THE WEEKENDER: Whales and animal tracks, VerseFest and Rent, plus Seedy Saturday and lots more to kick of the month of March
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THE WEEKENDER: Whales and animal tracks, VerseFest and Rent, plus Seedy Saturday and lots more to kick of the month of March

The first all-black Canadian comedy tour pulls into Ottawa this weekend. The Underground Comedy Railroad delivers lots of laughs via a lineup that includes Andrew Searles, nominated as one of Montreal’s top ten comics, and Daniel Woodrow, who is a regular on Much Music’s “Video on Trial.” Thursday, Mar. 1. 9 p.m. $20. Carleton University, Kailash Mital Theatre , 1125 Colonel By Dr.

These sperm whale skeletons are the centrepiece of the exhibition. The general significance of whales in Maori culture is reflected in the exhibition, but some New Zealand Māori tribes have relationships with these particular skeletons. © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008

Whales Tohorā, the new Museum of Nature exhibit, explores the mysterious and majestic world of the whale. With two mounted sperm whale skeletons and an intriguing collection of artifacts that examine their place in science and culture, the exhibit is on loan from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The Māori people have a long and profound cultural and practical connection to whales — Whales Tohorā tells their story from various perspectives. $18, students, youth, and seniors $16, children (3-12) $14, under 3 is free. (For a 3-D movie add $2 to ticket prices.) Friday, March 2 to Sept. 3.  Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St.

Heighten your awareness of the natural world with an animal tracking course. The series of workshops, run through the month of March, teaches how to identify animal patterns and tracks (including weeks-old tracks covered by snow). Instructor Chad Clifford is a graduate of Lakehead University’s Natural Science and Outdoor Recreation program, and has a graduate degree in nature experience research from the University of Alberta, plus he is continuously upgrading his bushcraft skill through hands-on lessons with teachers, experts, and elders. $25 per day or $65 for all four sessions. Youth require adult supervision. Saturday Mar. 3 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.. Carp Ridge Learning Centre, 2386 Thomas Dolan Pkwy, Carp.

Ottawa’s annual poetry festival kicks off its second edition this week. Events include local and international talent performing traditional and spoken word poetry.  This weekend’s lineup includes American spoken word recording artist Ursula Rucker; known for her diverse repertoire, she hosts a hands-on spoken word workshop Sunday, Mar. 4 at 3 p.m. The final festival event, The Summit Reading, features Governor General award-winning poet Phil Hall, Pura López-Colomé from Mexico, and American Philip Levine (Sunday, Mar. 4, 8 p.m.). See for event locations and ticket pricing.

Come develop a taste for local food, farming, and gardening at the annual Seedy Saturday event. Take part in the seed exchange and sale, featuring an organic mini-market, garden talks, a swap table, and organic snacks. Workshop topics include gardening on small plots, growing your own dry beans, and for the newcomers to gardening: How to Plant for Seed. Check the schedule online at Saturday Mar. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Ron Kolbus Lakeside Community Centre, 102 Greenview Ave.

Love, passion, compassion, and grace. Set in gritty New York City, the critically-acclaimed Rent is a vibrant rock opera based on Puccini’s La Bohème. Memorable and provocative songs tell of a group of young struggling artists trying to make their mark in the Lower East Side under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Orpheus Theatre Company presents its premiere production of Rent, Friday Mar. 2 to Sunday Mar. 11. $40, balcony seats and seniors $37, children $25. Centrepointe Theatre, 101 Centrepointe Dr.

Eclipse: The Pink Floyd Story honours the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s first shows in Quebec through a large-scale commemorative production. A veteran cover band presents a “best-of” song list accompanied by spectacular lasers and round screen video projections of historic moments in Pink Floyd’s career. Thursday Mar. 1 and Friday Mar. 2. at 8 p.m.. $60.49 to $71.99. 18+. Théâtre du Casino 1 boulevard du Casino, Gatineau.

Alternative rock band Young the Giant comes to town with indie band Walk the Moon. Hailing from California, Young the Giant is known for their singles “My Body” and “Cough Syrup” (featured on Glee last week).  Sameer Gadhia is the lead vocalist and Jacob Tilley is on guitar. Friday, Mar. 2. 7 p.m. Bronson Centre, 211 Bronson Ave. All Ages. $20 in advance. Tickets available at Vertigo Records and