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Great Canadian Theatre Company

Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box at the Great Canadian Theatre Company

Carmen Aguirre opens her compelling solo show Blue Box this week at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.

Playwright Carmen Aguirre returns to the Great Canadian Theatre Company with the full production of Blue Box, the acclaimed hit from the theatre’s 2012 Undercurrents Festival. This intimate solo performance tells her true story of love, lust and defiance set in Pinochet’s Chile, and her clandestine involvement in the underground resistance. The story also takes us into her passionate affair with a TV star in Hollywood, causing her loyalties to be constantly pulled in different directions. The play previews tonight and goes until Feb. 3.

Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1233 Wellington St. W. www.gctc.ca.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for November 16 to 18

Friday, November 16

Brian Gore leads a group of impressive guitarists at The International Guitar Night at Shenkman Arts Centre

Founded in 1995 by San Francisco guitarist Brian Gore, The International Guitar Night has grown to be the world’s premier touring guitar festival. Every year, Gore invites a handful of groundbreaking musicians to join him in a series of solos, duets and quartets, each highlighting the impressive range of the acoustic guitar. The 12th North American tour, on now, features Scotland’s Martin Taylor, Madagascar’s Solorazaf and Brazil’s Guinga. Catch them all this weekend at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

The annual Signatures Ottawa Christmas Show returns this week with five back-to-back days of holiday shopping at its finest. Hosted by the Ottawa Convention Centre, this year’s showing will feature 180 outstanding Canadian artists, artisans and designers. Whether you’re looking for handcrafted jewelry, visual art, home decor, or delicious treats, you’re sure to tick at least a few names off your Christmas list. 

The NACO presents All Gershwin, All Pops! Featuring Michael Chertock on piano, and with Broadway sensation Judy McLane providing vocals, audiences will be treated to all the hits from George and Ira Gershwin’s impressive songbook. From the toe-tapping “I Got Rhythm” to the sombre “Rhapsody in Blue,” there will be a little something for everyone at this unforgettable night of classic jazz.

Saturday, November 17

The Sheepdogs play three sold-out shows at Ritual Nightclub this weekend

A little over a year ago, Saskatoon’s The Sheepdogs won a contest that saw them becoming the first unsigned band in history to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Since then, the Canadian roots rockers have been hard at work touring throughout  Canada and the U.S. This weekend, they will play three sold-out shows at Ottawa’s Ritual Nightclub, alongside Kelowna’s Yukon Blonde (you can read our interview with them here). For those lucky enough to get tickets, this is sure to be one heck of a show.

Presented by the Small Press Action Network — Ottawa (Span-O), the bi-annual Ottawa Small Press Book Fair returns to the Jack Purcell Community Centre this Saturday. Though the full list of vendors has not yet been posted, past exhibitors have included Bywords, Dusty Owl, The Ottawa Arts Review, BuschekBooks, and The Grunge Papers, to name a few. The fair features a wide range of content, including poetry books, novels, T-shirts, graphic novels, comic books, magazines, cookbooks and posters.

The Help Santa Toy Parade — hosted annually by the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters Association — kicks off this Saturday at Library and Archives Canada. This exceptional display of holiday spirit will make its way down Wellington Street, Bank Street and Laurier Avenue, before finishing up at the corner of Elgin Street. Along the way, firefighters will collect new toys and cash donations for the Salvation Army. If you’d like to help out but can’t make it to the parade, donations are currently being accepted at all Ottawa fire stations.

Sunday, November 18

Margo MacDonald and Mary Ellis star in Fly Me to the Moon. Today’s your last chance to experience this performance.

Today’s your last chance to experience the Great Canadian Theatre Company‘s performance of Fly Me To the Moon. Written by Marie Jones (Stones in his Pockets) and directed by John P. Kelly, this hilariously dark comedy follows the lives of Francis and Loretta, two home care workers in Belfast forced to make a tough decision when one of their patients unexpectedly dies. The final run hits stage at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $35.77 to $36.90.

The Ottawa International Storytelling Festival is taking place Nov. 15 to 18 at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts. Operating under the theme Naked Narrative, the motto for this year’s event is simple: “No books, no props, just stories.” The bill features an impressive lineup of performers from throughout Canada and the U.S., including renowned character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Glee, Groundhog Day), Newfoundland fiddler Kelly Russell, and contemporary dancer Peggy Baker.

Friends of the Central Experimental Farm is hosting its annual Craft and Bake Sale this weekend at the farm’s Arboretum. Though an exceptional spread of handmade crafts and delicious baked goods will no doubt be the main draw, this event also offers guests the chance to explore the Arboretum’s gorgeous spring blossoms. Admission and on-site parking are free.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for June 8 to 10

Rajaton plays the music of ABBA at the NAC on Friday

Friday
Join award-winning vocalist group Rajaton this Friday as they perform some of ABBA’s greatest hits with the NAC Orchestra. Expect to hear songs like “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” and “Money Money Money,” and catch yourself singing along with the crowd. The six-member group has risen to fame in their native Finland with platinum record sales.

The three-day Carnival of Cultures, a celebration of music, song, and dance from different cultures across the world, starts this Friday. Over 50 performers will take to the stage this weekend, showcasing dance, music, and storytelling. Cultural exhibits and food are also on the bill. Friday’s performances include an opening ceremony, dancers from Flamenco Studio Ottawa, and Bollywood for Fun.

Saturday
For over two decades, the Canada Dance Festival has celebrated the art of dance in Canada. This week-long event will feature performers from across the country. Saturday’s events include a Professional Training Program Showcase, a performance by Kidd Pivot, and more. Jeanne Holmes joins the festival this year as newly appointed Artistic Director.

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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for January 20 to 22

Absinthe is just one of nearly 30 restaurants partaking in WinterBites.

Friday, Jan. 20
Foodies, hold onto your hats! Ottawa Magazine has teamed up with nearly 30 local restaurants for WinterBites, and they’ve each created three-course menus at a fixed – and affordable – price (lunch is $15-$20 and dinner is $30-$40). The weather may be cold, but a delicious meal is sure to warm you up. Some participating eateries include Absinthe, Kinki, ZenKitchen, and the Urban Pear. Now is the best chance to dine at some of Ottawa’s best restaurants – try out as many as you’d like! (more…)

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. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Valentine’s Day Edition

Friday, February 11

Jim Bryson and The Weakerthans perform Feb. 11 at Capital Music Hall. Photo credit: Kelp Records.

Canadian indie legends The Weakerthans teamed up with local hero Jim Bryson to record The Falcon Lake Incident last year, and are taking the album on the road. Playing Bryson’s hometown after weeks of touring, catch this amazing collaboration at the Capital Music Hall this Friday with your valentine. Have dinner in the bustling Byward Market or on Elgin Street. End the night with a glass of wine at Must in the Market.

For any gentlemen looking for last minute bling for their lady friends, Disegno Fine Jewellery is hosting a “Men’s Night” from 4 to 8 p.m. to offer a wee bit of guidance. This evening of shopping includes beer and chips, a hockey puck with every purchase, and of course, a sweet selection of beautiful baubles (RSVP required, 613-482-1614).

Saturday, February 12

The outdoor baths at Le Nordik are amazing in winter. Photo credit: Le Nordik.

Take a romantic getaway for two this weekend with an intimate spa session. Both the chic Holtz Spa downtown and Gatineau’s Le Nordik nature spa offer relaxing, romantic packages for couples. Enjoy the Chocolate Delights package at Holtz or take an energizing dip in the Nordik baths.

For a cost effective Valentine’s date, take in Winterlude with a romantic skate on the canal – there are plenty of places to rent skates if you don’t have a pair. Warm up with a BeaverTail or hot apple cider as you walk through the ice sculptures in Confederation Park with your sweetheart.

It’s the last weekend for the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s acclaimed Strawberries in January. Curl up next to your sweetheart and enjoy the fizzy romantic comedy of four singletons trying to find love in the dead of a Montreal winter. Have dinner at the ultra trendy Wellington Gastropub or delight in a vegetarian meal at The Table for a romantic night, enjoying the best the up-and-coming Hintonburg neighbourhood has to offer.

Sunday, February 13

Enjoy a sexy evening out at Kinki Asian-Fusion Restaurant.

Dinner and a movie could be a boring date, but not if you’re watching one of the most endearing love stories to hit the silver screen. Amélie, the mad-cap story of a Parisian girl finding love for those around her, is playing Sunday to Tuesday at the Bytowne Cinema in the heart of Ottawa. Mix it up and grab dinner somewhere fashionable like Ottawa’s Asian fusion favourite, Kinki.

If you like dancing, swing by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Sunday afternoon for a ton of big band favourites. The “Con Amore” concert will feature the Grey Jazz Big Band and roses will be handed out to the first hundred women wearing red. It’s free with museum admission, so take in the museum’s collection of aviation artefacts while you’re there.

Monday, February 14

Instead of chocolates and flowers, buy the one you love a personalized sonnet, performed on bended knee. On Valentine’s Day, you can send a costumed actor from A Company of Fools to deliver a Shakespearean poem to your sweetie’s work or home, along with a small bag of sweets.

Hot Date: Brand New Theatre Fest

“Shadows,” starring Sarah Finn and Margo MacDonald, is one of six original plays taking place during the undercurrents festival. Photo credit: Andrew Alexander.

Jan. 26 to Feb. 6. If you like your theatre with a bit of edge, then the undercurrents festival by the Great Canadian Theatre Company is for you. Six original plays with a limited four-show run are on the bill, all by some of Canada’s most boundary-pushing theatre creators. From the story of a 1930s stage queen to the tale of a pregnant man, these plays offer sharp commentary, moving narrative, and offbeat protagonists in a fest that’s anything but mainstream.