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

BY MATT HARRISON

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.

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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

BY MATT HARRISON

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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

BY MATT HARRISON

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Maker Space North is at 250 City Centre, Bay 216

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BY MATT HARRISON

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Image, courtesy of www.imgkid.com

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

BY MATT HARRISON

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Photo: Courtesy of the Canadian Museum of Nature


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Canadian Museum of Nature is at 240 McLeod St.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full details on these and many others, here.

 

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of April 17 to 19

BY KYLA CLARKE

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Steven Page, stripped down

Canadian musical icon Steven Page performs at the National Arts Centre this Friday, April 17, with a little help from his friend, Craig Northey (of The Odds). We all remember Steven Page as the witty former frontman of the Barenaked Ladies, and now that he’s forging his own path as a solo artist, he’s doing things a little bit differently. Collaborating with Northey on guitar and vocals, Page will also perform solo material from his album Page One and, never to disappoint his unyielding fans, there will be plenty of Barenaked Ladies hits too. Tickets start at $57 and can be purchased at www.nac-cna.ca.
The National Arts Centre is located at 53 Elgin Street.

Twilight stars’ ‘best movie yet’

cloud-of-sils-mariaIndie movie buffs might want to check out Clouds of Sils Maria, which debuts this Friday, April 17 at the Bytowne Cinema. It’s the story of a successful actress who agrees to take part in the revival of the play that made her famous 20 years prior. She must now face an uncomfortable reflection of herself, playing the role of an older character instead of the young temptress she once portrayed. A layered, character-driven film, Clouds of Sils Maria stars Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Grace Moretz. The film is said to be Stewart’s best work yet – though, at this point, anything is better than Twilight. The film runs at the Bytowne Cinema until Thursday, April 23. For ticket info and showtimes, visit www.bytowne.ca.
The Bytowne Cinema is located at 325 Rideau Street.

Wax on, wax off

Also on Friday, April 17th, The Raw Sugar Café hosts Record “Swap” Day. It’s completely FREE – all you have to do is show up in your best bartering shoes with a bag of cherished vinyls – that you’ve deemed ready to pass on to the next worthy listener. With a DJ on the ones and twos, it’s time to swap your trash for someone else’s treasure. Don’t have any vinyls to trade? Don’t sweat it – there will be free giveaways and good food too, so anyone can show up and still have a good time. 8 p.m. to 1 p.m.
The Raw Sugar Café is located at 692 Somerset Street West.

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Record “Swap” Day is a pre-emptive celebration for International Record Store Day on Saturday, April 18th. Local record shops across town will be participating in the yearly event (such as Compact Music, Vertigo Records, The Record Centre, and many more), which supports the resurgence of vinyl in the hearts and hands of music fans. Not only can you find cool discounts on countless records, there will also be exclusive special releases just for the day. Over a hundred artists, from A-Ha to the Wu-Tang Clan, will release special edition vinyls or first releases on Record Store Day.
Check out the full list of artist releases, along with a list of participating stores, recordstoreday.com.

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 … Plus wearable vintage

If all the vintage vinyl wasn’t enough, maybe a little vintage fashion will satiate your hungry hipster pocketbook. On Sunday, April 19th, the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show sets up shop in the Shaw Centre for Canada’s largest vintage clothing event. $10 gets you in the door for a day of hunting for clothing, handbags, accessories, and designer goods, from the ‘20s all the way to the ‘80s. Groovy.
The Shaw Centre (formerly the Ottawa Convention Centre) is located at 55 Colonel By Drive. 

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of April 9 – 12

BY KYLA CLARKE

The ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland takes the NAC stage this Thursday

The ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland takes the NAC stage this Thursday

Adventures in Wonderland

Ballet fans will delight in this weekend-long run of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Starting Thursday, April 9 and showing until Sunday, April 12, British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon brings the classic Carroll novel to life in an inventive new way. With entertaining choreography, vivid costumes, and surreal production, the show is sure to entertain even those who aren’t so schooled in dance. Just don’t get trapped down the rabbit hole.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will show at the National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin Street. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased here.

 EFT-Up Improv

The Experiment Farm Theatre, an Ottawa improv comedy collective, presents their monthly show at Pressed Café this Thursday, April 9th. The troupe performs long-form comedic storytelling – and it’s all entirely made up on the spot. Standup comedian Greg Houston will open the show. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are (only) $5. Think you’ve got some comedic chops yourself? EFT-Up also offers improv workshops for the bold and bright.

Pressed Café is located at 750 Gladstone. For more information, click here.

Feeling crafty?

Try something new this weekend with Spins & Needles’ silkscreening workshop. Hosted at Possible Worlds (a nifty little project space and shop in Chinatown) on the afternoon of Saturday, April 11th, Silkscreening 101 teaches participants how to create original handmade gifts, merchandise for a new business, or spoil themselves with the fruits of their creativity. If all goes well, take it to the next level with Silkscreening 201.

Possible Worlds is at 708G Somerset Street. Tickets are $145. For more information click here.

Music for Social Justice

Erin Saoirse Adair performs at the Blacksheep Inn this weekend. Photo by Jonathan Lorange

Erin Saoirse Adair performs at the Blacksheep Inn this weekend. Photo by Jonathan Lorange

The Blacksheep Inn hosts Erin Saoirse Adair’s new single and video release party this Saturday, April 11th. The new track, “I Want Drugs” discusses the urge to turn to drugs or alcohol as a means to escape. Erin’s lyrics, accompanied by piano or acoustic guitar, typically cover social justice issues, such as violence against women and mental health. Her music is catchy, entertaining, and, at times, cringeworthy – not because it’s bad, but because it’s so uncomfortably honest. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 3:00 p.m.

The Blacksheep Inn is located at 753 Riverside Drive, Wakefield, QC. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.theblacksheepinn.com

Dark Heart Brings Light to NAC

Valery Gore hits the NAC Fourth Stage this Saturday. Photo: Valery Gore

Valery Gore hits the NAC Fourth Stage this Saturday. Photo: Valery Gore

Valery Gore hits the NAC Fourth Stage this Saturday, April 11th in support of her highly acclaimed third album, Idols in the Dark Heart. Like many others in current Canadian music, Gore experiments with electronic elements in her newest project. But she remains a standout, blending synth and bass with her signature throaty vocals and layered harmonies, and her lyrics intricately recount love, loss, and doubt as she comes of age. Tickets are $20 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin Street. Tickets are available here.

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of April 2 – 6

BY KYLA CLARKE

An image from Mark Strandquist's collection "Windows in Prison"

An image from Mark Strandquist’s collection “Windows from Prison”

“If you could have a window in your cell, what place from your past would it look out to?”

A new photo exhibit opens this weekend at La Petite Mort Gallery and the content is very moving, not only for the images, but also for the text associated with each photo. Artist Mark Strandquist’s latest project bridges the distance between average individuals and incarcerated persons, in a way that incites photography as a means for social change.

The question above was posed to participating inmates from Washington, D.C., and students from George Mason University and Duke Ellington High School fulfilled the photo requests and mailed them back to the prisons. “Windows from Prison” is a photography project that creates a more humanistic approach to the discussion of issues with mass incarceration.

On Thursday, April 2, the artist Mark Strandquist will host a FREE public artist talk about his work, followed by a workshop for at-risk youth.
On Friday, April 3, the exhibit officially opens at La Petite Mort Gallery and will run until April 26.

The public artist talk will be at University of Ottawa, 100 Laurier Building, Room 219 at 1:30 p.m. The exhibit opens at La Petite Mort Gallery,  306 Cumberland Street.

Turn Down for Brunch!

It’s going to be a busy weekend at Hintonburg Public House.

First of all, there’s gonna be brunch – four days of it. They’ll be serving everything from French toast to hamburgers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Friday, April 3 through Monday, April 6. I’m already full and I’ve only been reading the menu.

On Saturday, April 4, they’ll be hosting the Bring on Spring Craft Show. Your favourite local vendors will be selling their handmade jewelry, art, home décor items, and more. Featured vendors include Top Shelf Preserves, My Vintage Retreat, and Darling Yes.

On Sunday, April 5, HPH hosts their monthly trivia night. Sign up as an individual or bring a team and show your friends who’s smartest. It’s only $5 and the next day is a holiday, so you know what that means: local craft beer, and lots of it.

Hintonburg Public House is at 1020 Wellington St West. Check out their website for more details.

Love, Handmade

Love_Handmade_026On Saturday, April 4, The Handmade Bride is hosting an alternative wedding show, featuring thirty local vendors and the unique opportunity to actually meet some of them. If stressed out brides can pry themselves away from Pinterest for a few hours, they may find everything they’ve been pinning online for their bohemian dream wedding – all in one place. Plus – the first 100 couples through the door will get swag bags full of wedding goodies. The Handmade Bride boasts delicate, vintage-inspired dresses from Canadian designers, or their own brand of dresses which can be custom-designed to suit any bride’s body and wedding theme.

The Love, Handmade Wedding Show is at Memorial Hall in New Edinburgh from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Spring Pop-Up

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Strut Jewelry’s spring/summer collection features shells collected from all around the world.

Still feeling spendy? Strut your stuff over to Flock Boutique for Strut Jewelry’s pop-up shop this Saturday, April 4. Designer Alyssa Spaxman will be in-store to unveil her new collection, including handpicked shells acquired from her travels in Ecuador, Brazil, Thailand, and Nicaragua. Travelers (and those who wish they could) will love the spring/summer collection, which symbolizes the spirit of wanderlust and love of freedom.

Flock Boutique is located at 1275 Wellington St. West.

Easter at the Farm

This little bunny is looking forward to spring

This little bunny is looking forward to spring

Kids and kids-at-heart can enjoy some fun on the farm this weekend at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum as they’ll be hosting an assortment of Easter activities. Visitors will get the chance to meet newly hatched chicks and ducklings, baby rabbits and lambs, and the kiddies can participate in an Easter egg hunt. There will also be a the chance to take part in some egg-citing egg-xperiments, lessons in the hatching process, Easter trivia, and probably a few more bad puns too.

The Easter activities go on all weekend, from Friday, April 3 to Monday, April 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The entry is included with museum admission: $10 for adults, children 3-12 are $7, children under 3 are free.

The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is located at 901 Prince of Wales Drive.