Find out why people are talking about a comic book boom when retailer the Beguiling sponsors the Toronto Comic Arts Festival May 28 and 29. Guests include Chester Brown , lesbo cartoonist Paige Braddock (Jane's World), Ho Che Anderson (King) and Gary Panter of Pee-wee's Playhouse fame, who also launches his new book, Satiro-Plastic, at the Harbourfront Reading Series May 25. www.torontocomics. com.
There's nothing like face time with a good writer, and spring offers some terrific opportunities. Gene Wilder hits town May 3 withhis new autobiography, Kiss Me Like A Stranger. This Is Not A Readings Series brings him to the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor West) for an onstage interview. 416-598-1447.
Set aside May 4, when Achmat Dangor , author of Bitter Fruit, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2004, reads as part of the Harbourfront Reading Series. Brigantine Room at York Quay Centre (235 Queens Quay West). www.readings. org.
And best-seller Kazuo Ishiguro joins the U of T Reading Series April 18 with his new release, Never Let Me Go. Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles West). 416-978-7989.
FemCab all grown up
Groundbreaking Nightwood cabaret FemCab turns 25 this year, and the feminist theatre company is celebrating with a star-studded show featuring Cathy Jones , Ann-Marie MacDonald , Djanet Sears , Mary Walsh and d'bi.young . Many of the performers made their first-ever appearance on stage at a FemCab. Gloria Steinem is the special guest. Diane Flacks and Karen Robinson host. May 2 at the Isabel Bader Theatre. 416-978-8849.
The big festival to watch for this spring is the 2005 Contact Toronto Photography Festival (May 5 to June 4). A highlight is at Gallery 44 (401 Richmond West), which shows two installations by KIT , an international art collective that questions technological progress. Check NOW's coverage starting April 28 for more Contact tips. And if you just have to get outside right now, head straight to xpace (303 Augusta), where 12 women, a mix of Canadian and American illustrators, offer their associations with the phrase " Boys Club " until April 14. Then meander down to Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects (1086 Queen West) to catch Sara MacCulloch 's minimalist paintings of her favourite spots in the Maritimes and Nancy Friedland 's found class photos - she's blanked out the kids, leaving only the clothes and the odd bare arm. Quickly, now, this one ends Saturday (April 9).
Doors of perception
Think you know T.O? We bet there are a few buildings you know nothing about. The Doors Open event does something about that by letting you visit over 100 buildings of architectural significance - banks, mansions, places of worship, museums - many of which are not normally open to the public. May 28 and 29. www. doorsopen.org.
Join the thousands of demonstrators protesting Canada's archaic pot laws May 7 in North Queen's Park (behind the legislature) from noon to 7 pm. And light one up while you're at it. email@example.com.
Labour of love
The Mayworks festival of labour, art and politics unfolds April 30 to May 8 in venues all over town. Highlights include the performance installation Poetry Is Not A Luxury by Sandra Alland , Karen (Miranda) Augustine and Anna Camilleri at This Ain't The Rosedale Library on May 4; Easy Money by the Injured Workers Theatre Project in collaboration with Kate Lushington and Red Pepper Spectacle Arts at Steelworkers Hall, May 6; and The Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble , featuring Jani Lauzon , Monique Mojica and Michelle St. John , at the Native Canadian Centre, May 7. www.mayworks.ca.
After surviving the fashion hell that is winter in Canada - complete with hat head, multi-layering of sombre-toned clothing and, of course, sensible (read, ugly) shoes and boots - it's time to make up for the wardrobe drudgery. So throw on those killer shades and heels and, for gawd's sake, bare those arms and legs. Spring is here! And from the affordable to the not-so, there's a fashion event just perfect for you to flash out your new spring gear.
Before you start skimping on fabric, get a full-length mirror and consider attending LifeFest 2005, A Life In Balance Expo for a total mind and body overhaul. April 15 to 17 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre; www.lifefest.ca.
Then score a gold star for how giving - and well-dressed - you are by hitting the Buy Design charity gala, which benefits Windfall, Canada's only new clothing bank. April 16 in the Distillery District. 416-703-8435, www. buydesignbywindfall. ca.
Ready for new, uh, old clothes? Come shop a warehouse full of both at the biannual Clothing Show at the Automotive Building at Exhibition Place May 14 and 15. www.theclothingshow.com.
You'll be glad you scored that vintage fabulous evening number when you flaunt it at ACT Toronto's seriously glam annual AIDS fundraiser on June 4, Fashion Cares . Because it does, you know. www.fashioncares.org.
Sick of dragging the kids to treacly shows full of clichés and platitudes? Thank the gods for Harbourfront Centre's International Children's Festival Of The Arts - music, theatre, dance, and stories hand-picked from around the world. Guaranteed to keep adults interested, too, this is children's entertainment like nothing else. Runs May 22 to 29. 416-973-4000.