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

BY MATT HARRISON

Emma Slipp, Graeme McComb photo by Mark Halliday - compressed

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.

 

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Dec. 11 to 14

BY MATT HARRISON & KELLY O’BRIEN

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The “Ivy” in this weekend’s production of Holly & Ivy will be played by 10-year-old Sydney MacLellan. Photo: Jeff Nolan

Holly & Ivy
One of the lesser known, but endearing Christmas stories is a tale about wishing: a little orphan girl, Ivy, wishes for parents; a little doll, Holly, wishes to be loved by a little girl; a childless couple wishes for a little girl — all three get their wish in Rumer Godden’s classic tale. First published in Ladies Home Journal in 1958, Holly & Ivy is brought to the stage by Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre Company. Toys, puppets, carols, and a real live girl will be on stage from Thursday, December 11, until Saturday, December 13 at Shenkman Arts Centre for this timeless production. For more info, visit here.
Shenkman Arts Centre is at 245 Centrum Blvd.

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WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Dec. 4 to 7

BY MATT HARRISON

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Ottawa State of Mind
“I’ma up at Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca, Right next to De Niro, but I’ll be hood forever, I’m the new Sinatra, and since I made it here, I can make it anywhere, they love me everywhere” — Empire State of Mind, JayZ

The “everywhere” includes Ottawa, as Babylon gets set to host Can’t Knock The Hustle, a JayZ Tribute night on Thursday, Dec. 4 — it’s all JayZ, all night; hosted by Phil Ireland backed up by DJ Acro. Cover is $4. Doors open at 11 p.m.
Babylon is at 317 Bank St.

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WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Nov. 27 to 30

BY MATT HARRISON

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Test 1 (v.2), Sabrina Chamberland, 2014, inkjet prints on archival paper of digital photographs, layered in photoshop 88.9cm x 106.7cm

I've Been Waiting for You

I’ve Been Waiting for You, Roy Whiddon, 2014, photograph (digital pigment print) 30″ x 24″

All shapes and sizes FREE
Recognizing the significance the human form plays in the art-making process — whether it be the artist, their works, and the models used — the non-profit group, Figureworks, is hosting an impressive, juried art event that celebrates the human form at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts.

The event is currently ongoing and continues until this Sunday, Nov. 30 at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts. Times for viewing are Thursday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For a taste of what you’ll see, check out some of the works online.
Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, 310 St. Patrick St.

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WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Nov. 20 to 23

BY MATT HARRISON

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A film still from Finnish film, Road North, showing this week at the 29th Annual European Film Festival

European Film Fest
Officially, the 29th Annual European Film Festival began last week. It slipped my mind, and if it slipped my mind, then perhaps it may have also slipped others’ — which is a tragedy, given the quality of the films on offer this month. And so, mea culpa. To atone, here’s what caught my eye in the festival’s second week: One Mile Away, a documentary by British filmmaker, Penny Woolcock, which chronicles the gang rivalry between Birmingham’s ‘the Johnson Crew’ and the ‘Burger Bar Boys’, and the extraordinary steps that two opposing gang members took to bring about reconciliation — it’s on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. How about a Finnish road movie? Tie pohjoiseen (Road North), by Mika Kaurisamaki, is about a father, reuniting with his son 35 years later, and the two heading north in a stolen car — Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. If you’re currently watching or planning on watching the TV series The Americans, you might also like Jack Strong, a true tale about a Polish double agent during the Cold War era who exhaustingly vies between the Soviets and the C.I.A. Directed by Poland’s Wladyslaw Paskiowski, it’s on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.

New to the festival this year is the ability to purchase tickets simply by clicking here in advance and then pick them up at the door. For more info, visit here.
The festival runs until Sunday, Nov. 30
The E.U. Film Festival is at the Library & Archives Canada building, 395 Wellington St.

Eft’d up is right
Ever imagined what a comedian might do with your real-life story? Find out during The Experimental Farm Theatre’s improv comedy event at Pressed Cafe on Thursday, Nov. 20. The formula is: audience’s true stories + comedian’s confessions + improv = hilarity. Or profound awkwardness. Or both. Featuring improv groups Urban Woodsmen and Birds of Prey, along with a host of others, the event gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Costs $5. More particulars on who, exactly, will be there, visit here.
Pressed is at 750 Gladstone Av.

Bourbon Bananza
Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey — I know all you lumbersexuals know what I’m talking about. Bourbon. Derived primarily from corn, the American whiskey, often aged in charred oak casks, now competes with top scotch brands for our imbibing dollars. And why not. It’s dee-licious. Especially if you like the taste of whiskey, but aren’t wowed by kinds that taste like it’s been sieved through moss. And cooks love it, because it has so much body and adds a degree of richness to food. To this end, some of Ottawa’s restos are participating in Bourbon Week (Friday, Nov. 21 to Thurs., Nov. 27). The week kicks off with an event at Two Six {Ate} on Friday, Nov. 21, where old school bourbon cocktails will get a makeover. On Saturday, Nov. 22 Union 613 is hosting Beyond the Bourbon, where samples of rare bourbons will be paired with tasty treats — there’s two times for this event: either at 3 p.m. or 8 p.m. Tickets are $32.
More events on Monday and throughout the remaining week — visit here for details.
Two Six {Ate} is at 268 Preston St.; Union 613 is at 315 Somerset St. W.

Joy — Where?
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart? Where? Actually, down on Wellington Street to be exact, and it’s not me who’s got it (sadly — I blame winter), rather the Ottawa Valley Crafts & Collectibles Guild. They’re holding Joy, a juried (as in, not everyone who owns a glue gun gets in) craft market at the Library & Archives on Saturday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 23. The market features 85 vendors. It’s slogan: “a unique melange of traditional, steampunk and geek — all served up with a cup of good cheer!” i.e. tea and other seasonal beverages. Oh and carollers. For a full list of vendors, visit the bottom of the page, here. Doors open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.
This year, the event is generating money for the Ottawa Senators Foundation, a charity that supports social recreation and education programs for kids. More on this foundation, visit here.
Joy will be at the Library & Archives Canada building at 395 Wellington St.

“I now regret it completely…”
Once one of the harshest critics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), what environmentalist Mark Lynas now “regrets” is “having spent several years ripping up GM crops.” In 2013, Lynas reversed his stance and declared: “I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.” And yet, if you recall, GMO was — and still is to many — a dirty word that helped kick off the organic movement we see today in full swing. So are GMOs good or bad?
Confused? I am. Well, to muddy the waters further (though I doubt that’s the organizers of this event’s intent) St. Paul University is hosting Ottawa’s inaugural GMO Free event, featuring keynote speakers, panel discussions, Q&As with local experts — all on the side of freeing ourselves from GMO products. Lots of time for questions — like, why is one of the anti-GMO movement’s founders (Lynas) suddenly doing a 180?!?
The event is on Saturday, Nov. 22, and begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. More info, visit here.
St. Paul University is at 223 Main St.