Radar: Contact Photography Festival, Museum Dances, Critical Mass: Robin Givhan, Caught Slippin', Dominion Launch, BookThugs

PHOTOGRAPHY | CONTACT Photography Festival
The orgy of photographic excellence that is the Contact Festival marches on this weekend, with a couple of super cool openings tonight. Marshall McLuhan, who's ideas are the inspiration behind this year's fest, described the unrealistic body images portrayed by photographs in the media as a kind of "collective social trauma" that leads to feelings of inadequacy among those of us who happen not to be super models. The Skin You Love to Touch examines the international beauty industry and its consequences from the perspective of renowned photographers Zed Nelson, Laura Greenfield, and Jodi Bieber. Meanwhile, over at the trendy Baitshop gallery and skate culture hub, the Hermann and Audrey Agency presents an exhibition by eleven of its photographers that allows viewers to interact with the images in an embodiment of McLuhan's characterization of photography as a "hot" medium. And don't forget about blogTO's own opening of the 99 Cents show at the Show and Tell Gallery, examining the genius marketing ploy of creative pricing. It's a great chance to see amazing photographs and meet your favourite blogTO personalities (I'll be the one in with a moustache and the pork pie hat). As a word of warning, if you show up at any Contact event over the next few weeks and start jabbering about McLuhan's theories, you better know what you're talking about, otherwise this will happen to you.
The Skin You Love to Touch: Contact Gallery, 80 Spadina Avenue, 7 pm
Hermann and Audrey: Baitshop, 358 Dufferin Street, 7 pm
99 Cents: Show and Tell Gallery, 1161 Dundas Street West, 7 pm

DANCE | Museum Dances: Ancient Inspiration, Contemporary Interpretation
For the next two weeks the galleries of the Royal Ontario Museum will provide the backdrop for a series of dance performances that evoke the spirit of ancient Asian culture. Part of the museum's celebrations of Asian Heritage Month, the series will include performances by the Moving Dragon Dance Company and the Opaque Ensemble that are inspired by the museum's artifacts and bring together styles from Korea, China, India, Japan, and the Asian diaspora. For museum-lovers who are also fans of Asian culture, be sure to check out next month's landmark exhibition of Emperor Ying Zhen's Terracotta Army.
Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park, Free with museum admission ($15 - $22), performances May 7-9 and May 14-16, Friday 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday 2 pm

FASHION | Critical Mass: Robin Givhan
Make sure you dress fierce if you plan to attend this event, because you'll be in the presence of two of North America's top fashion critics. Robin Givhan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who examines the social implications behind fashion trends for the Washington Post, and her famous coverage of Michelle Obama's style is the epitome of intelligent fashion writing, something previously considered somewhat of an oxymoron. Tonight Givhan will be in conversation with Canada's own Jeanne Beker, quick-witted veteran critic and the face of Fashion Television, as part of Hot Doc's Critical Mass speaker series.
Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, $12, 7 pm

PARTY | Caught Slippin'
Classy Mexican cantina Milagro already boasts a mini-empire in Toronto with three locations across the city, but now they've added a two-storey city view bar called La Perla that is already getting some buzz among the Queen Street party crowd. With a great view and $3.95 Red Stripes tonight it's the perfect venue for DJs Scott Pilgrim and Patrick McGuire, who've been tearing up 751 recently with their dirty hip hop parties and are frankly getting too big for their britches in that tiny space. Oh you didn't hear? Britches are back in style.
La Perla, 783 Queen Street West, No Cover, 10 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | Launch of Dominion G8/G20 Special Issue
The Dominion newspaper is a project of what might be Canada's first media cooperative. Disillusioned with the current state of media in the country in which most outlets are owned by a handful of corporations and the ascendancy of internet journalism has led to a decline in high-quality investigative reporting, the co-op has banded together to publish hard-hitting stories on issues that are usually marginalized or misconstrued by the mainstream media. Tonight they launch a special issue of the paper that tackles the upcoming G20 and G8 conferences in Huntsville and Toronto, which are always flashpoints for political protest and are largely portrayed as rioting anarchists vs. the rich and powerful. The Dominion thinks there's more to the story than that simple dichotomy, so come down and find out why.
Ram in the Rye, 55 Gould Street, 8 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | BookThug's Karen Mac Cormack, David Dowker and Steve McCaffery
Nothing says an exciting Friday night out like a reading of experimental literature. BookThug is one of the city's only publishers dedicated to stretching the boundaries of fiction, poetry, and conceptual literature and has vowed to only publish manuscripts that show both an awareness and disregard for the literary traditions that have gone before them. Kensington alternative bookshop This Ain't the Rosedale Library is hosting a reading tonight of new works by BookThugs Karen Mac Cormack and David Dowker, with special guest BookThug Steve MacCaffery reading from his new collection of poetry Carnival Panel III. I can barely understand the descriptions of these guy's books let alone what's actually inside them, but why not broaden your horizons a little?
This Ain't the Rosedale Library, 86 Nassau Street, Free, 9 pm

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Photo: "917" by skateboy075, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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