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Posts by Isa Tousignant

Things to do in Montréal: April 24 to 30

Rain or shine, just the fact of being able to stroll on snow-free streets is enough to give the city a giddy feel this week. There’s so much enchantment to be had with the thaw of spring, whether it’s the reopening of the musical swings at Place des Arts, the reawakening of the city’s huge bike-path network or the freeing of butterflies in the Botanical Garden (until April 26). Oh, and did we mention monster trucks? Springtime spectacles With the Montréal Canadiens in the playoffs, there’s already so much excitement in the air! But when you’re not at one of these cool spots taking in the games, check out the monster truck engines rev and the mud fly at the 20th edition of Monster Spectacular at the Olympic Stadium on April 25. Then there’s the Spielgelworld theatrical showstopper, Empire, which continues to wow in its own designated tent on the corner of René-Lévesque and Bleury with a unique blend of circus, comedy and vaudeville until May 24. As for theatre, Montréal filmmaker Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky) directs Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning comedy Travesties, on until May 3 at the Segal Centre. Not to mention the interactive spaces, visual and audio performances, immersive experiences, 3D productions, cutting-edge electronic music, vernissages… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal April 16 to 22

Who can get enough of this sun?! The pendulum has swung in this beautifully bipolar city, utterly bypassing spring and basically settling on straight-up summer. We’ll take it! The streets are teeming with life, bike paths are back in action, coffee shops are spilling out and Montréal’s famous terrasses are just waiting for you to come tipple between cultural happenings and live music shows. Lounging like lizards Sometimes the best way to spend time is to waste it. Nothing will make you appreciate the simple beauty of life like a day spent strolling around Montréal in your short sleeves. Mount Royal and the city’s other dozens of parks are bursting with green shoots and wild crocuses pushing their brave way through the snow, Montréal’s best terrasses are open again with promises of refreshing cocktails or caffeinated concoctions, and, best of all this year in terms of putting a spring in our step, the Habs are in the playoffs. Life is good! Take in the games at one of these great sporty spots. Taking in art The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has a great roster of spring exhibitions, including Sophie Calle and Simon Starling, the latter of whom examines metamorphosis… / Read More →

10 Spots to Buy Affordable Contemporary Art in Montréal

You may never have considered becoming an art collector, but think about it: instead of those Ikea posters on your wall, you could have original art you love that will only increase in value over time. And you won’t need to mortgage your house! There’s loads of affordable art available in Montréal, for anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred. From April 24 to 26, at Paper15, an art fair that promotes objects made exclusively on paper (therefore that much affordable), you can peruse a whole bunch of art gathered in one magical, inspiring space. You’ll come across photography, prints and everything in between, as well as booths held by galleries from Montréal and further afield, including Joyce Yahouda Gallery, Diaz Contemporary, and dc3 Art Projects. But, if you can’t make the fair, fear not. Visit these 10 spots to buy affordable contemporary art, and you’ll soon be collecting like a boss. Expozine This small-press fair that occurs every fall in the basement of St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End church, at Saint-Dominique and Saint-Joseph, is a choice spot for limited-edition prints, postcards or posters that look awesome in a frame. They’ll set you back no more than $100, and… / Read More →

5 Montréal essentials: T-shirts

Although nothing says, “I’ve been there,” like a T-shirt, a T-shirt doesn’t have to scream, “I’m a cheesy tourist!” Celebrate the Montréal sun wearing these spring/summer 2015 tees by local designers. Raised by Wolves This Montréal streetwear brand is distributed widely across the globe, and for good reason – the hip-hop wink of its wear gives even the simplest pieces swagger. This spring/summer 2015 baseball shirt will dress up any lazy-tee day, whether you’re headed to a game or a hot date. Find it downtown at Montréal carrier Off the Hook (1021 Sainte-Catherine West), or order it online from one of Raised by Wolves’ many stockists. Price to be determined Off the Hook Speaking of Off the Hook, the renowned streetwear boutique on Sainte-Catherine West creates its own designs too, including this series of Montréal neighbourhood tees. Pick your favourite (each hood gets its unique design) for a truly personalized souvenir. Find them online, or in-store at Off the Hook, 1021 Sainte-Catherine West. $35 New Regime This impeccably made sportswear-inspired tee with terrycloth lettering by Montréal fashion brand New Regime is an easily wearable style from the spring/summer 2015 collection, which extends from prison-wear orange shirts to preppy polka-dot polos…. / Read More →

Meet a Montrealer: John Zeppetelli

John Zeppetelli had lived in many places and curated for some of the most renowned contemporary art establishments before becoming Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC). The avid runner has breathed new life into the institution, thanks to an infectious passion for art and an ability to speak about it in simple, human terms. This is how he experiences Montréal. Job: Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Favourite pastime: Watching dark, Scandinavian TV dramas. The Bridge, The Killing… I had just travelled to Copenhagen a couple of months before watching The Bridge, and I became obsessed! I also love reading. How long have you been a Montrealer? I am a born and bred Montrealer. I’ve also lived in Italy, Scotland, England, and in the United States. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? I’m very happy with my collection show, “New Discoveries and Other Obsessions,” which just opened on February 28. My first exhibition as Director of the MAC was at another museum, oddly enough, the “1+1” exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, so this is the first I’ve done in our space. I… / Read More →

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 →