WEEKENDER: Music photography, holiday parties, and Christmas lights to make your weekend merry and bright!
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WEEKENDER: Music photography, holiday parties, and Christmas lights to make your weekend merry and bright!

Alight at Night lights up Upper Canada Village until Jan. 5. Photo by Chris Robinson.

Sometimes it’s nice to escape the concrete jungle and experience the joys of a quiet, old-fashioned lifestyle. The Alight At Night Festival at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg is the perfect mini getaway, with plenty of winter activities for everyone to enjoy. Nearly one million (we said it: one million!) Christmas lights illuminate the village for visitors, creating a spectacular sight that will surely get you in the festive spirit. Holiday music, food, and a few Christmas surprises await guests, not to mention a life-sized toy train and horse-drawn carriages to ride all evening long. Thursday, December 20, to Sunday, December 23, opens at 5 p.m. $10-$13, children under five enter free. Upper Canada Village, 13740 County Road 2, Morrisburg, www.uppercanadavillage.com.

Join Ottawa’s indie-rock darlings Amos the Transparent as they bring some Christmas spirit to the music community. With the release of their widely celebrated album Goodnight My Dear, I’m Falling Apart and a string of successful tour stops in 2012, Amos is sure to rock your socks of. The band will be joined by local rockers The Gallop and The Strain to bring the fun to Maverick’s annual Christmas bash. Friday, December 21, 9 p.m. $10. Maverick’s Bar, 221 Rideau St. See Facebook event here.

This month-long exhibit of Darryl Reid’s Midnight Lullabies: Three Years of Photographing Ottawa’s Music Underground gives visitors the chance to view Ottawa through a different lens. Reid, who began learning photography with his mother’s 30-year-old camera, has compiled some of his best images of underground basement and bar shows over the past three years. While this music scene may be small, Reid’s photos capture its energy and liveliness. A holiday toast will take place at the opening (Friday at 8 p.m.) to celebrate the artist’s first exhibit at Invisible Cinema’s Wurm Gallery, so be prepared to raise your glass! Friday, December 21, to Wednesday, January 23. See website for gallery hours. Invisible Cinema, 319 Lisgar St., www.invisiblecinema.ca.

Les Mécaniques Célestes will be staged at the NAC on Saturday afternoon. Photo © Louise Leblanc.

With concept, set designs, and direction by veteran visual artist Claudie Gagnon, this story (en français!) is described as “a collection of small moments, encounters between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the banal and the fantastic.” We’re not entirely sure what that means, but it sure sounds (and looks!) cool. Smiles from kids and parents are to be expected during this whimsical show. Saturday, December 22, 1:30 p.m. $17. National Arts Centre, Studio, 53 Elgin St., www.nac-cna.ca.

The renowned Chamber Players of Canada are kicking off their 2012-2013 season with a bang, bringing some of the most talented chamber artists Canada has to offer to the stage. They will be ushering in the holidays with their grandest performance of the year – the annual Christmas Concert. This year’s featured artists include Juno-winning violinist Alexandre DaCosta, the awe-inspiring soprano Joyce El-Khoury (star of Opera Lyra’s 2012 production of La Boheme), violinist Marie Bérard, cellist Julian Armour, harpsichordist Thomas Annand, pianist Andrew Tunis, and violist Guylaine Lemaire. The performance will include some riveting works from Bach, Holst, Puccini, Reinecke, and many more. Saturday, December 22, 7:30 p.m. $10-$40. Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper St., www.chamberplayers.ca.

Some of Ottawa’s premier hip-hop artists are joining forces to raise funds for the Ottawa Food Bank. The Ottawa Food Bank collects, stores, and distributes food to 140 emergency food programs that feed approximately 45,000 people per month in the region – 37 percent of whom are children. Zoo Legacy and Atherton will provide beats and rhymes all night long, with net proceeds going to help this cause. And the party doesn’t stop there! Join Zoo Legacy for an after-party DJ set that will be sure to get people in the holiday spirit (and on the dance floor). Saturday, December 22, 9 p.m. $10 (or $5 for Facebook fans). Club SAW, 67 Nicholas St. See Facebook event here.