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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for July 15 to 17

The Lion King comes to Ottawa. Photo credit: ©Disney, photo: Joan Marcus.

Friday, July 15
It’s opening weekend for Lion King, the Disney adventure that has been part of childhood memories ever since Mufasa told Simba about the circle of life. More than 40 actors bring the African tundra to life in the Tony Award-winning Broadway version of this story about the animal kingdom, which is on at the National Arts Centre from July 14 to Aug. 7. Listen for classic songs like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John and Tim Rice, as well as tunes exclusive to the theatrical production.

Ottawa-born comic John Hastings records his first DVD this weekend at Yuk Yuk’s @ The Prescott. Wouldn’t it be cool to be a part of the career of an up-and-coming stand-up comedian? One who started his career doing improv at Nepean High School? Working in Montreal for the past five years, Hastings has been nominated twice as the XM Canada’s Next Top Comedian — in fact, he’s the only person to be nominated twice — and won the Just For Laughs Homegrown Comedy Competition last year. Fingers crossed he does his bit about his stint as a telemarketer (check it out on his website) when he performs on Friday and Saturday night.

HOPE Volleyball Summerfest takes over Mooney's Bay. Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism.

Saturday, July 16
Each year, more than 25,000 players and spectators head to HOPE Volleyball Summerfest to bump, smash, and dig their way to v-ball glory (or just to cheer and check out some hard bodies). With this year’s concert line-up featuring Tokyo Police Club and local band The Balconies, as well as a verified attempt to name 2011 the “Largest One Day Volleyball Event in the World” by The Guinness Book of World Records, this is sure to be one heck of a party. And with proceeds going to local charities, you can feel even better about your day of fun in the sun. Registration for playing is sold out, but spectators are free to watch (non-registered participants must purchase a wristband to access the HOPE amphitheatre for concerts, $25).

Celebrate the rich history and culture of South Asia at the free South Asian Festival, taking place in Confederation Park. Visitors can explore the arts, culture, food, and music of the diverse countries that make up this exotic part of the world. Highlights include Bolllywood dance performances and other live entertainment, Henna artists, face painting for kids, and more.

Sunday, July 17
The Downtown Rideau Summer Fling kicks off this week with the first in its series of summer plays (the fest runs July 13 to Aug. 28). Secrets of a Soccer Mom is a comedy about modern mothers, and follows three in particular whose competitive sides come out when they compete in a mother-son soccer game. The play runs July 13 to 30, but we suggest grabbing lunch and then heading to the Sunday matinee with your own madre.

The group show “Nuit Noire,” on view at Cube Gallery until July 31, dazzles with a variety of works on the theme of the night sky. The exhibit is dedicated to the beauty and majesty of the heavens above, and is a testament to all those artists, sculptors, scientists, and astronomers who always turn their gaze to the stars. In conjunction with the art show, there’s an expert lecture on July 21 that discusses possibility of life on other planets, as well as a theatre performance of British playwright Tim Crouch’s innovative work England by a New York performance collective (July 13 to 15) .

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