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REGGAE FESTIVAL: MONTREAL IS JAMMIN

Get ready for some of that easy skanking and roots reggae! The Quays of the Montreal Old Port are transforming themselves into a major “Reggae Village” of peace and love for the 7th edition of the Montreal International Reggae Festival. For the occasion, a slate of renowned artists, including original Wailers member, Bunny Wailer, are in town and carrying on the legacy of Caribbean music. Here’s wha gwanin’ as of August 6.

HAITI EN FOLIE: MONTREAL FESTIVAL CELEBRATES HAITIAN CULTURE!

From July 21 to July 25, the heart of Montreal will beat to the pulse of Haitian rhythms as Haiti en Folie, the biggest multidisciplinary Haitian festival outside of Haiti, kicks off for a 4th edition of infectious grooves and bewitching energy! Retro Haitian music, jazz, gospel, vaudou and reggae are on the menu for these 5 days of celebration, but so are theatre, dance, cinema, litterature and gastronomy! Chances are you might perceive Haiti as a place characterized by post-earthquake tragedy, but thankfully, Haiti en Folie is here to pay tribute to Haiti’s incredibly rich heritage and remind us why the Pearl of the Antilles got its name in the first place. Here are a some festival recommendations!

FANTASIA 2010: FROM FRITZ LANG TO THE GODFATHER OF GORE

Film festivals are a tricky game—there are so many in this city that there sometimes seems to be a non-stop parade of special cinematic events extending from mid-May to well past Hallowe’en. But much as I love ‘em, a film festival around these parts is not necessarily cause for genuine excitement. There’s only one Montreal film festival that sells out a 700-seat theatre four times a day, every day, for three weeks every year for 14 years running..

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…