Urban Planner is Torontoist’s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. 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]
Björk. Photo by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
FILM: There’s little doubt that Björk is one of the most curious and enigmatic artists (and characters) in the realm of pop music today. From her elaborate outfits to her strange and innovative compositions, the pint-sized performer commands attention—especially when you witness her power in a live context. The film Voltaïc, which documents her visually dazzling Volta tour, with live shows in Paris and Reykjavik, premieres in Canada tonight (and for one night only!) as part of the Images Festival. Björk’s band on the tour was comprised of her all-female Icelandic ten-piece brass section, along with several other super-talented musicians on a slew of different instruments. Interwoven in this cinematic spectacle are songs from Volta, as well as earlier tracks like “Army of Me” and “Joga.” The Acacia Centre (186 Spadina Avenue), 7:30 p.m., $10 advance, $12 at the door (tickets available online, at Soundscapes, and Queen Video).
VOLUNTEER: Although we’ve witnessed the sheer generosity of Torontonians with regards to relief efforts in Haiti, it’s often easy to lose the spirit of giving locally after Christmas is over and the reality of our long, dark winter sets in. With a whopping total of 1.1 million pounds of food donated by the public over the course of the Daily Bread Food Bank‘s annual holiday drive, the charity needs to make sure that food gets sorted and distributed to those in need in our city. As such, they’re opening their doors so you can help sort through forty thousand pounds of donated goods. Advanced sign-up is required, so call 416-203-0050 if you want to participate. Daily Bread Food Bank (191 New Toronto Street), morning shift 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., afternoon shift 1:30–4:00 p.m., FREE.
FILM: The NFB hosts some awesome screenings tonight and tomorrow, in conjunction with the Toronto Urban Music Festival. This evening’s lineup of films—each of which explores music in an urban context—includes the Canadian RiP: A remix manifesto (director Brett Gaylor), Still Bill (director Damani Baker and Alex Vlack), and the critically acclaimed RiseUp: Stories from Jamaica’s Music Underground (director Luciano Blotta). The first film explores the phenomenon of re-mixed mash-ups, featuring cult hero DJ Girl Talk, and revealing two sides of the politics of mash-ups—the “Copy Lefts” and the “Copy Rights.” A fascinating document of how the internet is constantly changing how we view art and the industry. Still Bill tells the story of soul legend Bill Withers, who wrote classics like “Just the Two of Us” and “Lean on Me.” The film gives us an intimate look at an artist who has written some of the most beloved and memorable songs of our time. The last of the screenings tonight is a work devoted to the music scene on the island of Jamaica, showcasing the passion for beauty and celebration for life that defines it. John Spotton Cinema (150 John Street), go online for show times, $6 per screening, $10 for a one-day pass, $20 for a two-day pass (tickets available at the door).
DESIGN: Dutch-born, London-based designer Tord Boontje graces OCAD‘s Faculty of Design today to speak to those interested in his story, vision, and the industry in general. Working at the crossroads of design and craft, Boontje combines advanced technologies with artisinal techniques to create exquisite products, lighting, and furniture. Boonjte studied industrial design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and now teaches and acts as head of Design Products at the Royal College of Art in London, where he also studied. Credentials aside, Boontje has a unique perspective on design, imbuing products with beauty, magic, and a startling sense of immediacy. OCAD (100 McCaul Street), 6 p.m. FREE.