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CONCERTS IN MONTREAL: MAY

We’re on the cusp of Montreal’s fest season, which bombards the senses with more shows than one pair of ears can possibly take in. So take your time and choose wisely from May’s concert schedule which contains, among many other aural treats, Adele and Sharon Jones, two of today’s best voices…

SUN RA ARKESTRA MEETS MONTREAL TALENT FOR TOP DANCE EVENT

A must-see event arrives in Montreal!  This multimedia show combines dance performance and big band music.  This amazing happening highlights the talents of the Coleman Lemieux Dance Company, the musicians of Sun Ra Arkestra – ‘’the missing link between Duke Ellington and Public Enemy’’ (Rolling Stone Magazine) – and ten dynamic dancers  – including the famed Margie Gillis and Carol Prieur (Dancer of the Year 2010 – Tanz Magazine).  

MISSTRESS BARBARA TALKS JAZZ FESTIVAL (AND GOES ACOUSTIC)

Misstress Barbara wants you to know that she is not simply pushing buttons. After 14 years as an internationally renowned House/Techno DJ, the queen of the turntable is exchanging her vinyl records for guitars and keyboards. And she’ll be proving her nouvelle stage personna  again this weekend at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Miss B is now a certified band performer. And if last year’s sold out show was any indication of the potential that Misstress Barbara has to rock out sans “hiding-in-a-DJ-booth,” then we have much to look forward to this second time through.

MONTRÉAL’S RIALTO MAKING A COMEBACK WITH THE LUYAS

Some things sell themselves: The Luyas, a Montreal band whose acquaintance you should make, are playing a benefit show at the Rialto, one of the city’s most woefully underused venues. And it’s for a good cause. And the cover is only $5… Located near the corner of Parc and Bernard, the Rialto Theatre is a movie theatre constructed in 1924. Montreal architect Joseph-Raoul Gariépy and designer Emmanuel Briffa were inspired Paris’ Palais Garnier and, as you can imagine, the result is pretty breathtaking. There’s a reason it’s designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The Rialto has struggled somewhat since it’s early heyday, but over the years it’s been home to some pretty legendary concerts: Public Enemy, The Pixies, Modest Mouse and Wolf Parade, to name a few. Now under new ownership and management, the Rialto is hoping to make a much welcome comeback…

XAVIER RUDD DIGS THE MONTREAL VIBE

My phone call catches Xavier Rudd just before he boards a plane flying from Australia to Quebec. After saying some goodbyes to loved ones, the laidback singer, songwriter and one-man band took some time to talk about his vibe… and ours

TIMBER TIMBRE LOVES MONTREAL

Timber Timbre’s violinist, Mika Posen, is the one member of the group still based in Toronto. But, by the sound of it, she might be convinced to move to lovely Montreal…

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.