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THIS WEEKEND IN MONTREAL (JULY 9 to 11)

It has been scorching hot in Montreal, so we thought we’d share a nice photo of some snow to help cool you down. There won’t actually be any snow in Montreal this weekend, but there will be clowns! It’s the first ever Circus Festival in the city. This is your opportunity to find the perfect troupe to run away with. Start working on your acrobatic routine now. But if the circus doesn’t float your boat, well that’s okay. We’ve got nine other fun suggestions to do this weekend in Montreal! —————————————————————————————————————— [circus festival] COMPLÉTMENT CIRQUE – Lead by the world famous Cirque du Soleil and continued with numerous other circus companies and schools, Montreal has positioned itself as the North American destination for circus arts. This festival provides the perfect opportunity to see why we’ve earned that reputation. [film festival] FANTASIA – Through an emphasis of imaginative film programming from all corners of the world, Fantasia has become the festival choice of the underground movie buff.  Whether you are into Korean horror flicks, Bollywood love stories or anything in between, you’re going to find the best of celluloid creations.

MONTREAL GAY LIST: JULY

Each month THE MONTRÉAL BUZZ features five gay or gay-friendly things to do or see around the city. Recommendations range from parties to bistros to festivals to boutiques to cultural events. Here are some suggestions for the month of July.

LHOTEL : POP ART LIVING!

Old Montreal’s former Hôtel XIXe Siècle got a very exciting face-lift last April. Not only did its new owner, Georges Marciano (yes yes, Marciano of Guess!Jeans fame), replaced the furniture and linens to upgrade the room’s comfort, but he made the bold decision to make the elegant «Second Empire » building the permanent host of his personal Pop Art art collection.

DARLING FOUNDRY: ART IN THE CITY

The Darling Foundry – yes, it was once a foundry – is one of Montreal’s famous art spaces. My favourite urban legend is that a feng shui master once visited this abandoned space during its transformation into a gallery and said ‘’there was great heat here once.’’  The gallery is still hot today – one of the city’s most famed alternative galleries. Located on Ottawa Street, the current exhibit shows two expositions:  one by Luis Jacob, and also in situ works that unite this street from east to west and includes Griffintown, a charming area threatened by urban development. This is where the lovely, big horses hide in their little stables, waiting for their calèches or sleds.

DRIVE-END AT MONTREAL’S FINE ARTS MUSEUM

Remember drive-in movies? Today, many are abandoned. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents Drive-End, a collection of Martin Beauregard’s photographs, many of which show these mammoth screens sitting silently. No one is watching anymore.

GRAND PRIX ART

At super speeds, F1 tires touch, scrape and bounced off the asphalt of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Now these marks have been transformed into works of art by artist Martin Désilets. 

OLD MASTERS MEET NEW TALENT AT BATTAT CONTEMPORARY

Take a break.  Take a little trip away from the downtown hustle, and visit some art on the outskirts of picturesque Little Italy.  Discover the Battat Contemporary, a jewel of a gallery – a secret among local art aficionados.  The space (2,000 square feet) is the brainchild of a toy magnate Joseph Battat whose love of art and his own collection were pivotal to this hot, go-to place, opened in 2008. The eclectic exhibitions range from Old Master drawings to cutting-edge contemporary work.

MEET A MONTREALER: SUGAR SAMMY

Meet Sugar Sammy.  He’s that Montrealer of Indian background who makes a living telling jokes in English, French, Hindu and Punjabi (unfortunately, I can only attest of his funniness in the first two languages).  Although he’s always on tour somewhere in Canada, the United States or soon in France, Sugar still deeply loves his hometown – Montreal – where he still lives with his parents (!) in the colourful Côte-Des-Neiges neighbourhood.  We met him in Jeanne-Mance park to hear about his favourites city spots… and incidentally get a flirting lesson Sugar Sammy Style.  You’ll soon understand that this ladies man doesn’t take himself too seriously.

TURNER PRIZE LAUREATE RUNA ISLAM SHOWS IN MONTREAL

Montreal’s Contemporary Arts Museum, hosts its first solo show of British artist Runa Islam.  Prisms and Pantone! I first saw the work of contemporary artist Runa Islam at the 2005 Venice Biennale where her film of china tea cups slowly crashing to the ground was a hit.  Runa’s international reputation was enhanced by her nomination for Britain’s Turner Prize in 2008.  Islam is a world citizen: she was born in Bangladesh, she studied in London, where she now works, and is represented by the prestigious White Cube Gallery.

NORMAN LALIBERTÉ: ODE TO JOY

Wow! What colour. What energy. What zest. Norman Laliberté’s show at Galerie de Bellefeuille is full of joy. This American artist with French-Canadian parents is famous around the world for his exuberant use of colour. He not only paints, but has produced beautiful banners – the most famous were for the Vatican Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. His wonderful work at the gallery is sophisticated, yet childlike. The bright shades almost make you smile. So if you are having a bad moment, pop over to Westmount, and add some cheer to your day.