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House of PainT: Exploring the Urban Environment

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For years, the Dunbar Bridge underpass beneath Bronson Avenue was a neglected corner of the city filled with gravel, litter, dirt and weeds. Thanks to the grassroots work of local organizers, however, this once forgotten space between Brewer Park and Carleton University has now blossomed into the main site of the annual House of PainT festival, Ottawa’s largest gathering of urban art and culture. “The festival originated from the City of Ottawa’s decision (in 2003) to legalise the first graffiti wall under the Dunbar Bridge,” explains Rob Reid, media director... | Continue reading article

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Weekly News Review: Hintonburg gets new road signs for cyclists, sinkhole exposes east-west divide, Daisy the cow goes missing and more!

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Photo by tcp909 on Flickr.Photo by tcp909 on Flickr.

Dairy enthusiasts were shocked to hear that Daisy, an interactive teaching cow, was abducted from the Russell Fairgrounds last week. There’s currently a $500 reward for information leading to the return of the fibreglass cow, which was used to teach children about agriculture. The sinkhole that opened on Highway 174 last week has sent locals all atwitter over crumbling city infrastructure. The sinkhole has been covered extensively, but it’s this Citizen editorial about the divide between the east and west ends of the city that is really interesting. Sticking to... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: News, News & Ideas

Arboretum Festival Foliage – Branching into Sandro Perri

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Photo courtesy of Sandro Perri's WebsitePhoto courtesy of Sandro Perri's Website

One of the many fine acts to grace Arboretum Festival’s debut lineup, Sandro Perri is difficult to pin down musically. Experimental and meandering, his style is at once melodic and mysterious. He began his career as a dance music producer, experimenting with blending beats and steel guitar, but soon reinvented his sound for the live stage.  Over his career, he has produced for the likes of Owen Pallett, Stephen Malkmus and Bonjay. His latest album, Impossible Spaces, was longlisted for this year’s Polaris Prize. Roving reporter Alessandro Marcon tracked him... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music, Sights & Sounds

Review — Stones in His Pockets

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Photo courtesy of The Gladstone's WebsitePhoto courtesy of The Gladstone's Website

A suicide, a wake, and a funeral: only the Irish can pull that off on stage and call it a comedy. Marie Jones’s Stones in His Pockets is set in a village in contemporary rural southwest Ireland, where local Jake Quinn (Richard Gélinas) and drifter Charlie Conlon (Zach Counsil) are making £80 a day as extras on the set of a Hollywood film—along with most of the rest of the town. When the film’s star, Caroline Giovanni (also Zach Counsil) decides to fraternize with the locals, Jake in particular, it sets off... | Continue reading article

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Where the Wild Things Are: Patrick Watson Hits Folk Fest

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Patrick-Watson

Co-authored with Chris Cline, photo by Yasmin Nissim Patrick Watson is a benevolent mad scientist. All you’ll need is one listen to his cathartic cabaret melodies and you’ll be convinced of this fact. Sunday night’s Folk Fest attendees certainly were. Watson was in Ottawa with his band in support of their new album, Adventures in Your Own Backyard. A peek at the stage setup, which included a grand piano, various percussive instruments and a saw, gave hints that this wouldn’t be a pared down show for the road. And for the... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music, Sights & Sounds

Holly McNarland: Music and Motherhood

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Photo courtesy of Vanessa HeinsPhoto courtesy of Vanessa Heins

Holly McNarland has had one heck of a career. In 1998 she won the Juno for Best New Solo Artist and has since worked with the likes of Matthew Good and The Tea Party. Once best known for her hit song “Numb,” McNarland recently took a break from the recording industry to focus on her family life. But now, after a four year hiatus, Holly McNarland is back and coming to Ottawa. This Saturday September 15th, McNarland will play Mavericks, one of only three stops on her tour supporting her... | Continue reading article

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Review—La Bohème

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Photo courtesy of Opera LyraPhoto courtesy of Opera Lyra

After a nearly year-long hiatus, Opera Lyra Ottawa returns to the stage of Southam Hall at the National Arts Centre with a limited-engagement production of La Bohème, in the hopes of rekindling their fortunes. I think they stand a rather good chance of succeeding, and winning the hearts of new audience members to boot. The plot of Puccini’s La Bohème is simple enough: Rodolfo (Michael Fabiano) is a poet who lives in a Parisian garret (an attic) with the painter Marcello (Joshua Hopkins), the musician Schaunard (Peter McGillivray), and philosopher Colline (Valerian Ruminski). On Christmas... | Continue reading article

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DAY 3 of the Ottawa Folk Festival: Damp, but happy campers

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Yukon Blonde was a definite high pointYukon Blonde was a definite high point

It was Saturday morning and only a few hours away from the beginning of day three of the Ottawa Folk Festival. Rain began to pound on my windowpane. There had been lightening flashes on and off for hours and the thunder roared. Yet my hardcore festival-going friends and I were ready to take in Saturday’s great line-up. One friend joyously proclaimed that she was headed to Soakfest. If the massive hoards of people at Woodstock could brave the rain in 1969, so could we. Although perhaps less pivotal for music... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music

Hooded Fang Takes a Bite out of Folk Fest

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Photo from the band's website: www.hoodedfang.comPhoto from the band's website: www.hoodedfang.com

Someone forgot to tell Hooded Fang that Saturday night was one of the coldest, wettest days this summer. As the frigid wind cut through the air, the band warmed the crowd at the Ottawa Folk Festival with one sunny, reverb-drenched tune after another. Hooded Fang has undergone major sonic renovations since forming in 2007. Their debut EP and album (aptly named EP and Album respectively) tread familiar, but immediately likeable, indie pop territory. But their 2011 release, Tosta Mista, was a different beast entirely. By this time, the band had... | Continue reading article

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Filed in: Music, Sights & Sounds
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