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Weekend Radar: Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination, Aszure Barton and Artists, Drake Hotel Spring Market, Party for the Planet at the Toronto Zoo, Sprockets Film Festival, M.U.C.K. Film Festival, Fundayz

Saturday, April 17:

FILM | Toronto Jewish Film Festival
The 18th Annual Toronto Jewish Film Festival begins this weekend, bringing Torontonians 93 of the best Jewish films from around the world over eight days. Movies from 18 countries are being screened at four theatres across the city and run the gamut from contemporary comedies to groundbreaking historical documentaries, but all reflect on some aspect of the Jewish identity. A highlight of the program will be the North American premiere of Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today, a 1948 documentary on the trial of Nazi officers for crimes against humanity which was originally suppressed by the U.S. government. Comic book author Harvey Pekar will be take part in a free forum on Sunday as part of the festival's People of the Comic Book program, which traces the origins of superheroes to the ancient Hebrew myth of the Golem. The fest closes out on the 25th with 2010 Oscar nominee Ajami, the film by two Israelis, one an Arab and one a Jew, that caused some controversy when its director told reporters he would refuse to represent Israel at the Academy Awards ceremony.
Various venues and times, check schedule for full details, single tickets $7 - $20, passes $60 - $140

THEATRE | Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination
Trying to conquer the world is a stressful business, and being a tyrant from morning til night just isn't good for your health. That's the premise behind Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination, the latest production from two-woman theatre company Birdtown and Swanville. Using drama, dance, and debate, the pair will explore the reasons behind Hitler's overactive saliva glands, Napoleon's chronically irritated skin, and Pol Pot's bouts of blindness. Could it be the health problems of history's greatest dictators were internal responses the violence they unleashed on other people? The play is presented as part of Hatch 2010, Harbourfront's program of new and original theatre voices. Runs til Sunday.
Studio Theatre, York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, $12 general admission, $10 students, Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 2:30 pm

DANCE | Aszure Barton and Artists perform BUSK and Blue Soup
Edmonton-born National Ballet School alumnus Aszure Barton brings her touring company to Toronto for the first time to present two new works. Choreographed in 2009, BUSK and Blue Soup are set to music as diverse as Paul Simon and Vivaldi, and are wonderful examples of Barton's unique ability to blend eclectic genres of dance and music with explosive, intense physical movement. Now based in New York, her choreography is so well-respected that the great Baryshnikov himself (or as he's now known, that swanky Russian dude from Sex and the City) asked to dance one of her pieces. Barton's company of nine dancers is currently on a five-country tour and will perform three shows over two days while in Toronto. Runs til Sunday.
Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis Street, $20, Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 2 pm and 7 pm

SALE | Drake Spring Market
The Drake Hotel does a little spring cleaning this weekend with its annual yard sale. The venerable boarding house at Queen and Beaconsfield is clearing out its crawlspaces and closets and throwing everything it doesn't want out on the sidewalk to sell it at garage sale prices. Here's your chance to own a piece of Drake history by buying old hotel furniture and design items, or pick up something gratis at the FREEcycle table. You can savour some tasty baked treats, or peruse the wares of local designers and craft makers like Coffee Stain Cards and SOOS Jewelry. The Young Urban Farmers will also be setting up shop to help you learn how to grow food in your very own back yard.
The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West, Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 4 pm

ZOO | Party for the Planet at the Toronto Zoo
In anticipation of the 40th annual celebration of Earth Day next Thursday, the Metro Toronto Zoo is throwing a Party for the Planet this weekend. The zoo is partnering with Earth Day Canada to educate visitors on how they can be better stewards of the planet. A full day of family activities is planned, with workshops on recycling and conservation and a special talk with the zookeeper for the endangered polar bears at 12 p.m. Leading conservation groups like the Polar Bears International, Parks Canada, Turtle Island Conservation, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Ontario Science Centre will all be participating, and the Ontario Electronic Stewardship will be collecting electronics for safe disposal. Runs til Sunday.
Metro Toronto Zoo, 361A Old Finch Ave., $21 general admission, $13 children 4 - 12 years old, Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 3 pm

FILM | Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Kids
For over a decade, the Sprockets festival has introduced kids to cinema that goes beyond the usual Disney merchandising vehicle. Geared to children from age three to high school, the fest offers screenings of Canadian and international films, many of which will make their first and only appearance at Toronto cinemas this week. Sprockets aims to engage young audiences by not only showing them movies, but inviting their input at post-screening discussions and asking them to vote on their favourite films. Now an annual initiative of the Toronto International Film Festival, Sprockets also features movies made for older kids in a special program that brings high school audiences and post-secondary school filmmakers together.
Various venues, single screenings $6.60 for children, $10.61 for adults, check schedule for full details

GALLERY | Eye to Eye
Some consider James Cameron's Avatar to be a moving call to defend our planet from the forces of greed. Others consider it a $300 million dog turd. Either way, as a visual experience, the highest grossing film of all time is tough to beat and its gorgeous images will be on display for the next five weeks at northern Toronto's Gallery MP. The gallery, which has the bizarre mandate of representing new Canadian artists alongside the best of Hollywood collectibles, is presenting an exhibition of promotional Avatar posters from around the world. Did you know it was called Aufbruch nacht Pandora in Germany? Neither did I. Runs til May 20.
Gallery MP, 1875 Leslie Street, Wednesday to Friday 2 pm - 5 pm, Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Sunday, April 18:

FILM | M.U.C.K. Film Festival
The Movies of Uncommon Knowledge film series presents documentaries that aim to explode our comfortable ignorance and make us rethink how we view the environment, human rights, politics, health, and war. An monthly initiative of Canadian public affairs broadcaster iChannel, this Sunday MUCK presents three thought provoking films. First up is RIP: A Remix Manifesto, a documentary about the artistic and legal implications of iconic mashup artist Girl Talk's groundbreaking remixes. It's followed by The War on Kids, which examines the mis-eduction of children by America's school system, and Generation Rx, a disturbing look at the over-prescription of psychiatric drugs for children.
Royal Cinema, 608 College St., single tickets $10, day pass $20, RIP: A Remix Manifesto 3 pm, The War on Kids 5pm, Generation Rx 7:30 pm

COMEDY | Fundayz
Wrap up your weekend on a funny note with Fundayz, the Comedy Bar's newest weekly showcase of hilarity. The show mixes regular stand up sets with longform improvised comedy performed by a rotating cast of comedians and special guests. This week's show will be opened by the dry wit of emcee Kyle Scott, followed by the Classic Surpremes, one of the city's hottest improv troupes. Then its straight back to stand up with a set by headliner Bob Kerr, and Fundayz house improv team the Lobstercats will round out the evening.
Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor Street West, 7:30 pm

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For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.

Photo: "Actress-turned -poet" by angietorres, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.


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