The end of August in Montreal is a sweet time – the days aren’t too hot, the night aren’t too cool, and the city seems to move at an even more relaxed pace than usual. Even with all the things going on this week in Montreal, leisure is still a central focus: chill out with a film at the Montreal World Film Festival, sail the seas of nostalgia at the Classic Boat Festival, make a temporary switch to Caribbean time at the Reggae Festival, or, if you’re wired a little differently, revel in the white noise of this weekend’s NASCAR race…
(world wide film) The 35th Montreal World Film Festival is upon us this week and next (August 18–28), with hundreds of feature films from over 70 countries. Among its many offerings, this year’s fest pays tribute both to French cinema, with a focus on actress Catherine Deneuve and talks by filmmakers Claude Lelouch and Bertrand Tavernier, and to Bollywood, with free outdoor screenings of classic and contemporary musicals from India, showing at Place des Festivals right next to the Musee d’art Contemporain. Other films to take note of at the quite affordable festival: Quebec filmmaker André Forcier’s funny and poignant Coteau Rouge, Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist, the Fuica brothers’ La Run, and Zhao Tianyu’s romantic drama The Law of Attraction.
(relax with reggae) Spend the weekend in the sun, swaying to the many beats of the 8th annual Montreal International Reggae Festival, with live shows featuring everything from classic reggae to hip hop and dubstep – like Gyptian, Montreal reggae star Jah Cutta, Exco Levi, Jahvinci, Wayne Wonder and the U.K.’s Third World. Head down to the Quays of the Old Port for music, food, activities for the kids, and more, August 20–21.
(start your engines) This weekend’s Napa Auto Parts 200 puts the meaning of going for a Sunday drive in perspective… Leave the leisurely pace at home and head to Jean Drapeau Park this Friday and Saturday (August 19–20) for NASCAR machines doing what they do best: lookin’ hot and going fast. On top of the race, Jacques Villeneuve, driver of the #22 Penske Dodge, and some of his family members will meet and greet NASCAR fans on Saturday.
(set your sails) Ahoy, boat lovers and sea captains! And everyone who loves the pleasant lap of waves upon the hull (not a euphemism)! The Montreal Classic Boat Festival docks at Montreal’s Old Port this weekend (August 19–21). See all kinds of classic boats, stroll through the nautical market area for all things boat-related, sit a spell and watch a film or ten, learn more about boating lore, and tap your toes to sea shanties – who knew a boat festival would be such a cultural experience! Impressive.
(green city) Montreal hosts the Ecocity World Summit, August 22–26, at the Palais des Congrès, bringing together over 1000 people from around the world who are involved in making the world’s cities more sustainable and environmentally sound. With plenty of free activities open to the public, the conference itself acts as a model for a more environmentally aware world – the whole event is zero-waste and carbon-neutral. Also check out the Carrot City exhibition at Les Galeries du Palais, an interactive inquiry into the place of food in the city that looks at the relationship between urban design and our food systems, present, past and future.
(of kings and queens) Whether or not the British royals are relevant to our daily lives remains questionable, but if this summer’s highly publicized royal wedding and subsequent royal tour is anything to go by, it would seem the free world is still fascinated by the aristocracy. They make for good theatrics anyway: Repercussion Theatre’s outdoor performances of Macbeth end their summer run this weekend in Westmount Park with performance on August 20 and 21 at 8 p.m., free of charge even! And the reign of Disney’s movie-to-stage musical The Lion King continues at Place des Arts to September 4.
(good art neighbours) Mosey over to the neighbourhood of Notre-Dame de Grace for NDG Arts Week, August 19–28, just a few blocks west of Westmount’s fashionable shopping-and-dining district. Saturday’s barbeque and street party, starting at 6 p.m., raises money for the NDG Food Depot, and features music from hip-hop band Groundsoul and rock band Resojets. On Sunday all day, Coop la Maison Verte (5785 Sherbrooke W.) hosts a craft fair showcasing local art, jewellery, clothing and more.
(music to our ears) Dance in the sunshine on Sunday, August 21, at summer electronic-dance-music staple Piknic Electronik, featuring DJs Black Tiger Sex Machine, Kraddy and more. Or take it slow at the Montreal Midsummer Slowdance – yes, all slow tunes all night, with plenty of partners to choose from and an honest-to-goodness dancecard to fill, at Royal Phoenix Bar (5788 St-Laurent) in the Mile End neighbourhood, 8 p.m. ‘til late. On Tuesday, August 23, see The War on Drugs, with Caveman and Porcelain Raft at Casa Del Popolo and on Wednesday, August 24, sing along with Irreverend James and the Critical Mass Choir at Divan Orange, for free! And on Thursday, August 25, head down to the Darling Foundry art space for an outdoor block party, 5–10 p.m., with great local DJs and a barbeque, record sale, art exhibitions and more.