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Weekender: Six things to do on the weekend of Aug. 6 to Aug. 9

Distraction — the truth and the media
They say a picture is worth a thousand words — but artist Lilly Koltun wants us all to stop and think very hard about what some pictures are telling us.

In her exhibition Distraction, which opens on Thursday, Aug. 6 at Studio Sixty Six, Koltun appropriates photos and video of recent and past tragedies to question whether the truth is really being told by the media. What techniques does the media use to influence public opinion? And by looking at these images, how are we involved in creating public passivity towards violence?

The exhibition continues until August 17. See website for more info.
Studio Sixty Six, 66 Muriel St., Unit 202, 613-800-1641, studiosixtysix.ca.

Shrine Circus
“Under the big top” is a phrase most are familiar with. Where the acrobats and the clowns collect and the line between man and animal is blurred. And where there is, undoubtedly, lots of popcorn and cotton candy.

The circus is coming to town from Friday, Aug. 7 to Sunday, August 9 in the parking lot of the RA Centre. And they are bringing everyone – the acrobats, the clowns, and the animals. There is no need to fret over the treatment of the animals either, this particular circus has the Zerbini family in charge of their elephants and they care so deeply about the gentle giants that they also run an elephant sanctuary: Two Tails. The Zerbini Family has been in the act for over 250 years since they started in Paris in the 1700s. Ten generations of Zerbinis have travelled the world sharing their talents with circus audiences.

Check the website for the schedule, performances are held multiple times a day. $30 for general, $40 for VIP seating, $50 for ringside.
RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Dr., shrine-circus.com

Festival of India
One of my favourite things about Ottawa is the multitude of festivals that take place over the summer, celebrating so many different nationalities and cultures. It is an opportunity to learn, admire, respect, have fun, and eat delicious, delicious food.

This week starting on Friday, Aug. 7 is the Festival of India, taking place in front of City Hall. It will bring you through a variety of events: dance and music performances featuring classical Indian music, Bollywood, and more; yoga workshops and classes; food – the eating of and the learning of how to make from different regions in India.

A day pass costs $8.85 + HST, or you can get a 3 day pass to last all weekend for $17.70 + HST. Kids 12 and under are free.
Marion Dewar Plaza, 110 Laurier Avenue West, festivalofindiaottawa.org

JAMDAY
Bob Marley once said, “My music will go on forever.” And more than 30 years after his death, we’re hard pressed to find fault with that statement. Reggae has flourished in Jamaica and beyond, spawning subgenres of its own and influencing artists of all stripes across the world.

Come see Gyptian at Mooney's Bay for JAMDAY
Come see musician, Gyptian at Mooney’s Bay for JAMDAY

Reggae is just one aspect of JAMDAY, a giant bash at Mooney’s Bay Park that celebrates Jamaica’s contributions to the Canadian mosaic. Grab some authentic Jamaican food and enjoy performances by notable reggae artists Luciano, Gyptian, and Fabian Marley, who brands himself as Bob’s son (although a DNA test has yet to prove his claim). If you have the kids in tow, there are plenty of games and activities to keep them occupied at the children’s village.

The festival itself is on Saturday, Aug. 8, but you may  want to check out the flag raising ceremony at City Hall at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the gate. See website for more info.
Mooney’s Bay Park, 2960 Riverside Dr., jamday.ca.

The Long Island Medium
The concept of the séance has been around for centuries, but in the 1920s, it really became all the rage. Even Canada’s former prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, got in on the action — through mediums, he supposedly spoke with his dead mother, his beloved dogs, and Leonardo Da Vinci (according to his journals, anyway).

The desire to connect with a deceased loved one is an understandable sentiment, especially in cases where a goodbye wasn’t possible. That’s where Theresa Caputo comes in — she’s best known for her TLC television show Long Island Medium and she claims the ability to speak to the dead. In her live appearances, she attempts to deliver messages from spirits and bring closure to audience members.

Caputo reaches beyond the veil at the Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday, Aug. 8. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased online.
Canadian Tire Centre, 1000 Palladium Dr., 613-599-0100, canadiantirecentre.com.

Taco-Fest
No fork? No problem. Ottawa hosts its second annual Taco-Fest this Saturday, August 8 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Shaw Centre. You can look forward to your typical taco – hard or soft shell? You decide – as well as some twists on the traditional. There will be Ottawa faves like Petit Peru and Mambo, as well as some lesser-knowns to the taco scene such as Gongfu Bao Cart making a special steamed bun version. Worried about satisfying your sweet tooth? Among other options, Léché Desserts is bringing donuts.

There will be music pumping throughout the night to keep you energized. This event is only for those who are the age of majority (19+) so make sure to bring your ID. It is a cash only event – there will be ATMs on site.

Tickets are on sale for $10 if prepurchased online and will be sold at the door starting at 7 p.m. for $15. Once inside, food is priced between $2 and $5.

Wondering what to wear? The dress code according to the Facebook page: “Casual – Look good and feel comfortable!” (Everyone looks good in sweatpants, right?)

Gluten free, vegetarian, and even vegan options available.

By the way, is it tah-co or taw-co?
Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr.