CityFolk and a cranky Beethoven for the weekend

On the list this weekend: CityFolk boasts the strongest lineup in years, the NACO presents cranky Beethoven for the kids and a new gallery space opens in Ottawa.

Ben Caplan brings his majestic baritone to Cityfolk

Ben Caplan performs music from the play "Old Stock" and new material at CityFolk on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (Jamie Kronick)

On the list this weekend:  CityFolk boasts the strongest lineup in years, the NACO presents cranky Beethoven for the kids and a new gallery space opens in Ottawa.

Ban Caplan at CityFolk

CityFolk, in its 25th season, is boasting one of the strongest lineups in recent memory with a rich roster of headliners and rising stars.

Look out for crowd-pleasing performances from soulful Irish balladeer Hozier, American indie folklorists The Decemberists and Hamilton's honky-tonk folk rocker Terra Lightfoot on the City Stage throughout the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, don't miss the monumentally talented Halifax singer songwriter Ben Caplan and his band.  

With his huge bushy beard and theatrical style, Caplan resembles a wild mountain man on stage. But his velvety baritone could charm the birds from the trees, when he's in the mood.

His voice has been compared to both a smooth glass of whiskey and a scouring pad, depending on the song.

"Whatever piece of me is authentically insane has found its outlet in front of crowds of people," said Caplan, in an interview from Halifax.

  • Where: CityFolk  at Lansdowne Park, behind TD Stadium.
  • When: Caplan performs Saturday at 3:30 p.m.  CityFolk runs through Friday night, Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Cost:  Day passes for Saturday are $75, for Sunday $65. They can be purchased here. For the complete CityFolk lineup go here.

Ludwig van Cranky Pants

NACO musicians Marjolaine Lambert and Marjolaine Fournier. (Sandra Abma/CBC News)

Why does Beethoven look so crabby? That's the musical question the duo of Marjo² attempt to answer in Ludwig van Cranky Pants, a funny, tuneful show aimed at kids. It's taking place this Sunday as part of the NAC's ongoing salute to the composer's symphonies. 

NACO musicians Marjolaine Fournier and Marjolaine Lambert noticed that Beethoven seems to be in a perpetual sour mood when depicted in busts and portraits, so in a whimsical way they sought to find out why.  Hint: it may have something do with a tummy ache.

With excerpts from Beethoven's greatest hits, and a bit of clowning around, the two accomplished musicians have put together an entertaining introduction fo the great composer.

In most busts of the great composer, Beethoven can barely manage a smile. (CBC Sunday Morning)
  • Where: National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St. in the atrium off the Elgin St entrance.
  • When:  Sunday  in French at 11 a.m., in English at 1:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.

Finger painting

Montreal artist Dominic Besner at Alpha Art Gallery's new location on Sussex Avenue. (Sandra Abma/CBC News)

Alpha Art Gallery has moved into a bigger and brighter space on Sussex Avenue and it's inviting the public to see the new digs on Sunday. If you like colour, big canvases awash with bright bold hues, this is the gallery for you.

Montreal artist Dominic Besner is one of the featured artists in a group show. Besner's works are based on fairy tales and fantastic creatures that he has dreamed up himself.

But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of his art is the method he uses to make his paintings. He uses his fingers.

"I like to touch the paint, to feel the canvas," said Besner. "With brushes, there's a distance between yourself and the art and I don't like that. That's why I like to use my fingers."

  • Where: Alpha Art Gallery,  531 Sussex Dr.
  • When: Grand opening party, Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.
Besner works with his hands to create his paintings of fantastical beasts. (Sandra Abma/CBC News)