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

 

 

 

 

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

BY MATT HARRISON

 

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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).

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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.