Urban Planner: July 24, 2009
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Urban Planner: July 24, 2009

Urban Planner is Torontoist’s daily guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every morning. 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].

Juliette Danielle, Philip Haldiman, and Tommy Wiseau star in the cult hit The Room. Photo courtesy of Wiseau Films.

FILM: We’re all familiar with the concept of a movie that’s “so bad, it’s good.” But maybe not to this extent. With a growing cult following that includes the likes of funnyman David Cross, The Room has been making audiences cringe, cry out, and double-over in hysterics since its release in 2003. Although written as a drama, the film is ripe with unresolved subplots, exaggerated sex scenes, and unexplained characters. Interactive, sold-out monthly screenings in New York and LA are reminiscent of the droves that come out to experience The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Big Lebowski. The difference? Those audiences actually like the movie. The Royal Cinema (608 College Street), 11:30 p.m.; advance tickets $10 (available online or at Soundscapes), limited tickets at the door for $12.
WORDS: The Toronto Poetry Project teams up with the Harbourfront Centre for a late-night poetry slam, as part of the Canadian Voices Festival. Tonight’s semifinals include top Toronto poets as well as two members chosen from the audience. Hosted by über-emcee David Silverberg, the competition will be fierce, and poets will be judged on both content and performance. The top six move on to Saturday’s finals. Arrive early to catch some great music from Canadian talent such as Amy Millan and Hey Rosetta. Brigantine Room (235 Queens Quay West), 10:30 p.m., FREE.
MUSIC: Determined to debunk the myth of the synthesizer—often considered a cheesy relic of the 1980s and soundtrack to melodramatic sci-fi films—SynthFest brings you the best of this misunderstood instrument, as interpreted by innovative Toronto musicians. The two-day festival aims to showcase a new, twenty-first century direction for synth-based music, and features acts like OPOPO, Golden Girls, and Cobra Cut. Tranzac (292 Brunswick Avenue), doors at 7:30 p.m.; $7 for one day, $12 for both.
FILM: After widespread acclaim at its premiere and outdoor tribute concert two weeks ago in Montreal, Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae arrives in Toronto. This riveting documentary tells the story of the “golden age” of Jamaican music, as it brings to life the unique blend of ska, soul, and R&B that formed the Rocksteady era from 1966 to 1969. Forty years after its peak, the film reunites the genre’s remaining artists to record an album, perform, and share their memories. Rita Marley—who, with Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths, made up the I Threes, Bob Marley’s backup singers during his rise to fame—guest stars. Carlton Theatre (20 Carlton Street), show times and ticket information available online.
FAMILY: For those who have yet to herd the family over to the Toronto Zoo this summer, now’s your chance. KidSummer invites you to experience this year’s popular Sharks at Stingray Bay exhibit, as well as all the old favourites, with free admission for kids all day. Metro Toronto Zoo (361A Old Finch Avenue), 9 a.m.–6:30 p.m., free for children 12 and under if accompanied by an adult (maximum two children per adult).
FAMILY: At special daytime drop-in sessions, potters of all ages can try out different clay-making techniques in a studio environment, guided by professional ceramic artists. The Gardiner Museum (111 Queen’s Park), 1:30 p.m.–5 p.m.; $10 for the public, $8 for members, $5 for children 12 and under (firing free of charge).