Urban Planner: March 5, 2010
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Urban Planner: March 5, 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].

A Vodou flag from the collection of Dr. Halvor and Astrid Jaeger. Image courtesy of Arte del Pueblo.

ART: Patrick Bellegrade-Smith, professor of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a “Houngon Asogwe” (high practitioner of Vodou), is at OCAD today to speak about Vodou and Haitian art. While addressing misconceptions about the religion, his talk will reveal the strength drawn from its cultural practices and historic vision. The pieces featured in a companion exhibit represent the work of Haitian artists from the 1940s until today, and all are either influenced by or directly represent Vodou practices. Also on display are several beautiful Vodou flags used in ceremonies, which portray the exuberance of the Haitian people and their characteristic spirit of resistance. There will also be a silent auction, with proceeds going to SOPUDEP, a community school in Petion-ville that serves the poorest residents of the city. OCAD (100 McCaul Street), 1 p.m., FREE.
WORDS: It’s not just a pop-culture myth—many writers (this one included) claim their first overwhelming compulsion to write occurred while they were in high school, inspired by encouraging teachers or fuelled by teenage heartbreak, disillusionment, and angst. Diaspora Dialogues‘ youth creative writing program, “Young Writers from the Edge,” provides free workshops to high school students from all over Toronto. After a month of guidance by professional writers, up to two hundred of the participating students will showcase one piece of their writing alongside their mentors. Tonight’s installment of this mini lit festival—which started yesterday and continues until Tuesday—features young writers from the “Danforth-Crescent Town Edge.” Keep your ears open for our city’s next big literary talent. Tonight: S Walter Stewart Branch Library (170 Memorial Park Avenue), go online for other locations; 6 p.m.; FREE.
MUSIC: Unique, Mexican-inspired cafe/gallery NACO (which takes its name from the original Totonac meaning of the word: “the heart’s town” or “the people’s heart”) offers up a new monthly party, launching tonight. “En Camara Ardiente” is devoted to playing the best independent post-punk and new-wave music from Europe and South America and should provide Torontonians with a cool alternative to the usual. NACO (1665 Dundas Street West), 9 p.m.–2 a.m., FREE.
FILM: While laughter in any language may be just as infectious, what makes people laugh can vary drastically—from old-school slapstick to the downright raunchy. The seventh annual World of Comedy Film Festival screens some of the best comedic films (shorts, features, animation) from around the world—from Australia to Bulgaria (among thirteen participating countries). Before the festival-proper begins, you can hone your comedy skills with veteran film and TV actor (and one of the founding members of Chicago’s Second City), Paul Dooley, in his “Improv for Character Actors” workshop (Studio 6, Second City, basement, 2–5 p.m., $60, go online for information). The Innis Town Hall Theatre (2 Sussex Avenue), 7:30 p.m., $10, $8 seniors (passes for $60/$50).
THEATRE: Lillian Hellman‘s tragic and poignant The Children’s Hour, first produced on Broadway in 1934, proves just as relevant in a current context. The play questions societal norms and reminds us of the far-reaching influence a simple lie can have, as it tells the story of a bored child who misleads others about the relationship between two of her female teachers, resulting in ruined lives. Often difficult to stage because of the young age of half the cast, the Upper Canada Repertory Company proves the perfect match, with both adult and child members. The Theatre Centre (1087 Queen Street West), 8 p.m., $25 (go online for ticket information).