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].
Planes in formation at least year’s Air Show. Photo by hypersapiens from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
Happy long weekend, folks! Party like it’s 5771 at the Ashkenaz Festival, the Air Show returns to your eyes and eardrums, a screening of 8½, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin brings their homemade sound to Toronto, a tour of Queen West’s laneways, a poetry slamdown, and Tracy Wright is honoured at a public memorial.
FESTIVAL: Despite what its name suggests, the biennial Ashkenaz Festival, running until September 6, does not limit its performers to Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews—in fact, this year’s festival boasts more Sephardic and Mizrahi performers than ever before. The festival offers the world’s best in Jewish music, dance, visual art, theatre, and film. This year’s slate includes Israeli hip-hoppers Balkan Beat Box, klezmer-Roma fusion collective The Other Europeans, and Ladino folk singer Flory Jagoda, as well as A Night in the Old Marketplace, a jazz cabaret based on I.L. Peretz’s 1907 folk play, an exhibit of illustrations of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s works, and much more. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), various times until September 6, various prices.
SHOW: Nothing says Labour Day Weekend like the Canadian International Air Show, which returns to the sky and your eardrums between Saturday and Monday. Performing at this year’s air extravaganza are Vipers, Hornets, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, and, of course, those darlings of the sky, the Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds. You might as well grab some deep-fried butter and head down to watch the spectacle, because with all that noise, there’s little chance you’ll get anything else done. Recommended viewing locations include the CNE Grounds, Ontario Place, and many other waterfront sites on the city’s west side. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 12:30–4:30 p.m., FREE. [ : Saturday’s air show has been cancelled due to high winds.]
FILM: It doesn’t matter how much you love Daniel Day-Lewis or Marion Cotillard—you can’t deny that last year’s film version of Nine was kind of a dud. We promise that the source material is much better, and if you don’t believe us, check out a screening of Federico Fellini‘s 8½ this weekend to see for yourself. The 1963 classic stars Marcello Mastroianni as Guido, a womanizing filmmaker with writer’s block, and Claudia Cardinale is certainly an improvement on Nicole Kidman as Claudia, Guido’s muse. The autobiographical film is considered one of Fellini’s best, epitomizing his ability to fuse dream and reality. Camera Bar (1028 Queen Street West), Saturday 3 p.m., FREE.
MUSIC: Indie band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin are more than just a clever name—they’re the poster boys for DIY success. Much of their debut album, Broom, was recorded in band member Will Knauer’s basement, and much of its praise came from indie music blogs of the early aughts. After Broom was released, the band followed up with a series of monthly mailed cassettes tapes to members of the SSLYBY Tape Club. Now signed to Polyvinyl, they’ve gone legit with their latest album, Let It Sway, which was produced by Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla. Tonight, the cheery quartet performs at the ElMo, along with Seattle’s Telekinesis. El Mocambo (462 Spadina Avenue), Saturday doors 9 p.m., $12.
WALK: Back alleys have a rather seedy reputation, disregarded primarily as the sites of rats and garbage. But Graeme Parry has taken it upon himself to shed light on the oft-ignored beauty of Toronto’s laneways. Sunday’s tour will weave through the labyrinth of alleys in the Queen West, Trinity Bellwoods, and Little Portugal areas, showing walkers the brilliantly coloured, innovative street art sprayed on walls and garages, and the cottages and homes lining the lanes. Parry, who has been offering these tours for seven years, injects a unique perspective on the city’s legacy of decay and rejuvenation. Meet in front of Pizza Pizza at corner of Queen and Bathurst streets, Sunday 1 p.m., FREE.
WORDS: The Toronto International Poetry Slam returns for its eighth year to inject a spirit of friendly competition into the realm of spoken word. Slam poetry, judged by a panel, can be any poetry that is recited or performed, from dub to hip-hop to narrative. Toronto’s slam was developed by local poet Dwayne Morgan, who will also host the event, and Jamaal St. John, a five-time winner hailing from New York, will return once more to defend his title. St. John has his work cut out for him, as Ottawa’s Ian Keteku, who won the World Poetry Slam in Paris this past spring, will also be competing for the $1,000 prize. Poor Alex Theatre (772A Dundas Street West); Sunday doors 8 p.m., show 9 p.m; $15/advance, $20/door.
MEMORIAL: Veteran Toronto actress Tracy Wright passed away in June after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Wright, along with writer/directors Daniel Brooks and Don McKellar (Wright’s long-term partner, who she married in January of this year), founded the Augusta Company in 1989, and she was well known for her theatre roles and work in films like Monkey Warfare, Highway 61, and Bruce McDonald‘s upcoming feature Trigger, which plays at TIFF this year. On Monday, McKellar hosts a public memorial celebrating Wright’s life and work, with a performance loosely based on a 86, a play written by Wright, McKellar, and Brooks over twenty years ago. Hart House (7 Hart House Circle), Monday 8 p.m., FREE.