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Posts by Robyn Fadden

Extreme Films, Extreme Parties at iF3 International Freeski Film Festival

It’s never too early to prepare yourself for ski and snowboard season, so says the iF3 International Freeski Film Festival, September 24-26. iF3 gets our minds ready first with films about famed mountains, pro and amateur freeski athletes and filmmakers, and the deepest of deep powder – plus parties raucous enough to match. Unlike traditional skiing, freeskiing makes tricks and jumps a must, using snowboard park rails, pipes and other obstacles or playing with the hurdles nature provides. As expected, that makes for some seriously awe-inspiring visuals. The 9th annual iF3 takes us on a wild trip around the world, screenings films set in Canadian and U.S. mountain ranges, the Swiss Alps and beyond. The International Freeski Film Festival lives up to its international moniker by launching online on September 24, with free films webcast all afternoon on redbull.com, including Finnish film Brain Massage shot in Italy, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Russia; Swedish ski-lifestyle movie Bon Vivant; Canadian film Ski the North, a sequel to last year’s award-winner Meanwhile in Canada, and more. See filmmakers and athletes take the stage at Thursday night’s Awards ceremony at the plush Imperial Cinema, where the next night the fest’s first screening is… / Read More →

See affordable shows on Montréal stages

The curtain goes up and the theatre, dance, circus or comedy show unfolds, its live tension palpable, often unique and unforgettable. In Montréal, that memorable experience doesn’t have to break the bank – all year round, the city’s stages are filled with live shows at affordable prices (some of them are even free!) The city’s biggest and arguably most opulent show venue, Place des Arts, houses six large theatres and several more show spaces right downtown. With shows every night, there’s usually something for every budget. Find inexpensive balcony seats for under $25, as well as student and seniors pricing and matinée deals at the Opéra de Montréal, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal  (OSM) conducted by Kent Nagano, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Les Grands Ballets, Canadian premieres of Broadway productions, and internationally touring dance company shows presented by Danse Danse. Especially watch for shows at Cinquième Salle, which often hosts cutting-edge productions by celebrated choreographers and directors. While theatre in Montréal is often quite affordable as it is, watch for inexpensive shows at the Segal Centre and Centaur Theatre studio and second stages, as well as theatre at the city’s many Maisons de la culture, host to productions by both established and… / Read More →

Shop and eat local at POP Montréal’s Puces POP fair

Shopping and souvenirs might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think POP Montréal International Music Festival, but the city-wide fall festival’s Puces POP is one of the best places to find made-in-Montréal wares, from jewellery to baby clothes to baked goods. This year, Puces POP expands to fill a 14,000-foot loft space at 160 St-Viateur East, right in the heart of the ever-hip Mile End neighbourhood. From September 17 to 20, find 140 artists and artisans – including 65 new vendors – selling accessories, clothing, art, posters, baby’s and children’s ware, jewellery, body care, ceramics, food and housewares. Even if you’re ready to shop until you drop, POP Montréal comes to your rescue with a new Puces Lounge, a relaxing zone complete with a full bar – plus there’s food down every aisle, be it ready-to-eat chocolate and cookies or jams, pickled veg and hot sauce. Over those four days, Puces POP hosts an opening night party with a DJ providing ambiance and keeps the tunes going every day for a uniquely musical shopping experience. Find leather and cloth bags, wallets and belts from Marc Simard, Annoukis, Lajoie, Noujica, OUT and other great artisans. Prepare… / Read More →

Autumn Glows in Montréal with Gardens of Light and High-Tech Fireflies

As fall leaves turn and nights start earlier, Montréal gets brighter than ever, beginning on September 4 with the annual Gardens of Light display at the Botanical Garden. Putting on a light show of its own nearby, the Insectarium’s Bearers of Light exhibition lets loose hundreds of “fireflies.” In its 4th edition, Gardens of Light introduces hundreds of lanterns and lights to the Botanical Garden’s striking natural setting, just minutes away from downtown. Walk along tree-lined paths and plant-covered grounds of the Chinese and Japanese gardens to discover the fauna at night in the Botanical Garden, part of the country’s largest natural science museum complex, Space for Life, also home to the Biôdome, Insectarium and Planetarium. This year, the colourful hand-made lanterns of people and animals in the Chinese Garden tell a new a story – a compelling and festive myth about the Chinese New Year. While bright pandas climb trees and glowing boats float in the garden’s pond, a soft and subtle light display in the Japanese Garden conveys the beauty of the changing seasons, illuminating trees, waterfalls and stones. With so much to see and ground to cover, a visit to Gardens of Light can be a fun… / Read More →

Places to go dancing in Montréal

No matter what your taste in dance music, Montréal’s got you covered when it comes to shaking it off, breaking it down or getting your groove on. Dance in style to electro, hip hop, soul, top 40 and more any night of the week at the city’s best dance clubs. The big names in EDM show up at New City Gas, a converted factory that’s now a massive club for energetic party-goers. Nearby in Old Montréal, boutique-club Peopl. and subterranean lounge spot Velvet Speakeasy beckon with international and local DJs rubbing shoulders with the city’s beautiful people. And electronic and hip hop merge at one of the city’s newest and talked-about clubs, Newspeak, in downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles – dance to cutting-edge DJs, hip-hop artists, live indie-electro bands and more. Underground house, techno and dub in the style of the MUTEK music festival keep the grooves smooth and dancers happy at Le Bleury Bar à Vinyle, Salon Daomé in the Plateau on Mont-Royal Avenue and Datcha in Mile End. When last call at 3 a.m. just isn’t late enough and you’ve got plenty of dancing energy left, look no further than Stereo and Circus, two of the best world-class afterhours… / Read More →

POP Montréal must-see shows

For five days in September, the city rocks out and sings along to the music of POP Montréal, dancing to the beat of indie rock, electro, hip hop, punk, classic R&B and new music that defies genre let alone “pop.” From September 16 to 20 the POP Montréal tradition continues in its 14th year as venues big and small across the city welcome over 400 artists. Never a festival to cast aside history, POP Montréal honours the influential greats with shows that prove new music’s roots run deep. See Italian record producer and pioneering electronic dance music hit-maker Giorgio Moroder with local atmospheric electro duo Organ Mood, rave-ready electronic legends The Orb, chart-topping blues guitarist and songwriter Barbara Lynn and Louisiana Blues Hall of Famer guitarist Lil’ Buck Sinegal, heavy rock legends who’ve never quit Motörhead and Anthrax, enthralling  guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, American garage rock and DIY-proto-punk band The Sonics, once-members of Sonic Youth Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, Canadian old-school punks The Diodes, 90s indie-rock originators Built to Spill, industrial metal heroes Godflesh, and one of the original riot grrrl bands Babes in Toyland screaming right back onto the stage at POP. Montréal musician Coeur de pirate, known… / Read More →

Music, Food and Dancing in the Streets at OUMF Festival

September may mean back to school but it doesn’t mean summer festival season is over yet in Montréal: The OUMF festival of live music (this year starring Grandmaster Flash!), breakdancing, art and performance throws a free, three-day street party for students and everyone else who knows that sunshine and warm nights don’t end in August. With two stages and more music and activities than ever, the 5th edition of the OUMF Festival takes over St-Denis Street in the Latin Quarter from September 10 to 12, turning the street into a pedestrian-only zone between Sherbrooke and Sainte-Catherine in the Quartier des Spectacles. Along with live music, expect to see acrobatic circus antics presented by MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, performers on roller blades in show Roulettes et Violoncelles (Roller Skates and Cellos) and the pavement transformed into a canvas for street artists of all ages. On stage, more than 20 bands play programmed by the M FOR MONTREAL festival (held annually in November) make every night one to remember. Hear hip hop legend and one of the original scratch DJs Grandmaster Flash, party-starting local hip hop experimenters Dead Obies, jazz influenced hip hop remixers BadBadNotGood (who play tunes from their latest album collab… / Read More →

Fun things to do with kids in Montréal

It’s August and whether we’re kids or adults, we’re all trying hard not to count down the last days of summer. Thankfully Montréal’s late summer and early fall festivals, live music, games, sports and more family-friendly activities make it easy to stay holiday-minded and carefree. Set butterflies free at the Monarch Odyssey this September, when monarch butterflies are labeled and released on their migratory journey south, and learn more about fireflies in the Bearers of Light exhibition at the Insectarium at Space for Life, also home to the Botanical Garden, Biôdome and Planetarium. And walk through the illuminated the Botanical Garden in September during the Gardens of Light event, a brilliant array of lanterns in the Chinese and Japanese gardens. More outdoor playtime is in store at Parc Exalto, an acrobatic park and obstacle course at the Esplanade Financière Sun Life at the Olympic Park, and at the Old Port of Montréal where kids can ride a zip line, a French carousel, mini-train or boat, explore the huge SOS Labyrinthe, play video games at Game On or the Peur Dépôt live game or play at pirates at the Voiles en Voiles, obstacle courses set on high-seas sailing ships. Or become an… / Read More →

The loudest must-see shows at Heavy Montréal

The heavyweights of metal, rock and punk descend on Montréal as Heavy Montréal shakes Parc Jean-Drapeau August 7-9. The 7th edition of the festival once known as Heavy MTL may be its weightiest yet, with three days of music from over 60 bands. Where the August 1 weekend’s massive Osheaga festival teems with brightly-hued youthful enthusiasm, Heavy Montréal spans five decades of music and prefers to dress in black – at the same time, it’s more approachable than ever. With headliners such as spectacularly entertaining Slipknot, iconic Iggy Pop, 90s metal-fusion populists Korn and Faith No More, post-hardcore Alexisonfire and Heavy Montréal headliner veterans Lamb of God mainstaging as some of the most obvious must-see shows over the three days of the festival, several others carve niches of their own in the program. Die-hard metal fans all have their favourites in a music scene replete with sub-genres. Revered French metal band Gojira rallies the darkening crowds as Swedish extreme metal maniacs Meshuggah prove their continued might. Influential doom metalists Neurosis blow minds, British black metal originators Venom reboot as Venom Inc., founder of Norwegian black metal band Immortal, Olve Eikemo, returns solo as Abbath, while devotees of black metal underground… / Read More →

Anime, Manga and Games Come Alive at Otakuthon

Anime fans – many brightly and elaborately dressed as their favourite characters – come out to play at Otakuthon at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, August 7-9. The second-biggest convention of its kind in Canada, Otakuthon celebrates the storytelling and artistry of classic and brand-new Japanese anime, manga and games. Similar to July’s Montréal Comiccon, Otakuthon’s 10th edition features an exhibition space full of colourful merchandise and artwork, a roster of talent ready to meet fans, and a series of panels and workshops by artists and other experts. Yet Otakuthon’s abundance of upbeat energy really comes from the fans: thousands arrive in costumes far more detailed than you’ll see at any Halloween party. Known as cosplay (costume + playing), it’s an essential part of the weekend – a way to try on anime life, make new friends, participate in activities and show off all the work that goes into making a costume. See the best costumes all in one place on stage at the evening Masquerade event, August 8. Along with all the incredible costumes, based on everything from mainstream Sailor Moon to much lesser-known anime, Otakuthon adds live performances: this year see Japanese rock bands Angela and Flow,… / Read More →