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

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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.

 

 

CULTURE: The Birdman Chronicles explores success, obscurity, and passion (according to John Westhaver)

By DAYANTI KARUNARATNE

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From time to time, Ottawa Magazine gets approached with projects that are so unique, or creatively challenging, or represent some interesting and important aspect of the city, that we can’t turn them away. So what if they don’t fit into a specific department of the magazine or website! This website can be a time-sucking beast, but it lets us have fun sometimes — like when Ottawa-based filmmaker Alex Griffith reached out about his short doc on  John Westhaver of Birdman Sound, host of CKCU “Morning Cartunes”, and drummer for The Band Whose Name is a Symbol (TBWNIAS).

Full disclosure: my husband is a big fan of this band. (Me? Seems I’m always stuck at home with our kid on concert nights.) Either way, at first glance I thought this film would simply be something for the two of us to enjoy.

But as I watched it, I realized it spoke to a question I have long asked about musicians: why join a band? Not being a musician myself I can see how this question might come off as completely ignorant, but really — when work, family, and other obligations start to clutter the schedule, what motivates musicians to come together and practice, fine-tune songs, plan concerts, the whole bit? Looks like a lot of work.

But The Birdman Chronicles gave me some insight. Whether or not you’re in a band, it’s worth checking out.

Below the vid, a Q&A with the filmmaker about his decision to focus on Westhaver and  what he learned by making film.

Ottawa Mag: How did you decide to create a doc that focused on John Westhaver?

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ARTFUL BLOGGER: Two Aboriginal Artists from Manitoulin Island & Sizzling Erotica in Chelsea

BY PAUL GESSELL

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Universe, (1970), Daphne Odjig, acrylic

 

Both new and old works from one of the biggest names in the Canadian art world – Daphne Odjig – are to have a rare, two-month-long run at Cube Gallery starting Feb. 3.

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SOUND SEEKERS: Tara Holloway Nails It with Little Ghosts

BY FATEEMA SAYANI

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Tara Holloway, the powerhouse vocalist with the perfectly raspy voice, has put together an album that showcases her many dimensions. On Little Ghosts she sounds pained, mischievous, whimsical, awesomely raging, sage, and saucy. The new album — recorded at Ottawa’s Bova Sound and to be released in late February on Vancouver label Light Organ Records — has a bit of blues, a bit of folk noir, and a ton of charm with plenty of top-drawer offerings.

Holloway, 34, has toured and couch surfed for years (she once claimed “the iPhone is my home”), frequenting B.C., Tennessee, and California. She has spent most of her adult life on the stage and as a result is a natural with the chatty stage banter. It’s fascinating to watch her go from being potty-mouthed and gregarious to plaintive and pained, as she starts into another tune with those killer pipes. At times she brings to mind another redhead who put the capital on the map. Holloway’s album has all the hallmarks to blow up big. Could it be another Failer?

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WEEKENDER: Five things to do on Super Bowl weekend (other than watch the game)

rick-mercer

A man who needs no introduction


Winter-feud? (Mostly FREE)
As controversy continues to dog the upcoming FIFA Women’s soccer tourney this summer in Canada regarding turf, one wonders how this will play out during Winterlude? I mean, will snow sculptors feature soccer players playing on grass or the artificial stuff? And how does one distinguish that critical difference in snow? I guess we’ll see as FIFA’s “joys of winter” exhibit gets carved during Winterlude, which officially kicks off on Friday, Jan. 30.

This exhibit is but one of many events over three weeks. Lansdowne Park is the newest notable venue — it will feature an outdoor skating rink (refrigerated just in case the soul-destroying winter temps as of late magically disappear), as well as the Winter Design Festival, Design & Build Competition.

A few other things of interest — The opening ceremonies take place on Friday at 7 p.m., typically at Confederation Park… but I’ll admit, information regarding the location appears vague. Introduce your kiddies to downhill skiing (ages 5 to 8) at Snowflake Kingdom everyday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s also the Explore 150 Youth Photography Showcase, which highlights places around the country that have most influenced our identity. Curious to see what locales made the cut? Check out the exhibit at Confederation Park. Explore150.ca. Thirsty (and 18+)? Festibiere beer festival will be held inside Canada’s Museum of History (held this Friday and Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.) featuring a wide range of beers to imbibe. Tickets and more info here.
Winterlude runs until Monday, Feb. 16. More info, visit here.

New ‘apocalyptic’ date (FREE)
Mark it on your calendar: 2050. That’s when approximately 80 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities — mega-cities. These gargantuan ‘hives’ can, however, be a place that is hospitable, according to Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl — the star of the 2012 doc, The Human Scale. The documentary is being screened, for free, on Thursday, Jan. 29 at Bytown Cinema. Afterwards, a local panel of experts (guest speakers include Catherine McKenney, Somerset Ward Coun.; Alain Miguelez, City of Ottawa planner; David Sweanor, uOttawa adjunct prof. of law; and Inge Roosendaal, development officer of Ottawa Public Health) will discuss what the City of Ottawa has done well and what it can do better with regards to urban planning, sustainable transportation, and creating a more liveable space. Capacity is 650. Event starts at 6 p.m. More info, visit here.
Bytowne Cinema is at 325 Rideau St.

Trick or Treaty? (FREE)
In Canada, one photograph in particular helped define the year 1990 — it featured a Private Patrick Cloutier and a masked Brad “Freddy Krueger” Larocque Mohawk warrior standing face-to-face. That shot — taken by Canadian Press photographer, Shaney Komulainen — helped define for many the Oka Crisis in the fall of that year.

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A still from the film by Kanehsatake, 270 Years of Resistance, by Alanis Obomsawin

However, this other photograph (above) — a still from Alanis Obomsawin’s film Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance — also shot during the Crisis, perhaps better captures the reality of the tragedy that First Nations people continue to struggle against.

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Canadian filmmaker, Alanis Obomsawin

Fifteen years later, acclaimed Canadian filmmaker, Obomsawin once more turns her camera towards issues facing Aboriginals. Her latest, Trick or Treaty?, will be shown on Friday, January 30 at River Building Theatre at Carleton University as part of The Canadian Film Institute’s ongoing guest series, The Enlightened Screen. Obomsawin will be present at the event, which begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free. More info, visit here.
Carleton University is at 1125 Colonel By Drive

Freshly Chopped
There are some who believe that your of taste should align with the other four senses. And those that do, have created an event that combines photography, music, and food into a unique sensory experience — The Freshly Chopped Supper Club. Not necessarily new, the event on Saturday, January 30, will be the first event of the New Year. It will feature 8 courses from “around the globe” along with music by DJ Sash and photography by Theak Chhuom. It happens at Grounded Kitchen & Coffee from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets from $48. More info on ticket prices, visit here.
Grounded Kitchen & Coffee is at 100 Gloucester St.

Mercer, the Snowman…
Want to see Rick Mercer break a world record? On Sunday, February 1 CBC funny man, Mercer, will be in Ottawa to tape — and break — the record to build the most snowmen in one hour. According to Guinness, the record stands at 1, 279 snowmen built in one hour, which took place on January, 2011 in Salt Lake City. Over 350 people took part; each snowman had two eyes and a carrot nose. C’mon Ottawa, we can do better than that!

And so, Mercer needs your help — bring gently used mittens, scarves, and hats to decorate your snowmen; after the event, these will be donated to the Salvation Army. The event begins at 10 a.m. at Lansdowne Park; the actual recording-breaking occurs at 11 a.m. There will be a post-event reception as well.
TD Place (Lansdowne) is at 1015 Bank St.

 

UPDATED! Black History Month brings music, comedy, and cultural celebrations of all kinds to Ottawa

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

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Pierre Kwenders, a Congolese singer-songwriter, performs a concert on February 12 at the NAC

 

FREE! BLACK HISTORY MONTH LAUNCH & OPENING CEREMONY. Jan. 31.
This year’s theme is “Our Canadian Story: Our Elders. Our Legacy!” Opening celebrations reflect on the contributions older adults have made to the Canadian mosaic. Highlights include the proclamation of the city-wide observance for this year’s Black History Month, the unveiling of commemorative Canada Post stamps, and presentations of the 2015 Black History Ottawa Community Builder Awards.
Centrepointe Theatre, 101 Centrepointe Dr., 613-580-2700, centrepointetheatre.ca

BLACK ARTISTS’ NETWORKS IN DIALOGUE. VARIOUS DATES
BAND is an organization dedicated to supporting, documenting, and showcasing the artistic and cultural contributions of Black Artists in Canada. And wow do they have a line-up! An art exhibit that questions the meaning of “minority” is on view at the GCTC; House of Paint is organizing The Origin of Beat, which explores how Afro, Caribbean, Latin, and Urban Music continue to influence contemporary music; a compendium of young black artists of the diaspora (including Annie Lefebvre, Le R, Yao, and Richard Léger) interpret great black poets of the  past in Prise de Conscience; and on Feb. 23, the Nina Project sees three amazing African-Canadian singers – Jackie Richardson, Kellylee Evans, and Shakura S’Aida – display the depth and range of Nina Simone’s legacy.

FREE! CHILDREN’S STORIES IN THE DIASPORA. Feb. 8.
Readers from the black community share children’s stories written by black authors.
Ottawa Public Library, Nepean Centrepointe Branch, Children’s Program Room, 101 Centrepointe Dr., 613-580-2700, biblioottawalibrary.ca

PIERRE KWENDERS. Feb. 12
In celebration of Black History Month, Pierre Kwenders, a Congolese singer-songwriter, performs a concert on February 12 that blends traditional and modern African rhythms — and is sure to get audiences on their feet. From $20.
National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage, 53 Elgin St., 888-991-2787, nac-cna.ca

THE UNDERGROUND COMEDY RAILROAD. Feb. 16
Montreal stand-up comics Andrew Searles and Rodney Ramsey have gathered a crew of equally hilarious black comedians to bring The Underground Comedy Railroad tour to Ottawa. Daniel Woodrow and Keesha Brownie join the when they pull up to Absolute Comedy on Preston Street.

THE SPECTRUM: BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPEAKER SERIES. Feb. 20.
In partnership with the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Black Ottawa Business Network Social Group hosts speakers on topics such as health, nutrition, and exercise. Additional activities include a silent auction, Afro-Caribbean dance and poetry, and an exhibit on medical pioneers of African descent. $15.
The Royal Canadian Legion Montgomery Branch, 330 Kent St., 613-233-7292, montgomerylegion.ca

SAMMY DEAD. Feb. 21.
Written and directed by Fay Jarrett and Lorna Townsend, this play takes a lighthearted Caribbean-style approach to funerals. From $20.
Rideau Park United Church, 2203 Alta Vista Dr., 613-733-3156, rideaupark.ca

GLOBAL COMMUNITY ALLIANCE GALA NIGHT AND AWARD CEREMONY. Feb. 28.
This event celebrates the diversity in the Ottawa community and recognizes the individuals, businesses, associations, and organizations that have made a difference within it. Highlights include a keynote speaker, award presentations, and entertainment. $65.
Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, 150 Albert St., 613-238-1500, sheratonottawa.com

For complete schedule, visit blackhistoryottawa.org.