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What to See Ottawa

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Aug. 27 to 29

BY AMY ALLEN

Moonface, the solo project of singer-songwriter Spencer Krug, performs at Pressed on Friday night. (Photo: Tero Ahonen)

Moonface, the solo project of singer-songwriter Spencer Krug, performs at Pressed on Thursday night. (Photo: Tero Ahonen)

Moonface
Frog Eyes, Wolf Parade, Fifths of Seven — these are just a few of the music projects songwriter and keyboardist Spencer Krug has been involved with over his career. He’s an amazingly prolific musician who has been credited on almost two dozen releases since 2003. So it’s safe to say he knows a few things about making good music.

His latest project, Moonface, is a (mostly) solo endeavor. In several of his albums, he relies heavily on the piano as he waxes lonesome about everything from the collapse of a relationship to disillusionment with a once-loved city. He also collaborated with Finnish band Siinai to create Heartbreaking Bravery, an indie rock-tinged album with a brooding, melancholic atmosphere.

He performs at Pressed on Thursday, Aug. 27. Tickets are from $13. See Facebook event page for more info. Pressed, 750 Gladstone Ave., 613-680-9294, pressed-ottawa.com.

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Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Aug. 19 to 23

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.

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.

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.

The Arboretum Festival brings together music, cultural events, food, and more.

Arboretum 
Music Festival
“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.

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.

One Tree Hill star Kate Voegele brings her pop-rock music to Ritual Nightclub.

Kate Voegele
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.

 

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Aug. 13 to 16

Aurélie Guillaume, Madame au chien rose. Brooch, with enamel on copper, cloisonné fine silver wire, powder coated copper, fresh water pearls, enamel paint, steel, and micro glass beads, 9 x 17 x 1.5 cm. Courtesy of L.A. Pai Gallery.)

Aurélie Guillaume, NSCAD,  Madame au chien rose, 2014, Brooch, with enamel on copper, cloisonné fine silver wire, powder coated copper, fresh water pearls, enamel paint, steel, and micro glass beads, 9 x 17 x 1.5 cm. Photo: Jacob Mailman)

TD South Asian Fest

If there was ever doubt that there is a variety of culture in Ottawa, this Thursday marks the opening ceremony for TD South Asian Fest, the largest South Asian gathering in Ottawa.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, the festival opens with an art exhibition, followed by a boat cruise on Friday. Saturday will be a family-friendly, free outdoor event held at City Hall. There will be live performances from local artists, an opportunity to try a variety of South Asian cuisine, a kids’ zone, henna, clothing, jewellery, and an after party on Saturday at Club Discoteka on Dalhousie Street. See website for more info. Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W., 613-291-8624, southasianfest.net.

Greekfest

Zorba dancers perform at Ottawa Greek Fest.

GreekFest
Greece holds a romantic place in my heart. The community, family, food, people, and the country itself are beautiful. I still remember my first visit to GreekFest — I was just old enough to go out on my own, dressed up with my girlfriends, enjoying a little piece of Greece. The Zorba show, Greek food, jewelry, clothing, art, family, culture — and, of course, the dancers.

This year will be no different for me, as I intend to join the many other Ottawans who will take in the festival when it opens on Thursday, Aug. 13. Take advantage of the free shuttle to avoid parking around Prince of Wales Drive. See the website for the schedule, there is something going on every day, but rumour has it that the closing ceremony is not to be missed! See you there, I’ll be at the Loukoumades tent. Opa!

The festival continues until Sunday, Aug. 23. Admission is free. See website for more info. Hellenic Meeting and Reception Centre, 1315 Prince of Wales Dr., ottawagreekfest.com.

Calabogie Blues and Ribfest
Guitarist and singer Keb’ Mo’ is frequently hailed as one of the last living links to Delta blues, a musical genre that emerged in rural Mississippi in the early 20th century. He’s just one of many performers slated to take the stage at Calabogie Blues and Ribfest this weekend.

Others include Shemekia Copeland, an electric blues vocalist and the daughter of the late blues artist Johnny Copeland; Steve Strongman, a blues guitarist from Kitchener; and Jack de Keyzer, a two-time Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter.

Meanwhile, a host of barbecues from Canada and the United States are on site to grill up juicy ribs and compete for prizes, including Best Ribs, Best Chicken, and Consumers’ Choice.

The festival gets started on Friday, Aug. 14 and continues until Sunday, Aug. 16. Camping for tents and RVs is available on site. See website for more info. Tickets from $25. Calabogie Peaks Resort, 30 Barrett Chute Rd., Calabogie, 1-800-669-4861, calabogieblues.com.

2015 Student Jewellery Competition Finalists
The art of cloisonné — a painstaking technique by which coloured glass, gemstones, or enamel are sectioned into elaborate designs using thin strips of wire — has been around since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. Back then, cloisonné was used to make trinkets such as rings and buttons, but over the centuries, it began to appear in larger objects. The Chinese, for example, used it to beautify everything from bowls to vases to pots.

Art jeweller and NSCAD student Aurélie Guillaume takes this ancient technique and does something quite modern with it in her intricate, whimsical brooches of unusual characters. Beginning on Saturday, Aug. 15, L.A. Pai displays her work, along with that of five other jewellery students, in the 2015 Student Jewellery Competition Finalists exhibition.

The six finalists will be at the gallery from 2pm to 5pm on Aug. 15, and the award will be presented to the winner at 3pm.

The exhibition runs until September 4. Admission is free. See website for more info. L.A. Pai Gallery, 13 Murray St., 613-241-2767, lapaigallery.com.

Ottawa indie rockers Amos the Transparent play the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday night.

Ottawa indie rockers Amos the Transparent play the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday night.

Amos the Transparent
Making a name for oneself as an artist can be an uphill battle. Being constantly on the road and playing gig after gig with no guarantee it will pay off can take a mental and physical toll. This is what Jonathan Chandler, frontman for Ottawa indie rock band Amos the Transparent, endured before he found himself ready to give up on a career in music altogether.

Instead, he used the experience as material for the band’s latest album, This Cold Escape. The concept album travels the landscape of indie musicianship, tackling everything from youthful dreams of fame to the fragile balance of public and private life.

The band performs at the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, Aug. 15. Tickets are from $12. The Black Sheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield, 819-459-3228, theblacksheepinn.com.

Lumière Festival
The “Festival of Lights” has origins dating back to 1643 in Lyon, France, when the city was stricken by plague. The municipality promised a tribute to Mary, mother of Jesus, to rid them of the plague and, in thanks, a festival is held on December 8 of each year (this also ties in to the reasoning behind Christmas lights). But variations of this event take place all over the world at different times of the year.

This weekend, starting Saturday, Aug. 15 at 5pm, Ottawa will hold its own Lumière Festival in New Edinburgh Park.

Whether you attend with friends, family, or on your own, it will be a special, one-of-a-kind experience. Everything will be entirely lit by lanterns, including a labyrinth and live performances. Artists will be performing for donations, so don’t forget to bring some spare change in addition to your lantern. Costumes are also welcome.

Keep in mind that any lights brought to the park must be battery operated flash-lights or glow-sticks. Candles and open flames are prohibited.

Admission is free. See website for more info. New Edinburgh Park, 193 Stanley Ave., 613-745-2742, lumiereottawa.ca.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Aug. 6 to 9

BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE

Reggae artist Gyptian is just one of many notable names performing at this year's JAMDAY.

Reggae artist Gyptian is just one of many notable names performing at this year’s JAMDAY.

Distraction — the truth and the media
They say a picture is worth a thousand words — but artist Lilly Koltun wants us all to stop and think very hard about what some pictures are telling us.

In her exhibition Distraction, which begins on Thursday, Aug. 6 at the newly opened Studio Sixty Six, Koltun appropriates photos and video of recent and past tragedies to question whether the truth is really being told by the media. What techniques does the media use to influence public opinion? And by looking at these images, how are we involved in creating public passivity towards violence?

The exhibition continues until August 17. See website for more info. Studio Sixty Six, 66 Muriel St., Unit 202, 613-800-1641, studiosixtysix.ca.

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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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