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WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of March 27 – 29

BY KYLA CLARKE

Winchester Warm hopes to heat up this city this weekend at Doldrums Music Festival

Winchester Warm heats up this city this weekend at Doldrums Music Festival

Pop Art Poetry
Kicking off this week, VERSeFest is a weeklong showcase of written- and spoken-word poetry (running until to Monday, March 30), brought to you by a number of poetry groups within the city. There will be a variety of events throughout the downtown core all week, but here are the must-sees for the weekend:

Komi Olaf will perform his spoken word poetry and live art this weekend at VERSeFest

Komi Olaf will perform his spoken word poetry and live art this weekend at VERSeFest

On Friday, March 27, Urban Legends presents four spoken-word poetry performers, including Nigerian-born Komi Olaf. I’ve seen him before and his show is really cool. He speaks of culture, adversity, and natural beauty — in verse — all the while live painting a portrait that reflects the content of his poetry. Olaf may not be a pop star, but he does it all whilst donning a Britney Spears-style headset microphone. The best part? The painting is available for purchase at the end.

On Saturday, March 28, Capital Slam presents a spinoff of their regular show, featuring three female slam poets — all of whom are nationally recognized for their writing and slam skills. Juno award-winning Lillian Allen will perform her innovative style of slam, called “dub poetry,” which can best be described as a blend of rap, hip hop, and spoken word poetry.
Both events are at 9pm at Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar Street. For more information about VERSeFest events this week, or to buy tickets, go to www.versefest.ca

Time for spring to get sprung
Music lovers seeking respite from this seemingly endless winter: rejoice. Doldrums Music Festival, established four years ago as a hopeful push for spring, comes to us like an antidote to the cold. For two nights, local bands will “make your feet move, windows sweat, and winter realize it’s time to move on.” On Friday, March 27 at Pressed Café, Winchester Warm headlines the four-act evening with powerful and emotive indie-folk. On Saturday, March 28 at Club SAW, four more bands take the stage, with punk rockers Big Dick headlining. Their big single is called “Disappointment,” but I won’t be let down if they don’t last as long as winter has.
Pressed Café is located at 750 Gladstone. Club SAW is located at 67 Nicholas Street. Tickets are $8 for one show or $15 for both and are available at Vertigo or The Record Centre.

Game On
Have you ever wanted to create your own video game but never thought you could? On, Friday, March 27, the chance is yours. HUB Ottawa and RedBrick Rooster Creative are hosting a full-day video game workshop for all levels, led by artist and game developer Kara Stone. You’ll have to bring your own laptop, but all software is provided to create your own pixel art. Because if Kim Kardashian can do it, anyone can. Right?
HUB Ottawa is located at 71 Bank Street. Tickets are $45 for the public, or $30 for HUB members. To buy tickets, click here.

A Funeral Like No Other

Take Me Back to Jefferson runs all month at the NAC.

Take Me Back to Jefferson runs all month at the NAC.

Starting tonight, March 25, and running into the weekend, Take Me Back to Jefferson hits the stage at the National Arts Centre. The play, based on the famous Faulkner novel As I Lay Dying, tells the darkly humorous story of one family’s journey to bury their matriarch. The family’s battle against flood, fire, and personal chaos on a 40-mile funeral procession across the state of Mississippi is portrayed by a versatile ensemble cast. Also on Saturday, March 28 at 12:45 p.m., theatre buffs can enjoy a FREE talk by two special guests offering their perspectives on the piece, as part of the NAC’s Points of View series.
Tickets start at $25. Showtimes and ticket info can be found at www.nac-cna.ca. The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin Street.

SHOP TALK: The Perfect Indulgence for the Socially Conscious Lush

BY KYLA CLARKE AND HANNAH WALLACE

LUSH Rideau Centre 2 (1)

Good news for Rideau Centre regulars: Lush is branching out and has set up shop in the downtown shopping centre. You’ll know when you’re near — the potent smell of paradise will guide you to their new location at the bottom of the escalator on the second floor, next to Nordstrom. Lush is the perfect “treat yourself” store, and with its socially conscious products, you can feel good about treating yourself to their luxe soaps and bath products.

The British-based chain crossed the Atlantic in 1996, opening their first international store in Vancouver. There are now over 200 shops in North America, and all the products for this side of the pond are made right here in Canada. For years, Ottawa’s Lush was located on William Street in the ByWard Market, but the Rideau Centre’s recent transformation has allowed opportunity for a new shop — and maybe some new clientele too. Here’s a look at some of the qualities that set Lush apart from the rest of the beauty biz:

It’s Local, Naturally

The ingredients for all of Lush’s products come from the grocers and farmer’s markets of the Vancouver and Toronto areas, which are organic, biodegradable, and all natural. They make an effort to limit packaging (which is why the store smells so strongly), and any packaging that does exist is recyclable or compostable.

Fair Play

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Lush’s Charity Pot Body Lotion $6.95 – $25.95

Lush is a company that prides itself on its fair trade, environmentally friendly, and ethical operations. Lush openly condemns animal testing and the use of chemicals and parabens, a widely-used preservative that’s been linked to the disruption of hormone functions. Furthermore, Lush works to support local charities. Their Charity Pot body lotion, made from ylang ylang, rosewood oils, and a hydrating cocoa butter, is the perfect antidote to Canada’s dry winters – and 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity. (Understanding the roots of their products might help when deciding to spend a little more.)

Variety

Lush has a wide range of high-quality products: from skin care to hair care, to makeup to their famous luxurious bath bombs. But Lush is not just for the ladies – they offer a line of natural and rustic-scented men’s products as well. The Kalamazoo beard and facial wash ($9.95 – $22.95) is a two-in-one stop for the busy bearded man on-the-go.

Personal Touch

Many of Lush’s products have the unique aspect of identifying the creator of each product. Connecting buyers to the hands who have made their product is what makes the Lush experience unique and personal. Their website also highlights the company’s transparency, featuring “How It’s Made” videos, full lists of ingredients, and facts about the natural ingredients they use. (Did you know citrus works as the perfect morning mental boost? That’s why they add it to their shower gel.)

Perfect Timing

Lush always offers a special item or two to suit the season. With Easter right around corner, treat the Funny Bunny in your life with an adorable bath gift basket ($48.95), which includes Lush’s Hoppity Poppity Bath Bomb. Not feeling festive? Their vegan Stepping Stone foot scrub ($4.50) is the perfect way to prep your pieds for sandal season.

 

 

FEATURED HOME: Classic mid-century house tailor-made to suit natural setting

This article was first published in the Interiors 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

BY JANINE DEBANNE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Commissioned by the owners, this classic mid-century modern house was tailor-made to suit their lifestyle and its natural setting

The main living areas are on the second floor, which makes for beautiful views. The heart of the house is the living room, where the large windows connect the Lipsetts to the tree-filled backyard. Photo by Marc Fowler

The main living areas are on the second floor, which makes for beautiful views. The heart of the house is the living room, where the large windows connect the Lipsetts to the tree-filled backyard. Photo by Marc Fowler

The staircase - a steel structure with floating oak treads - makes a bold statement as visitors enter the house and climb toward the luminous upper floor. In more than five decades, no one has ever tripped on them, says Fred. Photo by Marc Fowler

The staircase – a steel structure with floating oak treads – makes a bold statement as visitors enter the house and climb toward the luminous upper floor. In more than five decades, no one has ever tripped on them, says Fred. Photo by Marc Fowler

In the age of the speculative house designed for a buyer yet unknown, it’s rare to meet people who have lived in the same home for 50 years. Fred and Elizabeth Lipsett still reside in the abundantly windowed cedar-clad box they commissioned in 1958 and moved into in 1959. To this day, they continue to open their doors to friends and neighbours and, with some helpers, to tend the garden in summer, the leaves in fall, and the snow in winter. Exuding practical elegance in every way — size, scale, materials, layout — the Lipsett House stands as an exemplar of mid-century modernist residential architecture in Ottawa. Flat roofed and devoid of the accoutrements of particular styles, the house possesses a sort of timeless quietude, deferring to the trees and grounds that surround it.

This is a family home that has served only one family: the one that thought of it and built it. The Lipsetts have made a few discreet alterations to the original house in the years since it was built, including turning a screened porch into a three-season room, adding a deck along the back in 1970, and building a small addition beneath the house four years later. They also replaced a fireplace (that smoked) with a two-sided bookcase to hold a collection of fine pottery and baskets from around the world.

When they hired architect Paul Schoeler (1929–2013) to design their house, Fred and Elizabeth brought together complementary sensibilities. Fred was from Vancouver, Elizabeth, from Johannesburg, South Africa. They had met in London, where Fred was completing his PhD in physics at the Imperial College and Elizabeth was visiting the places she had studied while completing her fine arts degree, hitchhiking through England and the continent. They went to concerts together and, with a group of friends, watched Queen Elizabeth’s coronation procession on a crowded London street. After Fred returned to Canada, he wrote to Elizabeth (who had returned to South Africa), asking her to marry him and move to Canada. He greeted her boat, a cargo ship, when it arrived in New York from Cape Town. They married in 1957 and moved into an apartment in Sandy Hill. Soon after that, they purchased a lot in Rothwell Heights, not far from the National Research Council on Blair Road, where Fred worked.

Elizabeth had been initiated into modernist architecture in Johannesburg by her friend, architect and architectural photographer Wim Swann. When the time came to build her family home, she sought out an architect engaged in the modernist idiom and versed in designing for the Canadian climate. Elizabeth was told about a young architect named Paul Schoeler, a McGill graduate who had fought in World War II, by another of his clients, Mr. Torontow, who ran a modern furniture store located in what used to be known as the Hardy Arcade. Fred was receptive to modernism, and when they began meetings with the architect, he was easily brought to Schoeler’s vision. The young architect was still establishing his practice when the Lipsetts met him. “He got very busy after that,” explains Elizabeth. The firm of Schoeler and Heaton would go on to produce numerous modernist houses and some of Ottawa’s institutional landmarks, including the elliptical Public Service Alliance building at the corner of Metcalfe and Gilmour and the boldly experimental Charlebois High School (now St. Patrick’s High School) in Alta Vista.

Flat roofed and devoid of the accoutrements of particular styles, the house possesses a sort of timeless quietude, deferring to the trees and grounds that surround it. Photo by Marc Fowler

Flat roofed and devoid of the accoutrements of particular styles, the house possesses a sort of timeless quietude, deferring to the trees and grounds that surround it. Photo by Marc Fowler

The two-storey house has the living floor on the upper level, which means that, in effect, it must be entered twice. Schoeler solved this problem masterfully by creating two contrasting entrances. At grade, one arrives at a foyer with a terra cotta tile floor, commanded by a staircase to the living floor. This space has an earthy quality, and its linear proportions set the circulation pattern for that floor. The staircase — a steel structure with floating oak treads — rises toward the luminous upper floor and a second entry realm. The ground level is a service floor for the house above, containing a guest bedroom, a workshop, a room originally labelled “recreation” that became Elizabeth’s pottery studio, and a utility room. Fred, a physicist, music lover, and violist, claimed space down there for his drafting board, computers, and equipment to record his favourite BBC programs.

Elizabeth had been initiated into modernist architecture in Johannesburg by her friend, architect and architectural photographer Wim Swann. When she and Fred designed and furnished their own home, they did so with a discerning eye, choosing furnishings that have stood the test of time. Photo by Marc Fowler

Elizabeth had been initiated into modernist architecture in Johannesburg by her friend, architect and architectural photographer Wim Swann. When she and Fred designed and furnished their own home, they did so with a discerning eye, choosing furnishings that have stood the test of time. Photo by Marc Fowler

The upper foyer has the great advantage of being entirely dry since the business of taking off coats and boots occurs below. It is fitted with a wall of shallow closets stacked directly above the deep coat closets of the ground-level foyer. These cabinets store ironing board and linens, Fred’s audio tapes, Elizabeth’s photography equipment and travel slides and, at one time, children’s toys. But beyond its usefulness for storage, this hinge space (and the railing around the stair opening — a “marvellous” drying rack for sheets and tablecloths) performs a crucial role in the house plan. On Schoeler’s drawings, it is labelled “kitchen — utility — play,” and it connects three different realms of the house: the living room, the private sleeping wing, and the laundry and kitchen area.

The floor finishes — wood in the living room and dining area and colourful cork linoleum elsewhere (a vivid blue for the kitchen and foyer, a light terra cotta in the bedrooms) — reiterate the simple and clear architectural idea contained in the plans, which is that the entire house is a sort of journey to the living room overlooking the hill. Every other space is designed to play a supporting role for the heart of the house.

Schoeler was aware that the escarpment backing the Lipsetts’ lot might overpower the house and decided that the living room — the entire living floor, in fact — needed to be raised. “This was his best idea,” recalls Fred. The resulting living room gains a profound relationship with the hill that rises beyond its wall of windows. It is a room of moving beauty. With proportions that strike a balance between generosity and intimacy, the room functions well for either small or large gatherings. Fred recalls with special fondness the room’s use for casual concerts with his chamber musician friends.

The Lipsetts have made a few discreet alterations to the original house in the years since it was built, including adding windows to turn their screened porch into a three-season room. The outdoorsy space has a cottagey feel to it, all wood and glass and tree-filled views. Photo by Marc Fowler

The Lipsetts have made a few discreet alterations to the original house in the years since it was built, including adding windows to turn their screened porch into a three-season room. The outdoorsy space has a cottagey feel to it, all wood and glass and tree-filled views. Photo by Marc Fowler

While the house is devoid of ostentation, it is nonetheless superbly well built. The original building specifications for the house noted: “all workmanship to be first class, incorporating best recognized practice.” Clean and deliberate detailing, such as floor-to-ceiling mahogany doors and narrow pine baseboards, provide the interior with a refined and serene appearance. In the living room, slender window frames fitted with streamlined hardware seem to recede, making the outside environment feel all the more present inside the house. And this is quite important, because the interior of the Lipsett House cannot be accurately described except as a dialogue of house and landscape, interior and exterior.

This pretty tableau hints at the two key motifs so apparent throughout this house - the owners' love of mid-century modern design and furnishings and their appreciation for fine arts and crafts. Photo by Marc Fowler

This pretty tableau hints at the two key motifs so apparent throughout this house – the owners’ love of mid-century modern design and furnishings and their appreciation for fine arts and crafts. Photo by Marc Fowler

Schoeler conceived every room of the house with precision, fitting each one with closets and windows that were both generous in size and positioned with clear intention as to how the room would be used and what views could be enjoyed. Yet it is fair to say that the Lipsett House challenges the very meaning of “house interior” by not really making the interiors a strong focus. The house is much more concerned with establishing connections and weaving relationships with community and landscape than it is with finishes in and of themselves. Significantly, parts of the house remain unfinished, such as some rooms in the lower level. The material palette also plays on unfinished-ness: unpainted cedar, exposed cinderblock, and cement panels remain in the “finished” house. Schoeler’s pared-down idea about materials gives his houses a compelling and unencumbered immediacy.

The couple credits the integration of the house and its landscape with making owning a cottage unnecessary. They talk about how much they have enjoyed living in their house. “We have wonderful neighbours,” they always add. And the fact that the Lipsetts have never felt the need to do wide-ranging renovations is a testament to the quality of the architecture. This is also to the benefit of architectural heritage and building memory: today the Lipsett House is a showcase of exemplary detailing, building techniques, and products dating from the late 1950s. With its thoughtful dimensions, considered layout, and excellent craftsmanship, this house is remarkable, and yet, unlike many of the houses now being built, it seems to disappear on its lot. Though it has changed very little since it was built, it has been many different houses through the years — and always the right house for its occupants. In this sense, the Lipsett House is much more than a house. It is a statement of architecture’s potential for making a life complete.

Over the years, the couple has made a few discreet alterations to the original house, including adding a deck along the back of the house in 1970. Photo by Marc Fowler

Over the years, the couple has made a few discreet alterations to the original house, including adding a deck along the back of the house in 1970. Photo by Marc Fowler

 

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of March 19 – 22

By KYLA CLARKE

Swedish film director Ruben Östlund.

Swedish film director Ruben Östlund.


Comedy and Carbs
On one hand, comedy is good. On the other hand, poutine is good. Now put your hands together. Live Ottawa Laughs, the Byward Market’s best kept secret, is a regular Thursday event that buys you all-you-can-eat poutine for $10, and a FREE standup show to entertain you while you stuff your face. The show starts at 8:30, but get there early – word’s been getting out, and the place fills up fast.
Patty Boland’s is at 101 Clarence Street. Email comedyottawa@gmail.com if you’d like to make reservations.

Swedish Movie Marathon
In partnership with Carleton University and the Swedish Embassy in Canada, the Canadian Film Institute brings us In Case of No Emergency: The Films of Ruben Östlund. The presentation, part of a three-month touring retrospective, features four Östlund films over the course of two Saturdays – this weekend they’ll be showing Play and Turist (Force Majeure). Tickets are $13 for each film, or $20 for a nightly double-bill, and free for Carleton students.
Carleton University is at 1125 Colonel By Drive. Tickets can be purchased here.

The Grooves of the Gallows – FREE
Adam Saikaley hosts a mix of 60s and 70s funk, soul, and jazz in a blast from the past at Mugshot’s FREE Jazz Night this Saturday, March 21. Since losing steam at the end of last year, Mugshots is re-emerging under new management as one of the best spots in town. The quirky bar, located inside the haunted jail hostel in downtown Ottawa, hosts guests DJs and live acts year round. If we’re lucky, the weather will warm up enough to take in the music underneath the creepy old gallows in the courtyard.
Mugshots can be found in the HI Ottawa Jail Hostel at 75 Nicholas Street.

The outdoor courtyard at Mugshots.

The outdoor courtyard at Mugshots.

Stumble the streets of NOLA
With Mardi Gras now a distant – and possibly blurry – memory, it’s your last chance for awhile to take in the New Orleans culture from home. This partner exhibit – The Streets of NOLA – from Val Roy and Gordon Wright conveys the true emotions and soul of the French Quarter and the people who live there. Wrapping up on Sunday, March 22, you can check out the display on the walls of the Atomic Rooster (and grab a beer or catch an open mic while you’re there!)
The Atomic Rooster can be found at 303 Bank Street.

Brotherly Love … or lack thereof
The Great Canadian Theatre Company continues its run of Best Brothers, a bittersweet comedy of love and family. Brothers Hamilton and Kyle lose their mother in a “comically gruesome” accident and must come together to handle the aftermath, all the while putting their own sibling rivalry behind them. Directed by Eric Coates and written by Daniel MacIvor, Best Brothers will run until Sunday, March 29.
The Great Canadian Theatre Company is at 1233 Wellington Street W. Showtimes are available here.

SNAPSHOT: Writers’ Trust of Canada Politics & the Pen awards gala

By GLENN NUOTIO
Photos by Jake Wright and Matt Usherwood

The lavish and head-turning Writers’ Trust Politics & the Pen gala, held at Ottawa’s Fairmont Chateau Laurier on March 11, was described by a seasoned press photographer to me as “one of the only events any Canadian politician can attend without worrying about backlash. This night is bigger than Toronto. They all come out for it.”

As nationally-acclaimed writers of almost every literary genre showed up to sip and sup alongside all stripes of political beast, it soon became easier to find out who wasn’t going to be at the Chateau Laurier rather than try to capture everyone who was in attendance.

Some guests, including 2015 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize nominees John Ralston Saul and Chantal Hébert, along with outgoing MP John Baird, may each have tried unsuccessfully to stay out of the event’s media spotlight. But most of the hundreds of VIPS filling the French Corridor and Laurier Room reception areas seemed happy to rub their sequined (or black-tied) shoulders in the corporate and parliamentary sea — all while acting book smart enough to elbow their way to the bar before they were all led to dinner and festivities in the adjoining Ballroom.

Honouring the best in Canadian political writing, with 2015 nominees including Naomi Klein, Chantal Hébert with Jean Lapierre, Graham Steele, and John Ralston Saul, the evening belonged to author Joseph Heath, who won the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring Sanity to Our Politics, Our Economy, and Our Lives.

This year’s gala raised more than $330,000 for the Writers’ Trust, to support their programs to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing.

 

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QUEST: Sha-moking Delights at Meat in the Middle, Brothers Beer Bistro, The Swan