We're for being green all year round, but it never hurts to pay special attention on Earth Day . April 22 is the officially designated day for honouring our planet. Go to www.toronto.ca for info on events planned around town. And check out NOW's inaugural green issue on April 20, when we spread the word on new and innovative eco-visions.
Spring's style report calls for a heavy downpour of sherbety shades and preppy looks, but nothing says fair-weather fashion with more T.O. flair than a ticket to Fashion Cares , at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre . The annual high-couture mega-gala turns 20 on June 3. Over two decades, the event has raised $9 million-plus to benefit the AIDS Committee of Toronto . Start stitching together your perfect philanthropista ensemble now and log on to www.fashioncares.com for ticket info.
T.O. continues to be a major literary destination. 2001 Booker Prize winner Peter Carey hits the Harbourfront Reading Series (www.readings.org) May 10, and legend Gay Talese checks in on May 16, both at the Brigantine Room (235 Queens Quay West). 416-973-4000. Douglas Coupland brings his latest novel, JPod, a sprawling sequel to Microsurf, to an event at the U of T Faculty of Music (80 Queen's Park) on May 23. 416-598-1447.
This Is Not A Reading Series maintains its record for creative programming, featuring GG nominee Joseph Boyden and wife Amanda Boyden in a night of readings and acrobatics (really, Amanda's deep into it) on May 9 at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West). Also part of the series, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi , author of Iran Awakening: A Memoir Of Revolution And Hope comes to OISE Auditorium (252 Bloor West) on April 27. www.pagesbooks.ca.
The Leafs are losers. Get over it. Or think of it this way: there's no chance of heart failure for Toronto fans as the NHL post-season gets under way, just the opportunity to see good hockey without worrying too much about who's winning. Unless you're joining a hockey pool, that is, in which case you don't have to feel guilty about not drafting any Leafs, and you can cheer your dream team without feeling any emotional conflict. There's always next year - and the Blue Jays, of course.
The Contact Photography Festival (www.contactphoto.com) turns 10 this year and plans to celebrate in style through its May 1 to 31 run. In a decade, the fest has grown from 50 exhibitors to 180 showing in galleries, stores and restaurants across town. This year, pursuing the theme of Imaging A Global Culture, artists probe trade, environment, cross-cultural and technological issues. Public space gets some attention, too, with exhibits appearing in subway stations, transit shelters and on city streets. The public launch happens April 28 at Brassaii Bistro (461 King West). Best of all, most events are free.
World Literacy of Canada 's ( worldlit.ca) series of fundraisers is always interesting, but we're especially inspired by the Mind, Body, Soul event slated for May 10 at the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen's Park). Canada's first native lieutenant governor, James Bartleman , the Star's smart religion columnist, Tom Harpur , and brilliant traditional Chinese medicine doctor Xiaolan Zhao speak about their experiences. Definitely worth the $40 freight. Besides, this is a funder for WLC. 416-977-0008.
From muddy creeks to backyard trees, nature is bursting with lust and birth in April, and the rites of spring are as varied as the city's wild inhabitants. Take mourning doves, for example. Far shyer and more demure than their street-strutting pigeon cousins, in April they give full voice to the soft, sombre, lingering coos for which they're named. Rather than being notes of despair, however, these coos are woos sounded by longing, feathered Cyranos.
In early spring, opossums, some of the oddest urban creatures, meet and mate, males brandishing a two-pronged penis to match their partners' double uterus. Less than two weeks after conception, well over a dozen pink, blind, only partially developed newborns, each smaller than a kidney bean, emerge from their mother's womb and crawl along a saliva trail left by her to her 11-nippled stomach pouch.
Crusty curmudgeons that take to cities better than others of their transformative ilk, toads dig themselves out of the dirt in April and retrace their leaps to the creeks, ponds and marshes of their youth. On warm days, males belt out high, musical 15- to 30-second trills to attract the ladies. The party's over once the last double-stranded string of gooey eggs is released and all the toads return to land. Hatching days later, schools of tiny, black, wiggly tailed tadpoles follow suit after they sprout legs within six to nine weeks.
Spring's the perfect time to go gallery hopping. In the public venues, Peter Doig 's works on paper at the AGO (317 Dundas West, to June 18) trade on their colourful simplicity to evoke memories of moments rather than the moments themselves. Down at the Power Plant (231 Queens Quay West, to May 28 ), Scandinavian duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset 's Welfare Show (see review, page 90) is dividing visitors into two groups: those who hate minimal-industrial-conceptual art and those who love it. Even going to hate it is worthwhile. John Monteith gets intricate at XEXE Gallery (624 Richmond West, to April 29) with some fabulous drawings/paintings that work like multiple exposures to show people in emotional flux. Another labour-intensive feat, Stephen Andrews 's Deer In The Headlights turns millions of crayon dots into pixelated images of violent moments culled from mass media, at Akau (1186 Queen West) through May 6. And go see Jennifer Stillwell 's video and sculptural installation at Pari Nadimi (254 Niagara), which pits the body and scraps of food against building materials. To May 13.
Not so token toke-in
With the federal Tories set to clamp down on weed, it's more important than ever to fight for your right to pot. Join demonstrators at the Global Marijuana March at Queen's Park on May 6. Go to www.cannabisweek.ca for updates and information.
Mayworks , (www.mayworks.ca) the annual celebration of working-class culture, offers another full slate April 28 to May 7. Highlights include an event focusing on diverse female talents, including gifted poet/playwright d'bi.young , acclaimed author Shani Mootoo and performance artist Gein Wong at Buddies (12 Alexander) May 4, and a walking tour of the real Parkdale in the age of gentrification, aka The Parkdale Stories Walking Tour, animated by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Reena Katz , on May 7. Meet at the southeast corner of Gladstone and Queen .
Parents yearning for quality kids' events should run to Harbourfront Centre 's International Children's Festival (235 Queens Quay West), slated for May 21 to 28, now celebrating its 25th year. Programmers have travelled all over the world to find the best music, theatre and films on the planet. Not to be missed. www.harbourfrontcentre.com.