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Weekend Radar: Toronto Now, Earth Hour Unplugged, Prom V: Noir, Selam Visual Arts Festival, Andrew Kaufman, Toronto Roller Derby, Firecrackers Burlesque, Get Wired, Brunch and Brazilians

Saturday, March 27:

GALLERY | Toronto Now Series at the AGO
Tired of flogging the artifacts of North African boy kings and German conceptualists, the AGO is going local. A new series of installations at its ground level Young Gallery will feature the work of Toronto artists for rotating two month periods, allowing the city's art lovers to connect with the work of local talent whenever they desire. The inaugural work is a piece by quirky installationist Dean Baldwin called the Dork Porch, a life size recreation of a rustic back porch constructed with found items. The Young Gallery is always free and accessible through the Frank Restaurant, so if you're passing by take a seat inside. It's cooler than sitting on a normal porch, promise. Runs til May 23.
Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., Free

ENVIRONMENT | Earth Hour Unplugged
Tonight at 8:30 pm, environmentally-conscious Torontonians across the city will turn off their lights to mark Earth Hour. The largest celebration of our yearly self-imposed blackout will be at Yonge-Dundas Square, where street performers will entertain crowds and collect "earth wishes". Mayor David Miller will even take a break from bashing Dalton McGuinty to attend the ceremony before Canadian songstress and noted hair product spokesperson Chantal Kreviazuk headlines a bill that includes Jarvis Church and Justin Nozuka. How will the thousands of people hear the music if all the power is out, you ask? It turns out "Unplugged" is being used in the loosest of terms. The concert will be powered by green energy generated by Bullfrog Power.
Yonge-Dundas Square, Free, 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm

PARTY | Prom V: Noir
The Royal Ontario Museum turns out the lights for a celebration of all things dark tonight. Coinciding with Earth Hour, the re-opening of the Bat Cave, and vintage film noir fashion, Prom V promises to be a high-class and shadowy affair. Partiers dressed as private eyes and femme fatales will strut the red carpet, pose for photographers, and enter the dark confines of the museum to dance the night away to a live Big Band. Hosted by MTV's resident power couple Jessi Cruickshank and Dan Levy, the considerable ticket price goes to support the School Visits Bursary Program which gives youngsters across the GTA a chance to experience the ROM field trips that I, nerd that I was in grade school, looked forward to every year.
The Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park, $150 at the door, 8 pm

GALLERY | Selam Visual Arts Festival
The Horn of Africa is one of the continent's most misrepresented regions. Known primarily in the Western World as the site of Bob Geldof's pet projects, there's much more to Ethiopia and Eritrea than famine and war. Both countries boast rich cultural heritages and vibrant artistic communities that confront the hardships their people face but also exist in their own right outside the seemingly regular catastrophes afflicting the region. A two-day visual art festival at the Gladstone Hotel will give you a chance to get to know the Horn a little better with an exhibition of works by Ethiopian and Eritrean artists living in Africa and across North America. The show, which includes images by three of Ethiopia's foremost photographers in Aida Muluneh, Michael Tsegaye, and Antonio Fiorente, is aimed to draw attention to HIV/AIDS and opens tonight with a party featuring a Q&A with artists and a live performance by Sound the Horn.
Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. West, 2nd Floor, Free, Saturday 7 pm - 10 pm, Sunday 3 pm - 5 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | Andrew Kaufman at the Holy Oak Book Club
When Andrew Kaufman isn't busy making films or producing CBC radio shows, he writes books. His latest, The Waterproof Bible, is an allegorical tale of a woman who keeps her emotions in shoeboxes and is haunted by a traffic incident with a woman who looks like a frog. Tonight's edition of the Holy Oak Book Club, the Bloor West cafe's monthly reading series, will give you a chance to hang out with the unique mind behind such a fantastical tale when Kaufman himself will make an appearance to read from the book and answer some audience questions. The folks at Holy Oak like to keep it informal, so sit back with an adult beverage and just soak in the lit.
Holly Oak CafĂŠ, 1241 Bloor St. West, Free, 7 pm

SPORTS | Toronto Roller Derby Quad City Chaos
If you've never seen a roller derby in action and aren't quite sure what to expect, picture athletic women on rollerskates bodychecking each other at high speeds while wearing spandex outfits. If you think that sounds like some kind of professional bimbo league, think again. Like many other modern roller derby associations, the Toronto Roller Derby shuns exploitation and is strongly rooted in a punkish DIY ethic. The same girls who strap on the skates are the women promoting and organizing the events, from the website designer right down to the chick selling you a t-shirt at the merch table. Not only is the ToRD a rare example of anti-misogynist female entertainment, its damn fun too. This weekend ToRD heats up the track with a four city tournament featuring Vancouver's Terminal City All-Stars, Montreal's New Skids on the Block, Hamilton's Hammer City Roller Girls and our own Toronto all-stars CN Power. Head to the Downsview Hangar and get ready to watch those elbows fly.
The Hangar at Downsview Park, 75 Carl Hall Rd., Weekend pass $25, Single day $18, Saturday 2 pm - 8 pm, Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm

Sunday, March 28:

BURLESQUE | The Firecrackers Debut Burlesque Show
Burlesque business is a-booming in this town and fans of the saucy striptease better get ready to welcome a new troupe to the scene. The Firecrackers, united by their explosive personalities, their passion for burlesque, and their fiery red hair perform their very first show this Sunday. They have their work cut out for them, as the somewhat grimy stage at the Cadillac Lounge is usually only fit for cover bands and open mics, but these gals are pros and know how to class up a joint. The troupe consists of performers who may already be known to the city's burlesque afficionados in Scarlett LaFlamme, Miss Mitzy Cream, Sir Pomp La Moose, Fan Tan Tanny, and Lady Cupcake, and will be performing the hit numbers from all your favourite movies.
Cadillac Lounge, 1296 Queen St. West, $15, 8 pm

ARTS AND CRAFTS | Get Wired Jewellery Making Workshop
Mount Pleasant gallery and art space the Poetic Art Gallery offers a way to spend your Sunday afternoon productively, channeling your creative energy in a wire jewellery-making workshop. The gallery is a bit of a creative hub in North Toronto, offering workshops for people with all levels of talent who want to express themselves through painting, drawing, arts, crafts and poetry. The admission fee for the workshop gets you instruction from artisan Caroline Andrews as well as all the materials you'll need and a tool kit.
Poetic Art Studio, 511 Mount Pleasant Rd., $65, 2 pm - 4:30 pm

FASHION | Brunch and Brazilians
Just to clarify, this event is not a late breakfast with your buddies Davi and Thiago who just flew in from Rio. That would be brunch with Brazilians. This is Brunch and Brazilians, the Ten Spot's Sunday morning grooming fest that combines the fun of hot wax on your genitals with the deliciousness of a light continental breakfast. Round up some gal pals and make like Carrie and co. by sipping down some liquid courage in the company of friends and letting a professional take care of your personal grooming with a Brazilian Wax. Don't worry, the actual waxing is done in a private room away from the food.
The 10 Spot Leslieville, 1402 Queen St. East, Unit D1, $60, 10 am

Continuing:

EXHIBITION | Toronto ComicCon
Comic book fans, sci-fi aficionados and other nerds began streaming out of their parents' basements on Friday and converging on the Direct Energy Centre for the year's premiere comic book convention. There are still two days left at ComicCon 2010, which features a full schedule of events to get sci-fi lovers salivating like a Wookie in heat including costume contests, sneak peaks at upcoming films, a charity auction of comic book gear, and of course an endless list of celebrity appearances. Just a few of the completely random stars making an appearance: the guy who played Winston in Ghostbusters, Luke from the Bushwhackers, Gil Gerard of Buck Rogers in the 21st Century, Kamala the Ugandan Giant, and, for some reason, Adrianne Curry of America's Next Top Model. What, was Wil Wheaton busy? Runs til Sunday.
Direct Energy Centre, 100 Princes' Blvd., Weekend pass $50, Single Day pass $25, Saturday 10 am - 7 pm, Sunday 10 am - 5 pm

FILM | CinĂŠfranco
Toronto's annual celebration of Francophone cinema took up residence in the heart of the city on Friday, displacing the usual blockbuster fare at the Yonge Dundas AMC over the next two weeks with over forty of the best French-language films of the past few years. In Canada in particular, French-speaking filmmakers have been at the forefront of creativity recently, highlighted by Cinefranco's two Quebecois programs which accompany films from French-speaking countries all over the world. This year, several of the films are appearing at the festival at roughly the same time as they are being released in their countries of origin, making this year's Cinefranco the most relevant to date. Highlights include Seven Days fresh from the Sundance Festival, 2009 Quebec comedy A Cargo to Africa, and a short film program on Wednesday night. And don't worry if you're French is a little rusty, all the films are subtitled in English.
AMC Yonge and Dundas, 10 Dundas St. East and the Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles, Single ticket $10, students $8.50, various times

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Photo: "Afternoon Traffic" by ronnie.yip, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.


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