Distroboto: Montreal Art and Music

Posted on October 5th, 2009 by .

Tina Fey once called Montreal “New York with more cigarettes” and, for a while, a trip to most restaurants and bars revealed the city to be deserving of that tag. But, like any sensible place, Montreal has largely butted out of the smoking in public. But one enterprising organization has figured out how to create something new from the old and, in the process, given you a chance to take home a part of the cities’ vibrant art and music scene…

Distroboto takes old cigarettes machines and turns them into easy access art vendors. These ingeniously repurposed behemoths are now stocked with miniature books, crafts, comics, music, film, animation and more, all for the wonderfully reasonable price of $2. Over the years, I’ve gotten everything from albums from local musicians to cool pins but mostly I just think they’re the coolest little things, a great way to take home a little bit of Montreal’s art scene.

But, it turns out, there’s something even more interesting about this story. It begins with Archive Montreal, a non-profit organization made up of local writers, artists and publishers, whose aim is to promote, distribute and preserve their local independent culture. They’re the people behind Expozine, Montreal’s largest annual small press fair, as well as Distroboto. Since these are the good people who organize these push button art dispensers, it means that almost all sales revenues go back to the artists themselves.During the almost 9 years they’ve been operating, more than 300 local artists have sold more than 20, 000 unique pieces of Montreal.

Apparently there some new locations coming soon, so make sure you check out the Distroboto website (and learn more about Archive Montreal), but for now here’s some of the places you can find this nifty little doohickeys…

Côte-des-Neiges library (5290 Côte-des-Neiges Rd), Park Extension library (421 Saint-Roch), Casa del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent), Le Petit Campus (57 Prince Arthur E.), Le Divan Orange (4234 St. Laurent), Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent), Zoobizarre (6388 St-Hubert), Café Cagibi (5490 St-Laurent), Café Romolo (272 rue Bernard Ouest)

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