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The Blind Boys of Alabama perform during a 90th birthday celebration for civil rights pioneer Rev. Joseph Lowery, at the Atlanta Symphony Hall, Oct. 9, 2011, in Atlanta. (John Amis/Associated Press)
The Blind Boys of Alabama perform during a 90th birthday celebration for civil rights pioneer Rev. Joseph Lowery, at the Atlanta Symphony Hall, Oct. 9, 2011, in Atlanta. (John Amis/Associated Press)

What to do in Toronto, Dec. 1-7: Blind Boys of Alabama, Leonard Cohen, and lots of Christmas cheer Add to ...

 

Considered to be the ballerina’s version of Hamlet, the melodramatic French masterwork is a romantic ballet in the truest sense. Dec. 5 to 9. $25 to $239. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595.

 

LITERARY & LECTURE

 

Robert Ballard

 

When he was a child, the tiny pieces to his game of Battleship never went missing for long. The discoverer of the Titanic, the Bismark and John F. Kennedy’s torpedoed PT boat does show-and-tell about the deep sea and his sinking feelings. Dec. 3 and 4, 8 p.m. $39.50 to $59.50. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-872-4255 or masseyhall.com.

 

45 Books In 45 Minutes

 

Ben McNally and Lynn Thomson offer a pithy “Whirlwind” presentation of the season’s hottest books. Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m. Free (preregister at 416-361-0032). Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay, benmcnallybooks.com.

 

COMEDY

 

Naked News Stand Up!

 

And in the weather today, boy is it getting hot in here. Butt-naked news readers grin and bare it for laughs. Dec. 4, 9:30 p.m. $4. Yuk Yuk’s, 224 Richmond St. W., 416-967-6425.

 

FILM

 

Jem Cohen: We Have an Anchor

 

From TIFF and the Images Festival, a film-music hybrid involving triple-projection footage of Nova Scotia and live music and readings from Mary Margaret O’Hara and members of Fugazi; Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. Dec 4 to 5, 8 p.m. $24 to $30. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., tiff.net.

 

EVENT

 

Oy, Tannenbaum … How The Jews Wrote Xmas

 

Have a holly schmaltzy Christmas, when Jordan Klapman leads a sing-along tutorial/concert about Tin Pan Alley’s legendary Jewish songwriters, and how they wrote a huge amount of classic holiday tunage. Dec. 7, 8 p.m. $35. Jezebel’s Lounge (private loft), 184 Munro St., 647-478-1738.

 

FREE

 

Arts & Letters Club Open House

 

A rare opportunity to check out what is inside the significant pile of Victorian-era bricks at 14 Elm Street also allows for the purchase of books, CDs and small works of art from club members. Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto,14 Elm St., 416-597-0223.

 

The #BAM Summit

 

Adventures in African-American jazz, with experimentalists Pheeroan akLaff, Ian Kamau, Ian Steaman and Anupa Mistry. Dec. 2, 2 p.m. Manifesto Space, 37 Bulwer St., musicgallery.org.

 

FUNDRAISER

 

The Beamish Classic

 

Forehand it like Forrest Gump at a ping-pong tournament held downstairs at a paddle-happy social club. Proceeds benefit disadvantaged youth. Dec. 2, 4 to 8 p.m. $10 (register at spintoronto.eventbrite.ca). Spin Toronto, 461 King St. W., 416-599-7746.

 

Agency Wars

 

The first rule of Agency Wars is that everybody talks about Agency Wars. Back for its third throwdown, the popular charity boxing event involves advertising-biz folks (who are also trained amateur pugilists) bopping each other for Ronald McDonald House. Dec. 5, 7 p.m. $90. Arcadian Court, 401 Bay St., linebypass.com or agencywars.ca.

 

Sounds of the Seasons

 

Deck the halls with Jian Ghomeshi, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. The CBC Radio 2 open house includes performances by Nelly Furtado and the Blind Boys of Alabama, as well as meet-and-greets with on-air personalities. Dec. 7, 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Free (nonperishable food or cash donation). CBC Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front St. W., cbc.ca/toronto.

 

FAMILY

 

Sir Jerry’s Holiday Show

 

You want Raffi? He’s doing sing-along fun at Roy Thomson Hall (Dec. 2, 2 and 4:30 p.m., $27.50 to $55). If you want the anti-Raffi, go for the top-hatted faux-Brit Sir Jerry, who does outlandish whimsy the same afternoon, across town. Dec. 2, 1 p.m. $5 ($10 for family of four). Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen W., 416-531-5042.

 

GrimmFest

 

Here’s something that will rumple your stilt skin: With five days of talks, free concerts, activities and performances, the Canadian Opera Company celebrates the 200th anniversary of the classic fairy tales and what is believed to be the 500th performance of the 45-minute children’s opera The Brothers Grimm (Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 8, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; $15 to $25, Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. W.). Dec. 4 to 8. Various venues. 416-363-8231 or coc.ca.

 

Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe Christmas

 

Song, story and the communal small-town Canadian experience, from the lectern of the lanky tale-spinner Stuart McLean. Dec 7 and 8 (7:30 p.m.) and Dec. 9 (2:30 p.m). $48 to $60. Sony Centre, 1 Front E., 855-872-7669 or ticketmaster.ca.

 

CHRISTMAS EVENTS

 

March of the Santas Dec. 1 and 2 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Danforth and Logan avenues.

Ballet Creole’s Soulful Messiah to Dec. 2. Fleck Dance Theatre, 416-973-4000.

Corktown Christmas Forest Dec. 2. Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 416-327-6997.

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