THE WEEKENDER: Magic, Mardi Gras, and five more ways to fill a rainy March weekend

THE WEEKENDER: Magic, Mardi Gras, and five more ways to fill a rainy March weekend

"The Devil's Candy" plays as part of the IFCO Gala Screening. Photo credit: Directed by Tasha Waldron, photo by Martin Racine.

Hot on the heels of this year’s Genie Awards, this annual fest showcases some alternative local film talent. The Independent Filmmakers Co-operative of Ottawa (IFCO) is celebrating its 19th birthday with a viewing of its members’ work. On the bill: a no-holds-barred depiction of drug abuse, a short travelogue on the Buddhist vision of purgatory in Northern Japan, and eight others. Put on your party hat for the post-screening mix-and-mingle with the filmmakers. Saturday, March 12. 7 p.m. $12. Screenings at the Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington St.

Sock ‘n Buskin Theatre ends its 67th with that most sensuous of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Director Dave Dawson’s vision of the timeless love story incorporates simple, contemporary staging and — we’re told — some fine sword fighting scenes. Thursday, March 10 to Sunday, March 12 (it’s on next week on March 17, 18, 19, too). 8 p.m. $12, seniors and students $8. Carleton University (Kailash Mital Theatre). 613-520-3770.

Known best for his regular Wednesday gig at Maxwell’s (500+ shows and counting), local lounge legend Johnny Vegas plays a rare weekend bar gig in honour of Mardi Gras at Tucson’s annual Mardi Gras Party. Other draws: prizes for best Mardi Gras attire and an appearance by the Molson Girls (who will be showcasing Molson’s new M beer). Saturday, March 12. 9 p.m. $7. 2440 Bank St., 613-738-7596.

What’s up, doc? During the Mayfair’s four-day film fest, they’ll be screening about 30 classic Looney Tunes shorts (each screening features a different set of cartoons). And, hey, looks like a rainy weekend so this may be just the ticket! Look for such favourites as One Froggy Evening and What’s Opera, Doc? Saturday, March 12 (12:30 p.m.), Sunday, March 13 (3 p.m.), Monday, March 14 (1 p.m.) and Tuesday, March 15 (1 p.m.). $10, seniors $7, children $5. 1074 Bank St., 613-730-3403.

Dai Vernon gained an international reputation as the only man to ever fool the great Houdini. In this play about the life of the mysterious Ottawa-born magician known as “The Professor,” two actors take on the story of Vernon’s obsessive quest for the ultimate card trick. Friday, March 11 (8 p.m.), Saturday, March 12 (4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.), and Sunday, March 13 (2 p.m). $45, seniors and students $34.21, matinees $35.30. Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, 1233 Wellington St. W., 613-236-5196.

You might think the words ‘spa day’ and ‘workshop’ don’t really go hand in hand, and perhaps hot sauce and fundraising might be considered a contradiction in terms, but the folks behind this unique event are used to challenging norms and shaking things up. Deluxe Hot Sauce, a theatre group that includes such recognizable local names as Kelly Rigole and Annie Lefebvre, is raising funds for the production of their June 2012 show, and they’re offering their services in a novel ‘spa day’ for artists. Hone your tones, act the part, or learn the important skills of grant writing; there are lots of options (and price points) depending on your interest. Sunday, March 13. 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. $25 – $90. The Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, 294 Picton Ave. Facebook site.

Part of a series of fundraisers in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation, this precursor to St. Patrick’s Day offers authentic Irish fare, Irish music, and — of course — beer from the Emerald Isle. Raise a pint to St. Paddy, kick up a jig, discover the lore of the tartans, and help fund a great cause, all while getting your Irish on. Special guests include Sandy Sharkey of BOB FM. Admission includes a three course meal and one alcoholic beverage. Thursday, March 10. 6:30 p.m. $35. Grace O’Malley’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, 1541 Merivale Rd.  Facebook site.