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

ARTFUL BLOGGER: The mayor, a teddy bear, and thousands of dead bees

BY PAUL GESSELL

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Circle 3. Honey bees (Apis mellifera), resin on panel, 2014. (48″ diameter)

 

What kind of art interests Mayor Jim Watson?
Well, he owns paintings by such Ottawa area artists as Andrew King, Philip Craig, the late Robert Hyndman, and Bhat Boy. The works of Craig and Hyndman are tame and traditional – art that you definitely could give Grandma. King and Bhat Boy tend to be more quirky and often whimsical, but still safe enough for Stephen Harper.

Watson and I accidentally met up recently at the Ottawa Art Gallery Annex in City Hall where we had both come to view an exhibition called Ottawa Selects: Selections from the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art.

The OAG asked each of nine prominent people, both present and past Ottawa residents, to choose a work from the Firestone Collection for the exhibition. The 1,600 works in the Firestone Collection are managed by the OAG and contain Canadian art from 1900 to 1980. The selections for the Annex show tell much about the people making the choices.

Read the rest of this story »

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of February 26 to 28

BY MATT HARRISON

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A still from Megan Turnbull’s Evolucity (2010), a mixed media animation

Ottawa Isn’t a Boring City — Shows Artist

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Artist, and former resident of Ottawa, Megan Turnbull … sprouting antlers

For years — nah decades — Ottawa has suffered (unfairly) the ignominious distinction of being a place without much culture, without style, and lacking in creativity and originality. We all know it’s not true, but it’s always nice when an someone makes a film that backs up what we’ve always known.

Artist Megan Turnbull created a film in 2013 called OttaWander, which looks at the city’s thriving arts and culture scene (as it was a few years ago) and those driving it. Having lived here for a time, Turnbull was uniquely positioned to comment on the scene — a scene in which she was, no doubt, a part of during her time here. Want to see her “humourous” and “enthusiastic” view of the city? Come out to Café Ex — the Canadian Film Institute’s guest artist series.

OttaWander and several of her short, experimental, “rule-breaking” films will begin screening at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 26 at Club SAW. Turnbull will be in attendance to speak about her films. The event is pay-what-you-can; seating is limited, so come early. More on Turnbull in a Q&A that Ottawa Magazine did in 2013 when she released OttaWander.

Café Ex is at Club SAW, which is at 67 Nicholas St.

Canada’s Best Novelist
Think you’re a writer? Think you’ve got the chops to be a writer? Just interested in writing — better — period? Acclaimed Hudson author, Trevor Ferguson, is in town this weekend to discuss The Art of Writing — an event being held at the Good Companions Seniors’ Centre. Described as Canada’s best novelist, Ferguson — the author of Onyx John (1985), City of Ice (1999), and the more recent The River Burns (2014) — began his writing career as a taxi driver by night, writer by day. So yeah, he’s been where you probably are. The event is on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $10. The event is being hosted by the Ottawa Writer’s Circle.

Good Companions Seniors’ Centre is at 670 Albert St.

Barking Up A New(ish) Tree…
With a decidedly funk-driven, disco-vibe that seamlessly shifts midway to rock-psychedelia, The Golden Dogs’ new track, Decided, has the potential to be one of their biggest singles.

Whether or not it will eclipse 2006’s ear-worm, Construction Worker, will remain to be seen. It is, however, a good start to the band’s fourth album (sort of) appropriately titled 3½, that — as one critic has described — sees the band in a sort of “transition”. Not quite there yet, but definitely moving somewhere. Part of that “transition” may also have something to do with the loss of their drummer — on this record, Jessica Grassia steps into that role.

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The Toronto foursome, which includes husband/wife element, will be debuting their new album at House of Targ on Friday, Feb. 27. Never seen The Dogs play before? Expect a wild live show — something they’ve become known for since 2001. Come early for some pierogies and Mortal Combat, stay for the show at 10 p.m. Five bucks before 9 p.m.; $7 after 10 p.m. Opening band is Ottawa’s Ornaments.

House of Targ is at 1077 Bank St.

It’s No Ice Capades
Promising “no sparkles, no stereotypes, and no fuzzy costumes” Montreal’s Le Patin Libre, a five-strong Montreal dance collective, merges street dance with skating, reinventing what we’ve come to expect from traditional figure-skating.

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Le Patin Libre’s urban-dance ice show

“Skating is a magical way to move human bodies — and we can dance like crazy on that ice,” says founder Alexandre Hamel. The show, titled Vertical Influences, takes place on Friday, Feb. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Minto Skating Centre. Tickets can be purchased via the National Arts Centre — starting from $30. More info, here.

The Minto Skating Centre is at 2571 Lancaster Rd.

Fresh Meat
No, not at wholesale prices from the trunk of some wise guy’s Coupe de ville. This weekend’s event is named as such because it tosses actors from two performing companies — Karina Milech & Patrick Kelly and Megan Carty, Fiona Sauder and Nicola Atkinson (Bad Hats Theatre Co.) into a shared studio space for three days to come up with something watchable. Er, at least that’s the hope. Find out on Saturday, Feb. 28 at Arts Court Studio. It’s pay-what-you-can, and it begins at 8 p.m. More info, visit here.

Arts Court Studio is at 2 Daly Ave.

VALENTINES DAY: Paris is always a good idea, even if by film

BY HANNAH WALLACE

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“Paris is always a good idea”
— Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina Fairchild in Sabrina (1954)

We’ll always have Paris” – Casablanca (1942)

“Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall /  My buried life, and Paris in the spring, I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world / To be wonderful and youthful after all” – T.S. Elliot

The beauty, the joie de vivre, the history and the romance — with Valentine’s Day approaching, we are dreaming of all things Paris.

Transport yourself to the City of Lights — and Love — with the help of our Shop Talk guide; create your own meal inspired by French cuisine; or cozy up  with a whimsical classic film set in Paris, for as the French say, Paris has a certain je ne sais quoi — and it should not be ignored…

To help you make the perfect selection for V-Day viewing, we’ve put together a list of classic French films guaranteed to put you in the mood…

Funny_Face_1957A perfect movie for dreamers, romantics and fashionistas alike? — Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. The movie features Audrey’s iconic style (Givenchy numbers abound), her phenomenal dance skills, and of course who can resist Fred Astaire’s charm?

charadeFor an inimitable blend of old romance, mystery, and comedy look no further than Charade, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. It’s a movie that exudes elegance, lighthearted laughter, and — of course — love.

91E3F66rHWL._SL1500_A modern-day film — and a must for art historians and the literati — is Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Capturing the glamour of 1920s Paris, the star-studded cast portrays the adventures of such cultural icons as Ernest Hemingway, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, and Pablo Picasso – to name a few.

MV5BMTk5Mjg0MzM3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTEyMjcxMQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_-1Love musicals? Moulin Rouge is a pastiche-jukebox musical that tells the love story of a young duke who falls for a cabaret courtesan. Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, it’s a clever, extravagant film with an intoxicating soundtrack.

There you are! Happy viewing.

 

WEEKENDER: Five things to do from Feb. 12 to 15

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Still from Dys, a horror film by Canadian horror film director, Maude Michaud, which screens this Friday the 13th at Carleton University

BY MATT HARRISON

An actor, a nun, and a recluse walk into a…
Kitchen. In Cape Breton. For the first time in years. Not quite a joke, but hilarity does ensue in Marion Bridge, a play from the Governor General’s Award-winning, Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor (The Best Brothers, Never Swim Alone, How it Works, Cul-de-Sac). Opening this week at The Gladstone Theatre, Marion Bridge presents a play that — as advertised — has “nothing to do with women’s relationships with men.” It runs until Feb. 21. No shows on Monday. Evening shows start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday & Sunday matinees. Tickets $24. More info, visit here.
The Gladstone Theatre is on 910 Gladstone Ave.

Global Divestment Day — Feb. 12 FREE!
More than 200 members of McGill University’s faculty signed and presented a petition to the university’s board of governors on Monday calling for the institution to divest its endowment fund of fossil fuel companies — a move coming on the heels of other universities (Standford, Cambridge, University of British Columbia) who’ve either chosen/been pressured to divest of potentially unethical investments, such as nuclear weapons, arms manufacturers, sweatshop labour, and fossil fuels. The idea is that by divesting of these particular investments, it will encourage change in behaviour or policy. (Check out the story here.) But it’s not just up to universities. Find out how individuals have dealt with this issue at a World Cafe Discussion event, which is happening on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the West End Well co-op from 5 to 7 p.m. Hosted by OREC (Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op), the discussion will focus on ways people are re-investing for a “brighter future.” As noted, it is free — but you do have to register, here.
The West End Well Co-op is at 969 Wellington St. W.

New Winter Hockey Classic FREE!
Valentines Day is a day for love… of Hockey! The Plouffe Park Winter Classic — new this year! — is happening during Valentines Day (so you’ve still got the night free for at classy dinner) at the rink in the park behind Plant Recreation Centre, which is at the corner of Preston and Somerset. “Steve Canadian” will sing Oh Canada and the Good Old Hockey Game, after which the puck drops and four local teams — Odawa Athletic Club, Braden All Stars, OG Capitals, and the Asian Sensation — will compete for the “Caribou Cup.” There will also be Bridgehead coffee and hot chocolate for spectators. So, come out from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and watch the good ol’ game played right — outside, in bone chilling temperatures. More info, visit here.
Plouffe Park is behind Plant Recreation Centre

Friday the 13th — Women in Horror FREE!
“An estranged couple forced into isolation…” This is the tagline for Dys (a play on the nature of a couple’s relationship, but which also foreshadows the hell that ensues) a film by Quebec horror film director, Maude Michaud, about a couple that, well, is forced to spend some time alone — and with their dark secrets. It’s screening on Friday, Feb. 13th as part of a an event about raising awareness about changing roles in the film industry — in particular the focus of Canadian women in the very male-dominated genre of horror (think Craven, Carpenter, Hitchcock, Raimi, Romero, etc. — they’re mostly dudes). The event is free; no registration required. It’s being held at St. Patrick’s building at Carleton University and starts at 7 p.m. More info, visit here.
Carleton University is at 1125 Colonel By Drive

11124636916_f2f196a8d6_bAnimalia Antics
What happens when one little rabbit has insomnia? How about when the porcupines drop by, unannounced, for tea? Prickly situation that one. Or when the Weasels get hitched? Find out by taking a trip to the animal village of Felicity Falls on Sunday, Feb. 15. Presented by Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre company, this family-friendly puppet show takes place at the Shenkman Arts Centre. Two shows, the first is at 1:30 p.m.; the other is at 3:30 p.m. Organizers recommend it for ages 4-11. Tickets are $10 or four for $32. More info, visit here.
The Shenkman Arts Centre is at 245 Centrum Blvd.

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Jon Bartlett Spins a Cosmic Master Plan

This article was originally published in the March/April 2011 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

By TRAVIS BOISVENUE

Jon Bartlett

Jon Bartlett. Photo by Brigitte Bouvier

Jon Bartlett, the man behind Kelp records, is onto something. After bringing the label to Ottawa in 1999 and developing a core of musicians and artists around such bands as Jim Bryson, Hilotrons, and Andrew Vincent, Bartlett has no plans to rest on his laurels and enjoy the party (which, by the way, culminates in an annual two-day festival in May, a revelry known as the Kelp weekend).

For the past year, he has been working to make music his full-time endeavour, most recently landing a spot as director of Megaphono, a local start-up “music placement” service that licenses music by bands for use on television shows, adverts, films, and video games in Canada, the U.S., and abroad.

And though his surface demeanour is almost pathologically laid-back, Bartlett admits to yet another burning ambition — one that has nothing to do with music. This time it’s coffee. Specifically the awesome coffee he discovered in January 2010 at Raw Sugar Café. Bartlett is now working with the local foodie community to champion and sell the coffee, which is roasted by Neat, a fair-trade café run by Kim and Adam McKinty out of Burnstown in the Ottawa Valley.

Bartlett says he pulls much inspiration from the food community in Ottawa. “I get really excited when I look at what’s happening with the restaurant scene here in the last five years,” he explains. “Places like the Whalesbone — they do their annual hoedown thing in their yard, they have bands play, and they’ve been a big part of supporting local brewers and local farms.” What the Whalesbone and others have done, he says, is take risks and be unwilling to compromise the way they present themselves. “I think it’s awesome. They’ve created by collaborating.”

Bartlett is a man who, better than anyone, appreciates Ottawa’s local flavours in their various guises. And though he is loath to shine the spotlight on himself, he works tirelessly to make Ottawa a better place. “It’s awesome to go to the Mayfair for a movie and get a tourtière at Life of Pie after. Or it’s awesome to go to Whalesbone after work on a Friday and end up spending seven hours there and crawling home. They are some of our unique, interesting things, and I feel like [the city] is going in a direction that’s good,” he says.

He admits with a laugh that his varied business interests are based more on doing whatever he finds intriguing or unique rather than on solid “business principles.” And he’s quick to point out that he’s not a booster for all things Ottawa. A chat with Bartlett gives way to a discussion about parking bylaws (they discourage business owners setting up shop downtown), local music awards (“I mean, Hamilton has music awards, why don’t we?”), and the challenges of properly forging relationships with co-op coffee farmers in California.

It might seem scattered, but after talking with Bartlett, every idea he throws out seems to be part of a cosmic master plan. “You could easily just live in your own world within a few blocks’ radius and not know of something that’s happening across town,” he says. “People are interested in local culture and community and supporting that kind of stuff, even if they don’t necessarily know about it. I’m interested in making [those] connections.” 

WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of Feb. 6 to 8

BY MATT HARRISON

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OAG’s On The Rocks
Fun facts about — Hokkaido, Japan’s wintery, northern island (this is leading somewhere, I promise): the island’s original inhabitants are called Ainu; it has a number of volcanoes, some active; the 1972 Olympics were held there; the Seikan Tunnel is a 53km railway line that extends 100m below the seabed, connecting Hokkaido with Honshu; and that silvery-can of Sapporo you’ve quaffed down at some Asian-fusion resto? That’s named after the island’s capital city. There, now you’re set for the Ottawa Art Gallery’s On The Rocks Hokkaido-themed Winterlude party on Friday, Feb. 6. Unlike in past years, this one’s being held at City Hall. It features performances by Oto-Wa Taiko Japanese Drumming Group, Ryoko Itabashi, shamisen player, and music by Anonimo. Plus traditional games, sake and Hokkaido home cooking samples, as well as door prizes. More info, or to purchase tickets, visit here.
City Hall is at 110 Laurier Ave.

It’s the Beat
“Give me a mic and a beat/And I’ll be straight/It’s the beat
You know it’s one for the treble/Two for the bass/It’s the beat” — It’s the Beat, Simian Mobile Disco

Thought by some to make you go crazy, lose your inhibitions, and cause you to ‘sin’, today, few would agree with this assessment of ‘the beat.’ Instead, as organizers of the Origins of Beat will point out, the beat has played an important role in the development and progression of Canadian music — from its earliest roots in Canada, to jazz, blues, soul, and — eventually — house music. Be part of the Origin of Beat showcase, featuring DJs, groups, and individual artists, who will be focusing mainly on Afro, Caribbean, Latin, and Urban music, and demonstrate how these genres have come to be influenced by ‘the beat.’ It’s $10 and it happens on Saturday, February 7 at Maxwells. More info, visit here.
Maxwells is at 340 Elgin St.

Baltic/Nordic Film Fest
A teacher who crosses the line? Sadly, it’s the stuff of daily headlines. But as The Lesson shows, in spite of best intentions, a teacher’s relationship with their students can sometimes be complicated. Known in Latvia as Izlaiduma gads, the film is the first of several to be shown as part of this weekend’s annual Bright Lights: The Baltic-Nordic Film Festival. Hosted by the Canadian Film Institute, the festival’s first film, The Lesson, will be shown on Friday, Feb 6 at 7 p.m. at Carleton University’s River Building Theatre.
A mother’s constant disapproval is the source of her daughter’s seemingly inability to realize her promising potential as an actress — I am Yours screens on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., followed by a look at Sweden’s legendary filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring, Fanny & Alexander) through the eyes of other cinematic legends (Woody Allen, Wes Craven, De Niro) — Trespassing Bergman is at 9 p.m.

A girl’s remarkable 6,000 km trek from a Cold War Russian gulag back home to Lithuania is chronicled in The Excursionist — it shows at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb 8.
More info, and to purchase tickets, visit here.
Carleton University is at 1125 Colonel By Drive

Wakefield International Film Festival
More film comin’ at yeah — but you have to drive to Wakefield to see it. Secret trials, an Israeli secret service agent who protects a Hamas leader, a blind piano prodigy who suffers from stage fright — just a few of the subjects explored this year at the Wakefield International Film Festival. Opening night takes place on Saturday, Feb. 7 with U.K.’s Next Goal Wins, a doc about how a maverick Dutch soccer coach transformed the worst team on the planet — the American Samoa, who’ve only scored twice in 17 years and never won a game. (Sound familiar? Let’s get this coach to help out our Canadian Men’s team.) That’s at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7.

And at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8. Also this weekend is Sol, a Canadian film by directors Marie-Hélène CousineauSusan Avingaq, about Solomon Uyarasuk, an Inuit acrobat, musician, and poet who died in an RCMP holding cell under suspicious circumstances. It screens on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m.

Along with riveting, must-see films, directors will also be present to discuss their documentaries. Opportunities for further discussion and a chance to mingle, share some libations, and eat nibblies will take place following films. For cinephiles who are also gourmands, the festival offers the Bouffe-4-Buffs, which pairs film with discounts to many of the village’s restos. More info here.

WIFF continues to show films and feature guest directors every Saturday and Sunday until March 1. More info on the festival, passes, directions, etc., visit here.