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National Arts Centre

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for June 17 to 19

The Time Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.

Friday, June 17
Cheer on 5,000 paddlers from more than 190 teams at the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, the largest of its kind in North America. This free, three-day party boasts non-stop racing, kid-friendly activities, and live music (performances include Steven Page from the Barenaked Ladies and Ash Koley). Watch in awe as teams of 20 (plus a drummer and a steersperson) propel these massive boats forward with lightning-fast times. The festival runs until Sunday.

Centre d’exposition L’Imagier debuts its latest exhibition today, called “Hommes en voie de distinction.” This group show invited eight artists to take a personal and current look at the notion of “gallantry,” and showcases eight very diverse perceptions of this word. The exhibit takes a fresh look at what gallantry could be in a present-day context, and is presented in a variety of mediums that include installation, painting, photography, audio art, and video.

In honour of National Aboriginal Day, the Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival offers a chance to experience and celebrate diverse Aboriginal cultures. The usual festival activities are on the bill (pony rides, a petting zoo, bouncy castles), but you can also explore an artisan village, which features interactive arts workshops, demonstrations, vendors, and traditional food. There will also be live performances taking place throughout the weekend, with an international competition powwow, a headline show by Shane Yellowbird, an “Aboriginal Canada We’ve Got Talent!” competition with more than $15,000 in prize money, and a cultural showcase featuring traditional and contemporary Aboriginal arts. It starts today and runs until Sunday, rain or shine. Note: the festival is free but donations are gratefully accepted.

Lindi Ortega

Saturday, June 18
Singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega from Toronto brings her upbeat, folk-infused brand of country to Cafe Dekcuf after the recent release of her latest album, Little Red Boots. A unique genre she refers to as “a roadside motel love affair between old school outlaws and country darlings,” her tunes will have you swaying in your seat and tapping your (cowboy boot-clad) toes. Interesting fact: she’s opened for UK band Keane and Kevin Costner’s band The Modern West. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for May 6 to 8

Talhia Macneil, "Highway 5" as part of "Exhibition No. 6."

Friday, May 6
This is the last day to see the exciting works of some of Ottawa’s emerging photographers at Red Wall Gallery. “Exhibition No. 6” is a unique collection by students in the Portfolio Program at the School for Photographic Arts Ottawa (SPAO). In a city known for inspiring Yousuf Karsh, these students have learned to hone their craft and express their personal style.

Gather your most fabulous friends and hit up the Glamour in the Glebe Jewellery Show for two evenings of jewels and gemstones. All the bling you can imagine is on offer by more than 30 designers, so expect to come home with that perfect something special for yourself or someone else (Mother’s Day, anyone?). The Friday night opening is $5 admission and includes a jewellery fashion show and refreshments, while the Saturday event is free.

Linda Eder plays the songs of Judy Garland.

Saturday, May 7
Many associate Judy Garland with Wizard of Oz, but in A Tribute to Judy Garland, award-winning vocalist Linda Eder, maestro Jack Everly, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra take the audience through the late star’s most memorable tunes, from “Me and My Shadow” to “You Made Me Love You.” Also takes place on Friday.

Canadian band The Sheepdogs play Barrymore’s tonight and with Bachman & Turner on Sunday. These guys from Saskatoon have made a name for themselves, nabbing one of the top four spots in Rolling Stone‘s first-ever “Do You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star” competition. The winner of the competition will be the first band or artist not signed with a major label to appear on the cover of the magazine, while also receiving a recording deal with Atlantic Records and a performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Be sure to check out The Sheepdogs in Ottawa before they really hit it big. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Prairie Scene Edition (April 29 to May 1)

The biannual festival, Prairie Scene, kicked off on April 26 and runs until May 8. With it comes a variety of events and performances, from gallery shows to concerts, and everything in between, for a festival that spans 500 artists, 80 events, and 13 days. In honour of this very Canadian event, we’ve put together a “Prairie Scene edition” of the Weekend Roundup.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet performs in "Wonderland." Photo credit: David Cooper.

Friday, April 29
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet does a grown-up take on Wonderland as part of the festival, complete with an electro-acoustic soundscape and edgy elements that bring this surreal story to life. Your favourite bizarre characters will all be on hand (think the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and that mischievous white rabbit). Also playing Saturday.

Eat your lunch early and head to the Prairie Lunch Series to catch JP Hoe in action (show begins at noon). This singer-songwriter walks the line between indie rock and alt-country, and you’ll get a good dose of sweet, melodic tunes and clear vocals.

A Place in the Prairies looks at the concept of place in stories about the prairies, from writers who know know this area of Canada well. It’s an evening of conversation with award-winning writers that include David Carpenter, Dianne Warren, Alissa York, and Connie Gault. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for April 15 to 17

Friday, April 15
Ottawa musician Bruce Cockburn is at the National Arts Centre to support the release of his 31st studio album Small Source of Comfort. Boasting chart toppers like “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” and “People See Through You,” folk music and rock and roll lovers won’t want to miss this Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee’s adventurous songs of romance, protest, spiritual discovery, and humour.

Junkyard Symphony uses everyday items as instruments.

The entire family will love Earth Day Activities, on offer at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. In anticipation for the big day on April 22, drop by the the museum this Friday to make stamp art from reusable household items, create haute couture newspaper fashions, and groove to the beats of the Junkyard Symphony. The theme is green; join in the fun to celebrate our planet.

Saturday, April 16
The Mammoth Used Book Sale is back at the Nepean Sportsplex! This special event offers more than 20,000 books and audiovisual materials for children and adults. With most paperbacks at $1 and hardcovers at $2, you’ll be sure to find the perfect addition to your library. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for April 7 to 10

Explore the water at the Reel Paddling Festival.

Thursday, April 7
Get your weekend started early with the best paddling films of the year at the Reel Paddling Film Festival. Expect exciting stories from the stream that feature both professional and amateur films potentially ranging from four minutes to 80 minutes in length. Complete the ballot on the back cover of the evening program to vote for your favourite film for the People’s Choice Award.

Friday, April 8
What would it be like to live on Mars? Gather the whole family and head to the Living on Mars event at the Canada Science and Technology Museum to build a Mars habitat from recycled materials. Bring your own materials from home to add a personal touch to your extraterrestrial real estate.

Come out to Shanghai Restaurant in Chinatown to celebrate music free of expectation. Open Format 04 benefits the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives and gives visitors an unsolicited opportunity to enjoy musical creations without prejudice, hype, commercial ambition, or posturing. Pay what you can and settle in for a groovy evening. This month’s surprise DJ was born and raised in Ottawa and now hails from Vancouver. (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: Best Bets for Feb. 24 to 27

Thursday, February 24

An example of the Ikenobo school, by Ismat Zeine. Photo credit: Gregor Bochmann © Ikebana International, Ottawa Chapter

Okay, so Thursday isn’t technically a weekend, but the annual four-day Ikebana exhibition kicks off today at the Canadian Museum of Nature with a showcase of 50 beautiful, unique designs. Ikebana is the ancient Japanese art of floral design, and it’s far more than simple flowers in a vase. Inspired by the theme “Ignite” this show is a sure thing for floral fiends and lovers of the unexpected alike.

Friday, February 25

The Cantata Singers of Ottawa team up with the Vancouver Chamber Choir this Friday. One of Ottawa’s premier choral group will be hosting the night in the historic Christ Church Cathedral, as East and West join together for one night only to create a beautiful wave of sound. There is also a dinner package available through the Bay Street Bistro. (more…)

Hot Date: World Class Ballet

The Kirov ballet company performs "La Bayadère." Photo credit: Valentin Baranovsky.

Feb. 24 to 27. The world-famous Kirov Ballet will dance at the National Arts Centre this weekend, performing a dazzling interpretation of La Bayadère. The Russian company is known as one of the best classical ballet companies in the world – and it’s earned it. With formidable production values, an instinct for spectacle, and outstanding performers, this troupe is not to be missed. They will serve up six performances of this dramatic story of forbidden love between an Indian Prince and a humble temple dancer.

Hot Dining: Dinner and a Show

Find le café at the National Arts Centre.

If you’re heading out for a night at the theatre, or are just in the mood for a scrumptious meal, then le café at the National Arts Centre is a great bet. With award-winning Executive Chef Michael Blackie at the helm, this restaurant offers an inventive, playful eating experience that highlights the fusion of Canadian and global cuisines. 53 Elgin St. (in the National Arts Centre), 613-594-5127.