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WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of January 15 to 18

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Sheilagh Tennant (Artruist Ltd) 2008

Robbie Burns Day
Haggis — and that’s all you may associate with Robbie Burns Day. But did you know the following about the much lauded Scottish poet who’s celebrated on January 15? — He wrote the words to Auld Lang Syne, that “song” we all mumble through when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve; six of his nine children died; and he once took a diamond-tipped pen and scratched a poem on the window of an inn, writing that the Royals were an “idiot race.” Nice. Real nice Robbie.
The poet, pioneer of the Romantic Movement, and political activist’s b-day (Robbie Burns Day) will be celebrated in poetry and song at the National Arts Gallery on Thursday, January 15. Writer/performer Gail Anglin, proud Scot Stuart Jardine, baritone Fraser Gordon, and classical guitarist Shawn Peters will be presenting Ottawa Storyteller’s Robbie Burns: A Man’s a Man for A’ That. It starts at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $22.
NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

Pulitzer Prize/Tony Prize-winning Play
A black family seeks to buy a home in a predominantly white neighbourhood of Chicago — flash forward 50 years and that white neighbourhood is now mostly black and gentrifying; a white couple wants to move in and build a much larger home, but they come up against a black couple representing the neighbourhood association. The scene is set for conflict.
Clybourne Park is a Pulitzer Prize/Tony Prize-winning play, which is being put on by Ottawa Little Theatre,  which runs until the end of January. This satirical comedy examines race relations (serendipitously, considering recent racial tensions in the U.S.) and challenges ideas concerning ‘neighbourhoods.’ Tickets from $22. All evening shows are at 7:30 p.m.; all weekend matinees are at 2 p.m. No shows on Monday. More info, visit here.
Ottawa Little Theatre, 400 King Edward Ave.

Black Lit Burlesque
Remember sitting in a darkened room, smoking whatever, listening to something mildly psychedelic, and staring at the gleaming — nah glowing — teeth of the person next to you? That ‘effect’ was probably from a black light — the same that will be used to maximum effect in Lights Out: Black Light Burlesque and Variety Show at Arts Court on Friday, January 16. Produced by Frisque Femmes’ Kitty Kin-Evil and Sassy Muffin, the show is being billed as a “complete black light show from beginning to end.” The performance will feature comedy, drag, boylesque, contortion, and burlesque — plus body painting and prizes. Come early for cocktail hour where complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served (7:30 to 8:30 p.m.); the performance starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $30. This is a 19+ event. More info, visit here.
Arts Court is at 2 Daly Ave.

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By Henri Michaux

Speaking of Erotic…
“Unbridled” is how master choreographer Marie Chouinard’s Henri Michaux: Mouvements dance performance on Saturday, January 17 is being described. It features 10 dancers forming “stunning silhouettes and sequences to mirror projections of drawings” by the artist, whose works resemble figures in the throes of dance. Following Henri Michaux’s performance, Chouinard immerses the audience in the haunting music of French modernist composer Erik Satie. In Gymnopedies, dancers take turns playing the piano whilst the others perform “sensual, erotic duets” to the music. Note: the performances include strobe effects and some nudity. Tickets, from $40. Show is at 7:30 p.m. in the NAC Theatre. More info, visit here.
The NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

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Photo: Len Ward of arts & architecture inc.

Speaking of Nudity…
As you may know by now, dragon boat racing is kind of a thing in this city — the annual Dragon Boat Festival (June 25-28) at Mooney’s Bay Park is a growing phenomenon. This year, the Psirens — an Ottawa woman’s dragon boat racing team — has decided to go all nude-y for a calendar to raise funds for the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation. Why bare all? The goal of the calendar is to not only raise funds, but also to promote fitness and sport and “portray the confidence and optimism that run through the team” — through some very nude photography, with (of course) paddles strategically placed.
The calendar launch is happening on Sunday, January 18 at the Sir John A. Pub. Calendars will be $20; you can also meet the Psirens, get autographs, and be photographed with the ladies. Event starts at 5 p.m.
Sir John A. Pub is at 248 Elgin St.