Toronto harbour

Weekend Radar: Empire of Dreams, Fiction in the Age of E-Books, NXNE Film Wraps Up, Toronto Small Press Book Fair, Dragon Boat Race Festival, M.U.C.K. Film Festival, Clay & Paper Theatre's Day of Delight, Taste of Little Italy

Saturday, May 19

GALLERY | Empire of Dreams
This new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art examines the multiple purposes of the structures we build. Fulfilling our most basic need for shelter while simultaneously serving as vehicles for our wildest imaginations, how we interact with the buildings around us have a profound effect on our lives. Made up of work by several artists working in different mediums, including Dan Bergeron (a.k.a. Fauxreel), Liam Crockard, Tristram Lansdowne, and Dorian Fitzgerald, the show presents different perspectives on our relationship to the city and opens today with a bbq reception courtesy of the Prague Deli.
MOCCA, 952 Queen Street West, Free, Reception Saturday 7 pm - 11 pm, Gallery hours Tuesday to Sunday 11 am - 6 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | Fiction in the Age of E-Books
When it comes to the future of the printed word, it seems like the writing is on the wall. The invention of the Kindle and iPad marks the beginning of the post-print era, but even as digital media appears destined to crowd out paper books, it is much less clear what e-books will mean for writing itself. Authors Paul Theroux and Richard Bausch, two of the first contributors to the Atlantic's direct-to Kindle fiction series, will be joined by Indigo president Joel Silver and Sarah MacLachlan of House of Anansi Press to consider the possibility that new media might usher in a new golden age for writing just as downloading technology has led to a boon in creativity in the music industry.
Isabel Bader Theatre, 83 Charles Street, $15, 1 pm

FILM | NXNE Film Festival at the Underground Cinema
With the NXNE festival turning the whole city into a loud, sloppy, drink-til-4 am party later tonight, take it easy during the day and check out the last day of movies at the film portion of the festival. The schedule begins with Tromeo and Juliet (1 pm), the 1996 punk adaptation of Shakespeare's classic narrated by Lemmy from Motorhead. Later in the evening Superstonic Sound: The Rebel Dread, which traces the life of UK dub pioneer Don Letts, will make its world premiere with the director Raphael Erichsen in attendance. Capping off the night is the Canadian premiere of Stones in Exile (9 pm), the much-anticipated doc about the making of the Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street.
Toronto Underground Cinema, 186 Spadina Avenue, All films free with NXNE pass or $10 at the door, schedule starts at 1 pm

BOOKS AND LIT | Toronto Small Press Book Fair
The Small Press Book Fair happens twice a year and its spring edition hits the city on Saturday, bringing Toronto bibliophiles the best in the kind of fiction, nonfiction, zines, journals and periodicals that you won't find in Indigo's storefront window. Over sixty local small and small-ish publishers are represented, including the Porcupine's Quill, Bongo Beat Books, The Mammalian Daily, Clark Nova Books, and OCAD imprint Nano-Nano. Emerging and established authors will read from their books on-site, and there will also be food to keep your stomach satisfied while you feed your mind.
The Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West, Free, 11 am - 5 pm

SPORTS | Toronto Dragon Boat Race Festival
Getting to the Olympic Island concert this weekend is going to involve long lines and tight squeezes on ferries, so you may want to see if you can catch a ride with one of the 200 vessels headed to the island for the Dragon Boat Race Festival. Part boating competition and part cultural fair, the festival attracts tens of thousands of people each year and combines races with multi-cultural performances and exotic food. Among the 5,000 athletes competing this year are teams of youth with physical and developmental disabilities and at least one team of cancer survivors, making this as much a celebration of team spirit as it is an exhibition of athletic excellence.
Centre Island, $10 meal ticket and $6.50 ferry, Saturday and Sunday 8 am - 6 pm

Roncesvalles village is a bit like the Florida of Toronto neighbourhoods; it's where Queen Streeters go when they get old. Or at least too old to care about what's happening at the Social. Roncy celebrates itself today with a festival that will see four concert stages set up along the street as well as art displays lining the sidewalk. Sidewalk sales from local businesses will also be happening all day, and the neighbourhood's famous Polish restaurants and delis will be selling their renowned schnitzels and pastries right on the street.
Roncesvalles Avenue, Concerts 11 am - 6 pm, art and other activities continue into the evening

Sunday, May 20

FILM | MUCK Film Festival
Every third Sunday of the month the MUCK Film Festival attempts to muddy the waters of comfortable ignorance by presenting films that take uncompromising looks at issues of politics, the environment, and social justice. Presented by social affairs television station ichannel, the first of three so-called "Movies of Uncommon Knowledge" screening this month are Rethink Afghanistan (3 pm), a documentary about the ongoing war in that country by Robert Greenwald, the man whose McCain's Mansions led to Republican presidential candidate John McCain famously admitting that he didn't know how many houses he owned. That will be followed by Burma VJ (5 pm), a film by Danish director Anders Østergaard about Burmese journalists risking their lives to capture footage of pro-democracy protests during their country's 2007 uprising against the totalitarian government. Rounding out the schedule is No Past to Speak Of (7:30 pm), which examines the frighteningly high rates of rape in South Africa through the lens of the now-notorious case of an attack on a five-month old girl.
The Royal Cinema, 608 College Street, $10 per film, first film at 3 pm

OUTDOOR THEATRE | Clay and Paper Theatre presents the 8th Annual Day of Delight
Spend a romantic Sunday afternoon in the park and enjoy Clay & Paper Theatre's annual celebration of love and desire. Known for their huge puppets and extravagant outdoor performances, the community-oriented Clay & Paper company is an initiative that seeks to merge art with daily life and to that end will be turning Dufferin Grove park into a great big festival complete with theatre, music, dance, a bicycle parade and stilt-walking. Nothing says romance like a dude on stilts. Those guys are always getting laid.
Dufferin Grove Park, Sylvan and Dufferin Streets, Free, 2 pm - 5 pm

FILM | Movies in the Park: the Great Outdoors
I miss John Candy. His performance in Uncle Buck alone is enough to warrant naming a landmark in this city after him, which is something we are apparently planning to do. As the first instalment of this year's Movies in the Park series, Riverdale Park will play host to a screening of the Candy-Aykroyd classic The Great Outdoors tonight, so grab a blanket get ready to laugh at a fat man ruining a skinnier man's vacation. The family-friendly film series will show two more movies later in the summer in an effort to raise money for Art City and the Kiwanis Clubs of Regent Park.
Riverdale Park, Broadview and Riverdale Avenue, Donation requested at the Rooster Coffeehouse, 9 pm


FESTIVAL | Taste of Little Italy
College Street comes alive this weekend during the 11th annual Taste of Little Italy Festival, Toronto's celebration of the food, music and culture of the big boot across the sea which began Friday night. The neighbourhood's famous Italian restaurants like the Riva Supper Lounge and La Forchetta (as well as some not-so Italian ones like the Auld Spot) are offering up special tasting menus of authentic Italian food and cocktails, and local artisans and craft makers will be exhibiting their wares. Bands will also be playing practically round the clock on street corners, and if you want to see some true Italian passion on display pop into one of the bars on Sunday at 2 pm to watch Italy take on New Zealand in the World Cup. Runs til Sunday.
College Street between Bathurst and Shaw Streets, Saturday 12 pm to 2 am, Sunday 12 pm to 10 pm

FESTIVAL | Wish Come True Festival
Since Wednesday the Miami Beach art collective FriendsWithYou has been turning the Ontario legislature's backyard into a colourful celebration dedicated to the joys of everyday life. The optimistic art group has filled the park with 12-metre high inflatable creatures that look like they've wandered out of Japanese cartoon, with a puffy little critter called the Rainbow King holding court to spread his message of happiness and friendship. An artistic spectacle intended for all ages, the project is presented in partnership with Luminato which wraps up this weekend.
Queen's Park, Free, Saturday 11 am - 11 pm, Sunday 11 am - 6 pm

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Photo: "Untitled" by allanparke, member of the blogTO Flickr Pool.

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