WEEKENDER: Chinatown Remixed, International Museums Day, Star Wars, and four more ways to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday
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WEEKENDER: Chinatown Remixed, International Museums Day, Star Wars, and four more ways to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday

The fifth annual arts festival on Somerset Street West, aka Chinatown Remixed, launches this weekend. This unique month-long event includes exhibits of visual and performance art of all kinds located in various establishments from restaurants to hair salons. Take a stroll through Ottawa’s vibrant Chinatown to experience over 40 artists’ works in unconventional locations. One of many displays is Christine Mockett’s The Machine Project, a video installation presented at Tang Coin Laundry. Live music, workshops, and local foods are all part of this one-of-a-kind celebration. Takes place on Somerset Street between Bay and Preston streets. Grand opening and vernissage from 1:30-5:30, May 18. Exhibits continue until June 18th. www.chinatownremixed.ca

Get to know Star Wars on a whole new level at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum.

See the characters of Star Wars like you’ve never seen them before at the traveling exhibition currently at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. This weekend, discover how Luke and Anakin turned out to be such different people, view the vast collection of over 200 iconic props, and engage in a multi-media identity quest to see what you would look like as a Star Wars character. $24, teens and senior $20, children (3-12) $13.25. Friday, May 10 to Monday, September 2. See website for hours of operation. Canada Aviation and Space Museum, 11 Aviation Pkwy. www.aviation.technomuses.ca

Thanks to the International Council of Museums, we have International Museums Day on Saturday, May 18. In Ottawa, two museums are opening their doors to the public, free of charge – Museum of Nature and Bytown Museum. Educational, fun, and free! The Canadian Museum of Nature is at 240 McLeod St.; find Bytown Museum below the locks at 1 Canal Lane.

Written and performed by Melody A. Johnson, this 70-minute play set in 1955 tells the true story of a woman desperate to escape her dull life by setting out to win the local beauty pageant in hopes of getting closer to Hollywood fame. The hilarious story of Peggy Ann Douglas’ quest to obtain the tiara at Miss Caledonia is surely to be one entertaining adventure. Tickets starting at $30. Tuesday, May 14 to Saturday, May 25. See website for show times. National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St. www.nac-can.ca

Check out the newly renovated and historic ByTowne Cinema as it re-opens this weekend, May 17. The makeover includes installations of 435 brand new seats that are wider and more comfortable with greater legroom than what was previously in place. (Unlike before, you now have the option to raise the armrest if you want to get extra cozy with that special someone.) Premiering on May 17 for the re-opening are Canadian drama, Still Mine and the Oscar-nominated adventure, Kon-Tiki. See website for ticket information and show times. ByTowne Cinema, 325 Rideau St. www.bytowne.ca

Take advantage of the long weekend and head over to this family-fun event right by Dow’s Lake. With plenty to do and see, such as rides, musical and bandshell entertainment, a petting zoo, face painting, concessions, and fireworks, this is a guaranteed good time. With the Canadian Tulip Festival just steps away, the gardens can serve as a getaway from the crowds. Wednesday, May 8 to Friday, May 24. Victoria Day Festival, Queen Juliana Park near Carling and Preston.

~ Jessica Nasrallah