BY AMY ALLEN AND MATT HARRISON
Let Us Entertain You
In the 1820s, British North America was still reeling from the War of 1812. The powers that be over in England wanted a new, more secure supply route between Montreal and Toronto — since the St. Lawrence River bordered New York, it was just too dangerous to use. And so, in 1826, construction began on the Rideau Canal. Lt. Col. John By was brought in to oversee the project. Hundreds died building it, and Ottawa (known in those days as the rough and tumble Bytown) grew up around it.
This is just one part of the tapestry that makes up Ottawa’s rich history. Ottawa StoryTellers traces the capital’s evolution from the days of street brawls between the Irish and French Canadians to the more docile times of diplomacy and politics. Performances run from 5pm to 8pm on Thursday, July 16 at the Bytown Museum as part of its Let Us Entertain You series. Each performance covers a different topic and runs for 10 minutes. Admission is free. Bytown Museum, 1 Canal Lane, 613-234-4570, bytownmuseum.com.
“Here goes nothing” — words one character utters as she peeks under her husband’s jammies whilst in bed. Bedtime Stories, a comedy by Norm Foster that opened this week at Ottawa Little Theatre, explores six separate tales revolving around a bed, a mattress — even a chaise longue. Check out the trailer here. The play runs nightly at 7.30pm until August 1. See website for ticket prices. Ottawa Little Theatre, 400 King Edward Ave., 613-233-8948, ottawalittletheatre.com.
Paper at Wall Space Gallery
Works on — and made of — paper are the highlight of a new exhibition at Wall Space Gallery. See stunning wildlife and travel photography by Michelle Valberg, drawings by Alex Chowaniec, installation art by Lori Victor, and much more. The exhibition opens on Friday, July 17 at Wall Space Gallery. Admission is free. Wall Space Gallery, 358 Richmond Rd., 613-729-0003, wallspacegallery.ca.
Neville Smith at La Petite Mort Gallery
He’s worked with renowned Canadian artist Gerald Trottier; he spent time at Crawley Films as an animator (famous for the ‘75 academy-award winning doc, The Man Who Skied Down Everest); he worked on design for Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan; he founded his own design group with fellow Canadians Norman Takeuchi and Morris Danylewich; and he has subsequently won numerous accolades for his own work.
Neville Smith returns to Ottawa for a showing of his art at La Petite Mort Gallery, which will launch the exhibit with a vernissage on Friday, July 17 from 7pm to 10pm. Smith will be in attendance — as will his striking illustrative work, which spans his career. Pieces will also be for sale. The exhibit is on until July 23. See website for more info. La Petite Mort, 306 Cumberland St., 613-860-1555, lapetitemortgallery.com.
Tied to the Moon
Growing up in a small town in the Scottish Highlands, Rachel Sermanni was surrounded by music. Her father taught her to play the penny whistle when she was young; she eventually graduated to the guitar, and, inspired by the Highlands’ magical, mountainous terrain, she also began to write her own songs.
Now, at the tender age of 23, she has two folk-noir albums to show for her years of hard work — Under Mountains, a dreamy release full of fairytale imagery, and Tied to the Moon, an earthier, grungier collection she wrote while she was living in Nova Scotia. She performs at the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, July 18. Tickets start at $10. The Black Sheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield, 819-459-3228, theblacksheepinn.com.
Body of Evidence at Gallery 101
Body of Evidence — not the unwatchable piece of ‘80s celluloid that starred Madonna (remember the hot wax and champagne scene?). Rather (and thankfully) this is title of Gallery 101’s summer art exhibit. Both, ironically, deal with criminality — Body of Evidence stole my innocence and ruined forever my respect for Willem Dafoe, while Behind Closed Doors: Body of Evidence looks at the artist as a criminal.
Specifically, Natascha Niederstrass, the artist behind the exhibit, ponders the artist’s research process and their unique ability to oscillate between the acceptable rules and limits of art without transgressing them. Er, what now? It’s a piece based on one of Marcel Duchamp’s works with added components that suggests that the late French artist was involved in the murder of the “Black Dahlia.” Intrigued? Check it out — the vernissage is this Saturday, July 18. The exhibit is on until August 15. See website for more info. Gallery 101, 51B Young St., 613-230-2799, g101.ca.
Ice Cream Festival
Until well into the 1800s, ice cream was a treat enjoyed only by the very wealthy, who could afford to keep food cold. But in the mid 19th century, a Swiss entrepreneur named Carlo Gatti came to London to sell ice cream on street corners for a penny — and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s now one of the most popular desserts in North America.
During the Ice Cream Festival at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, you can try your hand at making this tasty treat yourself. It runs from 9.30am to 4pm on Sunday, July 19. Stop on by to get the scoop on old-fashioned ice cream making, learn about the development of milkshakes and the soda shop, see how farmers separate cream from milk, and much more. Participation is included with museum admission ($10; $8 for students and seniors; $7 for children aged three to 12; free for children under three). Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, 910 Prince of Wales Dr., 613-991-3044, cafmuseum.techno-science.ca.