Spring blossoms

Radar: Descant's Spring Issue Launch, Celebrating Steve Reich, Hunter Valentine at Dakota Night's for War Child, M & S Poetry Launch with Dionne Brand, Paul Vermeersch and John Steffler, Tapedeck Bros. and DJ Eck at the Social

BOOKS AND LIT | Descant's Spring Issue Launch
For thirty years Descant, Canada's pre-eminent literary journal, has introduced the world to new writing talent while celebrating the best in Canadian and international authors. With spring in the air and our collective spirits high the journal's 148th issue dares to ask the question: Can we ever really be happy? For their first issue of the new decade, Descant's editors have compiled fiction, poetry, essays and memoirs that deal with the pursuit of happiness and ponder the reasons why we can't get no satisfaction. Tonight's launch party at the Annex's Victory CafĂŠ will feature readings by contributing writers Emi Benn, Roo Borson, David Day, Larry Frolick and Alex Pugsley.
The Victory CafĂŠ, 581 Markham Street, Free, 7:30 pm

MUSIC | Celebrating Steve Reich
Those who know about these things are unanimous that American composer Steve Reich has changed the course of musical history. His use of repetitive themes and minimalist arrangements have influenced classical musicians and bedroom DJs alike, and he's even been called the father of DJ culture, one of the defining musical movements of the past two decades. In anticipation of Reich's appearance with the Mallet Quartet at Koerner Hall later this month, avant-garde music promoter Soundstreams is gathering Reich-inspired dancers, turntable artist Professor Fingers, and the TorQ Percussion Quartet to celebrate the music of one of the most important composers of our time. The event is free but organizers suggest you reserve your place by registering online.
Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen's Park, Free, 7:30 pm

MUSIC | War Child presents An Evening with Hunter Valentine
Spend an intimate evening with all-girl pop rock band Hunter Valentine tonight as part of the ongoing concert series Dakota Nights for War Child. It's the sixth installment of the series, which has seen some big name acts like Sloan, the Great Lake Swimmers, and Buck 65 perform in the close quarters of the Dakota Tavern, Toronto's favourite urban saloon. The premise behind the shows is to fundraise for War Child Canada while giving fans a chance to get up close and personal with Canada's best bands, and considering their most recent album was inspired by a frightening encounter with a stalker, it's kind of surprising that Hunter Valentine decided to take part. The things these girls will do for a good cause.
Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., $15, 9 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | McClelland and Stewart Poetry Launch: Dionne Brand, Paul Vermeersch and John Steffler
Canadian publisher McClelland and Stewart welcomes spring with the launch of three new books by the nation's leading poets. Born in a small fishing village in Trinidad and Tobago, Toronto's current poet laureate Dionne Brand emigrated to Canada when she was 17 years old and has since become an accomplished writer and scholar, and her new collection Ossuaries continues her exploration of themes of gender, race, and colonialism. Paul Vermeersch, possibly the only renowned poet to ever come out of Mississauga, is launching The Reinvention of the Human Hand, a collection that examines the primitive body in the modern world. They'll be joined by former poet laureate of Canada John Steffler, who's ending a 12-year drought by publishing his first book since 1998's award-winning That Night We Were Ravenous. His Lookout celebrates the landscape and history of western Newfoundland.
The Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave., Free, 6 pm

PARTY | DJ Eck and the Tapedeck Bros at the Social
Local DJ duo the Tapedeck Bros. are known for wearing cardboard boxes on their heads during sets. Is it an attempt to hide their secret identities? Cover up some ugly scars? The latest spring style? Well whatever it is, it's worked, cause they've gone from hustling the city's promoters for any gig they could get to becoming the Social's resident DJs. Tonight they're joined by DJ Eck at a party that seems designed to allow you cram a weekend's worth of drinking into a Monday night. With $2 drinks before 11:30 pm and $3.50 pints all night, you might want to keep one those cardboard boxes handy to puke in.
The Social, 1100 Queen Street West, $10, 10 pm

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Photo: "Untitled" by ip.sebastian, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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