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5 REASONS TO LOVE THE FNC

October is basically worldwide film-festival post-season, as all the heavy hitters – Sundance, Cannes, Toronto – have come and gone. But this is also my favourite time of year for movies, as Montreal’s best general-interest festival, the Festival du Nouveau Cinema, is in town.

BLACK & BLUE FESTIVAL 2012: EVOLUTION

For the 22nd edition of the landmark Black & Blue Festival (October 3 – 9) thousands of people will flock to the Palais des congres in Montreal to celebrate life and dance until the sun does down… and comes back up again! The theme this year is “Evolution” and invites people to forget about those crazy “end of the world” prophecies and just enjoy each moment we have here to the fullest, all while supporting a great cause.

THINGS TO DO IN MONTREAL: SEPTEMBER 7-13

Montreal’s hanging on to its sweet summer vibe this week with oodles of outdoor (and also a fair amount of indoor) entertainment: all kinds of art, dance, film, an agricultural open house, even bike racing! Open-air party Piknic Electronik gets down Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, and there’s plenty of live music in the city too.

THINGS TO DO IN MONTREAL: AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 6

It’s Labour Day long weekend and public life is in the spotlight this first week of September: live music, from indie-rock to hip hop, at Olympic Park and around town; film from around the world and from the bike world; fashion shows; outdoor art and performances; a food-and-shopping-filled street party – and it’s Burger Week too!

MONTREAL GAY PRIDE PARADE 2012

Montreal’s Gay Pride Parade took over downtown on Sunday, August 19in a burst of colour, music, dancing and spirit. Every Pride Parade I attend I make a point to really take it all in and recognize what’s really going on here. Standing on the corner of Guy and René-Levesque, watching the parade of rainbows and jubilation come to a halt for a moment of silence, I understand how fortunate we are in Montreal to have such an event. Where not only can everyone be themselves, they can be proud to show it. As the last of the floats, community organizations, and sponsors cross the finish line, I think, “Montreal, this is something to be seriously proud of.”

A POP MONTREAL 2012 PREVIEW

For the past 11 years, September in Montreal hasn’t just meant the return of students and cooler days – it’s also the much-anticipated time of the Pop Montreal Music Festival, a fest that started small but keeps hitting new highs year after year…

EXPERIENCEMTL FEST ROCKS PARC OLYMPIQUE

The back-to-school chill may be in the air, but summer isn’t over yet: the all-ages ExperienceMTL, August 24 to September 1, with over 40 bands – including Public Enemy, Atari Teenage Riot and Malajube – ends summer vacation with a bang at Olympic Park in the city’s east end…

5 FILMS TO CATCH AT THE MONTREAL WORLD FILM FEST

There was a time when the Montreal World Film Festival was bigger than any other other film festival in Canada, when the stars wore out the red carpets here at Place des Arts and the Cinema Imperial. But in recent years, our MWFF has distinguished itself as the place for young filmmakers to introduce their work to a wider audience, and for films from around the planet to strut their stuff on the world stage…

FREE FUN IN THE STREETS AT JUST FOR LAUGHS

Everybody knows how stellar the line-up is for Just For Laughs’ paying shows. This summer, during the festival’s 30th anniversary, you can see none other than The Muppets, Bob Saget and Chelsea Handler. But how about this for a punch line: paying is for suckers. Especially when you can experience a Cirque du Soleil-inspired parade, outdoor movie screenings and hundreds of cheerleaders doing something or other, all without dropping a dime…