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Meet a Montrealer: Nick Farkas

As cofounder of festivals Osheaga, Ile Soniq, Heavy MTL and, starting this September, YUL EAT, Nick Farkas never stops. The only downside to his culturally immersed life is that sometimes, he’s too busy to enjoy other people’s events, like Just For Laughs and the Rogers Cup! This is how he experiences Montréal. Job: Vice President, Concert and Events, Evenko. Favourite pastime: Listening to music. How long have you been a Montrealer? Since 1970, when I was 5 years old. My parents came from Hamilton. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far this year? Osheaga this weekend! The next three weekends of festivals, with Osheaga followed by Heavy Montréal and then Ile Soniq, are our busiest time in the year. What’s the next big thing you’re planning? We’re doing a new festival called YUL EAT in Old Montreal, near the Clock Tower, in the beginning of September, over Labour Day weekend. In the midst of doing our other three festivals and the 13,000 shows we do a year, the team decided it was time to do another festival. Tons of chefs, cooking classes, brunches, dinners, free concerts and more. What’s your favourite thing about organizing events? Definitely seeing the reaction… / Read More →

Things To Do in Montréal: July 24 to 30

Fantasia Film Festival sets the tone this week, with cool and captivating screenings that provide the perfect interlude to long days in the sun. There’s also great art to be seen, hilarious comedy, and live music galore – this is Montréal, after all. Festival offerings MEG Montréal lights up our days and nights with hip hop, electro and indie rock at venues along the Main, on outdoor stages and on the infamous MEG Boat in the Old Port, all until August 2. For more inspiration, check out our great guide to the summer’s music festivals. The Just for Laughs comedy fest continues too until July 28, with chuckles courtesy of Dave Chappelle, Howie Mandel, Norm Macdonald, Neil Patrick Harris and Kevin Hart (for the first time in Montréal!) still to be had. Get your survival guide here. For more local comedy year-round, our guide to English comedy clubs is your starting point. Until August 1, Zoofest offers a counterpoint to Just For Laughs with a focus on Canadian comedians and some saucy burlesque in the mix. Fresh-air fun There’s no doubt, Montréal’s green spaces are an amazing place to park it. Catch the last couple of days of Twelfth Night… / Read More →

Fun with Kids this Summer in Montréal

It’s summer and the kids must play – Montréal keeps kids happy, entertained and active all day and into the night with festivals, music, games, swimming, sports and more throughout July and August. Many of the city’s famed festivals not only welcome families but feature outdoor shows and activities made just for kids. Step into the Place de la Famille kids zone at Just For Laughs at Place des Festivals, full of amusement park rides and games, laughter workshops and performances, open afternoons and evenings July 11-25, while street buskers amuse us at every turn and the Twins Parade on July 18 delights with wild costumes and music. Hot air balloons may be the heart of the International de montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, but the festival also boasts a variety of kid-focused activities and performances, August 8-16. With more activities than ever, it’s easy to spend a day or two in the Old Port of Montréal: from a sky-high zipline ride to an authentic French carousel, mini-train adventures to a Bateau-Mouche boat ride on the river, the SOS Labyrinthe‘s biggest indoor maze in the world and the skill-testing, all-ages Peur Dépôt live game. Kids can play pirates for hours at Voiles… / Read More →

Things To Do in Montréal: July 17 to 23

Whether you’re looking for laughs, experimental post-punk, a chance to shake your tail under the sun or the best souvenirs EVER as produced by local artisans, Montréal is the place to be this week. Come on, jump in! (hot music) Catch the last of the Nuits D’Afrique festival until July 19 for a taste of the best of African and world music from all over the globe. For continued world-music bliss, check out this guide to clubs and happenings around town. It’s the second and final weekend of the inaugural feminist/queer Slut Island Festival, with a focus on experimental, post-punk, rock, plus raging dancing fun in the sun and around the city, July 17, 18 and 19. Don’t miss Dômesicles on Thursdays until August 13 at SAT, where dance beats rule both the Satosphere dome and the Foodlab terrasse. July 26 features Shaydakiss, A-Rock, TiND and Push 1 Stop. Starting July 23, dive right into MEG Montréal, Montréal’s hip hop, electro and indie-rock fest at venues along the Main, on outdoor stages and on the infamous MEG Boat in the Old Port, all until August 2. For more inspiration, check out our great guide to the summer’s music festivals. (arts… / Read More →

YOUR 2015 JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL SURVIVAL GUIDE

Your survival is important to us. More than that, we want you to thrive! While the 2015 edition of the Montréal Just For Laughs Festival promises wall-to-wall good times from July 8 to 28, it’s also a monster-sized festival that can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of culture vultures. To eliminate any uncertainties you may have and give you all the deets you need to get the most out of the festival experience, we’ve devised this Just For Laughs Survival Guide. EVENT Montréal Just For Laughs Festival, July 8 to 28, 2015 WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO A world-class event that unites the globe’s funniest people in Montréal’s downtown core, pretty much. From July 8 to 28, Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles and a few venues slightly beyond host dozens of ticketed indoor shows and more free exterior entertainment than you can shake a funny bone at. This edition features unmissable headliners including Wanda Sykes, Patrick Stewart, Kevin Hart, Alan Cumming, Patton Oswalt, Trevor Noah, Margaret Cho, Jane Lynch, Ellie Kemper, Rob Schneider, Neil Patrick Harris, Omid Djalili and Norm Macdonald. Don’t be surprised if, when you enter the festival site, someone asks to look in your bag. This is… / Read More →

10 Montréal English Comedy Nights and Clubs

Montréal is home to the famed Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and such internationally-renowned stand-up comics as Sugar Sammy and DeAnne Smith, hilarious veterans Heidi Foss, Joey Elias and Mike Paterson, as well as up-and-comers like Tranna Wintour, a favourite of New York legend Sandra Bernhard. They are all products of Montréal’s vibrant English-language comedy scene that boasts entertaining events at bars and nightclubs throughout the city. Here is a sampling of some of the best in town: The Comedyworks (1238 Bishop) features well-known Canadian and international headliners every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as a Monday improv night. A classic comedy club, complete with exposed-brick walls. Reservations recommended: 514-876-8777 or www.comedyworksmtl.ca. The Comedy Nest (2313 Sainte-Catherine W.) is a 160-seat cabaret-style nightclub located in the legendary Montréal Forum that features well-known comics every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It also hosts Newbie Tuesdays and Comedy Lab Wednesdays. Ages 18+. Reservations recommended: 514-932-6378 or http://comedynest.com/. Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club Montréal (1222 Mackay) welcomes celebrity headliners every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Ages 19+. Reservations recommended: 514-272-9857 or www.yukyuks.com/montreal. Montréal’s weekly indie Comedy Abroad! show headlines the Mbar (1245 Saint-André, back entrance) every Sunday beginning at 8:15 p.m. Admission:… / Read More →

Where to Watch Films Outdoors This Summer in Montréal

While summer festivals keep Montréal buzzing non-stop with music and laughter, outdoor film screenings provide a short breather, whether right downtown or in a neighbourhood park – and all for free! Bring a cushion or a picnic blanket and settle in under the stars for a movie-going experience like no other. Just For Laughs has picked two Hollywood comedies to add to their impressive roster of stand-up stars this July: see Tim Burton’s beloved Beetlejuice on July 13 and Mike Meyers spy sendup Austin Powers on July 22 at 9 pm at Place des Festivals. See the city in yet another light every Tuesday at 9 pm as the Quartier des spectacles hosts Downtown Screenings Under the Stars at Place de la Paix: Pop Montréal programs a 16 mm screening of 1980 Québec comedy Pinball Summer a.k.a. Pick-Up Summer on July 7 and Fantasia International Film Festival picks The Incredible Adventure of Jojo (And His Annoying Little Sister Avila) on July 21, while the Montréal First Peoples Festival presents Alanis Obomsawin’s documentary Kanehsatake, 270 ans de résistance on August 4 and Festival International du Film sur l’Art screens Entre ciel et terre, quand le Hip-Hop devient art on August 25…. / Read More →

A Gay old time at Just For Laughs

Montréal’s Just For Laughs Festival blazed a trail for LGBT comics when it presented its annual Queer Comics showcase, boldly introducing many stand-up comedians over the years. Since JFL’s Queer Comics signed off in 2006, many LGBT entertainers have become major stars of stage and screen. This year, Just For Laughs is bringing many gay icons and LGBT entertainers to Montréal for the queerest edition of the festival ever. Neil Patrick Harris may be best known for his TV roles in How I Met Your Mother and Doogie Howser, M.D. But gay audiences adore gay entertainer as the charismatic song-and-dance host of the Tony Awards on Broadway in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013; of the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2009 and 2013, as well as the 87th Academy Awards in 2015. Which makes especially well-suited to host four Just For laughs Galas (July 27 and 28 at 7 and 9:45 nightly). Star of stage and screen, Jane Lynch is best known for her role as Sue Sylvester in the smash-hit Fox TV series Glee, which was huge with LGBT audiences. The openly-lesbian Lynch will host her Just For Laughs Gala on July 22 at 7 p.m. Fresh from being Master of Ceremonies at a huge July 4 gala… / Read More →

Montréal Ignites with Summer Festival Fun

Sunny days, high-energy nights and strikingly illuminated festival stages make the summer season bright in Montréal. The city ignites with a sparkling line-up of entertainment in July and August – get ready to laugh, dance, groove and be dazzled at these big festivals and more this summer. The one-and-only Montréal International Jazz Festival officially ignites the height of summer festival season June 26-July 5. Incredible talent graces historic night clubs and Place des Arts stages while downtown’s Quartier des Spectacles bustles with unmissable free outdoor shows, including the grand finale on July 5: a stylish, bluesy tribute to the late, great B.B. King. More music lights up the town as Festival International Nuits d’Afrique welcomes traditional and ground-breaking musicians from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and right here at home, July 7-19. Discover your new favourite indie, electronic and hip hop artists at MEG Montréal, July 23-August 2, and take a ride on the late-night MEG party boat. Osheaga Music and Arts Festival crams the biggest names and the brightest emerging artists in indie-pop, rock, hip hop and electronic music into three amazing days on Île Sainte-Hélène, July 31-August 2 – this year see Florence + The Machine, Kendrick Lamar,… / Read More →

Your 2015 Montréal summer festival guide

With every major summer festival and event in Montréal comes the impetus for a holiday getaway in our great city. The F1 Grand Prix du Canada, MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, the Jazz Festival and Osheaga, for example, are but drops in a whole bucket of fun awaiting all ages and tastes in the coming weeks and months. Blue Metropolis Montréal International Literary Festival (April 20-26) The theme at Blue Met this year is “The Power of Words,” and this large-scale celebration of reading and writing across cultures once again brings in a raft of heavy hitter authors and literary-minded figures for readings, discussions and other special events. ELEKTRA (May 13-17) ELEKTRA is a yearly digital arts festival showcasing new creations in electronic music, video, cinema, performance, design, gaming and interactive installation in combination with the innovative use of new technologies, and, in particular, those of the digital kind. Festival TransAmériques (FTA) (May 21 to June 4) The Festival TransAmériques (FTA) celebrates new works in contemporary dance and theatre. Showcasing both established and emerging artists, choreographers, writers and directors, this ninth edition of the FTA also aims to foster dialogue through a stimulating range of workshops, debates and roundtable discussions. Chromatic (May… / Read More →