ARTFUL BLOGGER: Greeks, Gladiators, and Up To Low



A marble head of Alexander the Great. Photo: © Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs


There is really no experience like getting up close to Alexander the Great and staring at him mano a mano. This will be possible come June 5 when the exhibition, The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great, opens at the Canadian Museum of History.

The exhibition arrives in Gatineau after a winter-long run at Pointe-a-Calliere Museum in Montreal. That’s where I saw the show and spent a few minutes communing with Alexander, or at least a life-sized sculpture of his head that was created during the great warrior’s lifetime, 356-323 BCE.

The marble head appears to have been carved shortly after Alexander became king of Macedonia at age 20, succeeding his father, Philip II. The face is young and untroubled, except for a missing nose that got knocked off sometime in the last few thousand years. Even without a nose, young Alexander is handsome, apparently ready to go out and conquer lands stretching from Greece, south to Egypt, and eastward to India.

Alexander did all that by age 30. What did you accomplish by age 30? Maybe a university degree, a mortgage, a troubled marriage, and one ungrateful child?

A teenaged Alexander was tutored by none other than Aristotle. Maybe that’s how he got the smarts to conquer Egypt, Persia, Asia Minor, etc., and not just to nab a semi-detached in Kanata that will take 35 years to own.


The gold mask from Mycenae, often referred to as the “Death Mask of Agamemnon”. Photo: © Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs

The exhibition, at least as it was in Montreal, contains many fabulous gems, some of them never before seen outside Greece. There’s a series of sculpted heads from The Parthenon on The Acropolis, oodles of gold jewellery and some paper-thin gold death masks, pottery decorated with painted scenes of Greek warriors, life-sized marble statues, and bronze swords and spearheads  — artifacts covering 5,000 years of history.

The sculpted heads include those of Sophocles, the playwright, and Aristotle, the philosopher — two great minds that continue to shape our culture. We learn about Achilles, the almost invincible who was slain during the siege of Troy, and Homer, who immortalized in literature so many Greeks, both real and mythological.

524 Arch Museum Aegae BM 2633 Myrtle wreath

The golden myrtle wreath belonging to Queen Meda, buried in the tomb of Phillip II of Macedon. Photo: © Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs

All together, there are 500 artifacts in the exhibition. The works come from 21 Greek museums and are part of a plan by the Greek government to drum up tourism to their financially troubled country. The exhibition continues at the Canadian Museum of History until Oct. 12.

The History museum will be showing the same artifacts as were exhibited in Montreal. “However, we will have a significantly different presentation (given that we have a lot of more physical space),” says Stephanie Verner, a spokeswoman for the Gatineau museum. “We are also focusing much more heavily on the people, special objects, and events that are woven into the exhibition. We are building dozens of special displays (both cases and architectural features) that will help the visitor better connect with Greek history.”

Death and Glory
Another swords-and-sandals exhibition opens at the Canadian War Museum June 13. If you enjoyed the Russell Crowe film Gladiators or the far older Kirk Douglas classic Spartacus, chances are you will also enjoy the exhibition Gladiators and the Colosseum – Death and Glory.

The exhibition was developed by the Italian firms Contemporanea Progretti and Expona and comes with actual pieces of the Colosseum, weapons, armour, sculptures, and other gladiator brick-a-brac — some of it genuine and some reproductions.

The first Roman gladiator games were held in 310 BCE. Six hundred years later, the bloodthirsty fight-to-the-death games ended. They were getting too expensive and Christianity, which shunned the games, was on the rise.

Of course, this was long before the UFC circuit was formed in North America in which modern-day gladiators fight one another, almost to the death.

The gladiator exhibition is a rather unusual pop culture extravaganza for the war museum, which tends to concentrate, in a serious, scholarly way, on Canada’s involvement in military conflicts. Is the war museum really the place for an exhibition on gladiators?

The exhibition will continue until Sept. 7.

Up to Low 1

Up to Low. Left to right: Chris Ralph, Lewis Wynne-Jones, Attila Clemann. Photo: Sarah Hoy

Up To Low
It’s an all-Ottawa theatrical dream team, starting with a much loved children’s novel, Up to Low, by Brian Doyle. Then, veteran director Janet Irwin adapts the play for the stage. Ian Tamblyn takes charge of the music. The cast includes such Ottawa pros as Pierre Brault and Paul Rainville. What could go wrong?

Lots, apparently. The first act is the most problematic. There is simply too much talking, singing, leaping and scurrying simultaneously on the crowded stage as 12-year-old Tommy, his father, and his father’s drunken friend, Frank, prepare for a trip to a cottage and a neighbourhood of eccentrics along the Gatineau River near Low in 1950. It all becomes just noise at times.

Then there are the sturdy wooden chairs which, most tiresomely, become cumbersome all-season props. (Note to director: Waving these chairs in the air does not make for convincing birds.)

The second, uncluttered act is better. It is spooky, silly, romantic, and cathartic – just like Doyle’s novel intended the story to be. Brault’s portrayal of Hummer, a Gatineau Valley witch doctor of sorts, was brilliant. Likewise is Rainville as the villainous Mean Hughie.

Up To Low deals with many weighty topics, including alcoholism, domestic abuse, cancer, the disabled, post-traumatic stress disorder and, above all, the power of forgiveness. The novel was written for children, so all the lessons come with huge dollops of corn-pone humour geared to young minds.

up to low 2

A scene from Up to Low, a play adapted from a book by Brian T. Doyle, being presented at Arts Court Theatre from May 23 to June 6. Left to right, back row: Megan Carty, Doreen Taylor-Claxton, Paul Rainville, Kristina Watt. Front row: Chris Ralph, Attila Clemann. Photo: Sarah Hoy

Today, the story — at least as adapted by Irwin — appears terribly dated, appealing more to nostalgic seniors than to children ready to learn some valuable life lessons. In our current politically correct society, men who abuse alcohol or beat their wives are no longer seen as comedic characters. Their attitudes and actions are more tragic than funny.

Up to Low continues at Arts Court Theatre until June 6. For tickets and information, visit here. The play is produced by Easy Street Productions and The Ottawa Children’s Theatre, in association with Magnetic North Theatre Festival.

In case you would like to do your own drive up to Low, be sure to stop at the Farrellton Artists’ Space just off Route 105 between Wakefield and Low. The building at 42 chemin Plunkett in the hamlet of Farrellton, is a sprawling old school turned into maze of artists’ studios for the likes of John Barkley, Kathryn Drysdale, Maureen Marcotte, David McKenzie, Stefan Thompson and many others.

There will be an open house June 11 at 7 p.m. and again June 14, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The atmosphere is similar to that of the annual open house held at Enriched Bread Artists studios in central Ottawa, except that the Farrellton location is in a pleasant, bucolic location. The drive (almost) up to Low is half the fun.





WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of the 28 to 31



Nick Farrio plays at House of Targ this weekend

Last Man in Hell
“Is it possible that even Hitler someday in the distant future might be capable of receiving forgiveness?” — Stephen Vicchio.

2940012146410_p0_v1_s260x420In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, the fictional character, Ivan, wrestles — to the point of near-madness — the idea of good & evil in relation to God. How can there be a God who would allow such pain and suffering, including the suffering of children, or so he argues.

In Ivan and Adolf: The Last Man in Hell, a play produced by 9th Hour Theatre Company, Ivan is forced to confront the existence of evil as personified by Hitler. This dramatic confrontation where ‘one can’t forgive, while the other can not be forgiven’, is set in the realm of the afterlife, but is being read — and discussed — in non-traditional theatrical spaces around Ottawa from Thursday May 28 to June 18. This Thursday’s reading takes place at The Irving Greenberg Theatre. Starts at 7:30; tickets from $15. More info, visit here.
The Irving Greenberg Theatre is at 1233 Wellington St. W.

…Speaking of Hell
Canada’s Nick Farrio is making (soft) noise with “Come Hell or High Water,” from his new album, Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs, which is being released on the same day as he’s playing in Ottawa at House of Targ! — Thursday, May 28.

Remember the 1960s-70s NFB Hinterland Who’s Who? Farrio’s Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs is a sort of who’s who of the country’s folk-ish landscape: the album was produced by Gavin Gardiner (Wooden Sky), and includes the likes of some of Canada’s other greats such as Julie Doiron, Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station), and Steve Lambke (Constantines). Presented by the Arboretum Festival, the show starts at 10 p.m. and includes The Lonely Parade + Jose Contreras + Jon Hynes. $7. More info, visit here.

Bird Watching = Duck Hunter?!? FREE
“Watching birds is like playing video games” — that little gem is from a friend who was trying to convince me that the two activities share much in common. It also helps explain the fascination and attraction behind bird watching.

“Just like a video game, you start with the easier species of bird, but then, as you become more skilled, you progress to species that are more difficult to identify or rare.” Sort of like Nintendo’s famous Duck Hunter in reverse — or so his comparison goes.

His theory is intriguing, since it presents bird watching as more of a game — I’d never thought of that before. And so, with that in mind, why not test your skills this Saturday, May 30 at the Bird Fair Day at Andrew Haydon Park. Bring the fam (or not) and celebrate migratory birds and the wild spaces they inhabit with nature walks, crafts and activities, live animals (presumably birds), and meet/chat with local conservation groups. It’s free. It’s from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Andrew Haydon Park is at Carling Avenue at Holly Acres Road.

Get the Skinny on Your City FREE
Trivia time: what city was once one of the seediest in North America? Did you know that there was a war fought by lumberjacks in Ottawa? How about a comparison on which Prime Minister was the most wise-cracking? The biggest alcoholic? The most violent? Find out all summer by taking an Ottawa Free Tour, which is being offered — yes, for Free! — every Saturday until September 6. Which means, if you’re curious about the city you live in, sign up here, or take your chances by just showing up (they may turn away people if there’s too many) at the National War Memorial on Elgin St. at 2 p.m. — rain or shine. More info, visit here.

The Ask Her Talks
Men take centre stage at international symposiums and conferences on world affairs, including Africa?!? Well, quelle surprise.

Women are on the frontlines of health care; Women are raising children; Women are working; Women are teaching; Women are keeping communities going; Women are tackling Africa’s epidemic of sexual violence — of which they are most often the victims.

What women aren’t doing? Raping, kidnapping, and soldiering.

And yet, Women are frequently left out of the discussions when it comes to helping solve Africa’s problems. Which is where The Ask Her Talks come in. Hosted by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, The Ask Her Talks is a “chance to hear from African women about the work they are doing on the ground and the role they believe aid and philanthropy should play in tackling some of Africa’s problems.” The Talks are being held on Thursday, May 28 Kailash Mital Theatre, Southam Hall, Carleton University. Tickets are $20. Starts at 7 p.m. More info, visit here.
Carleton University is at 1125 Colonel By Dr.




THIS CITY: Zebra Mussels Wreak Havoc With Ottawa River Ecosystem

This article was originally published in the May 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

By Matt Harrison

Stemming the flow of raw sewage flooding into the river after heavy rainfalls is one of the major problems being addressed by the Ottawa River Action Plan (ORAP). Indeed, earlier phases of the plan have already significantly reduced pollution entering the river. The final phase of the ORAP — building large storage tanks to contain overflow — is supposed to kick into gear this summer, but it requires provincial and federal funding, and so far, none has been promised. [Update: $65 million in federal funding was announced in April.]

But rethinking the Ottawa River isn’t such a bad idea. In fact, it may lead to a more holistic approach — one that addresses not only overflow but other factors affecting the health of the river.

The zebra mussel — and the herculean task of rescuing native mussel populations from its death grip — provides a perfect example.

Read the rest of this story »

REASON TO LOVE: Because Robert Lepage brings French and English together in a hypnotic display of theatrical brilliance

This article was originally published in the May 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine

By Paul Gessell

Robert Lepage. Photo by Renaud Phillipe

Robert Lepage. Photo by Renaud Phillipe

Robert Lepage’s play Needles and Opium was performed in French at the National Arts Centre in 1991. No English version had yet been written. In fact, there was barely a script in French. “It was a sketch,” Lepage recalls. Call it a work in progress. This month, we are getting the completed masterpiece at the NAC in the play’s first ever back-to-back outings, in French (May 19–23) and in English (May 27–June 6).

Needles explores the pain of lost love, addiction, and loneliness as experienced by a heartbroken Québécois man and the coincidental 1949 trips of French surrealist filmmaker Jean Cocteau to New York and African-American trumpeter Miles Davis to Paris. Back in 1991, Lepage played all the roles. In May, there will be two actors, Marc Labrèche and Wellesley Robertson III, in both productions.

The “soul” of the play remains the same in French and English, says Lepage, but the “energy” is different. Needles is “jazzier” in English and more “poetic” in French. Movements of the actors and their interactions with props are different in each version. Think of dancers who must tweak their choreography for two slightly different pieces of music.

Dialogue has been changed since 1991 to take into account such events as the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As well, the new version involves a large rotating cube on the stage, a magical device for changing scenes and depicting the feelings of euphoria experienced by Cocteau, on opium, and Davis, on heroin. The cubeless 1991 version was “bi-dimensional” and “very flat,” says Lepage. Now the play is “three-dimensional” and “sculptural” — and definitely worth seeing.

SOUND SEEKERS: Momentum Builds for Music City North


11053362_757288087721136_5596478891406457668_nThe inaugural Ottawa International Music Conference (OIMC) kicks off this week with three nights of music and two days of panels and networking events. The goal is to connect audiences, venues, and artists in Ottawa around a mutual love of electronic music.

Most events take place at the Maker Space North warehouse at City Centre and at satellite venues around the city including Babylon, Overkill, Ritual, Le Petit Chicago, and at the Mercury Lounge in the Byward Market.

There are dozens of acts to see including Kenny Dope, Nomadic Massive, Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, and Ottawa’s own Souljazz Orchestra.


DJ/producer, Kenny Dope

Check out the poster for the full list and find the lineup on Facebook and the OIMC site. The conference starts Friday, May 29 and continues through to Sunday. Full passes are $85. Individual ticket options can be found here. (P.S. We’re giving away a full conference pass. See our Twitter feed for details).

OIMC executive producer Claudia Balladelli has worked as a talent booker at the Mercury Lounge for years.

As part of her work there, she’s attended ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), Canadian Music Week, and WMC in Miami regularly over the past decade. She wanted to bring some of those ideas back to the capital.

“Ottawa is getting better, but still needs more underground festivals. Some festivals are too commercial and others are too indie,” she says. “This year seemed like a good time to make it happen. [Mercury owner] John Criswick bought and renovated Maker Space North. It is truly the perfect space to make it happen. OIMC is a chance for musicians and entrepreneurs to start solidifying their networks and to transform Ottawa into a better place for arts and music.”


DJ Trevor Walker, at the Mercury Lounge. Photo Alex Vlad

The OIMC follows similar events in Ottawa in recent months. Megaphono and Ontario Scene generated conversations about what needs to be done to make Ottawa a music scene town in the way of Austin or Nashville. A Kelp Music scene report, released in March, discusses economic spinoff benefits, and makes practical infrastructure suggestions. The report is a great step toward building a music city.


OIMC executive producer Claudia Balladelli

Still, a lot of this discussion seems familiar. I’m sure we had this conversation when nearby Montreal was hype central. Or when The Washington Post praised O-town’s “unselfconscious cool.” The recurring inferiority complex seems to be the hallmark of our urban identity, a case we’ve made before. It would be nice to get off this pivot and move toward making Ottawa Music City a reality.

There is some traction. It’s been nice to see some champions at City Hall making an on-paper commitment to get this moving. Kelp Music’s idea to get an immediate point person to lead this change seems like a great next step.

The OIMC also provides momentum. Its organizers hope to continually develop Ottawa as a key player in the world of music. Balladelli says it’s important to show entrepreneurs and artists that they are essential in making the city a music hub by developing  and drawing people to local festivals, events, and venues.

Panels at this weekend’s conference will offer artists practical tips on running your own business, securing grants, programming, and surviving clubland.

Each panel deals with on-the-ground realities and skills needed to build Music City North, particularly its electronic music culture. (A discussion on the culture of music will also take place during OIMC. I’m on that panel with some swell dudes.)

Policy talk is mixed in with parties all weekend and the festival closes with a sunset warehouse party at Maker Space North on Saturday. See you there.

P.S.: We at Ottawa Magazine would love your thoughts on what would make a great Music City North. Comment, tweet, and add your two cents.

#TBT: Eight Years Later, Lindsay Ferguson Returns to the Black Sheep

This article was originally published in the April/May 2007 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

Lindsay Ferguson appeared in our Pick 3 department in 2007

Lindsay Ferguson appeared in our Pick 3 department in 2007

A couple of weeks ago, singer Lindsay Ferguson sent us an email with the subject line “Good Morning From Switzerland!” We don’t get too much spam from the Alps, so I opened it.

In it, Ferguson gave us the update on her career — she now splits her time between Bern, Switzerland and Wakefield — and let us know she would be releasing her new record at The Black Sheep Inn on May 23rd.

She took us on a trip down memory lane by sending us a clipping of the feature we ran in advance of her 2007 release party — also at the Black Sheep.
Check out Ferguson’s new sound on Saturday, May 23rd at The Black Sheep Inn.
$12 in advance, $15 at the door
Herewith, Lindsay Ferguson’s 2007 Pick Three feature, in which she dreams up her fantasy concerts, dates, and favourite power ballads.
Photo by Christina Riley

Photo by Christina Riley

3 Favourite Possessions

  • My guitar
  • My fingers
  • My life

Read the rest of this story »

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of May 21 to 24


demontigny.Counting Down The Days.22x15inches.graphite, ink, pencil, and oil on canvas.2015_1000$

One of the pieces of artwork up for bid at Le pARTy Auction at the Ottawa Art Gallery on Thursday, May 21: Counting Down The Days, by Brendan de Montigny (22 x 15 Inches, Graphite, Ink, Pencil, and Oil on Rag Paper, 2015, $1000 framed). Photo: Courtesy of the OAG

Art Lovers
Shhhhh! It’s a silent affair. Well, the art auction part is. The rest of the evening is most definitely a pARTy. On Thursday, May 21, the Ottawa Art Gallery’s annual, and “signature” fundraising event, Le pARTy Art Auction, will host a silent auction for 65 original artworks by regional artists, including works by such artists as Duncan de Kergommeaux, Brendan de Montigny, and Andrew and Deborah O’Malley. The event includes catering by Salt Dining & Lounge, Kichessippi Beer, and Coyote’s Run Estate Winery, among others. Tickets are $85 or $150 for the ‘Art Lovers’ package (allows you to bid early and hang w/ artists.
The Ottawa Art Gallery is at 2 Daly Ave.

Science… for Adults FREE!
Know how to degrease a blue whale? (Do they need degreasing?!?). Betcha don’t. Neither do I. But that’s the kind of very useful information you’ll glean during the Canadian Museum of Nature’s “Science by Night” this Thursday, May 21. The museum is staying open late in order to host a dinosaur game show; present on rare species in the Ottawa River; give a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s historic mammal dioramas; and identify minerals (yes, you can bring that weirdo rock you found) … and more. This is targeted for adults, so tuck the kids in bed and head on down to the Museum — but leave someone to watch over them for goodness sakes! Happens from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. More info, visit here.
Canadian Museum of Nature is a 240 McLeod St.

Great Galloping Ghosts!
— It’s the Great Glebe Garage Sale, this Saturday, May 23. Possibly some great finds. Lots of haggling (or, at least there should be — that IS the point of garage sales, ahem). Start early. N’uff said.
The Glebe

up to low 2

A scene from Up to Low, a play adapted from a book by Brian T. Doyle, being presented at Arts Court Theatre from May 23 to June 6. Left to right, back row: Megan Carty, Doreen Taylor-Claxton, Paul Rainville, Kristina Watt. Front row: Chris Ralph, Attila Clemann. Photo: Sarah Hoy

This is a Low
Adapted from the novel, Up To Low, written by acclaimed Ottawa writer, Brian T. Doyle (Mary Ann Alice, Uncle Ronald), director Janet Irwin presents a humorous, coming of age tale set in 1950, where a boy from Lowertown falls in love with a girl whose eyes are “the deep green of the Gatineau Hills” — a love that has him embark on a journey up to Low, Quebec on a Gatineau River adventure. Takes place inside Arts Court Theatre (audience sitting close to the stage in a bar like setting) from Saturday, May 23 to June 6, as part of Magnetic North Theatre Festival. Tickets $20-$35. More info, visit here.
Arts Court Theatre is a 2 Daly Ave.

Arts n’ Crafts FREE!
Minto Park is not just another grassy spot in the city. Past benches, past a bronze bust of Argentinian general José de San Martín (it’s a mystery to me why his bust is in this park — anyone?), there’s a somber and tragic reminder of abused and murdered women. The Women’s Monument is chosen specifically as the spot to yearly host Ravenswing, a volunteer-run, self-sustaining grassroots collective that supports and promotes arts, music, and community in Ottawa. In particular, they yearly host a DIY arts & crafts fair in the spring, with proceeds going towards the Clothesline Project, a public art exhibit run by Ottawa’s Women’s Event Network that speaks out against violence directed towards women and children.

On Sunday, May 24, come on down to Elgin Street’s Minto Park and check out 70 vendors — local artists and artisans — musicians, free-workshops, and arts & crafts all day long from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. More info, visit here.
Minto Park is off Elgin St. between Gilmour and Lewis St.







TIMELINE: Long May You Run, History of Canada’s Largest Marathon

This article was originally published in the May 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine


1975, courtesy of Run Ottawa

In 1975, 159 people laced up their sneakers and set off from the Carleton University campus on a gruelling 42-kilometre jog that eventually becomes the biggest sporting event in the city. It was then — and is now — the largest marathon in Canada. But it won’t hold the title during its entire 40-year history.

Read the rest of this story »

WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of May 14 to 17

Bamboo Garden-sm

Bamboo Garden, Gwendolyn Best, courtesy of Orange Gallery

Hidden Cats and Other Mysteries (FREE!)
Cats, rats, and ravens — these animals have been labeled as creatures of the darkness at one time or another. Thanks to Facebook, Cats — at one time a witches familiar — are enjoying a unprecedented heights of obsessive popularity; rats and ravens, not so much: the former is still linked to plagues and sewers, the latter to drug-addled poets and murder. The history of mystery that surrounds these creatures is the focus of Gwendolyn Best’s exhibition at Orange Gallery.


Rufus, Gwendolyn Best, courtesy of Orange Gallery

Entitled Hidden Cats and Other Mysteries, her works explore the “unexpected”; a subject that “expresses both unease and ease” — much like an Edmund Gorey illustration. The vernissage for the show is on Thursday, May 14 from 6 to 10 p.m. More info, visit here. The exhibition lasts until the end of May.
Orange Gallery is at 290 City Centre Ave.     

Got Glitter?
The act of glitterbombing — literally throwing glitter in someone’s face — is a form of protest. Adopting the same kind of ‘protest’ vibe, GLITTERBOMB is an art performance happening on Friday, May 15 at the Bronson Centre. This 3rd annual GLBTQ celebratory event features music, burlesque, comedy, spoken word, and performance art pieces from Jenn Hayward and others. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets, $35. More info, visit here.
The Bronson Centre is at 211 Bronson Ave.

Civilization - McBride with phone, Catriona Leger with boot, Brand Long with hand on head

End of Civilization’s (left) Geoff McBride, Catriona Leger, and Brad Long. Photo: courtesy of Same Day Theatre

The End of Civilization
A prostitute, two homicide detectives, and a multiple murder mystery — not a scene from HBO’s True Detective, rather a complex, captivating, comedic play from the master of this genre, George F. Walker. The End of Civilization premieres in Ottawa at the Gladstone Theatre from Friday, May 15 to the end of the month. An out-of-work dad, a stay-at-home mom risk much to save their suburban home from bankruptcy, including straddling the line between morality and integrity — a narrative that surely draws on the past economic crisis and Canadians’ fears of joblessness and debt. Tickets $34. For showtimes and more info, visit here.
The Gladstone Theatre is at 910 Gladstone Ave.

Bike Fest (FREE!)
With a frost warning this past week, it may be premature to move your house plants outside. What isn’t premature? Getting your bicycle ready for the season. Given recent weather it’s likely already being used. But is it ready? If in doubt, take it on Sunday, May 17 to Mountain Equipment Co-op on Richmond Rd. (Westboro), which is hosting Bikefest 2015 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. There’s a group-ride, seminars on cycling maintenance, commuting, wellness, etc., and more — even a chance to buy or sell bike gear. More info, visit here.
MEC is at 366 Richmond Rd

WEEKENDER: Four things to do on Mother’s Day Weekend


Flesh & Spokes dancers — part of NAC’s Ontario Scene. Photo: Rachel Gray

Lessons from Screw Ups (FREE)
Instead of a diary, Erin Blaskie’s dad gave her a Commodore 64 when she was six-years-old. Her mistake: When the Internet became widely available, she began sharing — and over-sharing — her thoughts on Open Diary.

Software designer, Rob Villeneuve teamed up with some friends to create programs for motorsports. His mistake: Fueled by a lethal cocktail of caffeine, ignorance and ambition the startup crashed and burned after only two years.

These are just a few of the presenters at the fourth edition of F*ckUp Nights — a bimonthly event hosted at Maker Space North where people talk about their biggest professional or business failures in a candid and irreverent way. Meant not only to show that we learn from our mistakes, but also to “shake off” the stigma of failing — I mean, we’re all going to fail at some point. To think otherwise is unrealistic.

F*ckUp vol. IV takes place on Thursday, May 7 at Maker Space North, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. More info, visit here.

Maker Space North is at 250 City Centre, Bay 216

Flesh & Spokes
“The first composition ever created for and on a wheelchair” — as such, Flesh & Spokes is a dance performance unlike anything seen. Fusing flesh and metal, the performers from the Propeller Dance Company. Perhaps a ‘truer’ expression of the world in which we live, the performance demonstrates that “disability is merely a different life experience, rather than a limitation or lack of ability … if you can breathe, you can dance.” The show is part of the NAC’s Ontario Scene and takes place in conjunction with the GCTC. It takes place on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. More info, visit here.
The GCTC is at 1233 Wellington Street West

6120392Keep that (Literary) High Going
With Ottawa’s International Writers Festival’s spring edition having just wrapped up, literary junkies are likely on the backside of the high, coming down from basking in the glow of literati. And yes, like the literary pusher that Writer’s Fest is, it offers just enough events this month to feed your addiction. If, however, you’re looking to soar back up to great heights, the Wakefield Writer’s Fest is in full swing this weekend, hosting events in the Hills’ village from Friday, May 8 to Sunday, May 10.

The events are scattered at locals throughout the village, so make sure and check the program. Highlights include the traditional author’s brunch on Saturday, May 9 at the Wakefield Mill Inn & Spa, which includes readings by local francophone writer Madeleine Lefebvre, author of critically acclaimed L’Effet tornade; Alan Cumyn, twice-recipient of the Ottawa Book Award; and Charles de Lint, “renowned trailblazer” of the modern fantasy genre. On the same day, join a workshop with the aforementioned Lefebvre and de Lint, as well as Frances Itani, MaryAnn Harris, and Laurie Fyffe.

More info on events, tickets, and directions, visit here.

Wakefield, Quebec (there’s no sign for the village — thanks Province of Quebec — so look for exit “La Peche — Route Principale”)

sandwiches-623388_640Royal High Tea
“Oh crap! It’s Mother’s Day.” That’s what I said to myself a few days before the actual day upon realizing I had, once again, forgot to mail my poor mother a card. (Sorry ma). On Sunday, May 10, if you’re mom’s in town have her don her best fascinator and head over to Commissioner’s Park (near Dow’s Lake) for Mother’s Day Royal High Tea (that’s select fine teas, little, crustless sandwiches, and sweets). She’ll love it. This is part of Tulip Fest, which is on from May 8 to the 18. High Tea happens from 11 am to 2 p.m. at Liberation Café. $20 adv. It includes live entertainment.

Commissioner’s Park is near the intersection of Preston and Carling.