Weekend Planner: December 11–12, 2010
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Weekend Planner: December 11–12, 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].

Ladies and gentlemen, don your Speedos! The Santa Speedo Run takes place this Saturday. Photo courtesy of the Santa Speedo Run.

This weekend, the Small Press of Toronto fall book fair hits The Great Hall, stop-motion workshops at the Lightbox, a Santa Speedo run, Justin Rutledge takes to the stage, the Canadian Corps Hall has one last hurrah, and the Actors Repertory Company stages a Thornton Wilder reading.

WORDS: You might say that 2010 was the year of the small press. Some of the year’s biggest Canadian literary titles came from small and independent publishers, from Kathleen Winter‘s Annabel (Anansi) to Sarah Selecky‘s This Cake is For the Party (Thomas Allen) to, of course, Johanna Skibsrud‘s Giller Prize–winning The Sentimentalists (Gaspereau). Get in on the action at the Small Press of Toronto Fall Fair this Saturday, featuring readings, contests, and a great opportunity to find gifts for all your left-wing pinko pals. The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West), Saturday 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m., FREE.
WORKSHOP: In 1993, producer Tim Burton and director Henry Selick dazzled audiences with The Nightmare Before Christmas, a now-classic holiday film that introduced a wide audience to the phenomenon of stop-motion animation. This weekend, the Lightbox will hold a workshop on how to construct the micro-sets used for this type of filmmaking in a Burtonesque fashion, so get ready to go to Christmas Town! Bell Lightbox (corner of King and John streets), Saturday and Sunday 12–4 p.m., $40.
RUN: By this time of year, with temperatures hovering around -20, summer tans are long gone, leaving Torontonians pasty and flabby. So what better opportunity to don a red Speedo and run through the streets of Yorkville? Since 2005, the Santa Speedo Run has raised over $140,000 for Sick Kids’ toys and games fund, and this Saturday, it returns. Everyone is welcome to participate, as long as they wear red, white, or green Speedo swimsuits (seasonal attire, like reindeer noses and Santa hats, is also welcome). Participants are asked to raise a minimum of $250. Meet at upper patio of Hemingways (142 Cumberland Street), Saturday 1:30 p.m., FREE.
MUSIC: Toronto has no shortage of singer-songwriters, but not all of them have a mentor like Hawksley Workman taking them under his wing. Alt-country musician (and Junction native) Justin Rutledge is one of those lucky musicians—his fourth album, The Early Widows, was produced by Workman, and was longlisted for this year’s Polaris Prize. Several of Widows‘ songs are inspired by a character from Michael Ondaatje‘s Divisadero, and some of these songs will form the score for a musical adaptation of the novel, scheduled to premiere in Toronto in February. This weekend, Rutledge performs at Lee’s Palace, joined by The Heartbroken. Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor Street West), Saturday 9:30 p.m., $18 in advance.
MUSIC: In 1934, the Canadian Corps was formed as a club for World War I vets, and later, for their descendants. Over the past few years, the club’s Legion Hall has become a favourite destination for quirky parties and theme nights, with cheap drinks always running and a folksy atmosphere that bursts with personality. Sadly, the venue will be closing at the end of the month, but there’s still a chance to come and party at the Legion with an old-fashioned hoedown. On Saturday, old-timey quintet The Backstabbers Country Stringband reunite at the Legion to perform their beloved stomping tunes; they’ll be joined by alt-country rockers One Hundred Dollars. Canadian Corps Legion Hall (201 Niagara Street), Saturday 10 p.m., $10.
THEATRE: The Actors Repertory Company is a non-profit organization comprised of actors committed to staging international theatre that has never been performed in Canada. Every year, they hold a staged reading and fundraiser for future productions, and this year’s event is a reading of Thornton Wilder‘s The Long Christmas Dinner, the tale of a holiday feast that spans nine decades in the lives of one family. Preceded by snacks and a silent auction, the reading will be performed by the ARC’s new artistic director, Janet Porter, and a host of talented local actors. Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue), Sunday 7 p.m., $25.