Weekend Radar: September 26 + 27, 2009
FESTIVAL | Havana Cultura
While our neighbours to the south are still debating whether or not to forget about that whole Cuban missile thingy and finally open up to the communist nation, we've got the the Cuban Tourist Board co-sponsoring a festival in the heart of our city. Luckily the Cold War has ended and the only thing they'll be firing at us is great food, art and music. All weekend long several Queen West bars will be offering special menus of Cuban food and drink (including special poutine from Poutini's), and Saturday night you can learn how to roll Cuban cigars at the Parkdale Drink. During the day, the parking lot across from the Drake Hotel will be filled with Cuban food, drink, and cigar smoke, and later in the evening the Elmer Ferrer band and some of the leaders of Cuban new wave music will take the stage.
Parkdale and Queen West, Free, 3 pm on
FILM | Toronto Palestine Film Festival
Beginning Saturday night, the Toronto Palestine Film Festival brings you cinema from the most important non-country in the world. Palestine is of course often in the news, but the TPFF allows Torontonians to hear directly from Palestinians themselves, and the stories they tell don't always reduce to the simple us vs. them narrative often attached to the region's conflict. Highly-touted Amreeka tells the story of a mother and son who leave Palestine to find a better life in Chicago but end up working at White Castle, while Citizen Nawi profiles a Sephardic Jewish man who's activism is informed by his relationship with his Palestinian lover. The festival opens Saturday with the Canadian premiere of Amreeka, and runs til Sunday at various locations across the city.
Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., $10/$7 students, 6:30 pm
MUSIC | Abbey Road live at Massey Hall
Classic Albums Live has been impressing music fans with their faithful homages to rock 'n roll's most enduring albums since 2003. The idea is that a group of very talented musicians get up on stage and recreate an album note for note. Their attention to detail and their stellar musicianship are what ensures the performances are much more than campy rehashes of tunes you've heard a million times, and for Saturday's performance of the Beatles' last studio album an impressive 17-piece band has been assembled to make sure they hit every ding, bell and whistle the Liverpudlians committed to vinyl. The tricky part will be the album's second side medley, Paul McCartney's opus of seven interlocking songs.
Massey Hall, 178 Victoria Street, $49.50, 8 pm
FILM | Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation
The world's premiere festival of sicko cartoons wraps up Saturday night with an almost-midnight show at the Bloor Cinema. Robin Williams described the touring festival as "Disney with tits", but there are things a lot more vulgar than boobies in these animated shorts. After Saturday the festival is off to its next twisted city, so tonight's your last chance to see such titles as "The Mosquito Who Gave Up Blood", "Honey, I'm High!" and "Crab Revolution." Billed as 90 min of the sickest, most brilliant animation you'll ever see.
Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St. W., $10, 11:30 pm
POETRY | Toronto Poetry Slam
Spoken word jams are much-maligned, but really what's the fuss? It's just rap without all the references to Cristal and hot asses. And without the addictive beats and hooks... hmm. That's really the attraction to spoken word, the fact that it's stripped down and raw and in your face. That directness is also what makes some people uncomfortable with it, but we're in good hands tonight with Emcee E, Ottawa's socially conscious lyrical provocateur. The quick-witted musician and poet is one of the country's best spoken word artists.
Drake Hotel Underground, 1150 Queen St. W., $5, 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 27
BOOKS AND LIT | The Word on the Street Festival
Canada's national book and magazine fair comes to Queen's Park this Sunday, and there is a lot to get excited about. There's a huge literary marketplace, author appearances and readings, a concert stage, and a KidStreet zone. Bet you'll never guess which Canadian author is headlining the festival? She'll be reading from her new book The Year of the Flood, and the festival is using LongPen technology to simulcast her appearance to sister festivals in Vancouver and Halifax, possibly making this the first coast-to-coast national book fair. The music stage will have some great acts including the Bruce Peninsula and the Ghost Bees.
Queen's Park, Free, 11 am - 6 pm
FESTIVAL | PS Kensington: Earth! Harvest Traditions
There's a distinct chill in the air, and that means that soon the only fun we'll be having in Kensington Market is curling up in the backroom of Ronnie's with a pint of Delerium Tremens. Pedestrian Sundays will soon be made impossible by giant heaps of snow and fields of rock hard ice spreading over Augusta. But not yet! One of the last PSK's of the year is this weekend and will be tinged with a fall harvest theme. Seed exchanges, meet and greets with farmers, local food, and harvest dances are on the bill.
Kensington Market, Free, 1 pm - 7 pm
FESTIVAL | Parkdale Food, Earth, and Culture Festival
This festival brings together Parkdalians to celebrate healthy eating, local foods, environmental awareness and community development. A wide array of cuisine representing Tibet, India, the Carribean, the Mediterranean and more will be prepared by local chefs and the concert stage will feature performances by drum group Baro Dununba and Chinese artist Wu Denking among others. There will also be a farmer's market, corn roasts, and even an apple-cider press. Events like this are what make Parkdale such a vibrant and livable neighbourhood.
Masaryk Park, Queen and Cowan, Free, 12 pm - 4 pm
FASHION | The Clothing Show
The Clothing Show has been a fall fashion staple in Toronto for over thirty years, and kicked off Friday at Exhibition palce. The show highlights independent and new designers, giving them a chance to sell their goods directly to the public. Over 300 vendors will be participating this year, guaranteeing you'll find what you're looking for whether it's quirky and kooky or current and chic. There's also runway shows, a gallery of local visual artists, an Eco clothing section and the Century of Fashion Competition, in which collectors will bring out their best vintage pieces to recreate the styles of each decade of the 20th century. Runs til Sunday.
Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, 195 Princes Blvd., $10, 11 am - 9 pm
FILM | Pomegranate Film Festival
The Pomegranate Film Festival opened Friday in the north part of the city, bringing Torontonians stories of Armenia, a country many of us know little about. Of the nearly 30 films being screened over the next three days, some deal directly or indirectly with the genocide Armenians suffered during the First World War, but many show us a side of the tiny nation seldom publicized; a country that is looking forward to find its place in the modern world just as much as it is looking backwards to its troubled past. Runs til Sunday.
Hamazkayin Theatre, 50 Hallcrown Place, $10 and up
MUSIC | Small World Music Festival
For the next week the Small World Music Festival will be bringing some of the best in world music to Toronto. Now in its eighth year, the fest will feature more artists of greater variety than ever before. The genre of world music is always difficult to define, and the descriptions on the festival's website are as intriguing as they are cryptic. What exactly is electro tango rock? Klezmer fusion? Gypsy beat? You'll just have to show up to find out. The SWMF continues this weekend with a performance by Hindi-pop outfit Saturday night. Small World On the Street will be bringing the music outside, sharing space in Queen's Park with the Word on the Street Festival.
Saturday: Al Green Theatre, $20, 8 pm
Sunday: Queen's Park, 750 Spadina Ave., Free, 11 am - 6 pm
For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.
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