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WEEKENDER: An eclectic selection of offerings highlights nudity, politics, picnics, and pubs

Chinatown's newest gallery space — Central Art Garage — hosts its first exhibition. Eliza Griffiths (the artist behind Urban Runners, 2011, above) is one of the artists on the bill.

Grease Monkey
For Ottawa trendsetters looking to discover the next best thing, be sure to check out the city’s newest addition to the art gallery scene. Central Art Garage, located in Chinatown, is the product of a revamped auto mechanics repair garage “with a mix of modern and industrial amenities.” This Friday, September 13, marks their first (of hopefully many) exhibition, “Oil/Change,” featuring work from well-established Canadian artists. Central Art Garage, 66B Lebreton St. N. www.centralartgarage.com

Playwright Michael Healey is the writer and star of the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s latest production, Proud. A direct commentary on Canadian government and the prime minister (Healey has revealed that his character is based on Stephen Harper), Proud is a comedy that Healey hopes will increase the public’s involvement in — and understanding of — politics. See website for ticket information. September 10 to 29. Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, 1233 Wellington St. W. www.gctc.ca

Opera Lyra Ottawa launches its 2013-2014 season with a production of Carmen.

This Saturday, September 14, Opera Lyra presents George Bizet’s Carmen at the NAC’s Southam Hall. The story of the seduction of Don Jose by the infamous gypsy is brought to life by the NAC Orchestra, and conducted by maestro Tyrone Paterson. Italian mezzo-soprano Alessandra Volpe plays the role of Carmen. For those opera enthusiasts who would like to know more about the production, the Opera Lyra Guild will be holding a Pre-Performance Opera Chat provided by Cathy Allison in the lobby at 7 p.m. before the show. NAC Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St. nac-cna.ca

In the Pub
It’s a little known fact that The Manx Pub in Ottawa was once proclaimed by CBC Q’s Jian Ghomeshi as “the best pub in Canada.” To celebrate 20 years of arts, music, and good times, the pub is putting on a concert series, with artists performing each Sunday and Monday throughout the month of September. This Sunday, September 15, will feature Ottawa singer/songwriter Andrew Vincent. All shows begin at 9 p.m. The Manx Pub, 370 Elgin St. www.manxpub.com

Are We Alone?
This week is a big one for milestones! It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since we first heard that famous theme song and were tantalized by the “will they/won’t they” tension between Mulder and Scully. This Friday, September 13, fans of The X-Files are invited to take part in the television show’s 20th Anniversary celebration by attending a screening of The X-Files: I Want to Believe in the east-end community of Orleans. The event is free, but donations are encouraged, as all proceeds go towards Habitat for Humanity. Gates open at 6 p.m. Movie starts at 8 p.m. Corner of Scully and Mulder Way…where else?

Picnic Party
Since 1988, volunteers have put in countless hours to preserve, protect and maintain Ottawa’s Central Experimental Farm. This Saturday, September 14, join the Friends of the Farm as they hold a celebratory family picnic to mark their 25th anniversary . Events will include live music, a tour of the Arboretum, face painting, a bubble maker, and a colouring contest. Please bring your own picnic lunch and blankets, but save room for the cake and lemonade that will be provided. At the Arboretum, Central Experimental Farm. Admission by donation. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. www.friendsofthefarm.ca

Book Launch
Local author, Paul Mackan, launches two new books this Sunday, September 15, at PressedBreath of Rebirth is a chapbook of poetry showcasing Mackan’s talent of free verse and Brian-O is a novella for children and young people. Special offers include a free, signed copy of one of his books for a minimum order of $10 from the menu. Minimum order of $15 will get you signed copies of both books. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pressed, 750 Gladstone Ave.

~Meaghan Crowley