The Weekender: A ’50s dance party, two terrific art events, plus three more intriguing ideas

The Weekender: A ’50s dance party, two terrific art events, plus three more intriguing ideas

Louis Helbig's exhibit "Beautiful Destruction" is on view at City Hall Art Gallery until Sept. 26. Photo courtesy of Louis Helbig.

There are way too many awesome exhibitions (35 at last count) to list them all, so check out the website and plan to spend lots of time being inspired and intrigued over the next few days and weeks. Some of our must-see picks for the weekend: Justin Wonnacott’s freaky fish at Carleton University Art Gallery (Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.), Louis Helbig’s Beautiful Destruction shots of the oil sands at City Hall Art Gallery (from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., ending Sept. 26), and Karsh Award winner Tony Fouhse’s portraits at Karsh-Masson Gallery (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Little Italy’s tasting, feasting, and stomping festival hits its peak this weekend. Our weekend picks? On Sept. 24, dozens of restaurants showcase feature lunch and dinner menus in honour of the event. On Sept. 25, head to Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana at 9 a.m. to meet up for a walking tour of Little Italy, then to Preston Hardware at 11 a.m. for a free wine-making seminar. For a full list of events visit

What a great idea. Take a house with great bones (a 1960s two-storey) in a great spot (Qualicum) and get the city’s best designers to renovate from the ground up — for free. Then, sell it and donate the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. The list of 12 designers involved in the grand reno includes Astro Design, architect Barry Hobin, design builder Gordon Weima, and interior designer Penny Southam. You may not be able to afford the house (it’s on the market for $1.17 million) but you can tour it for just $10 a ticket. Sept. 24 from noon to 7 p.m., Sept. 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The tour continues into the first two weekends of October.) Tickets available at the door. 3 Esquimault Ave.

This new film collective is launching its first annual fest that pays homage to an epic film format. Catch vintage screenings of Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller Vertigo and Academy Award winner Lawrence of Arabia, plus fan favourites such as Star Trek VI, featuring Canadian darlings William Shatner and Kim Cattrall, and Brian DePalma’s gangster film The Untouchables. It’s an all-star lineup that beats what’s playing at the regular theatres any day. Sept. 24 to 26. Festival pass $40, individual shows $10. Museum of Civilization, 100, rue Laurier, Gatineau.

Throw off your shoes and don the cutest pair of socks you own for this retro shindig, hosted by the Rideau Valley Roller Girls. This female roller derby league, best known for their slick moves on the track, invites you to dance the night away to the best tunes from the ‘50s and ‘60s. There’s also a bake sale and professional portrait photos for $2, so check your shoes at the door and bust a move. Sept. 25, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Montgomery Legion Hall, 330 Kent St.

As part of the cross-Canada event Culture Days, Wellington West launches its newest public art pieces: 18 marble sculptures by Marcus Kucey-Jones and Ryan Lotecki. Peruse the new street fixtures and then partake in the day’s celebrations. There will be street sketching, walking tours, live music, a “making of” photo exhibit, and portraiture lessons. Be sure to pick up a Hintonburg “The Burg” t-shirt (available at Somerset Square) as a souvenir. Sept. 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walking tours require advanced registration.