Urban Planner: February 11, 2010
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Urban Planner: February 11, 2010

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].

Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon, who play tonight at the Drake Hotel. Photo courtesy of Canvas Media.

MUSIC: A surprising mix of wit and sentimentality, Woodpigeon’s pop-folk ballads are lovely examples of contemporary Canadiana, embodying a kind of elegiac whimsy—songs have names like “In The Battle of Sun vs. Curtains, Sun Loses and We Sleep Until Noon.” The eight-piece Calgary outfit is fronted by Mark Hamilton, whose pretty melodies and echoing harmonies are paired with mournful lyrics that evoke memories of creaking floors, crackling gramophones, and thwarted ambitions. To promote the recent release of new album Die Stadt Muzikanten, Woodpigeon will be playing tonight at the Drake Underground, supported by the fun folk collective Betty Burke. The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West), 9 p.m., $12.
CARNIVAL: Here, February is a sleepy month, but in sunnier climes—paradises such as Brazil and the Caribbean—it’s Carnival season. Carnival is traditionally held in the weeks leading up to Lent, allowing people to get their fill of sin, debauchery, and feathered costumes before living the ascetic life for forty days. But Toronto doesn’t have to miss out on the fun: Diaspora Dialogues is hosting A Midwinter Night’s Dream, a two-day, masked cultural Carnival in conjunction with WinterCity. The festivities will include readings by local literati (such as Nalo Hopkinson and Stuart Ross), literary fortune-telling, and music from the Autorickshaw Trio and Sean Dixon. The Roof Salon, Park Hyatt Hotel (4 Avenue Road), today and tomorrow 7 and 9 p.m., $20 ($35 for both nights).
POLITICS: This fall, Torontonians will flock to the polls to determine who will occupy forty-four city councillor seats and the ultimate municipal throne: the mayor’s chair. The city is abuzz, and #voteto is using the social-media sphere to bridge the distance between neighbourhoods and curate the dialogue. Their first non-virtual event, #voteTOin416, will be conducted in the Ignite style, allowing a select panel of citizens and local organizations to pitch ideas and plans for Toronto’s future. Each speaker will have exactly four minutes and sixteen seconds to dazzle the audience with his or her vision. Included on the roster are representatives from the Toronto Cyclists Union, Toronto ACORN, the Toronto Women’s City Alliance, Better Ballots, and many more. The Annex Live (296 Brunswick Avenue), doors at 6 p.m., presentations 6:30–8:30 p.m., FREE.
HISTORY: Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Miles Davis—these are just a few of the names that have defined the glamour of African-American expatriate culture in Paris. Many black Americans chose to leave the States during the first half of the twentieth century due to racism and segregation laws, and before you could say “voila,” a bustling African-American cultural scene had developed in the City of Lights, where some of the greatest writers and jazz musicians set up shop in the Latin Quarter and Montmartre. While living in Paris, Julia Browne developed a series of walking and bus tours that educated participants about the rich history of this expat community. Today, she shares her expertise in a multimedia lecture on the subject, featuring video footage, music, readings, and narrative. Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Boulevard), 2 p.m. FREE.
FILM: Ten years ago, Vancouver’s Steven Haworth began the difficult transition from male to female. He is now Gwen Haworth, whose film She’s a Boy I Knew will screen tonight, documenting, through voicemails, animation, interviews, and family video footage, the challenging and brave decision of undergoing gender reassignment. While the film does examine Gwen’s psychological and physical transformations, it largely focuses on the ripple effect of the process on her family, friends, and wife, and how these relationships both changed and—in some cases—became stronger. The Centre for Women and Trans People at U of T (563 Spadina Avenue), 6 p.m., FREE.