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.



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


1_smallest mother

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

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

GCTC is at 1233 Wellingston St. W.


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


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

IdeaSpace is at 131 Bank St., fourth floor.

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

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

10_gorilla girl

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

WEEKENDER: Five things to do in Ottawa on the weekend of May 15-17


The Last Unicorn, remastered, screens in Ottawa, with author Peter S. Beagle speaking and signing books

The Last Unicorn remastered screens in theatres in Ottawa as part of a tour featuring author Peter S. Beagle — May 15 & May 17

Last Unicorn Remastered
For some, it never got better than the 80s decade and, in particular, its strange fascination with unicorns: Legend, My Little Pony, She-ra, and, of course, The Last Unicorn — the latter a particularly special moment, perhaps up there with the death of Mr. Hooper and the advent of Super Nintendo. The 1982 animated fantasy film, featuring the all-star cast of voices — Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, and Mia Farrow — is a quest by the last unicorn to discover what happened to its kin. This timeless classic’s author, Peter S. Beagle, is currently on a screening tour. At select theatres, fans will be able to watch the newly remastered film and afterwards join the author for a Q&A session and book-signing. There will be two screenings/events in Ottawa: Thursday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at Cineplex Cinemas, and on Saturday, May 17 at 4 p.m. at SilverCity Gloucester Cinemas. Price for event is same as admission to a regular film. Cineplex Cinemas is at 3090 Carling Ave., and SilverCity is at 2385 City Park Drive.

Stamp Thriller
Mauritius, the name of a West African island (and once home to the now-extinct Dodo bird), is perhaps an apt title — and metaphor — for a play about a naive young woman who, alone, desperately fights off three unscrupulous stamp collectors, as well as her own sister, from getting at her priceless collection. No man, er woman, is an island — but this funny, sharp, and beguiling play, by Theresa Rebeck (SmashLaw & OrderNYPD Blues) may prove that being an island is the best bet. This is the last weekend to catch Mauritius: — Thursday, May 14Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17 at 7: 30 p.m. at Ottawa Little Theatre. Tickets from $25. Ottawa Little Theatre is at 400 King Edward Ave.

Knight’s Tour
Lucy Moran: “Mr. Martell, Andy moved his knight without doing the little hook thing.”Deputy Andy Brennan: “You don’t have to do the little hook thing; that’s optional.”
Pete Martell: Andy, uh… the knight has to do the ‘little hook thing.’ ”
DAB: “Every time?”
PM: “It’s a privilege! No one else gets to make that move”
— and just as the Twin Peaks‘ sheriff department’s staff discovered, the knight’s little hook move in chess is indeed unique and a privilege; the same is true for hearing Wooden Horseman live. Taking his name from that particular chess piece, the Horseman, aka Steven Beddall, is a Toronto musician with roots in Ottawa who sounds a bit like Luke Doucet or even a young, less croony Neil Young, and who plays wonderful blues tinged, alt-country. He’ll be leading a cast of musicians for his live show at Pressed cafe this Saturday, May 17, along with Vancouver’s Real Ponchos, and Ottawa’s Jack Pine. $10. Pressed is at 750 Gladstone Ave.

Wooden Horseman plays at Pressed Cafe on Saturday, May 17

Wooden Horseman plays at Pressed Cafe on Saturday, May 17

Musical Frankenstein
As any scientist knows, experiments can go either way — maybe you get some surprisingly good results, or maybe you create a thing so hideous that the outcry against your abomination reaches the high heavens. Regardless, this weekend the annual Ottawa Rock Lottery aims to play God by randomly assembling 25 Ottawa musicians — from across genres — into five new bands. Each group will then have 24 hours to create a 20-30 minute set, which will be played at Babylon on Saturday, May 17. The sixth annual Rock Lottery will be hosted by CBC’s Amanda Putz; it costs $10, $9 with donation, doors open at 8 p.m. Babylon is at 317 Bank St.

Block Party (FREE!)
Summer festival season is nigh. In Ottawa, it began last weekend with Tulipfest — this weekend, Chinatown Remixed kicks off a month-long celebration of arts and culture in the Somerset West /Chinatown neighbourhood with a day-long vernissage on Saturday, May 17. Performances, art, and activities will be happening from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. throughout Somerset — the day’s events culminating in an evening party in the parking lots of Shanghai Restaurant and ZenKitchen, where music, food, and other performances will take place: former ZenKitchen chef, Caroline Ishi will hold a live food performance, and there will be music by The Girls Rock Band Camp, Loon Choir, and Brooklyn’s Smoota. Highjinx will also hold a night market that evening. The festival, which features more than 40 artists, workshops for kids, free concerts, and other eclectic activities, runs until June 17. 


WEEKENDER: Six things to do in Ottawa on the weekend of May 8 to 10


Pins & Stripes — a prohibition era-themed fashion event, featuring designers, boutiques, models, art, food, and entertainment — Saturday, May 10

Pins & Stripes — a prohibition era-themed fashion event — Saturday, May 10
(Photo, Freshh Anderson; Model, Amal; Clothing, Marcelle Bénédicte)

Palestinian traces (FREE!)
Visually stunning, evocative, heart-breaking, and most definitely thought-provoking — perhaps even controversial — Rehab Nazzal’s exhibit, Invisible, presents traces of video and audio recordings, found footage, and photography; all of which are fragments of her Palestinian homeland; a people and a place struggling to remain unforgotten amidst the ongoing conflict with Israel. In her exhibit, the smallest moment of captured memory becomes “precious.” A vernissage for the exhibit at the Karsh-Masson Gallery will be held on Thursday May 8 at 7:30 p.m. The exhibit runs until June 22. Karsh-Masson Gallery is at 110 Laurier Ave. (City Hall).

Shades of house
Chicago, Detroit, New York, glitch, ghetto, funk or deep — all of house music’s varying shades fall under one roof this Friday, May 9 at the Mercury Lounge with special guest, German-born, L.A.-based DJ, producer, and radio host Lars Behrenroth. Joining resident Lance Baptiste, Behrenroth brings the sounds from his Deeper Shades Recordings label to the Lounge for a unique night-out. $10 advance, doors open at 10 p.m. Mercury Lounge is at 56 Byward Market.

Gatsby, gangsters, garters
“I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties, there isn’t any privacy” —Taking a cue from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, but perhaps Boardwalk Empire also, the fourth Pins & Stripes fashion-event aims to delight, entertain, and “strengthen the local fashion community” with a prohibition era-themed (only with drinks!) soiree at Saint-Brigid’s Centre for the Arts on Saturday, May 10. The show, hosted by local fashion maven Marcelle Benedicte, includes art, entertainment, dancing, and snacks. Cost? A donation to Solidarité Jeunesse, an organization providing opportunities for volunteering abroad in the aim of promoting global peace and understanding. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts is at 10 Patrick St.

Electro-cleaning (FREE!)
Before tossing that computer stack being used as a side table in your home office; before swearing to the gods to finally rid yourself of that dot-matrix printer; and before taking a sledgehammer to that embarrassingly-large TV set — do the landfill and those with hearing problems a favour by dumping unwanted electronic gear off at the Canadian Hearing Society’s (CHS) Electronic Recycling Event this Saturday, May 10 at 2197 Riverside Drive, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Computers, TVs, telephones, stereos — all of it will be accepted, collected, and recycled, with valuable base metals being sold and proceeds donated to the CHS. Can’t make the May 10th event? — Drop off gear at CHS Ottawa on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the days leading up to event.

Search for Hidden Art (FREE!)
Secret staircases and hidden doors — it’s this kind of Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew trope that, on some small level, fuels this weekend’s mystery-art-adventure. On Saturday, May 10, the latest edition of Research In Art’s “Art In Odd Spaces” will guide art-seekers into attics, basements, lavatories, and up staircases in the search for hidden art. As a testament to the kind of Drew-like danger you’ll be facing, organizers are asking participants to sign waivers — that kind of risk alone makes this art-adventure tempting! Although free, participants must register in advance: researchinart.ria@gmail.com. Since the art is located in homes around the city, you’ll either need your own transportation or sign up for their shuttle service. Refreshments will served at the end of the trip, where participants will be able to get one last look at Never Forever, an exhibition up since April 6 that features works by seven artists — Gail Bourgeois, Karen Jordon, Deborah Margo, Christine Nobel, Susie Osler, Rene Price, and Bozica Radjenovic.

Wakefield Writes
Acclaimed Canadian novelists Frances Itani (Deafening, Requiem), Trevor Ferguson (City of Ice), Tim Wynne-Jones (Odd’s End) will be in Wakefield this weekend — they are the literary stars of the village’s annual Writer’s Fest, which is being held on Saturday, May 9 and Sunday, May 10. They, along with a host of superb local writers, will be leading a program that includes workshops, a CBC-led tête-à-tête, a brunch, and a literary pub-crawl, among other activities. Some of the events are free — the author’s brunch, the tête-à-tête, and the workshops vary in price. Events will be at various locations and at different times throughout the village. Wakefield’s about 30 minutes from Ottawa.

WEEKENDER: Six things to do in Ottawa on the weekend of May 2-4


Ottawa's Peptides

Ottawa’s Peptides: New album and upcoming Ottawa show

In this edition of the Weekender: Corpus, Baths, Jane’s Walk, Peptides, Hervana, Farmer’s Markets

Holocaust Fiction
The atrocities of the Second World War — in particular the Holocaust — are, as of late, being subjected to Historical Revisionism — that is according to local playwright, Darrah Teitel. She believes this is happening due to the emergence of new, fictional narratives. The problem? “New narratives were emerging that favoured the perspectives of 
perpetrators over victims,” she explains (i.e. The Reader). This is the foundation for her award-winning play, Corpus, in which she examines both her attraction to Holocaust fiction, but also the dangers — and she does it, ironically, through fiction: the play looks at a imagined relationship between the wife of a Nazi officer and a Polish Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz. Directed by Bronwyn Steinberg and put on by Counterpoint Players, it will be showing from Thursday, May 1 (preview) to Saturday, May 10 at Arts Court Theatre. Times vary. Tickets from $15.

Corpus, an award-winning play by Darrah Teitel, opening in Ottawa this weekend

Corpus, an award-winning play by Darrah Teitel, opening in Ottawa this weekend at Arts Court Theatre

Chillwaves’ Baths
Bathe in twitchy beats, spritely, twinkling piano melodies, ambient soundscapes, Baleric-sounding samples, and Will Wiesenfeld’s vocals that are reminiscent of Blur/Gorilla’s Damon Albarn. Baths draws comparisons to other such chillwave/creepwave acts as Toro Y Moi and Shlohmo. He plays Ritual Nightclub on Friday, May 2, touring his third album Obsidian, which garnered huge marks from critics. Opening act is Young Fathers. Tickets are $14. Doors open at 9 p.m. Ritual is 137 Besserer St.

Jane’s Walk (FREE!)
What’s the significance of that old building? Just ask Jane. The little park that seems forgotten? Ask Jane. There was a swimming hole here once? Ask Jane. If you’re curious about the history of an Ottawa neighbourhood, Jane’s volunteers will be on hand this weekend to guide you around many of the city’s ‘hoods. Held across cities in North America since 2007 (originally to commemorate the death of Toronto’s Jane Jacob’s), this year’s Jane’s Walk features a weekend of tours — some in French, others in English — with the purpose of getting to know your city, meeting neighbours, and learning about the urban landscape. A few that piqued this writer’s curiosity are: Urban Foraging, Foodies Walk in Centretown, Places of Significance to Homeless People, and Untold Ottawa — but there are many others. Check out the full schedules on their website for locations, themes, and times. Walks take place on Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4.

What is love? Perhaps a “pre-apocalyptic fete” featuring the wild, on-stage antics of Ottawa’s nine-member art-group, The Peptides, who will, no doubt, be lost in an aural orgy of celebration having just released their third album, Love Question Mark. In recognition of the album — which runs the gamut from electro-synth to emotive ballads — the band will be playing at show on Saturday, May 3 at St. Albans Church, 454 King Edward St. Tickets are $15 advance; doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Come As You Are
I usually don’t get worked up about cover bands (covers are one thing, but a whole set?) but this one caught my attention — it smelled, in fact, much like teen spirit. (I know, all apologies) Hervana is an all-female Nirvana cover band from Toronto and they’re playing at Pressed on Saturday, May 3. Maybe it’s the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, or St. Vincent’s tribute cover of Lithium with Dave and Krist in New York in April for the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that has me curious about Hervana’s take on an all-male band’s material, but I’d be senseless to miss this show. Hervana’s playing with Decathlete and Elgin Skye. Tickets are $8; doors open at 8 p.m. Pressed is at 750 Gladstone.

Mad for Markets
Yee-haw! It’s the end of winter and the start of market season. Sunday, May 4, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. marks the opening of Ottawa’s first Farmer’s Market at Brewer Park, with markets opening up in at various other locations across the city in subsequent weeks. This second season of the market at Brewer Park in Old Ottawa South (just across from Carleton University) is the largest in Ottawa — over 100 vendors, featuring locally-grown produce, meats, eggs, and a plethora of baked goods, preserves, and desserts. What’s in season: despite the late start, you may find asparagus, mushrooms, maple syrup, and beans. On Saturday, May 10, the market opens at Orlean’s Centrum Plaza. On Saturday, May 17, Westboro’s market opens at Bryon Park.