Heads Up

THE WEEKENDER: Royal-watching, dusk dancing, starry nights, and four more ways to celebrate Canada’s birthday

DUSK DANCES 2011
Right in the heart of the action, Strathcona Park plays host to Dusk Dances. Host extraordinaire Annie Lefebvre guides the audience on a journey to five unique dance performances set in different areas of Strathcona Park. Ottawa marching band Mike Essoudry’s Mash Potato Mashers launches the show. On the slate: Throwdown Collective (a.k.a. Zhenya Cerneacov, Mairéad Filgate, and Brodie Stevenson) perform their newest work, the athletic BoxSet, and artists Meredith Thompson and Kate Franklin perform Get On Board, an exuberant and intricate tap dance performance. Mohawk artist Santee Smith brings Kaha:wi, a dance work for four women celebrating the feminine spirit and Iroquoian traditions. The event runs nightly from Thursday, June 30 to Sunday, July 3. 7 pm. Pay-what-you-can. Bring your own chairs and blankets. Dusk Dances Ottawa Info-Line: 613-266-2365.
www.duskdances.ca

Sanjeev Sivarulrasa: "Milky Way Over Grand Lake Ont."

NUIT NOIRE
Hosted by Cube Gallery, Nuit Noire is an art show and community festival dedicated to the beauty and majesty of the night sky. The event runs for the entire month, but check out the gala opening on Saturday, July 2. At 8:30 p.m., James Bremner reads from his essay in the book “Let there be Night”, telling how he lost his fear of the dark and found a little courage. A Sidewalk Star party begins at 9:30 p.m. Meet the artists, listen to music, and use telescopes to gaze at the stars. The street lights will be turned off on Julian Avenue (out front of the Gallery) for a one-night Dark Sky street party. Cube Gallery, 1285 Wellington St. W., 613 728 1750, Cubegallery.ca.

OFFICIAL WELCOMING CEREMONY (FREE!)
Fingers crossed for clear skies at this Official Welcoming Ceremony for Their Royal Highnesses. (Then again, it might be fun to see Kate in a fashionable trench!) Taking place on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the pomp and circumstance starts with Governor General David Johnston and his entourage (wife Sharon Johnston, Stephen and Laureen Harper) welcoming the Royal couple. The Duke of Cambridge will inspect an honour guard of Army, Air Force, and Navy representatives, followed by a bagpipe salute — a piece composed by William’s great uncle, King Edward VIII. Royal watchers take note: the full list of events is posted at the website of the Governor General. Thursday, June 30. 3:15 p.m. Rideau Hall, 1 Sussex Dr. www.gg.ca.

THE BANG BANG CLUB
This film — based on the lives of four young photojournalists working in Apartheid South Africa — explores important questions about photojournalism in conflict zones. How far should a photographer go to get that perfect shot? When should a cameraman come out from behind the lens to help a subject in need? What emotional price do photographers pay for the glory that comes with international exposure? Sunday, July 3 to Tuesday, July 5. $10. Bytowne Cinema, 325 Rideau St. www.bytowne.ca.

CULTURE SHOCK (FREE!)
The National Arts Centre has a whole raft of events for Canada Day, so check out their website for a full listing. But two kid-friendly events caught our eye. During Culture Shock kids (and grown-ups) can learn how to dance to hip-hop music. Friday, July 1. Starting at 10 a.m. at NAC Terrace (corner of Elgin and Queen). In the Salon, Monsieur Michel is the feature act in the Kids Corner. He’ll be telling stories and playing games. Performance schedule: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. NAC, 53 Elgin St., www.nac-can.ca.

WONDERS OF THE SAND
Guess which beach staple is star of the show this weekend? The annual event offers the rare chance to see sculptors create works of art right before your very eyes. Learn how the pros do it, and then try your hand at building with sand sculpting workshops and the family competition. When not playing in the sand, have a blast with free watercraft rentals, swimming, children’s activities, live entertainment, and more. Friday, July 1 to Sunday, July 3, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily admission $5, free for children 11 and under. Beauchamp Lake Park, 745, Maloney Blvd. E., Gatineau. www.merveillesdesable.com

CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM
(FREE!)
Earning a visit on the Royal Tour, you know this is the place to be. While Wills and Kate will be here on July 2 for a private function for veterans, there’s plenty of fun programming to be had on Canada day for the country’s grand fête. Activities include military marches and highland tunes with the museum’s “wandering piper,” temporary tank tattoos for the kids, lectures about battlefield medicine, and more. Even better? For today only admission is free. Friday, July 1. 1 Vimy Place, 819-776-8600. www.warmuseum.ca