The Fuel of Life
The light bulb above their heads is energized by a renewable source, you have to think. The topically minded PhotoSensitive collective had the bright idea for an exhibit of photographs that focuses on sustainable power sources and ways in which we use, abuse and conserve energy. To Dec. 10. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free. Allen Lambert Galleria, Brookfield Place, 181 Bay St., 416-369-2300 or photosensitive.com.
Jack Chambers: The Light from the Darkness, Silver Paintings and Film Work
The AGO is not alone in celebrating work of the late Ontarian Jack Chambers, a visionary artist. An exhibit of his 1966-67 "silver paintings" (so-called because of his use of aluminum paint) and five of the seven 16-mm "personal" films he shot in the late sixties is now on display at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. To Jan. 15, 2012. $12 to $15. Kleinburg, Ont., 888-213-1121.
They still sell jams, jellies and other condiments at the merchandise table, but the curious Ontario roots-rock trio passes muster in addition to hawking mustard. Their new album Us Little Devils finds the energetic Andrew Penner and his Players adding balladic niceties to their gospel-tent furor. Dec. 10, 9 p.m. $13.50. Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W., 888-222-6608.
When told to jump, this New Orleans harmonica pro asks "in what key?" The big-lunged Jumping Johnny Sansone, with an inquisitive local band, does gritty gospel, lively gumbo-music and industrial-strength blues. Dec. 10, 8:30 p.m. $25 to $27.50. Hugh's Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., 416-531-6604.
The great and whimsical French trombonist hasn't played here in 20 years, but we're going to let him slide on that misdemeanour offence because his visit here is a lengthy one that includes workshops and master classes. It all culminates Sunday in a wide-ranging concert that features works spanning four decades, including 2003's Eppure si Muove for solo trombone and an ensemble of eleven disparate instruments, mischievously performed without a conductor. Dec. 11, 8 p.m. $10 to $35. Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis St., 416-961-9594.
Because it is that Christmas time of year, U.S. pianist André Watts is making his Lizt and checking it twice. Apologies for that – let's start again. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Hungarian wunderkind pianist and composer's birth, Mr. Watts performs an all-Liszt program, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13 included. Dec. 11, 3 p.m. $39 to $90. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W., 416-408-0208.
The Life and Times of Mackenzie King
It's good to be the Mackenzie King, but in Michael Hollingsworth's spooky, small-stage satire on wartime politics there are two other prime ministers of the period represented: an ambitious and consistently outwitted Arthur Meighen and a fat, bacon-loving R.B. Bennett. The sly and somewhat absurdist comedy continues at the comfy Cameron House. To Dec 18. $20 to $40. 408 Queen St. W., 416-703-1725.
"Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen – give me down-to-there hair, shoulder length or longer." It's been around a while, but the touring production of the counterculture musical is growing on us. Dec. 13 to 31. $35 to $130. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W., 416-872-1212.
Wizard of Oz
Something tells we're in Toronto when a funky musical version of the yellow-brick classic involves Lady Gaga's Born This Way and a snowboard-loving Dorothy. Another Christmas; another Ross Petty pantomime. To Jan. 6, 7 p.m. $27 to $85. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 855-985-5000.
A unique, walkabout telling of the Nativity is self-billed as "part Beckett, part Monty Python, with a bit of morality play thrown in." An audience follows the action of the biblical narrative through the Evergreen Brickworks and adjacent parkland, where shepherds, weird wise men and a choir are come upon. Dec. 16 to 30 (previews, Dec. 13 to 15). 7:30 pm. $10 to $25 . 550 Bayview Ave., 416-504-7529.
A Very Lupe Xmas
Melissa D'Agostino brings back her Fringe-favourite character, the Latina clown Lupe. Here a holiday-themed satire involves her performance as the Virgin Mary in a retelling of the Nativity that goes, as one might imagine, loopy. To Dec. 17. 8 p.m. $15 to $20. 918 Bathurst Centre, 918 Bathurst St., totix.ca.
A Very F***ing Mamet Christmas Special
This isn't your CBC's Ron James. The whip-smart fast-talking comedian tests his improv skills and potty-mouthing with the Impromptu Splendor troupe, who work without a script for a night dedicated to the edgy playwright David Mamet. Dec. 11, 9 p.m. $10. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., 416-504-7529.
National Ballet of Canada's The Nutcracker
Mayor Rob Ford, who made news this summer by not making an appearance at the Pride Parade, dons the gay apparel to appear as a cannon-doll in the classic wintry ballet about sugar plum fairies. Dec. 10 to Jan. 3. $38 to $133. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595.
Two premieres kick off Dancemakers' 2011-2012 season: Jacob Zimmer's Story Dance Radio lifts and jumps to the sounds of the 1970s, while Indian dance hero Nova Bhattacharya's piece is more abstract. To Dec. 18. $20 to $25. Dancemakers Centre for Creation, 55 Mill St., 416-367-1800.
Santa Speedo Run
Do we really need to see Santa's package? Bathing-suit Kringles make their annual sprint through Bloor-Yorkville for charity. Dec. 10. Registration noon, run 1:30 p.m. Free (donations accepted). Hemingway's, 142 Cumberland Ave., bloor-yorkville.com.
Andy Kim Christmas Show
The Sugar Sugar hit-maker offers the sweetest deal in town: A reasonably-priced concert (stockpiled with ace talents Ron Sexsmith, Alex Lifeson, Sarah Harmer, Sam Roberts and the whimsical Sean Cullen) raises money for Julliette's Place, a family shelter. Dec. 14, Doors 7 p.m. $25. Phoenix, 410 Sherbourne St., 855-985-5000.
Juke Joint Christmas
It's be a blue Christmas with or without you, so why not head over to the Silver Dollar Room for the buzz-saw boogie of catl, the Speaking Tongues and Bradley Boy MacArthur, the Mississippi-dreaming spellbinders who encourage donations of food. Dec. 10, 9 p.m. $10 ($7, with donation of non-perishable food). 486 Spadina Ave., 416-975-0909.
LITERATURE and LECTURE
Globe and Mail/Ben McNally Books Authors' Brunch
Distinguished authors chew the fat, while diners chomp away at a mid-morning repast. Writers include former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson ( Room For All of Us, and exploration of the Canadian immigrant experience), Allan Levine ( King, a biography of the eccentric prime minister, Mackenzie King), Nicole Lundrigan ( Glass Boys, a Newfoundland-set novel of deep suspense and human saga) and Douglas Gibson ( Stories About Storytellers, a reflection on great Canadian storytellers). Dec. 11, 10 a.m. $45 (must be purchased in advance). King Edward Hotel, 37 King St. E., 416-361-0032.
Possibly the best part of a Toronto winter just got better. A new lounge area inside the Lakeside Café offers a respite from the frost with fireplaces and comfort food. This weekend and next, the rink might see more skaters than usual, given the draw of the annual waterfront Winterfest event. Daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (to 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturday). Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4866.
Centennial Park Conservatory
A seasonal flower show opens tomorrow with an event featuring Victorian carolers, horse-drawn carriages and, at 4 p.m., a family carol-sing. Dec. 11, noon to 7 p.m. Free. 151 Elmcrest Rd., 416-394-8543.
Toronto Mass Choir
Incorporating contemporary gospel, traditional gospel and Caribbean music influences, the choral group sings with its co-star of the afternoon, a Gabriel Kney pipe organ, one of the largest mechanical-action instruments in the country. Dec. 13, noon. (lobby opens at 11 a.m.; seating at 11:30 a.m.). Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-872-4255.
Not only is there no junk in his trunk, Horton the Elephant is big-hearted and sensitive to the plight of the residents of super-tiny Whoville. A musical, based on the landmark books of Dr. Seuss, entertains charmingly. To Dec. 30. $15 to $20. Young People's Theatre, 165 Front St. E., 416-862-2222.
Swell Sundays: Christmas in the Golden Age of Radio
In our all-access world, it's hard to fathom the days when families gathered around the wireless, imagining in their minds what was happening on the other end of those radio waves. At the Spadina Museum, actors recreate a live radio show, complete with commercials. Dec. 11 and 18, noon to 5 p.m. (performances at 1 and 3 p.m.). $6 to $10. 285 Spadina Rd., 416-392-6910.
The Sound of Music Sing-Along Special
Kids crooning verses and nuns in the mountains, these are a few of our favourite things. Follow the bouncing ball and Julie Andrews in a sing-aloud version of the beloved alpine musical. Dec. 16 (7 p.m.) and Dec. 30 (noon and 7 p.m.). $8.50 to $12. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433.
Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement's The Nutcracker
A popular amateur production of the whimsical ballet warmly involves 100 dancers and their friends and families too. Dec. 15 and 16 (7:30 p.m.) and Dec. 17 and 18 (2 p.m.). $15 to $40. Humberside Collegiate Institute, 280 Quebec Ave., 416-532-8705.
Toronto Motorcycle Show To Dec. 11. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, mtccc.com.
Mary Poppins Princess of Wales, 416-872-1212.
Two Pianos Four Hands To Jan. 5, 2012. Panasonic Theatre, 416-872-1212
The Rez Sisters To Dec. 11 Factory Theatre, 416-504-9971.
Sing-Along Messiah Dec. 18. Massey Hall, 416-872-4255.
Canadian Opera Company's Tosca Jan. 21 to Feb. 25, 2012. Four Seasons Centre, 416-363-8231
Canadian Opera Company's Love from Afar Feb. 2 to 22, 2012. Four Seasons Centre, 416-363-8231.
Black Keys March 14, 2012 (on sale Dec. 10, 10 a.m.). Air Canada Centre, 855-985-5000.
Foster The People June 19. Downsview Park's Meadow Site, 855-985-5000.
Sarah McLachlan and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra June 22, 2012 (on sale Dec. 10, 10 a.m.). Molson Amphitheatre, 855-985-5000.