WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of June 25 to 28


One Last Plug For Fringe Fest
Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo, Supervillians Don’t Wear Stilettos, The Black and the Jew Go Bhuddist, Two Girls, One Corpse … with titles such as these aren’t you just a little curious? Maybe a lot? Which is good, because there’s still time to take in oddball theatre at this year’s Fringe Fest.

This is the last weekend — Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28 — of the Festival. Visit here for the schedule, ticket info, etc.
Arts Court Theatre is at 2 Daly Ave.

Dragons Are Cool, Even Boats
One of the most ancient and nearly universal myths is that of dragons. Perhaps it stems from the discovery of dinosaur fossils that were inexplicable at the time, or an exaggerated representation of the ‘serpent’, or just how cool Daenerys Stormborn looks riding one of these creatures — regardless, we are in awe of dragons, whether they be dinosaurs, on HBO, or coursing swiftly through the water; the latter being the case this weekend when North America’s largest dragonboat festival takes place in Ottawa.

Tim Hortons’ Dragon Boat Festival — a four-day affair — happens from Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28 at Mooney’s Bay Park. Obviously, it involves lots of racing, but other events as well, including such musical acts as Jim Bryson (Thursday); Franklin Electric, Hey Rosetta! + (Friday); The Acorn, The Rural Alberta Advantage + (Saturday), and Tokyo Police Club + (Sunday). Lots of family-fun too throughout the weekend. For a full list of bands, events, and teams, visit here. Times and more info can also be found at that link.

Multiculturalism — Not Just Another ‘Day’
The tragedy this past week in South Carolina highlights the ongoing importance of promoting and celebrating multiculturalism. Saturday, June 27 is Canadian Multiculturalism Day, which was first celebrated in 1971 — Canada was also the first country in the world to hold such an event. On Saturday, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is hosting an evening of celebration at the Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist, which will involve music, song, comedy, dance, and food — from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Family-friendly events happen between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. It’s free. More info, visit here.
Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist is at 154 Somerset Street West

… And In That Same Spirit
The following day, channel some of that same spirit of inclusivity at The Community Cup — an annual event that welcome new Canadians by putting on a day of fun for all ages that includes a soccer tournament, sport demonstrations, and activities for kids, music, dance, and food. Held on Sunday, June 28, it takes place in Brewer Park and runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., though the official opening is at 10:30 a.m. It’s free. More info, visit here. http://www.communitycup.ca/homepage/


WEEKENDER: Four things to do the weekend of June 18 to 21


_UnCouth_ (Photo Credit Lynne Fried) III

Windy Wynazz in UnCouth, one of many performances during Ottawa’s Fringe Fest. Photo: Lynne Fried

Ottawa Fringe Festival
While there’s much that remains a mystery about UnCouth — one of the many theatrical offerings at this year’s Ottawa’s Fringe Fest — here’s what others are saying about Windy Wynazz’s performance: it’s “eccentric,” “gut-wrenchingly funny,” melding circus-style comedy, puppets, and “burlesque phantasmagoria” into a one-woman extravaganza. She “makes clowning sexy,” remarked one person — a head-scratcher for sure, but admittedly I’m curious. The critically-acclaimed, California-based performer will be in Ottawa at the festival for six nights, beginning on Thursday, June 18 — it runs until Saturday, June 27. Tickets are $12 with purchase of a $3 Fringe button.

… More Fringe

Ever had to wrestle with a leaky sink? One man does, as he struggles with the question of whether to put his or society’s needs first. For more info on Sink, here.

If Gravity’s impossibly silly space antics didn’t turn you off of galactic adventure, check out Mars, a play whereby two astronauts “make some unexpected choices when a navigational error throws them miles off target.” More info, here

For full schedule, tickets, parties, etc., visit here.

LetterGrandchildrenCoverFinal.inddSuzuki’s Letters to His Grandchildren
Billed as his most important book since The Sacred Balance, David Suzuki’s newest offering, Letters to My Grandchildren, presents the future with a lifetime of insight and experience as only one of Canada’s most fearless and outspoken activists can offer. Hear Suzuki speak/read from his book on Friday, June 19 at Centretown United Church. It happens at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10, or less for students and lower income attendees. Get tickets at Octopus Books or online here.
Centretown United Church is at 507 Bank St.

Solstice Aboriginal Festival & Competition Pow Wow
Not to throw a damper on the significance of this weekend, but as some of us celebrate, or at the very least make a mental note of the summer solstice which occurs on Sunday, June 21, keep in mind that this day marks the apex of the sun. In other words, after June 21, the sun starts to move farther away. So, being a half-empty kind of guy, I can’t help but twitch a little (yep, that nervous kind of twitch developed after our recent looooong winter), thinking that it’s all downhill from here — in terms of sun; not in terms of fun. This weekend’s Pow Wow is case in point.

Celebrate the beginning of summer with the Solstice Aboriginal Festival and Competition Pow Wow at Vincent Massey Park. It starts on Friday, June 19 and runs until Sunday, June 21. Lots to see, hear, and experience, including workshops highlighting First Nation, Metis and Inuit Cultures; an educational Pow Wow to learn about the cultural teachings behind the grand entry dance styles and drum — as well as drum and dance competitions; bungee trampoline, bouncy whatnots, bubble soccer (what-the-what?!?); the “Endangered Ontario” show featuring Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, and more.

photo_4473_0-6DJ Shub (formally of Tribe Called Red), will be spinning, along with musical acts Nelson Tagoona, Prairie Fire Jiggers, and Inuit Throat singers — including theatre, pyrotechnics, even an Aztec Fire Dance group from Mexico.

Turning white-clothed runners into moving Pollack paintings happens Saturday, June 20 in either the kiddie, 2.5K, or 5K Colour Race. Proceeds from the race benefit The Odawa Native Friendship Centre. More about the run, here.

The events are free. It’s runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. More info, visit here.
Vincent Massey Park is near Carleton University, just off Riverside Dr.

“Don’t mind Pierce and Hunnicutt, they’re both first rate surgeons. Sure, they’ll show up to role call in their bathrobes. They keep a still in their tent. Once they ran all my underwear up the flagpole. But I want you to understand it’s an honor to serve with these men” — Margaret Hot Lips Houlihan, M*A*S*H*

While Pierce, Hunnicutt, and Hot Lips won’t be on hand, the B*A*S*H* (Bear Ambulatory Surgical Hospital) surgical team will — they’ll be at CHEO’s annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic to conduct triage on any wounded teddy bears in need of minor repair. Bring Tedz, Mr. Ted, Teddy, etc. to the party on Saturday, June 20 at Rideau Hall. The day features entertainment, clowns, rides, and games. Fuel up on flapjakes served up ‘celebrities’ (think Jim Watson not Bono) at the pancake breakfast. It’s all free. Happens from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. More info, visit here.
Rideau Hall is at 1 Sussex Dr.




WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of June 11 to 14


Art in the Alley (FREE)
Browse some art en plein air at Art in the Alley, an outdoor exhibition of local artists. The show features the art of AliCat owner Alison Fowler — who paints striking landscapes and florals — as well as that of Andrew King, painter Ross Rheaume, photographer Jason Fournier, and Dave Merritt. The show is on in the alleyway next to AliCat Art Studio in Wellington West from Friday, June 12 to Sunday, June 14. Admission is free. For more info, visit here.
AliCat Art Studio is at 1395B Wellington St. W.

Photo courtesy of Bruce McCulloch

Bruce McCulloch: Young Drunk Punk
Bruce McCulloch is perhaps best known as a member of Canada’s beloved comedy troupe Kids in the Hall. In his solo stand-up act, he regales with stories from his youth, covering his pyjama pants-wearing teenage years in Calgary, his flannel-clad adult years in Toronto, and his adventures in fatherhood in the Hollywood Hills. Catch him at the National Arts Centre on Thursday, June 11 and Friday, June 12 as part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. Tickets are $30.
The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin St.


Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur.

Just For Cats Film Festival (FREE)
Love cats? You’re not alone. Over the years, the Internet has gone wild for the perpetually disdainful Grumpy Cat, the box-obsessed Maru, squishy-faced Lil Bub — even Nyan Cat, the animated feline with a Pop Tart for a body who’s famous for flying through space on a rainbow. Just For Cats harnesses this phenomenon for a good cause. The main event is a compilation of the Internet’s best cat videos, but there are also workshops, lectures, a silent auction, and exhibitors to check out. The festival is on at the Lansdowne Park Horticulture Building on Saturday, June 13 from 10am to 6pm. Admission to the festival is free, but tickets for the video screenings are $10 in advance and $15 on site. Proceeds support the Canadian Federation of Human Societies and the Ottawa Humane Society. For more info, visit here.
The Horticulture Building is at 1015 Bank St.

Summer is here, which means your backyard could probably use an “Alderaandack” chair — that is, a chair crafted in Darth Vader’s likeness. You can find one at Handmade Harvest’s ManMade, a craft show that puts Ottawa’s male artisans in the limelight. Besides pop culture lawn furniture, you’ll also find graphic t-shirts, bow-ties, recycled vintage radios, cocktail mixes, ice cream, and much more. And since the event is taking place at Mill St. Brew Pub, there will also be free beer samples! Who doesn’t love that? The show is on from 10am to 3pm on Sunday, June 14. Admission is $5. For more info, visit here.
Mill St. Brew Pub is at 555 Wellington St.

WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of June 4 to 7


Public Servant - Papers Flying - L-R Sarah McVie, Haley McGee, Amy Rutherford - photo GCTC Andrew Alexander-1

The Public Servant (Left) Actresses Sarah McVie, Haley McGee, and Amy Rutherford. Photo: Andrew Alexander

The Public Servant
Those of us who’ve never graced the halls of power might wonder what it is, exactly, you public servants do, every day inside those asbestos-lined, 1950s Brutalist architectural walls. I mean, how do those golden handcuffs feel, day after day?

Aiming to pull back the veil on the mystery that is the Ottawa bureaucratic machine is The Public Servant, a new play debuting this weekend at the GCTC.

Director and one of the writers, Jennifer Brewin, asks us to follow Madge, a “young, idealistic and enthusiastic civil servant as she gets ready to write her first official memo.” Thrilling stuff… But perhaps as a nod to Kafka’s The Trial, Madge’s memo “brings to light all the inner-workings and absurdities of government bureaucracy.” The play runs until June 21. Visit here for showtimes. Weekend matinees at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
GCTC is at 1233 Wellington St. W.

Prose in the Park FREE
Word on the Street.

When I saw those words, the first thing I thought of as the parent of a five-year-old is Sesame Street’s Word on the Street, a short vingette that’s hosted by the furry red monster named Murray — Not Toronto’s National Book & Magazine festival, which is the model for this weekend’s Prose in the Park — an event happening on Saturday, June 6 in Parkdale Park.

“There is something really magical about hundreds of authors, volunteers and organizers coming together to give birth to a new literary festival,” says Prose in the Park’s Ian Shaw.

The new lit-fest is being billed as “Ottawa’s largest single-day writers’ event ever” and will feature 150 Canadian authors (many of them local, including Francophone), 15 authors’ panels, and special events (including an all-day open-mic stage). More than a dozen publishers and three independent bookstores will also participate. Some highlights include: Giller Prize Winner Vincent Lam (Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, 2006), Governor-General Winner Rosemary Sullivan (Shadow Maker, 1995), and Yves Breton (Drôle de vie que voilà !: Pulsions, 2014), among others. It’s entirely free, and goes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. More info, visit here.
Parkdale Park is at Somerset and Parkdale Ave.


Rideau Hall, one of many landmarks participating in Open Doors Ottawa this weekend

Open Doors Ottawa FREE
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite” — William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & Hell, 1790-93

Drawing from Blake to set up this weekend’s Doors Open Ottawa may be setting up unrealistic expectations. After all, unless you tour this thing high as a kite, I doubt, very much, you’ll experience the “infinite” whilst peering inside the U.S. Embassy, Le Cordon Bleu, or the Carleton Masonic Lodge.

Regardless, you may see more clearly — at least inside spaces where you would otherwise not normally venture. The 14th annual event happens this Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free, there’s a cycling component, maps, and a list of buildings that are open, i.e. my house is not. Of interest, Rideau Hall, Royal Canadian Mint, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Parish (simply because it has quite possibly the longest name for a church, ever). Beware, entrance to some buildings requires pre-registration.
More info, visit here.

WTFveganfoodVeg Fest
Four years ago, Kristin Lajeunesse quit her job, purchased, reno’d, and moved into a Chevy van (dubbed Gerty), and set out across America with the intention of eating at, and writing about every vegan restaurant. After 50 states and almost 600 restos, Lajeunesse is able to explain “How Eating at Every Single Vegan Restaurant in the U.S. Changed a Young Woman’s Life” — the title of her talk, which she’ll give on Sunday, June 7 at 12 p.m. as part of the speakers series being offered this weekend at the annual Veg Fest.

In addition to the speakers series, Veg Fest — happening on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 — offers a cornucopia of offerings from farmers, cooks, chefs, artisans, and other vendors, including health products and services, and cooking demos (the lineup includes: The Green Door’s Ron Farmer, Strawberry Blonde Bakery’s Erin Daminato, and Auntie Loo’s Treats’ Amanda Lunan, among others). Admission is by donation. It’s at the RA Centre on Riverside Dr., and takes place, both days, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info, visit here.
RA Centre is at 2451 Riverside Dr.







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



Nick Farrio plays at House of Targ this weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

up to low 2

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

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

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

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







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

Bamboo Garden-sm

Bamboo Garden, Gwendolyn Best, courtesy of Orange Gallery

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


Rufus, Gwendolyn Best, courtesy of Orange Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Maker Space North is at 250 City Centre, Bay 216

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the First Weekend of May



Image, courtesy of www.imgkid.com

Once considered the first day of Spring, May 1 was celebrated in more ancient times with young people dancing around phallic-shaped maypoles (also thought to symbolize the world axis or, in Norse cultures, as the universe itself). In the 19th C., it was adopted by the workers of the world as International Worker’s Day — which it still is today. For some countries (Russia, I’m looking at you), May 1 also became a day to parade all manner of assorted weapons of mass destruction, because nothing says birth and renewal like an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile armed with a five-megaton nuclear warhead.

This May 1st weekend, celebrate the birth of spring (so to speak) by attending a variety of non-lethal, less phallic events.


Moonfruits at Cafe Nostalgica this Thursday, April 30. Photo credit: J.B. Hildebrand

Happy Birthday Café Nostalgica
Bust our your platinum (cuz we all have oodles of platinum lying around?!?) Café Nostalgica is celebrating its 20th anniversary this Thursday, April 30. That house-y looking coffee spot at the University of Ottawa is throwing a Quebec-themed b-day bash, which includes loads of music — Chloe Perrault, Moonfruits, The Howards, Mackenzie, Rhythm Section, and Capital DJ — and such provincial-themed food as cheeses, mini tortiere, poutine, pea soup, plus cotton candy, popcorn, and more. Show up before 8 p.m. and get a free drink. Decorate a mug even. $15. Starts at 6 p.m. More info, visit here.
Café Nostalgica is at 601 Cumberland St.


Biotechnology is a Technology of Love… By Jennifer Willet, Digital Photograph, 2013 Photographer: Arturo Herrera

Still Life is Dividing, Multiplying (FREE!)
Breathing pore; protocell; hylozoic; hibernaculum — word-y words you’d expect to hear coming from the mouths of, say, scientists at the National Research Centre (or not, given the gov’t’s present gag-orders). But from visual artists?

Yet, the fusion of science and art is the protoplasm from which a new field is emerging: “Bioart features a diverse range of practices from the lab, the wilderness, and cities, which use cells, microbes, plants, and bodies (human and otherwise) in the production of art” — this according to the catalogue excerpt from the travelling exhibition, BioART: Collaborating With Life, which debuts on Thursday, April 30 at the Karsh-Masson Gallery. Curated by Jennifer Willet, it features works by her, and seven other artists, including a performance piece by Alana Bartol. The Thursday vernissage is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The show is up until May 31. More info here.
Karsh-Masson Gallery is at 110 Laurier Ave.

Cold Specks (and gang) Steal the (Ontario) Scene
Ontario Scene kicks off this weekend — Friday, May 1 — with Cold Specks, a Toronto-based songstress and Juno/Polaris Prize nominee whose music has been called ‘doom soul’.

In spite of what that may conjure, be assured that Cold Speck’s music is deft, beautifully haunting, and her performances are mesmerizing. She’s playing with Etiquette — that’s Graham Walsh of Holy F*ck and Julie Fader, also a visual artist — along with Ottawa’s Boyhood. The former just released their debut in March (a must-hear if you’re fans of Air, The Chromatics); the latter produces experimental, drugged-out sounding pop (think The Brian Jonestown Massacre/Raveonettes). Show’s at 9 p.m.; tickets $15.
Ritual is at 137 Besserer St.

Main Street Market on McLeod
Where are the fiddleheads? The asparagus? Typically some of the first offerings from the soil, they appear to be absent from local shops — not surprising given the long winter, which has fresh veg lagging by a few weeks. And yet, the late start to the season won’t deter the Main Street Farmer’s Market from opening this Saturday, May 2 — except, that it isn’t being held on Main Street near St. Paul’s University. During the on-going construction on that road, it’ll be held, instead, at the Canadian Museum of Nature on McLeod for the next two years — every Saturday from May 1 until end of October, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Canadian Museum of Nature is at 240 McLeod St.




WEEKENDER: A few things to do on the weekend of April 23 to 26 (and beyond!)



Photo: Courtesy of the Canadian Museum of Nature

Modern Wonder of the World
Stories — and tragedy — surround the history, and construction, of the modern-day wonder of the world, the Panama Canal. A film Ottawans will be able to relate to — given our own tragic history concerning the thousand or so that perished building the Rideau Canal — the film, Historias del Canal (Panama Canal Stories), presents a “sweeping historical drama” — it’s a gripping opener at this years’ 19th annual Latin American Film Fest.


A still from Historias del Canal (Panama Canal Stories), the opening film at this year’s 19th annual Latin Film Festival

The festival — held at Carleton University and presented by the Canadian Film Institute — will screen 19 films from South America over the course of two weeks, beginning this Saturday evening on April 25 at 7 p.m. The next day, make sure to check out the coming-of-age comedy, Rocanrol ’68 (Rock and Roll ’68) — Sunday, April 26 at 4 p.m.

Details on the films, times, costs, etc. can be found here.

Carleton University, River Building Theatre, is at 1125 Colonel By Drive


Qajak being built at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Photo: Courtesy of the Canadian Museum of Nature

Nature Nocturne / Q is for Qajaq
With Spring in full-gear, admittedly the thought of anything cold, snow, or ice-related is like a knife in the eye. That said, the Canadian Museum of Nature has some ‘cool’ activities planned in this vein — including being able to stop by from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25, and watch a four-man team construct a qajaq, that it is an Inuit kayak, which is part of ‘Q is for Qajaq’, a collaborative project to help inspire a renaissance of qajaq-building and paddling in Canada’s Arctic. (Cost of regular admission.)

But if qajaq-building doesn’t scream par-tay, then check out this month’s edition of Nature Nocturne — a Friday (April 24) night party, where the museum throws its doors open to music (DJ Rise Ashen + DJ Ron Lavoie), throat singing, drinks and more. Tickets are $25. Starts at 8 p.m. More info, visit here.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is at 240 McLeod St.

The ‘Other’ Folk Fest
Two festivals; divergent paths — that’s the story, of sorts, regarding the addition of springtime’s newest folk festival, the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, which takes place this week (Thursday, April 23 to Sunday, April 26).

This indoor festival should not be confused with falls’ longer-running, larger, outdoor Folk Festival (September 16-20). Nor, would the instigator behind this latest folk fest incarnation — Bob Nesbitt — necessarily court such a comparison. After all, Grassroots was created, in part, out of a need to eschew the commercialization many see taking place in the re-branded Cityfolk Festival. And so, here we are. One city, two folk fests — albeit Grassroots is much smaller, shorter, and bills itself as closer to folk’s roots — sort of like Bob Dylan before he plugged in.

Stef Paquette and Eric Dubeau open the fest on Thursday evening, with Old Man Luedecke headlining on Friday, followed by Connie Kaldor on Saturday. Lots of other musicians, workshops, and activities, full details here.

Ottawa Grassroots Festival is at Montgomery Legion Hall, 330 Kent St.

71o0NoBGX6L._SL1500_JFK, the ‘Smiths’ & a Glimpse Inside the Teenage Brain
By the time you get this, the Spring edition of Ottawa Writer’s Fest will be in full swing. At this point, most will have already scored tickets, planned which events to attend, bought the books, etc. For others, it may have snuck up on you — and for you folks, here’s a speed-read version:

With events from now until June, this weekend’s highlights include:

  • Thursday, April 23 Hear Andrew Cohen, author of Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours That Made History, speak about the famed President. Plus songwriters Craig Finn, Elliott Brood, Rose Cousins, Bonjay, Iskew, and The Split.andrewcohen-twodaysinjune
  • Friday, April 24 The Smiths! Not the band, rather authors Russell Smith, Neil Smith, and (later that evening) Michael V. Smith, as well as Giller Prize winner Sean Michaels and GG recipient Raziel Reid. Plus music by Mike Dubue and Glenn Nutio.
  • Saturday, April 25 Mark Bourrie doesn’t shy away from speaking about about the gagging of Canadian media in his recent book, Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know.
  • Sunday, April 26 You know you don’t want to look inside, but you’re dying to regardless of what horrors lurk there — author Dr. Frances E. Jensen delivers her book The Teenage Brain.

Full details on these and many others, here.