Posts Tagged ‘BC Scene’

The Writers Festival was kind enough to invite me to a reception last night that was held in the honour of none other than Michael Ignatieff, award-winning novelist and leader of the official opposition. Now I realize I’ve donned myself the boastful title of artsy socialite, but I’m a little ashamed to admit that I did not actually try to converse with the next potential Prime Minister of Canada. I felt shy! Him and I did, however, make eye contact from a few feet away; and I think he smiled at me. It was all very exciting, considering how distinguished looking he is.

He gave a talk in the main hall afterward, and the Writers Festival staff crammed 800 people into St. Brigid’s to hear him speak. The buzz was amazing.

Shaena Lambert

Shaena Lambert

Alas, I had to sneak off a little early to attend the Literary Cabaret at the NAC 4th Stage. But it was so worth it. Once again I got great front row seats and was in the right position for some fabulous close-up photos. (By the way, it takes me forever and a half to upload photos to this site, so I usually only post a couple and then include the rest in an album on Facebook. If for some insane reason you don’t have Facebook and you still want to see more photos, let me know, and I’ll make them more accessible.)

I should probably explain how this Literary Cabaret works. Essentially, conductor-percussionist Sal Ferreras and his band Poetic License become acquainted with the writers that will be reading their work that evening and create a score that suits the reading material. The orchestration is intended to be in dialogue with the reading, and the effect is magnificent. In fact, I wish someone had recorded these performances because I think it would be a totally great companion item for a novel: “listen to the author read a section from the novel, backed up by a fabulous band!” Just think of the marketing opportunities…

Steven Galloway reading with Sal Ferreras conducting in the background

Steven Galloway reading with Sal Ferreras conducting in the background

Anosh Irani

Anosh Irani

Shaena Lambert and Steven Galloway have wonderful readings in the first half of the evening. I was especially blown away by the hilarious writing of Anosh Irani, so much so that I bought his first novel. (I haven’t had the chance to do much reading for pleasure lately, so this is a big deal for me.) And, of course, Shane Koyczan was… you know, I wish when I invited people to a spoken word performance, they wouldn’t look at me as if I was crazy. I always have to defend the art form by saying: no, I mean, it’s like going to a concert… only you can hear the lyrics better… and usually there’s a story… and it might even make you cry, but in the best possible way… and you’ll want to relive those moments over and over again when you felt your heart was going to rise out of your chest and explode… and your mind just had the greatest orgasm possible… and you can’t even form words afterward, for the heat of it all… and all you want to do is go home and write something, anything, because maybe your thoughts, even the seemingly insignifcant ones, are, in fact, worth preserving.

Next time, just trust me. It’s worth taking the chance.

Shane Koyczan (sans book) with Sal Ferreras conducting in the background

Shane Koyczan (sans book) with Sal Ferreras conducting in the background

THIS EVENING: Dusty Owl at the Writers Festival and Assembly at the NAC Panorama Room

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The BC Scene (90 events with 600 artists from British Columbia) and the Ottawa International Writers Festival (literary folks from Ottawa and around the world) are taking over my life this week. And I am fully embracing the insanity!

T.O.F.U. Tons of Fun University

T.O.F.U. Tons of Fun University

Here is a list of all the events I plan to attend between Tuesday, April 21 and Sunday, May 3. Hopefully this will give you some idea of what’s out there and encourage you to check out more events at your leisure. This is also a handy tool for any potential stalkers who want to know where I’ll be at any given time. Knock yourselves out.

*** All Writers Festival events take place at the St. Brigid’s Centre for Arts and Humanities, unless otherwise indicated

I’ll also be updating this blog section more frequently, creating something of a “social column” about the events that I attend and the people I meet. Feel free to post comments if you find time to attend these events and want to offer your own opinion.

Welcome to festival season!

Tuesday, April 21

BC SCENE — SWARM: gallery crawl (6-9pm) and opening night party (9-11pm)

Wednesday, April 22

OSSD (not part of either festival, but I’m still going!) — Mischief City @ 11am, Natalie Stern Studio Theatre
BC SCENE — BIOBOXES @ 1:45, Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre
WRITERS FEST — Earth Day Vernissage @ 5:30pm
BC SCENE — La Vue d’en Haut @ 8pm, La Nouvelle Scene

Thursday, April 23

BC SCENE — T.O.F.U. (Tons of Fun University) and Kinnie Starr @ 8pm, NAC 4th Stage

Friday, April 24

WRITERS FEST — Michael Ignatieff @ 7pm
BC SCENE — Literary Cabaret @ 8pm, NAC 4th Stage

Saturday, April 25

WRITERS FEST — Dusty Owl @ 6pm
BC SCENE — Assembly @ 8pm, NAC Panorama Room

Sunday, April 26

BC SCENE — Jack Pine (opera) @ 1:30pm, NAC 4th Stage
WRITERS FEST — The Bible @ 4pm
WRITERS FEST — Writing Life @ 6pm
BC SCENE — Veda Hille and Penny Lang @ 8pm, Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre

Monday, April 27

WRITERS FEST — Extraordinary Canadians @ 6:30pm

Tuesday, April 28

WRITERS FEST — Big Idea & Poetry Cabaret @ 6:30pm

Wednesday, April 29

WRITERS FEST — Poetry Cabaret @ 6:30pm
BC SCENE — Mei Han and the Red Chamber @8pm, Library and Archives

Thursday, April 30

BC SCENE — Rage @ 8pm, La Nouvelle Scene

Friday, May 1

BC SCENE — Simone Osbourne @ 12 noon, Rideau Chapel
BC SCENE — Mom’s the Word @ 8pm, Arts Court Theatre

Saturday, May 2

BC SCENE — Wen Wei Dance @ 8pm, NAC Studio Theatre

Sunday, May 3

BC Scene — James Hill & ukulele events @ 1pm, 2pm, 4pm, Canadian Museum of Civilization

James Hill and Anne Davison

Anne Davison and James Hill

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Greetings arts fans!

April is a great month for me: I’m finishing up the school semester and finally riding my bike around on the downtown streets; and it’s also the start of festival season! I was really shocked when the municipal government tried (and failed, thankfully) to take away all funding from festivals. Don’t they know that’s the reason Ottawa residents stick around during the summer? Where would Ottawa be without its incredible spring and summer festivals? I know I look forward to festival season all year long.

So let’s do that first…


BC Scene – April 21 to May 3 http://bcscene.ca

Honestly, there are no words. Just watch this stupendous video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNd2Zh7M-20

I worked for this festival earlier this year, and let me tell you, Ottawa, you’re in for a treat! All the best British Columbia artists (approximately 600 of them) are taking over the nation’s capital with music, dance, theatre, visual arts, spoken word and so much more. We’re talking about 13 days of absolute madness. I got to know some of these artists by researching them and chatting with them directly. Fabulous people – I can’t wait!

Ottawa International Writers Festival – April 22 to May 2 http://writersfestival.org/

This is the festival’s first season at the newly redesigned (and deconsecrated) St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts and Humanities. I can’t wait to see how this new venue will inspire the overall atmosphere of the festival. I expect great things! I recently wrote an article about the festival that you can read on the Guerilla Magazine website: http://getguerilla.ca/component/content/article/45-features/170-guerilla-magazine-jessica-ruano-arts-smarts Enjoy!


Bill Keast Vernissage – April 2 http://www.rothwellgallery.com

Keast’s depictions of rural Ontario are whimsical and full of colour.  Although his work is acrylic, it is painted so finely that it almost resembles batik, and the brushstrokes are nearly invisible.

Oto-wa Taiko – April 4 www.OtoWaTaiko.ca

Oto-Wa Taiko celebrates 20 years of bringing taiko to the Ottawa area with a special ARIGATO Concert.

Rideau Awards – April 5 http://rideauawards.ca/

Ottawa’s professional theatre community battles it out on Sunday evening for the coveted Rideau Theatre Awards. The event is sold out, but I will post the winners (and possibly photos of all the glamourous actors!) on my website as soon as they have been announced.

Book of Spells – April 16 http://spells.theatreadmin.com/

I had the opportunity to interview storytellers Jennifer Cayley and Jan Andrews who will be sharing stories of witches and romance at the National Arts Centre 4th Stage for one night only. They have toured Ontario with this show and will soon be sharing their stories in the United Kingdom. Check out my article about these storytellers in the current issue of Capital Xtra: http://www.xtra.ca/public/Ottawa/Lesbian_love_spell-6491.aspx

Madama Butterfly – April 18 norman_e_brown@rogers.com

Opera fans, don’t miss this staged and costumed production presented by Pelligrini Opera!


Some Girl(s) – March 25 to April 4 http://visiontheatre.ca/

Ken Godmere returns to direct Neil Labute’s “romance,” a one-man odyssey through four hotel rooms, featuring local actors Joe Marques, Robin Guy, Miriam Westland, Jan Murray, and Kate Drummond.

The Gondoliers – March 27 to April 4 http://www.ottawasavoysociety.org/

The Savoy Society of Ottawa glides into the Centrepointe Theatre with its production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s tongue-in-cheek comic opera.

London Suite – March 31 to April 18 http://www.ottawalittletheatre.com/

In this Neil Simon comedy, a London suite overlooking Hyde Park is the setting for a series of four misadventures that take place in an English luxury hotel on the same day.

The Crucible – April 1 to 4 [Email] chsthecrucible@hotmail.com

Don’t miss Arthur Miller’s disturbing tragedy about a witch hunt that is uncomfortably familiar, even to a modern day audience. Produced by Arts Canterbury and directed by Jeff Lawson, this production features… my sister, Jocelyn! So you know it’s going to be good.

The Ballymore Reel – April 9 to 18 http://taraplayers.ncf.ca/

Directed by Pat Marshall, this Greg Finnegan play is the story of every immigrant, told through one woman’s emigration and her search for “home” upon returning to Ireland.

A Guy Named Joe – April 15 to May 2 http://odysseytheatre.ca/

A captivating and charming tale of love and hope, A Guy Named Joe pits a naïve hero against a world that threatens to demolish all his dreams. Written and directed by Odyssey founder Laurie Steven, this indoor production at The Gladstone (as opposed to their usual “under the stars”) features Scott Florence as Joe and Nick Di Gaetano, Cory Doran, Alex Guard, Mark Huisman, Scott McCulloch, and Thea Nikolic.

The Death of the Good – April 17 to 19 http://www.blackhandtheatre.com/

Writer-director Stephanie Demas brings us a brand new work that premiers in Ottawa before attending an invitation to perform at the National Arts Center in Hong Kong. This show features Brandon Groves and Gavin O’Hearn at the Avant-Garde Bar. Make a note of the unusual showtime at 4pm.

Mischief City – April 20 to 22 http://ottawatheatreschool.com/news_room.html#mischief

Written by Ottawa’s award winning children’s book author Tim Wynne-Jones, this musical will delight audiences of all ages. Eight-year old Winchell has been yanked into Mischief City to solve a problem. Winchell’s imaginary friend Maxine has an older brother who is planning something big, “really big”, to destroy Maxine’s birthday. And when Winchell’s baby sister Cleantha is gobbled up by the horrible vacuum cleaner Hoove, Winchelll knows that he must try and save her, and Maxine, from destruction.

And that’s your dose of arts & culture for the month! Check out my website at www.jessicaruano.wordpress.com for frequent updates and heated discussions about arts funding. Please continue to send me press releases to post on my website: they strongly inform what I choose to include in this newsletter. You can also find me on Facebook and on Twitter – yes, yes, I gave into the madness!

Artistically yours,


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Hey Folks —

Last summer I was hired by the National Arts Centre as a brochure writer for this upcoming festival. The BC Scene takes place April/May 2009. Don’t miss it!

Also, I’ve never posted a video before, so I wanted to see if it would work.

Courtesy of the NAC Youtube Channel.

Check out this special offer from the Great Canadian Theatre Company:

OC Transpo strike got you stuck at home? The Great Canadian Theatre Company wants to help! Select seats at GCTC’s Coma Unplugged at all weekend performances are only $20… and you can use the savings to pay for a taxi.

Performance times:

Friday, December 12: 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 13: 4:00 pm & 8:30 pm
Sunday, December 14: 2:00 pm

Call the Box office at 613-236-5196 to buy your tickets.

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