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THE WEEKENDER: Zombies walk, writers talk, and The Lizardman comes to town

OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL WRITERS FESTIVAL
The biannual festival of all things literary kicks off this week, with events that cover poetry and non-fiction, science and fiction, music and history, and everything in between. Discuss how Alzheimer’s affects young people with JC Sulzenko, author of What My Grandmother Means to Say or examine the work of Marshall McLuhan in a unique evening with ‘original and unclassifiable’ author B.P. Howe and local musician Mike Dubue. Music fans will also want to take note of the popular Songwriting Circle: hosted by Alan Neal, this years’ Circle features Emm Gryner, Matthew Barber, Louise Burns, and Ann Vriend. The ReLit Awards is always a good bet, bestselling author/psychologist Steven Pinker is sure to intrigue, and Air Farce with Don Ferguson will be good for a giggle. Other big names include Miriam Toews, Sheila Heti, Ian Rankin, and Amitav Ghosh. Thursday, Oct. 20 to Tuesday, Oct. 25. Festival pass $75, individual events $15, students and seniors $10; some events free. Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar St., and other venues. www.writersfestival.org

Zombies — and their fans — unite at the annual Zombie Walk this weekend. Photo by K-T-S Photography.

OTTAWA ZOMBIE WALK (FREE!)
With the launch last week of the new season of The Walking Dead (yes, I’m still having nightmares) it looks like the zombie craze is alive and well. The 6th annual zombie walk begins at 1:30 p.m. at MacDonald Gardens Park, home of four former cemeteries. Zombies will gather to collect non-perishable goods for the Ottawa Food Bank, take Coffin Rides courtesy of RUNAMOK Party Rentals, and get their pictures taken with Flynnphoto. The actual walk begins at 3 p.m. when the undead will hit the streets in search of brains, ending by swarming Parliament Hill before returning to their graves (or a local pub). Full details about the walk and route can be found at www.ottawazombiewalk.com

CHASING MADOFF
Nice timing by the Bytowne! A screening that seems very à propos given the recent Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, Chasing Madoff focuses on the decade-long campaign by number cruncher Harry Markopolos to blow a whistle on the perpetrator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. (Markopolos would become a hero to many when he testified before a 2009 congressional hearing into the Securities and Exchange Commission’s total disregard of all the warnings about Madoff it had received.) But the film also explores the human cost of so much being taken from so many vulnerable investors. Friday, Oct. 21 at 9:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 23 at 4:15 p.m., and Monday, Oct. 24 at 9:10 p.m. $10 ($7 for seniors and children). Bytowne Cinema, 325 Rideau St., www.bytowne.ca

OTTAWA GATINEAU TATTOO EXPO
This annual affair is for anyone who loves to get inked, or for those who simply enjoy the artistry of tattooing. More than 100 artists are on hand to showcase their work and share their experiences, plus they’ll be vying for the title of “best artist of the weekend.” Entertainment on offer includes tattoo contests, a rockabilly band, Capital Tease Burlesque Show, and the jaw-dropping sideshow performer known as The Lizardman, who’s tatted up from head to toe in green scales. Oct. 21, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Oct. 22, noon to 12 a.m., Oct. 23, noon to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday $20, Sunday $10, weekend pass $40, children under 12 free. Hilton Hotel Lac-Leamy, 3 Boul. du Casino, Gatineau. www.ottawatattooexpo.com

ENRICHED BREAD ARTISTS ANNUAL OPEN STUDIO (FREE!)
This artists’ collective throws open the doors of its bread-factory-turned-artists-space for the 19th edition of its annual Open Studio. Eighteen contemporary artists exhibit their work over two weekends and a variety of media is represented: sculpture, drawing, painting, multimedia. There’s no one theme, but this year recycling is a major element, with artists incorporating found and used objects (mourning lace, vintage library cards, audio cassettes). Some of the painters also address environmental issues, meaning and history, and colour and beauty, while other artists work in printmaking, knitting, and sculpture to explore personal or political narratives. It’s a mixed bag event that shows off the diversity of the local talent. The exhibition opens Thursday night at 6 p.m., where DJ Michael Caffrey will be spinning tunes as you get your art on. Oct. 20 to 22 and Oct. 28 to 30. EBA Studios, 951 Gladstone Ave. www.enrichedbreadartists.com

Migratory Circle by Nava Waxman

NAVA WAXMAN AT WALL SPACE GALLERY (FREE!)
Human narratives and the timeless qualities of nature pervade the work of encaustic artist Nava Waxman. Her first solo show in Ottawa, Mapping a World Beyond Reason, continues these themes. Abstract elements, composed with interesting structural elements, create collages that are both personal and evocative. The paintings are a result of acquired, discarded, and re-used printed matter, as well as overlays, copper inserts, hand-etchings, and inscriptions; the work is then sealed with layers of beeswax. Vernissage Thursday, Oct. 20. Until Nov. 13. Wall Space Gallery and Framing, 358 Richmond Rd. www.wallspacegallery.ca