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Posts by Isa Tousignant


Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.


Your 2016 Fashion & Design Festival survival guide

Catwalks in the street, thumping beats, champagne flutes and stilettos left and right – the annual Fashion & Design Festival can be a dizzying affair! And since we want you to get the very most out of all your Montréal experiences, we’ve cooked up your complete guide to the summer’s most glamorous experience.   Event Fashion and Design Festival, August 15 to 20. What you’re getting into A major outdoor event celebrating fashion and design at Quartier des Spectacles, in the heart of downtown Montreal, presenting outdoor fashion shows, live music shows, workshops, film screenings, presentations and more shopping opportunities that you can shake a YSL baguette at, including the famous pop-up shops on the Place des Festivals. Participating labels this year include Robert Atelier, Waxman, Alton Gray, Bestseller, Le Château, Citizen Vintage and many more, while you’ll be able to hear free live music by Dear Denizen, Archichic, Fonkyson, Paupière and buy a private night with Trouble Andrew (get your tickets here). Check out the schedule of talks and workshops here; you won’t want to miss the costume workshop presented by designers for the Cirque du Soleil.   What to bring Like any other large-scale festival, there are a… / Read More →

It’s all heavy hitters at Heavy Montréal 2016

Get your ears ready for a sound overload! Over the weekend of August 6 and 7, the word’s biggest heavyweights in metal, rock and punk descend upon Montréal for Heavy Montréal, the city’s heaviest outdoor music fest at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The fun starts at 1 pm on Saturday when Pop Evil kick things off on the Molson Canadian Stage, one of the three stages onsite. Saturday is a big day, with mainliners including Black Label Society (at 6:30 pm), Suicide Silence (7:30), Mastodon (also at 7:30 pm! Gahhh dilemma), Nightwish (8:30 pm) and Five Finger Death Punch (9:30 pm). One act you won’t want to miss either is Fear Factory (3:05 pm), the old school American industrial metal band that’s been making ears bleed since 1989. You’ll have time to catch some mathcore on the Heavy Stage beforehand, as Jersey’s The Dillinger Escape Plan takes over at 2:30 pm. And Inquisition will be legendary: the thrash metal kings of Colombia will turn the sunny afternoon to pitch darkness at 2 pm. On Sunday, get up and at ‘em early enough to catch I Prevail at 1 pm, followed by a veritable who’s who of heaviness. The biggest names include Kataklysm… / Read More →

Get ready for hot air balloons and even hotter music

Party people, family guys and culture vultures, head to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu this August, just 45 minutes from central Montreal! The International des Montgolfières Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, from August 13 to 21, is a high colour date for all that’s simply not to be missed. With top acts like Half Moon Run (on August13), Metric (August 13), Redfoo (August 17), Francesco Yates (August 20) and OMI (August 20) sharing the lineup with local luminaries Koriass (August 15), Ariane Moffatt (August 18) and Dumas (August 19), it’s definitely a music-lover’s destination. But that’s not even mentioning the kids’ music shows, which happen all day during the fest at another of the three stages. Aside from the cool notes, there are activities for the entire family, including bouncy castles, forts and citadels in every colour. Shoppers will want to check out the crafts village, featuring goods by all sorts of local artisans, and thrill seekers, we’ve got you covered with rides that’ll give you a taste of the heights and high emotions that are in store once you get to the balloons. (Speaking of which, if you want to see the world from aboard a balloon, all you need to do is sign up here.) Une… / Read More →

Fantasia Film Fest makes fantasy a reality

For its 20th anniversary edition, Fantasia is doing things MAJOR! We’re taking Marilyn Manson, Takashe Miike, Shinsuke Sato, Kevin Smith and Guillermo Del Toro (in his inaugural Montreal appearance) as star guests, TONS of world premieres, conferences and master classes galore, and 130 international feature films to be seen over two jam-packed weeks of fun from July 14 to August 3. I know what you’re thinking: where to begin?! Well, here. Below are five flicks you won’t want to miss in your wildest Fantasia dreams: Let Me Make You a Martyr Directed by Corey Asraf and John Swab Trailblazing musician and multimedia artist Marilyn Manson stars and co-produced this gripping and poetic modern film noir, shown at Fantasia in a world premiere. Set in the a debauched Midwestern town, it’s a thinking man’s genre thriller that touches upon themes ranging from child abuse to life after death and features its fair share of muscle cars. July 22 at 9:35 pm, Concordia Hall Theatre King Dave Directed by Daniel “Podz” Grou (Canada) This is the festival’s opening film for a reason: it’s local, plus it’s horrific. Violence, heartache and betrayal lie ahead when Dave (played by Mommy’s Alexandre Goyette) gets caught… / Read More →

Beauty hacks and laugh attacks at Oh My Fest! and Zoofest

Just to add to the festival frenzy going on in town, Zoofest and Oh My Fest! each offer a whole world of programing to fill your July with fun. While Zoofest (July 7 to 30) branches out into a uniquely cool indie humour vibe with everything from straight-up stand-up (by Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick and George Wallace, among others) to weird yet hilarious stage shows, Oh My Fest! (July 16 and 17) is all about celebrating YouTuber talent from all over Quebec, live and in the flesh. Here are five shows you won’t want to miss at both events. 1) Oh My Fest!: Humour Panel Comedy is in the air, so might as well get neck-deep with YouTube’s funniest Québécois dudes! At this Oh My Fest! panel you’ll meet, greet and ask questions to Élie Pilon, Simon Leclerc, Massi Mahiou, Mahdi Ba and Thomas Gauthier. Practice your funny accents, because this event is in French. July 16, 1:15 p.m., Monument-National 2) Oh My Fest!: Lifestyle Panel Did you always want to know how to contour like a boss, style jean cutoffs and find your best angle? This is the panel for you, where YouTube beauty gurus GirlyAddict, Jessibouu, Gloria-Bella, Élie Duquet,… / Read More →

Your 2016 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day survival guide

HAPPY SAINT-JEAN! If you’re in Montréal over the weekend of June 24, you’re in luck – everyone will be celebrating with you. Québec’s national holiday, named after St. John the Baptist (the patron saint of French Canadians), is celebrated in Montréal with everything from neighbourhood parties with outdoor jams and community picnics to a parade and a giant, no-holds-barred free music show. It’s all great fun, but it can be overwhelming! So because we want you to have the best time ever this June 23 and 24, we’ve devised this Saint-Jean-Baptiste Survival Guide – it’ll help you ensure you’re prepped and ready to celebrate Saint-Jean like a local. Event Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, celebrated on June 23 and 24, 2016 What you’re getting into A city-wide, family-friendly celebration on both the grassroots, neighbourhood level and the municipal one. Neighbourhoods that have great all-day outdoor activities worth wandering through include Villeray (check out De Castelneau street between De Gaspé and Drolet for free musical performances), Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (the Olympic Stadium Plaza is animated with activities for the whole family), the Plateau (especially around Lafontaine Park), Rosemont (Pelican Park is the hot spot) and Chinatown (in and around Sun Yat Sen Place). The live show… / Read More →

Montréal design 5 ways

This year marks a special anniversary for Montréal: it’s been 10 years since UNESCO deemed Montréal a City of Design. The honour, which La Belle Ville shares with a handful of cities around the world including Berlin and Kobe, is bestowed to cities that devote a particular amount of energy and resources to design. With incredibly rich architecture, fashion and creative sectors, Montréal generates millions in design-related funds every year, and has discoveries in store for fans of good-looking things of all kinds. 1) Architecture Any architectural tour of Montréal needs to include the Canadian Centre for Architecture, a jewel of a institution founded in 1979. Open to all, the avant-garde museum and research centre is devoted to raising public awareness of the role of architecture and stimulating innovation in design practice. Its archive would be a good place to research the city’s architectural icons before seeing them in the flesh: Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67, for example, or Mies van der Rohe’s Westmount Square, or Phyllis Lambert’s Segal Centre. There’s also Place Ville Marie, Notre-Dame Basilica, the Maison Symphonique and the surrounding Quartier des Spectacles. One of the most iconic structures is of course the Olympic Stadium, which you can… / Read More →

Extraordinary places to get married in Montréal

Montréal is famously romantic, and it’s a go-to destination for couples getting engaged or getting married – especially thanks to the amazing exchange rate these days. But this city still has its secrets! For your Montréal marriage, think outside the box and get the local scoop on little-known, memory-making places that will make your special day the most extraordinary of all. Let’s Make History, Baby As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Montréal is neck deep in history. Its most famous neighbourhood is Old Montréal, replete with 18th century European charm – but how about taking it up a notch and tying the knot in a private chateau? The Pierre du Calvet private castle dates back to 1725, but today it’s a luxurious retreat complete with interior garden and gastronomic dining. You can not only hold your reception there, you can actually do the deed in the beautiful little chapel onsite! Other breathtaking spots include Château Ramezay and Château Dufresne, both historic private homes that can take you back in time in the most romantic way. An outstanding spot awaits discovery in the oldest chapel in the city, the Chapelle du Bonsecours (don’t miss the two paintings by famous artist Ozias… / Read More →

WANT Les Essentiels: a Montréal success story

With a world-renowned luxury accessories brand and store locations on the globe’s chicest streets under their belt, twins Byron and Dexter Peart of WANT Les Essentiels are figureheads of the Montréal design world. We sat down with them in their beautiful Sherbrooke Street store, the WANT Apothecary (now celebrating 5 years!), on the cusp of their appearance at C2 Montréal, where they’ll be speaking about the importance of longevity, inventiveness and impeccable quality. How long have you been Montrealers? Byron: 21 years, since 1995. We grew up in Ottawa, went to University of Western Ontario in London, and afterwards moved here to build a life and career in fashion and business. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? Dexter: The coolest thing by far is we opened our first WANT Les Essentiels store in New York. That was in October last year, but it feels like it’s still brand new! It’s in a residential neighbourhood in the West Village, so not unlike what we’ve done here in Montréal, having WANT Apothecary in Westmount. It’s a really local environment, there are cafes and restaurants and lots of residential homes around, so we’ve been able to tell our story… / Read More →

Frank & Oak: a Montréal success story

As founders of one of Montréal’s most successful independent fashion brands, Frank & Oak, Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani clearly have the Midas touch. We sat down with them on the cusp of their appearance at the commerce and creativity convention, C2 Montréal, where they’ll be speaking about community, alternative business practices and the secrets to their success. How long have you been Montrealers? Ratnani: I was born here. Song: I was born in China, and came here when I was 6 ½. I lived for a while in Vancouver, but I was missing Montreal, so I decided to come back. That’s when we decided to start our business here. What is the unique factor in Frank & Oak’s business philosophy that helped your brand soar so successfully? Song: When we first started we saw two things: guys who wanted more out of life, who wanted to create their own identity, and there wasn’t a brand out there for them; and we combined that with the world stage that the internet gave us. So e-commerce and those men are what made Frank & Oak Frank & Oak. How important is a sense of community to the brand? Song: The whole… / Read More →