Radar: Wish Come True Festival, Canadian Songbook: Bruce Cockburn, Speak the F**k Up!, East/West in Canadian Ficiton, NXNE

FESTIVAL | Wish Come True Festival
Unless you're a Tory backbencher who's just caught Dalton McGuinty lying through his shiny white teeth, there's usually not much fun to be had at Queen's Park. But for the next five days, Miami Beach art collective FriendsWithYou is turning legislatures backyard into a colourful celebration dedicated to the joys of everyday life. The optimistic art group is filling the park with 12-metre high inflatable creatures that look like they've wandered out of Japanese cartoon, while the Rainbow King holds court and spreads his message of happiness and friendship. An artistic spectacle intended for all ages and commisioned by Luminato, the festival brightens the heart of the city til Sunday.
Queen's Park, Free, Wednesday and Thursday 11 am - 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am - 11 pm, Sunday 11 am - 6 pm

MUSIC | Canadian Songbook: Bruce Cockburn
Ottawa native Bruce Cockburn got his big break when, appearing as a solo artist for the first time at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1969, headliner Neil Young cancelled so he could play at Woodstuck and Cockburn was bumped to the top of the bill. Since then he's released a staggering 29 albums and written classic hits like "Lovers In a Dangerous Time." Tonight renowned Canadian musicians join Cockburn to play a selection of songs from his forty-year career as part of the Canadian Songbook series, and performers include some of his closest musical friends like the Barenaked Ladies (who's first hit was a Cockburn cover), Hawksley Workman, Buck 65, the Wailin Jennys, and jazz guitarist Michael Occhipinti. Hosted by CanCon champion Jian Ghomeshi.
Massey Hall, 178 Victoria Street, $55 - $85, 7:30 pm

PANEL | and This Magazine present Speak the F**k Up!
With the Toronto meeting of the G8/G20 just around the corner, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being very vocal about his initiative to improve maternal and child health around the world. But his plans have been met with criticism from all sides and tonight activist journalism blog and political periodical This Magazine host a forum on whether or not Mr. Harper and co. have any business telling the women of the world how to be healthy. Chair of social justice at Ryerson University Judy Rebick moderates a panel that includes the Toronto Star's Antonia Zerbisias and Josephine Grey of Low Income Families Together.
Clinton's Tavern, 693 Bloor Street West, $5, 7:30 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | East/West in Canadian Fiction
Canada is a big place, and an author living in Vancouver probably doesn't have much in common with some one eking out a living in the harbours of Nova Scotia or running a farm in rural Ontario. Add into the mix the fact that much of the country's population are recent immigrants, and it becomes difficult to define any kind of commonality. A panel of authors from across the country convene tonight to discuss how geographic differences affect our idea of "Canadian fiction" and if such a thing as an East/West divide exists in national literature. Edmonton-based Lynn Coady, author of Saints of Big Harbour, will be joined by Saskatchewan poet Lorna Crozier, Indian-born author Anosh Irani, and Newfoundlander Michael Winter. The event will be moderated by journalist Noah Richler, son of the great Montreal author Mordecai Richler.
Toronto Reference Library, Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, 789 Yonge Street, Free, 7 pm

Although its industry and interactive programs began on Monday, tonight the music portion of the NXNE festival kicks off, opening five days of performances by 650 bands at 40 venues across the city. Check out our preview for all the best bets, which tonight include opening night bashes with the Eagles of Death Metal at the Phoenix and Still Life Still at the Mod Club.
Various venues and times, check website for full details, festival wristbands $50, single day passes $25

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Photo: "Defrag" by Book'em, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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