Man of the dayWatch history live over lunch at one of these Ottawa hangouts, and try your best not to let those feelings of “why can’t we have one of those” (inspirational politician, not handsome black man) seep through. The musical prelude starts at 10, the official stuff at noon. All the cool kids will be tuning into BET’s extensive coverage which will go from 6am to 3pm on January 20th, 2009.

1. East African Restaurant
The Rideau Street restaurant will have a big screen TV and ethiopian food. What more could you ask for?

2. James Street Pub
Ask your server to turn off the curling tournament on one of the Bar’s 20 TVs, and salt your fries with tears.

3. Why not watch it at D’arcy Mcgee’s and join in on Parliamentary Hill gossip about the new President?

4. Other suggestions?



Mayfair – Colour, originally uploaded by fieldtripp.

You may have been one of many who literally left with a cheap seat from the Mayfair in December when they closed for renovations. The face lift is now complete and the theatre reopened for business January 2nd. It has kept its old charm while adding comfier seats and a better Dolby Digital sound system. There are cool little additions to look forward to and rumor has it the owners are working on trying to get a liquor license for the cinema. Could get interesting…

Check out the Mayfair’s updated website at: http://mayfairtheatre.ca/

NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS 2

January 6, 2009

Another Elgin restaurant is breaking the law. Across the street from Oz Kafé, The Standard comitted its own liquor faux pas and is now closed until January 9th.
The crime? Serving liquor after hours.

Are Elgin Street restaurants worst than others? Or is the city cracking down? 2007 saw Fesco Bistro also closed for bad behaviour during the Senators’ playoff run.

Fruit_FINAL_COVERI just spent a good deal of my travel time this Christmas reading the first of five CBC Radio Canada reads novels – “Fruit” by Brian Francis. The novel is piercingly hilarious, making for several embarrassing real-life LOL moments on the flight. Basically the novel is the universal story of a gay teenage cross-dressing boy named Peter, with body image issues, talking nipples and various awkward obsessions with his gym teachers, neighbors and classmates.

Underlying the humour of the novel is the striking intimacy we are able to achieve with Peter. As we get to know his quirky over-reactions and subtle personal coping mechanisms (he tapes his nipples down to both hide them and keep them quiet), we are dragged into Peter’s awkwardness. There are several moments of cringe and a few of pity as we come to understand the complexities that Peter must come to terms with.

Here are couple of quotes to motivate you to read more…

“I was getting so dizzy that it felt like I was on a Tilt-a-Whil. If what Daniela said was true, then maybe the Virgin [Mary] had come to heal my nipples.”

“Nancy and I were sitting there and I dropped a Cheezie. So I bent down to pick it up and as I grabbed the Cheezie, I looked up and caught Nancy looking down my top. She did it really quickly, but I’m pretty sure of it. It takes a lot to pull the wool over my eyes. I was wearing one of my old sweatshirts with a loose neck so she could’ve seen my nipples very easily. I sat back up and pressed on of the couch pillows against my chest. Nancy coughed, looked at the living room clock, and started working on a new row of Fudgee-Os. She wasn’t going to admit seeing my nipples, so I sent her a mental telepathy message.”

“I’m looking forward to winning the food basket,” Daniela said, picking a scab off her knee. “Nutella for days.”

You can get more information on the novel from ecw press.

For more info about Canada reads visit the CBC website.

I guess that my two months of taking, and mostly failing at, tae kwon doe when I was about ten never made me the biggest martial arts fan. What the heck, I never passed beyond yellow belt! But when I began hearing murmurs about how JCVD was Van Damme’s comeback movie and actually seemed to be getting positive reviews, well I got curious and I wanted to check it out for myself. My girlfriend and I went to Bytowne Cinema last night to discover this latest opus from director Mabrouk El Mechri starring the Muscles from Brussels.

First off, it’s important to know that this is not a biopic but rather a story that toes the line between fact and fiction. The plot is this: Van Damme is back in Brussels following a real life downward spiral in Hollywood where he’s seemingly losing custody of his daughter, he’s broke and, for lack of a better term, he’s become a movie has-been. In a funny moment, his agent lets him know that his arch nemesis, Steven Segal got a part he was vying for because he promised to cut his pony tail. His streak of bad luck continues when he enters a Post Office where an armed robbery is taking place. Soon, he is the one accused of the robbery and the ensuing hostage situation.

In a not so exaggerated way, the rumour that Van Damme is holding hostages spreads like wild fire to the whole town, and soon after, the world. He is after all a movie star, and it just goes to show that the media is ready to jump on anything. And this part of the movie is probably an open criticism to the over exposure that celebrities, all over the world, get whether they want it or not.

The whole thing may have been a catharsis for Van Damme – being able to poke fun at himself with his fran-glais (je suis “aware”), at what made him famous (Bloodsport, Hard Target, Universal Soldier), seeing and hearing him admits his faults and even shed a tear when his mother is put on the phone to ask him to surrender makes this guy who’s made a career out of being killing machine a real person and a likeable guy. And that is why JCVD works.

The plot is Hollywood but the setting is definitely not and the man, who seems to have fallen off of the Hollywood radar, was humble and smart enough to take on this movie and make it a success. Time magazine even speaks of an Oscar-worthy performance for JCVD. While I wouldn’t go as far as that, his speech to the audience, three quarters into the movie is certainly a near tear jerker that made me want to see more of Van Damme the actor in the future.

You can catch JCVD at Bytowne Cinema 4 days only from Dec. 1st to 4th.
http://www.bytowne.ca/cgi-bin/calendar.cgi?m=12&y=2008