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THE MONTREAL JAZZ FESTIVAL: WHERE TO DRINK

The Montreal Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival in the world. Musical giants such as Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown have all captivated crowds since the festival’s debut edition in 1980. Today, more than 2 million people attend the Montreal Jazz Festival yearly. But the Jazz Fest is not just about music – it’s about life’s pleasures. And truth is, there’s nothing like a bit of jazz to awake my yearning for a glass – or two – of lilac wine. As famous saxophonist Steve Lacy once said: “Jazz is like wine. When it is new, it is only for the experts, but when it gets older, everybody wants it”. Well, the popular Montreal Jazz Festival is now 31 years-old and well above Quebec’s drinking age. Here are some cool places near the festivites to get your sip on!

BLDGBLOG’S MANAUGH BUILDS BUZZ AT CCA

Senior contributing editor to WIRED UK, and renowned blogger Geoff Manaugh (of BLDGBLOG fame) and author (BLDGBLOG The Book) joins the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) for a summer blogging series called CCA from…, as Visiting Scholar 2010.  But this is no dusty academic!  He has taught design studios at Columbia University and Pratt, so he kind of knows a lot of stuff.

THE GREATEST CITIES IN THE WORLD AT FTA

Festival TransAmériques features the Greatest Cities In The World. Most Canadians might not admit to it, but we’re fascinated by America. Sure, I’m basing this on informal, anecdotal evidence, and my own often-fraught love of the U.S. of  A., but why wouldn’t it be true? America captivates our imaginations – maybe because we don’t quite “get” it. James Long, co-director of Vancouver’s Theatre Replacement, shares this fascination. So much so that the theatre company created  a multi-media show, The Greatest Cities in the World, based on Americans talking about their homeland: specifically, stories of towns in Tennessee named after the cities of London, Paris, Rome Moscow and Athens.

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.

SOCALLED: MILE END’S CONDUCTOR

Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled, always has about 7000 things on the go. The Montreal screening of the NFB movie about him is just the tip of the iceberg. However, conducting an interview with him at St-Viateur’s Club Social is not the most efficient way to get things done…

MUTEK: BEN FROST COULD LIVE IN MONTREAL

Like Matmos, Ben Frost makes something quite different than what many people think of when they hear the term “electronic music”. Before his return to Mutek, I talked to him about his new record, meeting Tim Hecker and giving it all up to become David Guetta…

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.

MONTRÉAL’S RIALTO MAKING A COMEBACK WITH THE LUYAS

Some things sell themselves: The Luyas, a Montreal band whose acquaintance you should make, are playing a benefit show at the Rialto, one of the city’s most woefully underused venues. And it’s for a good cause. And the cover is only $5… Located near the corner of Parc and Bernard, the Rialto Theatre is a movie theatre constructed in 1924. Montreal architect Joseph-Raoul Gariépy and designer Emmanuel Briffa were inspired Paris’ Palais Garnier and, as you can imagine, the result is pretty breathtaking. There’s a reason it’s designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The Rialto has struggled somewhat since it’s early heyday, but over the years it’s been home to some pretty legendary concerts: Public Enemy, The Pixies, Modest Mouse and Wolf Parade, to name a few. Now under new ownership and management, the Rialto is hoping to make a much welcome comeback…

EXHIBIT: ISABELLE HAYEUR REFLECTS ON URBAN LANDSCAPES

Isabelle Hayeur is one of my favourite photographers.  Her large photos are now showing at Pierre- François Ouellette’s gallery  in the Belgo building, the downtown Soho-style space full of great emerging artists.

XAVIER RUDD DIGS THE MONTREAL VIBE

My phone call catches Xavier Rudd just before he boards a plane flying from Australia to Quebec. After saying some goodbyes to loved ones, the laidback singer, songwriter and one-man band took some time to talk about his vibe… and ours