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BARENAKED LADIES ON MONTREAL, ITS WOMEN, BAGELS…

Over the course of a 20 year career, the Barenaked Ladies have become one of Canada’s most beloved bands. When they touched down in Montreal before their April 30th, Metropolis show, I sat down with Jim Creegan and Tyler Stewart to talk about bagels, shopping, women and Mount Royal’s medieval fighters. We also got briefly serious and emotional, but it didn’t last long…

MONTREAL’S MUTEK: MATMOS, MOUSE ON MARS AND MORE!

In a city overflowing with festivals of all sorts, the fact that Montreal’s Mutek is now in its 11th year says something important about the electronic music and digital culture meet-up. That their overall attendance was up by 70% last year speaks to the same point. Let’s look at why that might be…

PLANTS AND ANIMALS AND POUTINE

Montréal group Plants and Animals have strong feelings about poutine and they’re not afraid to go on the record with them. “I’ve tried some of the crazy ones they have at Banquise,” says guitarist and lead vocalist Warren Spicer. “But honestly, it’s too much.” “They should institute something like the Bavarian Purity Law they have for beer,” chimes in drummer Matthew Woodley. “Fries, curds, gravy, that’s it. Tightly regulated. Free-range, sustainable curds only!”

HAWKSLEY WORKMAN PLAYS MONTRÉAL

“Montréal is a place that, when you’re driving out the next day, chances are you did something the night before that you shouldn’t have…” says Hawksley Workman, over the phone from a tour bus making its way towards Quebec. Workman, the Juno-award winning singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, starts laughing and cuts himself off before saying anything more incriminating.

ROBERT LEPAGE DIRECTS CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

Last week in Montreal, writer and director, Robert Lepage, unveiled Cirque du Soleil’s brand new show, Totem. As cleverly explained by my colleague Daniel Baylis, Totem is a voyage through the evolution of the human species. Surprisingly, it was a long-time dream for the notorious playwright to finally direct one of the Cirque’s touring shows (Lepage had previously directed Cirque du Soleil’s Kà, which is presented at the MGM Grand in Vegas).

MAGNIFICENT MARIONETTES: RONNIE BURKETT PULLS STRINGS IN MONTRÉAL

“Ronnie Burkett is one of the geniuses of the world… seeing his troupe every few years has just become a necessity of civilized theatergoing.” – The Village Voice (New York, NY) —————————————————————————————————————— Puppetry is an under-celebrated art form. As children, many of us enjoyed gluing faces on popsicle sticks and acting out creative, comic scenarios. Then we grew up, and we seemed to lose track of our ability to play. Ronnie Burkett, however, Canada’s most celebrated puppeteer, never abandoned his sense of wonderment. For the past 30 years, Burkett has been giving life to marionettes, exploring various themes such as loneliness, beauty and happiness. His most recent creation, Billy Twinkle, is about a middle-aged cruise ship puppeteer who gets fired and is force to rekindle inner passions. Burkett has received critical and public acclaim in Australia and the UK, and his final stop with this production with be in Montréal. I chatted with Burkett about life as a puppeteer, the challenges of creating marionettes and some of his favorite Montréal haunts.

TOTEM: CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S NEWEST SHOW DEBUTS IN MONTRÉAL

From April 22 until June 27 you can revel in the magic of Cirque du Soleil on its home soil. The Cirque du Soleil is arguably Montréal’s greatest export. The imaginative blend of acrobatic performers, emotive music and street-style entertainers has captured the hearts of dreamers for the past 25 years. Now with a new show, TOTEM, just unveiled in the Old Port of Montréal, us locals are buzzing with excitement, knowing that we are the first city in the world to enjoy the show. And you can join us.

POIRIER BRINGS THE WORLD TO MONTRÉAL NIGHTS

Though he and his new album, Running High, travel the world’s dance floors, Montreal producer Poirier is happy with his home base… Poirier (who recently dropped Ghislain from his stage name) has become one of Montreal’s most in-demand and interesting producers/DJs. And though he’s constantly touring and has played shows on almost every continent in the world, he’s still got plenty of love for the Mile End neighbourhood he calls home.

BLUE MET: THE WORLD’S GRANDEST LITERARY SHINDIG

Literacy is important – without books there would be no sexy librarians. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that previous sentence was a profound statement, so take some time and let it resonate. Finished? Good. Now I’d like to tell you all about the cutting-edge literary event, the 12th Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, taking place in Montréal from April 21-25.

PIKNIC ÉLECTRONIK: THE MONTRÉAL WEEKLY OUTDOOR DANCE PARTY

You like to bask in the sunshine. You like to dance to upbeat music. You like to drink wine in a park on a Sunday afternoon. Then you’ll like to PIKNIC ÉLECTRONIK. Each Sunday afternoon, in Parc Jean Drapeau, Montrealers and visitors gather to enjoy fresh air and cutting edge DJs. Piknic Électronik is a weekly outdoor celebration of electronic music. Some of the famous names to spin in the past two years include MSTRKRFT, Amon Tobin, Benga and Hercules & Love Affair. The featured artists are framed by the skyline of the city and a stunning, slow-sinking orange sun.