Spring is here in Montreal once more, along with seasonally fitting activities and entertainment, whether that means a tour around the city, a fabulous meal, an evening at the theatre or a night on the town…
(spring spectacular) Spring is in full bloom at the Japanese Pavilion at the Montréal Botanical Gardens, where the Ikebana, or the language of flowers, exhibition is on this weekend – a display of traditional Japanese floral art, each accompanied by a haiku – free admission and demonstrations at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the Botanical Gardens, April 20-21, located at Space for Life, also home to Montreal’s brand new Planetarium. On the opposite end of the nature and beauty spectrum and yet in the same vicinity as the Botanical Gardens is this Saturday’s Monster Spectacular, a celebration of decibel-defying engines, big tires, fossil fuel and car-crushing, at Olympic Stadium, April 20.
(fine food) As in any large metropolis, Montreal’s restaurants boast cuisine from around the world alongside locally created specialities that tell a tale of their own about the city (and, believe it, volumes could be written about poutine) – but no one can deny the overwhelming French influence on Montreal, especially when it comes to French restaurants, currently serving some of the most creative dishes around. On the other hand, for truly Quebecois food-and-culture experience, catch the very end of sugaring off season this week at a traditional sugar shack on the outskirts of the city or with a visit to a sugar shack right in the city’s Old Port at La Cabane.
(family theatre) Don’t miss Head à Tête, a highly entertaining and endearing bilingual show about friendship by Montreal’s family theatre experts Geordie Productions, on all weekend at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Centaur Theatre. Also unmissable, especially for fans of young wizards and comedic parodies, big-in-Britain, two-man show Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience packs in all seven Harry Potter books in 70 hilarious minutes, at Theatre Corona, April 25-28.
(music & dance) Hear all the hits and see music history unfold in the elaborately staged Daytripper: The Beatles Experience, at Theatre Ste-Denis on April 20 – Beatles fans should also be sure to check out the extensive Beatles in Montreal exhibition at the Pointe-à-Callière museum. Persian music and contemporary dance merge in Sinha Danse Company’s new production Sunya, for four dancers and three musicians, part of the Danse Danse spring season, to April 27 at Cinquième Salle. Daring Montreal choreographer Sasha Kleinplatz explores the vulnerability, strength and spirituality of the male body in Chorus II, to April 21 at the MAI, with free admission to Sunday matinee for under-16s.
(visual delight) Montreal’s newest state-of-the-art multi-media hub, the PHI Centre has made itself known as generous host to art, film and music events – this week see five great small-scale films chosen by director and musician Stéphane Lafleur, Turkish film Once Upon a Time in Anatoliaon on April 20, and the newest from Michel Gondry, The We and the I, on April 23, – and on April 25, Vice Downtown Sound teams up with the PHI for a show from Lunice and Tommy Kruise – rsvp for free entry. More visual and audio abundance is in store at the SAT, screening P3rception, surround-sound-and-image films on the 360° screen in the Satosphere dome, to April 29. And on April 25, the spirit of Super 8mm is still alive and well in 30×30: Films for 30 Years of Lift, featuring films by Canadian film veterans and emerging talents, at Casa Del Popolo.
(live music) Start the weekend just right on Friday night with legendary Chicago blues man Buddy Guy at Metropolis. On Saturday, April 20, Colombian musician and multiple Latin Grammy award winner Fonseca wows fans at Metropolis, come sail away as Dennis DeYoung and his band play The Music of Styx, at Place des Arts, while Akron/Family weird-folk-rocks it up with Absolutely Free at Il Motore, April 20. Liverpool’s much-loved post-punk synthy rock outfit Clinic and NYC’s The Babies play Il Motore on April 22. Hugely popular British rock band Muse builds harmonic walls of sound for two nights at the Bell Centre, April 23-24, while none other than Killing Joke returns with industrial-rock heaviness intact, on April 23 at Café Campus. LA good-times beach-punk rock band Bleached comes to Il Motore on April 24 and New Orleans-born, Bermuda-raised pop-reggae artist Collie Buddz makes it to Montreal this Thursday, April 25 at Metropolis.