MONEY TALKS: Uber, Airbnb, and other disruptive innovations

The October 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine examined money in a variety of ways. From lemonade stands to last wills, plus upscale offices, cool currencies, and new economies that are challenging the old guard, it’s a wide-ranging assessment of the city’s portfolio is on newsstands until the end of October.  

As more people latch on to the idea that underutilized assets can be rented out for financial gain and the real estate industry becomes increasingly competitive, new models for doing business are disrupting established industries. Hattie Klotz offers a primer for negotiating the new guard.

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Uber 

What it is: Uber is billed as a “rideshare, taxi, and taxi alternative app.” It’s based in San Francisco, the heartland of the sharing economy. 

How it works: Download the free Uber app to your smartphone. Open the app and register with a credit card. Your location will appear on a map. Press ‘Request Uber’, choose the kind of car you want, and stand still. (Uber uses geolocation to establish your pickup location.) You’ll get a text message with car make, licence plate number, and photo of your driver. You’ll be able to see your car on your map as it approaches. When the car arrives, confirm your identity and hop in. No money changes hands at the end of the ride. Your driver will be paid directly from your Uber account. There’s no need to tip either, but you should rate your driver. Good ratings mean that he or she will get more rides. The driver will rate you too, so be nice. Various levels of service are available, depending on your city. UberX is the least expensive version, undercutting regular taxi fares, but it isn’t available in Canada. In Halifax, the company offers UberBlack (a luxury service); Montreal has UberTaxi; both are available in Toronto. UberTaxi and UberBlack use already municipally licensed cars, charging standard market rates or higher rates in times of peak demand (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve). “Quality is very important to what we do,” says Ian Black, general manager at Uber Toronto. “Whenever a driver signs up, we ensure an adequately high level of service and make an assessment of the driver and vehicle. This ensures that an Uber experience feels different to other offerings.” 

Read the rest of this story »

SOUNDS SEEKERS: Shannon Rose Finds Gold — and Marrow

BY FATEEMA SAYANI

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New album, new name, new feel — it’s all coming together for Shannon Rose. The Ottawa singer-songwriter and her band, The Thorns, have changed their name to Gold & Marrow, a reference to that in-the-bone inclination Rose has for songwriting, as well as all the tweaking that’s done by her band to make them gold. That band consists of Rose’s spouse and producer Steve Matylewicz on guitar, Dave Edwards on bass, Arturo Portacarrero on drums and Cal Cheney on keys. Together they have released a third album called Forever, which follows their debut, Sing Me A Song (2008) and the Seasons series of EPs Rose released throughout the latter half of 2013 and on.

On album three, Rose has found the perfect balance of all her expressions. She blends her melancholy, sensuality, folk lustre, and roots background into 10 songs that explode with desire and ferocity. She is at once powerhouse pop artist and entirely tender in the video for the song Striking Gold (shot by Matylewicz), a tune representative of all the sentiments that soar throughout the album.

By the end of the album, the mood shifts to a sound that’s more down-tempo, but the subject matter is no less weighty. The songs on Forever deal with time, existential crises, jealousy, intensity, and life changes. “Time is on a lot of the songs,” says Rose. “I’m thinking of things that concern me on a day-to-day basis.”

The album is intense, both sonically and thematically, which was intentional according to Matylewicz. “There’s a trend to go toward singles instead of albums, so people don’t give albums a chance,” he says, “[As the album's producer] I really tried to ignore that — hopefully not to our detriment.”

The Gold & Marrow album release party takes place October 4 at the Black Sheep Inn with guests The Visit.

Joining the Pack
Alex Cairncross was part of the Ottawa live music scene for years, known for his band photography and membership in groups such as Sleeping Pilot and As the Poets Affirm. He joined the band The Golden Dogs on bass since decamping to Toronto in 2009. Cairncross will reunite with the capital when his power art-pop band plays pinball palace House of Targ on October 3 with Taylor Knox and Orienteers. The Golden Dogs is led by spousal duo Dave Azzolini (vocals, guitar) and Jessica Grassia (vocals, drums) along with Stefanie McCarrol (keys, guitars), and Cairncross. He met the couple while hanging around the studio space they share with the band Zeus. Cairncross took some publicity photos of The Golden Dogs in their previous incarnation and joined the band in 2012. The Golden Dogs’ fourth album, Surf Music for the Non-Swimmer, is due out in 2015.

Gigs! Gigs! Gigs!
Soul band The Split will hold a video release party for Doo Wop, the second single off their debut EP Can’t Get Enough, October 3 at the Black Sheep Inn. The video was created as part of a collaborative process called Crowded Room, a concept that brings bands and fans together up close and is the brainchild of production house Gallery Recording Studios, video makers Dan Rascal Productions and design company Log Creative Bureau (an OM office crush). The Split’s video is the first yield from the Crowded Room collaboration. Watch a trailer of the video here.

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Inuit art’s Japanese connection revealed in new exhibit

BY PAUL GESSELL

Polar Bear and Cub in Ice

Polar Bear and Cub in Ice, 1959 Niviasi Printed by Iyola Kingwatsiak or Kananginak Pootoogook Stencil CMH, CD 1959-012 SS © IMG2010-0207-0001-Dm Photo: Marie-Louise Deruaz

Most art scholars know that Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, and other famous 19th century European artists were influenced by Japanese art. Fewer scholars know of the links between Inuit and Japanese art. A splendid new exhibition at the Carleton University Art Gallery explores those surprising links.

Iyon Nokka

Iyon Nokka, 1958 Kichiemon Okamura Printed by the artist Kappazuri stencil Gift of Alice W. Houston CMH, 2010.171 © IMG2010-0207-0004Dm Photo: Marie-Louise Deruaz

The original idea for the exhibition, Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration, came from Carleton’s Miang Tiampo, an associate professor of art history, specializing in Japanese art. Tiampo took her idea to what was then called the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The museum, with the help of Tiampo and one of her students at the time, Asato Ikeda, organized the exhibition and, in 2011, sent it to Japan for a showing. A Canadian tour followed, culminating in the newly opened show at Carleton.

The Inuit-Japanese connection was fostered by James Houston, an artist and federal bureaucrat working during the 1950s in the Cape Dorset area in what is now Nunavut. Houston is considered the father of modern Inuit art for his efforts to link Inuit artists with markets in southern Canada and abroad.

Owl, Fox and Hare Legend

Owl, Fox and Hare Legend, 1959 Osuitok Ipeelee Printed by the artist, with James Houston Stencil CMH, CD 1959-021 SS © IMG2010-0207-0037-Dm Photo: Marie-Louise Deruaz

In 1958, Houston went to Japan for three months to study printmaking so he could help develop a printmaking industry in Cape Dorset. Houston returned to the Canadian North with new skills and a suitcase full of Japanese prints and printmaking tools.

Inuit printmaking was never the same. The Arctic artists learned better how to create stark black-and-white prints and to highlight so-called negative space — the uncoloured parts. They adapted Japanese tools: Japanese wooden chisel handles were replaced by caribou antler; horsehair brushes became polar bear bristle brushes. Inuit artists even began “signing” their work with a personalized seal akin to those used in Japan.

The Carleton exhibition includes examples of these initial Japanese-inspired works, alongside some Japanese prints of the same era. The similarities in style and content are striking. Call it early globalization.

Three Caribou

Three Caribou, 1957 Niviasi (1908–1959) Printed by Kananginak Pootoogook (1935−) Stonecut CMH, CD 1957/58-003 © IMG2010-0207-0019-Dm Photo: Marie-Louise Deruaz

The first Inuit printmakers to benefit from Japanese inspiration were Osuitok Ipeelee, Iyola Kingwatsiak, Eegyvudluk Pootoogook, Kananginak Pootoogook, and Lukta Qiatsuk. All have since died. Examples of their works from 1959 are in the exhibition.

Houston Kneeling Priest

Kneeling Ainu Priest, 1958 James Houston Printed by the artist Woodcut Gift of Alice W. Houston CMH, 2010.171 © IMG2010-0207-0016-Dm Photo: Marie-Louise Deruaz

Back in 2011, the Canadian Museum of Civilization loudly trumpeted the exhibition as the museum’s handiwork. Norman Vorano, then the museum’s head of Inuit art, was listed as the leading scholar in the exhibition catalogue. A press conference was held at the museum to unveil the catalogue. But there was no exhibition of the actual prints at the museum or elsewhere in the national capital.

So, why didn’t the museum stage an exhibition of these prints? Some museum officials say it was more a Carleton project than a museum project. But in 2011, it was touted as mainly a museum project. That, of course, was before the Museum of Civilization became the Canadian Museum of History with a mandate that has caused tremendous confusion.

Tudlik Bird Dream Forewarning Blizzard

Bird Dream Forewarning Blizzard, 1959 Tudlik Printed by Iyola Kingwatsiak Stonecut with rolled background CMH, CD 1959-016 SC © IMG2010-0207-0011-Dm Photo: Marie-Louise Deruaz

The museum claims it is still interested in acquiring and exhibiting indigenous art, although there are signals that leave a different impression. The head of First Nations art, Lee-Ann Martin, retired last Christmas and the head of Inuit art, Norman Vorano, left earlier this year for a job at Queen’s University. Neither has been replaced. The two jobs are to be rolled into one and a curator hired at some time in the future.

Behind the scenes, the museum has debated whether it should be involved in Aboriginal art at all. Indigenous art used to be considered handicraft, rather than fine art. So, indigenous art was exhibited in ethno-cultural institutions rather than fine art museums.

However, the National Gallery and other major art institutions are increasingly treating indigenous art as fine art. So, should the Canadian Museum of History continue to acquire and exhibit Aboriginal art?

Museum officials maintain they have an abiding interest in Aboriginal art. If that is, indeed, the case, maybe that museum could have found the space to display an Inuit art exhibition it created three years ago.

Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration, curated by Norman Vorano, Ming Tiampo, and Asato Ikeda, produced by the Canadian Museum of History, on at the Carleton University Art Gallery until Dec. 14, 2014

Owl

Owl, 1959 Lukta Qiatsuk Printed by the artist Stonecut CMH, CD 1959-004 SC © IMG2010-0207-0036-Dm Photo: Marie-Louise Deruaz

THE GIVER: Say ‘donate’ to the dress, help homeless women, volunbeer at Oktoberfest

The Giver is written by Ottawa Mag’s Dee Campbell, who knows that people prefer to volunteer in ways that speak to their interests. Dee has volunteered for the Terry Fox Run since she was a little girl and is a Brownie Leader of 15 years.

Do you have a volun-gig needing filled? Email dcampbell@stjosephmedia.com.

Off With the Dress

Dresses available at The Brides Project, where 100 percent of profits go to cancer charities.

Look, you’re never going to wear that wedding dress again. You’ve got pictures of it (or maybe they’ve been ritualistically burned?) and the likelihood that your daughter will wear it is slim. She’ll want some hippie beach wedding anyway, and  bustling is so not her thing. So, as long as the gown is <5 years, donate it.  It will be sold at The Brides Project in Toronto where, get this, 100 percent of profits go to cancer charities. {big eyes} Contact Amanda in Ottawa to donate yours: mckay.ottawa@hotmail.com (Dry cleaning is unnecessary and she covers shipping. They also accept accessories.)

P.S. In addition to wedding dresses, Amanda collects bridesmaid dresses which are given to low income youth for graduation. Guess who’s clearing her closet of a few dresses this weekend?

Writers Take Note

The good people at Cornerstone help single women experiencing homelessness whether it’s emergency shelter, a transition while searching for affordable housing, or a much longer stay. Interestingly, women are called the invisible homeless because they are more vulnerable than men who we see much more of. In fact, there are more shelters for men than women, and Cornerstone is the only female-only shelter in Ottawa.  How can you help? Short-term, they need a writer to help them rework their messaging.

VolunBeers Needed

In exchange for working a 1/2 day at Beau’s Oktoberfest, you get:

  • Admission to the festival for the whole weekend
  • Transportation to/from Ottawa
  • A coveted volunbeer hat to wear all weekend and to the exclusive Volunbeer Party

There’s even a Giver element to Oktoberfest itself; last year they raised $75,000 for their chosen causes. That’s a lot of brew.

Don’t feel like ‘working’ at the fest? Love to bike ride? Join the 100km or 133km ride from Ottawa to Vankleek Hill on Saturday, raising funds for Social Rec Connect.

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of Oct. 2 to 5

BY MATT HARRISON The Mostly Art, Art, Art… and Opera edition

German prisoners of war in CNE compound. - [between 1914 and 1916?]

New exhibit on WWI detainees — mostly German/Ukrainians — opens this week at the Canadian War Museum. Photo: German prisoners of war in CNE compound, Toronto [between 1914 and 1916?] City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 867A

Enemy Within
Fear. The idea that there was an ‘enemy within’ led Canada to create internment camps during the First World War — mainly for Ukrainian and German communities. As part of the focus on the WWI’s centennial this year, a new archival photographic exhibit opens this week at the Canadian War Museum. Enemy Aliens — Internment in Canada 1914-1920. The exhibit explores who the approximately 8,500 prisoners were, what conditions were like, how the camps were run, and what the prisoners did daily. The exhibit opens on Thursday, Oct. 2, and runs until 2015.
Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy  Pl.

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Alma Duncan, Self-Portrait with Red Stripes, 1958, courtesy of D & E Lake Ltd. Fine Arts, photo: David Barbour

Ottawa Art Gallery FREE
Full disclosure — the new exhibit, The Life and Art of Alma Duncan (1917-2004), opening Thursday, Oct. 2 at the Ottawa Art Gallery is co-curated by my wife. Who is Alma? As Catherine Sinclair writes, the Ottawa-based artist “travelled the world recording the beauties of the land and the stories of her models, transcending the lines between modern interpreter and visual activist.” From painting to drawing, to puppetry and filmmaking (she worked for a time at the NFB), the exhibit presents an all-encompassing look at this fascinating artist, who made such a stamp on the Ottawa art scene, as well as in Canada. The vernissage starts at 5:30 p.m. (I’ll be there, of course.) The exhibit runs until 2015.
Ottawa Art Gallery, 2 Daly Ave.

Carleton University Art Gallery FREE
The second art exhibit at the Carleton University Art Gallery is actually fourfold — the first, Not a New World, Just an Old Trick, beckons viewers to enter a large-scale model of an imaginary building. The rough tiered structure “connotes an idea of the art gallery or museum,” and to that end, the artist, Samuel Roy-Bois, has selected 90 artworks from the gallery’s collection to complete the illusion. It opens alongside an exhibit by Raymond BoisjolyInterlocutions — whose video projections create commentary around Indigenous literary traditions. His exhibit accompanies a selection of Northwest Coast graphic art from the MacDonald Collection. Inuit printmaking is also featured in Norman Vorano’s exhibition: Inuit Prints — Japanese Inspiration, which examines that islands’ influence on the development of printmaking in Cape Dorset. All four continue to show until Dec. 2014.
CUAG is at Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive

Peking Opera
Want to experience ‘total theatre’? This is what Peking Opera is referred to since it is a “complete synthesis of, and harmonization of, singing, acting, recitation and dancing.” This form of theatre — recognized, by the way, as an UNESCO intangible cultural heritage — also allows for a certain degree of personalization: the artist is free to adapt basic conventions to suit their own personal style/artistic talent. On Saturday, Oct. 4 there will be a matinee performance of three celebrated Peking Opera excerpts (including one by the renowned Madame Sun Mingzu, who’ll be performing Princess Shuangyang) at the University of Ottawa. The cost of this unique presentation is $15 adv., $20 at the door. Purchase adv. tickets here. The performance begins at 3 p.m.
Academic Hall of the Theatre Department, 135 Séraphin Marion Private

Home Invasion! FREE
People are always complaining that art — especially contemporary art — is too incomprehensible; didactic panels are often little help either, usually muddying the waters further with obscure names like “Untitled No. 5”. Unravel the mysteries; decode the enigma; solve the riddle at this year’s annual Chelsea Wakefield Studio Tour, where you can visit 22 artists in their own environment and converse with them mono e mono about their art. This is the last weekend of the studio tour, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 4 and 5 respectively. Times for visiting are between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. For a route map, visit here. http://www.tourcw.com/

Support Local (NOT FREE, but Discounted!)
October is Support Local month (didntchaknow?) — an Apt. 613 annual event, which — just as it sounds — was created to encourage Ottawans to buy local. The event features a bunch of stores to visit where locally made goods can be purchased/consumed, usually at a discount. On offer are limited editions or stuff made specifically for the event: Ben Jensen T-shirts, screen prints, craft brew coasters, special cocktails, and more. For the full list, visit here. http://apt613.ca/supportlocal/month-long-events/

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Ghosts haunt book launch at famous pub

BY PAUL GESSELL

ManInTheShadows

D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub on Sparks Street was named in honour of the Montreal MP fatally shot, mere steps away, in the early hours of April 7, 1868. Canada was not yet a year old when Thomas D’Arcy McGee was killed by a .32-calibre bullet as he tried to unlock the front door of Toronto House, a Sparks Street rooming house managed by the Widow Trotter.

Patrick James Whelan, an Irish-born tailor and a Fenian sympathizer, was convicted of the assassination and hanged Feb. 11, 1869 at the Carleton County Gaol, now a Nicholas Street youth hostel. The Fenians were American-based, anti-British, Irish nationalists — we’d call them terrorists today — who staged periodic raids on Canada to destabilize the Conservative government of Sir John A. Macdonald. McGee, an Irish-born Catholic, was perceived as a traitor by the Fenians for supporting Macdonald.

Whelan was convicted of McGee’s murder on circumstantial evidence and, to this day, his actual guilt is often questioned. His possible innocence was certainly raised in the one-man play, Blood on the Moon, written and performed by Ottawa actor Pierre Brault, first at the 1999 Ottawa Fringe Festival, later in an expanded nationally touring play, and also in a television drama.

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Author Gordon Henderson. Photo by Jason van Bruggen

Now Toronto journalist and documentary film-maker Gordon Henderson has written a novel throwing more doubt on Whelan’s guilt. Man in the Shadows is Henderson’s first novel. He will launch it in Ottawa Sept. 30, naturally, at D’Arcy McGee’s Pub on Sparks Street. The ghosts of both McGee and Whelan will undoubtedly be haunting the event.

The central character in Man in the Shadows is a fictional young man of Irish descent named Conor O’Dea, who serves as an aide to McGee. The Catholic Conor is romantically involved with the equally fictional Meg Trotter, the protestant daughter of McGee’s landlady. But most of the characters in the book, such as McGee, Macdonald and Whelan are true historical figures and, under Henderson’s watch, never stray far from the historical record in thought, word, and deed.

And then there is the fictional unnamed man who is the titular Man in the Shadows. He is a Fenian who has come to Canada to wreak havoc — first by assassinating McGee and framing Whelan for the crime, and then by plotting the assassination of Macdonald.

Henderson’s book is a good, fast read that even young readers — especially young readers — will enjoy. The fictional characters, including Conor and Meg, are likable but rather one-dimensional. As well, some of the plot elements, especially the attempt to kill Sir John A. on a toboggan slide at Rideau Hall, are more farcical than serious fictional history. This is definitely literature-lite, but the book does help demonstrate that Canadian history can be as exciting as a CSI crime drama on television.

Gordon Henderson will launch Man in the Shadows Sept. 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub at 44 Sparks St. There is no admission charge.

SOUND SEEKERS: Top 5 for O-Town Hoedown

 BY FATEEMA SAYANI

Danny Duke and the Norther Stars by Chantal Levesque

Danny Duke and the Norther Stars play at the Rainbow Bistro on Oct. 3 as part of O-Town Hoedown. Photo by Chantal Levesque

“Ottawa’s longest running and least shady country music festival” kicks off tonight. The subtitle of the O-Town Hoedown is a provocative nod and lightly veiled reference to another country festival that used to take place in these parts.

A while back, O-Town Hoedown head-man Greg Harris (who goes by nom-de-twang Lefty McRighty) took to the blogosphere to detail his concerns with the Capital Hoedown, which made headlines during its existence. The man who runs that festival read Harris’ blog and took umbrage, which led to a libel claim and much consternation between the two parties.

The lawsuit has been settled out of court and Harris says he’s glad he can get on with his life and that he wasn’t bankrupted by the ordeal. Settlement details mean that’s pretty much all Harris can say about the matter, which is uncharacteristic as anyone who follows his lively Twitter feed will know (He’s rather open about everything in his life, i.e. read OTTAWA Magazine’s Sex Issue April 2014.)

With the legal matter settled, Harris is back in the saddle as head Hoedowner. Not only does he organize the festival, he’ll perform in various bands and he’ll DJ the closing party on October 5.

There are a dozen of alt- and country-etc. shows in each of the two weeks of the Hoedown. Get tickets at the door for each gig. Cover ranges from free to $10.

We picked our Top 5 Gigs for the O-Town Hoedown:

  • Toronto’s Doghouse Rose is a rebel country duo that blends sweet and sorrow. Oct. 3. Rainbow Bistro.
  • There’s a newish country band in town and we like their style. Cooper MacLaren and the Mean-Eyed Cats is led by a fellow named Jason Anderson who took a country-esque handle from two well-known Ottawa city streets — a la Greenfield Main. Sept. 30. Rainbow Bistro.
  • Tilda submitted their tunes to the O-Town Hoedown festival this year. Harris dug their songs and put them on the bill. We’re glad he did. We like their atmospheric take on folk. Oct. 4. Atomic Rooster. 
  • The kick-off! A big ol’ Hoedown get-down party takes place tonight (Thursday, Sept. 25) with Uncle Sean, Lefty McRighty, Ray Harris, Standup Steve, Peter Pritchard, Karolyne Lafortune and Ryan Barwin. 9 p.m. Lunenburg Pub.

The O-Town Hoedown runs Sept. 25 — Oct. 5. Visit here for the full lineup.

 


THE GIVER: For the gatherer, the camper, or the baby whisperer

The Giver is written by Ottawa Mag’s Dee Campbell, who knows that people prefer to volunteer in ways that speak to their interests. Dee has volunteered for the Terry Fox Run since she was a little girl and is a Brownie Leader of 15 years.

Do you have a volun-gig needing filled? Email dcampbell@stjosephmedia.com.

HHO Logo - Picnic VersionIt’s Apple-Picking Time

Do you have a fruit- or nut-bearing tree on your property, with bounty to share? Hidden Harvest  volunteers will come harvest your tree!

Would you like to help a local organization pick fruit and nuts off trees? You get to take some home, freshly picked-by-you!

Hidden Harvest accesses city trees growing fruits and nuts. Most grow on the roadway allowances in front of private homes. Volunteers collect the bounty, putting local food into the food system by way of canning workshops, food programs such as the Ottawa Food Bank, and more. Contact them to register your tree or to offer your picking services.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Around this time of year, girls aged 5+ are joining Sparks, Brownie, and Guide units, excited about doing crafts, exploring their community, selling cookies and going camping. And some are being turned away because their local unit doesn’t have volunteers to run it. [insert sad face]. If you have one evening per week to spare, it’s a great gig. And no, you definitely don’t need to have a child in the system to be a volunteer or any experience; you’ll be police-checked and given training. I’m a Brownie Leader to a unit of 16 girls, with two other leaders. We share responsibilities. The kids are a riot. And we know we’re helping them to create memories. In this video, my Brownie unit is singing after collecting garbage along the River. Contact Girl Guides of Canada to volunteer.


It Takes a Village

Emerance

Is this little baby at Youville cute or WHAT?!

Youville Centre cares for infants and toddlers in a licensed early childhood development program, enabling adolescent mothers to complete their high school education on-site. As a volunteer, you might play with and read to the children (dibs on that gig), sort laundry, tidy, rock babies to sleep, assist with mealtimes… Wait a second, that’s what mothers do. Yup… babies are more than cuddles and nose-wiping.

“I know that whatever happens in their lives, the babies will always feel the love that was given to them in Youville Centre.” ~Yolande, Childcare Volunteer

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of Sept. 25 to 28

BY MATT HARRISON

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Owen Pallett plays at the NAC Studio on Saturday, Sept. 27

One World Film Festival
This past weekend and into this week, people rallied and are rallying in droves to bring renewed attention to the approaching global crisis — climate change. It’s timely, then, that the One World Film Festival, Ottawa’s longest-running annual documentary film festival is following up this week’s sense of urgency with a plethora of films examining not just environmental concerns, but also addressing social justice and human rights issues. Beginning in the evening on Thursday, Sept. 25, the three-day festival presents five films, some of which include discussions, introductions, and panel discussions with directors and other key figures.
As for the films: Above All Else examines landowners and activists in East Texas who’ve attempted to defend their land and their rights from the XL Keystone Pipeline; Virunga looks at the threats posed to one of Africa’s oldest national parks and mountain guerrilla sanctuary; Songs from the Forest chronicles a man and his son’s journey from the jungles of Africa to the concrete jungles of New York; Watchers of the Sky interweaves four stories that converge on Raphael Lemkin, the man who created the term “genocide”; and On The Side of the Road re-examines the events of 1948 in relation to Palestinian refugees.
More on schedules and ticket prices, visit here. The screenings all take place at the Library and Archives Canada.
Library and Archives Canada is at 395 Wellington St.

Owen Pallett
Fighting Fantasy — not just one of the most successful video game series ever, but it was, for a time, the moniker for an extremely talented Canadian musician. Since winning the 2006 Polaris Prize (he was also a nominee this past year) Owen Pallett has ditched the name in favour of the one his mom gave him at birth. As just plain old Pallet, he’ll be showcasing much of his latest album, In Conflict, at the National Arts Centre on Saturday, Sept. 27, with guest Lydia Answorth. About the new album, Pallett has said: “Depression, addiction, gender trouble, and the creative state are presented as positive, loveable, empathetic ways of being. Not preferable, per se, but all as equal, valid positions that we experience, which make us human.” These themes are presented in combination with music that represents a classic-nod to pop, but with the experimentalism and innovation we’ve come to expect from the artist. Tickets are $33. The show’s in the NAC Studio and it begins at 8 p.m. More info, visit here.
NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

Love Parade FREE!
E.L.E. or Everybody Love Everybody — while the name of this event does conjure all sorts of sordid imaginings, a free music fest in support of those with Cancer is not one of them. Misstep aside, the festival’s lineup is good and it’s obvious that the organizer’s hearts are in the right place, since donations are being encouraged, which go towards Candlelighters Cancer Children’s Support Programs of Ottawa. And hey, we do all need to love and be loved, so…
The mostly all-day event (from 3 p.m. until probably midnight) on Saturday, Sept. 26 at the University of Ottawa includes such local up & coming talents as NDMA, Tall Trees, ZooLegacy, and others. Expect  some unique musical collaborations as well. Check out the times and lineup here.
The event is at 603 Cumberland St., UofO campus

Napkins & Tableclothes
Thanksgiving is fast approaching; then there’s Christmas, quickly followed by New Year’s — I realize I’m telling you something you already know, but the point is, that’s three major events  where having a set of napkins — yes, napkins and a stunning tablecloth for that matter — are essential. Home Decor 101 is a workshop event being held on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at EcoEquitable to help you prepare for said events. Bring your table’s measurements and you’ll be guided through the process on how to create your own tablecloth — from selecting the right fabrics, to creating that professional finishing for your tablecloth and napkins. You should have a basic level of sewing competency. It’s $50 (that includes the cost of fabric). EcoEquitable provides a bridge to those in need, especially immigrant women, while greening the community. More info, visit here.
EcoEquitable is at 404 McArthur Ave. in Vanier

Culture Days FREE!
Backstage Pass — no need to debase yourself to obtain one, this weekend’s province-wide/city-wide celebration, called Culture Days, offers a free peek into what goes on behind the scenes at the National Arts Centre. Visit the NAC on Sunday, September 28 for a full-day of bilingual family fun with tons of activities — from peering into the backstages, dressing rooms, and corridors to checking out some dance performances, photography, printmaking, theatre, dance — even circus! — workshops. There will be music and puppet activities for kids as well (Mezzanine/Panaorama Room) and an opportunity to watch the orchestra rehearse.
Most of the activities take place no earlier than noon, and run until 4 p.m., though check here for specifics.
NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

The Tempest
“What seest thou else, in the dark backward and abysm of time?” — Prospero, The Tempest
What seest thou? How about puppets. How about puppets performing one of Shakespeare’s notable plays, The Tempest? Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre continues the start of their 2014-15 season this Sunday, Sept. 28 with a family-fun opportunity to experience the bard’s magical masterpiece, which involves a shipwreck, a monster, a princess, a fairy, and a wizard. Music, laughs, and definitely some felt — the puppetry happens at the Shenkman Arts Centre at 1:30 p.m. and also at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 or four for $32. More info, visit here.
The Shenkman Arts Centre is at 245 Centrum Blvd, Orleans
 

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Transformation of “Ugly Duckling” Main into Swan

BY PAUL GESSELL

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Main2 — Stuart Kinmond’s “windows” on Main Street, a future art installation (2017), which will be part of the redesign of that street

Commissioning artwork to enliven a busy commercial street is a good thing. Unfortunately, not all commissions by the city produce art that is all that suitable or memorable. Sometimes the street sculptures are too small, covered by snow in winter and, during the rest of the year, are simply lost amid a jumble of newspaper boxes, utility poles, and fire hydrants. And sometimes the art is just downright too baffling to be appreciated by passing pedestrians and motorists.

So, that’s why there was cause to celebrate when Ottawa artist Stuart Kinmond recently won the commission to add some pizzazz to Main Street, which is to be “renewed” and “redesigned” by the city starting in the spring of 2015. That work will take about two years, so don’t expect to see Kinmond’s handiwork until 2017.

The winning installation will be a new outdoor gathering place for people on Main near Hazel. This location is meant to capitalize on the pedestrian flow between Saint Paul University, the Main Farmers’ Market, and the various restaurants and businesses across the street.

Main2 - On the squareEntitled Main2 (Main Square), “the artwork will be comprised of blue and green geometric-shaped benches shaded by three, six-metre-tall towers, each framing colourful, multi-layered glass images of the surrounding landscape of Old Ottawa East: The Rideau Canal, the Rideau River, and the land between,” according to a city communique. “In researching his proposal, Kinmond looked at the community’s ecclesiastical heritage, in particular the prominent presence of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Saint Paul University. The association of stained glass with these religious institutions influenced his choice of materials.”

Before settling on a design, Kinmond rode his bike around the community, noticing some “beautiful places” he had seen before but never associated with Main Street, a thoroughfare he calls an “ugly duckling” badly in need of some pedestrian-friendly revitalization.

“When you look at the map, Old Ottawa East is a linear community with the canal on one side and the river on the other, with Main Street running like a spine down the middle,” Kinmond said in an email interview. “Very close to downtown, the community has a wide variety of housing types — a sweet place to live. However, most of the attractive features are not evident when you drive along Main Street. So the concept originated to make these features visible, like windows onto the street.Main2 - Night view

“As I became more familiar with the area, Main Street seemed to be like a diamond in the rough — a neglected thoroughfare with a beautiful community around it. The street needs a strong infusion of pedestrian-oriented activities and opportunities. There is not a single public space along the whole length of the street for the pubic to sit and gather. So, the idea of a public square seemed like a desirable addition to the street. Hence the idea of Main2 (pronounced ‘main square’). My design became a mini-public square, including the benches, the paving, and shade structures, as well as the windows with coloured glass. The three windows have images of the canal, the river, and the land between,” he wrote.

This is Kinmond’s second public art commission in Ottawa. Last year, he was awarded a commission for artwork at the O-Train stop at Carleton University.