," said Globe theatre critic Kelly Nestruck, in his review of a play involving a missing slipper. Set in 1834, the puppeted production retells a classic story with a Toronto twist. To Jan. 5. $20 to $25. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., 416-504-7529.

Cinderella (a RATical retelling)

A rat's tale, so to speak: Five twitchy rodents tell their own version of the story of selfish step-sisters, a fairy godmother and a prince obsessed with see-through footwear. To Dec. 30 (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). $10 to $20. Young People's Theatre, 165 Front St. E., 416-862-2222 or


CITY-TV's New Year's Bash

The Tenors, Serena Ryder, Kardinal Offishall and the Fire it Up singer Johnny Reid headline an event that likely involves Gord Martineau in some capacity. Dec. 31, 10 p.m. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W.,

Nelly Furtado

Navigating a pop career these days his trickier than walking a Nik Wallenda tightrope. The bird-like pop star, who is struggling to sell tickets for her upcoming tour, rings in the new year among the maids and mists, outdoors at Niagara Falls. Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Falls, Ont.,


Mike McKenna and Stink Black Swan, 416-522-9896.

The Royal Crowns Dakota Tavern, 416-850-4579.

The Gary Kendall Band and Braithwaite & Whiteley Dominion on Queen, 416-368-6893.

The Sadies Horseshoe Tavern, 416-598-4753.

Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana Hugh's Room, 416-531-6604.

Young Empires Lee's Palace, 416-532-1598.

Heather Bambrick and the Russ Little Trio Old Mill Inn 416-207-2020.

Grooveyard The Rex, 416-598-2475.

Gentlemen Reg and the Sunparlour Players Tranzac, 416-923-8137.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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