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Posts by Isa Tousignant

Things to do in Montréal: March 26 to April 1

Spring is sweet in Montréal, literally thanks to maple mania, and figuratively with all the cultural effervescence of the season. From Digital Spring to music that will massage your soul with beauty and light, it’s all happening, right here, right now. Digital spring fever The sophomore edition of Digital Spring, on until June 21, showcases 150 interactive spaces, visual and audio performances, immersive experiences, 3D productions, cutting-edge electronic music performances, art exhibitions and world-class events put on by 90 organizations. It’s overwhelming to say the least, but you can let the calendar lead your experience and follow the guide online week by week. The programming will take you everywhere from Piknic Électronik to the International Symposium on Immersion and Experience and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium,at the Space for Life complex. For something a bit more lo-fi, head next door for spring fever, Botanical Garden-style: butterflies fly free through the beautifully temperate greenhouses until April 26. The kids will love it. Taste the season It isn’t really spring in Québec if there isn’t maple syrup involved. You can enjoy a feast of maple goodness, either classical or revisited, in the city or further afield. In town there’s a slew of restaurants that have launched special seasonal menus… / Read More →

Things to do in Montreal: March 19 to 25

As Mother Nature tries to decide which way to go out there, huddle indoors with a few dozen good movies thanks to the International Festival of Films on Art this week, or lose yourself in the masses of programming for Digital Spring. There’s also tons of family activities, theatre, ballet, music, and the exciting kickoff of the sugaring season. (Be sure to warn your dentist.) All about arts The 2015 edition of the International Festival of Films on Art presents some 60 films about art this year, running from March 19 to 29, in cinemas all over the downtown core. You can see films on everything from architecture to dance to animation; goodies like Escape From Moomin Valley, all about the fantastical world of comic artist Tove Jansson, or The Man Who Saved the Louvre, about the heroic efforts of Louvre director Jacques Jaujard during the Second World War. Read more here. Theatre lovers won’t want to miss their last chance to catch The Goodnight Bird, at Centaur, a play about a vagrant who lands on a middle-aged couple’s balcony. It runs until March 22. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal premiere their latest opus on March 19: The Little Prince, chorographed by Dutch… / Read More →

Five films to check out at FIFA

The 2015 edition of International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) isn’t only exciting because it’s got nearly 243 films about art on view – it’s also an edifying excuse to stay indoors and avoid the last bit of cold. From March 19 to 29 in cinemas all over the downtown core, the range of films shown is one of the festival’s best assets – proving that art is in everything, from architecture to dance to animation. Here are five films in English (or with English subtitles) presented at FIFA 2015 that you won’t want to miss. Escape From Moomin Valley, directed by Charlotte Airas This Finnish animation film profiles Tove Jansson, the woman behind the wildly famous Moomin books, a series of illustrated comic books for kids and bigger kids that has captured the imagination of generations. Jansson’s artistry went far beyond the good-hearted creatures of Moonin; she was a versatile and prolific artist and author, who above all considered herself a painter. Escape from Moomin Valley delves into Jansson’s life outside of the Moomins, portraying her early years and her search for an artistic identity in Europe between the two World Wars. Making Space: 5 Women Changing the Face of Architecture, directed by… / Read More →

5 Montréal essentials: bags

From handbags to weekenders to messenger bags and laptop sleeves, you can be sure there’s a Montréal designer out there who makes what you need. Bring home a souvenir that really says Montréal thanks to this top 5 that marries form and function: it’s all about bags.   Frank & Oak Frank & Oak are better known as menswear designers, but their bags are a well-kept secret of the most stylish Montrealers, both male and female. Beautifully made from thick, full-grain tanned Italian leather, this weekender comes in jet-black and a warm, auburn hue. The exterior envelope pockets and interior zippered section keep everything in its place while looking just-so. Find it online, or in person at their flagship store in the Mile End (160 Saint-Viateur Street East). $335   Matt & Nat Vegans worldwide thank their lucky stars for Matt & Nat, a widely distributed brand of cruelty-free bags and accessories that puts the style back into ecological awareness. This Wellington satchel in citrus from the spring/summer 2015 collection can also be worn cross-body thanks to a removable strap, and it comes in four other spring-happy colours. The brilliantly designed front flap with cutout for the handle has a snap closure so… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 12 to 18

The day has come! The thermometer hit the plus side for the first time in months, and spring is well on its way to springing. That means a general fancy-free frenzy in the streets of Montréal, with lots of promenading, coffee dates on the season’s first few terrasses, and, of course, culture galore for warm evenings of entertainment. Visual arts Friday night, March 13, marks the launch of a new exhibition at La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse on the Main near Marianne Street: Love Me, Love My Doll, by Gabrielle Lajoie‑Bergeron. The Montréal artist’s expressive paintings play with the thin line between commercialized images of femininity and childishness. Galerie Lilian Rodriguez in the Belgo Building downtown launches two new painting shows too: Laura Findlay’s Denser than Night, guest curated by Benjamin Klein, and Hybrides, by José Luis Torres. Come grab a glass of wine at the vernissage on Saturday March 14, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Otherwise, the annual Art Matters festival continues until March 21, where you can see exhibitions addressing various meaty topics including the current political climate and the battle against austerity in Québec, in the exhibition Oppression Aesthetics, at the VAV Gallery on René‑Lévesque Boulevard West. Stage shows No need to travel around the globe when Australian troupes… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Daniel Iregui

As the Creative Director and founder of Iregular, Daniel Iregui is one of those people who is responsible for creating the rich, artistic fabric Montréal is known for. He and his colleagues François Loubert-Hudon and David Surprenant mix technology and design to create ambitious, immersive public experiences, which then travel around the world. The next piece they are doing will be at the heart of the Montréal Digital Spring launch, at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC). This is how Daniel experiences Montréal. Job: Creative Director and founder of Iregular Favourite pastime: I have a jam space in my studio where I play music with some friends. It’s always different people, so it’s like a group without a name and without albums. I love Mutek, and the jams we do around Mutek are always particularly inspired. How long have you been a Montrealer? For nine years. I’m originally from Colombia, but I moved to Toronto to finish my studies. Even though I lived there for three years, I always felt like an immigrant; but every time I came to Montréal, it was completely different. I felt at home. It was very strange, and it’s very hard to point out why. I really fell in… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 5 to 11

With Art Souterrain continuing through the month, FIFA around the corner and Art Matters kicking off this week, March is definitely an arty month. But there’s also new music symphonies in the Old Port, combat-dance at Place des Arts (yes, you read right) and outdoor fun to be had. Why art matters Concordia University art students have been putting on the annual Art Matters festival for 15 years now, and this edition marks that landmark in style. There are more parties than you’ll know what to do with – don’t miss the opening bash at Plaza Theatre on March 6 – and a million exhibitions throughout the festival, from March 7 to 21. A couple of the highlights not to be missed: Oppression Aesthetics, presented at the VAV Gallery, which addresses the current political climate and the battle against austerity in Québec with a multimedia exhibition; and An Evening of Alchemy, a one-night event at the Loyola Chapel on March 19, where visual artists and performance artists mix to create spontaneous creative interactions throughout this historic space. Place of expression Place des Arts is bustling with great shows this month, starting with Masters of Illusion on March 5, America’s largest touring magic show featuring an… / Read More →

A classical start to spring with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

One of the true crown jewels in Montréal’s rich cultural scene, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) is a gateway to an internationally acclaimed range of classical music. From within its slick, contemporary headquarters at the Maison symphonique de Montréal, it’s planning a spring full of treats for connoisseurs and newbies alike. Here are 10 concerts not to be missed between March and May. Adventures in the East kicks off the month on March 4 (8 p.m.) and 8 (2:30 p.m.) with a program presented in collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and its exhibition Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: From Spain to Morocco, Benjamin-Constant in His Time. Directed by Kent Nagano, the concert features pieces by Saint-Saëns, Dukas and Strauss (“Dance of the Seven Veils”, from Salome), as well as the world premiere of works inspired by Sephardic and Arab-Andalousian songs by contemporary Montréal composer Kiya Tabassian. The eastern inflections continue with the concert on March 7 (9 p.m.), Travels with Philip Glass, which unites the work of Tabassian and Dukas with that of groundbreaking composer Glass. From March 11 to 13, flamboyant contemporary pianist Lang Lang is on the menu with two concerts, one titled Kent Nagano Greets Lang Lang (on March 11 and 12, 8 p.m.), the other… / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: Dominique Anglade

With a stellar career that has spanned engineering, strategic management and high-level organizational transformations, Dominique Anglade is an unquestionable authority on good business. Who better to have at the helm on Montréal International, then, an organization dedicated to bringing new and exciting business to this fair city? This is how Dominique experiences Montréal. Job: President and CEO of Montréal International Favourite pastime: Dancing and listening to music, both pop and Caribbean. How long have you been a Montrealer? Since birth. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? Going to the Karnaval Kanpe, at SAT. It was a party in honour of the Kanpe Foundation, where there was a mix of Caribbean and techno music, dance routines, Haitian items for sale, makeup booths – all sorts of things to recall Haiti. What’s your favourite Montréal memory? Camping in Oka, which by the way is part of Greater Montréal, as a kid. It was in the woods, by the lake, with a tent – the whole nine yards. What’s your favourite Montréal restaurant? Européa. Where do you like to go for drinks with friends? We usually hang out either at their house or mine, but if we go out… / Read More →

Things to do in Montreal: February 26 to March 4

Yes, yes, y’all, it’s Nuit Blanche! This Saturday brings with it the best excuse to stay up all night since the last Star Trek marathon on Space TV. Grab your friends and family and hit the streets and cultural centres of the Montréal, open all night and jam-packed with special programming. All-night art The only bad thing about Nuit Blanche is figuring out how to divide your time – there’s just that much to do. The best strategy this Saturday, February 28, is to start with all your favourite places, whether that’s the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Phi Centre, the Olympic Stadium, Fonderie Darling or the Belgo Building, because you’ll get to access them for free. Plus you can be sure they’ll be pulling out all the stops for this special night with unusual and exciting programming, whether that’s live music, workshops, free performances and more. But afterwards, it’s time to discover. Nuit Blanche is really about broadening your perspectives, while having a good time, so an adventurous attitude is de mise. This year you might be tempted by the film screening night at Nouveau Palais restaurant. Or maybe you’ll want to try the all-night collage party at Monastiraki? And,… / Read More →