Radar: Toronto Silent Film Festival, One Book Kickoff, Puttin' On the Ritz, Catherine Gildiner, Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra

FILM | Toronto Silent Film Festival
One hundred and fifteen years ago the first ever moving picture show was screened in Toronto at the now-demolished Robinson's Theatre Musee on Yonge St. Little more than a flickering shadow on a silver screen, it was a long way off from the 3D extravaganza of Avatar. But even today the early silent films have a special magic to them, and the first annual Toronto Silent Film Festival is aiming to introduce the thrill of the first picture shows to a new generation of audiences. Over the next ten days theatres across the city will screen restored prints of classic films that revolutionized cinema over a century ago. Tonight's opening feature at Casa Loma is Buster Keaton's Seven Chances, a typically madcap comedy in which the hapless Keaton must marry a woman by sundown in order to claim the inheritance left him by his grandfather. Keaton's delightful charm is still evident all these years later, and the film ends with one of the best chase scenes of all time. The festival runs til April 15.
Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, $22, 8 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | One Book Kickoff
The Toronto Public Library is in the midst of the Keep Toronto Reading festival, a program of events that aims to promote literacy in Toronto's communities. Tonight marks the launch of One Book, the library's version of a city-wide book club. Playing off the success of similar large-scale book forums like Canada Reads, as part of One Book the library chooses a novel for Torontonians to read and then discuss at several talks and social events throughout the month. This year's novel is Austin C. Clarke's More, the 2009 Toronto Book Award-winning story of a Barbadian immigrant struggling to survive in Toronto. One Book Kicks off tonight at the Toronto Reference Library with a dramatic reading by Trey Antony and an interview with the author himself.
Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., Free, 7 pm

PARTY | Puttin' on the Ritz
The Roosevelt Room takes you back to the Roaring Twenties tonight with a party benefitting Doctors Without Borders. Don a cloche hat and your best fur stole and party the night away in true flapper fashion. Traditionally-dressed waiters will cater to your every need in a setting that recreates the glamour of the Decadent Decade, but of course this is a party with a cause so before you get drunk and frolic in a fountain à la Zelda Fitzgerald you may want to contribute to the silent auction which will help raise funds for relief efforts in Haiti. The evening's food will be provided by elite executive chef Trevor Wilkinson and is inspired by the menus of 1920s Hollywood.
The Roosevelt Room, 2 Drummond Place, $25, 8 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | The eh List: Catherine Gildiner
Toronto psychologist and author Catherine Gildiner's highly successful 2002 memoir Too Close to the Falls recounted her childhood in 1950s upstate New York. Although she didn't experience any extraordinary hardship or earth-shattering events, the book so skillfully conveyed mid-century small-town life that it climbed bestsellers lists in several countries and is considered a modern classic. Gildiner has just published a new instalment of her memoirs entitled After the Falls, which follows her family as they move to Buffalo and Catherine comes of age in the tumultuous 1960s. The book is sure to be another smash success for the gifted author and Gildiner will be reading from it tonight as part of the Toronto Public Library's eh List series.
Taylor Memorial Library, 1440 Kingston Road, Free, 7 pm

MUSIC | Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra
Of all the figures in classical music, the child prodigy is the most impressive. There's just something amazing about seeing a child do something at the age of 6 that none of us could do if we tried for 90 years. Now 27, Chinese pianist Lang Lang has been playing since about the time he could stand on two feet and has become an international superstar on the touring circuit. He's currently the featured soloist of the Schleswig-Holsten Festival Orchestra, and ensemble made up of the world's most talented musicians under 27. The group comes to Roy Thomson Hall tonight to impress us with their skill, and remind us all how little we've achieved in our lives.
Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., $49.50 - $169, 8 pm

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Photo: "Balloons" by tom.cochrane, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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