BY MATT HARRISON
OAG’s On The Rocks
Fun facts about — Hokkaido, Japan’s wintery, northern island (this is leading somewhere, I promise): the island’s original inhabitants are called Ainu; it has a number of volcanoes, some active; the 1972 Olympics were held there; the Seikan Tunnel is a 53km railway line that extends 100m below the seabed, connecting Hokkaido with Honshu; and that silvery-can of Sapporo you’ve quaffed down at some Asian-fusion resto? That’s named after the island’s capital city. There, now you’re set for the Ottawa Art Gallery’s On The Rocks Hokkaido-themed Winterlude party on Friday, Feb. 6. Unlike in past years, this one’s being held at City Hall. It features performances by Oto-Wa Taiko Japanese Drumming Group, Ryoko Itabashi, shamisen player, and music by Anonimo. Plus traditional games, sake and Hokkaido home cooking samples, as well as door prizes. More info, or to purchase tickets, visit here.
City Hall is at 110 Laurier Ave.
It’s the Beat
“Give me a mic and a beat/And I’ll be straight/It’s the beat
You know it’s one for the treble/Two for the bass/It’s the beat” — It’s the Beat, Simian Mobile Disco
Thought by some to make you go crazy, lose your inhibitions, and cause you to ‘sin’, today, few would agree with this assessment of ‘the beat.’ Instead, as organizers of the Origins of Beat will point out, the beat has played an important role in the development and progression of Canadian music — from its earliest roots in Canada, to jazz, blues, soul, and — eventually — house music. Be part of the Origin of Beat showcase, featuring DJs, groups, and individual artists, who will be focusing mainly on Afro, Caribbean, Latin, and Urban music, and demonstrate how these genres have come to be influenced by ‘the beat.’ It’s $10 and it happens on Saturday, February 7 at Maxwells. More info, visit here.
Maxwells is at 340 Elgin St.
Baltic/Nordic Film Fest
A teacher who crosses the line? Sadly, it’s the stuff of daily headlines. But as The Lesson shows, in spite of best intentions, a teacher’s relationship with their students can sometimes be complicated. Known in Latvia as Izlaiduma gads, the film is the first of several to be shown as part of this weekend’s annual Bright Lights: The Baltic-Nordic Film Festival. Hosted by the Canadian Film Institute, the festival’s first film, The Lesson, will be shown on Friday, Feb 6 at 7 p.m. at Carleton University’s River Building Theatre.
A mother’s constant disapproval is the source of her daughter’s seemingly inability to realize her promising potential as an actress — I am Yours screens on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., followed by a look at Sweden’s legendary filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring, Fanny & Alexander) through the eyes of other cinematic legends (Woody Allen, Wes Craven, De Niro) — Trespassing Bergman is at 9 p.m.
A girl’s remarkable 6,000 km trek from a Cold War Russian gulag back home to Lithuania is chronicled in The Excursionist — it shows at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb 8.
More info, and to purchase tickets, visit here.
Carleton University is at 1125 Colonel By Drive
Wakefield International Film Festival
More film comin’ at yeah — but you have to drive to Wakefield to see it. Secret trials, an Israeli secret service agent who protects a Hamas leader, a blind piano prodigy who suffers from stage fright — just a few of the subjects explored this year at the Wakefield International Film Festival. Opening night takes place on Saturday, Feb. 7 with U.K.’s Next Goal Wins, a doc about how a maverick Dutch soccer coach transformed the worst team on the planet — the American Samoa, who’ve only scored twice in 17 years and never won a game. (Sound familiar? Let’s get this coach to help out our Canadian Men’s team.) That’s at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7.
And at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8. Also this weekend is Sol, a Canadian film by directors Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Susan Avingaq, about Solomon Uyarasuk, an Inuit acrobat, musician, and poet who died in an RCMP holding cell under suspicious circumstances. It screens on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m.
Along with riveting, must-see films, directors will also be present to discuss their documentaries. Opportunities for further discussion and a chance to mingle, share some libations, and eat nibblies will take place following films. For cinephiles who are also gourmands, the festival offers the Bouffe-4-Buffs, which pairs film with discounts to many of the village’s restos. More info here.
WIFF continues to show films and feature guest directors every Saturday and Sunday until March 1. More info on the festival, passes, directions, etc., visit here.