Ok, so the city is in the grip of full-blown festival mania. Red carpets, Gala screenings, and celebrity sightings are all great, but so are poetry readings, right? Right? Anyone???
Tonight at 8pm, head north to Zemra Lounge – 778 St. Clair W. – for this month’s installment of the Diamond Cherry reading series. Stephen Humphries and former director of the Art Bar, Allan Briesmster (The Other Seasons), will be reading. It’s free, and you don’t need an invitation to get in, unlike that Holt Renfrew after party (why’d the bouncer have to be so mean to me?)
However, if you’re in the mood for Mexican food, Sneaky Dee’s is the place to be, as Wavelength turns over its stage to the host Dave Silverberg and the Toronto poetry slam team, including Spencer, Leviathan, Amanda Hiebert and Krystle Mullin. Tonight’s bands are Methuselah and Soft Copy. Sneaky Dee’s is at 431 College. Starts at 9pm and is pay-what-you-can.
On Monday night, Tango/Crews – 508 Church – hosts Pussy Pen, a night of readings and performance from women, trans, and queer perspectives. It starts at 8pm, and is free.
On Tuesday, the Art Bar poetry series offers readings by the always entertaining Robyn Sarah (A Day’s Grace), Catherine Black, and Elena Wolff (You Speak to Me in Trees). The readings start at 8pm and take place at the Victory Café, which is (Insider Tip!) possibly THE best spot in the city to spot celebs.
There’s a huge event taking place Wednesday night, celebrating the 15th birthday of the renowned Humber School for Writers. Check the list: Wayson Choy (The Jade Peony), Toronto upstart Vincent Lam (pictured), Brad Pitt (kidding), Francine Prose, the living legend Alistair MacLeod (No Great Mischief), Kim Moritsugu (The Restoration of Emily), Paul Quarrington (Galveston) and M.G. Vassanji (The In-Between World of Vikram Lall). The party starts at 7:30pm at Harbourfront Centre – 235 Queens Quay W – and is free for members and students, $8 otherwise.
Toronto WordStage presents an eclectic line-up Thursday night. Chris Ames, actress Jennifer Dale, and novelists Nino Ricci and John Calabro will be reading. It takes place at Cervejaria, 842 College St, and starts at 7:30pm. It’s free, too.
On Friday, Bibliopunk Press launches Mike Freeman’s new book, Cigarette Salad. I’ve been hearing Mike’s name around town for a few months now, and I keep trying to figure out if it’s the same Mike Freeman who was in my creative writing workshop at Queen’s a few years back. If anyone knows, please e-mail me because it’s been driving me nuts. The launch is taking place at the Victory Café, 581 Markham, and starts at 8pm. Free.
Finally, check out the I.V. Lounge reading series this Friday at 8pm. This week features Phil Hall, Rachael Preston and Darren O’Donnell. The I.V. Lounge is located at 326 Dundas St. W. And it’s free.