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.

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

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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.

 

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.

 

 

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

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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.

 

WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of January 22 to 25

BY MATT HARRISON

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Emma Slipp & Graeme McComb in Moss Park at the GCTC. Photo by Mark Halliday

Moss (F******) Park
“I want to write f******-up plays about f****** people in a f******-up world!” — that’s George F. Walker speaking to the Ottawa Citizen back in May about being a playwright. In his latest, dark comedic offering — Moss Park — Walker remains true to his aims by delivering a play about a young couple with a baby who struggle to “make ends meet” though they have “no prospects and no money.” One last stab at “making it” involves a “money-making” scheme by Bobby that collides with Tina’s “dreams of home sweet home.” Moss Park launched earlier this week, and runs until February 8 at the Great Canadian Theatre Co. Show times are Thursday, Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4:30 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets from $15. Special pay-what-you-can matinee on Sunday, January 25 at 2 p.m.
GCTC is at 1233 Wellington St. W.

Photos Celebrate ‘Beauty’ in DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been decimated by decades-old civil war, with women in particular suffering from widespread sexual violence — in fact, the eastern part of the country has been dubbed the “rape capital of the world.” Amidst all of this brutality — a grassroots movement of Congolese women working in communities to support survivors of sexual violence. This is the subject of the photographic work by celebrated war photographer Pete Muller (TIME, New York Times), which is being launched on Thursday, January 22 at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO). The exhibit, Beauty in the Middle: Women of Congo Speak Out, features intimate photos and videos that “tell the story of the conflict and how sexual violence has impacted women – both activists and survivors.” The event will feature guest speaker Julienne Lusenge, founder and director of the Fond pour les Femmes Congolaises. It will include music, hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar. You will also have a chance to bid on stunning prints from the exhibit during a live auction, and buy handcrafted items made by women in the DRC. Tickets for the event are $45, but only $15 for non-waged and students. The vernissage on Thursday takes place at SAW Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. More info, visit here. The exhibit is up until February 6.
SAW Gallery is at 67 Nicholas St.

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George Thomson’s “Blue Mountain, May,” 1931, oil on canvas, courtesy of AGO.

Tom Thomson’s ‘Forgotten’ Brother (FREE!)
Must’ve sucked — at least a little — that your younger brother got all the fame and you were largely forgotten … well, not entirely forgotten, because a new exhibit opening Thursday, January 22 at the Ottawa Art Gallery looks at the ‘forgotten’ Thomson: George, Tom Thomson‘s older brother. George’s work in Two Roads Diverged in a Wood is explored through Toronto-based artist Jon Sasaki, whose art pays homage to the ‘other Thomson’ using different lighting techniques.
In Home Away from Home, Aboriginal narratives  — so often neglected or negated — are inserted into moments in Canadian history. This exhibit includes the work of Gerald McMaster, Barry Ace, Rosalie Favell, Ron Noganosh, Jane Ash Poitras, and Jeff Thomas.
Making the familiar seem strange, disorientating, and alien seems to be the intent behind Andrew Wright‘s photographic work in Pretty Lofty and Heavy All At Once. In this exhibit, the artist’s works demonstrate a deliberate re-orientation of the camera in order to alter our normal perceptions of the ordinary.
All three exhibits are are part of the Ottawa Art Gallery’s vernissage on Thursday. It’s free. All three exhibits will be open until May.
The OAG is at 2 Daly Ave.

Rideau Hall Winter Wonderland (FREE!)
Winterlude is still a week away… but in a sort of unofficial lead-up to the annual winter festival, Rideau Hall is hosting a free weekend event that apparently inaugurates the “Year of Sport” in Canada… (Honestly, who’s job is it to determine what this “Year” will be? — oh, it’s the guy who lives at Rideau Hall. Makes sense.). Regardless of Saturday, January 24‘s ‘loftier goals’, the afternoon will involve Nordic-like sports for the entire family: dog sledding, kick sledding (smaller sled where you ‘kick’ back and propel the sled forward — no dogs), a giant ski race (a race between giants on skis or a really big ski race?!?), horse-drawn wagon rides, skating on the historic outdoor rink, pelting a poor snowman with snowballs (fear not, the snowman signed a waiver), snow soccer juggling (okay, now they’re just making stuff up)… plus tours of the residence, and hot beverages & snacks…
The Winter Celebration starts at 12:30 p.m. and goes until 4 p.m. Participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food item and an item of winter clothing for the Ottawa Food Bank and the Snowsuit Fund.
Rideau Hall is at 1 Sussex Dr.

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of January 15 to 18

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Sheilagh Tennant (Artruist Ltd) 2008

Robbie Burns Day
Haggis — and that’s all you may associate with Robbie Burns Day. But did you know the following about the much lauded Scottish poet who’s celebrated on January 15? — He wrote the words to Auld Lang Syne, that “song” we all mumble through when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve; six of his nine children died; and he once took a diamond-tipped pen and scratched a poem on the window of an inn, writing that the Royals were an “idiot race.” Nice. Real nice Robbie.
The poet, pioneer of the Romantic Movement, and political activist’s b-day (Robbie Burns Day) will be celebrated in poetry and song at the National Arts Gallery on Thursday, January 15. Writer/performer Gail Anglin, proud Scot Stuart Jardine, baritone Fraser Gordon, and classical guitarist Shawn Peters will be presenting Ottawa Storyteller’s Robbie Burns: A Man’s a Man for A’ That. It starts at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $22.
NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

Pulitzer Prize/Tony Prize-winning Play
A black family seeks to buy a home in a predominantly white neighbourhood of Chicago — flash forward 50 years and that white neighbourhood is now mostly black and gentrifying; a white couple wants to move in and build a much larger home, but they come up against a black couple representing the neighbourhood association. The scene is set for conflict.
Clybourne Park is a Pulitzer Prize/Tony Prize-winning play, which is being put on by Ottawa Little Theatre,  which runs until the end of January. This satirical comedy examines race relations (serendipitously, considering recent racial tensions in the U.S.) and challenges ideas concerning ‘neighbourhoods.’ Tickets from $22. All evening shows are at 7:30 p.m.; all weekend matinees are at 2 p.m. No shows on Monday. More info, visit here.
Ottawa Little Theatre, 400 King Edward Ave.

Black Lit Burlesque
Remember sitting in a darkened room, smoking whatever, listening to something mildly psychedelic, and staring at the gleaming — nah glowing — teeth of the person next to you? That ‘effect’ was probably from a black light — the same that will be used to maximum effect in Lights Out: Black Light Burlesque and Variety Show at Arts Court on Friday, January 16. Produced by Frisque Femmes’ Kitty Kin-Evil and Sassy Muffin, the show is being billed as a “complete black light show from beginning to end.” The performance will feature comedy, drag, boylesque, contortion, and burlesque — plus body painting and prizes. Come early for cocktail hour where complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served (7:30 to 8:30 p.m.); the performance starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $30. This is a 19+ event. More info, visit here.
Arts Court is at 2 Daly Ave.

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By Henri Michaux

Speaking of Erotic…
“Unbridled” is how master choreographer Marie Chouinard’s Henri Michaux: Mouvements dance performance on Saturday, January 17 is being described. It features 10 dancers forming “stunning silhouettes and sequences to mirror projections of drawings” by the artist, whose works resemble figures in the throes of dance. Following Henri Michaux’s performance, Chouinard immerses the audience in the haunting music of French modernist composer Erik Satie. In Gymnopedies, dancers take turns playing the piano whilst the others perform “sensual, erotic duets” to the music. Note: the performances include strobe effects and some nudity. Tickets, from $40. Show is at 7:30 p.m. in the NAC Theatre. More info, visit here.
The NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

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Photo: Len Ward of arts & architecture inc.

Speaking of Nudity…
As you may know by now, dragon boat racing is kind of a thing in this city — the annual Dragon Boat Festival (June 25-28) at Mooney’s Bay Park is a growing phenomenon. This year, the Psirens — an Ottawa woman’s dragon boat racing team — has decided to go all nude-y for a calendar to raise funds for the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation. Why bare all? The goal of the calendar is to not only raise funds, but also to promote fitness and sport and “portray the confidence and optimism that run through the team” — through some very nude photography, with (of course) paddles strategically placed.
The calendar launch is happening on Sunday, January 18 at the Sir John A. Pub. Calendars will be $20; you can also meet the Psirens, get autographs, and be photographed with the ladies. Event starts at 5 p.m.
Sir John A. Pub is at 248 Elgin St.

 

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WEEKENDER: A few things to do on the weekend of January 8 to 11

BY MATT HARRISON

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Reid McLachlan – Cube Roots Meditation

Slim pickins’ this week — I’m afraid it’s a slow start to the New Year, with (and I’m guessing here) most of us feeling more inclined to bask in the glow of a plasma TV screen then go out and brave the unrelenting blast of Arctic chill that’s been pummeling the city all week. BUT, if you DO decide to venture forth into the bitterly cold, here are few events worth checking out:

Toasting “Old Tomorrow”

The Monarchist League (sounds like a group of Super Heroes culled from the Royals of the world) is hosting a 200th anniversary b-day party for Sir John A. Macdonald!
This social takes place on Friday, January 9 at the HMCS Bytown Wardroom (Naval Officer Mess). I know — you’re wondering how one celebrates Sir John A.’s b-day? Given that Macdonald was a bit of an alcoholic, I’m not surprised that there will be a “low priced cash bar,” — there will also be fun games: a quiz show (and prizes), food, and cake! Plus, get revved for a speech by Kevin MacLeod (CVO, CD, Canadian Secretary to the Queen) plus a special appearance by Sir John A. himself! The event is $20, and starts at 6 p.m.
HMCS Bytown Wardroom (Naval Officer Mess) is at 78 Lisgar Street

Cube Turns 10!
Kudos to Don Monet for having opened an art gallery in the dead of winter… ballsy. Especially 10 years ago when— if my memory serves right — businesses and restaurants were struggling to coax Ottawans away from their couches. In the past decade, however, that’s changed …to a degree — and if by degree you don’t mean punishing low temperatures. However, if you’re not one to let subzero affect you’re weekend plans, then come out to Sunday’s vernissage at Cube Gallery and celebrate a decade of art with Monet and his group show of works by artists who have shown at the gallery over the past 10 years — works by such artists as Barbara Gamble, Patti Normand, Reid MacLachlan, and many others. The vernissage takes place on Sunday, January 11 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Cube Gallery is at 1285 Welllington St. W.

The Golden Globes
Is it “fun” to watch other people win awards? If so, then you’re probably psyched for The Golden Globes being handed out this Sunday evening (January 11). The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s answer to the Oscars is the first of the New Year’s many glitzy affairs celebrating the performing arts. (Some see the Golden Globes as the ‘real’ Oscars, others merely a barometer for what to expect at the aforementioned Hollywood event.) Regardless, it’s another excuse to get together with friends and drink and eat. Gasp at Julianna Moore’s fashion faux pas; get confused by whatever smart thing Benedict Cumberbatch says; laugh with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (okay, that actually might be worth watching). Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar is hosting a Golden Globe Party, featuring drinks, tapas, and dessert + swag bag by Demes, an “all-natural” and “cruelty-free” skin care co. Tickets are from $40. The night is not-for-profit, with cover going to pay for the party, plus $5 per ticket going to support the Ottawa Humane Society. More info, visit here.
Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar is at 18 York St.

WEEKENDER: NYE edition & beyond

BY MATT HARRISON

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It’s (great) being Scottish! (FREE!)
“We’re the lowest of the low … The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever sh*t into civilization. Some hate the English. I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are COLONIZED by wankers. Can’t even find a decent culture to be colonized BY….” — Mark Renton, Trainspotting

Contrary to Ewan McGregor’s character in Trainspotting, this week in particular is a great time to be Scottish. That’s because it’s Hogmanay (the Scottish equivalent to NYE), which is being celebrated at the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park on NYE. The event is free, and features family-friendly Scottish activities, including traditional dancing, a highland pipes band, scotch tasting (o-kay, that’s not family friendly), skating, and fireworks. There will even be a 7 p.m. countdown for the little ’uns. The party will continue into the evening with Canada’s own Glass Tiger performing — er, Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone). It’s free. Starts at 6 p.m.
Aberdeen Pavilion is at 1015 Bank St.

NERF, Werewolves & LEGO
I’m sure that by now, you’ve already made NYE plans… but if haven’t, how about geek it up with NERF weapons, werewolves, and LEGO?

Monopolatte a games café in Chinatown, is staying open late on NYE and will have NERF weapons (not sure how they’ll be used), 106 litres of LEGO, and will they’ll be hosting a werewolf game. There will also be a sprawling Carcassonne game (expansions in play), among other board games. Bubbly at midnight to those 19+. Tickets are $20. Starts at 7:30 p.m.
Monopolatte is at 640 Somerset St.

BYOA??? (FREE!)
If you’ve ever been invited to a party anywhere, you likely know what BYOB or a variation of, means. But I’ll bet you haven’t been to a BYOA party. What’s the “A” stand for? Ape (No, but that would make for one helluva party)? Aunt? (Depending on who she is, this could also make for a great party). But, no.

The “A” is for art — and Research In Art (RIA), an on-going project by Petra Halkes and Rene Price, want you to bring art to an exhibition on Thursday, January 1. There will be a space set up for display of the artworks, refreshments ready to be served, an artist statement prepared — all that’s needed is for YOU to bring your artwork (or someone else’s) on the theme of Growing Up Human — the idea is to show works that create a glimpse of the world that a newborn child has been born into on January 1, 2015. Photos, a drawing, a painting, a poem, a sound — all welcome. It’s a free event, happening from 1 to 5 p.m. It’s not clear where, exactly, the salon will be held — likely the founder’s home. So for more info, email: researchinart.ria@gmail.com.

Stuck working New Year’s Eve? (FREE!)
Missed out on NYE because you had to work? No biggie. Come celebrate the New Year at the 1st annual “I Worked NYE Party” at the Hintonburg Public House on Thursday, January 1. No cover, just cheap shots and some bubbly at midnight to toast Auld Lang Syne. Starts at 9 p.m.
The Hintonburg Public House is at 1020 Wellington St. W.

Dirty, Filthy, Nasty… (FREE!)
Indeed, the “temperatures up (can you feel it)” and the art party is about to “erupt” though probably not how Christina Aguilera imagined. On Saturday, January 3, at Venus Envy, celebrate their 14th anniversary by attending the 2nd annual Filthy, Dirty Art Party. The party will also be a fundraiser for Venus Envy’s bursary, which goes to help individuals looking to study in areas dealing with anti-oppression, sex positivity, and community building.

The night will include a bar, food, music, and erotic art — media, paintings, photos, textiles, sculptures, the whole nasty enchilada. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; show starts at 8 p.m.
Venus Envy, 226 Bank St.

 

 

 

WEEKENDER: Four things to do on this Christmas Break

BY MATT HARRISON

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Eric Patrick Godfrey in “First Winter”, an NFB film, 1982. Directed by John Smith.

Pangalactic-eggnog? (FREE!)
Zaphod’s owner, Eugene Haslom understands what it’s like to have nowhere to go on Christmas Day. On one Christmas in the 1980s, Haslom was living alone, in squalor-like conditions in an apartment — which is a depressing way to spend the holiday day. So he decided, “since it was (his) club, (he) could open up Zaphod’s and just have some quiet drinks and listen to some tunes by (himself)self. Loud!” But then, something magical happened:
“There was a knock on the front door. A regular customer dropped by. I let him in. Then another came. And another. And it wasn’t just people who were alone that came. Friends who had already eaten Christmas dinner came to offer best wishes. Friends brought out-of-town friends, and relatives. And people started calling more friends. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. And soon, we had a party happening.”
And so, not only did an angel get its wings every time the DJ dropped a kick-ass beat, but it also sparked off a tradition of the club being open on Christmas Day. And so, if you’re feeling alone, or just plain squirrely from too much family, or looking for a way to hang out with friends, then head on down to Zaphod’s. Doors open at 10 p.m. Free admission.
Zaphod’s is at 27 York St.

A Pioneer Winter
For a harsh look at what winter might have been like in the early 1800s in the Ottawa Valley, check out the National Film Boards’ 1981 classic, First Winter, about two children, who’s father is away logging, and their mother dies of sickness leaving them to survive the winter, alone. It’s brutal to say the least.
For a more positive view, however, of how early settlers dealt with winter, take the family on boxing day or thereafter to the Agriculture Museum to experience a Winter Frolic on the Farm: get ready to do some hands-on work such as milking, pumping water, and wool carding (the process of brushing wool fibres to create a continuous web that can be laid out flat into batts, rolled into rovings, or split into spinning rolls). Afterwards, escape the cold by heading into the humble, cozy pioneer homestead. Relax by a fire and make an old-fashioned craft to take home, while a guide talks about the tools, props, and artifacts on. There are even costumes to wear.
The Pioneer experience is on from Boxing Day ‘till Jan. 4, during museum hours. It’s part of the price of regular admission. More info, visit here.
Agriculture Museum is at 861 Prince of Wales Dr.

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GIANT Arctic Floor Map at Nature Museum. Photo: Jessica Finn/Canadian Geographic

Arctic Walkabout
I know what you’re thinking, that sounds absurd — absurdly cold that is. Unless by walking across the Arctic you mean a giant, gym-size interactive floor map of the North — a new installation at the Museum of Nature. Launching on Boxing Day, the map is intended to not only help kids understand the geography of the North, but the map’s activities also teach them about the region’s natural diversity: plants, animals, fossils and minerals — real specimens can also be examined. It will be part of the Museum’s Holiday programming from Boxing Day until Jan. 4. NOTE: the map is ONLY available in afternoons. More info about the museum, visit here.
The Museum is at 240 McLeod St.

Wise Ladies
Just the other day, a friend/former colleague wondered (as many have) if printed material still had a place in this digital era — well, The Sages seem to think so. A collection of mostly (if, all) women artists, creating in a variety of mediums, are launching their zine on Sunday, December 28 at Raw Sugar Café. The zine will feature work by Danica Olders, Shaya Ishaq, Olivia Johnston, Magida El-Kassis, Meaghan Isaacs, and DJ Lamb Rabbit. The event will include drinks, music (by Lamb Rabbit), and a free copy of the zine. Starts at 7 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m.
Raw Sugar is at 692 Somerset St. W. 



WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Dec. 18 to 21

BY KELLY O’BRIEN

FreezingFreezing                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

A new take on the 2013 hit musical Frozen, Freezing tells the story of the vivacious Queen Gerda and her two daughters, Princess Adele and Princess Hanna. The Royal Family must work together to save the Snow Globe Kingdom from the evil Hans, who wants to rid the world of winter forever; but they won’t succeed without the audience. Boo the bad guy, root for the hero, and get a warm hug from the cuddly Beavertail, all while helping to save the kingdom. This lively musical opens Thursday, December 18 at the Gladstone Theatre. Tickets from $42. For more info, visit here.                                                                               The Gladstone Theatre is at 910 Gladstone Ave.

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27the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario James Barlteman

Raisin Wine

A tale described by the Globe and Mail as “both generous and wise, from one of our most distinguished elders,” Raisin Wine tells the story of James Bartleman’s childhood in post-war Muskoka. Bartleman takes readers beyond the area’s picturesque lakes and cottages in this humorous and heartwarming story of young boy with big dreams and an even bigger imagination. The Ottawa Storytellers take Raisin Wine from the page to the stage Thursday, December 18 at the National Arts Centre. Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for seniors.  For more info, visit here.                                                                                                                                 The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin Street.

Christmas Slipper Concert

No formal attire necessary for this concert! Formerly known as the Orpheus Choral Group, Voices in Harmony invites audiences to don their most comfortable pair of slippers for the group’s laid-back Christmas Concert at Woodroffe United Church. Hear all your holiday favourites, including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Silent Night,” Saturday, December 20, as well as a special surprise for children. Pass the hat admission ($10 donation recommended). For more info, visit here.                                                                                                                                                                                                            Woodroffe United Church is at 207 Woodroffe Ave.

The Dragon of Wantley

This beloved Victorian panto, reworked for the 21st century, finds Squire Benjamin in a heap of trouble with Sir Walter de Warthog, the pompous mayor of Wantley: he will be forced to leave his home unless he finds a way to pay his council tax. But the fairy Mauxalinda has released a dangerous dragon on the village, and Squire Benjamin is the only one who can save them. The play, chock full of laughter and fun, will be performed by the East End Theatre company at the Shenkman Arts Centre Thursday, December 18, until Saturday, December 20.  Tickets are $14.50 for children and $17 for adults. For more info, visit here.                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shenkman Centre is at 245 Centrum Blvd., Orleans.

shortestdayThe Shortest Day of the Year (FREE)

The Winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, and had been celebrated around the world with festivals and feasts for centuries.  To celebrate the beginning of the end of winter’s darkness, the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Film Institute are inviting the public to join them for screenings of family-friendly short films in the Gallery’s auditorium. Take in classics such as “The Cat Came Back,” and “The Sweater,” as well as the Academy Award winner “The Danish Poet,” and hang around before or after for the Artissimo workshops on Sunday, December 21. For more info, visit here.                                                                                                                                           The National Gallery of Canada is at 380 Sussex Dr.