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Best bets for Sept. 29-Oct. 4


The fourth annual edition of the Cranium festival starts Thursday and runs for three days, showcasing the best in hip hop and R & B from the Ottawa area and beyond. The music kicks off Thursday at the Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray Street, featuring Dominique Gorley, Badda, Reeny Smith and more, before moving to Bronson Centre, 211 Bronson Ave., for an all-ages show anchored by TwoTiime and FTG Reggie on Friday. Saturday’s concert, also at Bronson Centre, is a licensed event with an action-packed program that includes Duvy, A$AP Twelvyy, Jay Worthy, Maurice Moore and more. Daily tickets and weekend passes are available. Go to to purchase. 

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Several of the national institutions in the Ottawa area are hosting events to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. At the National Arts Centre, a week-long program of activities hosted by Indigenous Theatre wraps up Thursday in the O’Born Room with a five-course dinner created by Metis chef Jenni Lessard (tickets start at $188.50 at Meanwhile, admission will be free at the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum as both museums highlight resources and activities aimed at recognizing the legacy of the residential school system. The film, Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket, will be screened at both locations. Timed entry tickets are free but must be booked in advance at each museum’s website. 


American comedian Iliza Schlesinger, an actor, writer, producer, author and new mom, brings her hilarious stand-up show to Ottawa on Friday. The star of the Netflix movies Good On Paper and Spenser Confidential has no fewer than five stand-up specials to her name, including Unveiled, an unpacking of marriage and its traditions, and 2018’s insightful Elder Millennial. A livewire performer, she’s known for her shrewd observations on dating, feminism, self-esteem and body image and the internet, all of it delivered with plenty of physical comedy and a variety of voices. Her Back in Action tour stops at the TD Place Arena at Lansdowne Park. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.; tickets start at $55.50 plus taxes and fees, available at 


The Ottawa Valley country outfit, River Town Saints, headline a street party in Smiths Falls on Saturday celebrating the end of three years of construction in the centre of the Eastern Ontario town, about an hour southwest of Ottawa. The band shares the stage with another popular Ottawa party band, The Hornettes, capping off a day of Back on Beckwith festivities that also includes street food, buskers, historical displays and the reemergence of the Settlers Days Stagecoach, a replica “mud coach” of the vehicle used to transport mail in the area in the 19th century. The celebrations run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday on Beckwith Street, which will be closed to vehicles. Admission is free. 


Author Whit Fraser, who’s the vice-regal consort of Governor General Mary Simon, launches his latest book, Cold Edge of Heaven, at an event presented by the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival. Set in 1924, the book is a historical fiction adventure in Canada’s Far North that tells a tale of murder, mystery and love, complicated by the clash of cultures between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Inuit. Fraser will be in discussion with Inuk journalist Madeline Alakkarialak at 3 p.m. Saturday at Christ Church Cathedral on Sparks Street. Admission is free but you must register at Masks are required. A livestream is also available. 


GigSpace, the intimate 40-seat performance space at 953 Gladstone Ave., has back-to-back shows this weekend featuring some of Montreal’s finest jazz players. On Friday night, the sextet of up-and-coming young guitarist Sam Kirmayer celebrates the release of his hard-swinging new album In The Moment. His A-list band includes saxophonist Al McLean, trombonist Karl Silveira, pianist Sean Fyfe, bassist Ira Coleman and drummer Andre White. The latter two musicians will be back Saturday night, supporting Juno Award-nominated pianist Andres Vial. Both concerts are at 7:30 p.m., and will be for both in-person and web-based audiences. Tickets ($25 in person, $19 live stream) and info: