Urban Planner: August 7, 2009
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Urban Planner: August 7, 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].

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In Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country, independent journalists risk their lives to tell the story of an historic and terrible event; still courtesy of Kinosmith Inc. and GAT Productions.

FILM: When one hundred thousand people (including thousands of Buddhist monks) took to the streets of Myanmar in 2007 to protest Burma’s repressive regime, foreign news crews were banned and the Internet was shut down. At risk of torture and life imprisonment, members of the Democratic Voice of Burma recorded the uprising on handycams and smuggled the footage out of the country. Danish director Anders Ostergaard’s documentary, Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country, provides a glimpse into this dramatic and historic event, as seen through the cameras of a group of daring independent journalists. After a successful Canadian premiere at Hot Docs, this award-winning film finally opens to the public today. A question-and-answer period follows each screening during opening weekend. The Royal Cinema (608 College Street), call 416-534-5252 for showtimes and ticket information.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Doom Town, a new exhibit by Toronto up-and-comer Matthew Koudys, opens tonight at Hunter and Cook gallery. Originally from Hamilton, Koudys worked in commercial photography before realizing it wasn’t for him. This new series departs from his previous approach of pure documentation and, in his own words, attempts to “create images that depict death and spirit in an atypical fashion.” Hunter and Cook (15 Ossington Avenue), 6–10 p.m., FREE.
FAMILY/FOOD: The Greeks know food. And—as evidenced by one of the city’s most-anticipated street festivals (and the largest in Canada!)—how to throw a good party. Join crowds of exuberant revellers at this year’s Taste of the Danforth to enjoy live music and fill up on scrumptious Hellenic favourites like souvlaki and spanakopita, as well as lesser-known delights. The highlight of today’s opening ceremonies is the fifth annual Danforth Dash Bed Race, in which members of the media and corporate Toronto compete to raise money for the Toronto East General Hospital. Greektown, 6–11 p.m., FREE.
THEATRE: In The National Theatre of the World‘s Impromptu Splendor, Second City and MadTV whiz kids team up to bring you a new one-act play every night, each done in the style of a different famous playwright. Nominated for three 2009 Canadian Comedy Awards, this unique spectacle launches a new run tonight. And since every night is opening night, enjoy free food after the show around the corner at TARO Grill. Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue), 8:30 p.m., $10 (tickets available online).
DANCE: Master the moves of the King (of Pop) with top-performing dancers from TV’s Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. A weekend of workshops, entertainment, competition, and a gala event kicks off this evening. Celebrity dancers include Benji Schwimmer, SYTYCD’s second-season winner and Elena Grinenko, champion dancer on DWTS. Hilton Toronto (145 Richmond Street West), 7 p.m.–2 a.m., $15+.
SPORT: “Ultimate Fight Club” opens the doors of its headquarters for the first time today, inviting you to check out state-of-the-art facilities geared to bring out the fight in you. As part of the inauguration, Light Heavyweight UFC champion Lyoto Machida will be signing autographs and teaching a three-hour hands-on seminar. Canada’s newest mixed martial arts (MMA) club includes an official-sized UFC octagon, among other amenities. 3120 Rutherford Road, unit 23, Vaughan; 4–9 p.m., FREE.

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