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RIDM: A Documentary Film Festival with an Edge

In recent years, with the commercial and critical success of Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine and R.J. Cutler’s The September Issue, the documentary film has managed to gain considerable recognition and much wider appeal. Every year, MONTREAL’S INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL (RIDM), which stands for Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal, showcases the best documentaries made over the past year. For twelve years in a row, RIDM has lined up 100 movies from over 30 countries. Read the full story to find out more about a film that focuses on a particularly bizarre aspect of the porn industry in Israel.

Montreal Papers: Lifesavers for Late Night Changes

When you’re travelling, you often end up in a restaurant or bar, wondering what to do next or where to go out that evening. Sometimes when you need information about movie schedules or happy hour specials, and you don’t have your laptop handy, blogs may not always be the solution. But there are other options. If you find yourself sitting around in a pub or a bar in Montreal, and you want to find something to do, check out the free papers and entertainment guides that are found all over town.  Here’s my list of favourites for last-minute ideas or impromptu outings.

Julia Child’s Got Me Craving French Food

As a food blogger, I really can’t claim to be objective about the Julie & Julia movie. Obviously I liked it – between the depiction of Julie’s life to the food scenes, what’s not to love?

Experience the Intensity of Marie Brassard

MARIE BRASSARD is probably one of Quebec’s most renowned artists, who gained recognition after spending several years touring with another famous Quebec artist from the theatre world, Robert Lepage. She ended up founding her own company, INFRAROUGE, which also produces her shockingly beautiful performances. Brassard’s work is quite abstract, and she clearly doesn’t focus on narratives; her work goes well beyond simple theatre. She dismantles the rules of playwriting, demonstrating that she’s been influenced by dance, literature and music. She puts all of these elements together onstage, often in a novel, provocative fashion. One could easily say that Marie Brassard is one of the most interesting avant-garde artists in the Montreal cultural scene today.

French Music in Montreal: Coup de coeur

I think there’s a certain pleasure in listening to local music when you travel. If I had the choice between seeing Lady Gaga in Prague or hearing some Czech jazz musicians, I would definitely go for the second option, since it’s a unique experience to see local artists that might never make it to Montreal. The same applies for visitors coming to Montreal for the first time. Even if you don’t speak French, seeing a concert in French is a great way to discover the city’s arts and culture scene. If you’re visiting Montreal and want to check out some local music and see what the French music scene is like, then don’t miss Coup de coeur francophone. Read the full story to find my picks for this year’s edition.

DHC Session: An Annual Celebration of Modern Art

For art lovers, there’s nothing more exciting than a group show. In Montreal, with its thriving arts scene, we are quite fortunate to be able to discover new artists all the time. Group shows are fun because you can explore artists from various backgrounds, and learn about different kinds of art forms, whether it’s painting, sculpture or video, and see it all in the same space for a limited time. Either way, you have access to an array of original creations, giving you a chance to experience them all at once and meet other people into the arts scene. Last year, for instance, Montreal’s Contemporary Art Museum presented the first major retrospective of up-and-coming Quebec artists, and it quickly became one of the museum’s most successful events. Read the full story for more details about this exceptional contemporary art happening.

Montreal’s Alternative Classical Music Scene

Who said classical music is not accessible? In Montreal, you can take in some great concerts at very affordable prices that won’t cost as much as a major symphony orchestra ticket. Although I’m not an expert, I do like to discover some precious gems in the classical repertoire, especially when performed in smaller, lesser-known venues. Read the full story to find out how you can hear something a little different than Beethoven or Mozart while you’re in town.

Warning: La Chapelle Can Be Addictive

Montreal is full of interesting art galleries and performance spaces, but they’re not always easy to find simply by strolling through the streets.  However, if you keep your eyes peeled, you just might stumble upon La Chapelle, an alternative venue in the Plateau that focuses on experimental performances in a variety of disciplines and languages. Read the full story to find out how to catch a provocative puppet show inspired by Dennis Cooper’s infamous story of a serial killer.

Women Deconstruct Myths at MCAM

  MONTREAL’S CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM (MCAM) recently unveiled three new exhibitions running from October 10, 2009 to January 3, 2010, focusing on the work of three talented women artists from Montreal, Vancouver and the U.K. If Francine Savard, Tacita Dean and Tricia Middleton don’t seem to have much in common at first, look closer and you’ll see that the common theme in their work is the deconstruction of modern myths in our society. Read the full story to find out more about a bizarre apartment filled with dirt, detritus and random objects.

Learn French in Montreal with Creative Boost

The most frequent question people ask me when I talk to tourists about Montreal is whether or not speaking French is required to visit here. The truth is you can easily get around town even if you don’t know any French. Most locals are bilingual to a certain degree; however, getting to know a little French might be a good idea, especially if you’re planning on a longer visit, or if you simply want to enjoy and make the most of Montreal’s French culture, an essential part of the city’s past and present. Read the full story to know how to avoid bringing your ugly yellow “French for Dummies” book with you to Montreal.