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WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of June 4 to 7


Public Servant - Papers Flying - L-R Sarah McVie, Haley McGee, Amy Rutherford - photo GCTC Andrew Alexander-1
The Public Servant (Left) Actresses Sarah McVie, Haley McGee, and Amy Rutherford. Photo: Andrew Alexander

The Public Servant
Those of us who’ve never graced the halls of power might wonder what it is, exactly, you public servants do, every day inside those asbestos-lined, 1950s Brutalist architectural walls. I mean, how do those golden handcuffs feel, day after day?

Aiming to pull back the veil on the mystery that is the Ottawa bureaucratic machine is The Public Servant, a new play debuting this weekend at the GCTC.

Director and one of the writers, Jennifer Brewin, asks us to follow Madge, a “young, idealistic and enthusiastic civil servant as she gets ready to write her first official memo.” Thrilling stuff… But perhaps as a nod to Kafka’s The Trial, Madge’s memo “brings to light all the inner-workings and absurdities of government bureaucracy.” The play runs until June 21. Visit here for showtimes. Weekend matinees at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
GCTC is at 1233 Wellington St. W.

Prose in the Park FREE
Word on the Street.

When I saw those words, the first thing I thought of as the parent of a five-year-old is Sesame Street’s Word on the Street, a short vingette that’s hosted by the furry red monster named Murray — Not Toronto’s National Book & Magazine festival, which is the model for this weekend’s Prose in the Park — an event happening on Saturday, June 6 in Parkdale Park.

“There is something really magical about hundreds of authors, volunteers and organizers coming together to give birth to a new literary festival,” says Prose in the Park’s Ian Shaw.

The new lit-fest is being billed as “Ottawa’s largest single-day writers’ event ever” and will feature 150 Canadian authors (many of them local, including Francophone), 15 authors’ panels, and special events (including an all-day open-mic stage). More than a dozen publishers and three independent bookstores will also participate. Some highlights include: Giller Prize Winner Vincent Lam (Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, 2006), Governor-General Winner Rosemary Sullivan (Shadow Maker, 1995), and Yves Breton (Drôle de vie que voilà !: Pulsions, 2014), among others. It’s entirely free, and goes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. More info, visit here.
Parkdale Park is at Somerset and Parkdale Ave.

Rideau Hall, one of many landmarks participating in Open Doors Ottawa this weekend

Open Doors Ottawa FREE
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite” — William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & Hell, 1790-93

Drawing from Blake to set up this weekend’s Doors Open Ottawa may be setting up unrealistic expectations. After all, unless you tour this thing high as a kite, I doubt, very much, you’ll experience the “infinite” whilst peering inside the U.S. Embassy, Le Cordon Bleu, or the Carleton Masonic Lodge.

Regardless, you may see more clearly — at least inside spaces where you would otherwise not normally venture. The 14th annual event happens this Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free, there’s a cycling component, maps, and a list of buildings that are open, i.e. my house is not. Of interest, Rideau Hall, Royal Canadian Mint, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Parish (simply because it has quite possibly the longest name for a church, ever). Beware, entrance to some buildings requires pre-registration.
More info, visit here.

WTFveganfoodVeg Fest
Four years ago, Kristin Lajeunesse quit her job, purchased, reno’d, and moved into a Chevy van (dubbed Gerty), and set out across America with the intention of eating at, and writing about every vegan restaurant. After 50 states and almost 600 restos, Lajeunesse is able to explain “How Eating at Every Single Vegan Restaurant in the U.S. Changed a Young Woman’s Life” — the title of her talk, which she’ll give on Sunday, June 7 at 12 p.m. as part of the speakers series being offered this weekend at the annual Veg Fest.

In addition to the speakers series, Veg Fest — happening on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 — offers a cornucopia of offerings from farmers, cooks, chefs, artisans, and other vendors, including health products and services, and cooking demos (the lineup includes: The Green Door’s Ron Farmer, Strawberry Blonde Bakery’s Erin Daminato, and Auntie Loo’s Treats’ Amanda Lunan, among others). Admission is by donation. It’s at the RA Centre on Riverside Dr., and takes place, both days, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info, visit here.
RA Centre is at 2451 Riverside Dr.