WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of July 24 to 27 (The Almost Free-Edition!)

BY MATT HARRISON

 

erniep

Famed American hip-hop artist, activist, photographer, and director Ernie Paniccioli will be speaking on Saturday, July 26, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Gallery 101 as part of the five-day Asinabka Film and Media Festival

Asinabka Film Fest (almost FREE)
The third annual Asinabka Film and Media Festival, which celebrates local, national, and international Aboriginal filmmakers, kicks off this Wednesday, July 23 with an outdoor screening of two films on Victoria Island: Decolonizing Together, and Rhymes for Young Ghouls — the director of the latter will be in attendance. Each night during the five-day festival, screenings (and parties) will take place in various locations throughout the city. Thursday, July 24’s screenings take place at Gallery 101, accompanied by food and music (cash bar); Friday, July 25’s films will be shown at SAW Gallery. At 10:30 p.m., there’ll be live music, with a spotlight on Nogojiwanong (Peterborough) musicians: Sean Conway, Tara Williamson, and
 Sarah DeCarlo ($10 cover). On Saturday, July 26 there’s an artist’s talk with director, and well-known hip-hop photographer, Ernie Paniccioli, at Gallery 101 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., with more screenings that evening at the Museum of Nature, starting at 7 p.m. and ending at 1 a.m. ($10 cover). Sunday, July 27 brings the festival to a close with another outdoor screening at Victoria Island at 8:45 p.m. For a more detailed look at the festival, click here.

Wrestling with C.S. Lewis’ Demon
Although C.S. Lewis is more commonly associated with ‘children’s’ series, the Narnia Chronicles, the bulk of his writings concern Christianity (Narnia is, in fact, an allegory for various Christian themes). In his collection, one book in particular stands out: The Screwtape Letters, which involves a professor named Screwtape who is actually a demon from hell who councils a pupil called Wormwood on how to undermine faith and promote sin. It is, essentially, a satirical exposition on how to avoid temptation and sin. It also makes delicious subject matter for a theatre company with a mandate to address works that explore faith and spirituality. No surprise then that the Ottawa-based 9Th Hour Threatre Company is putting on The Screwtape Letters this summer. The play will be performed in the studio at the Great Canadian Theatre Company from Thursday, July 24 until Saturday, August 9. Most weekday showtimes are at 8 p.m.; weekend shows vary. See schedule. Tickets from $20.
The GCTC is at 1233 Wellington St.

Centretown Movies (almost FREE)
Since the days of drive-in movies, there’s been something magical — and very summery — associated with watching a movie outdoors. Centretown Movies has been showing flicks outside in the summertime for decades now, becoming sort of a seasonal rite. The venue has changed over the years, but that fun hasn’t — especially with a schedule that includes new and classic, sappy and campy. Already one week in, this Friday, July 25 Centretown Movies’ Outdoor Film Festival in Dundonald Park shows Rent, which is hosted by the AIDS Committee of Ottawa. The following night, Saturday, July 26, watch the adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel fall in and out of love in 500 Days of Summer. Movies begin at 9 p.m. and they’re pay-what-you-can. The festival runs every Friday and Saturday until August 16. Friday’s films tend towards awareness of such social issues as mining, homosexuality, AIDS, etc., while Saturday’s films are more entertainment-driven. For the full schedule check here.
Dondonald Park is at Somerset, between Bay and Lyon.

Photo by Alexis Francoeur-Leblond

Empty Shelves play — for free! — on Friday, July 25 at 8 Locks’ Flat Gastropub. Photo by Alexis Francoeur-Leblond

Empty Shelves (FREE)
My ears are tingling, partly due to the ear infection I garnered over the weekend, but more likely because there’s a new, and definitely buzz-worthy addition to Ottawa’s burgeoning indie scene — Empty Shelves. Though they’ve only released two tracks so far, both portend to their future capabilities. The sound of a ticking clock at the beginning of Where Are You sets a constrained measure, both moody and beautiful, and which finally bursts out as a jangly-pop song; while Day Art Circa moves with restrained intensity that swells to create an Explosions in the Sky moment. As a six-member band, they have the potential to create more elaborate sonic soundscapes — which they do — but they also know when to shut down and linger in quieter moments. Empty Shelves play on Friday, July 25 at 8 Locks’ Flat Gastropub on the Rideau Canal — a perfect setting to enjoy their thoughtfully constructed music.
8 Locks’ Flat is at 191 Colonel By Drive

Quebec Craft Beers (FREE)
Ever wondered what Quebec craft brewers are up to? On Saturday, July 26 come out to the first edition of Marché des Brasseurs to find out. A project of the Brewery Market, which has hosted events since 2011 to promote craft/artisanal beers, the event is being held at the picturesque Hendrick Farm in Old Chelsea. Sample beers from Le Trou du Diable (Shawinigan), Brasserie Dunham (Dunham), the Microbrasserie le Castor (Rigaud), la brasserie Benelux (Montréal) and, closer to home, Les Brasseurs du Temps (Gatineau). All ages are welcome. Beer and food can be purchased at the event, which runs from noon to 6 p.m. There’s even a shuttle bus that leaves from Ottawa (Fairmont and Wellington). Reserve here.
Hendrick Farm is at 3, Chelbrook, Old Chelsea

 

 

WEEKENDER: What to do on the (week) weekend of July 16 to 19

The Kestrels play at Pressed on Friday, July 18

Kestrels play at Pressed on Friday, July 18

Bad Ass Dash
So, you think you’re a real bad ass huh. I suppose, then, you’ve already signed up for the Badass Dash? It is yet another outdoor obstacle course challenge (a la Tough Mudder, Death Race, Cops and Robbers Run, Spartan Race) for competitive thrillseekers. On Saturday, July 19 competitors will hurl themselves through The Human Car Wash, The Claustrophobic Crawl, The Horrendous Heavy Bags, and the dreaded Australian Back Crawl challenges, which are just a few of the 30+ obstacles along the 7km course. Sadly, the event closes for registration by Thursday, July 17 (register here), but the bad ass you are means you’re likely already signed up. If you missed this year’s registration, come out anyways; spectators are welcome. More info — visit the website. The event starts at 8 a.m. and takes place at the Wesley Clover Parks (formerly Nepean National Equestrian Park).
Wesley Clover Parks is at 401 Corkstown Rd.

Pickled Turnips & More
Shawarma — it’s long been Ottawa’s go-to fast food. We love the stuff, which is why there’s so many shawarma shops dotted around the city. Then there’s the potatoes, the salads, the pickled turnips (insert drool) — these and other Lebanese culinary mainstays can be had at the 24th annual Ottawa Lebanese Festival, which takes place Wednesday, July 16 to Sunday, July 20 at the St. Elias Cathedral, directly across from Mooney’s Bay. Enjoy Middle Eastern food, musical entertainment, and even a midway! Admission is $5 opening night, $2 for remaining nights. Festival hours are: Wednesday to Friday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Musical Mormon Mummery
Poor Mormons — Marilyn Manson burned their Bible onstage at a Utah concert in the 90s; HBO cast a not-so-glowing light on aspects of their faith in the series, Big Love; and more recently, South Park creators (who proudly take aim at everyone and everything with their comedy) get their jabs in with the highly popular Broadway musical: The Book of Mormon. The story involves two missionaries who travel to Uganda where a warlord holds sway over the population — one which is less concerned about “God’s word” and more about everyday violence and disease. As such, the missionaries’ naivety is exposed and hilarity ensues — in song and verse, of course. The musical opened in Ottawa this week at the National Arts Centre, and it has showings on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — and on, until July 27. Check out the NAC’s website for times. Tickets: from $63.
The NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

Zainab Hussain’s Little Urban Myths (Derelict), 2014, one of her pieces showing in a group exhibit at Blink Gallery from Thursday July 17 to July 27

New Uses for Maps (FREE)
Maps, mostly replaced by GPS now, continue to function in ways beyond simply getting from point A to point B. Blink Gallery’s first summer exhibition features Ottawa artists exploring unique ways of “mapping” the city: Stephanie Marton uses audio and Polaroids to document a moment in a journey through the city; Jessie Raymond documents the waste/garbage (the archeology of the space) she finds in the Hurdman area; and Zainab Hussain examines re-zoning of nature, records tiny fairy communities, and displays the skylines of Ottawa/Gatineau through mirrors, while a stereo audio component is split between the two, so that in each skyline, a different side of the compensation can be heard. The show, curated by Anna Paluch, opens on Thursday, July 17, from 6-9 p.m., and continues until July 27. Blink Gallery is open Fridays, from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m.
Blink Gallery is in Major’s Hill Park.

Kestrels Ride Chrome Waves
I may not be Allan Cross and this is certainly not The Secret History of Rock, but here’s my take on a little-known subgenre of music: shoegaze. It describes slow, distortion-heavy, early 90s music where, unlike the “heavy metal” or performance-based bands of the 80s, musicians (mostly English) would stare down — seemingly at their shoes (they were in fact focusing on their instruments) — focused less on the “show” and more on producing artful, fuzzed out, guitar-based music. The genre has continued to persist, and even more recently, is seeing a resurgence/reinterpretation of sorts. It’s unsurprising then to find a new shoegaze-influenced band emerge from Halifax — especially with its Sub Pop history. The band Kestrels are, perhaps, more explosive and bombastic than other shoegaze bands of old, and draw comparisons to the louder, faster, more melodic moments in the catalogs of My Bloody Valentine, Ride, or even Brooklyn’s Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Currently, they’re touring their newly released EP, out on Sonic Unyon, The Moon is Shining our Way. Kestrels play at Pressed on Friday, July 18, with Harsh Reality and Mnemonics. Tickets: $7.
Pressed is at 750 Gladstone Ave.

Amelia Curran, award-winning singer-songwriter from Newfoundland/Halifax plays at The Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, July 19

Amelia Curran, singer-songwriter from Newfoundland/Halifax, plays at The Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, July 19

Amelia Curran
Now that Bluesfest is over, The Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield is once again filling its evenings with talented musicians. Few are more worthy of the accolades heaped upon her (Juno-winner, East Coast Music Awards, etc.) then Halifax/Newfoundland’s Amelia Curran. Some have compared her to Leonard Cohen or Patsy Cline — but really, her songs are plainly heartfelt, musically deft, and poetic. She’s taking a break from recording her upcoming new album to play at the Inn on Saturday, July 19. Tickets are $25, and the show’s at 8:30 p.m. Note: if you’re driving into Wakefield for the show, Valley Drive is presently closed, so you either have to drive down Rockhurst or all the way around to the end of the highway and double back into town. Fun times.
Black Sheep Inn is 753 Riverside Dr.

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of July 10 to 13

Lemuria, a garage/punk band from the 'lost continent' of Buffalo, N.Y. plays at House of Targ on

Lemuria, a garage/punk band from the ‘lost continent’ of Buffalo, N.Y. plays at House of Targ on Thursday, July 10.

Driving Miss Daisy
Driving Miss Daisy — the Pulitzer-prize winning play, which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy — comes to Ottawa Little Theatre. The division, tensions, and relationship between African-Americans and White Southerners during the tumultuous period of the 1960s play out in the relationship between a stubborn matriarch and her indomitable chauffeur. The play is on this weekend, with shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday — at 7:30 p.m. all three nights — and runs until July 26. Tickets from $25.
Ottawa Little Theatre is at 400 King Edward Ave.

The Lost Band, Lemuria
We’ve all heard of Plato’s lost city of Atlantis, but what about the lost continent of Lemuria? Once thought to have existed in the Indian Ocean, Lemuria or Mu (or the ‘motherland of Mu’) was believed to have been the missing land-bridge that connected Madagascar with India. Like the ‘lost continent’, the three-member group Lemuria, which hails from Buffalo, N.Y., sounds like something from the past too — perhaps The Lemonheads, or Superchunk. Like these 90s bands to which Lemuria cites as influences, their sound is made up of girl/guy vocals combined with guitars and drums to create a garage/punk sound with surprisingly ‘pop’ lyrics — all of which is combed over with a low-production feel. Catch them at House of Targ on Thursday, July 10.$10 advance; show’s at 10 p.m.
House of Targ is at 1077 Bank St.

Coco Riot for Change
Believing that “art is not a tool for social change, but social change itself,” queer Spanish artist Coco Riot creates ‘social change’ through his art, incorporating mural, on-site 3D installations, and sculpture to connect with the viewer’s everyday experiences and create an emotional response. On Friday, July 11, Orange Gallery will be unveiling a mural by Coco that challenges gender-based violence. Local arts activists and groups, including Artswell will, in connection with this event, be holding workshops from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Art Is In Bakery will also be serving light refreshments.
Orange Gallery is at 290 City Centre Ave.

Manotick Beer Mill
Me and my gut are currently on a hiatus from beer — but that doesn’t mean you should be. Especially during this season of seasons for beer drinking. Manotick’s Watson’s Grist Mill, a working flour mill from the 1860s, will be host to a craft-beer event on Friday, July 11 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sample beers from local craft breweries, snack on tasty treats paired to select brews, enjoy some jazz, and converse with other beer enthusiasts and bring your questions for a Q&A session with brew masters. Tickets are $35. For more details, follow the event (there may be some last minute changes) on their Facebook site.
Watson’s Mill is at 5525 Dickson St., Manotick.

Kevin James and I
Comedian Kevin James and I haven’t gotten off to a great start. He was mentioned, strangely, during our wedding ceremony by the minister in an off-the-sleeve reference to Hitch; I suffered through James’ starring role in Mall Cop on an airplane; and in some forgetful fit, I rented Grown Ups (which also stars James) on an adolescent idea that Adam Sandler was funny — he isn’t. But hey, comedy is subjective. And so, if you want to catch James in a non-Hollywood setting (I’m betting he’s much funnier on-stage), he’ll be bringing his ‘hilarity’ to the National Arts Centre on Saturday, July 12. Tickets are from $59. Show’s at 7 p.m.
The NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

WEEKENDER: July 3-6

Viet Cong, Calgarian band plays at Raw Sugar Cafe on Sunday, July 6. Photo by Jared Sych

What Lies Beneath FREE!
Retinal tears in both her eyes resulted in the inability of being able to work with the harsh light emitted from a computer screen — as such, Montreal-born/Gatineau artist, Ginette Daigneault, was forced to abandon her work in digital media. Instead, she returns to the classic medium of painting, with her latest work representing that transition — one that she describes as a “profound reawakening in an interest for the materiality of creation research.” Her new works, done primarily with her hands, “investigate painting as an extension of the body,” and the layers of paint applied to the canvas as a sort of epidermal skin. Her largely abstract works contain signs, symbols, and other messages (as when copiers would include watermarks, hidden texts, etc.) placed among layers of paint, and, as such, they exist in a state somewhere between appearance and disappearance. Ginette Daigneault /Espaces Improbables will be on display from Thursday, July 3 to Wednesday, July 16 at Galerie St-Laurent + Hill. The vernissage on Thursday is from 5 to 8 p.m.

Team Gefilte Fish Eye shoots 'Damned Love' in Tel Aviv in 2008 as part of that year's 48 Hour Film Project. This is the first year Ottawa's been included in the global competition.

Team Gefilte Fish Eye shoots ‘Damned Love’ in Tel Aviv in 2008 as part of that year’s 48 Hour Film Project. This is the first year Ottawa’s been included in the global competition.

48 Hour Film Project FREE!
This year marks the first time the international film competition, The 48 Hour Film Project, is coming to Ottawa. On Friday, July 5, participating filmmaking teams will draw genres from a hat, and assigned several common filmmaking elements — a prop, character, and a line of dialogue, which they must incorporate into their 4-7 minute-long film created over the span of 48 hours. The kickoff event at SAW Gallery will only be an hour — 6-7 p.m. — so Friday’s event will be like watching race teams assemble and then sprint from the starting line. Still, it is open to the public for spectators. But the main event will be on Saturday, July 19 when their films will be screened at the Mayfair Theatre from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission will be $20. Awards will be handed out later that evening at 7 p.m. Winners of the Ottawa competition will be shown at a larger event — Filmapalooza — where the top 10 films in that screening will be shown at next year’s Cannes. For the past 15 years, the project has been screening amateur and indie films from around the world and Ottawa is being included for the first time.

Glengarry Glen Ross
“Lie. Cheat. Steal. All in a day’s work.” Or how about, “A story for everyone who works for a living?” Either tagline could best sum up the famous David Mamet‘s famous play, Glengarry Glen Ross. Set in a 1983′s Chicago sales office, this dark comedy is about a group of ruthless and desperate salesmen who lie, cheat, and ruin each other’s lives in order to win a car — but ultimately their job. Considered once a modern take on the death of the American salesman, but also a semi-autobiographical account of Mamet’s own experiences, the play, directed by Geoff Gruson, runs at The Gladstone until Saturday, July 5, with nightly shows at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. Of special note: after the performances on Friday, July 4, and Saturday, July 5, the theatre will be transformed into a night club, with the possibility of karoke, DJ, or live band. If you’ve watched the show, entrance to the after party is free; $10 for those who just want to party.

Hintonburg Brew Park (sort of FREE!)
It’s been hot and nothing cools down summer fever like a cold one — especially if it’s a local brew quaffed in a park — something we all do, secretly, but this Saturday, July 5 at the Hintonburg Brewery Market you can do it legally. On offer will be a selection of home-grown beers (too many to list here), and snacks from Absinthe and Murray Street restos. Free admission, and it takes place rain or shine. This is a family-friendly event, so bring some chairs, games, blankets, sun-screen, and — especially — a thirst, and come on down to the Hintonburg Park (corner of Fairmont Ave. and Duhamel St.) between noon and 8 p.m.

Viet Cong in Ottawa
Ottawa’s biggest music festival of the season is underway this weekend, which means most music venues around town are pretty quiet. But not every band/musician has been sucked into the Bluesfest vortex swirling around LeBreton Flats. On Sunday, July 6, the Viet Cong, a Calgarian band made up members from members from the now-defunct band, Women, as well as from Chad VanGaalen’s backing band (VanGaalen’s playing in Ottawa on Aug. 23!) will play an intimate show at Raw Sugar Cafe. Drawing from post-punk, 80′s new wave that, at times, hints at UK’s Joy Division, The Chameleons, or perhaps, more semi-recently and closer to home, Edmonton’s The Floor, and combine that with a lo-fi garage aesthetic and occasional drone, and it comes close to nailing down the foursome’s sound. In spite of only having available a few tracks so far, Viet Cong shows huge promise (a full-length is in the works), which makes this intimate opportunity to hear them early in their development — live — a unique opportunity. Show’s at 8:30 p.m., $10.

An Afternoon with Dan Aykroyd
For many, Dan Aykroyd is typically associated with his roles as either one half of the Blues Bros., or as Dr. Raymond Stantz in Ghostbusters, or maybe even his stint on early SNL (for me, it’s as an assassin in Gross Point Blank) — but rarely do people mention his name in connection with Driving Miss Daisy (1989) — Aykroyd played Daisy’s son, Boolie Werthan. The Ottawa Little Theatre is putting on a stage version of the film this summer (July 8 -26), and to kick things off, Aykroyd’s coming to the theatre on Sunday, July 6 for a sort of Inside The Actor’s Studio session — he’ll be on stage talking with CBC’s Alan Neal (All In A Day) about his role in that film, as well his other experiences as an actor. Only a handful of tickets remain, so act fast! An Afternoon with Dan Aykroyd starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are $60.

 

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of June 26-29

HIGHS (cred Jessica Deeks)

Toronto’s Highs play — for free! — on Friday, June 27 at Waller Park as part of Fringe Fests’ free concert series

 

A Live High … for FREE!
Jazzfest is in full swing, Bluesfest is coming, Arboretum, Folkfest, and others are waiting in the wings — all, though, will make you pay for that live high. Which is why it’s so refreshing to be able to enjoy a music concert series that’s free! Albeit Fringe Fest’s traditional focus has been theatre, and remains so, this year they’ve included performances by local and national bands at Waller Park. (Calling the little patch of grass next to Arts Court a ‘park’ is a stretch, but I digress.) On Thursday, June 26, enjoy the lovely Crissi Cochrane at 9 p.m. She marries her Nova Scotian roots with the Motown soul of Detroit (having grown up in Motor City’s shadow on the Windsor side). Expect a meld of Amy Winehouse/Billie Holiday with Canadian indie and American jazz and blues. Following Cochrane is Ottawa’s female folk trio, Three Little Birds, who perform at 10 p.m. On Friday, June 27 at 10 p.m. watch the spirited, Toronto four piece band, Highs, play songs from their stellar self-titled, indie-folk 2013 EP. On Saturday, June 28, Silkken Laumann perform their atmospheric-tinged dance/house/electro-punk — also at 10 p.m. ottawafringe.com.

Windsor’s Crissi Cochrane also plays — for free! — on Thursday, June 26 at Waller Park as part of Fringe Fests’ free concert series Photo: Kevin Kavanaugh

 

Edgy Gardens (FREE!)
If you’re strolling the grounds of the city’s Central Experimental Farm this weekend, or anytime this summer, don’t be surprised if you encounter a labyrinth, a mechanical spiral, and other art objects nestled (or sometimes very noticeably planted) in the surrounding gardens. These art installations are part of a summer-long exhibit called Beyond the Edge: Artists’ Gardens, which opens this Thursday, June 26 and runs until Sept. 27. The outdoor exhibition features works, scattered throughout the grounds’ 10 acres, by visual artists who use living plant material in their art, and which are intended to explore ideas about agriculture and horticulture, as well as to “engage our senses and imaginations” throughout the growing season. canadensisgarden.ca

Art Fakes FREE!
“What we professional liars hope to serve is truth. I’m afraid the pompous word for that is ‘art’ ” — Orson Welles. Notions of fake and real in art, but also in cinema and popular culture get examined in the context of F is For Fake, an exhibition currently showing at SAW Gallery. Curated by Jason St­–Laurent, the exhibit presents works that question authenticity, originality, legitimacy — even art that is an “outright forgery,” such as fakes and forgeries of works by Norval Morriseau, Picasso, and van Gogh. These “fakes” are intended as an investigation into the line between truth and fiction. In that vein, the exhibition borrows its title from the last film Welles made, F is For Fake, a 1974 movie that examines similar notions, and which is also being screened as part of the show — Thursday, June 26 at 8 p.m. The exhibition is on until August 16. galeriesawgallery.com

Community Cup (FREE!)
Caught that World Cup fever yet? Burning to actually play some football? Then head on down to Brewer Park (Old Ottawa South, just across from Carleton University) this Saturday, June 28 for the 10th annual Community Cup. Mostly, it’s a giant community football (soccer) tournament that gets underway at 8 a.m. and wraps up around 5 p.m. If you’re not on a team by now, get on one! Or volunteer. Or just enjoy the spectacle from the sidelines. Lots of non-football events throughout, including stuff for kids, food, music, and other sporting activities. Leave your hooliganism at home and come out for a day of live football sans world class, Ronaldo-style diving. communitycup.ca

Dance Your Pants Off
I would like to extend to you an invitation to the NO pants party — dresses, undies, underoos, panties, kits, leggings… just no pants please, according to organizers of the 7th annual No Pants Dance Party, which takes place on Saturday, June 28 at Babylon Nightclub. Apparently pants get in the way of fun —interpret that as you wish. The event features “dancing” by Rockalily Burlesque Dance Troupe, with Toronto’s Red Herring, and music by DJ Lowpass and NDMA. Tickets are $10 in advance and doors open at 10 p.m. There’ll be “sick” prizes for “bestest pantsless outfits” and, er, a bake sale — that’s not weird at all… Oh, and no genital nudity. babylonclub.ca

Shuck off (sort of FREE!)
Life sucks. Especially when you’re tossing back one oyster after another in a bivalve orgy of awesomeness. Bytowne Oysterfest 2014 takes place in the market on Sunday, June 29. Hosted by The Whalesbone, the annual celebration of oysters includes shucking contests, craft brewers, music (Julian Taylor Band), and fun for kids. More details as they come — check out thewhalesbone.com.

 

 

 

WEEKENDER: Five things to do from June 19-22

One of the gardens featured in the Canadensis tour.

One of the gardens featured in the Canadensis tour.

Green (with Envy)
Sunshine, blue skies, and greenery as far as the eye can see. The short, sweet summer season is upon us and that means garden tour season — time for wannabe gardeners to see how it’s really done and get inspired to tackle their weed-filled beds. On Saturday, June 21, and Sunday, June 22, the Canadensis Botanical Garden Society’s “Over the Hedge” tour features a full lineup of 14 exceptional gardens in and around the city’s east end. Visit them all in one day or over the weekend. Some of the gardens are very natural, filled with native wildflowers or incorporating small ponds that have quickly become edged with bull rushes, swamp milkweed, blue flag, and Joe Pye weed. Others have a more structured, ornamental feel, blending annuals and perennials for a full season of colour. The tour booklet includes information about all the gardens, as well as suggestions for points of interest (think garden centres, walking trails, restaurants, and public gardens) along the tour route. $40. Booklet available at many stores around town (see canadensisgarden.ca for distribution points).

Read the rest of this story »

WEEKENDER: Five things to do the weekend of June 12-15

Photo by | par: Robert Deleskie

Photo by | par: Robert Deleskie

Dancing Between Order & Chaos
For almost three decades, the Canada Dance Festival has presented some of the most talented and innovative dance performers — and their breathtaking performances — at the annual week-long festival. This year is no exception. Though it’s already underway, there’s still lots to take in before it ends. On Thursday, June 12, choreographer Danièle Desnoyers in Paradoxe Melodie asks: “How can dance be projected into life and how can life be reflected in a dancing body?” The answer is explored through her creations, which weave order and chaos. This world premiere includes music by renowned harpist Éveline Grégoire-Rousseau, music by composer Nicolas Bernier, and a cast of 10 performers. Tickets: $35 adults, $25 students. The show is at NAC Theatre, 53 Elgin St., and begins at 8:30 p.m. On Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14, Toronto’s Corpus Dance company presents Machina Nuptialis, a piece about the wedding ritual — three couples get married, kiss, dance, fight, make up, and strip off their clothes in anticipation of the honeymoon. This is an outdoor performance at Strathcona Park at 8 p.m. It’s pay-what-you-can.
For more info on all the other performances, visit Canada Dance Festival

Dress Code: Lederhosen (FREE! — mostly)
For those who won’t be travelling with Ottawa’s own Bach Choir to attend the centennial celebrations for the composer in the German town of Leipzig, there is KulturGarten — the German embassy is throwing a week-long Deutsch-bash until June 15. On Thursday, June 12, a wine tasting at 6 p.m. gets audiences in the mood for the talented and celebrated jazz pianist and composer, Joja Wendt at 7 p.m.; and a proper dance party (it starts with lounge music, sausages, and pizza) with German DJ Maschine Berlin happens on Friday, June 13 at 8 p.m. All of the events take place at the German Ambassador’s residence. All events are free, but guests must register here.
German Ambassador’s Residence is at 290 Coltrin Rd. 

Mamma Mia! (FREE! — mostly)
While it might be tempting to gorge on nothing but German sausages and beer during KulturGarten, don’t forget to save room for some olives and great wine because Italian Week Ottawa is also in full swing. On Thursday, June 12, there will  be an Ottawa River boat cruise, that includes (Italian) dining and dancing — and, oddly, the sounds of the Tequila Band. More details here. And on Saturday, June 14 come to Preston and Gladstone where the stage is set for live music, amusement rides, and fireworks. And there will likely be a TV screen somewhere showing Italy’s opening World Cup football match against England (6 p.m.).
Most events take place along Preston St.

Calling Agent “Dad”
Deep inside a hill in Carp, a top-secret mission is being formulated — to celebrate Dad with the Diefenbunker Cold War Bunker Museum’s first annual Operation: Father’s Day. This Saturday, June 14, drag the old man outta bed, buckle him in, and haul him off to Carp to go inside the bunker for a day of fun, including a military vehicle display by 
The Guild of the Royal Canadian Dragoons as well as cold beer and delicious food served up by local businesses. To satisfy Dad’s sweet tooth, 
a candy shop featuring retro treats from the 1950’s is sure to bring back fond memories. For the kids, a Kiddy Commando Training Course with prizes. Plus 100,00 sq. ft. of bunker to explore! Admission is $15 per individual; $40 for families; 6 and under, free. Visit here for tickets. The event is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Diefenbunker Museum is at 3911 Carp Rd., Carp.

Block Rockin’ Beats (FREE!)
Rockin’ a new metal-inspired logo (think 1980s iron-ons) Westfest fills the streets of Westboro for its annual street festival. Join the throngs up and down Richmond Road for buskers, treats, games, displays, and, of course, entertainment. As usual, Westfest pulls in some big names, both nationally and locally. Highlights this year include the phenomenal hip hop crew, A Tribe Called Red; a reformed Ashley MacIssac (that once troubled 90s alternative/fiddler); George Leach; The Peptides; The Fevers, Pony Girl, and lots more. The three-day event kicks off on the evening of Friday, June 13, and runs until Sunday, June 15. For more details, visit the website. Generally, music starts around 4 p.m. on most nights.

 

 

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of June 6-8

By MATT HARRISON

1_smallest mother

World’s Smallest Mother, Ohio, 1976. Photo by Randal Levenson.
Part of a new exhibit of his work at La Petite Mort from June 6 to June 29

Killing Good Will
Philanthropy, or just being “that nice guy” isn’t always easy — especially when you try and give away your fortune to those in need, only to be thwarted in your efforts by your elitist wife, a hooker, your shrink, and a hit man — all who have other ideas about where that money should go. Hilarity ensues in this new dark comedy, The Burden of Self Awareness, from playwright George F. Walker, and director Arthur Milner. It’s playing until June 22 at the GCTC. Performances are weekly from Tuesday to Friday at 8 p.m., and on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sunday matinee performances start at 2 p.m. Cost of admission varies. See website for details. http://www.gctc.ca/plays/burden-self-awareness

GCTC is at 1233 Wellingston St. W.

http://www.ottawamagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Burden-Samantha-Madely-Paul-Rainville-Sarah-McVie-Photo-by-GCTC-Andrew-Alexander.jpg

Burden of Self Awareness. Photo by GCTC’s Andrew Alexander.

 

Monster Vortex FREE!
It’s storm season — only this spring, in addition to rain, high winds and whatnot, we can also expect jagged teeth, fangs, hair, and claws. It’s what artist Tyson Bodnarchuk calls a “La Tempette Des Monstres” or a “Monster Storm” — and it’s almost upon us. On Friday, June 6 at 7 p.m., the Canadian artist, whose works have been exhibited at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as part of the En Masse crew, will be showing new, beastly works at IdeaSpace. His work, influenced by a motley crew of monster lovers that includes Jim Henson and Maurice Sendak, can be seen here. http://creature-features.tumblr.com/ . Not sure how long this exhibit is on until — so best check it out sooner rather than later.

IdeaSpace is at 131 Bank St., fourth floor.

Science of Shakespeare FREE!
Happy birthday, Bard! Shakespeare turns 450 this year, and in connection with this landmark, journalist and author, Dan Falks, examines whether the new scientific ideas of Shakespeare’s time influenced his writings — in spite of the prevalence of magic and superstition at the time. For example, in Romeo & Juliet, the Bard may have considered the notion of the “atom,” which was first put forward by Roman philosopher, Lucretius, in referring to the size of Queen Mab — “in shape no bigger than an agate stone,” Mercutio says, “drawn with a team of little atomi / Over men’s noses as they lie asleep.” This and many of Falks’ other ideas from his book, The Science of Shakespeare, will be discussed during a special lecture by the author at the Museum of Science and Technology on Friday, June 6 at 7 p.m.
The Museum of Science and Technology is at 1867 St. Laurent Blvd.

In Search of Monkey Girl FREE!
The “man monkey” was introduced to North American audiences more than 150 years ago. This “freak of nature” was actually William Henry Johnson, an African-American little person with a genetic deformity who spoke a made-up language created by the legendary entertainer, P.T. Barnum. Johnson was part of Barnum’s travelling show, which was popular throughout the U.S. and, in some form or another, has remained so, even today. Fascinated by the “spectacle of the road,” American photographer, Randal Levenson, spent 10 years travelling with sideshow performers, this time in search of monkey girl — a performer he photographed in Gatineau, Quebec. These photographs are on display in the exhibit, In Search of the Monkey Girl, at La Petite Mort from Friday, June 6 until June 19. There will be a vernissage at the gallery on that Friday where Levenson will be present for the opening. It starts at 7 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m. Levensen will be back the following evening — Saturday, June 7 — to talk about his work — at 5 p.m.
La Petite Mort is at 306 Cumberland St.

10_gorilla girl

Count Nicholas’ Gorilla Show, Gooding Amusements, Maumee, Ohio, 1974.
Photo by Randal Levenson

 

Small Press Fair FREE!
Twenty years ago, the Small Press Book Fair held its first event at the National Archives of Canada. Cut to 2014 and the fair continues to draw those looking for such local literary and pseudo-literary offerings as poetry, novels, graphic novels, cookbooks, posters, t-shirts, magazines, zines — even scraps of paper. This year’s Fair is being held at the Jack Purcell Community Centre (you know, that guy who’s famed for handing out badminton rackets to boys and girls — wink, wink) on Saturday, June 7, in Room 203 — from noon until 5 p.m.
Jack Purcell Community Centre is at 320 Jack Purcell Lane, just off of Elgin St.

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of May 29 to June 1

RDSMS-1

Roller Derby Saved My Soul
Friday, May 30 at Arts Court Theatre
Photo credit: Richard Gilmore / Performer: Nancy Kenny

RAW Returns
RAW Natural Born Artists will be holding their second arts party in Ottawa on Thursday, May 29 — this time at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts. What is RAW you ask? No, it’s not a dietary movement. Based in L.A., but with satellites in various cities throughout North America, including Ottawa, the company selects local artists, fashion designers, performers, musicians, DJs, models — even hair stylists, and showcases them and their work in the spirit of fun and promotion. It’s cocktails and cocktail attire. $15 in advance, doors open at 7:30 p.m. Visit here for the full lineup.
Saint Brigid’s is at 310 Patrick St.

Roller Derby Salvation
Rumor has it that members from Ottawa’s roller derby leagues are looking for fresh meat to recruit for their bloodsport — and you could be that meat! These terrors of the track will be at a one-day-only showing of a roller derby-themed Fringe play entitled, Roller Derby Saved My Soul. The play is about a girl who, with her sister’s help, is coaxed from her comic book geek cocoon to reemerge as a more confident person — all thanks to roller derby. As mentioned, roller girls will be in attendance, not only on the hunt, but also to give demonstrations of the sport. Food and booze can be had… and even enjoyed during the show! It’s all happening on Friday, May 30 at Arts Court Theatre. Admission — from $25. Show/event is from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Arts Court Theatre is at 2 Daly Ave.

Parklife
It’s a nirvana of sorts for area beer lovers — Festibiere is an annual three-day event where barley and hops aficionados can sling back tasty regional brews in a park setting with tens of thousands of like-minded connoisseurs. Workshops, cooking demonstrations, food, artists, musicians, and family-entertainment are also big draws. The third annual Gatineau Beer Festival takes place from Friday, May 30 to Sunday, June 1 at Jacques-Cartier Park, just across the river from Ottawa. Admission is $30 for three days or $15 per day. Hours: Friday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday, noon until 5 p.m. Children ages 17 or under are free.
XX
Twenty years ago — in the same year that Kurt Cobain of Nirvana died — Kelp Records was born; an indie record label founded by Fredericton, New Brunswick native, Jon Bartlett, which has been massively influential in driving Ottawa’s music scene. Over the course of 20 years, the label has produced a swath of great albums by such homegrown artists as The Acorn, Andy Swan, and Jim Bryson, among others. In celebration of this milestone, the label is throwing a party on Saturday, May 31 at St. Alban’s Church. The lineup of performers includes label stalwarts: Bryson, Acorn, Andrew Vincent, Swan, The Recoilers, and others. Tickets are $15 in advance. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Also, check out the label’s site for special anniversary releases, including Swan’s classic Ottawa record — 100 copies, only, are being pressed for sale on Friday, May 30.
St. Alban’s Church is at 454 King Edward Ave.

Bonne Fête Shenkman (FREE!)
More anniversary celebrations this Saturday, May 31Shenkman Arts Centre in the east end celebrates five years, with a packed day of music, activities, food, exhibitions, and performances of all kinds. This is definitely a family-event, with a plethora of fun for kids and adults, which are being offered in English and some in French. Highlights include: Juno nominee Amanda Rheaume (3:30 – 4:30 p.m.), a selection of short animation films for kids presented by Ottawa International Animation Festival (all day), an artisan market (all day), St. Joseph Iron Chef Competition (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), cupcakes, craft demonstrations and activity workshops, a beer garden, food trucks, art exhibitions… need I write more? Doors open at 9 a.m., anniversary runs all day until 5 p.m. Best part — it’s free!
Shenkman Arts Centre is at 245 Centrum Boulevard, Orleans

140601_Atmosphere_PRESSPHOTO

Minnesoter
Music for the masses, but still keeping it on the indie side of things — that’s Atmosphere’s m.o. The renowned, well respected, and hardworking Minnesota hip hop duo has been producing albums for the past 17 years — including their latest, Southsiders, released this May on artist-owned record label, Rhymesayers, which is home to labelmates MF Doom and Aesop Rock. On tour in support of the album, Anthony “Ant” Davis brings live instrumentation to accompany “Slug” Daley’s honest, weighty, but at times whimsical lyrics, which speak to the rapper’s mortality, his identity as post-family man, and what he’s been doing for almost two decades — all delivered with a sense of vibrancy. Atmosphere headlines a show at Ritual on Sunday, June 1. Opening will be Prof, and Dem Atlas. Tickets $25. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Ritual’s at 137 Besserer St.

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the week of May 22 to 27

By MATT HARRISON

A Julia butterfly hangs from a leaf at Niagara Parks’ Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo: Pamela Beale Cookstown, Ontario Winner of Up Close category in Canadian Geographic's 2012 Photography contest — works shown at Canadian Nature Museum

A Julia butterfly hangs from a leaf at Niagara Parks’ Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Photo: Pamela Beale
Cookstown, Ontario Winner of Up Close category in Canadian Geographic’s 2013 Photography contest — works shown at Canadian Nature Museum

Alien Canadiana
A grizzly drinks from mountain runoff water; a Great Grey Owl hunts for voles; a 70 metre-tall stone and clay formation towers in the Saskatchewan Valley — images such as these are not only breathtaking and fascinating, but also seemingly alien; many of us may never experience Canadian wildlife or landscapes in a similar way as the photographers who captured these images have. Opening this past week, their photographic works are on display at the Canadian Nature Museum until September 1. Canadian Geographic presents this exhibition, and the works shown are the winners of their 2013 photography contest. Entrance into the exhibition is included with regular admission. Canadian Nature Museum is at 240 McLeod St.

The Frantic Marble Munching Game
While the city gears-up for this year’s electronic gaming conference over at the NAC (Ottawa International Gaming Conference, see below), others may take a more cardboard approach by building roads and cities on the island of Catan, or perhaps taking a money-hungry stroll down Boardwalk at Ottawa’s newest place to play board games: The Loft Board Game Lounge, just above the Lunenburg Pub and Bar in the Rideau area. The Lounge boasts an impressive library of more than 700 games! Balderdash you say? Check out their library online  — a “stay & play” fee is $5, which is tacked onto your munchies bill: pizza, salads, apps, coffees, and more can be had. Plus, staff will teach you how to play the games. This Thursday, May 22 is the Lounge’s launch. Hours are Sunday to Thursday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. See you there — I’ll be the pissant on the Iron Throne laying waste to Westeros. The Loft Board Game Lounge is 14 Waller. 613-695-2975.

Habitat Here (FREE)
On some level, all three artists featured in Central Art Garage’s new exhibition, Habitat Here, invoke, comment on, or feature elements of geography — be it drawing upon their own environs, the Canadian landscape, or spaces in between — whether real or imagined. Habitat Here brings together works by Frank Shebageget, Lorraine Gilbert, and Amy Thompson. There is a vernissage on Friday, May 23, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The show runs until the end of July. Central Art Garage is a new-ish gallery (almost a year old), slightly inset from the main road, located in half of what once was an actual garage — 66B Lebreton St.

Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman, aka, The Weather Station, will be playing at You've Changed Records 5-year anniversary fete at St. Alban's Church

Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman, aka, The Weather Station, will be playing at You’ve Changed Records 5-year anniversary fete at St. Alban’s Church

You’ve Changed Records
A handful of Canada’s most talented songwriters will be part of the five-year anniversary of an increasingly influential, but still small, Canadian record label. You’ve Changed Records, founded by The Constantines’ Steven Lambke (Baby Eagle/Constantines) and Daniel Romano, the label’s put out a string of stellar albums by such musicians as The Constantines, Marine Dreams, and The Weather Station — the latter which will be playing at their anniversary party at St. Albans Church this Friday, May 23. Joining Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman (Weather Station) will be Shotgun Jimmie, Baby Eagle, Richard Laviolette, and Marine Dreams. $12 tickets. This event is being hosted by the Aboretum Festival, which happens, once again, on August 18-23. Though art, performances, and culinary activities are all part of this curated-fest, music continues to be its biggest draw and the organizers released the lineup this week, which features: Constantines, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Chad VanGaalen, Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars, among other musicians, including a host of Ottawa ones. For the full lineup, visit the fest’s official site. Advance festival passes are on sale until June 3: $40.

Fiery Fringe Fete
Ottawa’s Fringe Fest is only one month away — June 19-29 — and, in perhaps a misguided, but spicy annual fund-raising event for the upcoming outsider theatre festival, the Great Canadian Theatre Company is once again hosting its Great Curry Cook-off on Monday, May 26. Ten or more of the city’s “top chefs” will be serving up meat, vegetarian, and vegan curries at the GCTC. Expect Thai creations and tandoor concoctions. It’s an all-you-can-eat, potentially gaseous affair, so bring an appetite and, well, some Gas-X. Proceeds go in support of Fringe Fest. Tickets are $25. Bon appetite. GCTC is at 1233 Wellington St. W.

original

E.T. Extra-Terrestrial, a massive flop for Atari in 1982 — it’s designer will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Ottawa International Game Conference

E.T. Unearthed
Atari 2600’s 1982 game, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, has the notoriety of being The Worst Game Ever; it’s designer, Howard Scott Warshaw — who was behind other such notable, early gaming successes as Yar’s Revenge and Raiders of the Lost Art —has the infamy of being the Maker of the Worst Game ever, since he designed the ill-famed game. In order to deal with the total flop, the game’s cartridges were buried in a giant heap somewhere in the New Mexico dessert, only to be unearthed, years later, by present day software giants; this is the stuff of a new documentary:

Warshaw is this year’s keynote speaker at the 3rd annual Ottawa International Game Conference, which happens from Sunday, May 25 to Tuesday, May 27, at the National Arts Centre. Focusing on business, game development, and the indie side of things, this year’s conference will feature ground-breaking games, competitions, speakers, workshops, and more — it’s definitely thee party to be at for gamers, programmers, artists, designers, and others in the gaming world. From $216 — although one day passes are cheaper. See OIGC’s website for more info. NAC is at 53 Elgin St.