WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of July 11 and 12



Death on wheels — the sport of Roller Derby, on display this Saturday in front of City Hall. Photo: Terrence McNally, courtesy of Flickr

Derby Day at City Hall
When two deaths occurred at Madison Square Garden in New York City at a six-day roller derby competition, it marked an ominous start to a relatively new sport — one which would wax and wane in popularity for more than a century. Those deaths also demonstrated how demanding this sport can be, requiring speed, endurance, and sheer athleticism in order to compete — something both the Capital City Derby Dolls and Rideau Valley Roller Girls know all too well.

That athleticism will be on display this Saturday, July 11 when the two teams compete in a fun demonstration of the sport at City Hall. They, along with four other teams, will compete in a series of short games with a full-contact co-ed game concluding the day. It’s free, and will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Food trucks will be on-hand for snacking. More info, visit here.
Marion Dewar Plaza is at 110 Laurier Ave.

Spins & Needles 10th Anniversary
The glue gun’s hot, the pints are pulled, the needle is threaded — just as the other needle is about to drop — Spins & Needles is set to celebrate their 10th anniversary (geez, can it really be that long ago?) this Saturday, July 11.

If memory serves me correctly, I took my future wife to a pub on Sparks Street in the dead of winter in 2005 for what was a unique twist on “going out.” Melanie Yugo and Jason Pelletier, the initial creators, offered up a chance to hear eclectic beats and drink and craft; a sort of post-rave experience for burn-outs. Some sewed, some glued buttons, some cut shapes with scissors — I think I came home that night with fridge magnets. Whatever it was, it was fun.

Ten years on, and Spins & Needles is celebrating a milestone with a party at SAW Gallery, which includes: DJs Jason Skilz, Kurt Yates, Calkuta and Memetic will be spinning; there’ll be a special anniversary DIY project kit featuring one of Spins & Needles’ favourite DIY art/craft/design projects; selected local artists, designers, and makers will be hosting interactive graphic art stalls where you can drop by and participate in additional projects; plus more fun including illustrative sketches, zines, silkscreening, and linocut stamps. Entrance is $15. More for beer. Need to know more, visit here.
SAW Gallery is at 67 Nicholas St.

Classical music gets a makeover with the Wolfgang Sessions, a collaboration between the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Mercury Lounge that aims to infuse the genre with a bit of youthful exuberance. Accompanied by DJs and with visuals by video projection artists, the orchestra performs pieces by innovative young composers.


The NACO performs Missy Mazzoli’s Lies You Can Believe In on Saturday as part of the Wolfgang sessions.  Photo by Marylene Mey

On Saturday, July 11, catch this season’s third and final Wolfgang session, where the orchestra performs Lies You Can Believe In by Missy Mazzoli, whom the New York Times lauded as a “consistently inventive and surprising composer”, as well as Sarah Kirkland Snider’s wistful Daughter of the Waves, Tansy Davies’ Loure, Marie-Pierre Brasset’s Dyea, and Jocelyn Morlock’s Vespertine. The show takes place at Mercury Lounge. Tickets start at $10 and are available through the National Arts Centre.
Mercury Lounge is at 56 ByWard Market Square

DJ Skratch Bastid

Halifax-born DJ and record producer Skratch Bastid hosts a BBQ this Saturday, July 11 at TD Place

Skratch Bastid’s BBQ
Beats and barbecue — they’re such simple things, but truly, what more do you need to pull off the perfect summer party? Halifax-born DJ and record producer Skratch Bastid grills up some goodness with Skratch Bastid’s BBQ, a massive open-air shindig that brings a bunch of DJs and EDM artists to the stage — including Green Lantern, Thugli, Poirier, Bear Witness, DJ Magnificent, Acro, and Iggy Smalls. The party gets started at TD Place on Saturday, July 11. Tickets start at $10. More info, visit here. Check out his latest mix:
TD Place is at 1015 Bank St.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

“The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup of tea and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better to say than his first remark, ‘It was the best butter, you know” — Alice in Wonderland

Insanity. Sheer madness. And hats. Colourful, fanciful, outlandish, weird, and whacky. And tea. Lots of it. There should also be food and fun — the makings of a Mad Hatter’s tea party. Come out to this year’s Alice in Wonderland-themed party on Sunday, July 12 at Windsor Park from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. All ages welcome, simply bring your favourite ‘hat’, a picnic blanket, and a penchant for silliness — tea, cups, and activities will be provided. It’s free. More info, visit here.
Windsor Park is just off of Riverdale and Belmont Avenues, east, near the Rideau River in Old Ottawa South


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


Bear&Co. presents The Tempest - Zoe Georgaras as Ariel

Zoe Georgaras as Ariel in The Tempest, a play by Bear&Co being performed at various parks throughout Ottawa throughout July

Festival of the Night Sky
Over the past century, as the world has grown and cities expanded, light pollution has dimmed the stars and forced darkness from the night. This has had adverse affects on human health and the world’s ecosystems, not to mention altered our perception — perhaps even our awareness — of celestial objects. At Cube Gallery, Nocturne VII: Festival of the Night Sky seeks to celebrate the beauty of starlight with lectures, music, and sidewalk telescope parties.

On Thursday, July 2, Mike Moghadam of the Ottawa Centre Royal Astronomical Society of Canada shows us that the night sky is about more than just the moon and a handful of stars. He leads a discussion on the wonders that can be found in the heavens — constellations, auroras, distant planets, comets, even the Milky Way. The lecture takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cube Gallery, and is followed by a sidewalk telescope party at 9.30 p.m.

On Sunday, July 5, the gallery hosts a vernissage for a new exhibit, E=MC Cubed, by artist Denis Larouche. Art and science, the artist’s twin passions, come together in an exploration of his travels throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

The festival continues until July 9. Here, for complete schedule. Admission is free.
Cube Gallery is at 1285 Wellington St. W.

Bear&Co. presents The Tempest - Isaac Giles as Ferdinand and Hannah Ehman as Miranda

Isaac Giles as Ferdinand and Hannah Ehman as Miranda in The Tempest, which will be performed at Ottawa parks throughout the summer

A Stormy Start to Summer Stagecraft
It’s a rite of summer; something that occurs all over the English world annually. Bear & Co., a traveling theatre company will be making a stop in Ottawa between July 3 to July 26 to deliver The Tempest — a play considered to be perhaps the last play The Bard wrote, and also his most musical and most lyrical — at parks throughout Ottawa, beginning this Friday, July 3 in Strathcona Park.

Unfolding in real time (the events in the play take place in the span of a few hours), The Tempest tells the tale of Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, who plots to restore his daughter, Miranda to the throne. Using magic, he summons a storm to lure his usurping brother as well as the complicit King of Naples to the island in order to reveal true intents and redeem the King through a marriage with Miranda. It’s all set on an isolated island.

Some see The Tempest as a comment on colonialism; others read into it a psycho-analytical theme; some have even suggested that Prospero represents Shakespeare who’s renunciation of magic is The Bard saying ‘farewell’. Suggested donation is $20. It starts at 7 p.m. Bring a blanket, chair, and a … water gun?!? There will also be food trucks serving up pizza, paninis and frozen custard. More info on the weekend / month-long schedule (it plays at different parks on different days ), visit here.

… and The Bard’s Comedic Mistake
Twenty-five years ago, A Company of Fools tackled Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors as their first full-length theatrical production. For this season’s annual foray into the outdoors, the Company is putting on A Comedy of Errors — it will be an opportunity to see how far they’ve come, whilst filling the stage with colourful costumes, slapstick, word play, romance, and rhyme. The performances are in parks throughout Ottawa over the summer, from July 2 to August 15, from this Thursday, July 2 at Strathcona Park, moving to Anthony Vincent Park in Manor Park on Friday, July 3, and Alexander Grove Park in Stittsville on Saturday, July 4. Suggested donation is $15. All shows start at 7 p.m. More info, including where they’ll be performing, visit here. Again, make sure to bring insect repellant, blankets, chairs, etc.


Pokey LaFarge who plays on Friday, July 3 at Ritual Nightclub. Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins

Something in the Water — Pokey LaFarge
When he was growing up in the American Midwest, Pokey LaFarge developed a love for history and American literature — particularly works by Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway. They’re interests he carried forward into his songwriting. With his mandolin in hand, LaFarge takes you back to the days of swing and ragtime blues, but without sounding dated. Touring songs from his latest album, Something in the Water, LaFarge plays at Ritual Nightclub on Friday, July 3. Tickets $20. Ritual Nightclub is at 137 Besserer St.

Music and Beyond, Festival
Music: it’s said to be the food of love, the strongest form of magic, the universal language of mankind. Music and Beyond hits all of these notes and more with two weeks of programming that bring together orchestras, small ensembles, bands, choirs, and baroque groups.

On Saturday, July 4, the opening gala at Dominion-Chalmers United Church features music by the grand masters, including Mozart’s Quartet in G minor, Schubert’s Quartettsatz, and Debussy’s The Girl With the Flaxen Hair.

On Sunday, July 5, catch esteemed conductor Boris Brott as he leads the National Arts Centre Orchestra in a rousing rendition of Beethoven’s Overture to Prometheus, plus selections by Mozart and Brott’s composer father, Alexander.

The festival continues until July 17. Various locations. Here, for venue information. Tickets from $30.

Farm Beer Bash
Owned and operated for more than 100 years, one of the oldest, still working farms in the area is Hendricks Farm in Old Chelsea. Clocking that kind of mileage certainly earns a refreshing cold one — or several. Thankfully, the Marché des Brasseurs (Quebec Brewery Market) is brewing up a beer bash this Saturday, July 4 at Hendricks Farm. The event will showcase Quebec’s finest such as BDT, Dunham, Le Castor, Microbrasserie Goudale, and Gainsbourg. Plus food from local eateries Tante Carole, The Village House, and Patisserie La Toque! Drive away with some fresh veg from their farm store too. Admission is free; it’ll be held, rain or shine, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. To book a shuttle from Ottawa, visit here. More info on the farm, here.
Hendricks Farm is at 3 chemin, Chelbrook, Old Chelsea, just up Hwy 5.




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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


_UnCouth_ (Photo Credit Lynne Fried) III

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

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

… More Fringe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

Photo courtesy of Bruce McCulloch

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


Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Prose in the Park FREE
Word on the Street.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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







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



Nick Farrio plays at House of Targ this weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

up to low 2

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

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

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

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







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

Bamboo Garden-sm

Bamboo Garden, Gwendolyn Best, courtesy of Orange Gallery

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


Rufus, Gwendolyn Best, courtesy of Orange Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Maker Space North is at 250 City Centre, Bay 216

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

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

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

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

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

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

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