BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE
The Dead Lands, a Maori film about a young man seeking revenge for the massacre of his tribe, screens at Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival on opening night.
Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival
Asinabka. It’s an Algonquin word that means “place of glare rock.” It’s also a word the Algonquin people use to describe Victoria Island and the Chaudière Falls in the Ottawa River — a sacred space where ceremonial offerings were once made. It’s a fitting name for a festival dedicated to indigenous arts in the capital.
Now in its fourth year, the festival begins on Wednesday, Aug. 19 with eight short films by Maori and Pacific Islander filmmakers, followed by a screening of The Dead Lands, a Maori film about a young man who embarks on a quest to avenge the slaughter of his tribe.
In the ensuing days, the festival covers a multitude of topics and issues facing indigenous peoples today. An anthology of shorts commissioned by the Embargo Project gives Canadian indigenous women the chance to shine, while a film by a Sami director explores the lives of reindeer herders in Scandinavia’s far north. There are also films based on the theme of displacement, stories told by survivors of residential schools, an examination of indigenous masculinity, a retrospective on the fight for political freedom, and a spotlight on indigenous arts.
Kaha:wi shines a spotlight on the traditional song and dance of the Iroquois Nation, as interpreted by choreographer Santee Smith.
Mikwenim, an exhibition at Gallery 101 that features installation work by Melissa General and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo, plays on the theme of remembering as a way to reclaim culture.
The festival ends on Sunday, Aug. 23 with another outdoor film screening at Club SAW. All events are free or pay-what-you-can. See website for venues and schedule. asinabkafestival.org.
The Arboretum Festival brings together music, cultural events, food, and more.
“He…embodies the transformation of Ottawa’s arts and culture scene.”
In 2013, that’s what Ottawa Magazine had to say of The Acorn’s Rolf Klausener, back when he was a co-organizer of the Arboretum Music Festival. Now that he’s been promoted to Artistic Director, the quote also reflects what has become of the festival.
Not only will there be musical acts such as Ottawa’s own New Swears, there will also be talks about the relationship of the Algonquin to the Outaouais region, media and visual arts, and food and drink to keep you nourished during your stay (such as barbecue from the likes of Murray Street’s chef, Steve Mitton, among others).
But why “Arboretum”? And why not hold the festival at Ottawa’s own tree museum?
According to their website: “We know it’s confusing. Latin for ‘Tree Garden’, the name Arboretum is a great metaphor for the diversity of artists we present and creative seeds we sow; more importantly, it pays homage to the natural resource honoured by our region’s Algonquin community and other First Nations. It’s also the title of a great book on the interconnectedness of ideas by Talking Heads’ David Byrne.”
There you have it.
Located at Albert Island, the event kicks off on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Advance day passes start at $15, or you can get your weekend island pass for $40. Free admission for kids aged 10 and under. Tickets can be found at Top of the World Skateshop, Compact Music, Vertigo Records, and at ticketweb.ca. See website for schedule and info. Albert Island, 6 Booth St., arboretumfestival.com.
Get a taste of the Middle East at 1001 Nights.
1001 Nights: An Arabian Night
The International Group — the same people that brought us Latin on Sparks — is presenting 1001 Nights: An Arabian night on Friday, Aug. 21, starting at 9.30pm.
From 10.30pm to 2am, enjoy a night of dancing to music from all across the Middle East, including baladi, dabke, and khaliji music. There will also be some international hits and top 40s. Hit the bazaar to purchase a variety of treats and take in performances such as a belly dancing show at midnight.
The International Group hosts events and festivals to celebrate all cultures in Ottawa. “We dance together, we feast together, and somewhere in between we make a whole lot of new friends.”
Tickets are $40 each; $30 if purchased in advance at Bab El Hara Cafe (1818 Bank St.) or online. See website for more info. The Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Pl., 613-818-8787, theinternationalca.weebly.com/1001-nights.html.
Jessica Bell: All Things Being Equal
Jessica Bell, MFA candidate in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Ottawa, created All Things Being Equal. In this display, Bell addresses formalist concerns (the practice of adherence to external forms, such as religion or art) and turning to her surrounding environment, she mines the possibility in items that she sees around her: canvas stretchers, textiles, and wood fragments — a tribute to the aesthetic of discarded objects.
Her works in painting, collage, fibre, installation, photography, and video function as encounters between these items and her willingness to engage with them. Using natural light and the effects of gravity, Bell also welcomes accident and failure as a party of her exhibit.
On display from Friday, Aug. 21 to Sunday, Sept. 13, with an opening reception on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 6pm. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is recommended. See website for more info. Ottawa Art Gallery, 2 Daly Ave., ottawaartgallery.ca.
One Tree Hill star Kate Voegele brings her pop-rock music to Ritual Nightclub.
They say life imitates art, but in the case of Kate Voegele, one might say it’s the other way around.
Shortly after releasing her debut album, Don’t Look Away, she scored the role of Mia Catalano — also a musician — on the television show One Tree Hill. It would prove a valuable opportunity for Voegele to propel herself to further popularity; after her debut on the show, sales of her album skyrocketed and she even got to perform her own music on the show.
She appears on Saturday, Aug. 22 at Ritual Nightclub, joined by Tyler Hilton, her former One Tree Hill co-star and a singer-songwriter in his own right. Tickets from $20. See Facebook event page for more info. 137 Besserer St., 613-680-7661.
North Lanark Highland Games
No one knows for sure when the Highland Games began. Was it in the 11th century, when King Malcolm III of Scotland presided over a footrace at Craig Choinnich to find the fastest runner to be his royal messenger? Or was it the Victorian-era Scots, who wanted to revive their culture after decades of suppression by the English in the wake of the Jacobite uprisings?
Either way, the Highland Games have come to signify the celebration of Scottish culture around the world. Dozens of games now take place everywhere from Bermuda to New Zealand, and the North Lanark Highland Games in Almonte (located an hour west of downtown Ottawa) is but one of them.
Athletes from around the country convene for events such as the caber toss, stone put, and hammer throw, but that’s not the only competition you’ll find — be sure to catch the dancing, piping, and drumming contests, too.
Restaurants, pubs, and bakeries will be on the scene to fuel guests up with Scottish treats such as pasties, pies, and shortbread, while vendors sell everything from pottery to crafts to bagpipe supplies.
The games begin on Saturday, Aug. 22 in Almonte. Tickets from $14. See website for more info. N.L.A.S Fairgrounds, 215 Water St., Almonte, almontehighlandgames.com.
Wizard of Oz at the Drive-In
Drive-ins with your guy (or gal) used to be the thing to do on weekends. The novelty and nostalgia has returned (as all things do, don’t they?) and on Saturday, Aug. 22, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the drive-in again.
The Cumberland Heritage Village Museum is showing a classic (and one of our favourites): The Wizard of Oz, on the big screen, outside, and under the stars. Just like old times, tune in and hear “Over the Rainbow” through your car radio.
Actors dressed as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch of the West, and the Munchkins will be on hand to take photos (costumes are encouraged!) before the start of the film. You will also have the opportunity to learn about the technology that changed the film industry in the ‘20s and ‘30s and make your own animation flip book.
Vintage-themed concessions will be available to enjoy in your car. The activities start at 6.30pm and the pre-show starts at 8.30pm. Tickets are $10. Free admission for children under five. Cumberland Heritage Village Museum , 2940 Old Montreal Rd., 613-833-3059 ext. 221, ottawamuseumnetwork.com.