Ah, it’s a good time to be in Montreal, whether it’s wholesome Earth Day family fun or a Monster Truck rally, the city’s got what everyone wants this week, including a Star Wars exhibition, an international lit fest, theatre, dance and Beauty and the Beast, music deals for Record Store Day, and live music to put a spring in your step.
(star wars science) Get to know yourself – and more about the Star Wars movies – at Star Wars Identities, a new exhibition at the Montreal Science Centre that pairs science with science fiction. Star Wars Identities features over 200 costumes, models and artwork from the Lucasfilm Archives, including Anakin’s full-sized Podracer, and plenty of film clips as part of an interactive, high-tech exhibition that is all about human behaviour and personal identity.
(beauties, beasts, puppets) Disney’s all-singing, all-dancing Broadway musical version of Beauty and the Beast comes to Montreal’s Place des Arts April 24-29. And puppet master Ronnie Burkett rounds up the great Montreal run of his one-man multi-puppet spectacle Penny Plain, a dark comedy-thriller about a blind girl, her dog and humanity’s survival as the end of the world nears. Burkett’s Theatre of Marionettes shows never fail to impress and inspire adults and kids alike – at Cinquième Salle, to April 21.
(literary lights) Book lovers and word warriors unite at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, a forum for writers and readers from Montreal, Quebec, Canada and around the world. Readings and workshops run the gamut from crime fiction to memoir, with notable literary stars such as Joyce Carol Oates, locals Peter Dubé and Tess Fragoulis and many more – there’s even a Jane Austen Breakfast Salon on the morning of April 21 and a music-journalist panel discussion on Montreal’s music scene later that day.
(performance prowess) Les Grands Ballets Canadiens presents a program of solo, duet and group pieces from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, with music ranging from Nina Simone to traditional Indian, to April 21 at PDA. Provocative drama Blackbird challenges definitions of love and the law at Les Ateliers Jean-Brillant, to April 22. And art, multi-media and performance meet in international Festival Temps d’Images, featuring Japanese artist Hiroaki Umeda, Belgian group NanoDanse’s Kiss and Cry, Montreal sound artist Martin Tétreault, installation work in Usine C’s common areas, and more.
(earth saving) If the weather turns showery, as it’s inclined to do in April, what better way to give in to nature’s ways than at the Montreal Film Festival on the Environment, April 22-May 3 at Cinema du Parc, featuring plenty of documentaries about the state of Earth, particularly about our reliance on oil – see docs The Big Fix, Black Tide and even The Cohen Brothers’ film There Will Be Blood and Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi. The fest happens to coincide with Earth Day, a world-wide celebration of this planet we call home, on April 22 – and there are plenty of things to do to celebrate in Montreal, outdoors and in.
(big trucks) There’s a sad yet delicious irony in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, a debt-addled giant built for the 1976 Summer Olympic Games, being turned into a pit of mud and machinery for this Sunday’s Monster Spectacular XVII. But in this post-ironic age, what does it matter – go watch big trucks smash smaller trucks, cheer as daredevil dirt bike riders defy gravity, drink unholy amounts of soda pop and beer, and have unabashed fun doing it. (p.s. wear earplugs.)
(vinyl madness) In recent years, digital audio has become the music-listening form of choice, if only because of ease of use and accessibility, but records, those big, black, heavy round things that go ‘round ‘round baby, have been making a massive comeback. If you already know that, then you also already know that Saturday April 21 is Record Store Day. Get the vinyl fix you crave at Montreal’s awesome independent records stores.
(makin’ music) This Friday night (April 20) is all things to all people, music-wise: Death Cab for Cutie and 90s slowcore giants Low play Église St-Jean Baptiste, while Berlin’s Modeselektor brings the dance beats to Metropolis, locals Mozart’s Sister and UN pack the Playhouse, and Tunisian artist Neyssatou plays Cabaret du Mile-End. The Musiques du Monde a Montreal music festival runs to April 21, Festival Vue sur la relève concludes with the pop-rock of Propofol & Lasermagiclaser at Cabaret le Lion d’Or on April 21, and love ‘em or leave ‘em, Canadian rock stars Nickelback fill the Bell Centre that same Saturday night. On April 25, partake in some soulful pop from L.A. musician Hanni El Khatib at Casa del Popolo , while Nova Scotia indie-rock stalwart Joel Plaskett brings the house down at the Corona Theatre. And on April 26, Fun is to be had at Cabaret du Mile End.