Every time I think Montreal is about to take a break from all the fun it keeps having, it pumps up the volume – this week, that means Montreal’s loud-and-proud Pride celebrations, an above-ground graffiti and skateboarding fest, five days of francophone-style blues and a weekend-long children’s festival. Plus the usual music, comedy, theatre (like The Lion King!) and general fun (always free!) in the sun…
(pride and parties) The Montreal Pride celebrations continue to August 14, as the city’s LGBTA community shows its stuff with music, art, theatre, dance, a parade and, of course, hot parties late into the night. As always, Pride is open to everyone – a celebration of diversity and community especially obvious on Saturday, August 13, when Montreal community organizations take to the streets with all kinds of info for Community Day on Ste-Catherine E. (between Berri and Papineau), and during the big parade on Sunday, August 14 on René-Lévesque W., all the way from Guy to Place Émilie-Gamelin in the Village. And, for those who need to calm among the frenzy, take part in the huge (and free!) yoga class on August 13 at 3 p.m. at the TD Stage.
(art in the street) Graffiti art in Montreal is nothing new – you’ll see it around town in all its legal and not-so-legal forms – but, as in most big urban centers, it’s still not considered mainstream. But does that really matter? Going on 16 years old now, Under Pressure- an independent, welcoming event that brings together graffiti artists, skateboarders, hip-hop artists and those who love them- fills the streets around at Ste-Catherine and Hotel-de-Ville, August 13–14. The weekend features street artists, live painting, 50 different DJs and musicians, skateboard demos, and a two art installation from 123Klan.
(Franco-blues) Legends of Quebecois blues, country and rock as well as bands new to the scene fill the Festiblues roster, to August 14 at Ahuntsic Park. Take an easy Metro ride up north for this truly unique experience of Quebecois arts and culture, featuring Roch Voisine, Marjo, Les Trois Accords and many, many more.
(theatre bloody theatre) August isn’t known as prime time for theatre in Montreal, but in a city that bursts with creativity, the theatre arts are no exception – you just can’t keep an actor down (oh, I’ve tried). Disney’s big-budget classic The Lion King sings of Simba and the circle of life at Place des Arts starting this week and running to September 4. And, continuing to August 13, The Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company stages what is considered the Bard’s most violent play: the bloody and bawdy Titus Andronicus, a Roman-Empire tale of revenge. Playing at Monument-National’s Studio Hydro-Québec.
(walk the walk) Get to know the creative side of downtown Montreal on a free walking tour of the Quartier des Spectacles, this Friday, August 12 at 10:30 a.m., starting at La Patrie building (182 Ste-Catherine E.). See historical sites, entertainment meccas and street art and hear tales of red-light-district lore as you walk the streets of the downtown core as well as its labyrinthine underground.
(children at play) Over at Jean-Drapeau Park, kids rule the roost at the 13th Fête des Enfants de Montréal, August 13–14. It’s a weekend full of free activities for the kids, from song and dance to music shows, arts and crafts, sports, games and all kinds of entertainment and edutainment, including sand castle building and giant marionnettes. Faces will be painted, hot dogs will be consumed, fun will be had. Montreal’s museums also get in on the act, with free activities at the Biodome, Botanical Gardens, Insectarium, Planetarium, Biosphere, Pointe-à-Callière and others on Saturday and Sunday. Wow.
(comedy fun and games) Sure, the Just For Laughs festival is over, but the comedy goes on in Montreal. On Wednesday, August 17, stand-up comedian Tig Notaro and her witty and weird sense of humor, employed on Comedy Central and The Sarah Silverman Program, fly in from L.A. to La Sala Rossa (4848 St Laurent), 9 p.m., with local absurdist improv duo Venezuela.
(music sounds better with you) On Friday, August 12, swing to the jazzy blues of Carolyn Fe as she and her band launch their new album at Le Bistro à Jojo (1627 St-Denis). On August 13, Swedish Viking metal band Amon Amarth brings the thunder of the gods to Metropolis. Or you could spend the day eating ice cream at the Atwater Market and dancing along the Lachine Canal with Piknic Electronik, starting at 1 p.m. and ending the day with a screening of the awesome Quebec film C.R.A.Z.Y. at 8 p.m. On Sunday at Metropolis, the Germans are coming! Digitalism brings the techno-house beats. While over at Club Soda (1225 St-Laurent), shake your azz like you’ve never shook it before with Big Freedia and friends. On August 16, bubblegum-punk band Blink 182 is at the Bell Centre and then – and then! – on Wednesday, August 17, Lil Wayne is at the Bell Center, with Rick Ross, Keri Hilson and Far East Movement. Mmmm.