BY MATT HARRISON
Ottawa International Film Festival
Only four years old, the Ottawa International Film Festival is definitely a new kid on the block by comparison to other, more star-studded film festivals in Canada. That said, the OIFF continues to impress with a well-curated selection of films from around the world. It opens with a gala on Thursday Oct. 16, and runs until Sunday, Oct. 19. Piquing my curiosity is the slasher film, Girlhouse (after all, it’s almost Halloween!) on Thursday, Oct. 16. And the behind-the-scenes doc — My Father and the Man in Black — about Johnny Cash as seen through the eyes of his Canadian manager, Saul Holiff, who committed suicide. His son and the doc’s director, Jonathan Holiff, piece together the untold story through letters and telephone recordings; it screens on Friday, Oct. 17. The short comedy, Dead Hearts, features a very young mortician (think ‘kid’) who will “give his heart away to find true love;” this film is billed as a “gothic bedtime tale”. It screens on Saturday, Oct. 18, and features “love, loss, kung-fu, taxidermy, and werewolves.” For the full schedule, visit the site. Prices are: individual screenings, $10; OIFF Gala (opening night), $50; or the see-everything pass, $95. All films screen at the Mayfair Theatre.
Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St.
It’s 1914 and war is in the air, spies are everywhere, and on a cool autumn evening in an old mansion, a group of socialites imbibe a new beverage unaware that cocktails can be… fatal! This is the setting for Murder with a Twist, a murder mystery being held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (Oct. 16 to 18) at the Billings Estate, beginning at 7 p.m. each evening. The murder-mystery-comedy is put on by the Ottawa Storytellers and tickets are $15. For more info, visit here.
Billings Estate, 2100 Cabot St.
[Memory lane time] Back in the early 2000s, blah blah blah. But one memory from that millennial period is the brief spat of iPod battles that pitted ‘DJs’ against one another, each selection garnering either cheers or jeers from the crowds. In that vein, I see a parallel with the Art Battle format that happens semi-regularly. During the battle, artists are given 20 minutes to produce their best work, whilst patrons mill about observing the contest and then vote for the best pieces. I doubt the masters pumped out their best work in 20 minutes, but I’m sure the battle does produce some interesting composition despite the haste in which they are created. Voting is followed by a silent auction. The ‘battle’ is at Arts Court on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 student/adv. tickets; $20 regular. More info here.
Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave.
Skeletons in Gatineau (FREE!)
Most people’s impression of The Museum of Nature is that what you see in their displays/exhibits is more or less the extent of their collection — au contraire mon frère (or soeur). Ten and a half million specimens of plants and animals are housed in a building the size of five hockey rinks along the edge of Gatineau Park. Known as the Museum of Nature’s Natural History Campus, this Gatineau building is opening its doors this Saturday, Oct. 18 for a rare glimpse into the facility and its massive collection. See how dinosaurs are prepared; get insight into moss and lichens; check out the Large Skeleton Room (including ones hidden in closets!); visit various labs, and peruse the Rare Book Library, which includes Sir John Franklin’s 1823 account of his first two expeditions to the Arctic. Museum scientists, curators, and staff will be on hand to answer questions. It’s free, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s also a BBQ — cash only. More info, visit here.
Museum of Nature’s Natural History Campus, 1740 Pink Rd., Gatineau, Quebec
Celebrity Chef/Gardener (FREE!)
Trussed up in a tweed jacket, sipping a pumpkin-spiced latte, taking in pedestrian cacophony with a care-free air that shouts autumnal bliss — if, while striding through the city in this seasonal rapture, you happen to stroll through the ByWard Market, don’t be surprised if you bump into celebrity chef Lynn Crawford, a wagon, and lots of harvest-y food stuffs. That’s because this is Harvest Weekend in the ByWard Market —Friday, Oct. 17 to Sunday, Oct. 19.There will be a street party Friday night from 7 to 10 p.m. featuring — naturally — food, live music, a sidewalk sale, and a historical slideshow. Saturday, starting at noon, there will be activities for kids, including wagon rides and an activity tent, as well as a Food & Drink show (1 to 6 p.m.) featuring Crawford who’ll be doing demos and signing books. Sunday, the Food & Drink show continues (1 to 5 p.m.), this time featuring CBC’s gardening guru Ed Lawrence. More wagon rides, book readings, and activities for kids.
Full schedule here.