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Polytectures: Exploring the city with a soundtrack

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Photo by Alejandro Bustos.Photo by Alejandro Bustos.

To quote the great English novelist George Orwell, to see what is in front of your nose is a constant struggle. This insight is something that all Ottawa residents should keep in mind, for if we open up our eyes and ears to our city, we will see that our urban landscape is quite beautiful. I was thinking about this while listening to Polytectures, a brilliant musical guide to some of Ottawa’s most impressive downtown buildings. Directed and narrated by Montreal composer and musician Antoine Bédard, this soundwalk is similar... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music, News & Ideas

Weekend roundup: Spooky-ish edition

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Photo courtesy rickbond79 on Flickr.Photo courtesy rickbond79 on Flickr.

With Halloween just around the corner, there’s a whole bunch of events hiding behind a bush, waiting to jump out at you and reduce you to a puddle of fear. But be brave, Ottawans, and head out to look those ghouls in the face. For those of you with wicked awesome costumes, this Mobile Costume Party is where you should be Friday night. Missed last week’s zombie walk? Westboro will have a few of them wandering around. Zaphod’s is throwing an Indie Rock Halloween Party, and you can transform into your favourite Hollywood... | Continue reading article

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Radio dramas, novels and more: Ottawa International Writers Festival is back

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Photo courtesy tcp909 on Flickr.Photo courtesy tcp909 on Flickr.

For the last 16 years, the Ottawa International Writers Festival has brought some of the world’s best authors to our nation’s capital. From the late-Nobel Laureate José Saramago of Portugal, to Canadian icons Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, this impressive literary gathering has showcased some outstanding talent. The celebrity factor, however, is only one small part of this highly popular celebration of books, which has seen its audience grow by 800 per cent since hosting its first event in 1997. In fact, the festival has been so successful, it now... | Continue reading article

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The Trippy World of Wiz Khalifa

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Photo courtesy of Anwar MassoudPhoto courtesy of Anwar Massoud

On Friday night, while Bruce Springsteen was rocking the Scotia Bank Place, with Barbara Streisand set to take that stage the next evening, the Wiz Khalifa 2050 Tour came to the CE Centre in Ottawa. On a weekend packed with shows, it seemed as though the parents had plans. With Wiz in town, so did the kids. That being said, age was probably not the only difference between these three shows. While the 40, 50, and 60-somethings that attended the Springsteen and Streisand concerts may have enjoyed a relatively more... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music

The 7th Ottawa Community Record Show – It’s Time to Go Vinyl

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Photo courtesy of Adria MayPhoto courtesy of Adria May

For John Thompson, listening to records is a ritual – holding the record, cleaning the record, putting it on the turntable. “The ritual is important,” says Thompson. More importantly, he believes that records just sound better than digital: “With analog – there’s more spaciousness and depth to the sound and you can hear all this wonderful stuff. Digital never quite caught this.” Thompson is one of the many vendors who gathered at the seventh Annual Community Record Show on October 21. The first community record show was at the Sandy... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music, Shopping

Dwellers on the threshold: Celebrating experimental sounds in Ottawa

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Digital generative illustrations by Paul Hockett.Digital generative illustrations by Paul Hockett.

Excoriating and exhilarating highs; deep, sympathetically-vibrating lows; glitches, hums and fuzz; reverberations, reverberations, reverberations; unconventional song structures, complex time-signatures, drones, repetitive beats, looping beats, mathematical beats, lazy beats, 808 snare, snare, snare; circuit-bending, mind-melding, distortions in the space-time continuum; analogue electronics, laptops, tapes, guitar, cello, saxophone, weirding module, squeeze-box; beer, beer, smoked meat sandwich.* * Some hastily formed impressions from the last two weeks at Experimental Music Wednesdays at Pressed Cafe. It’s a good time to be in Ottawa if you want to turn an ear to something interesting.  Really... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music

So Much Theatre: The Glace Bay Miner’s Museum

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Photo courtesy of the NAC's websitePhoto courtesy of the NAC's website

I’ve listened to my share of Cape Breton coal mining stories, having had an elementary school teacher whose father was a doctor in just such a settlement. Although I found the world laid out in The Glace Bay Miner’s Museum familiar, I also found it fresh and full of life. The Glace Bay Miner’s Museum tells the story of the MacNeils, a Cape Breton coal mining family, from the viewpoint of Margaret MacNeil (Francine Deschepper). Margaret lives in a shack with her bereaved mother Catherine (Martha Irving), her surviving brother Ian (Jeff Schwager)... | Continue reading article

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Weekly News Review: Liberal leadership up for grabs, more street food soon, 5 years of Somerset House rubble, and more!

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Photo courtesy of Trevor Pritchard from the Apartment613 Flickr GroupPhoto courtesy of Trevor Pritchard from the Apartment613 Flickr Group

Good Monday morning readers! The big news of the week was Dalton McGuinty’s surprise announcement that he will be stepping down as leader of the provincial Liberal party. To add to the drama, early in the week, local MPP Yasir Naqvi was said to be contemplating a run for the leadership. Yesterday however, he confirmed that a leadership bid was not in the cards. There will be a memorial this morning for the Carleton student killed in a biking accident last week on Bronson Avenue. I can’t help but be reminded of... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: News, Politics

Modulo: Documenting Ottawa’s connection to modular synthesizers

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A few days ago, local film maker Travis Boisvenue released a teaser for his latest collaborative project, Modulo. Produced by Ryan Paul Gibson, the short documentary focuses on the people of Ottawa who dig modular synthesizers in a major way, as well as the brains behind Muff Wiggler - an online forum that provides a space for discussion about all things synth. I learned about the project from Travis on Wednesday during Experimental Music night at Pressed Cafe. I will admit, the world of experimental and noise music is relatively new for me,... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music
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