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Ottawa events

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for January 11 to 13

Friday, January 11

The Back-Talk Organ Trio play Irene’s Jan. 11 
(Photo: Scott Doubt)

The Back-Talk Organ Trio + 1 (featuring Ian Babb and Iyono Ede) has an eclectic style that’s hard to pin down, other than to say that it’s full of jazzy goodness. If you love jazz, soul, R&B, gospel, experimental, or just good music in general, come have a listen at Irene’s in this Friday.

Local artist Lilith Ohannessian specializes in organic figures done in a minimalist, calligraphic style, Sumi-e, which she uses to infuse the principles of Tai Chi and Zen into her work. You can see her “Drawing the Line” exhibit for free at the Atrium Gallery this weekend (101 Centrepointe Drive).

Currently celebrating its 100th season, The Ottawa Little Theatre is putting on “Ten Great Plays from Ten Great Decades.” From January 8 to 26, Joan Sullivan Eady directs a cast of nine in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, the play that put Miller on the map as one of the greats (but also in hot water: it lead to him being called before the House Un-American Activities Committee).

Saturday, January 12

Bring the whole family to see Music Under a Midnight Moon

Peter Duschenes, Artistic Director of the Platypus Theatre, teams up with the National Arts Centre Orchestra to bring you Music Under a Midnight Moon. Originally commissioned for school audiences in 2001, the show has since gained international success, and now returns for a special hometown performance.

It’s a new year and it’s time get healthy, right? The Ottawa Health and Wellness Expo at the Shenkman Arts Centre has all the info and products you need for the healthy-new-you is to attend. A special bonus: this year’s Expo features the New York Times best-selling author of Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis, as a keynote speaker.

A comedy show featuring local talent is a great way to drive away any post-holiday blues. The Chris Timms Comedy Cabaret promises a mix of music and stand-up that will get your 2013 off to a smiling start.

Sunday, January 13

The National Gallery of Canada gives you an opportunity to experience Canada’s best contemporary artists in Builders

Builders highlights important moments in contemporary Canadian art —established, new, provocative, and topical — and it has been extended until Monday, Feb. 18. It’s a rare opportunity to see more than one hundred up-coming and established, influential artists all in one place. So if you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, then now is a great time to head to the National Gallery of Canada.

How about something that’s fun, fit, informative, and FREE? Gatineau Park is offering a two-hour crash course on Animal Tracking on Snowshoes, guided by an experienced naturalist. And the free course also includes snowshoes for the two-hours! Reservations are recommended.

If, perhaps, your tastes run opposite of snowshoeing, check out the Ottawa International Motorcycle Show at the Ernst and Young Centre from Jan. 11 to 13. Of course, there’s a heavy focus on two-wheelers, but there’s lots more happening throughout the weekend: music, a fashion show, and even a “tattoo alley.” Plus, new this year is an area geared specifically to women, “Riding ‘HER’ Way.”

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for December 21 to 23

Friday, December 21

A Christmas Carol is on stage at the National Arts Centre.

Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale is brought to life with the National Arts Centre‘s annual production of A Christmas CarolNow in its 10th year, this solo show has grown to become  a Christmas tradition in the nation’s capital. Starring John D. Huston and featuring the haunting music of Ottawa folk trio Finest Kind, this is a show you won’t want to miss.

Theatre legend Colm Wilkinson stops by Centrepointe Theatre for two full hours of music and storytelling. Broadway, Christmas and Beyond will feature theatre classics such as “Music of the Night,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “Somewhere,” as well as Wilkinson’s signature song, “Bring Him Home.” A seven-piece band and two female vocalists joins Wilkinson on stage.

Canadian Brass returns to the NAC with a spectacular display of holiday showmanship. Easily identified by their trademark tuxes and tennis shoes, the five-piece ensemble is the perfect blend of music, spontaneity, and humour. Together with the NACO, they will treat audiences to a string of Christmas favourites, including “O Holy Night,” “White Christmas,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.”

Saturday, December 22

Stuart McLean brings his storytelling prowess to Ottawa.

Beloved Canadian storyteller Stuart McLean returns to Ottawa for a two-night engagement at the NAC. The Vinyl Cafe 2012 Christmas Tour will include two brand new stories, Christmas music from The Vinylettes, and a special performance by Vancouver singer-songwriter Reid Jamieson. The tour will also celebrate McLean’s latest release, a four-CD collection of favourite holiday stories.

Ottawa’s own Jim Bryson returns to the national capital region for his Annual Holiday Show at Wakefield’s Black Sheep Inn. This will be Bryson’s first solo gig in a while (he spent the better part of the last year backing fellow local girl Kathleen Edwards), so the folk-rock musician plans to go big. Not only will be be joined by special guests Rueben Degroot and Kelly Sloan, he also plans to unveil a special holiday EP.

Now playing at the Museum of Civilization‘s IMAX theatre is Rocky Mountain Express. Awarded “Best Film” and “Best Cinematography” by the 2012 Giant Screen Cinema Association, this film centres on the construction of Canada’s first transcontinental railway. Breathtaking aerial shots and rarely seen archival footage add to this impeccable showing. All aboard!

Sunday, December 23

This weekend is your last chance to see Miracle on 34th Street: The Radio Show.

Have you been meaning to check out The Gladstone‘s production of Miracle on 34th Street: The Radio Show? Well, you’d best act quickly. Today’s matinee performance (slated to begin at 3 p.m.) is the final showing. Plosive Productions takes audiences back to the golden age of radio in this creative re-telling of a holiday classic.

If you have yet to take advantage of the Canadian Museum of Nature‘s seasonal specials, now’s the time. Until Christmas Eve day, kids aged three to 12 can enjoy half-priced admission. While you’re there, be sure to check out the newly renovated Vale Earth Gallery. The now 8,000-square-foot exhibition features interactive games, simulations, and even a Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for November 9 to 11

Friday, November 9

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings bring along some of their friends for their Kings and Queens tour at the NAC Friday night.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings’ latest record saw the band joining forces with some of their favourite female musicians, including Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Roseanne Cash. Now, the roots rockers from Hamilton, Ont. are taking the album on the road – and a few famous friends are coming along for the ride. Catch the Kings and Queens tour live at the National Arts Centre and be treated to special appearances by Matt Andersen, Amy Helm, Mary Margaret O’Hara and Harlan Pepper. Tickets range from $42.50 to $64.50.

Hosted by the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa (CAFOTT), the annual World Trivia Night has quickly become the largest event of its kind in North America. Drawing more than 2,000 people a year, the evening sees teams of 10 facing off in an epic battle of wits — all in the name of charity, of course. Registration is $350 per team, with all proceeds going toward education and enrichment opportunities for youth in the care of the CAFOTT.

Rock-star-turned-choreographer Hofesh Shechter will present his first full-length work, the contemporary masterpiece Political Mother, this weekend at the NAC. Performed by 11 dancers of the Hofesh Shechter Company in Brighton, England and accompanied by a seven-piece live band, the show is meant to challenge the viewer’s perception of what it means to be normal.

Saturday, November 10

Funnyman John Heffron hosts the annual Just For Laughs Comedy tour.

The annual Just for Laughs Comedy Tour hits Ottawa this weekend with its hilariously agonizing Relationship Edition. Featuring host John Heffron, Canadian girl Debra DiGiovanni, tour favourite Godfrey and Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer, these comedians prove that even the most embarrassing romantic mishaps have a silver lining — or can at least garner a few laughs. Tickets start at just $35.50.

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the volunteer-run Ottawa Little Theatre presents 10 plays from the past 10 decades. Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery The Hollow, which was first produced for the OLT stage in 1960, was chosen this month to represent the 1950s. Be sure to act quickly: Saturday is your last chance to take in this infamous tale of jealousy and deception!

The Ottawa Wine & Food Festival returns for its 27th year with a five-day spread of unrivaled culinary expertise. Featuring hundreds of exhibitors, an exceptional lineup of sommeliers and celebrity chefs (including Montreal’s own Martin Picard), and the ever-popular “Taste and Discover Series,” there’s a little something for everyone at this year’s event.

Sunday, November 11

Famed Métis artist Bob Boyer presents His Life’s Work at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Bob Boyer — His Life’s Work is the first large-scale exhibition devoted entirely to the famed Métis artist. Known for using traditional motifs to explore contemporary Aboriginal life, Boyer often critiqued the harmful effects of colonialism through his work. Don’t miss out: This one of a kind show ends on Monday.

Aptly described as “a short, sweet show of really worthwhile clay art,” 260 Fingers features pieces by — you guessed it — 26 potters and clay artists from eastern Ontario and western Quebec. The exhibition showcases work from both new and established artists, including Bill Reddick, Michelle Bishop and Maggie Roddan, to name a few. The three-day showing starts this Friday at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Now in its 10th year, the annual Homes for the Holidays tour continues to be the premiere fundraiser for The Hospice at May Court. For the event, Ottawa designers decorate six gorgeous area homes (located in Rockcliffe, Manotick and the Glebe) with flowers, Christmas ornaments and table settings. Then, over the course of a weekend, roughly 2,500 visitors are invited to wander through the various creations. Tickets are just $40 and can be purchased online from their website or at various retail outlets throughout the city.

Halloween Roundup: Best Best for October 31

Haunted Walks will have eight tours on Halloween. Be prepared to witness the unexpected!

What better time to take in one of Ottawa’s many haunted walking tours than on the spookiest day of the year? Haunted Walks Inc. will be offering eight tours on the 31st, stopping off at the city’s most haunted sites and sharing creepy ghost stories along the way.

It’s not every day you get to brush shoulders with Canada’s Governor General, but you and your family can do just that this Halloween. The Right Honourable David Johnston will open his doors to trick-or-treaters from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. on Wednesday night for the annual Halloween at Rideau Hall’s Haunted House. Johnston will hand out goodies to the little ones, and guests are invited to wander through the haunted visitor centre — if they dare.

The annual Chills for CHEO fundraiser has found a new, permanent home at Fun Haven! This event, which has traditionally been held in residential areas throughout the city, will feature a 3,000 square foot haunted house experience. Tickets range from $5 to $20, with all net proceeds going directly toward the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

This Wednesday is your last chance to experience the one and only Haunting Season at Saunders Farm! Hop on the renowned Haunted Hayride; save the world from a zombie apocalypse at the zombie paintball shooting gallery; or wander through the spooktacular Barn of Terror. But be warned: the evening haunt is not recommended for kids under the age of 10.

The Phoenix Players are bringing Warren Graves’ The Death of Dracula to life this Halloween season at The Gladstone. Directed by Jo-Ann McCabe, this Gothic romance centres on Count Dracula in an epic battle between good and evil. Tickets start at just $15.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for October 19 to 21

Friday, October 19

Bruce Springsteen brings his Wrecking Ball tour to town

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will rock the stage of Scotiabank Place this evening as part of their North American Wrecking Ball tour. The Boss, who made a name for himself in the mid-70s with hits such as “Born to Run,” is known for putting on electrifying live shows. Don’t miss your chance to experience one of America’s musical greats.

Consider yourself a wine connoisseur? Put your know-how to use this Friday at the city’s first ever taste-and-buy. Hosted by the sommeliers over at Savvy Company, the Outstanding in their Fields event will showcase wineries from Niagara’s renowned Twenty Valley region. Guests can sample (and ideally purchase!) goods from nearly 25 large and boutique wineries, including Peninsula Ridge Estates, The Good Earth Food and Wine Company and Flat Rock Cellars.

Houston Ballet captures the fascinating, albeit controversial, life of French Queen Marie Antoinette in the Canadian premiere of Marie at the National Arts Centre. Choreographed by Stanton Welch and set to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, the performance boasts beautifully crafted period costumes, talented actors and a riveting storyline.

Saturday, October 20

Matthew Barber plays two nights at the National Arts Centre

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Matthew Barber concludes his Tour for the Haunted Hillbilly at the National Arts Centre this weekend. Featuring songs off his newly released self-titled album, the two-night engagement will highlight the young musician’s 60s- and 70s-inspired folk-rock sound.

If you’ve ever had an interest in dance – or you’re just looking for a more creative way to exercise — Saturday Salsa at the Ottawa Arts Court may be just the thing you’re looking for. Created by ComeSalsa.ca, this monthly event offers beginners the chance to sharpen their Salsa skills in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Though classes are typically $5, first-timers are invited to test the waters this evening with a free workshop.

The Ottawa Valley Crafts and Collectibles Show is perfect for those looking to get a head start on their holiday shopping. Located at Library and Archives Canada, the event will feature a wide selection of fine art, books, home décor, beauty products, culinary giftware, and antiques.

Sunday, October 21

Hog’s Back Park is one of the sites for this year’s Explore Geoheritage Day

In celebration of National Science and Technology Week, Carleton’s Earth Sciences department is teaming up with the Ottawa Gatineau Geoheritage Project for Explore Geoheritage Day 2012. Guests are invited to join the volunteer guides at Champlain Lookout, Brebeuf Park, Hog’s Back Park and Cardinal Creek Karst to discover how geological processes have shaped the region’s landscape.

Enriched Bread Artists’ Open Studio is celebrating its 20th anniversary – and you’re invited to join in on the fun. The cooperatively run studio space, which at any given time houses the work of roughly 20 contemporary artists, will be opening its doors to the public throughout the month of October. Stop in today for an artist talk with EBA member Sally Sheeks, or visit their website for a full list of events.

The biannual Antiquing in the Fieldhouse sale returns this weekend to Carleton University with 40,000 square feet of unique vintage finds. On offer will be retro handbags by Gucci, Prada and Fendi; vintage Tiffany’s, Cartier and David Yurman jewelry; and works of art by 20th century artists such as George Barbier and Georges Lepape. Tickets are $10 per person, and re-admission is free.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for October 12 to 14

Friday, October 12

Comedian Gerry Dee performs at Centrepointe Theatre on Friday.

Though Canadian comic Gerry Dee is well known for his starring role on the hit CBC show Mr. D, his career in comedy didn’t happen overnight. Instead, the high-school-teacher-turned-comedian had to work his way up, and it wasn’t until 2007 (when Dee placed third on the American reality series Last Comic Standing) that he became a household name. You can experience Dee’s inimitable sense of humour tonight at Centrepointe Theatre as part of his Life After Teaching Tour.

The One World Film Festival is an annual collaborative project that sees local filmmakers, activists, and students coming together in support of human rights and environmental sustainability. The 23rd installment, which runs from October 11 to 14 at Library and Archives Canada, will feature documentary film screenings (including the Canadian premieres of The Eyes of Thailand and Words of Witness), panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and presentations from NGOs.

Billing itself as “the best food, wine and spirit show in town,” Le rendez-vous des saveurs invites guests to experience the incomparable tastes of the Gatineau region. Now in its 16th year, the event is bringing in some big-name exhibitors to please even the most distinguished diners. Vendors include Restaurant l’Orée du Bois, Le Tartuffe and Chelsea Pub, as well as Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery, Fromagerie Montebello and Érabeille Artisan. (more…)