By CINDY OLBERG
In this issue of the Weekender: VERSeFest, Ottawa Theatre Challenge, and five other things to do in Ottawa this weekend.
This year’s VERSeFest features quite the who’s who of local and international poets! There will be readings from Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Michel Pleau; Scotland’s national poet Liz Lochead; and 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac, the duo who created the world’s first “psychedelic talk opera.” VERSeFest will be on until Sunday, March 30. Check their website for event times and locations. Tickets from $10.
Annual Rubber Chicken award
Catcall the competition, bribe the judges, and laugh until your sides hurt at this year’s Ottawa Theatre Challenge on Thursday, March 27. Theatre companies from all over Ottawa will be given 48 hours, three “items of inspiration,” and one chance to showcase their impromptu production as they vie for the coveted Rubber Chicken Award and the title of Best Theatre Company in Ottawa. Proceeds from this year’s event, which is hosted by A Company of Fools, will be donated to the Actor’s Fund of Canada. The Challenge takes place at the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets from $20. The National Arts Centre is located at 53 Elgin St.
Big in Japan
There will be lots to see, taste, and admire at the Canadian Museum of Nature on Friday, March 28. Inspired by the Museum’s 30-year partnership with Ikebana International Ottawa, this month’s Nature Nocturne party will feature demonstrations of Ikebana, the ancient art of Japanese floral design, as well as a variety of Japanese music, and animation. If you get peckish on your way to the dance floor, stop by the Zen Lounge for some sushi. But don’t leave without trying one of the Japanese-inspired cocktails and taking a picture with one of the evening’s costumed characters — especially if you’re also in costume! The event is from 8 p.m. until midnight. The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod St.
On Saturday, March 29, Guerilla will be hosting a night of live music, collage making, and burlesque at the new Gallery 101 space in Little Italy to launch their special 10-year print edition. Saturday’s event will be the last stop on GuerillaCRAWL, Guerilla’s 10-part series of community-centric events held on 10 consecutive nights, celebrating their 10th anniversary. Saturday’s event goes from 8 p.m. to midnight, with food and drink available at their cash bar. Tickets $10 at the door. Gallery 101 is located at 51-B Young St.
Latin celebration (FREE)
The Latin American Film Festival is an annual event that highlights the best of contemporary Latin American cinema — and this year, they’re offering food! As part of the film festival, ¡Fiesta Latina! will showcase Latin American food, wine, and culture, featuring specialties made by local and embassy chefs. There will also be performances of Latin American music and dance, and a visual arts display. The ¡Fiesta Latina! takes place at Library and Archives Canada on Saturday, March 29 from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. Admission is free. The Latin American Film Festival will be hosting screenings of films from countries throughout South America from March 27 to April 13. Admission for the film festival starts at $12. The Library and Archives Canada building is at 395 Wellington St.
Still dazed from their sold-out debut album release show, Silkken Laumann will be throwing a bumpin’ dance party at the City Centre warehouse facility this Saturday, March 29. Download their album Not Forever Enough online (it’s technically free, but it would be kind of you to pay what you can) and check out the other acts: DJ Matt Tamblyn (of Open Air Social Club fame) and Cabaal from Montreal to get a taste of what’s to come. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $8. The event is licensed. Gabba Hey is located at 250 City Centre Ave. unit #202.
Where art thou?
Almost everyone has a soft spot for Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet — a tale of love and love lost. This Saturday, March 29 — for one night only — ballet choreographer, Bengt Jörgen brings his internationally toured adaptation of the timeless classic to Centrepointe Theatre. The ballet starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets from $51. Centrepointe Theatre is located at 101 Centrepointe Dr.