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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for March 11 to 13

Friday, March 11

Dai Vernon gained an international reputation as the only man to ever fool the great Houdini. In the play The Shadow Cutter, learn about the life of the mysterious Ottawa-born magician known as “The Professor,” as two actors take on the story of Vernon’s obsessive quest for the ultimate card trick. Evening and matinee performances take place all weekend.

Celebrate your poetic side at VERSeFest, a brand spankin’ new poetry fest organized by a collective of the city’s poetry groups. The final weekend of the event is jam-packed with plenty of fun for word nerds, including multiple slam showcases, a discussion with Ottawa songwriters, an afternoon of Japanese form poetry, a children’s workshop on creative collaborations, and a reading by Richard Greene, winner of the 2010 Governor General’s Award for Poetry.

Saturday, March 12

"The Devil's Candy" plays as part of the IFCO Gala Screening. Photo credit: Directed by Tasha Waldron, photo by Martin Racine.

Hot on the heels of this year’s Genie Awards, the annual IFCO Gala Screening showcases some alternative local film talent. The Independent Filmmakers Co-operative of Ottawa is celebrating its 19th birthday with a viewing of its members’ work. On the bill: a no-holds-barred depiction of drug abuse, a short travelogue on the Buddhist vision of purgatory in Northern Japan, and eight others. Put on your party hat for the post-screening mix-and-mingle with the filmmakers.

For something for the younger set (and those who are young at heart) the Bugs Bunny Film Festival should do the trick. From Saturday to Tuesday, check out screenings for about 30 classic Looney Tunes shorts (each screening features a different set of cartoons). Look for such favourites as One Froggy Evening and What’s Opera, Doc?

Try salsa dancing at the Ottawa Arts Court.

Get your booty on the dance floor with early evening (5 to 9pm) salsa dancing at the Ottawa Arts Court. For a mere $5 you can practice your steps, have fun with friends, and meet new people. Not so smooth with the Latin moves yet? Take the beginner lesson from 5 to 5:40pm.

Sunday, March 13

In celebration of the Year of India in Canada for 2011, the High Commission of India presents the dazzling dance drama Shakunthalam, which was the first Indian literary work to be translated in the West. This free performance at the National Arts Centre serves up a timeless classic on love, separation, and reunion, while fusing energetic singing and dancing.

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