After all the weeks of festivals upon festivals – jazz, comedy, world-beat, circus – August brings a slight reprieve. Oh, there are still hundreds of things to do this week in Montreal, but the pace of activity is more suited to August vacation time: relaxing in the park to film and music, taking in a play and some art, watching hot bodies on the volleyball court or on the catwalk, you know, the usual Montreal fare…
(catwalk crazy) The Festival of Fashion and Design struts into the weekend – see Pop Montreal-affiliated fashions around on McGill College’s outdoor stage, plus the latest from home-grown talents as well as Jean Paul Gaultier’s 2011-2012 Fall/Winter collection, accompanied by music from Montreal DJs and bands, including the highly entertaining pop-hip-hop of Lunice on August 6.
(film worlds) Montreal’s Fantastia Film Festival has kept cinema lovers busy all month with its non-mainstream offerings from around the world – the fest wraps up this weekend with Kim Jeong-hoon’s Petty Romance, Marek Polgar’s sci-fi Exit, and Fantastia’s big finale, the 1925 classic horror The Phantom of the Opera, coming to us not only in pristine 35mm but accompanied by a 30-piece orchestra performing an original score by Gabriel Thibaudeau, on August 6 and 7, 7:30 p.m., at Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts.
(sports and sunshine) Teams from many of the city’s best bars and restaurants have been getting ready for this Sunday’s 6th Annual SERVE, a beach volleyball tournament in Jeanne-Mance Park (corner Duluth), complete with beer, barbeque (including corn, aw yeah!) and plenty of bare skin (hey, it’s hot out there!). Plus, the tournament is some of the most fun you can have fundraising for sex education – a silent auction (so many good things!), purchases of food and drink, plus additional donations go to Montreal youth education and empowerment centre Head and Hands.
(pop in the park) International rock music festival Pop Montreal begins its 10th anniversary early with Pop LaFontaine, a two-day showcase of local music and film from Socalled on August 4 at 7:30 p.m., and Philémon Chante, United Steel Workers and Katie Moore on August 5 at 8 p.m., all at Parc Lafontaine’s Théâtre de Verdure.
(theatrical operatics) Independent theatre that’s a little out there but entertaining all the same: Vital Organs Opera, Did I Escape, I Wonder…, an opera based on the Medusa myth, featuring two singers and an array of instrumentalists and video projections, at Théâtre Ste-Catherine, August 4-6, plays alongside The Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist. Meanwhile, the Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company stages the bloody and bawdy Titus Andronicus, at Monument-National’s Studio Hydro-Québec to August 13.
(art excursions) In town, the Musee d’art contemporain pulls a hundred major works from its extensive collection, providing a unique and unconventional overview of the last century of modern art in Quebec, Canada, the U.S. and overseas – work that is beautiful, shocking, immersive and thought-provoking – and absolutely worth a visit. Just out of town, in Val David in the Laurentian mountains, outdoor art exhibition Legacy: The International Symposium of In Situ Art – featuring the work of 10 international artists along three kilometres of forest trails, as well as music and talks with the artists – continues to September 5, with tours of the works and the land every weekend, at the Jardins du Précambrien.
(musical rides) The Dropkick Murphys start the weekend on a strong note on Friday, August 5 at Metropolis, while, an audience in what I’m thinking is an entirely separate demographic, screams in poptastic glee for the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys at the Bell Center. On Saturday August 6, Joan of Arc plays Casa Del Popolo. Piknic Electronik continues to dominate sunny Sunday afternoons at Parc Jean-Drapeau. For something a little different, on August 9, L’Orchestre de la Francophonie and DJ Symphonique meet up to perform grooves inspired by Berlioz, at the SAT. On August 10, still rockin’ hard and fighting the good fight are Foo Fighters, with Doughboys and Fucked Up, at the Bell Center, while The Naked & Famous and Winter Gloves at La Sala Rossa, and nothing says August like something called The Summer Slaughter Tour… featuring The Black Dahlia Murder, Darkest Hour, Six Feet Under, well, you get the idea, at L’Olympia. And, rounding out the week on Thursday, August 11, none other than Britney Spears is back, at the Bell Center.