Off the Couch

Welcome to our blog! This is where you'll find longer previews and profiles on upcoming or ongoing events in and around Ottawa. We've got fresh tips on what's new and exciting in town, as well as interviews with local movers, shakers and party makers. If you're into it, you too could join our team of volunteer bloggers!
By — Monday, August 18, 2014 - 3:58pm
This week brings the third edition of Arboretum, a week-long, lovingly curated celebration of the Ottawa’s cultural landscape. In a city that has become accustomed to the festival as a large-scale and corporate-sponsored machine, Arboretum presents a “small is beautiful” re-visioning of what a festival can be. There will be an eclectic banquet of bands to check out for sure but there will also be the chance to check out media and visual artists, chef showcases and panel discussions. Events are held at a number of the region’s best venues on both sides of the river. As it states on Arboretum’s website, one of the reasons the festival came to be was that the people behind it “were tired of enumerating Ottawa's best kept secrets to the rest of Canada”. I recently met up with Her Harbour,... Read More
By — Friday, August 15, 2014 - 11:13am
Ten years ago, if you wanted gourmet food in Ottawa, your options were limited to a handful of restaurants in Byward Market.  Today, Ottawa boasts award-winning chefs and dozens of highly-regarded restaurants scattered liberally across the city.  As Heather McAlister from Savour Ottawa exclaims, “The Ottawa foodie scene has changed dramatically in the past few years, and that’s a good thing”. If, like me, you love fresh, locally-sourced food, head over to Brewer Park this weekend to enjoy a multi -course luncheon served “family style” at long tables under one big tent. All the ingredients come from the area and are prepared by some of the city’s best chefs. Also, each table of eight will have a local producer or farmer on-hand to talk to the patrons about their experiences as a... Read More
By — Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 10:28pm
The Canadian Museum of Nature will soon be hosting a few more bears and foxes than usually found in its collection. Capital Pride kicks off this Friday with Nature Nocturne: Pride! Starting at 8:00pm on August 15th at the Canadian Museum of Nature, this glorious night kicks off over a week of events celebrating pride in the National Capital. Capital Pride has taken over programming and some installations at the museum for massive, ‘roaring 20's themed romp. Organized by both Nature Nocturne and Capital Pride, the event is a party and celebration with a lot for attendees to experience. Of course, there’ll be DJs and bars, but this party invites its guests to other spaces, like the vintage video game lounge, a crafts corner, and even a space where messages can be written on a pride flag.... Read More
By — Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 2:58pm
Electric Circus would be proud. How could it not be? Ottawa is quickly becoming the unofficial dancing capital of Canada. Sure, Toronto and Moose Jaw might disagree, but doesn’t it seem like our fair city is increasingly embracing the ancient art of ‘movin’ dat ass’? The popularity of events like Glow and Nature Nocturne demonstrates that dancing is high on the 613 to-do list. Another high priority? Keeping me from dancing since it’s been known to ruin fun things. Five-piece electro pop sweethearts Fevers are one of the Ottawa-based bands leading the charge to the dance floor. Granted there are a few beautiful soft tempo tracks peppered throughout their impressive debut full length record No Room for Light; but hey, we all need to catch our breath and/or nuzzle up to that special someone... Read More
By — Friday, August 1, 2014 - 8:55am
Can you hear an image? See a sound? The artists behind Lumínico believe you can and on Sunday August 3rd you can experience it for yourself.  Presented by the Chamberfest and the Embassy of the United States of Mexico, Lumínico is a multidisciplinary concert experience that explores synesthesia which according to Alejandro Escuer (flautist and composer), “deals with the senses and how they can complement and enrich one another. Poetry frequently uses synesthesia. Metaphors on how we can discover sounds with our eyes or see music with our ears are definitely the basis of what Lumínico is about. The criss-cross effect of perception enhancement is achieved by music as it is reinforced by sounds of images.”  I corresponded with Escuer over e-mail to learn more about the project, its... Read More
By — Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 7:45pm
It’s about time Ottawa gets to know Jon Hynes. The multi-instrumentalist and indie rock veteran  has been in the background playing with some great bands like Hey Rosetta, the Hidden Cameras and Evening Hymns, and now he's stepping out with his own act. You have the chance to hear, see and meet Hynes this Friday, July 25th at Pressed where he’ll be having a release party for his debut album. Watchful Creatures is a hook-heavy pop-rock record, hot and ready for your ears after 2 years in the making. I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of Jon Hynes until I saw him play lead guitar for Kathleen Edwards in her “last” show at the Ottawa Jazz Festival but I’m glad I did. “Pop-rock” describes Hynes’ music too easily. In his words it’s “pop music with a lot of spin. You’ll get some rock n roll, you’ll... Read More
By — Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 3:41pm
Hip hop sometimes gets a bad rap - pun definitely intended - for not being innovative anymore. As a lover of the music myself, I tend to disagree since there are tons of new artists on the up and up who recognize its origins, but still look to evolve the genre by bringing fresh new perspectives and style. And that, children, is what hip hop at its core is all about – an ever evolving spirit that keeps reinventing itself in a never-ending cycle. So basically music’s version of the circle of life scene from Lion King (but with less Elton John). Each year House of PainT (HoP) nails that aspect of the cycle. It’s the region’s largest hip hop festival for a reason; connecting the past to the present, all while laying a path towards the future of the genre. Happening between September 4 and 7,... Read More
By — Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 11:15am
Who doesn’t love a good dance party? Whether you’re alone in your living room or you’re out with friends, letting your blackbone slide, shaking your hips and shuffling your feet is always a good time… and all it takes is a perfect playlist. The Hornettes will be igniting nostalgia at the Blacksheep Inn on Saturday for the High Summer New Moon Dance Party. Don’t have a ride? No problem! The party starts early with a round-trip shuttle bus that will bring fans from the Canadian Museum of Nature to the revered venue and back. “We really enjoy playing the Blacksheep,” shared guitarist Jeff deValk. “It’s our favorite venue to play in town. It’s a magical place and they are very gracious hosts.” deValk did not expect the party to last this long when he posted a call for singers on Kijiji to... Read More
By — Monday, July 14, 2014 - 8:33pm
What if I told you I had seen someone make some of the most haunting music I had ever heard out of thin air? The melodies were gorgeously fluid, the performance so powerful in its expressivity and the tone warm and compelling. The sound was at the same time very human but also strange and ethereal. I could liken the sound’s quality to that of a trained classical singer, a violin or a cello but these comparisons fall short of capturing what was an entirely unique sonic experience. This was not a dream; it was the Theremin music of Thorwald Jorgensen. And this week, you too can hear the beauty of this music. Thorwald Jorgensen will be performing in two solo recitals as part of the Music and Beyond festival: the first, a noon-hour concert on Tuesday July 15 at Southminster United Church in... Read More
By — Friday, July 11, 2014 - 11:17am
Refreshing. Energetic. Contagious. There are many words that can be used to describe the music of Groenland. Montreal’s indie pop darlings are currently on tour this summer, playing various festivals in Québec. Luckily for us, the band will also be making a stop at this year’s Bluesfest, playing the River Stage on Sunday afternoon. Earlier this week, I spoke to Jean Viver Lévesque, a multi-talented musician (keyboard, electros & percussions) and one of the two founding members of the band to get the inside story on Groenland. Make no mistake; Groenland is more than just indie pop. Their music also features many orchestral elements with a touch of electro. The band is comprised of six members and they play many different instruments. Their debut album “The Chase”, released last year,... Read More

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