WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of April 17 to 19

BY KYLA CLARKE

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Steven Page, stripped down

Canadian musical icon Steven Page performs at the National Arts Centre this Friday, April 17, with a little help from his friend, Craig Northey (of The Odds). We all remember Steven Page as the witty former frontman of the Barenaked Ladies, and now that he’s forging his own path as a solo artist, he’s doing things a little bit differently. Collaborating with Northey on guitar and vocals, Page will also perform solo material from his album Page One and, never to disappoint his unyielding fans, there will be plenty of Barenaked Ladies hits too. Tickets start at $57 and can be purchased at www.nac-cna.ca.
The National Arts Centre is located at 53 Elgin Street.

Twilight stars’ ‘best movie yet’

cloud-of-sils-mariaIndie movie buffs might want to check out Clouds of Sils Maria, which debuts this Friday, April 17 at the Bytowne Cinema. It’s the story of a successful actress who agrees to take part in the revival of the play that made her famous 20 years prior. She must now face an uncomfortable reflection of herself, playing the role of an older character instead of the young temptress she once portrayed. A layered, character-driven film, Clouds of Sils Maria stars Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Grace Moretz. The film is said to be Stewart’s best work yet – though, at this point, anything is better than Twilight. The film runs at the Bytowne Cinema until Thursday, April 23. For ticket info and showtimes, visit www.bytowne.ca.
The Bytowne Cinema is located at 325 Rideau Street.

Wax on, wax off

Also on Friday, April 17th, The Raw Sugar Café hosts Record “Swap” Day. It’s completely FREE – all you have to do is show up in your best bartering shoes with a bag of cherished vinyls – that you’ve deemed ready to pass on to the next worthy listener. With a DJ on the ones and twos, it’s time to swap your trash for someone else’s treasure. Don’t have any vinyls to trade? Don’t sweat it – there will be free giveaways and good food too, so anyone can show up and still have a good time. 8 p.m. to 1 p.m.
The Raw Sugar Café is located at 692 Somerset Street West.

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Record “Swap” Day is a pre-emptive celebration for International Record Store Day on Saturday, April 18th. Local record shops across town will be participating in the yearly event (such as Compact Music, Vertigo Records, The Record Centre, and many more), which supports the resurgence of vinyl in the hearts and hands of music fans. Not only can you find cool discounts on countless records, there will also be exclusive special releases just for the day. Over a hundred artists, from A-Ha to the Wu-Tang Clan, will release special edition vinyls or first releases on Record Store Day.
Check out the full list of artist releases, along with a list of participating stores, recordstoreday.com.

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 … Plus wearable vintage

If all the vintage vinyl wasn’t enough, maybe a little vintage fashion will satiate your hungry hipster pocketbook. On Sunday, April 19th, the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show sets up shop in the Shaw Centre for Canada’s largest vintage clothing event. $10 gets you in the door for a day of hunting for clothing, handbags, accessories, and designer goods, from the ‘20s all the way to the ‘80s. Groovy.
The Shaw Centre (formerly the Ottawa Convention Centre) is located at 55 Colonel By Drive. 

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CULTURE: Waxing On About Why Records are Essential in the Digital Era

The popularity of records is more than just good vibrations. With Record Store Day on April 18 and the city’s own Community Record Show on April 12,  Matt Harrison discovers why vinyl
is an essential lifeline in the age of ones and zeros

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Illustration: Michael George Haddad

 

BY MATT HARRISON

This was originally published in the April 2015 print version of Ottawa Magazine

Closing.

CD Warehouse owners Stephen Bleeker and Janice McDonald cited “substantial shifts” in the industry when they held a press conference this past autumn to announce the closure of their 23-year-old store.
The owners were referring to the music industry’s move to digital downloads (legal or otherwise) and streaming formats.

This spring, CD Warehouse — one of the largest independent music stores in town — will close its doors, joining a long list of Ottawa music stores (Record Runner, Organized Sound, Sounds Unlikely, The Record Shaap) that have exited the scene in the past decade. Even chain stores such as HMV look much different than they did a decade ago, with fewer rows of CDs and an emphasis on such digital music gear as iPhones and headphones.

Paradoxically, at the same time CD Warehouse announced its closure, John Thompson announced the opening of The Record Centre in Hintonburg. The beautiful modern space, dressed in finished plywood and outfitted with trendy lounge chairs, is garnering great acclaim. Central to the store’s appeal are the rows of carefully selected records and turntables — everything from Technics (a favourite among DJs) to a giant reconstructed Lenco, a defunct European brand that remains popular with turntable hobbyists.

The only part of this place that doesn’t shine is the small bin of CDs at the back. Relics from a bygone technological age, CDs are quickly taking their place alongside reel-to-reels, eight-tracks, and cassette tapes.

But wait a sec. Shouldn’t vinyl be resting peacefully in this graveyard as well? After all, records are older than CDs: the former were conceived in the late 1800s by such inventors as Emile Berliner, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison. Why is there still a place for unwieldy circular pieces of plastic that require a very unportable sound system? Records are completely antithetical to the miniaturization of music devices and the digital age, an era that sees much of our daily life compressed into ones and zeros.

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WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of April 9 – 12

BY KYLA CLARKE

The ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland takes the NAC stage this Thursday

The ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland takes the NAC stage this Thursday

Adventures in Wonderland

Ballet fans will delight in this weekend-long run of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Starting Thursday, April 9 and showing until Sunday, April 12, British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon brings the classic Carroll novel to life in an inventive new way. With entertaining choreography, vivid costumes, and surreal production, the show is sure to entertain even those who aren’t so schooled in dance. Just don’t get trapped down the rabbit hole.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will show at the National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin Street. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased here.

 EFT-Up Improv

The Experiment Farm Theatre, an Ottawa improv comedy collective, presents their monthly show at Pressed Café this Thursday, April 9th. The troupe performs long-form comedic storytelling – and it’s all entirely made up on the spot. Standup comedian Greg Houston will open the show. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are (only) $5. Think you’ve got some comedic chops yourself? EFT-Up also offers improv workshops for the bold and bright.

Pressed Café is located at 750 Gladstone. For more information, click here.

Feeling crafty?

Try something new this weekend with Spins & Needles’ silkscreening workshop. Hosted at Possible Worlds (a nifty little project space and shop in Chinatown) on the afternoon of Saturday, April 11th, Silkscreening 101 teaches participants how to create original handmade gifts, merchandise for a new business, or spoil themselves with the fruits of their creativity. If all goes well, take it to the next level with Silkscreening 201.

Possible Worlds is at 708G Somerset Street. Tickets are $145. For more information click here.

Music for Social Justice

Erin Saoirse Adair performs at the Blacksheep Inn this weekend. Photo by Jonathan Lorange

Erin Saoirse Adair performs at the Blacksheep Inn this weekend. Photo by Jonathan Lorange

The Blacksheep Inn hosts Erin Saoirse Adair’s new single and video release party this Saturday, April 11th. The new track, “I Want Drugs” discusses the urge to turn to drugs or alcohol as a means to escape. Erin’s lyrics, accompanied by piano or acoustic guitar, typically cover social justice issues, such as violence against women and mental health. Her music is catchy, entertaining, and, at times, cringeworthy – not because it’s bad, but because it’s so uncomfortably honest. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 3:00 p.m.

The Blacksheep Inn is located at 753 Riverside Drive, Wakefield, QC. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.theblacksheepinn.com

Dark Heart Brings Light to NAC

Valery Gore hits the NAC Fourth Stage this Saturday. Photo: Valery Gore

Valery Gore hits the NAC Fourth Stage this Saturday. Photo: Valery Gore

Valery Gore hits the NAC Fourth Stage this Saturday, April 11th in support of her highly acclaimed third album, Idols in the Dark Heart. Like many others in current Canadian music, Gore experiments with electronic elements in her newest project. But she remains a standout, blending synth and bass with her signature throaty vocals and layered harmonies, and her lyrics intricately recount love, loss, and doubt as she comes of age. Tickets are $20 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin Street. Tickets are available here.

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Terry Fox, Alex Colville, and a room full of selfies

By PAUL GESSELL

The Marathon of Hope van provided Terry and his companions with more than transport. It serves as bedroom, office, billboard, mileage calculator, equipment locker, clothes hamper, kitchen, warehouse, washroom, windbreak, jukebox, and fortress of solitude. © Canadian Museum of History

The Marathon of Hope van provided Terry and his companions with more than transport. It serves as bedroom, office, billboard, mileage calculator, equipment locker, clothes hamper, kitchen, warehouse, washroom, windbreak, jukebox, and fortress of solitude. © Canadian Museum of History

What would Terry Fox be like if he had not died at age 22 in 1981?

Would he still be a national hero, but one now in his 50s? Would he have become a great motivational speaker, an author, a politician or paralypian? One has the feeling he could have succeeded in whatever field he wanted.

I suddenly started thinking about the “what ifs” of Terry’s life upon seeing and talking to some of his friends and family who came to Gatineau to participate in the opening of an exhibition at the Canadian Museum of History called Terry Fox: Running to the Heart of Canada.

These friends and family have all naturally aged since they were first catapulted into the national news in 1980 alongside Terry when he started his Marathon of Hope, his fund-raising run for cancer across Canada.

So what would Terry look like today? Would the curls be gone? A paunch have developed? Would there be a bionic leg to replace the absolutely primitive looking prosthetic he used and is on display in the exhibition?

Terry’s prosthetic leg was built by prosthetic specialist Ben Speicher of Vancouver, British Columbia. © Canadian Museum of History

Terry’s prosthetic leg was built by prosthetic specialist Ben Speicher of Vancouver, British Columbia. © Canadian Museum of History

Those who die young remain young forever in our hearts. But wouldn’t it be great if Terry came back, even just for a day, to pose for photographs with the 1980 E250 Econoline Ford van that was turned into a camper and was his “home” during the 143 days he ran — more of a hop really — from St. John’s, NL to Thunder Bay? That was where the run ended. The cancer that claimed his right leg caught up to him again, this time in his lungs, forced an end to the run and caused his death some months later.

The Ford Motor Co. had donated the van for Terry’s use. When the run ended, the van was sold to a London, Ont. family with the surname Johnston. A member of that family was Bill Johnston, who moved to Vancouver and used the van to tour the country with his heavy metal band Removal. In 2005, Doug Coupland, the celebrated author, artist, and friend of the Fox family, attended a party in Vancouver where someone told him the van was in the city. With Terry’s brother Darrell Fox, Coupland tracked down the van and the Terry Fox Foundation took ownership. Ford has restored the van to the way it looked in 1980.

The van is like the Holy Grail of Canada, a symbol of goodness and generosity and bravery. It is the centrepiece of an exhibition that is bound to leave anyone in tears who can remember Terry’s run and his death and the impact he had on an entire country. The van is surrounded by letters, cards and film clips of people talking about how Terry inspired and helped them. Thirty-five years after his death, we still mourn him.

The exhibition continues until Jan. 24, 2016.

Living Room by Alex Colville

Living Room by Alex Colville

If you go to only one art exhibition a year, visit Colville

Images of Alex Colville’s paintings have been reproduced so extensively over the years on posters, book covers, and other paraphernalia that they have become as familiar as photos in one’s own family album.

You have seen your Colville relatives (and their animal friends) in such familiar paintings as To Prince Edward Island, Horse and Train, Church and Horse, and Dog in Car. These are all snapshots of the menacing, mysterious parallel world of “Colville moments” that lay just beneath the surface of our everyday Canadian lives and threaten to erupt at any moment.

About 100 Colville works, including many of his most famous paintings, have been assembled for an exhibition running from April 23 to Sept. 7 at the National Gallery of Canada. Simply titled Alex Colville, the show ran last summer at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and attracted 166,406 visitors, the largest number ever to attend a show of Canadian art at the AGO.

The exhibition was mainly organized by the AGO’s Andrew Hunter, who focuses on the relationship between Colville’s paintings and the much larger world of pop culture. Example: The late American film-maker Stanley Kubrick personally selected four reproductions of Colville paintings to hang on the walls of sets constructed for the horror film The Shining. The first Colville seen, Horse and Train, appears early in the spooky film at the home of Danny, the boy with the supernatural power called “the shining.” Danny’s father, played by Jack Nicholson, is soon to go wildly insane chasing Danny with an axe. We always had a sense of foreboding with Horse and Train. We just never knew it could presage an axe murder.

Actually, many of Colville’s paintings exude the feeling that something horrible is about to happen. Call them “Colville moments.” The Coen Brothers film No Country for Old Men is filled with “Colville moments,” most involving a psychopathic killer (actor Javier Bardem) patiently waiting for the right moment to unleash what we know will be another bloodbath. Colville, who died in 2013 at age 92, was a fan of the Coen Brothers films. The National Gallery show will explore this Coen-Colville relationship.

Colville’s career as an artist dates back to the 1940s, including a stint as a war artist, and a visit to the newly liberated Nazi concentration camp Belsen. Some of the war art, including horrifying Belsen work, are in the National Gallery exhibition.

We also get to explore Colville’s relationship to his late wife Rhoda, who was a model for many of her husband’s paintings. Their intense 70-year-long marriage is another focus of the exhibition.

If you go to only one art exhibition a year, visit Colville. Think of it as a family reunion of sorts. Colville was the quintessential Canadian – patriotic, polite, and humble. But he was also a regular visitor to that sometimes frightening place the show’s curator calls the town of “Colville.” It’s that town of “Colville” that has made — and continues to make — this country into a far more fascinating and complex place.

The Selfie

Remember when Lilly Koltun was trying to create a portrait gallery for Ottawa? Koltun was bursting with great ideas as to what constitutes a portrait: Maybe just a pair of hands or an article of clothing. Who says portraits have to include the subject’s face?

The Caribbean country of Barbados, for example, has a portrait gallery. Some of the country’s heros in that gallery were former slaves who left no paintings or photographs of themselves. So “portraits” were created by gathering objects owned by those freedom-fighters, letters written by them, and other personal paraphernalia.

Three young Ottawa photographers have taken a similar expansive approach to the notion of a self-portrait. Magida El-Kassis, Olivia Johnston, and Jennifer Stewart have collaborated on an exhibition titled Selfies at Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa City Hall.

In one installation, Johnston, one of Ottawa’s most interesting portrait photographers, has arranged 39 inkjet prints on a wall depicting used cosmetic pads. The smears on the pads are like Johnston’s face removed and then reduced to crude smears.

Both El-Kassis and Stewart have large inkjet prints of themselves as ghostly figures in rooms or in a forest. These images, just like conventional portraits, make you wonder what this person is really like. Why did she choose this media? What does that say about her?

Some of the images in Selfies are far more conventional, some are nudes, some show personal objects such as shoes or gloves. The results are innovative, fascinating and brave. Selfies continues at Karsh-Masson until April 19.

PLUS

Elaine Goble, an Ottawa artist I much admire, has a new exhibition opening April 9 at Wallack Galleries. The show is called The Painted Truth and includes works in graphite, photography, and egg tempera. Goble is best known as a homefront war artist, but her oeuvre is much more extensive. The exhibition continues until April 25.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of April 2 – 6

BY KYLA CLARKE

An image from Mark Strandquist's collection "Windows in Prison"

An image from Mark Strandquist’s collection “Windows from Prison”

“If you could have a window in your cell, what place from your past would it look out to?”

A new photo exhibit opens this weekend at La Petite Mort Gallery and the content is very moving, not only for the images, but also for the text associated with each photo. Artist Mark Strandquist’s latest project bridges the distance between average individuals and incarcerated persons, in a way that incites photography as a means for social change.

The question above was posed to participating inmates from Washington, D.C., and students from George Mason University and Duke Ellington High School fulfilled the photo requests and mailed them back to the prisons. “Windows from Prison” is a photography project that creates a more humanistic approach to the discussion of issues with mass incarceration.

On Thursday, April 2, the artist Mark Strandquist will host a FREE public artist talk about his work, followed by a workshop for at-risk youth.
On Friday, April 3, the exhibit officially opens at La Petite Mort Gallery and will run until April 26.

The public artist talk will be at University of Ottawa, 100 Laurier Building, Room 219 at 1:30 p.m. The exhibit opens at La Petite Mort Gallery,  306 Cumberland Street.

Turn Down for Brunch!

It’s going to be a busy weekend at Hintonburg Public House.

First of all, there’s gonna be brunch – four days of it. They’ll be serving everything from French toast to hamburgers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Friday, April 3 through Monday, April 6. I’m already full and I’ve only been reading the menu.

On Saturday, April 4, they’ll be hosting the Bring on Spring Craft Show. Your favourite local vendors will be selling their handmade jewelry, art, home décor items, and more. Featured vendors include Top Shelf Preserves, My Vintage Retreat, and Darling Yes.

On Sunday, April 5, HPH hosts their monthly trivia night. Sign up as an individual or bring a team and show your friends who’s smartest. It’s only $5 and the next day is a holiday, so you know what that means: local craft beer, and lots of it.

Hintonburg Public House is at 1020 Wellington St West. Check out their website for more details.

Love, Handmade

Love_Handmade_026On Saturday, April 4, The Handmade Bride is hosting an alternative wedding show, featuring thirty local vendors and the unique opportunity to actually meet some of them. If stressed out brides can pry themselves away from Pinterest for a few hours, they may find everything they’ve been pinning online for their bohemian dream wedding – all in one place. Plus – the first 100 couples through the door will get swag bags full of wedding goodies. The Handmade Bride boasts delicate, vintage-inspired dresses from Canadian designers, or their own brand of dresses which can be custom-designed to suit any bride’s body and wedding theme.

The Love, Handmade Wedding Show is at Memorial Hall in New Edinburgh from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Spring Pop-Up

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Strut Jewelry’s spring/summer collection features shells collected from all around the world.

Still feeling spendy? Strut your stuff over to Flock Boutique for Strut Jewelry’s pop-up shop this Saturday, April 4. Designer Alyssa Spaxman will be in-store to unveil her new collection, including handpicked shells acquired from her travels in Ecuador, Brazil, Thailand, and Nicaragua. Travelers (and those who wish they could) will love the spring/summer collection, which symbolizes the spirit of wanderlust and love of freedom.

Flock Boutique is located at 1275 Wellington St. West.

Easter at the Farm

This little bunny is looking forward to spring

This little bunny is looking forward to spring

Kids and kids-at-heart can enjoy some fun on the farm this weekend at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum as they’ll be hosting an assortment of Easter activities. Visitors will get the chance to meet newly hatched chicks and ducklings, baby rabbits and lambs, and the kiddies can participate in an Easter egg hunt. There will also be a the chance to take part in some egg-citing egg-xperiments, lessons in the hatching process, Easter trivia, and probably a few more bad puns too.

The Easter activities go on all weekend, from Friday, April 3 to Monday, April 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The entry is included with museum admission: $10 for adults, children 3-12 are $7, children under 3 are free.

The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is located at 901 Prince of Wales Drive.

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Jane Urquhart’s Night Stages recalls late Ottawa artist Ken Lochhead

TheNightStagesBy PAUL GESSELL

Jane Urquhart took a huge risk with her new novel, The Night Stages, a sad, poetical tale of complex journeys and complicated love. This is because one of the leading characters in the book is a real person, but fictionalized: Kenneth Lochhead, the celebrated Ottawa artist who died in 2006.

Fictionalizing real people is a risky business. Wayne Johnston learned that lesson some years ago with his epic novel, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, about Joey Smallwood, the former Newfoundland premier. Johnston was accused of a sensationalized caricature rather than an accurate portrait.

No one bats an eye over a novel about real people dead hundreds of years ago, a Henry VIII or a Cleopatra. Indeed, most of Shakespeare’s plays are fictionalized stories of real people. But fictionalizing people many living Canadians knew intimately is a trickier task.

Urquhart seems to have been extraordinarily careful in recreating Lochhead, a former University of Ottawa art professor and a mentor to generations of Ottawa artists. Urquhart is evidently confident enough of “her” Lochhead that she is coming to the Ottawa Writers Festival to launch her book at public events April 9 and 10. Many in her Ottawa audiences will undoubtedly be people who knew the real Lochhead.

Clearly, Urquhart did her homework to present the true essence of Lochhead, even though she has changed certain details of his life. Before publishing The Night Stages, Urquhart sent a copy of the manuscript to Joanne Lochhead, the artist’s widow living in Ottawa.

“I thought it was great,” Mrs. Lochhead said of the novel in a recent interview. “I really liked the way she handled him.”

Mrs. Lochhead said that her husband, since his death, has become “historical,” giving novelists more licence to recreate him.

As a journalist, I have always been leery of novelists portraying real, contemporary people and deviating from the known record. But I must agree with Mrs. Lochhead that Urquhart did a splendid job with Kenneth Lochhead, a man I met several times to discuss his art, but also to discuss Saskatchewan, where we both used to live, and for a time, to discuss our cottages along the same stretch of the Gatineau River.

In Night Stages, a woman named Tamara finds herself stranded at Gander Airport in Newfoundland during a three-day snowstorm. She spends many hours communing with the 72-foot-long mural, “Flight and its Allegories”, in the waiting lounge. The mural was painted by Lochhead in 1958.

Lochhead, in real life, summed up the complex narrative in the mural this way: “Characterization of each figure has been attempted in order to portray various human feelings that man, himself, often experiences when entering into flight.”

Tamara relates scenes in the mural to her own life, her troubled relationship with an Irish man named Niall and Niall’s troubled relationship with his quixotic brother Kieran. The stories of these three individuals are interspersed with the partly true, partly fictionalized story of Lochhead, his journey through life and his creation of the mural.

Jane Urquhart. Photo by Mark Raynes Roberts

Jane Urquhart. Photo by Mark Raynes Roberts

“There are children of various sizes, placed here and there across the painted surface,” Urquhart writes, as Tamara begins a description of the mural. “Some of them are toy-like – not dolls exactly, more wooden and brightly coloured than dolls. They resemble nutcrackers, she decides, remembering the ballet she had been taken to as a child. In spite of their fixed expressions, they seem to be filled with an anxious, almost terrible, anticipation, as if they sense they are about to fall into a sudden departure from childhood. All around them velocity dominates the cluttered air. Missile-shaped birds tear the sky apart, and everything is moving away from the centre.”

Urquhart has done a service to Canada by reminding us all of “Flight and its Allegories”. There is the possibility the Gander Airport will be torn down, its splendid modernist architecture lost and the mural’s future uncertain. Once called The Crossroads of the World, Gander airport is no longer the refuelling stop of most trans-Atlantic flights. It costs $800,000 annually just for heat and light. Clearly, Canadians must rally to save the airport and its mural. Urquhart’s book makes us realize that a splendid work of art is at risk.

Meet the author:
On April 9 at 7 p.m., Jane Urquhart will be interviewed on stage by author Charlotte Gray at Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks St.

On April 10, Urquhart will participate in a lunch and fundraiser for children’s literacy at Metropolitan Brasserie, 700 Sussex Drive.

 

 

 

 

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.

SOUND SEEKERS: Hey Buster, Busting Out

BY FATEEMA SAYANI
Dad Band Moves from Domestic Sphere into Civics 101

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Hey Buster, the band of Ottawa dads that makes catchy music for kids, has moved away from family life on their latest album I Like My Bike. Its focus is civics for little ones, with songs like “Community Begins With C” emphasizing the art of neighbourliness. The tune, sung by Hey Buster’s Slo’ Tom Stewart, underlines that while community begins with ‘c’ – it really starts with YOU and ME!c26eb7_174d7d2d211548f48c1b192d705c41d6.jpg_srb_p_1259_730_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srb

Hey Buster formed in the late 2000s and released the album Bing, Bang, Bong in 2010. It documented the travails of family life with plenty of rhyming stanzas about poo, pee, pink eye, and getting lice.

Their 2013 release, Yeti Likes Spaghetti, moved away from bodily functions to household management with tunes such as “Go to Bed”, “Mom Eat Your Broccoli”, and “Without a Hat.”

c26eb7_34f52cc8ac0667294c195567a56bb8bc.jpg_srb_p_1259_730_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srbTheir new album will be released Sunday, March 29 at an afternoon show at the Mayfair Theatre. I Like My Bike speaks to kids who are less concerned about poo and pee, and who are starting to open their eyes more and more to their surroundings.

The title track opens with a catchy little riff and pays tribute to a banana-seated, long-handled jobbie with a shiny kickstand. It’s a sweet ode to a hassle-free, two-wheeler commute. That ecological undertone carries throughout the album. The songs don’t come off as Jane Jacobs’-style blight-fighting agitations; rather this album is a jaunty introduction to the complexities of city life. Think of it as rumpus room urbanism for grade schoolers.

To carry that spirit forward, Hey Buster will offer lesson plans around recycling, public transportation, urban gardens, and sustainability to go with each song. (Check their website for updates throughout the year). The plans are aimed at kids in Grades 3 to 8, and have been organized by Hey Buster drummer Stephen Skoutajan, who is also a teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.c26eb7_702b877b39944b8dbba1409815eadf72.jpg_srb_p_1259_730_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srb

The band plays regularly at school events where kids join in when Hey Buster rips into their popular live hit, “Here Comes the Bus,” which sees the guys dancing around in cardboard cutouts of OC Transpo buses labelled with popular Centretown West routes.

The band launched as a weekend project of friends Geoff Paisley, Matt Young, and Sherwood Lumsden, and has since expanded its membership to include Slo’ Tom Stewart, Skoutajan, and guest musicians Al Bragg, Dave Kerr, Dave Draves, and Michael Ball. They play often at festivals, block parties, and at taverns during the afternoon. Hey Buster has a growing fan base of kids that like to dance while their parents get a beer in between their regular poo, pee, and lice-picking duties.

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.

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of March 13 to 15

BY KYLA CLARKE

(I am the new intern at Ottawa Magazine, wrapping up a Professional Writing diploma from Algonquin College. Got something to share? Reach out on Twitter @kylafclarke)

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The Once makes their way from St. John’s, Newfoundland to perform at the NAC this Friday night

The Rock’s Folk Invasion
This Friday, March 13, The Once will grace music lovers with their enchanting vocals and delicate harmonies at the National Arts Centre. In promotion of their fourth album, Departures, the St. John’s, Newfoundland folk trio is sure to delight audiences with the intricate acoustic arrangements supporting their tales of travel and coming home.

Inspired by everyone from Cohen to Queen, The Once’s style is reminiscent of Alison Krauss and First Aid Kit. Opening the event is Sarah MacDougall, a Swedish-Canadian songstress whose hauntingly unique vocals are sure to captivate listeners with songs from her new LP Grand Canyon. The show starts at 7:30 pm; tickets are $29.
The National Arts Centre is located at 53 Elgin St.

D’Arcy McGee’s Final Steps … At A Pub?

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Thomas D’Arcy McGee in the late 1800s

Get prepped for next week’s St. Patrick’s Day by celebrating St. “Practice” Day – the old-fashioned way — this Friday, March 13 with a haunted walk honouring the life of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, an Irish Canadian and one of our nation’s founding fathers. Travel back in time as you experience the eerie details of his untimely assassination right where it all happened — on Ottawa’s very own Sparks Street. Following the walk, the party moves to D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub, where the real St. Patty’s practicing begins. Tickets are $30 for the tour and party or $15 for the party only. More info, visit here.
D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub is located at 44 Sparks St.

Goodness, gracious, great bowls of fire!
This weekend, you can give back by filling up. The Ottawa Guild of Potters hosts their 10th annual “Great Bowls of Fire” fundraiser in support of the Ottawa Food Bank on Saturday, March 14. Your $45 ticket includes a handmade bowl (that you get to take home), soup and bread courtesy of some of Ottawa’s finest restaurants and bakeries – all set to the tunes of a local band. The fundraiser takes place from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Glebe Community Centre.
Glebe Community Centre is at 175 Third Ave.

 

Solo Girlboy

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Obaaberima wraps an eleven day run this weekend

Obaaberima, meaning “girlboy”, tells the story of one young man’s confusing coming of age, moving from Ghana and growing up in Canada. Stuck between “gay and straight, black and white, Africa and North America,” creator Tawiah M’Carthy shares the complexities of his world through storytelling, dance, and music. The one-man show, running at the National Arts Centre since Tuesday, March 3, wraps up on Saturday, March 14. That means this weekend is your last chance to check out the ‘Outstanding Production’ winner. Tickets for either the 2 p.m. matinee or 8 p.m. shows start at $46 and are available here.
The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin St.

When Art is All That Remains

Photo by Philip David Ross

Photo by Philip David Ross

“Throughout recorded history armed conflicts have destroyed innocent lives” — Philip David Ross describes his newest exhibit, All That Remains, as a symbol of chaos and destruction, imagined through arrangements of pulped fruit and shards of pottery. Ross, a public servant-turned photography student, expresses his anger towards the suffering of innocent civilians through his work and has named each piece after a city destroyed by war. All That Remains displays until Wednesday, May 6 at Exposure Gallery, located upstairs from Thyme and Again, in the heart of Wellington Village.
Exposure Gallery is located on the second floor at 1255 Wellington West