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Misa Kobayashi

Q&A with The Good Lovelies on their Christmas Tour

Get your fill of holiday music with The Good Lovelies.

This Canadian folk group takes the stage at Shenkman Arts Centre on Dec. 13 as part of their special Christmas tour. Where Ottawa editor Misa Kobayashi caught up with The Good Lovelies in advance of their local show to find out about their travel essentials, where they love to eat when they’re in Ottawa, and more.

What’s your favourite activity to do on the road?
Well, we bought some skipping ropes about a year ago. When we get restless, we get out of the car and jump rope for a few minutes. Invariably, we make friends with any young girls that happen to be around. They join in without asking. It’s a way more fun version of the elementary school playground! And we love eating in new places, checking out the local cuisine. Recently we had some incredible Indian food in Northern Ontario in Bruce Mines. Go figure! (more…)

Best of the Fests

Ottawa is the place to be when festival season rolls around. From performing arts to cultural celebrations — and everything in between — here are just a few of our top picks. By Misa Kobayashi.

Bachman & Turner

PRAIRIE SCENE
April 26 to May 8
The fifth installment in a series of biannual national festivals brings this eclectic, multi-disciplinary arts fest to the capital. Prairie Scene features 500 established and emerging artists from Saskatchewan and Manitoba who will present 80 different music, theatre, dance, art, literary, film, and culinary events. That’s a lot of talent in one place! Just a few names you can expect: rock and rollers Bachman & Turner, violinist James Ehnes, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. At various venues around town, tickets vary by event (some events free). For more information see www.prairiescene.ca.

Major's Hill Park during the Canadian Tulip Festival. Photo credit: OTCA.

CANADIAN TULIP FESTIVAL
May 6 to 23
Enjoy the stunning landscape, decorated with millions of tulips, in honour of this annual festival. In 2011, the theme is “Kaleidoscope — a celebration of spring awakening through colour, culture, and community.” This year, the event will be divided into two sections: “Floral Week” will centre around Commissioners Park where the dazzling flowers will be on view, while “Festival Week” (starting May 13), will offer entertainment, activities, and attractions at Major’s Hill Park. Exciting new events taking place include a whimsical tea party and showings of classic films for “Movies in the Park.” Other highlights include the FUNtasia kids’ zone and the International Food Emporium. Best of all, most of the activities and events are free! For a full schedule see www.tulipfestival.ca.

Ottawa Race Weekend along the Rideau Canal.

OTTAWA RACE WEEKEND
May 28 and 29
Ever year, Canada’s fastest-growing road race draws local, national, and international participants (plus plenty of cheering fans). More than 38,000 people took part in the marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K, and 2K family run/walk last year, and this year promises to be even more exciting with new routes for the longer races. The course changes will provide both urban and rural scenery, and will take runners through the areas of Chinatown and Little Italy, as well as along the historic Rideau Canal. If you’re not racing this year, grab a spot on the sidelines to watch the action unfold. For course and event information see www.runottawa.ca. (more…)

The Ottawa Convention Centre: Building a Modern Landmark

The city gets an unconventional addition to its downtown skyline with the new Ottawa Convention Centre
By Misa Kobayashi. Photography by William P. McElligott

Nighttime architectural rendering. Courtesy of BBB Architects.

Bold. Modern. Bright. These are just some of the words used to describe the new Ottawa Convention Centre, which opens April 13 after more than two years and a $185 million dollar rebuild.

In the fall of 2008, a demolition crew tore down what was then the 28-year-old Ottawa Congress Centre. An astounding structure has risen from the dust and debris, made with 1,084 triangular panes of glass and regionally manufactured or recycled materials. This is the vision of architect Ritchard Brisbin of Ottawa-based BBB Architects, a firm known for creating international retail, entertainment, and office complexes, among others. It’s a vision that is meant to guide the city into a new era with a structure that he says is “not simply moving into the 21st century, but helping to define it.” (more…)

Q&A with Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club. Photo credit: Chrissy Piper.

This Canadian indie band has received worldwide success over the past few years, performing at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, opening for The Flaming Lips, and appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman. In advance of their concert in Ottawa on April 8, Where Ottawa editor Misa Kobayashi caught up with Tokyo Police Club‘s drummer Greg Alsop to talk favourite road activities, Ottawa audiences, and their appearance on Desperate Housewives.

You’re often on the road touring. What two or three items do you consider your “travel essentials”?
If I’m allowed two items: A toothbrush and toothpaste. If I can bring three items though, then it’s coffee, pure granulated sugar, and dentures. The allowance of that one extra item really lets me let go of oral hygiene. Lucky for me and my teeth, we as a band have a two item limit.

What’s your favourite activity to do on the road?
Long drives are where I get most of my reading done nowadays, so that’s my favourite road activity.

What was the inspiration behind the new album [2010’s Champ]?
I think we wanted to make an album that you could put on at a party, or you could listen to alone on headphones, or play while driving to work, or maybe even at work (depending on where you work, of course).

What’s going through your head right before you go on stage?
I’m wearing pants? I’m wearing pants. Here you go. (more…)

Q&A with The Good Lovelies

The Good Lovelies

This Canadian group won a Juno for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year in 2010, has recently released their third full-length album, Let the Rain Fall, and boasts a lighthearted, folksy sound that calls to mind sunny summer days. Where Ottawa editor Misa Kobayashi caught up with The Good Lovelies in advance of their local show to find out about their travel essentials, where they love to eat when they’re in Ottawa, and more.

What was the inspiration behind the new album?
The new album is a celebration of our lives together on the road, touring this big country of ours. We spend a lot of time together, performing on average 150 shows per year, and that experience is reflected in the album’s lyrics. It’s an upbeat, happy record, with moments of melancholy (particularly when we sing about wanting to be home).

What’s your favourite activity to do on the road?
Well, we bought some skipping ropes about a year ago. When we get restless, we get out of the car and jump rope for a few minutes. Invariably, we make friends with any young girls that happen to be around. They join in without asking. It’s a way more fun version of the elementary school playground! And we love eating in new places, checking out the local cuisine. Recently we had some incredible Indian food in Northern Ontario in Bruce Mines. Go figure!

You’re often on the road touring. What two or three items do you consider your “travel essentials”?
Needless to say, our bags are very heavy when we leave home. Here’s a snapshot of what’s in them:
Caroline- running shoes, a good book, earplugs for sleeping
Sue- hair dryer, slippers, and a camera
Kerri- iPod, glasses, and a notebook

What’s the best thing about touring?
There are lots of great things about touring. A friend of ours said that in a way we have “working vacations,” we get to see so many different places, and experience different parts of the world. We also get to see friends who live far away more often than we would if we were still living full time in Toronto. (more…)