Cherry Blossoms

Weekend Radar: CONTACT Photography Festival, the Final Monkey Toast, Tale of a Town, Free Films at the NFB, Spring Wedding Show, Waiting for the Parade, Jane's Walk: Riverside, Fix Your Bike Day, Toronto Kickball Inaugural

Saturday, May 1:

FESTIVAL | Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2010
In case the Radar is your only source of local news (thanks for reading, by the way), you may not have heard that the biggest photography festival in the world drops in Toronto today. CONTACT 2010 boasts work by over 1000 artists at 200 plus venues across the city, so all you have to do to take in the festival is walk down any major downtown street and pop into the nearest gallery. Each year CONTACT has an open call for submissions, which ensures that new and emerging artists are paired with established professionals and that fresh perspectives are always strongly represented. The theme for this year's fest is Marshall McLuhan's idea of the pervasive influence of technology, best represented by "The Mechanical Bride" exhibition at MOCCA. Check out blogTO's preview for all the hottest shows.
Various locations across Toronto, May 1 - May 30

COMEDY | Monkey Toast
For seven years the Monkey Toast cast has been entertaining Toronto comedy fans with an unpredictable mix of talk show-style interviews and improvised comedy. Tonight, the Toast bids farewell with two back to back shows at the Comedy Bar before founder and host David Shore rides off into the sunset, which in this case is his new home in the UK. Over the years Shore has interviewed some big name guests, including Mayor David Miller, Dave Bidini, Jack Layton, and olympian Mark Tewksbury, and has attracted some great improv talent to the Toast cast including Colin Mochrie and Second City alumnus Paul Constable. Tonight Shore turns the tables on his loyal following and will interview three audience members at each show. It's bound to be a night of humour and likely a few tears as die-hard Toast fans and the improv crew celebrate the good times and bid farewell.
Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor Street West, $10, 8 pm and 10 pm

THEATRE | Tale of a Town
Theatre Passe Muraille and Fixt Point launch an ambitious project today, a site-specific theatrical experience that uses Queen Street West as its stage. Why pay 10 bucks to take a walk down Queen Street, you ask? Tale of a Town is no Sunday afternoon stroll, and uses live music, stock footage, and the oral histories of local characters to provide entertaining insight into the recent history of one of the city's oldest and most vibrant neighbourhoods. The show is the product of some great theatrical minds, including performer Lisa Marie DiLiberto, Juno-nominated musical director Treasa Levasseur, CBC radio producer Charles Ketchabaw, and promenade theatre designer Varrick Grimes. Runs til May 16.
Starting point at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Avenue, $10 advance, $15 door, Thursday to Sunday 7:30 pm

FILM | Free Films at the NFB Mediatheque
Starting today, the National Film Board is offering up its library of over 5,500 Canadian films for free. The NFB Mediatheque on John Street is equipped with 16 state of the art digital viewing stations that can fit one or two people, with each touchscreen granting access to thousands of great Canadian films. Lord knows we've made a lot of them. Now anyone can simply walk in off the street, and have virtually the entire history of Canadian films on demand at their fingertips. This is good news for Toronto's film buffs, even though previously they were only charging 2 bucks. movies!
National Film Board Mediatheque, 150 John Street, Tuesday to Wednesday 12 pm - 7 pm, Thursday to Saturday 12 pm - 10 pm

FASHION | Spring Wedding Show
There are a lot of choices to make when planning a wedding. First of all, you have to find some one to marry. From there things only get harder: do you have it in a church or a trendy alternative venue? Do you invite everyone you know or just your close friends? Do you wear a traditional dress or something a little more hip? And when's the right time to stop sleeping with all those other guys? The Drake Hotel and the Wedding Co. will try to make things a little bit easier this weekend with the Spring Wedding Show, showcasing designs and services from over 40 of the city's artists and wedding businesses. A bridal shower, valued at $500 will also be raffled off. The single day event will offer up jewelry, vintage dresses and accessories that mix traditional nuptial fashion with the hottest trends, perfect for the bride and groom who want their big day to be both classic and stylish.
The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West, $10, 10 am

THEATRE | Waiting for the Parade
Soulpepper revives the beloved 1977 John Murrell play Waiting for the Parade this month, chronicling the lives of five Canadian women who fight their own battles on the homefront as their menfolk wage war in Europe during the 1940s. Each woman deals with civilian life differently, but the strain of war reveals much tougher, and in some cases darker aspects of their characters that are usually hidden by polite society. The play is directed by National Theatre School graduate Joseph Zeigler, who's also appearing as an actor in several Soulpepper productions this season, and stars Fiona Byrne, Deborah Drakeford, Michelle Monteith, Nancy Palk, and Krystin Pellerin. Runs til May 29.
Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill Street, $29 - $70, Monday to Saturday 8 pm, Saturday matinees 2 pm

Sunday, May 2:

COMMUNITY | Jane's Walk: Historic Riverside
Councillor Paula Fletcher and the Riverdale Historical Society's Gerald Whyte take you on a guided tour of the East End Riverside neighbourhood, giving insight into one of the most historically rich areas of the city. Even a glimpse at the architecture of the old buildings on Queen Street East can set the mind wondering about the people who used to live there, and Whyte and Fletcher are two proud and knowledgeable Torontonians equipped to tell you the stories that have shaped our city. Sunday's event is part of Jane's Walks, the urban education program named for legendary writer and activist Jane Jacobs.
Start point outside Jimmie Simpson Recreational Centre, 870 Queen Street East, Free, 12:30 pm

CYCLING | Fix Your Bike Day at Holy Oak with Bike Pirates
With the cherry trees in bloom and the sun shining this weekend, it's perfect weather for a bike ride. Unfortunately, many thoughtless gutter bunnies have left their rides to rust under piles of snow over the winter, and you'd best take your bike for a tune up before you start careening around town. The motto of DIY bike collective Bike Pirates is A Better Bike is Possible, and to that end they're pairing up with nearby Holy Oak Café to offer an afternoon of free tune ups and maintenance advice. Come by and shake the rust off those wheels.
Holy Oak Café, 1241 Bloor Street West, Free, 12 pm - 4 pm

SPORTS | Toronto Kickball Inaugural
Relive all your glorious elementary school triumphs at the 2010 season opener of the Toronto Kickball league this weekend. Toronto Kickball is the city's foremost, possibly only, organized kickball (also known by its more proper name, soccer baseball) league, meeting once a week until Fall to engage in the simple sport that those of us who couldn't hit a baseball with a sofa cushion have been excelling at since way back. Because it's not a real sport, and no one looks that cool flailing away at a slow moving soccer ball, it's perfect for those looking for some exercise and team play, without the competitive backbiting that's surprisingly common on Toronto's recreational baseball diamonds.
Alexandra Park, Every Sunday until fall at 5:30 pm


FILM | Hot Docs Film Festival
The 17th annual Hot Docs festival enters its first weekend at full steam, offering up the best documentary filmmaking from around the world. Check out our latest preview for tips on what to take in.
Various venues, Tickets and passes available at the documentary box office, 55 Avenue Road, Hazelton Lanes (Lower Level) or online

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: "PS" by HSien, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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