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].
Bathers by Uros Jelic, whose work will be exhibited at Sunday’s Art’s Birthday celebration. Image courtesy of the artist.
ART: In 1963, French artist Robert Filliou proposed a public holiday to celebrate art’s presence in our everyday lives and its universal capacity for both creation and appreciation. He declared that one million years earlier art had been born when someone dropped a sponge into a bucket of water, and called for Art’s Birthday to be celebrated every year on January 17 (Filliou’s own birthday). Since then, the event has exploded into an international extravaganza perpetuated by a network of artists and cultural advocates around the world. On Sunday, Artscape Wychwood Barns will hold a celebration for Art’s Birthday, offering exhibits by glass artist Nadia Tasci and painter Uros Jelic, hands-on art workshops and activities, storytelling, performances, and birthday cake. Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street); Sunday, 12–5 p.m.; FREE.
CLOTHING SWAP: If you’re sick of your wardrobe and searching for a way to spice up your look on the cheap, House of Anansi Press is sponsoring a clothing swap this Sunday to promote Marjorie Harris’s new book, Thrifty: Living the Frugal Life with Style. Swappers are asked to bring any clothes, shoes, or accessories they are looking to trade (one rule: no bathing suits or undies!) and will be able to meet Harris, browse the donations, and take home all the goodies they can carry. All unclaimed items will be donated to a women’s shelter. This event promises that the recession doesn’t have to cramp your style! Dancemakers (55 Mill Street); Sunday, 2–4 p.m.; $5.
WORDS: Spoken word was to the ’80s what the Beat movement was to the ’60s: an anti-establishment community of artists dedicated to poetry, social progress, and visceral emotional engagement. The movement focuses on performance rather than publication, using the human voice to add texture and meaning to the piece; it has been adopted largely by the black community as a way to have its members’ voices heard. For the past ten years, performance poet Dwayne Morgan has sponsored a concert for female spoken-word artists of colour called When Sisters Speak; this year’s impressive lineup includes d’bi young, Shauntay Grant, Queen Sheba, and the Caribbean Dance Theatre. Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge Street); Saturday, 8 p.m.; $20–$35.
MUSIC: Basia Bulat’s meteoric rise to fame is the stuff of indie dreams. The catchy alt-folk songs on her first album, 2007’s Polaris Prize–shortlisted Oh My Darling, were largely the products of late-night jam sessions with musician friends in Bulat’s London, Ontario, apartment. Through a series of fortuitous events, she was able to meet the co-owner of Montreal’s famous hotel2tango studio (which has recorded albums by the likes of The Wooden Sky, Stars, The Handsome Furs, The Dears, and more), and Oh My Darling was born. This Saturday, Bulat plays Trinity St-Paul’s Church (joined by The Luyas) to promote her upcoming sophomore release, Heart of My Own, which was written on the road and gleans inspiration from the Canadian landscape. Trinity St. Paul’s Church (427 Bloor Street West); Saturday, 7 p.m.; $20.
THEATRE: Macbeth is one of the Shakespeare’s most enduringly popular plays, but sometimes its elaborate plot and epic scope can overshadow the central relationship between two of the most fascinating characters the Bard ever created: the eponymous Scottish thane and his devious wife. Theatre Jones Roy’s third production, Macbeth Reflected (previewing this weekend and running from January 19–24), is Shakespeare unplugged. Using only original dialogue from the play, this production strips away the witches, the murders, and the kilts, creating a fascinating, sparse two-person show that sheds new light on the tension between love and treachery in the relationship between Macbeth and his Lady. Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Avenue); Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m.; $15–$25.
AUCTION: Since the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan over thirty years ago, the country has been plagued by the endless suffering caused by war, poverty, and death. Art has proven to be something of a refuge, as Afghans have woven their impressions of the country’s history into their traditional rugs. This weekend, you will have the chance to own one of these unique, handcrafted treasures—the Textile Museum of Canada’s founding curator, Max Allen, is auctioning off his impressive collection of eighty-eight beautifully crafted Afghan rugs to new homes, and all proceeds will go towards supporting the museum’s exhibitions and programs. Whether or not you choose to participate in the auction, this is a terrific opportunity to see Allen’s exquisite collection on display. Urbanspace Gallery (401 Richmond Street West); Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; FREE admission.