WEEKENDER: Van Gogh’s life becomes a play, Spencerville celebrates 1812 and tries to break a world record, and seven more awesome events for the first weekend of June
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WEEKENDER: Van Gogh’s life becomes a play, Spencerville celebrates 1812 and tries to break a world record, and seven more awesome events for the first weekend of June

Since 1985, artists from all over the world have been coming to this festival to perform for Ottawa’s kids (and those young at heart). This year’s event will feature Australian tap dancers, a German puppeteer, American musicians, and many local acts. Organizers know kids aren’t likely to sit still all weekend – so in addition to the shows, there will also be face-painting, games, interactive story-telling, and arts workshops. Many events are already sold out, so get your tickets soon. Wednesday, May 30, to Sunday, June 3. Beginning at 9 a.m. daily. $12.50 per show. Lebreton Flats Park, The Canadian War Museum, and the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, www.ottawachildrensfestival.ca.

Frank Groothof performs in the one man show "Vincent Van Gogh, A Life in Paintings" about the artist and his brother.

Saw the National Gallery exhibit, and still can’t get enough ol’ Gogh? Explore the famous artist’s life in this one-night-only performance of Vincent Van Gogh, A Life in Paintings. A single actor plays both Van Gogh and his brother, portraying their lives with the help of music and animation. Friday, June 1, 7:30 p.m. $30. Gladstone Theatre, 910 Gladstone Ave., www.thirdwall.com/vincent.

The Canadian Film Institute and the Embassy of Israel are holding their ninth annual Israeli Film Festival, beginning this weekend. Select Israeli films, including Sundance-award winner Restoration, will be shown Thursday and Sunday nights for two weeks. Thursday, May 31 until Thursday, June 14, times vary. $12. Auditorium of the Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington St., www.cfi-icf.ca.

Brooding male artists (from Henry David Thoreau to Bon Iver) have been doing it forever – escaping to secluded cabins to create their masterpieces. The latest to do so is Canadian singer-songwriter Peter Katz, who recorded his latest album, Still Mind Still, in a cottage in the woods. Check out the result at the Blacksheep Inn this Friday night. Friday, June 1, 8:30 p.m. $15. The Blacksheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield, www.theblacksheepinn.com.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Orpheus Musical Theatre is performing Titanic: The Musical, from June 1 to 10. The Tony Award-winning show is based on real passengers (unlike the Kate and Leo version), including the wealthiest couple on board, John Jacob Astor IV and his young bride, Madeleine Talmadge Force. Experience this fascinating historical event in a new way. Friday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m and various other showings until June 10. $20-$40. Centrepointe Theatre, 101 Centrepointe Dr., www.orpheus-theatre.ca.

This summer will see a multitude of bicentennial War of 1812 celebrations, and Spencerville is kicking off the madness this weekend. Not only will the town be reenacting an 1812 election, giving historic tours and antique appraisals, it’s also trying to break a world record for most people dressed in Regency period clothing. Grab your top hat and tails, and allow Spencerville to transport you to another era. Friday, June 1, noon, until Sunday, June 3. Ticket prices vary by event. Spencerville Mill, 11 Water St., Spencerville, www.spencervillemill.ca/bicentennial-heritage-fair.html.

The region’s largest heritage event unlocks more than 100 of the city’s most architecturally interesting and historically significant buildings, many of which are not open to the public during the rest of the year. Landmarks include embassies, places of worship, museums, artist studios, science labs, and more. Some buildings generating buzz this year are the Official Residence of the Swedish Ambassador, the sparkling glass dome of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, and the Fairmont Château Laurier, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Create your own adventure as you get to know the places in your town – it’s up to you where to visit, and when to arrive. Check the website for a full list of participating locations. Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3. www.ottawa.ca/doorsopen.

Practise your dance moves in time for all those summer Highland games and Celtic festivals. Ottawa’s Royal Society for Scottish Country Dancing is holding a free mini-workshop for dance enthusiasts of all levels (even those with two left feet) this Saturday. No kilt required.  Saturday, June 2, 4 p.m. Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Blvd., www.rscdsottawa.ca.

A lit up "train" made from bicycles for the nighttime bike tour during Capital Vélo Fest.

Bike enthusiasts of all ages will go crazy for this event. Ottawa’s second annual Vélo Fest will feature a bike rodeo, a nighttime bike tour through the city, and tons of games and contests. Just make sure to hit the safety workshop before signing up for the bicycle jousting contest. Saturday, June 2, at 11 a.m. and Sunday, June 3, at 10 a.m. Registration cost for some events. Saturday’s festivities will be at Festival Plaza, City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W., Sunday’s events at various locations, www.capitalvelofest.ca.