The underground maze of the City of Montréal is home to over one hundred works and installations by contemporary artists, both established and emerging, from across the globe. The journey takes place on a circuit totaling seven kilometers, linking 14 buildings in downtown Montréal.
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 award-winning cast of mind-boggling illusionists. See it live and you might get to participate! Also this week, Danse Danse presents ROCCO by the Dutch dance troupe ICKamsterdam until March 14. Set around a boxing ring, this award-winning choreography centres on combat and loaded physical emotion in a series of duos exploring the range of male relations with humour and sensuality. Don’t miss the post-performance talks on March 6 and 13. Also at the Place des Arts on March 7, elite Japanese drumming group Kodo presents their new show titled Mystery, featuring “giant snakes, demons and lions writhing wildly to the reverberations that rise up from the depths of the Earth.” Wow.
Open air fun
As much as we may have complained about the cold some days, it’s kind of sad to see it start slipping away. Ah, Montréal, land of contradictions! Take advantage of the last few weeks of skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing with our handy guide to hot things to do in the cold. Sledding is also great fun with the whole family at public parks like Mount Royal, Parc Jarry or Parc La Fontaine. The snow party continues at Parc Jean-Drapeau, where you can do everything from dog sledding to zip-lining. Yoga fans will want to try their hand at the last session of Snow Yoga this Saturday morning, between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Parc La Fontaine. It’s free.
Dedicated to introducing music lovers to some of Montréal’s best indie bands, the Under the Snow festival is back from March 5 to 8, presenting about a dozen bands at Casa del Popolo. Come on out and get to know bands like Dye By the Sword, Millimetrik and Double Date With Death, in addition to shopping your beep off at the Salon du Disque et des Arts Underground de Montréal. Over at Pointe-à-Callière museum in Old Montréal, the Port Symphonies are on March 8 at 1:30 p.m. on Place Royale and around the museum. The free concert composed by sound artist Philippe Lauzier uses ambient sounds, including passing trains, boats moored in the Old Port and the bells of Notre-Dame Basilica. This sort of project naturally leads into the Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques festival, continuing until March 7. The festival’s theme this year is “Surroundings and New Technologies”. Some of the sound creations presented are astounding, like Video Phase by Julien Compagne and Julien‑Robert, where the percussionist’s gestures become confused with images created in real time and resonating in a disorientating sound landscape. It’s presented at the Montréal Science Centre.
More live music
March 5 brings Elliott Gould and The Wilderness of Manitoba at Sala Rossa, as well as Dear Criminals at Le National and the Orchestre National de Jazz de Montréal at L’Astral, for the classic jazz lovers out there. Arkelis plays Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre on Friday, March 6, while Klangkarussell light up Club Soda and the Video Games Lives night at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier promises a larger-than-life music‑and‑multimedia show. Catch local folk rock superstar Sam Roberts at Métropolis on March 7, and on March 8, Steve Oaki and Headhunterz close off the week with a party at New City Gas. Lust For Youth rock up La Vitrola on March 10, while Caroline Smith headlines at Sala Rossa.