A showcase of the quality and diversity of Montréal’s digital arts scene.
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 dance king Didy Veldman. This new adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book was especially commissioned by the Grands Ballets, and features a diverse musical score that ranges from the avant-garde music of Finnish composer Kimmo Pohjonen to that of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Spring officially kicks off on March 21, whether or not there’s still snow outside, and so does Digital Spring. This year’s edition showcases 150 happenings by 90 organizations (including an inaugural work by local experiential designers Iregular at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal that is sure to knock your socks off!). Until June 21, Digital Spring celebrates the capital of the digital arts in North America, Montréal, by presenting interactive spaces, visual and audio performances, immersive experiences, 3D productions, cutting-edge electronic music, vernissages and world-class events in activities and places all around the city, ranging from the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium to the ELEKTRA 16 Digital Arts Festival, Piknic Électronik, and the International Symposium on Immersion and Experience. Check it out! There’s something for you, guaranteed.
Montréal’s Space For Life, home to the Biodôme, Botanical Garden, Planetarium and Insectarium, has tons of family fun to offer over spring, including the freeing of the butterflies. Let winged friends of all colours, sized and species flit all around you – even land of your nose – until April 26, in the beautiful, tropical environment of the Botanical Gardens. Don’t miss out on The Island of Toys at the McCord Museum, an exhibition for kids aged 3 to 9 that’s on until April 6. Search for a crew of shipwrecked monkeys who have taken refuge on an island of lost toys among the 170 historical toys exhibited. Let history come alive before your kids’ eyes at Château Ramezay, where guided tours by knowledgeable guides in full historical costumes are available. On Saturday, March 21, take your tots ages 2 to 5 to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ education wing for a four-handed workshop inspired by their exhibition “Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism” and the museum’s permanent collection. The theme is “Up, Up and Away! An Animal-themed Flying Carpet”, and the workshop lasts 45 minutes.
One of Montrealers’ favourite Québec traditions is back: it’s sugaring off season, when the sweet sap flows freely through the maple trees and is collected, cooked and used to make delicious sweet treats. If you’re free to explore outside the city you’ll find a large number of sugar shacks to choose from, both authentic and rustic, and totally kitted out, but there’s no need to leave town for the experience. Within the city itself, you can feast on sugar-shack mainstays – think maple-glazed ham, omelets, pork rinds, baked beans and, of course, maple taffy served on snow – at restaurants including La Cabane on the Plateau, Le Richmond in Griffintown, Scena on the Old Port and Sparrow in the Mile End.
Get a jump on the weekend on Thursday night, March 19, with Dusky at Stereo – or there’s also Toronto’s The Holy Gasp at Quai des Brumes. It’s dark and heavy at Foufounes Électriques on March 20, with Enslaved, Yob and Ecstatic Vision; for something a bit lighter, pick TOPS at Bar le Ritz PDB. Later on that night, dance your bum off with VINAI and Jewelz & Sparks at New City Gas, or Marcel Dettmann at Stereo. New Zealand’s Broods come to town to play Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre on Saturday, March 20, while across town, you’ll find Cousins at La Vitrola. Pennywise, A Wilhelm Scream and Anti-Flag play Métropolis on March 22, while Rocco DeLuca and Old Man rock the house at Divan Orange. Catch Blank Bullets at Barfly on March 23 and, on March 25, the moody dance explosion that is Gorgon City hits SAT.