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 vibrant cast of The Merchants of Bollywood at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Photo courtesy of FLIP Publicity.
This weekend in Toronto: the TPL offers up human books, ninjas and sporks encourage kids to embrace difference, a film festival explores issues in mental illness, fashion swappers pad their winter wardrobes, the history of Bollywood hits the Sony stage, and capture the flag returns.
WORDS: Five Toronto Public Library branches will be participating in the pilot program of Human Library, which invites cardholders to “check out” human books for personal discourses on their lives and experiences. Among the nearly sixty “volumes” on hand in TPL’s collection, one might find soldiers, politicians, former gang members and sex trade workers, Buddhist monks, and any number of fascinating and inspirational individuals ready to share their stories. TPL is the most recent in a series of libraries to take up the project in an effort to combat prejudice and raise awareness, having begun in Copenhagen in the early nineties. Just remember to return your book; if the late fees don’t bankrupt you, the feeding and sheltering will. Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street), North York Central Library (5120 Yonge Street), Bloor/Gladstone Branch (1101 Bloor Street West), Lillian H. Smith Branch (239 College Street), Malvern Branch (30 Sewells Road), Saturday 10 a.m.–2 p.m., FREE (with library card).
WORDS: Small Print Toronto and Kids Can Press are also doing their literary part to promote tolerance and diversity amongst younger generations with Kids Can Embrace Difference Day. The day of stories, crafts, and songs will also feature the release of two new diversity-centric books: The Way of the Ninja from David Bruins and Hilary Leung (creators of The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear) and Kyo Maclear’s Spork, a thoughtful tale about an outcast piece of cutlery. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), Saturday 10 a.m., $10 for a family pass.
FILM: The eighteenth annual Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival kicks off this weekend, continuing its mandate of spreading awareness of mental illness and addiction through the medium of film. Included in Saturday’s lineup are a documentary on cutting-edge neurosurgery in Nadav Harel’s The Electric Mind and Philippe Godeau’s Le Dernier pour la Route, exploring the often intertwined issues of addiction and unrequited love. Sunday looks at Post Traumatic Stress in Gordon Quinn’s Prisoner of Her Past, Alzheimer’s in Maureen Judge’s The August Years of May and Gloria, and gambling addiction in Rodolphe Tissot’s The Killer Queen. Workman Hall (651 Dufferin Street), various times, $10 per program.
FASHION: Temperatures are dropping, which means Torontonians are unpacking their winter wardrobes. Those looking to shake up their seasonal collections may want to check out The Ultimate Fashion Swap Party, put on by SwapSity and Green Instead. This epic exchange of the pre-loved will not only include music and refreshments, but also free consultations and advice from nationally-syndicated columnist Marilyn Wetston, a.k.a. the Wardrobe Doctor. Green Instead (200 Spadina Avenue), Saturday 1:30–4:30 p.m., $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
THEATRE: The Sony Centre embarks on its fiftieth anniversary season with the North American debut of The Merchants of Bollywood, a theatrical extravaganza that charts the development of the Hindi film industry through the history one of its most prominent families. The Merchants were among the core architects of Bollywood in the late twenties, and their tale is told with bombastic dance and music from a cast of thirty performers. Appearing straight from Mumbai for its first stop on its inaugural worldwide tour, Merchants offers a fascinating insight into one of the largest film industries in the world. The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts (1 Front Street East), Saturday 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., $25–$84.
GAME: Newmindspace are bringing their unique brand of chaotic fun back to the streets with this year’s iteration of their popular Capture the Flag event. Participants are divided into two teams, distributed into two territories, and set the task of stealing their opponent’s hidden flag using any routes or means (bicycle, skateboard, TTC, PATH, etc.) necessary. The incongruous battleground will again be the Financial District thanks to its lack of residential buildings. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the participation guide first, and possibly grab a ticket to the official afterparty. Meet at the southwest corner of King Street West and Bay Street, Saturday 8:30 p.m., FREE.