Radar: Hot Docs 2010, All Stories in Pictures, Faith Healer, How to Cool the Planet with Jeff Goodell, Laraaji and Prince Enoki's Insect Orchestra, We Love Vampires

FILM | Hot Docs Film Festival
The big day has finally arrived for Toronto's fans of the non-fiction film. We've been previewing the 17th annual Hot Docs festival for a week now, so hopefully you've picked out a few of the fest's 170 films that you think are worth seeing. This year's edition has a couple of new features, including open-air rooftop screenings in Yorkville, and features docs on everything from parking lot attendants to Russian gangsters, to space tourists and the art of waitressing. Check back here for more coverage over the next 11 days. Til then, happy festing!
Various venues, Tickets and passes available at the documentary box office, 55 Avenue Road, Hazelton Lanes (Lower Level) or online

GALLERY | All Stories in Pictures
Toronto visual artist Alan Woods spends a lot of time rummaging through antique stores and book shops. It's there that he finds the discarded artifacts of pop culture that he turns into striking, humorous pieces of art. Using collage, painting, and printing Woods's creations, like these altered album covers or his drawings of iconic cartoon characters are by turns funny, nostalgic, and morbid. He's been exhibiting in group shows around Toronto for the past few years, but today his first solo exhibition opens at fledgling gallery 52 McCaul. Runs til May 9.
52 McCaul, 52 McCaul Street, Reception tonight 7 pm to 11 pm, Gallery hours Tuesday to Saturday 12 pm - 7 pm

THEATRE | Faith Healer
This play by Irish master Brian Friel centres around an enigmatic figure in Irish culture; the religious healer. Unable to understand or fully control his powers, Frank Hardy becomes a local celebrity when rumour of his miraculous ability spreads. But when he turns up dead, confusion surrounds not only his death but his credibility. The classic play is told in a series of four shifting monologues by different characters, including Hardy himself from beyond the grave, describing the man variously as a fraud, saint, and a suicide. Friel is a living legend of Irish theatre, and Soulpepper successfully staged his most famous work Translations in 2004. The Faith Healer begins a five week run tonight, starring Soulpepper founding member Stuart Hughes. Runs til June 4.
Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill Street, $29 - $70, Monday to Saturday 7:30 pm, 1:30 pm matinees on Saturday

BOOKS AND LIT | Jeff Goodell Talks with Ziya Tong of Daily Planet
Of all the proposed solutions to global warming, geo-engineering is the most controversial. While car manufacturers are pumping out hybrids and hydro companies erect fields of windmills, a small group of scientists is working on changing the temperature of the entire planet by using massive CO2-sucking machines and chemicals that can be shot into the air to deflect sunlight. But if human meddling with the climate got us to this crisis in the first place, is more direct intervention really the answer? How can we predict the impact of such large scale climate control when we can even predict next week's weather? These are some of the issues addressed in How to Cool the Planet, a new book by Rolling Stone contributing editor Jeff Goodell, who will be interviewed by the Discovery Channel's Ziya Tong as part of This Is Not a Reading Series tonight. The event will also feature short films curated by The Planet in Focus Film Festival.
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue, $5, 7:30 pm

MUSIC | Laraaji and Prince Enoki's Insect Orchestra
This show at the Music Gallery may sound like a tour stop by one of Africa's hottest traditional bands, but these guys quite the North American backstory. Laraaji Nadabrahmananda was born Edward Gordon in Philadelphia and attended Howard University to study piano. He was on his way towards a career in stand-up comedy and acting when he discovered transcendental meditation, changed his name, and bought a zither that he converted into an electronic instrument. His 1980 album Day of Radiance was produced by Brian Eno, and was the third installment of Eno's famous Ambient series. He'll be performing an atmospheric set on non-electronic instruments tonight before being joined by Prince Enoki's Insect Orchestra, led by Toronto throat singer Scott Peterson.
Music Gallery, 197 John Street, $15, 7 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | We Love Vampires
Of all the monsters of film and literature, the vampire clearly rules the roost. The belief in blood-sucking demons goes back to prehistoric times, but every generation seems to alter the concept of the vampire to suit its own time. Bram Stoker popularized the nosferatu as an ancient, elderly creature sucking the life out of the young, a far cry from the fang-toothed hotties who populate Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight. Tonight Chris Szego of the sci-fi website Cultural Gutter, fantasy author Tanya Huff, Stoker expert Dr. Elizabeth Miller, and Robert Knowlton discuss our insatiable thirst for vampire fiction. The discussion will be followed by a tour of the Merill Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation, and Fantasty, the largest collection of sci-fi books in the city.
Lillian H. Smith, 239 College Street, Free, 7 pm

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Photo: "Red Chairs" by *Lemur*, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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