There’s really no stopping the world from coming to Montreal – if only we weren’t so darned welcoming, eh? This weekend is no exception, with an international literary fest, a world-wide celebration of dance, a world-music festival and an art exhibition that spans the globe. And world-touring Godspeed You Black Emperor stops in with sonic love for their hometown…
[words to live by] This weekend’s Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival doesn’t care if you’re reading books on an iPad or hemp-mulch pseudo-paper – the important thing is that you’re reading. Check out some Montreal Buzz must-sees at the fest, from old-school media (Gore Vidal talks at McGill on April 29, 6:30 p.m.) to new-school writers (including The Rover’s Imagine Montreal series, plus workshops on getting that first book published and more) to really new-school readers at the Blue Met Children’s Festival. Voices from India and the Diaspora spotlights authors such as Amitav Ghosh and Bharati Mukherjee, while poetry, activism and good, old-fashioned story-telling from around the world get their day in the sun (or possibly rain – we’ll let the weather gods decide that part).
[take a chance on art] Beautiful and strange and wonderfully accessible art happenings are going on all month in a semi-abandoned (but well-kept) old building at 3450 St-Urbain. The Montreal Biennale, or MTL BNL, kicks off this Sunday with artists and curators in attendance to help explain this year’s Biennale theme: Elements of Chance. Also opening this weekend is a painting exhibition fittingly, possibly kindly, called To the People of Montreal, by New York-based artists Allison Katz (a Montrealer born and bred) and Alex Kwartler at Battat Contemporary (7245 Alexandra, #100), opening April 30 and showing until June 18.
[day of dance] There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love to dance and those who pretend they don’t love to dance. This Friday, April 29, International Dance Day sashays into Montreal and reminds us that moving to the beat is a good and natural and fun thing to do, no matter how well you might do it (no judgement here). The Regroupement Québécois de la danse takes over the outdoor steps at Place des Arts (175 Ste-Catherine W.) with a piece featuring 17 dancers and the work of visual artist Martine Frossard, from 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.
[lauded love stories] Young love and idealistic dreams are the stuff of award-winning Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte’s Mary’s Wedding – and what could go wrong as two impulsive, country-bred young things fall for each other during a thunderstorm in 1914? At the Jean-Valcourt Studio Theatre of the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique (4750 Henri-Julien), to May 7. Love in our modern times might be just as complicated as wartime love – Daniel MacIvor’s Beautiful View weaves in and out of the intimate friendship between two women, at Centaur Theatre (453 St-François-Xavier), to May 22. On a lighter, naked-er note, the Blood Ballet Cabaret goes Naughtical – a show dedicated to sailing the seven seas of burlesque, circus and music, at Le Belmont (4483 St-Laurent) on May 1, 8 p.m.
[around the world beat] This weekend marks the start of the Festival Musiques du Monde de Montreal, running to May 7 at Theatre Plaza (6505 St-Hubert) and Les Bobards (4328 St-Laurent). From the Ivory Coast, comes the great percussionist and guitar player Aboulaya Koné and his new project Bolo Kan – like big-band with traditional African instruments and sweet electric guitars. From another part of the world comes Ensemble Dave Gossage’s celtic-inspired music, while the José Maria Gianelli Ensemble brings us Argentine tangos, milongas and other melodies, and Quebec’s Small World Project takes us on an experimental trip around the world.
[music of the future, now] When the millennium changed over, Montreal’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor were there to play us into the near era, which turned out to be accurately represented by their sound: heavy, dark, punishing, yet at the same time elating, exciting, mind-boggling. Now they’re back, possibly with a preview of the next decade, playing five sold-out shows until Monday at the Corona Theatre. Alternatively, California’s lighter, janglier, lady-rockin’ Uh Huh Her is at Le National. On Saturday night, The Kills, show us what they’re made of (they’re made of awesome) at L’Olympia, while the incomparable Reverend Horton Heat fire up Le National. Simmer down on Sunday with Foals at La National and why not stay another day at National and see indie faves (with an appropriate name) Of Montreal on Monday night.
Photo Credit: Godspeed- Godspeed You! Black Emperor