Toronto Sun

Radar: CONTACT Photography Festival, Kenk Book Launch, James Sturm at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Making Media Public, the Boom Show, Slow Pitch

The world's largest photography festival continues with a slew of show openings today. At the Gladstone Hotel, former blogTO contributor Zach Slootsky presents Disposable Hold, an installation that examines the beauty that is pervasive and yet so readily disposed of in our celebrity-obsessed, media saturated culture. In a separate show called Exposed, the Gladstone unveils the work of dozens of emerging and established artists all riffing on CONTACT's theme of "pervasive influence." The power of images in our society is undeniable, and these artists point both to the ways that photographs can deceive as well as new ways of reading images. Using seascapes as an allegory for the alienation of the modern human condition, British photographer Zineb Sedira's MiddleSea exhibition at the Prefix ICA presents beautiful images of oceans and anonymous port cities. Around the corner at Gallery TPW, French photographer Eric Baudelaire combines work from two previous exhibitions into Unifinished Business. Taking inspiration from the repetitive presentation of traumatic images in the wake of 9/11 and the way in which images can be take on new meaning when removed from their original context, Unfinished Business uses lighting cycles and projections to present photographic images as a fluctuating form.
Various venues, check the CONTACT website for full details

BOOKS AND LIT | Kenk - Book Launch and Party
Any Toronto cyclist knows that you might as well throw your bike under a passing car rather than leave it unlocked in this city. While we've always known we have a bike theft problem, few of us realized that, until his arrest in 2008, a single man was behind close to 3000 instances of stolen bicycles. The story of Igor Kenk, dubbed the most prolific bike thief in Canada (if not the world), made headlines around the world and seemed symbolic of many of the social forces in the city; a rabid environmentalist who refused to waste a single spare part, Kenk both preyed on and promoted the burgeoning Toronto cycling activist movement. Former Mongrel Media manager Alex Jansen has collaborated with journalist Richard Poplak and illustrator Nick Marinkovich to create Kenk, a journalistic comic book based on hours of documentary footage. Tonight sees the launch of the book, a stunning document of Toronto through the figure of one of its most notorious citizens.
Cadillac Lounge, 1296 Queen Street West, Free, 7 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | James Sturm at the Toronto Comics Art Festival
With CONTACT and Hot Docs in full swing, this weekend another festival descends on the city. The eighth annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival showcases a wide variety of illustrated stories and aims to promote comic books as a legitimate literary art form. In advance of events this weekend, TCAF welcomes American cartoonist James Sturm, creator of such iconic works as The Golem's Mighty Swing and Satchel Page: Striking Out Jim Crow. Sturm will be presenting his new work Market Day, a story about how economic forces change the life of one man in early 20th Eastern Europe, told with Sturm's trademark quietly reflective style. He'll be joined onstage by British Columbia artist, writer, and ex-Israeli army volunteer Miriam Libicki.
Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, 750 Spadina Avenue, Free, 7 pm

CONFERENCE | Making Media Public
On Tuesday the corporation that owns the Toronto Star put in a bid for Canwest in a deal that could result in a near nationwide media monopoly for the publishing giant. In the wake of that announcement, the Making Media Public conference happening this weekend at York University couldn't be more timely. The conference aims to critique the current model of media production and devise new ways to make media in this country more autonomous, sustainable and locally accountable. Events at York on the weekend will feature representatives from a who's who of independent and alternative media including NOW Magazine, This Magazine, and the New Socialist, as well as academics from across the country. Events begin tonight with a free roundtable discussion at Ryerson on "The Trouble with Media" with Lise Lareau of the Canadian Media Guild, Sharmini Peries of the Real News Network, and former CBC public affairs reporter John McGrath.
Ryerson University, 245 Church Street, Room ENG-LG11, Free, 7 pm
Conference May 7 to 8: York University, Accolade East, $35 - $90, check schedule for full details

COMEDY | The Boom Show
With (possibly coerced) endorsements from the likes of Lewis Black, Kevin Smith, and Colin Quinn, the Boom Show lays claim to being the best sketch comedy show in the city. And with a cast that includes legendary Kids in the Hall alumnus Scott Thompson and Gemini Award-winner Deborah Giovanni, few would disagree. For their 24th show they're joining forces with John Ki, winner of the Hogtown Comedy Festival's Best New Comic for a show that will pack the Supermarket and take them one step further in solidifying the Boom as a Toronto comedy institution.
Supermarket, 268 Augusta Avenue, 9 pm

PARTY | Slow Pitch
Ease into your weekend party schedule by warming up with Slow Pitch, Dundas West's favourite low key slow jam party. DJs Nick Fox and Josh McGuirk will be lobbing lazy summer tunes at you all night, promising not to break the 105 beats per minute mark with classic rock, soul, jazz and reggae. Why work up a sweat dancing when you can stretch out with a cold brew and bob your head to the beat? There's no cover charge either, which will leave your wallet plenty full to speed things up and hit the town on Friday night.
Red Light, 1185 Dundas Street West, Free, 10 pm

Have an event you'd like to plug? Submit your own listing to the blogTO calendar, contact us directly, or use our handy Facebook app.

For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.

Photo: "Jacked" by Danielle Scott, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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