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What to See Ottawa

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: July 30 to Aug. 2

BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE

Toronto's Union Duke performs their upbeat bluegrass songs at the Black Sheep Inn on Friday night. Expect banjos — lots of banjos.

Toronto’s Union Duke performs their upbeat bluegrass songs at the Black Sheep Inn on Friday night. Expect banjos — lots of banjos.

Capital Ribfest
Smell that? It’s the tantalizing aroma of ribs — lots of ribs! — slathered with barbecue sauce and smoking on an outdoor grill. Brought to you by Capital Ribfest, this meaty smorgasbord features a half dozen ribbers and grillers from Canada and the United States who, over the course of the long weekend, are cooking up a feast of beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken, and pulled pork sandwiches. You can also treat yourself to corn on the cob, salads, pizza, fries, doughnuts, ice cream, and a handful of gluten-free and vegetarian treats.

Up on stage, entertainment includes old-time jazz band the Boxcar Boys, local indie rockers Amos the Transparent, country rock duo Sons Command, and much more.

The festival is on at City Hall’s Festival Plaza from Thursday, July 30 until Monday, Aug. 3. Admission is free, but you pay for what you eat. The event is cash-only, with an ATM on site. See website for more info. Festival Plaza, City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W., capitalribfest.ca.

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Ottawa Weekend Calendar: July 23 to 25

BY AMY ALLEN AND MATT HARRISON

This collage of singer Lana Del Rey is part of Ways of Something, a video art exhibition pulled together by artist Lorna Mills. (Artist: Georges Jacotey)

This collage of singer Lana Del Rey is part of Ways of Something, a video art exhibition pulled together by artist Lorna Mills. (Artist: Georges Jacotey)

Ways of Something
“When the camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image. As a result its meaning changes. Or, more exactly, its meaning multiplies, fragments into many meanings.” — John Berger, 1972, Ways of Seeing 

More than four decades later, Berger’s observations — taken from his iconic four-part BBC mini-series, Ways of Seeing — is being reexamined by Canadian and other international artists: 110 of them, to be exact. Culled together by Toronto-based artist Lorna Mills, her mammoth art project, Ways of Something, will present video, 3D renderings, animated gifs, live web cams, and digitally manipulated visuals in the context of the 21st century (hence the Lana Del Rey collage), along with Berger’s original narrative and voiceover, in an effort to ask the question: is Berger’s ground-breaking 20th century presentation still relevant in the 21st century? Find out this Thursday, July 23 at SAW Video from 6pm to 11pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit website. SAW Video, 67 Nicholas St., 613-238-7648, sawvideo.com. 

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A Colourful Tale at the National Gallery of Canada

(Marc Chagall, The Trampled Flowers, c. 1956 1961, printed 1961. Colour lithograph on wove paper, 42 x 31.9 cm. Gift of Félix Quinet, Ottawa, 1986, in memory of Joseph and Marguerite Liverant. Photo © NGC. © Sodrac 2015 and ADAGP 2015, Chagall ®)

(Marc Chagall, The Trampled Flowers, c. 1956 1961, printed 1961. Colour lithograph on wove paper, 42 x 31.9 cm. Gift of Félix Quinet, Ottawa, 1986, in memory of Joseph and Marguerite Liverant. Photo © NGC. © Sodrac 2015 and ADAGP 2015, Chagall ®)

The Greek novel Daphnis and Chloe, penned by the writer Longus sometime in the 2nd century AD, tells the story of two lovers who are separated and reunited after a series of unfortunate events. Marc Chagall’s lithographs vibrantly breathe new life into the novel, taking the viewer on a journey from idyllic countryside to adventure on the high seas to a magnificent banquet in a royal palace. They serve as an enduring reminder of his skill as a colourist and are considered among his most important work. On display at the National Gallery of Canada until Sept. 13.
•National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985. gallery.ca
Map and reviews

Surreal Sights at Galerie St. Laurent + Hill

(Jaber Lutfi, Rabbit, 2014, acrylic on paper glued on wood, 30 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the artist)

Jaber Lutfi’s surreal paintings draw on elements of fantasy and history. (Jaber Lutfi, Rabbit, 2014, acrylic on paper glued on wood, 30 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the artist)

Jaber Lutfi’s paintings are as beautiful as they are sinister. A figurative artist, Lutfi dabbles in the surreal, using muted colours and distorted faces to create a sense of wonder and unease. His work draws from history, myth, and religion, in many cases blending reality with fiction. The forms he portrays seem simultaneously familiar yet otherworldly — a rabbit, for example, with what appear to be the chunky feet of an elephant and the humped back of a camel. On at Galerie St. Laurent + Hill from July 9 to 22.
•Galerie St. Laurent + Hill, 293 Dalhousie St., 613-789-7145. galeriestlaurentplushill.com
Map and reviews

Summer Blues

BY AMY ALLEN

Vancouver indie rockers Mother Mother perform at RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest on July 16.

Vancouver indie rockers Mother Mother perform at RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest on July 16.

Every July, RBC Ottawa Bluesfest draws thousands of music fans to the festival grounds at Lebreton Flats for acts that range from blues and classic rock to hip hop and pop. This year’s schedule is better than ever, which means there’s a concert to cater to everyone’s tastes.

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Taylor Swift Arrives in Ottawa

Pop superstar Taylor Swift arrives in Ottawa as part of her 1989 World Tour.

Pop superstar Taylor Swift arrives in Ottawa as part of her 1989 World Tour.

JULY 6 With the release of mega hits “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble”, Taylor Swift proved she has the chops to be one of the most successful singer-songwriters of her generation. The evolution of her sound from country to pop — as well as her meteoric ascent to superstardom — continues with the release of her latest album, 1989, an electronica-inspired offering that relies more on synths than twangy guitars. She brings her 1989 World Tour to the capital.
•Canadian Tire Centre, 1000 Palladium Dr., 613-599-0100. canadiantirecentre.com

Memento Mori: Tasman Richardson at Karsh-Masson Gallery

In Forever Endeavour, two characters from Poltergeist and The Ring gaze at each other across a darkened hallway. (Tasman Richardson, Forever Endeavour, 2012, CRT multi-channel A/V installation. Photo: Tasman Richardson)

In Forever Endeavour, two characters from Poltergeist and The Ring gaze at each other across a darkened hallway. (Tasman Richardson, Forever Endeavour, 2012, CRT multi-channel A/V installation. Photo: Tasman Richardson)

In his exhibition Necropolis, artist Tasman Richardson uses six video installations to explore themes of death, decay, and the unstoppable passage of time. Clips of Joan of Arc from four different movies, arranged to resemble the rose window at Notre Dame cathedral, denote pop culture’s gradual erasure of her history; meanwhile, juxtaposed images of two characters from Poltergeist and The Ring gaze at each other across a darkened corridor, both haunted by ghosts that come to them through the television set. On at Karsh-Masson Gallery until July 26.
•Karsh-Masson Gallery, City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W., 613-580-2424 ext. 14167. ottawa.ca/arts
Map and reviews

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: July 2 to 5

BY AMY ALLEN & MATT HARRISON

Pokey LaFarge brings his trademark Americana music to Ritual Nightclub on Friday night. (Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins)

Pokey LaFarge brings his trademark Americana music to Ritual Nightclub on Friday night. (Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins)

Heavenly Bodies
Over the past century, as the world has grown and cities expanded, light pollution has dimmed the stars and forced darkness from the night. This has had adverse effects on human health and the world’s ecosystems, not to mention altered our perception — perhaps even our awareness — of celestial objects. At Cube Gallery, Nocturne VII: Festival of the Night Sky celebrates the beauty of starlight with lectures, music, and sidewalk telescope parties.

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Under the Big Top: Cirque du Soleil and Spiegelworld

BY AMY ALLEN

(Photo: John Davis; Costumes: Eiko Ishioka ©2010 Cirque du Soleil)

Mysterious creatures creep out from Varekai’s magical forest. (Photo: John Davis; Costumes: Eiko Ishioka ©2010 Cirque du Soleil)

The circus has come a long way since its birth in ancient times, when it was known as the place where Romans congregated to watch chariot races, gladiatorial battles, and fights with trained animals. From the 18th century through to 1972, it was all about lion taming, equestrian acts, and clowns. But today, the power and artistry of the human body is the star of the show.

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Shania Twain Rocks This Country

Shania Twain hits Ottawa as part of her Rock This Country Tour. It's the first time she's toured in more than a decade. (Photo: Maura McEvoy)

Shania Twain hits Ottawa as part of her Rock This Country Tour. It’s the first time she’s toured in more than a decade. (Photo: Maura McEvoy)

JUNE 27 With massive hits such as “From This Moment On” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” Canadian songstress Shania Twain long ago cemented her legacy as the Queen of Country Pop. Although she’s been on hiatus from touring for more than a decade, she returns to stages across North America with her Rock This Country Tour — so slip on your cowboy boots and get ready to dance!
•Wesley Clover Parks, 401 Corkstown Rd., 613-271-5452, wesleycloverparks.com

Best of the Fests: TD Ottawa Jazz Festival and More

Pink Martini, the self-described "little orchestra", is one of many groups performing at this year's TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.

Pink Martini, the self-described “little orchestra”, is one of many groups performing at this year’s TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.

JUNE 18 TO JULY 1 The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival marks its 35th anniversary this year, welcoming a roster of talented and diverse musicians to the capital for a two-week bash. Although jazz has always been the festival’s primary focus, it has begun to attract musicians from other genres as well.

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Lethal Entertainment: Gladiators and the Colosseum

Gladiators and the Colosseum tells the real story behind these larger-than-life figures who fought and died for the amusement of the Roman public. (Photo: Contemporanea Progretti)

Gladiators and the Colosseum tells the real story behind these larger-than-life figures who fought and died for the amusement of the Roman public. (Photo: Contemporanea Progretti)

These days, the word “gladiator” conjures images of heroism, but the legendary warriors who fought in the arenas of Rome for close to 1,000 years endured physical, mental, and social hardships that we can only imagine. Reviled as slaves, most of them fought and died in obscurity for the amusement of the Roman public. Through one-of-a-kind artifacts, Gladiators and the Colosseum: Death and Glory tells the real story behind these larger-than-life figures. On at the Canadian War Museum from June 13 until Sept. 6.
•Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place, 800-555-5621. warmuseum.ca
Map and reviews