Heads Up

WEEKENDER: A few things to do on the weekend of April 23 to 26 (and beyond!)


Photo: Courtesy of the Canadian Museum of Nature

Modern Wonder of the World
Stories — and tragedy — surround the history, and construction, of the modern-day wonder of the world, the Panama Canal. A film Ottawans will be able to relate to — given our own tragic history concerning the thousand or so that perished building the Rideau Canal — the film, Historias del Canal (Panama Canal Stories), presents a “sweeping historical drama” — it’s a gripping opener at this years’ 19th annual Latin American Film Fest.

A still from Historias del Canal (Panama Canal Stories), the opening film at this year’s 19th annual Latin Film Festival

The festival — held at Carleton University and presented by the Canadian Film Institute — will screen 19 films from South America over the course of two weeks, beginning this Saturday evening on April 25 at 7 p.m. The next day, make sure to check out the coming-of-age comedy, Rocanrol ’68 (Rock and Roll ’68) — Sunday, April 26 at 4 p.m.

Details on the films, times, costs, etc. can be found here.

Carleton University, River Building Theatre, is at 1125 Colonel By Drive

Qajak being built at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Photo: Courtesy of the Canadian Museum of Nature

Nature Nocturne / Q is for Qajaq
With Spring in full-gear, admittedly the thought of anything cold, snow, or ice-related is like a knife in the eye. That said, the Canadian Museum of Nature has some ‘cool’ activities planned in this vein — including being able to stop by from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25, and watch a four-man team construct a qajaq, that it is an Inuit kayak, which is part of ‘Q is for Qajaq’, a collaborative project to help inspire a renaissance of qajaq-building and paddling in Canada’s Arctic. (Cost of regular admission.)

But if qajaq-building doesn’t scream par-tay, then check out this month’s edition of Nature Nocturne — a Friday (April 24) night party, where the museum throws its doors open to music (DJ Rise Ashen + DJ Ron Lavoie), throat singing, drinks and more. Tickets are $25. Starts at 8 p.m. More info, visit here.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is at 240 McLeod St.

The ‘Other’ Folk Fest
Two festivals; divergent paths — that’s the story, of sorts, regarding the addition of springtime’s newest folk festival, the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, which takes place this week (Thursday, April 23 to Sunday, April 26).

This indoor festival should not be confused with falls’ longer-running, larger, outdoor Folk Festival (September 16-20). Nor, would the instigator behind this latest folk fest incarnation — Bob Nesbitt — necessarily court such a comparison. After all, Grassroots was created, in part, out of a need to eschew the commercialization many see taking place in the re-branded Cityfolk Festival. And so, here we are. One city, two folk fests — albeit Grassroots is much smaller, shorter, and bills itself as closer to folk’s roots — sort of like Bob Dylan before he plugged in.

Stef Paquette and Eric Dubeau open the fest on Thursday evening, with Old Man Luedecke headlining on Friday, followed by Connie Kaldor on Saturday. Lots of other musicians, workshops, and activities, full details here.

Ottawa Grassroots Festival is at Montgomery Legion Hall, 330 Kent St.

JFK, the ‘Smiths’ & a Glimpse Inside the Teenage Brain
By the time you get this, the Spring edition of Ottawa Writer’s Fest will be in full swing. At this point, most will have already scored tickets, planned which events to attend, bought the books, etc. For others, it may have snuck up on you — and for you folks, here’s a speed-read version:

With events from now until June, this weekend’s highlights include:

  • Thursday, April 23 Hear Andrew Cohen, author of Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours That Made History, speak about the famed President. Plus songwriters Craig Finn, Elliott Brood, Rose Cousins, Bonjay, Iskew, and The Split.
  • Friday, April 24 The Smiths! Not the band, rather authors Russell Smith, Neil Smith, and (later that evening) Michael V. Smith, as well as Giller Prize winner Sean Michaels and GG recipient Raziel Reid. Plus music by Mike Dubue and Glenn Nutio.
  • Saturday, April 25 Mark Bourrie doesn’t shy away from speaking about about the gagging of Canadian media in his recent book, Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know.
  • Sunday, April 26 You know you don’t want to look inside, but you’re dying to regardless of what horrors lurk there — author Dr. Frances E. Jensen delivers her book The Teenage Brain.

Full details on these and many others, here.