Talent Shows

Ottawa XPress – Shotgun – April 14, 2005

Who said Ottawa has no style?

Couldn’t have been the students of cool arts school Canterbury High, who recreated an event in early April “worthy of New York’s Fashion Week,” according to organizer Kristal Felea, a Grade 11 drama student at the school.

“The event was wonderful, with a tremendous turnout, and helped raise $1,500 for the Harmony House Women’s Shelter and CACDA, Canterbury High School’s own charity,” she told Shotgun, who was invited to the show.

The annual student-run fashion show carried the theme “Marilyn: New York,” and featured a look at fashion and glamour along the spectrum of two different Marilyns: classic Marilyn Monroe and the alternative Marilyn Manson. The show was very New York and included a soiree of drinks and pastries, and a screening of a Marilyn Monroe flick. “The show was [also] chaotic up until the last minute,” Felea said. “There was a lot of running backstage, as the show was quickly paced. Everyone had a lot of energy that evening, and we put it to good use.

“The show gives students the opportunity to explore their creativity and gain experience of what it is like to work with deadlines and what sort of commitment the fashion industry demands,” explained Felea. This year also offered the students the chance to sell their designs in a silent auction after the show, accompanied by a string quartet (Canterbury students, of course).

To learn more about next year’s lineup of designers and models, ask Kristal. You can find her on co-op placement with Carleton University’s CKCU-FM radio.


Canterbury High School churns out a lot of talent indeed. And alongside the brilliant and creative minds are outstanding teachers like Jim McNabb, the recently retired head of drama. An accomplished director (he did The Glass Menagerie for Ottawa Little Theatre and The Women for Act Out Theatre), actor and writer, McNabb is working with first-year theatre students at Algonquin College to help guide them through Ten Lost Years, their first full-length production for the 2005 Algonquin Theatre season.

Could you imagine a society led by an economy that literally has no money? That is the society that is portrayed in Ten Lost Years, a play written by Cedric Smith and Jack Winter. It is an adaptation of Barry Broadfoot’s award-winning book by the same name. Broadfoot took his tape recorder into kitchens, bars and coffee shops to let housewives and farmers and waitresses tell how the Great Depression of the 1930s affected their lives and those around them.

“The stories tell of an extraordinary time,” says McNabb. One tells of how a greedy Maritime landlord who tried to raise a widow’s rent was tarred and gravelled, another how rape by the boss was part of a waitress’s job. Other stories show Saskatchewan families watching their farms turn into deserts and walking away from them; freight trains black with hoboes clinging to them, criss-crossing the country in search of work; and a man stealing a wreath for his own wife’s funeral.

“With this play,” says McNabb, “we experience the human tragedy and moral triumph of some of the hardest of times ever faced by Canadians. In the end, this is an inspiring, uplifting piece of theatre about bravery, fellowship, good humour and, above all, true grit, one you will not forget.”

Catch the show April 20 to 23 at Algonquin’s N Building, Studio N-112, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $8 student/senior, $10 everyone else. For information: Algonquin College Theatre box office, 727-4723, ext. 5784.


Providing a venue for all kinds of cultural events and arts, The Agora at 145 Besserer Street has worked toward becoming a cultural landmark for the community as a combination general-interest bookstore, café and performance space. Together with local organizers, store director Laurent Rozen-Rechels, bar manager Sean Tassé (who books the shows) and buyer Paul Spendlove have made it a success.

The Agora was created five years ago by the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa to provide students with course materials at the lowest possible prices. While that remains their mission, Tassé has also been booking live events in the bar under the name the Universe City Lounge since the beginning of last summer. “It’s proven to be a great space for everything from music and theatre to art vernissages,” Spendlove says.

The response toward Agora poetry events, including “Capital Slam” and the erotic poetry night “Moans, Groans and Unfinished Sentences,” has been excellent.

Spendlove expects the upcoming readings by Gatineau-based John Lavery (author of You, Kwaznievski, You Piss Me Off!), and Sylvie Hill (that’s me!), on Friday April 22, will be the Agora’s biggest self-promoted literary event so far. An enticing “Moans, Groans” show is also scheduled Tuesday April 26.

Spendlove will gauge the response to the April 22 event to see where to go from there. “It could be more poetry and fiction, but I’d also love to hold forums based on some of the stimulating political and economic books out there,” he says. “We’re a bilingual institution so we’d like to get some francophone authors in as well.”

Unfortunately, the Lounge will be closing down as a full-time bar at the end of April for budgetary reasons, but the space will be devoted to special cultural events.

– Sylvie Hill