Heads Up

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the week of May 22 to 27

By MATT HARRISON

A Julia butterfly hangs from a leaf at Niagara Parks’ Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo: Pamela Beale Cookstown, Ontario Winner of Up Close category in Canadian Geographic's 2012 Photography contest — works shown at Canadian Nature Museum
A Julia butterfly hangs from a leaf at Niagara Parks’ Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Photo: Pamela Beale
Cookstown, Ontario Winner of Up Close category in Canadian Geographic’s 2013 Photography contest — works shown at Canadian Nature Museum

Alien Canadiana
A grizzly drinks from mountain runoff water; a Great Grey Owl hunts for voles; a 70 metre-tall stone and clay formation towers in the Saskatchewan Valley — images such as these are not only breathtaking and fascinating, but also seemingly alien; many of us may never experience Canadian wildlife or landscapes in a similar way as the photographers who captured these images have. Opening this past week, their photographic works are on display at the Canadian Nature Museum until September 1. Canadian Geographic presents this exhibition, and the works shown are the winners of their 2013 photography contest. Entrance into the exhibition is included with regular admission. Canadian Nature Museum is at 240 McLeod St.

The Frantic Marble Munching Game
While the city gears-up for this year’s electronic gaming conference over at the NAC (Ottawa International Gaming Conference, see below), others may take a more cardboard approach by building roads and cities on the island of Catan, or perhaps taking a money-hungry stroll down Boardwalk at Ottawa’s newest place to play board games: The Loft Board Game Lounge, just above the Lunenburg Pub and Bar in the Rideau area. The Lounge boasts an impressive library of more than 700 games! Balderdash you say? Check out their library online  — a “stay & play” fee is $5, which is tacked onto your munchies bill: pizza, salads, apps, coffees, and more can be had. Plus, staff will teach you how to play the games. This Thursday, May 22 is the Lounge’s launch. Hours are Sunday to Thursday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. See you there — I’ll be the pissant on the Iron Throne laying waste to Westeros. The Loft Board Game Lounge is 14 Waller. 613-695-2975.

Habitat Here (FREE)
On some level, all three artists featured in Central Art Garage’s new exhibition, Habitat Here, invoke, comment on, or feature elements of geography — be it drawing upon their own environs, the Canadian landscape, or spaces in between — whether real or imagined. Habitat Here brings together works by Frank Shebageget, Lorraine Gilbert, and Amy Thompson. There is a vernissage on Friday, May 23, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The show runs until the end of July. Central Art Garage is a new-ish gallery (almost a year old), slightly inset from the main road, located in half of what once was an actual garage — 66B Lebreton St.

Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman, aka, The Weather Station, will be playing at You've Changed Records 5-year anniversary fete at St. Alban's Church
Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman, aka, The Weather Station, will be playing at You’ve Changed Records 5-year anniversary fete at St. Alban’s Church

You’ve Changed Records
A handful of Canada’s most talented songwriters will be part of the five-year anniversary of an increasingly influential, but still small, Canadian record label. You’ve Changed Records, founded by The Constantines’ Steven Lambke (Baby Eagle/Constantines) and Daniel Romano, the label’s put out a string of stellar albums by such musicians as The Constantines, Marine Dreams, and The Weather Station — the latter which will be playing at their anniversary party at St. Albans Church this Friday, May 23. Joining Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman (Weather Station) will be Shotgun Jimmie, Baby Eagle, Richard Laviolette, and Marine Dreams. $12 tickets. This event is being hosted by the Aboretum Festival, which happens, once again, on August 18-23. Though art, performances, and culinary activities are all part of this curated-fest, music continues to be its biggest draw and the organizers released the lineup this week, which features: Constantines, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Chad VanGaalen, Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars, among other musicians, including a host of Ottawa ones. For the full lineup, visit the fest’s official site. Advance festival passes are on sale until June 3: $40.

Fiery Fringe Fete
Ottawa’s Fringe Fest is only one month away — June 19-29 — and, in perhaps a misguided, but spicy annual fund-raising event for the upcoming outsider theatre festival, the Great Canadian Theatre Company is once again hosting its Great Curry Cook-off on Monday, May 26. Ten or more of the city’s “top chefs” will be serving up meat, vegetarian, and vegan curries at the GCTC. Expect Thai creations and tandoor concoctions. It’s an all-you-can-eat, potentially gaseous affair, so bring an appetite and, well, some Gas-X. Proceeds go in support of Fringe Fest. Tickets are $25. Bon appetite. GCTC is at 1233 Wellington St. W.

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E.T. Extra-Terrestrial, a massive flop for Atari in 1982 — it’s designer will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Ottawa International Game Conference

E.T. Unearthed
Atari 2600’s 1982 game, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, has the notoriety of being The Worst Game Ever; it’s designer, Howard Scott Warshaw — who was behind other such notable, early gaming successes as Yar’s Revenge and Raiders of the Lost Art —has the infamy of being the Maker of the Worst Game ever, since he designed the ill-famed game. In order to deal with the total flop, the game’s cartridges were buried in a giant heap somewhere in the New Mexico dessert, only to be unearthed, years later, by present day software giants; this is the stuff of a new documentary:

Warshaw is this year’s keynote speaker at the 3rd annual Ottawa International Game Conference, which happens from Sunday, May 25 to Tuesday, May 27, at the National Arts Centre. Focusing on business, game development, and the indie side of things, this year’s conference will feature ground-breaking games, competitions, speakers, workshops, and more — it’s definitely thee party to be at for gamers, programmers, artists, designers, and others in the gaming world. From $216 — although one day passes are cheaper. See OIGC’s website for more info. NAC is at 53 Elgin St.