WEEKENDER: Six things to do in Ottawa on the weekend of April 25—27



Ottawa weekender: The Planet Smashers play Mavericks on April 25 supporting their latest album Mixed Messages

In this edition of the Weekender: The Planet Smashers, Nature Nocturne, Ottawa Brewery Market, and three more things to do in Ottawa this weekend

Ska’s Smashers
Along with the many other 90s sub-genre music revivals recently, it was only a matter of time before ska saw a bit of a return. Enter Montreal’s The Planet Smashers. The band’s national and international success lasted well into the late 90s, until a series of events resulted in a break-up of sorts. Two core members remained, however, who brought on additional members, and toured and produced a number of albums, including the latest: Mixed Messages was released in early April. The new album has spawned a spate of shows, including a stop in Ottawa on Friday, April 25 at Mavericks. They’re playing with The Scally Cap Brats, The Cardboard Crowns, and Suits n’ Toques. Doors open at 8 p.m., $17. Mavericks is located at 221 Rideau St.

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ARTFUL BLOGGER: Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote come to the Ottawa International Writers Festival


asdf (Photo: JJ Levine)

Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote, authors of Gender Failure, attend this year’s Ottawa International Writers Festival (Photo: JJ Levine)

The amusing, talented, provocative authors of Gender Failure are coming to the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

Chances are the new book will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the breasts — make that the former breasts — of the much-published Vancouver author Ivan E. Coyote.

Coyote and her fellow trans pal, Rae Spoon, have written what is surely the funniest, most educational, most provocative book of the season. It’s all about their bumpy ride trying to find their proper place in the gender binary and finally realizing that they were neither male nor female. They were “gender failures” and, finally, happy to be so.

The two authors will be discussing their book and singing a few tunes — Spoon is a country singer turned indie rocker — April 25 at the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

Coyote is the author of 10 books, including the short story collection One in Every Crowd. Spoon has an equal number of albums to their credit, including 2013’s My Prairie Home.

But back to Coyote’s breasts. As soon as they started appearing, the adolescent tomboy tried to hide them by binding them with Saran wrap. Yes, Saran wrap. Later it was elastic bandages, and later still something described as elastic dancer shirts. By the time Coyote’s age hit the 40s, so had the author’s chest: 42C, in fact. Coyote was not happy with the fulsome “ladies,” as they came to be known.

“Some days I look in the mirror and I think, ‘Whose are those?’”

Eventually, Coyote had a double mastectomy and obtained a more personally satisfying look. Coyote, by the way, has the uncanny ability to write about this experience in an honest, but funny, way that is life-affirming and not the least bit cringe-inducing.

Coyote wrote a letter to all those near and dear to tell them about the operation. Relatives from the Yukon replied with supportive letters quoted in the book. The best one is from Coyote’s 94-year-old grandmother, who commented: “I wish I could get rid of mine. You could wave goodbye with them.”

Almost, but not quite, hidden in the jokes and snappy writing is the heartbreak so many people face who, like Coyote and Spoon, do not fit into gender stereotypes. Simply using a public washroom or gymnasium locker room can be a terrifying experience. Neither males nor females want to share facilities with people of indeterminate gender. Violence is common. Even passersby on the street feel the need to denigrate, loudly, a trans person.

“Just for the record,” writes Coyote, “glaring at me in disgust in the women’s change room will not magically make me more feminine.”

And, just for the record, it should be noted that Coyote and Spoon each prefer to be called “they” rather than “he” or “she.” Using a usually plural pronoun to refer to one person does not slip easily off the tongue for most people.

Society may be generally more accepting of the transgendered in all their varieties. But the English language is less flexible. It has yet to adapt.

Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon will be at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on April 25 at 8:30 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar St. 

THE ART OF SEX: Four pieces that look at sex and sexuality in a new fresh way

This feature appears in Ottawa Magazine’s April 2014 issue. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

All Systems Go 2

The Backstory: This 2013 illustration was conceived as a companion piece to a computer-animated film I’m making with a team in Norway. I was toying with a million different variations on the boy/girl pairing. Finally I came upon this ass earmuffs concept. It’s not exactly breaking new ground — R. Crumb, the American cartoonist, has beaten a beautiful path ahead of me — but it felt really authentic to me. And I laugh every time I see Eddy hanging there so happily. This is a lighthearted image from what will ultimately be quite a dark eight-minute short. — Dave Cooper

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SOUND SEEKERS: 31 things you need to know about House of Targ

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani.


House of Targ — a new perogie, pinball, and concert venue on Bank Street — opens its doors on April 17 with a show from Toronto band PUP (Photo: Fateema Sayani)

Sound Seekers took a tour of the new House of Targ perogie and pinball palace on Bank Street last week. The varnish on the bar was still tacky, and there was plenty of drilling, sawing, and hammering going on. That racket will continue even though the renovations are done. House of Targ launches with the loud sounds of Toronto’s PUP (you may have heard the punk band on CBC’s Q a few weeks ago; listen to their album below) on April 17. Here are some fun facts about the new hangout.

1. Pat Buck painted the murals. There’s a wizard on the back wall and a skull in the band room.

2. In addition to live music, you can enjoy six different kinds of perogies, including a vegan and gluten-free variety; one with seasonal mushrooms and shallots; and a dessert pierogi.

3. House of Targ’s chef, Erik Royle, used to work at The Green Door and Zen Kitchen.

4. The basement venue used to be a jazz and blues club called The New Bayou.

5. The 4,000-square-foot space has a capacity of 180.

6. House of Targ is open Thursday to Sunday, and occasionally on Monday through Wednesday, if a good show is coming through town.

7. Dinner and games will take place from 4—9 p.m. (all ages), with shows happening from 9 p.m.—2 a.m. (19+).

8. The bar will carry beer from Ashton Brewing Co., Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co., and an oatmeal stout called, fittingly, “The Darkness” by Beyond the Pale.

9. Games run on loonies and quarters; there’s always a game on free play.

10. One game will always take coins for charity. It’ll be clearly marked every night.

11. Sundays are free play nights with music from DJ KJ Maxx of the band Mother’s Children. $5 gets you in.

12. PUP plays opening night on April 17. Owner Paul “Yogi” Granger’s cousin is in the band.

13. Fiftymen play opening week, on Saturday, April 19.

14. The House of Targ managers plan to put out a monthly zine with show details and a scene report.

15. The bar is run by Granger, Mark McHale, and Kevin Birger from The Visitors and Neck.

16. They have a 10-year lease on the space. “We’re trying to do something long term, for sure,” Granger says.

17. Getting the space ready meant re-doing the floor, stripping the walls, sanding everything, painting ceilings and floors — and putting down seven coats of wax on the floor.

18. The owners took out a non-structural wall to create an open kitchen. They put in a DJ booth and band room where the old beer fridge was located.

19. Community! “We’ve paid for all the materials, but everyone has volunteered their time,” Granger says. “It’s been total community support which is really humbling. I don’t think we could afford it if everyone hadn’t pitched in.”

20. The arcade games and videos are all old style. The place has some 20 to 30 machines.

21. Granger owns some of the games. The others come from Geoff Parr of pinhead.ca and Josh McKay of ottawapinball.com.

22. House of Targ comes from Targ, the name of a game. “It’s kind of like Pac-Man, but you’re a little ship and you can shoot and you can go a lot faster,” Granger says. It’s quick and intense and you die really quickly.”

23. Targ is the first game someone dropped off at Granger’s jam space on Main Street. “We fixed it and it started off this whole thing.”

24. The spot on Main street is still a jam space, but it has been sold to new owners and will likely be turned into condos in two or three years, or at least that’s what Granger is hearing.

25. Granger is not playing with Ukrainia for the moment. That band is busy touring and playing festivals. Granger is currently playing with Black Bread and Cloven Hoofs.

26. The three bar owners will also act as sound guys.

27. “We’re going to try to match shows with sound guys — so it’s aligned with the sound guy’s interest in a certain style of music,” Granger says. “When the soundman is having fun that’s a good thing. When you have the same sound guy night after night, they tend to turn into Cranky Sound Guy without a lot of patience.”

28. The games, with their ringers and buzzers, will be turned off before quieter, soft-seat-style shows.

29. House of Targ is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for perogie production. Chef Royle and two other cooks work for two days to make 3,600—4,000 perogies at a time.

30. There’s gear! The drum kit comes from Dave’s Drum Shop and the amps come from Spaceman Music, which means bands don’t have to change over their gear between sets or lug all their stuff to the club.

31. Coming up! Shows from Vite Vite, a new French pop band featuring Paul Hogan of Polaris, and Roberta Bondar’s record release party.


URBAN HIPPIE: Rainbow Foods to start selling meat



Rainbow Foods enters a new era that sees the store selling meat for the first time in its 36-year existence

Rainbow Foods — the health food store that has long been a destination for those who seek all things healthy, vegetarian, gluten-free, and organic — has announced that it will begin selling meat for the first time.

According to Mischa Kaplan, who, along with his wife, has taken over the business his parents founded in 1978 (Mom and Dad are still involved in a mentoring capacity), says the decision was not motivated by financial concerns, but rather to meet customer demand.

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WEEKENDER: Seven things to do in Ottawa on the weekend of April 18—21


The Love, Handmade. wedding show is happening at Memorial Hall in New Edinburgh on Saturday, April 19

The Love, Handmade. Wedding Show takes place at Memorial Hall in New Edinburgh on Saturday, April 19

In this edition of the Weekender: An undground hunt, swapping vinyl, forbidden love, and four more things to do in Ottawa this weekend.

Vinyl Swap (FREE!)
Do you have a lot of records in your collection that you don’t listen to anymore? This Friday, April 18, bring them to Record Swap Day (er, well, the event is in the evening) at Raw Sugar Café and trade them with other music lovers. After the exchanges are made, a bunch of local DJs (including DJ Adam Saikaley of the band Silkken Laumann and former producer of Tempo on CBC) will be spinning records of their own for your listening pleasure. The Swap takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. Raw Sugar Café is located at 692 Somerset W.

Easter Egg Hunts…
Spring has sprung at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. From Friday, April 18 to Monday, April 21 kids will be able to meet newborn animals, help make Easter bread, and take part in the Signs of Spring Easter Egg Hunts — farm activities are scheduled for various times throughout the day. The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is located at 901 Prince of Whales Dr.

If you’ll be in the west end on Saturday, April 19, try looking for eggs underground at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum — the hunt is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum is located at 3929 Carp Rd. in Carp.

Handmade Wedding
Bummed that the Wed by Hand wedding show isn’t happening this year? Well, Meaghan Brunetti, owner of The Handmade Bride, is organizing a brand new indie wedding show on Saturday, April 19 that’ll have just about everything you’ll need for your upcoming wedding. Shop for handmade, eco-friendly designs with a vintage feel, and take in one of the many workshops happening throughout the day. Love, Handmade. Wedding Show takes place at Memorial Hall (across the street from The Handmade Bride) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance. Memorial Hall is located at 39 Dufferin Rd.

On Stage Diary
The Diary of Anne Frank tells the true story about a 13- year-old who is forced to go into hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Based on the book, the play has received countless acclaims since its first staging, including the 1956 Pulitzer Prize. Tim Picotte directs the performance at The Gladstone. The play will be running until Saturday, April 19. From $18. The Gladstone is located at 910 Gladstone Ave.

Madama Butterfly, the world-famous opera about love and tragedy will be at the NAC April 19-26 (photo: On Stage Ottawa)

Madama Butterfly, the world-famous opera about love and tragedy, will be at the National Arts Centre April 19-26 (Photo: On Stage Ottawa)

Love & Tragedy
Madama Butterfly, one of the most famous operas of all time, tells the story about a young Japanese woman, known as Madama Butterfly, who marries an American naval officer and is then shunned by her family for choosing to abandon her ancestral religion. The opera, playing at the National Arts Centre, is put on by Opera Lyra OttawaMadama Butterfly is on from April 19 until April 26 at the National Arts Centre. From $25. 53 Elgin St.

Beautiful Shapes
The Abstractionists, currently showing at Studio Sixty Six, showcases the first group of paintings in their New Painters series. In describing the four artists — Ali Kramers, Cindy Merksy, Darren Kooyman, and Karyn Watson — curators Carrie Colton and Manar Abotouk write: “Their subjects are the real beauty of the circle, square, and triangle, and the subtlety and plasticity of sheer colour and surface. Their work offers the freest play of creativity and imagination.” The show is on until May 8. Studio Sixty Six is located at 66 Muriel St., unit 202.

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Gerald Trottier gets some of the recognition he deserves with an exhibition at Ottawa Art Gallery


Gerald Trottier, Pilgrimage I, 1980, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60 in, Collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery, donation by Irma Trottier, 2013, photo David Barbour

Gerald Trottier, Pilgrimage I, 1980, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60 in, Collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery, donation by Irma Trottier, 2013, photo David Barbour

Ottawa is not always kind to its deceased artists. While alive, major talents from this area are given exhibitions in both public and commercial galleries. The City of Ottawa, through its annual art purchase program, buys works by those artists to hang in public buildings.

But once an artist dies, we rarely hear anything about him or her, unless one or two works are dusted off for some themed exhibition. Occasionally a Henri Masson or Jean Dallaire painting will appear for sale at one gallery or another. But those are the exceptions.

And that is why the new exhibition at the Ottawa Art Gallery of drawings and paintings by the late Gerald Trottier is so welcomed. The exhibition, called Perspective, is at the gallery’s sales and rental space in Arts Court. All but one of the few dozen works on view is for sale. That one, a spectacular painting called Pilgrimage, is part of a donation of 100 of the artist’s works to Ottawa Art Gallery from Trottier’s widow, Irma. This is the largest donation of artwork ever received by the gallery.

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SOUND SEEKERS: Dann Oickle releases video for The Bed off new album Blitzkrieg

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani.

Danniel Oickle at home. Photos by Bonnie Findley.

Danniel Oickle at home. Photos by Bonnie Findley.

New Video
Pop artist Dann Oickle (formerly of Ottawa, now domiciled in Montreal), released his new album Blitzkrieg earlier this year. It’s a reflection on the idea of love as an act of war from tiny inequities to fallings out to near-fatal attractions, as we wrote in a previous Sound Seekers post.

Oickle is a performer who loves imagery. He organizes his live shows with Bowie-esque ambition for make-up and moves. His gigs are prefaced by what feels like a well-executed marketing plan, replete with vivid visuals that stand out in our image-saturated culture.

Continuing in that vein, Oickle hopes to release a video for each track of his new album. The first is for  “The Bed,” an audience favourite from the album.

“People liked the Madonna/Prince vibe of it, and the pulsing sexuality,” Oickle says. “It was also noted that this song maintained an erotic vibe and yet never crossed over to the crass or perverse.”

He brought that sensual, couth vibe to the video setting, which takes place in the hotel room of a landed sailor (played by Oickle) and two call girls (played by Olexandra Pruchnicky and Rebecca Noelle of The Peptides).

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WEEKENDER: Six things to do in Ottawa on the weekend of April 10—13

The Orange Art Gallery has moved into the City Centre building.

Check out the Orange Art Gallery’s new space and celebrate their fourth anniversary this Thursday

Orange alert (FREE!)
The Orange Art Gallery has moved! Celebrating their new space — and their fourth anniversary — the gallery is hosting a reception on Thursday, April 10 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Check out new works by Orange’s own artists, and stick around for performances by Velvet Underground cover band, No Kinds of Love, and rap artist, The Joynt. Orange Art Gallery is now located at 290 City Centre Ave.

Touring Proof
The Toronto-based alt-country/folk band, Sunparlour Players, is playing The Black Sheep Inn armed with their brand new album The Living Proof (they’re playing two days after launching the record). This double-bill includes rock and roots quartet, Harlan Pepper, who hail from Hamilton. The show is on Thursday, April 10 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance. The Black Sheep Inn is at 753 Riverside Dr. in Wakefield. Beware potholes along that stretch!

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Q&A: SuicideGirls founder Missy Suicide on celebrating unconventional beauty, baring it all online, and their April 12 show at Maverick’s


Missy Suicide is the founder and leader of the sexy and renowned online community SuicideGirls

Missy Suicide is the founder and leader of the sexy and renowned online community SuicideGirls

Since 2001, girls with tattoos, piercings, and crazy-coloured hair have been submitting photos to the sexy and renowned online community SuicideGirls in the hopes of earning official SuicideGirl status. Initially launched to celebrate and foster unconventionally beautiful girls who choose not to fit in, today, the SuicideGirls website gets five million unique views per month and 1,000 applications per week.

During the application process, candidates work with model coordinators, submit professional photos, interact with the community, and get feedback on their work. Once they’ve been selected, the best of the best are featured on the website.

SuicideGirls works hard to create opportunities for its models. And some are even invited to tour and perform with the Blackheart Burlesque show, choreographed by Manwe Sauls-Addison, the same artist who developed productions for Beyonce and Lady Gaga.

This Saturday, fans will have a chance to see some of the most beautiful and remarkable SuicideGirls up close and personal when the Blackheart Burlesque troupe comes to Mavericks with a program filled with stripteases and pop-culture references.

Missy Suicide is the founder and leader of SuicideGirls. She’s in charge of the goings on around the SuicideGirls business, and has watched it grow from the ground up. We talk with the Missy about how she gets these badass bombshells the recognition they deserve.

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