WEEKENDER: Five things to do on Thanksgiving weekend

BY MATT HARRISON

Jaap Blonk

A still from YappiScope, a sound-poetry, multimedia performance by artist Jaap Blonk, happening on Thursday, Oct. 9 at Arts Court

YappiScope
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what’s happening in this image. What I can tell you is that the underwater artist above is a Dutch poet named Jaap Blonk, who is renowned for being one of the world’s leading practitioners of sound poetry — an artform where the phonetic aspects of speech are emphasized over meaning (the Futurists and Dadaists in the early 20th C. were among the first practitioners of this performance-based artform). On Thursday, Oct. 9 Blonk will present the Canadian premiere of YappiScope, his first complete production that includes visual projections, video, scores, interactive animation, live sound to silent film, along with other new multimedia work. The performance will be at Arts Court Library at 8 p.m.; cost is $11 to $14, available at the Arts Court box office.
Arts Court is at 2 Daly Av.

Gorilla Doctors
This past week, a report came out stating that the planet’s wildlife are declining at an alarming rate. That surely includes Mountain Gorillas, animals already on the endangered list — in fact, the last Mountain Gorillas are in the Virunga Mountains (virunga means volcanoes), which straddle Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On Thursday, Oct. 9, the Museum of Nature is holding a special screening of a documentary entitled, Gorilla Doctors, which looks at the veterinarians — including one of the gorilla’s first champions, Dr. Mike Cranfield — who provide hands-on care in an effort to help save these critically endangered animals. In attendance will be Dr. Cranfield, who’ll lead a discussion after the screening. It happens at 7 p.m., costs $8 buy online here. The film will be aired on CBC’s The Nature of Things on Thursday, Oct. 16.
Canadian Museum of Nature is at 240 McLeod St.

Afternoon Cartoons FREE!
Mickey Mouse (and Minnie) made his debut in 1928’s Steamboat Willie. But before this animation classic — the first cartoon with synchronized sound — there was Max Fletcher and his Song Car-Tunes series: animated sing-a-long shorts that debuted in 1924. Fletcher was an animator pioneer, who later introduced the world to Betty Boop, Popeye, and even Superman. Coming on the heels of the annual Ottawa International Animation Festival, is a special night at Carleton University — Projecting the Archive, Classic Cartoons takes place on Thursday, Oct. 9 at the university, in particular in St. Patrick’s Building in the Carleton University Art Gallery http://cuag.carleton.ca/ 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. It’s an afternoon to explore rare and memorable selections from the Audio-Visual Resource Centre’s collection of 16 mm films, including Fletcher’s works, but also Disney’s.
Carleton University Art Gallery is at 1125 Colonel By Drive

No One Can Hear You Scream… Underground
In the bowels of the earth, in the dim light of a supposedly “abandoned” cold war bunker, scientists gathered for a top-secret experiment. That was 20 years ago. What happened is only just now being revealed — and only through the possibilities of time travel. If you dare, travel back in time and join an interactive adventure involving the undead (naturally, cuz what doesn’t these days) that takes place deep within the Cold War Museum’s labyrinthine passageways. This Saturday, Oct. 11, is the first installment of Incident at the Bunker. http://www.hauntedwalk.com/zombie.php The underground zombie adventure at the Diefenbunker occurs every Saturday hereafter until Nov. 1. The adventure takes place between 1 to 5 p.m., with various start times. Tickets are: adults, $18.75 and students, $16.75. Not really intended for kids under 12, or those prone to… fear. (Muahahaha!)
Diefenbunker is at 3929 Carp Rd., Carp

Thanksgiving on the Farm
Thanksgiving — unlike the Americans, it’s not about blowing the trumpet around the idea of fleeing persecution, perilous voyages, or surviving that first, cold winter. Rather, ours is simply a harvest celebration — and so, at this time of year, it makes perfect sense to find the nearest farmer, throw your hands around him or her, and thank them for feeding your gaping maw, year-round. A more family-friendly approach, however, might be to head over to the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum for a weekend of special events: in their demonstration kitchen learn how to make cranberry sauce or what to do with all those leftovers; see how farms are harvesting more than just food (hint, it rhymes with schmenergy); make apple cider in a press, grind some oats (and enjoy some tasty treats), root around in sand for stored treasure, and chat with a cow as she gets her annual pedicure. There’s also a hay ride — plus all the other creatures and critters you can see throughout the year. Cost is the regular price of admission. Events take place from Saturday, Oct 11 through to, and including on Thanksgiving Day (Monday, Oct. 13), from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum is at 901 Prince of Wales Dr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BY MATT HARRISON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BY MATT HARRISON

GITGOB

A screenshot from Philip Eddolls’ Git Gob, screening at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival

GITGOB

Disney Made Me Do It
Aside from a plethora of cutting edge animation — including Philip Eddolls’ Git Gob, an awesome 1:33 sec. short (is flash a better word?) — Disney is in the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s crosshairs this year. And why not? Love it or hate it, the studio remains the heavyweight of the animation biz (think Frozen). Founded in 1923, the Disney animation behemoth has led the way, more or less, for almost a century. In light of this legacy, along with Disney’s impact on the industry — and us — this year’s animation festival is hosting several events within its five-day program that focus on the famed company. In particular, Disney Made Me Do It is an art exhibit at Arts Court (library, 2nd floor) by nine Ottawa artists who cite Disney’s impact/influence. It opens on Thursday, Sept. 18 (from 5 to 7:30 p.m.) and runs through to the end of the festival — it’s also part of Nuit Blanche (see below). Too many events to list here, so visit their website for info on the entire festival.

Hidden Harvest
Did You Know? An estimated $27 billion worth of food ends up in landfills every year in Canada. Bet you also didn’t know (but likely suspected) that one third of all food produced in the world goes to waste? How about here in Ottawa? — Next time you’re out for a city stroll, take a moment to notice how many crab apples or fruit in general are simply unpicked and left to rot on trees or strewn about on the ground — lots, but less so since Hidden Harvest Ottawa began. The local group harvests the unused fruit and veggies around the city, and, to that end, encourages the planting of more fruit trees. Want to learn more about what they’re up? Come out to a lecture by Harvest co-founders, Katrina Siks and Jason Garlough, on Friday, Sept. 19 at the Agriculture Museum. The talk will be followed by a screening of Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, accompanied by tasty popcorn. The event takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; also, bring a non-perishable food item. More info, visit hereCanadian Agriculture Museum is at 901 Prince of Wales Dr.

Nuit Blanche Art Party FREE!
Construction. Most of this past year has been inundated with cones, signs, backhoes, a great deal of noise, and traffic congestion. Driving, even walking, has become a daily headache. It’s no wonder, then, that this year’s all-night art-party, Nuit Blanche, is launching their third year with the theme of “Bypass” — obviously, it’s meant to inspire ideas beyond the word’s definition, but it is, nevertheless, extremely fitting since there’s been many a day when I wish I could ‘bypass’ Ottawa — at least until this traffic nightmare ends.

If you’ve never experienced Nuit Blanche — either here or in Toronto, Montreal, or elsewhere — it’s a party that is unlike others. On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 19 and into the wee hours of Sunday, Sept. 20, meander in and out of art galleries (National Gallery, OAG, SAW, etc.) which will be open throughout the event, hang out at various art parties, bump into groups of people, and discover works of art, some curated specifically for this event and installed around the city.

One such installation that should not be missed is On-Air. Step inside an airplane cabin, and remain seated, while you experience crash scenes which are typically cut out from inflight movies (for obvious reasons) and the panicked voices of air traffic controllers dealing with emergencies — headphones help to recreate that ubiquitous airplane ‘hum’ as well as a slight air pressure to the ears. Not for everyone, the work, created by artist Geneviève Thauvette, will be at Plaza Bridge Underpass, at Elgin St. and Wellington St. from 6:20 p.m. to 4:21 a.m. More info on her specific installation, visit here. The official website of Nuit Blanche has more details, maps, times, etc. The whole thing is free.

House Gawker
Want to see how the one per cent live? Join this year’s annual Glebe House Tour on Sunday, Sept. 21 and stroll through five homes, old and new, decked out in various styles. There’s a shuttle bus you can hop off and on, and tickets are only (?!?) 30 bucks… And though that, in my estimation, seems a little hefty, proceeds do go towards the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group. And there’s tea/coffee and cookies afterwards, so… there’s that. The tour happens rain or shine. This is a “shoes-off” tour, so sport some footwear you can slip on and off. Infants/kids aren’t particularly welcome, neither are large packs, so ditch that MEC backpack before coming.

Feast of Fields
Autumn weather is perfect for a fall drive into the countryside, and this Sunday, Sept. 21 offers a great opportunity to do just that… And to also eat and drink the best of this year’s organic harvest. Feast of Fields brings together talented chefs and local organic producers to create culinary delights to sample, which are paired with wines and beer. Stroll through the nearby Gatineau forest and enjoy some live music. It happens at the historic and very picturesque Wakefield Mill Inn, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Wakefield Village in Quebec. Tickets are $80. More info, and to purchase tickets, visit here.Wakefield Mill is at 60 Mill Rd., Wakefield, QC

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of Sept. 11-14

BY MATT HARRISON

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Prison Break, a fun-run/obstacle course event that takes place on Saturday, Sept. 13 and Sunday, Sept. 14 at Vorlage Ski Hill in Wakefield, QC

Solo View FREE!
Ever wondered why a one-woman or one-man performance can be so compelling? After all, why does the solo performer remain the ultimate challenge for theatre artists? How is it that the simple tale, well told, can still hold an audience in its thrall? Questions, such as these, will be explored during Solo View, a free panel discussion on Thursday, September 11 at Arts Court. It will be led by Ottawa Fringe Festival’s director, Patrick Gauthier, and include guests familiar with this topic: Pierre Brault, Tom Lips, Liz Martin, Chris Ralph, Carol Sinclair, and Bronwyn Steinberg. It starts at 6 p.m. and runs for an hour. Solo View is part of Theatre Matters, a series of discussions organized by Steinberg and Laurie Fyffe.
Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave., 2nd Floor

The School for Wives
The perfect wife? — Raise a pretty girl in a convent in isolation and ignorance, and she’ll become a docile, adoring, amorous woman. Er, sure. Find out what really happens in The Gladstone Theatre’s production of Molière’s famous French 17th C. comedy, The School for Wives, which opens on Friday, Sept. 12 and runs until Sept. 27. Directed by John P. Kelly, tickets are from $34. Check here for showtimes.
The Gladstone Theatre is at 910 Gladstone Ave.

StormTrooper Chairs1-1

Stormtrooper Deck Furniture, etc.
I’ve always thought my deck was lacking that a particular je ne sais quoi. Then I stumbled upon Ottawa’s Legendary Workshop’s Alderaandack chairs — wooden deck chairs in the shape of Stormtrooper heads. At that same moment, I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror. The feeling quickly passed when I saw how comfortable the chairs looked. But I digress. Legendary Workshop, and a plethora of other, equally creative designers and artisans of everything ‘Hip, Modern, Handmade’ will be at this year’s third annual Urban Craft Fair, which takes place on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Glebe Community Centre. Free to attend. More info, visit here.
The Glebe Community Centre is at 175 Third Ave.

Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life
Help raise money to help those suffering from HIV/AIDS during the annual Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life, which happens this Saturday, Sept. 13. This year, it’s being held at a new location at Snider Plaza on Bank Street. Local band, Pony Girl, kicks things off with a show at 12:30 until 1:30; there will be a family obstacle course and jousting competition (1 p.m.); vendors will be on hand to sell all manner of enticing goodie; that ubiquitous family staple — face painting — will be available, as will the chance to do some wall painting. The Walk itself begins at 2 p.m. — registration between 12–2 p.m. More info, visit their site.
Snider Plaza is at 150 Bank St. between Laurier Ave. and Slater Ave.

Eat Wellington? FREE
Enjoy the Tastes of Wellington West this Saturday, Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wander the streets of Hintonburg and Wellington West and savour food, drink, entertainment, art, and shopping. Musicians will be performing; there will be a kid’s zone at Parkdale Park; and a classic car show. Proceeds from sales will go towards Somerset West Community Health Care Centre.

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This ain’t no Oz
I’ll be honest — I can’t really figure out this new obsession with these running races, such as marathons or the Spartan Race, or the Death Race, and — in particular — ‘fun-runs’ (for a lack of a better word) such as the Zombie runs, Foam Fest, Tough Mudder, and this weekend’s Prison Break. Is it just a new masochistic need to punish oneself? Or is it that God is dead and your Sundays are now free? Perhaps it’s sheer boredom? A love of mud? Or just arrested development? Regardless, this week’s Prison Break — Saturday, Sept. 13 and Sunday, Sept. 14 at Vorlage Ski Hill in Wakefield, Quebec — will, no doubt, fulfill whatever ‘need’ by pitting guards against inmates in a grueling competition that includes a 5km run and 30 obstacles — fun, that is, to everyone but actual prison guards and inmates. More info or to register, visit here.
Vorlage Ski Hill is at 65 Chemin Burnside, Wakefield, Quebec.

 

 

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

BY MATT HARRISON

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Tosca — drama on and off stage
In spite of last week’s controversial online comments and the subsequent — and rather rapid — termination of the offending singer, Tosca‘s rocky start won’t prevent Puccini’s renowned opera from opening this Saturday, Sept. 6. Put on by Opera Lyra, the drama about a heroine who struggles amidst the political intrigues of Rome’s secret police in order to save her lover runs until Sept. 13 at the National Arts Centre. There’s even a free pre-opera chat hosted by Opera Lyra before shows on the 6, 10, and 13 — all at 7 p.m. in the NAC’s Mezzanine. Tickets for the actual show start at $25.
The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin St.

Old Ottawa South Porch Sale
There are two events that bookend the year’s more enjoyable weather in Ottawa — May’s Great Glebe Garage Sale, which kicks off the warmer months, and the Old Ottawa South Porch Sale, which, with its great bargains and unique finds, also sounds the death-knell concerning the coming winter. That grim prospect aside — the Porch Sale is not only a fun community get-together, but it’s perfect for students looking for deals. The Porch Sale takes place across the neighbourhood on Saturday, Sept. 6 — rain or shine — and starts, typically, quite early — especially if you want first pick at stuff.
Old Ottawa South is the community bordered by Lansdowne, Riverside, Carleton University, and the river.

Best Burger in Ottawa — Week
Considering that beef prices are about to, or already have started to spike, this week — Le Burger Week — is the perfect time to indulge in some boeuf before this North American staple is priced beyond reach. Le Burger Week (already underway, and runs until Sunday, Sept. 7) is a Montreal-inspired contest whereby two culinary curators select burgers from establishments in cities throughout Canada — Ottawa included — and where participants are encouraged to eat burgers from said venues and then rate the burgers on the Le Burger Week website — to determine, of course, the best burger in the city. Prize? Glory for a year. In the running: Art Is An Bakery, with their six ounce top sirloin patty topped with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, homemade double smoked sous vide pork belly, fried pickles, garlic confit mayo, and arugula. Or how about The Bacon Factory Burger’s Emporium’s (154 O’Connor St.) Major’s Black Garlic Burger Beef patty on a Brioche bun topped with Major Craig’s Black Garlic cream cheese, bacon jam, baby spinach, tomato, and a crispy slice of double smoked bacon? There are nine more mouth-watering burgers from different venues to choose from. Check out the list here. Results, we assume, will be posted on the website after Sept. 7. Double down and enjoy!

West End Studio Tour FREE!
Almost 20 years ago, the West End Studio Tour began. It started as a way for some west end artists to break into the then exclusive artists club. Since then, this tour has evolved into a great opportunity to visit a plethora of artists in their studios — 16 this year — and engage in art on a whole new level. The tours take place on Saturday, Sept 6 and Sunday, Sept. 7, and on those same days on Sept. 13 and 14. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Physical and online maps are available. More info and/or to see the roster of artists, visit here.

Art Pops FREE!
…speaking of art. You might be downtown, say on Sparks Street, this Saturday or Sunday (Sept. 6 & 7) and bump smack into art. Art Pop happens this weekend on said pedestrian street, where artists will be gathering to “play around along three city blocks” — expect a multiplicity of voices, mediums, and ideas. This free event takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and until 6 p.m. on Sunday. Artists and inspiring artists looking to participate? Sign up here. Artists of any age are welcome, though little ones will need to be accompanied by an adult. Awards for artwork will be given out.
Sparks Street.

 

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of August 28 to Sept 1

BY MATT HARRISON

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Toronto comedy-duo, Ladystache, perform at My Summer Crush Improv event, at Arts Court on Friday, Aug. 29.

Soup And A Vote
Unless you’re serving a gazpacho, one might imagine this dinner-themed event is more suited to colder months. But soup aside, “Making Ottawa ____” (yes, fill in the blank) isn’t limited by seasons. The city, as a community, is evolving year-round, and so why not have a say in how that evolution unfolds? This is your chance. On Thursday, August 28, Soup And A Vote will gather participants around a shared meal — soup (generously provided for by Adam’s Apple Café) and bread (Good Eats Ottawa) — to listen to six presenters pitching projects to Make Ottawa ____. At the end of the presentations, participants will be asked to put down their soup spoons and vote for one of the projects to receive a micro-grant. Cost is $10. This event’s at City Hall, starting at 6:30 p.m. More info, visit here. As for that soup — while it may appear to be gimmicky, but in fact it’s meant to symbolize the idea of an affordable and shared meal served from the same pot. Sort of like creating an event to give everyone a voice to Make Ottawa ____.
City Hall is at 110 Laurier Ave.

Ladystache
Er, Bjork impressions, a wolf hat, and — best of all — lady staches. Intrigued? This is just a taste of the madcap hilarity one can expect from Toronto comedy duo, Ladystache, who perform their brand of improv on Friday, August 29. Their show is part of My Summer Crush, a three week-long improv event, that concludes this weekend at Arts Court. In other words, there’s still time to check it out. The Ladystache show starts at 9 p.m. inside Arts Court. $10. For more info on My Summer Crush, visit here. The improv event closes with a show by the Summer Crush ensemble on Saturday, August 30 at 8 p.m. at Arts Court. Again, $10. There’s a free after party as well — 10 p.m.
Arts Court is at 2 Daly Ave.  

Pop-Up Museum
Show and tell — that staple from your childhood school days, which encourages kids to bring something from home to show to their classmates at school — gives adults another go at this experience during the Museum of Science and Technology’s Pop-Up Museum. The event, on Saturday, August 28, allows registered participants the free opportunity to display items that tell their personal history. Billed as a BYOA (Bring Your Own Artifact), the one-day-only event encourages participants to scrounge around for items that are intriguing, unique, rare, funny, or just plain nostalgic, and to share them with visitors — from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Don’t feel like sharing? Stop by instead to check out the collections. More info or to register to get a table, visit here.
Museum of Science and Technology is at 1867 St. Laurent Blvd.

The Zilis play a free show at The Rainbow Bistro on Monday, Sept. 1 at 9 p.m.

The Zilis play a free show at The Rainbow Bistro on Monday, Sept. 1 at 9 p.m. See below

The Heat is On
I imagine the fourth installment of Latin Sparks — a five-part street festival in Ottawa — on Saturday, August 28 is much needed in the wake of the losses suffered by South American teams at this past summer’s World Cup (I gather the July 26th’s Latin Sparks ‘party’ would’ve lost some of its heat due to the Argentinian loss to the Germans a week prior). But time heals all wounds, and so, soccer aside, Latin Sparks takes over Sparks Street, from Metcalfe to O’Connor, for another electric evening of music (two dance floors, as well as live entertainment), dance (free workshop), food, and drinks. Tickets are $10 adv., deals for groups. The event begins at 9:30 p.m. and goes until 2:00 a.m. More info, visit here.
Event is on Sparks Street, between Metcalfe and O’Connor.

A Grannie Celebration
If you have a grandmother, she may be one of many who belong to a group of grannies that exist nationwide and which has its roots in Wakefield, Gatineau. The Wakefield Grannies is a group of grandmothers which — for the past decade — have been raising funds to support their contemporaries in South Africa struggling to raise their children’s children who are  motherless because of AIDS (in fact, many of the children have AIDS themselves). Since 2004, the Wakefield Grannies — along with Grannie groups throughout Canada — have raised millions of dollars for the sub-Saharan grandmothers. This Sunday, August 31 the Grannies will be celebrating their 10th anniversary at the Fairbairn House (a newly renovated heritage home) in Wakefield, near the covered bridge, from noon until 4 p.m. There will concerts by a Senegalese musician, Élage M’Baye; an a cappella singing group, SIFA, and from the village’s own Fiddleheads Musical Theatre — plus food (BBQ) and vendors selling unique trinkets and clothing. Tickets are $12 adults, $5 for youth, and $25 for families — available at Jamboree, from a Granny, or at the door.
Chemin de Wakefield Heights, Wakefield, Quebec

The Zilis FREE
Looking for a free! show on the holiday? Check out Hamilton’s rising blues-rock trio, The Zilis, for a show at The Rainbow Bistro on Monday, September 1. The Zilis — a name that may have emerged from the band’s early beginnings as a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band (The Led Hot Zili Peppers) — embody that hard working, blue collar (are we still discussing workers in terms of collars?!?) one might expect from Steeltown. With opening gigs for Bon Jovi, Matt Mays, Said The Whale, etc., and two albums under their belt, they’re developing into a well-honed group, carving out their unique niche in the Canadian music landscape on this, their Give Me Liberty! Tour. Show’s at 9 p.m., it’s free.
The Rainbow Bistro is at 76 Murray St.

 

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of August 21 to 24

BY MATT HARRISON

Truck at Party

Arboretum = Awesome Food
Okay, it’s been three years now and I’m still hearing from the odd person, “Is Arboretum at the Arboretum?” (grrr.) The annual curated August festival, which brings a plethora of great indie bands, also has an impressive lineup of food served up by some of the city’s top chefs. On Friday, August 21, while you enjoy music by Kevin Drew, HILOTRONS, and Yips, sink your teeth into some backyard BBQ served up by Murray Street, town, and Rideau Pine Farms — we’re talking BBQ corn, a pig roast, and harvest sides. Yum. Along with an impressive all-day lineup (Constantines, Chad Vangaalen, Pony Girl, etc.), Saturday, August 23’s tasty treats include Ottawa Streat Gourmet (how about their Arancini, deep fried risotto cakes w/ sauce), Merry Dairy (fresh frozen custard), and Gonfu Bao (try their deluxe pizza bao w/ SeedToSausage bacon, St. Albert cheese curds, veggies, & house pizza sauce). Dee-lish. Kitchissippi Beer will be pouring throughout the event. Glug, glug. More info, tickets, etc. visit here.
Arts Court is a 2 Daly Ave.

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LANDLINE Ottawa
Theatre that spans the nation — not just a catchy tagline boasting of universal appeal, LANDLINE (yes, all caps) is an interactive theatre play that connects Ottawa participants with another audience member a thousand kilometres away — in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to be exact. Intrigued? Here’s how it works: you head over to the Ottawa’s Arts Court (2nd floor), where you book a time slot (they’re every 15 min.). You’ll be given an audio guide, where a voice will guide you through a walk in the city, telling you stories and giving you instructions, which includes texting with another audience member who’s doing the same thing, but in Dartmouth — yes, you’ll need a cellphone (regular text messaging charges apply). How you interact and how far you go with the project is up to you… The “play” is about 60 min., and it takes place outdoors. Created by Adrienne Wong and Dustin Harvey, this pioneering project is a one-day event, happening from Thursday, August 21 and Friday August 22 from 6 to 8:45 p.m., and on Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24 from 3 to 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $12; $10 for Fringe pin holders.
Arts Court is at 2 Daly Ave.

Rainbow Cupcakes FREE!
I know, it’s a cheap way to grab your attention — and this event will serve up free cupcakes; that’s no lie — but ‘book launch’ just doesn’t scream par-tay. Though, this might. As part of Pride Week in Ottawa, there’ll be a book launch on Thursday, August 21 for Canadian anthology OUT PROUD: Stories of Pride, Courage, and Social Justice: a collection of essays on LGBTTIQQ2SA, which stands for (take deep breath now) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Intersexual, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited, and Allies. There will be short readings (including signings and Q&A) by contributing writers Jennifer Barnett,
Lukayo Faye, Estrella
 Jaclyn Haynes, and
 David Le, Aunti Loo’s rainbow cupcakes, and a surprise musical guest. Event starts at 6:30 p.m., with musical guest. Book stuff gets underway at 7 p.m. Get your complimentary tickets (free) here. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/free-ottawa-launch-of-out-proudstories-of-pride-courage-social-justice-tickets-12570888867 Any funds from sale of beverages or donations will go towards Venus Envy Bursary Fund, which helps women and trans folks attend University or College in Ottawa.
SAW Gallery is a 67 Nicholas Str.

Twist Fibre Festival
This past weekend’s autumn-like weather gave us — unfortunately — a taste of what’s to come: cool, blustery days, where the idea of wrapping oneself up inside something wooly is sublime. And so, with those fall days around the corner, take a short drive into the Quebec countryside and head on to Saint-André-Avellin for Twist Fibre Festival. The two-day festival, which takes place on Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24, showcases all things fibre, and includes workshops, vendors, activities, and exhibits — it’s a perfect event for enthusiasts, producers, fibre animal breeders, artists, artisans, and pretty much anyone who’s interested in fibre — the kind you wear, not eat. Animals will be there, and on Saturday, musician Klö Pelgag plays (9 p.m.; $28). See the event’s website for more details. http://www.festivaltwist.org/en/ Held indoors, rain or shine. Entrance fee is $7; free for kids 11 and under.
Saint-André-Avellin is east on the 50, north on the 321

Urban Agricultural Bike Tour FREE (sort of)
In a city that’s increasingly densifying, gobbling up empty lots like a condo-crazed version of Hungry, Hungry Hippo, community gardens have been, and continue to be a staple of the developer’s diet. Remember Bugs Garden, just off Catherine Street a block away from the Museum of Nature? Years ago, it was demolished for a condo-project on that corner. Which makes community gardens — in an increasingly urban Ottawa —not only rare, but also important, especially when it comes to making local food accessible. In that vein, Just Food is offering a bike tour of some of the city’s community gardens this Saturday, August 23. The tour is at 10 a.m. and leaves from Strathcona Park’s parking lot. There’s a shorter family-friendly option as well. Though it’s technically free, organizers are asking for a $5 (or pay-what-you-can) donation, which goes towards the Ottawa Food Bank.
Strathcona Park’s parking lot is just off Range Road in Sandy Hill

Canadian Stone Carving Fest (FREE!)
The fifth annual Canadian Stone Carving Festival kicks off at the corner of Metcalfe and Wellington Streets Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24. The festival gives the public the opportunity to see professional carvers at work and get a sense of what a historical construction site might have looked like. Using hand tools only, carvers will have 16 hours to complete a sculpture. On Sunday, finished pieces will be auctioned off, and proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.
More info, visit here.

 

 

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of Aug. 14 to 17

BY MATT HARRISON

 

Bob Log III plays at Zaphod's on Aug. 14

Bob Log III plays at Zaphod’s on Aug. 14

Bob Log III
Of the one-man blues performer who wears a human cannonball suit, a space-helmet, and who is obsessed with breasts, Tom Waits says: “And then there’s this guy named Bob Log, you ever heard of him? He’s this little kid — nobody ever knows how old he is — wears a motorcycle helmet and he has a microphone inside of it and he puts the glass over the front so you can’t see his face, and plays slide guitar. It’s just the loudest, strangest stuff you’ve ever heard. You don’t understand one word he’s saying…” Couldn’t have said it better, Mr. Waits. Bob Log III plays at Zaphod’s on Thursday, Aug. 14, with Hunter, Matt Morel & Catriona Sturton. Tickets are $12. Show starts at 8:30 p.m.
Zaphod’s is at 27 York Str.

CodeFest 2014 FREE
Arguably, this was a bad week for the web — it’s reported that Russian hackers stole 1.2 billion usernames and passwords and another hacker stole $83,000 in bitcoins. While it sounds like the wild west, the Internet can be a tool for good — but it requires a certain degree of literacy to do that, something CodeFest 2014 aims to help out with by offering a series of free workshops at Carleton University on Thursday, Aug. 14 and Friday, August 15. This year’s event is focused on uniting developers, designers, and communicators from the public and private sectors to work together for a better Web. This will involve keynote speakers, numerous code sprints, a Design Jam, and lots of sessions, where users will learn how to write effective web content, Information Architecture 101, and the ominous-sounding dark art of JavaScript adaptation. Different times, different days. More info or to register, visit here.
Carleton University is at 1125 Colonel By Drive.

National Capital Craft Beer Fest
City Hall knows how to par-tay… Beginning on Friday, Aug. 15, and running until Sunday, Aug. 17, Marion-Dewar Plaza, in front of City Hall, will kick off the annual three-day National Capital Craft Beer Festival. Thirty craft breweries, over 100 beers — local, national, international — and cider, wine, and food from fine local eateries, brewmasters to chit-chat with, and live music on Friday and Saturday. Will the Mayor be there, slinging back suds? Come and see for yourself. One-day tickets are $15 adv., $20 at the gate; weekend pass is $30 adv., $35 at the gate; sample tickets are $1 each. Times: Friday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 11 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
City Hall is at 110 Laurier Ave.

Nature Nocturne — Pride Edition
Pride Week — it kicks off on Friday, Aug. 15 and runs until Sunday, Aug. 24. Among the activities, the Museum of Nature’s monthly transformation from museum to dance hall, Nature Nocturne, is hosting a special Pride-themed event, with a burlesque show, a drag queen pageant, vintage video games, and a collective craft event. Music and food as well — tickets are $25.
Canadian Museum of Nature is at 240 McLeod Str.

Mini Maker Faire
Daft Punk is playing at my… national science and tech museum?!? — Not really. But it might seem that way after viewing the Daft Punk-like, full-face LED display helmet created by Charles Bergeron on display at this year’s Fourth Annual Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17 at the Museum of Science and Technology. The futuristic helmet — similar to the one’s worn by France’s electronic dance duo — is but one of myriad of innovative, playful, and interactive creations on display at this year’s show. Among my favourites: a DIY pinball machine, 3D printer-created objects (check out Ottawa’s Ecotonos’ hand-held tools and earrings online at Ottawa Magazine) and an R2-D2 lookalike being built by hand! Lots to explore, the event is the price of a regular admission ticket into the museum. It starts both days at 10 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m.
Canada Science and Technology Museum is at 1867 St Laurent Blvd.

Eat Lunch W/ A Farmer
Ignorance is bliss — for some, but others may want to know about what it truly takes to produce that bountiful harvest we see every week at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market in Brewer Park. To that end, this Sunday, Aug. 17, Savour Ottawa is hosting a Harvest Table event, where you and your family can eat lunch with a local food producer. This is an opportunity to ask questions (after you’re finished chewing), get the scoop on farming, and savour the bounty — tickets are $75 per person. The event begins at noon. Tickets or for more info, visit here.
Brewer Park is in the south end of Ottawa, across from Carleton University.

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WEEKENDER: What to do on the weekend of July 31 to August 2

 

Photo by Andrzej-Grygiel, one of the selections in this year's World Press Photo 14 collection, being shown at the Canadian War Museum until Aug. 21

Photo by Andrzej-Grygiel, one of the selections in this year’s World Press Photo 14 collection, being shown at the Canadian War Museum until Aug. 21

World Press Photos 14
Warning — contains graphic imagery. That same warning, however, is also intended to inspire understanding of the world through the lenses of photographers, some who’ve risked their lives to capture images in recent and ongoing conflicts. World Press Photo 14 is an exhibition at the Canadian War Museum showcasing 140 photographs that feature the most astonishing images from around the world, and include such shocking photographs such as one of the Boston Marathon Bombing and another of a bomb-maker in Aleppo, Syria. The exhibit is at the Canadian War Museum until August 21. Price of exhibit is a general admission ticket. Museum is open Monday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Canadian War Museum is at 1 Vimy Place

Canadian Film — The Birder
Ever since I moved away from Elgin Street Video, and since I refuse to pay for cable, my film options are, sadly, limited to Netflix (Canada) — which is sorely (and inexplicably, given the CRTC’s powers) lacking in Can-Con. Sarah Polley films? Forget it. Don McKellar’s material — missing. Even films by our superstar director, Cronenberg, are spotty. That’s why, among other reasons, I’m plugging a Canadian film this weekend — The Birder. Directed by Theodore Bezaire, it has an impressive cast (Tom Cavanagh, Mark Rendall, Jamie Spilchuk), including Canadian film-heavy weights, Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves) and Fred Willard (Second City, Modern Family). The dark-comedy presents the ornithologist version of Breaking Bad’s Heisenberg — a down-and-out high school teacher who is thrown out by his ex-wife and who is also growing estranged from his teenage daughter and her modern ways. The spark ignites, however, when he loses out on a park job to a younger applicant. Whereupon he embarks on a haphazard mission to take out his rival. The Birder screens one night only in Ottawa — Thursday, July 31 at 7 p.m. at the Mayfair Theatre. Members $6; non-members $10.
Mayfair Theatre is at 1074 Bank St.

The Belle Game, Vancouver/Montreal band plays at The Black Sheep Inn on

The Belle Game, Vancouver/Montreal band plays at The Black Sheep Inn on Thursday, July 31.

The Belle Game
With the mostly-great weather, it’s the perfect time for a short road trip — especially out to Wakefield’s Black Sheep Inn to see up & coming Vancouver/Montreal band, The Belle Game. Sound-wise: writers have noted their “dark pop rhythms” or called their brand of music, “pastoral pop” — singer Andrea Lo does seem to be drawing on some creepier imagery in her lyrics, and the band’s beautifully haunting music is, at times, inspired by blues and roots. Though it’s tempting to drift away in Lo’s voice or in the band’s richly layered melodies, poignant percussive moments interrupt the spell. A bewitching listening experience — The Belle Game play on Thursday, July 31 at 8:30 p.m. with Wakefield’s own, The Strain. Tickets $10 adv.
Black Sheep Inn is at 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield

Whispers FREE!
Blink gallery is a rarity to begin with. Firstly, it’s only open during the summer months; secondly, it’s practically invisible — it’s hiding in an old ammunition’s bunker in the very back of Major’s Hill Park. Thirdly, blink and you might miss this weekend’s performance art piece — Whispers — because it’s only happening for three days. A trio of Ottawa artists — musician/composer Judith Manger, visual artist Maria Gomez Umaña, and poet Charles C. Smith — will present a collaborative performance to show notions of healing: individually, as a community, and as a planet. And given the ongoing conflicts around the world (Gaza, Congo, Ukraine, Syria, etc.), goodness knows we could use some healing. For the curious, for the artistic-minded, or for those who’ve managed to resist becoming cold and cynical, check out Whispers on Thursday, July 31, at 6:30 p.m., and on Friday, August 1 and Saturday, August 2 at 1:30 p.m.
Blink Gallery is at Major’s Hill Park, near the National Art Gallery

Eye Candy — Fireworks
Fireworks — are they not the opiate of the masses? Now, I know they’re nowhere near to being a drug, but they do seem to have this intoxicating effect, in that people will stand for hours in a sweaty crowd, sometimes even after enduring torrential downpours, to watch what is, essentially, gunpowder exploding in the sky. Wow. So magical. Now that I’ve sucked out all the fun, Lac Leamy’s annual summer fireworks festival, Sound of Light, kicks off this Saturday, August 2 with a fireworks/musical performance from Hong Kong. The music is inspired by some of the most popular Western musicals. But the show is more than just fireworks. Get there earlier — 6 p.m. — and enjoy music, dance, and other family-themed fun. The fireworks blast off at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, and it’s free for kids 11 and under. More info click here. The remaining fireworks shows are as follows: Wednesday, August 6 — Canada; Saturday, August 9 — Portugal; Wednesday, August 13 — Switzerland; and the finale is on Saturday, August 16.
Canadian Museum of History, 100 Laurier Street , Gatineau, Quebec