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National Arts Centre

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for March 2 to 4

This photo shows actors from Orpheus Musical Theatre Society rehearsing for "Rent."

Friday, March 2
Orpheus Musical Theatre brings its rendition of the Tony Award-winning Rent to the stage. Based on Puccini’s La Bohème, this rock opera follows a group of young, struggling artists trying to make it in New York City. Gritty and modern, the friends face challenges that range from relationships to money to the health threat of HIV and AIDS. See why the musical lasted 12 years on Broadway when this local theatre group takes on the show. (And don’t be surprised if you start humming songs like “La Vie Bohème B” and “Seasons of Love” and dreaming of running away to the Big Apple.) Opening tonight and running until March 11.

In 1971, Pink Floyd played two shows in Quebec, one in Montreal and one in Quebec city, for the first time ever. Celebrate the 40th anniversary of these legendary concerts with the 2011 travelling show Eclipse – The Pink Floyd Story, on at Casino du Lac-Leamy. This commemorative performance demonstrates the band’s evolution, with a live band performing the best of Pink Floyd from the early days to the later years. Moving lights, spectacular lasers, and video projections make this a complete sensory experience.

Enter the musical universe of Kyssi Wète this Friday at the National Arts Centre. Wète mixes the sounds and rhythms of blues, reggae, rumba, soul, raga, and pop to transport his audiences somewhere between France, Jamaica, and the Congo. Using human diversity and relationships as his inspiration, he relays messages of interracial harmony with his unique voice.

Saturday, March 3
Celebrate International Women’s Week on the opening day of the Celebrate HER Charity Music and Art Festival. The festival celebrates outstanding women in the Ottawa community with a week full of art, music, dance, theatre, and spoken word poetry. Check out this year’s centrepiece: the “Amazing Women-Femmes d’exception” photo installation at Alpha Soul Café, which includes women such as University of Ottawa professor Constance Backhouse and children’s author Naomi Guzman Poole. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for February 24 to 26

A still from "Bruce-O-Rama" by Claire Hodge.

Friday, Feb. 24
The spirit of martial arts — and Bruce Lee — comes alive in “Bruce-o-Rama,” an interactive exhibition by Claire Hodge at the Ottawa School of Art that opens Feb. 23. You may feel like you’re entering a cinema when you first walk into the gallery, but this is no movie theatre. Here, floor pressure sensors trigger footage of Bruce Lee’s films, which plays in loops. Clips interact with each other in new and complex ways, fitting together like a mixed-up jigsaw puzzle. You don’t have to be the world’s biggest Bruce Lee fan to enjoy this exhibit — you just need an open mind and a willingness to see things in a new light.

“Pay it forward” is today’s theme for Ottawa Kindness Week, which began on Feb. 17 and ends today. The idea behind Kindness Week is to promote different kind actions in order to build a sense of community, which will hopefully last beyond this dedicated week. So, in sticking with the “pay it forward” mantra, the next time someone is kind to you, make a conscious effort to pay that kindness forward by being kind to another person, which will help make a positive difference in the daily life of our society.

Saturday, Feb. 25
Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm has been producing authentic maple syrup since the 1800s. Be part of this experience on opening day when maple syrup season kicks off with a flurry of family friendly activities. See horse drawn sap collection, enjoy tasty taffy in the snow, go for a sleigh ride, visit the Sugar Shack, and have a pancake brunch at the Pancake House in this celebration of Canadian traditions. The season runs until April 8.

Spontaneous hilarity and imagination are all part of the experience at the Canadian Improv Games: Regional Tournament Finals taking place this Saturday at the National Arts Centre, which sees high school students from around the city compete. See the final four teams and the wild card winners battle it out in this final round of the tournament that will make you LOL. (more…)

Hot Dates: One Night of Tango Pasión

Dancers bring Buenos Aires to Ottawa with Tango Pasión. Photo credit: Jimv McCann.

Feb. 21. If you love powerful music, mesmerizing dances, and beautiful people, you’ll love a performance by the Argentine dance company Tango Pasión. For just one night, the music and dancing of Buenos Aires will take over Ottawa, so you can experience the fancy footwork and sexy beats for yourself in this sizzling spectacle. (Fun fact: 2o12 is the company’s 20th anniversary, and the show returns to Canada for a handful of performances in select cities.) The show weaves together multiple tango stories and features dancers who represent the full range of Argentine society. Don’t miss your chance to see the dance moves that everyone will be talking about when the performers heat up the stage at the National Arts Centre.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for February 3 to 5

Quinsin Nachoff is just one of the performers taking the stage at the Ottawa Winter Jazzfest.

Friday, Feb. 3
Jazz up your weekend by taking in the international and local talent at the first annual Ottawa Winter Jazzfest. Whether you’re a seasoned jazz enthusiast or looking to diversify your musical tastes, this festival promises to thaw that winter chill. Hop all over downtown Ottawa, from the National Arts Centre to Club SAW to the Mercury Lounge to catch the smooth sounds of artists such as Megan Jerome, Quinsin Nachoff, Remi Bolduc, and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble of Chicago.

Experience Ottawa’s diverse architecture and examine the relationship between architecture, the arts, and politics through music with Polytectures. This sound walk was created by Montreal’s Antoine Bédard and 10 local musicians. Through a variety of musical styles, Polytectures allows visitors and locals alike to experience Ottawa’s architecture in new ways by pairing songs with local landmarks. Although the entire walk is an hour long, it has been divided into sections with warm-up breaks for Winterlude.

If you’re a film buff with a soft spot for independent cinema, then you’re going to want to Get Iced this weekend. The Independent Filmmakers Co-operative of Ottawa is presenting 10 new Super 8 short films made by local filmmakers in cooperation with Winterlude. Afterwards, unwind with drinks at the Soviet-style reception hosted by Avant-Garde Bar and Gift Shop. The party continues at the bar after 9:30pm with live music and no cover charge.

This Friday, Yamantaka //Sonic Titan and Boyhood bring the party to Babylon. Yamantaka //Sonic Titan are a psychedelic opera group that fuses noise, metal, folk, and pop music to create an east-meets-west culture clash extravaganza. Boyhood is new on the Ottawa scene, bringing catchy songs with haunting melodies. (more…)

Fitness on the Go:
3 Places to Get Your Workout on in Ottawa

When you’re travelling, it’s easy for your fitness regime to slip up.  All of a sudden you’re no longer hitting the gym – and all the eating out and afternoon drinks start to add up. Luckily for you, Ottawa has no shortage of fitness options, so we’ve rounded up three great ones with drop-in rates that will get you moving. By Erin Morawetz. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for January 13 to 15

Works by Pedro Isztin will be on view at Red Wall Gallery. Photo credit: Pedro Isztin, "Wakefield I, Canada 2010."

Friday, Jan. 13
With snow banks all around us and temperatures dipping below zero, we’re reminded of nature every day. So what better time to go check out Pedro Isztin’s new collection of nature photography at Red Wall Gallery? This new exhibit, Study of Structure and Form, displays photographs from all over the world, including Sweden, Spain, and Canada, in a wide range of environments. Isztin looks at shape in the natural world and humankind’s influence on nature – a very timely topic. Opening this Friday, this collection is on view until Feb. 6. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for December 9 to 11

Self-portrait entitled "Julie" by Julie LaPalme, whose work will be on view at Lemonjellow.

Friday, Dec. 9
If you’re looking for a fun holiday jam with a bit of an artsy twist, Lemonjellow’s weekend pARTy “Deck the Halls” is just the thing for you. Lemonjellow Productions is an art collective that aims to display art in all different sorts of ways. This weekend, the works of nine local artists will be on display and for sale at back-to-back holiday parties. The party starts at 8pm this Friday and lasts well into the night with the help of a DJ and some Christmas tunes. Bring a present to be re-gifted in support of Pink Triangle Youth, and leave with some great art priced $50-$300. A party runs Saturday at the same time, and a tamer cookies-and-coffee party is happening on Sunday.

If you’re looking to take a break from the holiday madness, take a road trip to Gananoque (about two hours away), where you can catch Robin Hood! A Children’s Holiday Pantomime. This beloved adventure story is being performed as a “panto” – a performance with a musical-comedy twist that has men playing women… and vice-versa! Some laughs, a fun road trip, a good time with family and friends, and a unique performance style – this outing has it all. Play runs until Dec. 23.

Saturday, Dec. 10
If you’re looking to broaden your cultural horizons beyond Santa Claus, come out to Carleton University’s campus on Saturday night. No, we’re not suggesting joining the students who are studying for exams; instead, check out Kala Tarang: An Evening of Indian Dance and Music, which is a concert highlighting the work of the students of Gharana Arts. Other performers include Kasturi Mishra, who will be performing traditional Kathak Nritya, and Udit Bhide and Ravi Singh, performing Sitar and Tabla Vadhya. Whether you are familiar with this style of dance or not, you will walk away with an increased knowledge of the rich cultural traditions of Indian performing arts.

As if the holidays don’t have enough temptation, the Ottawa Locavore Artisan Food Fair (LAFF) is back for a second year. This Saturday, 25 local food artisans will be coming together to sell their delicious products, including cookies, pies, cheeses, jams, chocolates, and more. Sample some products and choose your favourites to purchase as gifts or to take home for yourself. A silent auction of select products will raise money for the School Breakfast Program that feeds 11,000 children in Ottawa daily. So head out to delight your taste buds and support a good cause, as well. (more…)

Hot Date: Feist Comes to Ottawa

Feist rocks the National Arts Centre on Dec. 5.

Dec. 5. Canadian-born, indie-rocking, Juno-winning Feist has got it all — the voice, the passion, and the star presence. Ever since her days with Broken Social Scene, Feist has had that certain je ne sais quoi, but whatever it is, it’s taken her to big places and made her a household name (her songs have played in everything from an Apple iPod nano commercial, to Sesame Street, to the indie film 500 Days of Summer). There’s been a ton of buzz about her most recent album, Metals, and her live shows are said to be electric (her last tour sold out in many cities, including O-town). This December she’s back on stage, so snag tickets while you still can.

Hot Attraction: Soundwalk Offers Guided Tour to Music

The Ottawa Convention Centre is one of more than 10 buildings included on the Polytectures walk. Photo credit: © Ottawa Convention Centre/Centre des congrès d'Ottawa.

Experience a city like never before with Polytectures, a unique “soundwalk” that is part of the Electric Fields festival taking place this weekend. Here’s how it works: Starting this past Wednesday, you can download the 45-minute audio guide to your phone/mp3 player from a mobile Internet site (temporary rentals of mp3 players are also available at the Bytown Museum). The audio will guide you to capital landmarks with voice-over narration and specially commissioned music pairings from Canadian bands and musicians. Buildings on the tour include the Ottawa Convention Centre (featured), the National Arts Centre, and the Government Conference Centre, while featured artists include Tribe Called Red, Crush Buildings, Math Rosen, and more.

12 Days of Christmas in Ottawa

By Misa Kobayashi.

While the traditional carol offers up lords-a-leaping and swans-a-swimming, we bring you 12 ideas for fun outings and events to take you through the holiday season (no partridge required). (more…)

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). (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Special Canada Day Edition

In honour of Canada’s 144th birthday, we’ve rounded up an assortment of activities that get you in on the action, whether you’re looking for one day, or a whole weekend, of fun. Happy Canada Day!

Parliament Hill is just one place to celebrate Canada Day this weekend. Photo credit: NCC/CCN.

Friday, July 1
Everyone knows downtown is the place to be if you want to be in the thick of things, and everyone should experience Canada Day on the Hill at least once. Today, some of the highlights include the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, the noon show, featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, plus musical acts from across the country, and an evening show with plenty of live entertainment. Major’s Hill Park and Jacques-Cartier Park are good places to take the family, with activities that include a VIA miniature train, kite flying, an outdoor sculpture gallery, an international village, a Great Canadian Chicken BBQ, dance classes, fireworks, and — we can’t even believe we’re saying this — so much more!

Located right downtown, the National Arts Centre will be hosting an array of activities that are fun for the whole fam. If you need a breather from carousing on Parliament Hill, head here for some free fun that includes storytelling, breakdance performances by Culture Shock, music by the NAC Orchestra and 250 choiristers, plus entertainment by the Ottawa Stilt Union.

Earning a visit on the Royal Tour, you know the Canadian War Museum has serious cred. While Wills and Kate will stop by here on July 2 for a private function for veterans, there’s plenty of fun programming to be had on Canada Day for the country’s grand fete. Activities include military marches and highland tunes with the museum’s “wandering piper,” temporary tank tattoos for the kids, lectures about battlefield medicine, and more. Even better? For today only admission is free.

The National Gallery of Canada sure knows how to throw a party: Local ogranization Fresh Beat will be pumping up the jams on the plaza with techno and house music in the outdoor amphitheatre. This day of electronic music will feature well-known DJs from the region, such as Akash, Yan Larouche, Dr. Phil, Martin Diotte, Chris Falardeau, Jason Jesse, and Steve Martin. Also on site will be a barbecue and gelato, plus it’s the perfect place to grab a prime seat for the fireworks show at 10pm. (more…)