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Radar: The Africa Trilogy, Between Black & White, The Peretzniks, Rethink Romp, Synthfest #4, Franco-Fete

THEATRE | The Africa Trilogy
The relationship between Africa and the Eurocentric world has never exactly been one of mutual understanding. A few notable collaborations aside (Paul Simon's Graceland, anyone?) over the past four centuries, Africans and Westerners have fallen into the trap of viewing each other as essentially opposites. The Africa Trilogy is an ambitious set of three plays commissioned by the Luminato festival from Volcano Theatre that seeks to examine how our misperceptions of each other have shaped the modern world. Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God, a comedy by Germany's Roland Schimmelpfennig,GLO, a globalization drama by American Christina Anderson, and Shine Your Eye, a portrait of Africa in the Internet age by Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina present the viewpoints of three different playwrights and three different directors who between them hail from six different countries on three continents. The trilogy is considered the centrepiece of Luminato's Africa-themed program and begins previews tonight (a day before Luminato itslef opens) before officially opening on June 15. Runs til June 20.
Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queen's Quay West, Previews $35.75 - $45.75, Regular $40.75 - $50.75, Tuesday to Saturday 7 pm, Matinees Sundays and Saturday June 19 at 1 pm

PHOTOGRAPHY | Between Black & White
The official Pride Guide 2010 informs me that the latest acronym to describe all the colours in the queer rainbow is LGBTTIQQ2SA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Tranjssexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited, and Allies). This meaningless stream of letters is proof that the spectrum of sexuality and gender in our society has become so diverse that it's high time we all stop trying to fit it into any kind of coherent package. This is a concept well understood by photographer and Xtra!'s Best Local Artist of 2009 Tanja Tiziana, whose new exhibition Between Black & White lets transgendered Torontonians speak for themselves through a series of 17 large-scale portraits. Music for the opening reception tonight will be provided by DJ Dreidel, who promises to be "spinning all night long." Classic. Runs til July.
Raging Spoon, 761 Queen Street West, Free, 7 pm

FILM | The Peretzniks
More than two decades after the end of World War II, anti-Semitic feelings still ran deep in Lodz, Poland. When Israel waged war against its Arab neighbours in 1968, it reignited deep-seated prejudice in the city and thousands of Jews were forced to flee abroad. The Peretzniks, a film by Emmy Award-winning documentarian Slawomir Grunberg, traces former students from a particularly close-knit school community in Lodz to their current homes all over the world, only to find that they've remained as close as ever. A fondly woven and often funny testament to the resilience of the Jewish-Polish diaspora, the film reveals the absurdity of prejudice by viewing it through a child's eyes. "My father definitely didn't kill Christ," one woman recalls thinking, "because he's back from work everyday by exactly 5 pm." The director and officials from the Polish consulate will be in attendance for a screening tonight.
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue, Suggested $8, 7:30 pm

BENEFIT | Rethink Romp
Diseases affecting our naughty bits have inspired some creative campaigns over the years, including hilarious mammogram reminders and those creepy see-through colon cancer mannequins. But the best tagline has got to be from tonight's Rethink Romp, a superhero-themed breast cancer benefit that's promoting itself with the phrase "With a great rack comes great responsibility." The Romp has now become the annual main event for Rethink Breast Cancer, a charity assisting young people affected by the disease. The party is sponsored by Joe Fresh apparel, hipster haircut palace Coupe Bizarre, and Steam Whistle, which means there will be plenty of cool prizes and tasty booze.
Steam Whistle Brewery, 255 Bremner Avenue, $65 (includes two drinks), 7:30 pm

MUSIC | Synthfest #4 with Politique, Princess Century, and In Support of Living
The Synthfest concert series embarks on the fourth instalment of its mission to rid the synthesizer of its reputation as cheesy 1980s stage prop tonight. Although the likes of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone long ago convinced us that great music can be made with lo-fi keyboards, it doesn't hurt to bask in the brilliance a few well-placed bleeps and bloops every once and a while. Headliners Politique from Ottawa have been touring heavily lately with notable bands like M-83, the Winter Gloves and Young Galaxy, and reportedly have the endorsement of Stars frontman Torquil Campbell. Hard-edged electronic act Princess Century plays support, along with lead singer for Toronto fixture In Support of Living Brad Ketchen, who will be turning in a rare solo set.
Teranga, 159 Augusta Avenue, $5, 9 pm

FESTIVAL | Franco-Fête de Toronto
I've always had a soft spot for the French language, possibly because my high school French teacher was a bosomy woman who used to let me read the Parisian nudie magazines in her desk if I finished my work early. But apparently French culture means much more than inappropriate teacher/student relations for many people in this country, and Franco-fête is returning for a 28th consecutive year this weekend for the largest francophone celebration west of Ottawa. The family-friendly festival kicks off tonight with a homard (lobster) dinner aboard the Jubilee Queen, and continues tomorrow with a concert from Quebec's most successful punk band les Vulgaires Machins at the El Mocambo. On Saturday a full day of French cooking demonstrations, kids activities, and concerts is planned, including performances from slam poet Carl Bessette, bilingual singer-songwriter Tricia Foster, and Montreal electro duo Orange Orange. A special Spotlight on Haiti program will feature musicians from the stricken island. Runs til Saturday.
Homard Souper: Jubilee Queen, 539 Queen's Quay West, $50, Thursday 6 pm
Soiree Choq: El Mocambo, 464 Spadina Avenue, Free, Friday 9 pm
Franco-Fête: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queen's Quay West, Free, Saturday 12:30 pm - 1:30 am

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Photo: "its just a cow, bill" by StudioGabe, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.


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