Monday, May 28, 2012

adventures in ottawa

I was told, "Show up at South Keys at 8PM for an adventure."

What kind of adventure?

Answer: "It's a secret."

I like adventures, so I did as I was told. My night then took me down the wrong way down a one way lane of a Catholic school, and into the industrial park where the Merivale Bowling Centre hides. Aliens then tried to communicate with us through the scoreboard.

People ask if I find life boring, returning to my hometown Ottawa after having travelled around Africa for the last year. It's true that I'm not being chased by baboons or facing death and desolation in the desert anymore, but I feel like life is only boring if you let it be boring. Now that Ottawa's shaken off the last of winter, and residents can finally enjoy Ottawa's beautiful green spaces there hasn't been a shortage of adventures to be found.

Two weekends ago, my band played a show in the basement of an art gallery. It was a bizarre space, a dimly lit basement with no furniture and walls completely covered in graffiti. I felt like I was in some art video in a parking garage, or an underground punk club in Brooklyn, except with folk music.
photo credit: mike curley

On Sunday, we performed again at a special music series called 4in1 Live in an Ottawa Park, where musicians perform in beautiful settings in front of a zillion photographers. This time we were at the Dundonald Park, an urban park right in the middle of Centretown. We played our favourite songs, followed by some spectacular spoken word poetry, folk musicians covering Austra, and my favourite new Ottawa discovery, Fevers, playing an acoustic set. It seemed like all of Ottawa's music-loving young people showed up. People sprawled out in picnic blankets and blew bubbles. Babies wandered around. Homemade cookies were passed around. There were several dozen photos taken of us, mostly by guys we don't know, which I assume means that we're famous now. It was a magical afternoon. This event was also one of the last things that the Ottawa Xpress ever reported on before going out of print, making things seem bittersweet.

photo credit: lenny wu

photo credit: mike curley

(Look, there's another live music in the park session coming up.)

Last weekend was the Ottawa Race Weekend, where I ran the 5k with ten thousand other runners. There is really nothing quite as claustrophobia-inducing as lining up tightly with ten thousand people all ready to run faster than you. There is also really nothing as heart-warming as watching people lined up all along the streets cheering you on as you run, even though you haven't a clue who they are. I finished in 40th place in my category, running the race in 26 minutes and 53 seconds, which isn't that bad considering that I had been up late the night before, having discovered that the X Men vs. Street Fighter arcade game at Babylon Nightclub was on freeplay. That did explain why I had so many small children passing me for the whole race. Next time I'll get more sleep the night before. Or maybe not. There's so much to do this summer....