Urban Planner: February 12, 2010
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Urban Planner: February 12, 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]

The Great Hall celebrates its grand re-opening tonight. Photo by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.

CULTURE: Queen West’s Great Hall, a historic Toronto landmark (it served as our city’s first YMCA), opens its doors tonight as a newly, beautifully restored venue that hopes to bring the community together through music, art, and culture. As well as being fully equipped for performances and community events, the centre offers rehearsal and studio spaces, as well as a gallery and cafe. This evening kick-starts a weekend of activities that will showcase the spot itself, while drawing attention to some great talent from the neighbourhood and across the country. Catch guests Shane Murphy and Nadia & the Tchotchkes on tonight’s musical bill, and check out “The Great Hall Archive 1889-2010” exhibit to learn a little more about the history of the place. The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West) 6 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m., FREE, $10 for show.
PERFORMANCE: Whenever you take on the mission of tackling taboos, you’re bound to stir up controversy and likely end up with a few shattered assumptions. While aging and sex may not seem like the easiest combination of conversation topics, research-art atelier Mammalian Diving Reflex welcomes the opportunity to delve deeper into such untouchable issues. After spending a summer and fall talking to people over age sixty-five about their sex lives, some fascinating facts surfaced (for example, did you know it’s possible to have an orgasm without erection?). Aging, they discovered, can give way to a sense of being not confined—one that is generous and fearless. “You Can Have It All” is a special Valentines-themed performance starring the Council of Expertly Aging Experts on Aging, who don’t shy away from sharing their insights in two acts: “The Best Sex I’ve Ever Had” and “The Best Sex You’ll Ever Have.” And if you’re the type who needs a little lubrication to get you going, the bar will be open for half an hour before the show. Debates Room, 2nd floor, Hart House (7 Hart House Circle), 7–9:30 p.m., adults only, FREE.
ART: XPACE cultural centre offers up its usual (yet always unusual) medley of exhibits at tonight’s three-part opening. “Confessions of Love” plays with the popular Japanese concept (found in manga, anime, and dorama, most specifically) of love as a confession, or “kokuhaku.” In this two-person show, Daisuke Takeya and Tad Hozumi present new and revised multi-media works inspired by this notion. In her Disco piece, Deborah Jenkins playfully mashes up The Wizard of Oz and “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees (some things have to be seen to be believed…). Finally, Mari-Michelle Deschamps’ installation Figures takes over the window display to explore landscape and its balance of the real and the represented. XPACE (58 Ossington Avenue), 7–10 p.m., FREE.
FAMILY: Beginning tonight and lasting the entire long weekend, the Toronto Zoo is offering free admission to its “Love Bugs” exhibit to children under age twelve who bring a valentine for their favourite creepy-crawly. Insects take centre stage in the education auditorium, and kids can enjoy interactive bug exhibits, get up close with some really cool bugs, create bug-related crafts, and have their photo taken with a live insect. Toronto Zoo (361A Old Finch Avenue), 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
FAMILY: If you’re creeped out by bugs but not afraid of heights, why not bring the family to the CN Tower? All Family-Day weekend (and in honour of the Olympics), you can purchase two Observation Experience tickets at 55% off the regular price. The two tickets can be a combination of adults, children, or seniors, and they include admission to the tower’s Look Out and Glass Floor levels. CN Tower (301 Front Street West), 11 a.m.–2 p.m. daily, go online for prices and more information.