Weekend Radar: Beautiful Destruction, Sumo Robot Challenge, Motown Party, Jay Malinowski, Paul Okenfold, God Made Me Funky and King Sunshine, Naked Girls Reading, the Oscars
Saturday, March 6:
GALLERY | Beautiful Destruction
In 2008, photographer Louis Helbig set out with his partner Kristin Reimer on a cross country trip in a tiny antique aircraft. Wandering high above the vast expanse of Canada, the pair had a vague destination in the form of a family wedding in Calgary, but with six weeks to spare they decided to veer towards Fort McMurray and the Tar Sands, the largest industrial project on Earth. Captivated by the vast and terrible beauty of the project, Helbig snapped photo after photo, capturing the stunning textures and colours of the unique industrial landscape shaped by tilling ponds and slag heaps. Apolitical in its execution, Beautiful Destruction aims to confront us with the reality of one of the most important national issues of our time and spark debate on what the future of the project should be. Runs til March 25, with an opening reception tonight.
galleryDK, 1332 Queen St. W., Free, Gallery hours Thursday to Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm, Reception tonight 7 pm - 10 pm
SPORTS | Sumo Robot Challenge
Robot gladiators battle to the death this afternoon to see who will be crowned champion, and who will end up part of the scrap heap of history. One of the most anticipated yearly events at OCAD, the annual Sumo Robot Challenge is now in its 18th year and each edition sees more sophisticated gizmos duking it out. There are some less bad-ass portions of the event, including a competition to see which robot dances and paints the best, but the main event is a gear-grinding fight for robot supremacy. Doubtless this is a glimpse of the future, a time when machines will do both our fighting and dancing for us, leaving us free to play Assassin's Creed 24 hours a day.
OCAD Auditorium, 100 McCaul St., $5 Adults, $2 students, 1:30 pm - 4 pm
PARTY | Motown Party
Of all the Motown parties that appear regularly across this city, 751's ranks near the top. For one thing, it's cheap. Twenty dollars is easily enough to get you in the door with plenty left over to get you drunk enough to break out those sweet moves of yours on the dance floor. For another thing it's crowded, making it a good bet you'll bump into some cutie while singing Baby Love at the top of your lungs (which is, by the way, when you are at your most attractive). It's gonna be Motown, northern soul and a few choice remixes all night, with $10 pitchers and super cheap bar rails. This small venue fills up quickly though, so don't leave it too late if you want to get in.
751, 751 Queen St. W., $5, 10 pm
MUSIC | Jay Malinowski at the Rivoli
After eight years as the front man for pop reggae outfit Bedouin Soundclash, Jay Malinowski recently took his first stab at a solo project after revealing that constant touring had left him disenchanted with the group. Bright Lights and Bruises sees the singer veer away from the self-conscious island rhythms of Bedouin towards a more acoustic singer-songwriter sound, branching out into country tunes and piano ballads. With Bedouin having played some truly huge gigs with the likes of Coldplay and No Doubt, Malinowski's show in the tiny backroom of the Rivoli tonight will be a different kind of challenge for him, but apparently one that he's relishing.
The Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W., $15 advance, 8 pm
PARTY | Warehouse Party with Paul Oakenfold
Now that we've arrived at the second decade of the 21st century, pop culture dogma dictates that the 1990s have become ripe for our collective expression of nostalgia. Each week parties across the city pump out the sounds Britpop, grunge and rave music, taking us back to a time when things weren't necessarily better, but at least we were younger and better looking. Tonight the Guvernment recreates the warehouse dance scene of twenty years ago by carting out the godfather of trance himself, Paul Oakenfold. He'll be there in the flesh tonight, manning the decks and dropping beats to hypnotize you back into another time.
The Guvernment, 132 Queens Quay East, $15, 10 pm
MUSIC | God Made Me Funky and King Sunshine at the NuFunk Festival
Two of Toronto's best funk bands share the stage for the first time tonight in the NuFunk Festival's closing night show. Blending elements of jazz, rap, and reggae God Made Me Funky have been churning out grooves since 1998, and were rewarded in 2008 with a Juno nomination for Best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. Nine-piece disco funk orchestra King Sunshine have been around for just as long and are fixtures of the festival circuit, perennially funk-ifying such prestigious events as the Montreal Jazz Festival. A portion of proceeds from tonight's show go to Engineers Without Borders, a developed organization working in Africa.
Lee's Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., $15 advance, $20 door, 9 pm
Sunday, March 7:
BOOKS AND LIT | Naked Girls Reading
In March of 2009, showgirl and book club member Michelle L'Amour had a brilliant idea for a reading series; have girls read books aloud in front of an audience, and have them do it naked. Granted, the concept would probably have been equally popular if it were applied to other areas of our lives (naked bartending, naked bus driving, naked policing) but there is something rather mesmerizing and intimate about hearing literature from the lips of an unclad reader. L'Amour is adamant that there is no high concept behind the show, and who are we to argue? Naked Girls Reading has been well-received in New York, Chicago and across the United States, and makes its Toronto debut tonight with the lovely ladies reading works on the theme of Bedtime Stories.
The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., $15 or two for $25, 7 pm
PARTY | Oscar Parties
The film industry's biggest night has the potential to be a disaster this year. Not only might Sandra "Ms. Congeniality" Bullock walk away with an Oscar, forever tarnishing an award that is still reeling from Cuba Gooding Jr.'s 1997 victory, but if bloated Pocahontas redux Avatar wins Best Picture, it will only confirm once and for all that massive budgets will always trump genuine creativity in Hollywood. Too bad the producers of the Hurt Locker practically disqualified themselves by accidentally leaking emails urging the Academy to vote for their movie instead of Cameron's. Add to that the controversy surrounding the supposedly racist storyline behind Precious, and the only people that can save this night from going up in flames are the hosts: an over-the-hill banjo player who hasn't had a comedic hit in 20 years and an unstable former leading man who reportedly took an overdose of sleeping pills a couple of weeks ago. Misery loves company though and to that end there are several Oscar get-togethers happening in the city this weekend. The Rivoli will be hosting a red-carpet gala complete with big screens and live renditions of Oscar-winning songs spanning the ages, but if you're looking for something more low-key, try watching the ceremony at Innis Town Hall. Popcorn will be provided and prizes will be given for the most accurate ballots.
The Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W., $8, 7 pm
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave., Free, 6:30 pm
For full listings, head on over to our events calendar.
For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.