Weekend Radar: Balfour Books Sale, U of T Film Festival, Shelterbox, Section 98, Monkey Toast, Vagina Monologues, Bang the Party, Silent Sundays, Total Health Expo

Saturday, March 13:

BOOK SALE | Balfour Books Annual Half Price Sale
Balfour Books on College St. is one of the city's most beloved used bookstores. Offering a great selection and remaining open til 11 pm on weekends, it's a great place for Little Italy's night owls and lit nerds to spend an evening. Starting this weekend Balfour hosts its annual half price sale, slashing prices on its already considerably discounted inventory of art books, photography books, cook books, drama and fiction. And the good news doesn't stop there; Balfour recently announced it will be opening a second location further east on College this fall, a welcome announcement at a time when so many of Toronto's independent bookstores are shutting their doors. Runs til Wednesday.
Balfour Books, 601 College

FILM | U of T Film Festival
The University of Toronto celebrates its rich contribution to the arts with a film festival screening works by current and former students, as well as up and coming filmmakers from around the world. The highlight of this year's program is a double-bill by Babak Payami. Born in Iran, raised in Afghanistan, and educated on St. George campus, Payami's success exemplifies U of T's tradition of fostering bright minds from all over the world. Payami will be in attendance for the screening of his award-winning 1999 film One More Day and 2003's Silence Between Two Thoughts, which are presented alongside 100 other films from across Canada, Brazil, Denmark, Iran, Israel, Poland and elsewhere. Screenings are being held in 12 rooms of Hart House over the course of the day, and are all free except for Payami's double-bill.
Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, Free, 1 pm - 12 pm
One More Day: $8, 1 pm
Silence Between Two Thoughts: $8, 7:30 pm

FUNDRAISER | Haiti Fundraiser for Shelterbox
More than a month after Haiti's devastating earthquake thousands of Haitians are still sleeping outside, with little prospect of finding permanent homes in the near future. As they dig in for another long struggle, Canadian charity Shelterbox has found an innovative way to help. They've designed an aid package that contains a tent, sleeping bags, beds, light and heat, cooking aids, clean water, and tools for ten people, all within a compact plastic box. Each Shetlerbox costs roughly $1200, and the organization hopes to raise enough money to purchase at least five of the packages at their fundraiser tonight, which will feature authentic Haitian food, live bands, djs, and plenty of beer courtesy of Amsterdam Brewery. Tickets available in advance from event organizers.
Amsterdam Brewery, 21 Bathurst St., $25, 7 pm

THEATRE | Section 98
The ongoing smart phone revolution may have brought us such classic timewasters as the Cow Toss and iPint (all the fun of drinking a beer without any of that pesky feeling of getting drunk!), but the folks at Praxis Theatre are trying to put mobile technology to good use. As part of tonight's work-in-progress production of Section 98, a play about civil rights in Canada, the theatre company is inviting the audience to give their feedback via text message in real time as the play is performed. The future of focus groups? A new medium of interactive theatre? Maybe neither, but it should be interesting. The exercise is part of the Open Source Theatre project, which aims to reach a larger, non-theatre going audience.
Studio Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, $12 general admission, $8 students, 8 pm

COMEDY | Monkey Toast: Bee Toast Edition
Long-running improvised talk show Monkey Toast continues its swan song tonight with its fifth-last show. Host David Shore is regrettably pulling the plug on the show in May in advance of his move to the UK, but until then Monkey Toast has vowed to continue to bring the laughs that fans of Toronto's favourite live talk show have come to rely on over the years. The concept behind the Canadian Comedy Award-winning show has always been genius in its simplicity; Shore interviews local celebrities and in between segments Monkey Toast's talented improv crew invents skits based on the guests' answers. Tonight Shore welcomes Puppets Who Kill creator John Pattison, author Karen Dales, and JazzFM's Jaymz Bee.
The Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor St. West, $10, 8 pm

THEATRE | Vagina Monologues
Fourteen years after playwright Eve Ensler began dropping v-bombs all over Off Broadway, her play The Vagina Monologues has been translated into 24 different languages, been seen by millions of people worldwide, and inspired a global grassroots movement called V-Day. Although the shockwaves it initially sent through the theatre community have long worn off, the work still stands as a frank and honest exploration of female sexuality. Ensler has stated that somewhere along the way the play has become a vehicle for a campaign against violence against women, and Toronto director Daphne Simone's production this weekend delivers a relevant message in the wake of Monday's International Women's Day, which was largely overlooked by Canadian media. Runs til Sunday.
Capitol Event Theatre, 2492 Yonge St., $21 general admission, $16 students, Saturday 7:30 pm, Sunday 5 pm

PARTY | Bang the Party
No one knows where the next musical trend will take us, but my money's on disco. I can't say why, it's just a feeling that I have. By the end of summer, we'll all be in white leisure suits with huge bellbottoms and gold chains, and Grizzly Bear and Beach House will be considered hopelessly unhip for being so undanceable. The DJs at Bang the Party are way ahead of me, and are already blending new disco sounds with psychadelic projections in the dingy confines of the Boat. Put some starch in those lapels and come on down.
The Boat, 158 Augusta Ave., $5, 10 pm

Sunday, March 14:

FILM | Silent Sundays presents Tillie's Punctured Romance
The Revue Cinema's Silent Sundays return to present Charlie Chaplin's Tillie's Punctured Romance, which first premiered in Toronto at the Strand Theatre 95 years ago. At the time the city's moviegoers were so excited to see the the film that for nine consecutive performances, the line outside the theatre did not dwindle. This Sunday's revival of the movie will likely not garner quite that response, but as anyone who's seen a Chaplin picture can attest, his performances are timeless. A classic in its truest sense, Tillie's was one of the very first feature-length comedies ever made, and Chaplin was still honing his iconic Tramp character. The Revue does a fantastic job recreating the cinema experience of the Silent Era, complete with printed programs and live piano accompaniment.
The Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Ave, $10, 4 pm

EXPO | Total Health Show
The country's premiere holistic health expo has set up residence at the Metro Convention Centre this weekend. With over 200 exhibitors and 60 speakers addressing such topics as factory farming, nanotechnology, sludge farming and globablization, this is definitely the go-to destination for the city's granola-fed this weekend. The Organic CafĂŠ and Organic Farmers Market will be serving up delicious and healthy gourmet food all weekend, and the Yoga Demo Area and Natural Beauty and Spa Oasis will give you a chance to relax between workshops and panel discussions. Some of this years topics include "Ten Secrets of 100% Healthy People", "Healing Yourself with Living Raw Food", and "Health Risks of Vaccination." Runs til Sunday.
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front St. West, $10 exhibit passes, $25 lecture passes, Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 9 pm


FASHION | Rock 'n' Rogue Vintage Menswear Pop-Up Shop
Bloor West vintage boutiques Lost and Found and Stacked go guerrilla this weekend with a pop-up sale at the Great Hall. Catering to the sophisticated yet cash-sensible male, the boutiques have hand-picked a wide selection of bow ties, blazers, sweaters, three-piece suits, t-shirts, and shoes to have you looking dapper this spring. The sale began on Friday but was only opening for three hours, so there should still be some choice items left for your perusing.
The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W., Saturday and Sunday 12 pm - 6 pm

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For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.

Photo: "Rainy but colourful" by PJMixer, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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