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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for June 8 to 10

Rajaton plays the music of ABBA at the NAC on 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.

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.


Best of the Fests

Tulips bloom during the Canadian Tulip Festival. (Photo: Ottawa Tourism)

Ottawa buzzes with excitement as festival season kicks into high gear. From performing arts to cultural celebrations — and everything in between — here are just a few top picks for May and June.

May 4 to 21
Enjoy the stunning landscape, decorated with millions of tulips, in honour of this annual festival, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2012. As always, Major’s Hill Park, Commissioners Park, and other areas around town will showcase the colourful blooms. This year’s festival programming will be moving into various neighbourhoods for community activities and celebrations. Popular programming that celebrates the theme of international friendship will be offered and includes dance, music, cuisine, and arts from diverse cultural communities, as well as interactive activities for families from galleries and museums.
Various locations.

May 30 to June 3
Children — and those young at heart — will delight in the fantastical shows on offer at this annual fest. Award-winning artists from around the globe bring their acts to town for five days of performing arts. Performances include 2 Dimensional Life of Her, a performance made of drawing, animation, puppetry, projection, and paper; Black Violin, a slick combination of classical and hip-hop music; Head à Tête, a play about two strangers, one French, one English; and plenty more exciting shows. There will also be family activities at the fairgrounds before and after the performances.
Lebreton Flats Park and the Canadian War Museum. Tickets: $12.50; three-show pack: $30.


Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for June 10 to 12

"The Vampire Stalker" launches June 10.

Friday, June 10
Everyone knows that vampires are currently the hottest other-worldly characters out there. With the young adult novel, The Vampire Stalker, local author Allison van Diepen poses the question “What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world – and came into yours?” The book launch takes place tonight at Kaleidoscope Kids’ Books with a reading by the writer and Q&A, plus cake and blood-red refreshments.

Add a little respite from your busy day with the National Arts Centre’s “Young Artists Program: Music in the Afternoon.” Starting today and running until June 23, these free noon hour concerts at the University of Ottawa showcase plenty of new talent from the Summer Music Institute.

"Poppies" by Kathryn Rebecca.

Wall Space Gallery hosts “RED,” a travelling group exhibition by the members of Jewel Envy Studio in Toronto. This show explores nine different personal interpretations of the colour through jewellery. Themes addressed by the artists include death, madness, romance, beauty, natural disasters, health, and more. The show kicks off today and runs until July 3.

Saturday, June 11
Celebrate diversity at the folkloric festival, Carnival of Cultures, which takes place at Marion Dewar Plaza. Running Friday through Sunday, this event not only highlights an array of cultures, but also promotes creativity and artistic expression in a variety of folk arts. Just a sampling of some of the performances you will see: highland dancing, Bollywood entertainment, Argentine tango, Lebanese dancing, an Ottawa Chinese arts group, and a Zimbabwean band. (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

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.

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.

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…)