Jeff Halper, originally uploaded by freegazaorg.

Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I thought it might of interest to Ottawa folks .

Tonight, you can catch the last of three talks given by Israeli human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Jeff Halper on the tremendously alarming situation between Israel and Palestine. Halper is the co-founder and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an organization created in 1997 to peacefully challenge and resist Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes.

A sign that there is still a lot of work to be done, his talk tonight is entitled “Palestine: From Apartheid to Warehousing”.

It takes place at the Kailash Mital Theatre (formerly Alumni Theatre), Southam Hall, Carleton University and starts at 8pm.

For more information, check the Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) website.

An old poster for Disco Bongo

An old poster for Disco Bingo

Humphrey’s on Bank St. may be in the midst of an identity crisis: family restaurant on the outside, cocktail lounge on the inside. By becoming the new venue of Spins and Needles popular Disco Bingo night, the Glebe eatery may be making a move to assert itself as the latter.

Granny gambling is enjoying a new cachet as part of the same movement that has seen knitting circles and ugly sweaters become trendy. S&N puts a twist on the original by adding 70s and 80s music and whimsical prizes: Kraft Dinner, packages of Ramen noodles, disco balls, strings of lollipop, a New Year’s Resolution file fax, etc. A lack of reverence for tradition was also evident in the shapes players had to form in order to get their paws on the loot, as crosses and diagonals replaced the standard horizontal and vertical lines.

The monthly event outgrew the Shanghai restaurant on Somerset and will be making Humphrey’s its perminent home. The cost is $5 for the first two cards, and $1 for each card afterwards. Definitely worth a visit next February 6 if you feel like shaking to the Eurithmics while taking a shot at winning a pack of shot glasses.

Old Man on a rock. As part of the Acoustic Soundwaves concert series, Old Man Luedecke and the Good Lovelies will be playing at the Irving Greenberg Theater Center Sunday, January 18th (1233 Wellington St. at Holland) at 8pm. Old Man’s songs are carefully crafted in a time and space that is all his own. He plays an old time instrument and adds contemporary themes and a witty sense of humor to his lyrics. I love the way he weaves his songs.

While I’ve never seen the Good Lovelies live, they seem like an energetic band that would be very entertaining to watch. They’re coming off the heels of winning two awards at the Toronto Independent Music Festival. They will certainly showcase new songs as their first official CD will be launched January 21st.

Tickets are on sale at the CGTC box office for $24 and seating is reserved.

Clipse in Ottawa!

January 13, 2009

Clipse @ Babylon
Surprise Surprise Hip Hop fans! The Clipse is making a one-night stop in Ottawa on their Play Cloths Tour. They’ll play at Babylon Night Club, January 17th.

Their last official CD, 2006’s Hell Hath No Fury obtained great critical success but what they might best be known for in the hip hop world are their awesome and bountiful mixtapes. While waiting for their 3rd album to come out, we get a small sampling of what it might sound like on the Road To Till The Casket Drops mix.

Check out this intimate show – Action starts early. Doors open at 7:30 and the show supposedly starts at 8:00….Tickets are $25 if you buy in advance.

Winter Concert Preview

January 10, 2009

Basia Bulat plays the Blacksheep Inn on Jan 23

Festival season in Ottawa might be over, but this winter is still bringing some great acts to the Ottawa region. Here’s my shortlist for the upcoming couple months (my apologies in advance for the bias towards the Blacksheep Inn here…)

One of new favourite artists and a recent Nominee for the Polaris Prize, Basia Bulat is playing at the University of Ottawa on January 22 and at the Blacksheep Inn on January 23. The show is a deal at only $10 and well worth the drive into Quebec. Bulat’s songs are not only catchy, creative and contemplative; she also produces hilarious videos that include dancing skeletons and odd carnival like characters. Watch this video once and you’ll buy a ticket for sure.

Geoff Berner, the self described whiskey rabbi, is also playing Blacksheep Inn on February 13. Berner’s music is lyrical and hilarious – augmented by his accordion playing and best paired with rabid consumption of Jack Daniels. It’ll be a good time. He might even play his theme song for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics!

If you don’t have plans for this Valentine ’s Day, Jenn Grant is coming back to the Blacksheep Inn on February 14 to launch her promising new CD. Her last show with Danny Michel was a great time and for this occasion she’s brought along her full band to back her up. At $10 it’s way cheaper than chocolate or over-priced roses.

Ottawa local Kathleen Edwards plays the Bronson Centre on February 17 for a show that is sure to sell out. I first saw Kathleen Edwards open for Blue Rodeo at the Scotiabank place and I’m sure that the more intimate theatre at the Bronson Centre will be a better setting. The best thing about Kathleen Edwards is that pretty much anyone can enjoy it, so if you are still looking for a belated Christmas gift this might be a good bet.

Jill Barber released a new album this year titled “Chances” where she explores a bluesy, sultry sound that works great with her unique voice. The show at the Blacksheep Inn on February 19 is sure to be something different and Barber’s stage presence made me fall in love with her when I first saw her play the Grad Club in Kingston. She’s sweet, entertaining and talented and sure to be worth making one final trip to Wakefield this winter.

Everyone’s favourite band from Winnipeg, the Weakerthans, will be in Ottawa on March 28 to play the Bronson Centre. You probably know all the words to their songs – might as well take in the show. The are touring with the energetic Constantines, which should make for a great night.

Ticket information is generally available on Ticketweb.

Oh Jenn!

December 23, 2008

Jenn Grant SoloI’ve known Jenn Grant for close to five years now; from her days in Halifax as a NSCAD student, doing open mic nights, working on overcoming her stage fright and eventually recording an EP entitled “Jenn Grant and Good Bye Twentieth Century’. It always felt like there was something special about her and her music, but has she ever come a long way! Since then, she’s released a proper album entitled ‘Orchestra For The Moon’, opened up for Feist in Halifax, played countless festivals in North America and Europe, has toured with The Weakerthans, has won the CBC Galaxie Rising Star award and her song ‘Dreamer’ has become the theme song to the CBC show ‘Heartland’.

Grant and Danny Michel stopped near Ottawa, at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield, this Friday (and Saturday). It was my first time ever going to this famed music spot. We carpooled to Wakefield with some friends Friday evening. We left the city early but the room was already close to packed when we arrived. We found spots in the back where we could get a decent view of the action.

After being introduced onstage by CBC Radio 3’s Amanda Putz, Grant stepped in the limelight and began her set with a Christmas song. Just a few seconds in she screws it up but manages to make the whole audience laugh. The crowd is charmed and she’s got us hooked for the rest of the night. Her set is mostly filled with songs from ‘Orchestra for the Moon’ but she does play a few new songs from her forthcoming CD ‘Echoes’. I particularly liked her homage to her dog Stanley. Another funny moment was when Putz came back onstage to help Grant sing a cover of Wham!’s Last Christmas. Hilarious! The Blacksheep’s comfortable stage lends itself very well to a solo show. It let Grant’s voice shine. At one point towards the end of her set, Grant asked the crowd if she was playing too long, worried that her opening slot is taking time away from Michel. If she’d asked me, she could have played all night! This is no insult to Danny Michel who was also great, but a testament to Jenn, her voice and her songs. I hope next time I see her she’ll be the main attraction.

Make sure to catch Jenn Grant next time she’s in the region. Her next stop at the Blacksheep Inn will take place on February 14th for her CD release party.