March in Montreal means spring is coming, never mind some snow: nothing can stop us from outdoor adventures, making spring break a whole lot of family fun, and putting on not one but two film festivals this month along with dance, theatre and music shows…
(film festivities) The Amérasia Festival features 30 Asian and Asian-Canadian films, including Pacific-Rim blockbusters like Aftershock and Pearls of the Far East, a 72-hour Smartphone Film Challenge led by Christos Sourligas (Happy Slapping) and a K-Pop festival and fashion show, March 1–4 and 9–11. My favourite film fest, the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), March 15–25, celebrates its 30th edition with world premieres and new films from Canadians and filmmakers from Canada and around the world, including Luc Bourdon’s A Museum in the City, stereoscopic 3D dance film Lost Action: Trace, Bone Wind Fire about the work of Georgia O’Keefe, Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo, and many more films on every art form imaginable.
(family time) Spring break (for, you know, families) is action-packed in Montreal: the Montreal Science Centre’s hands-on, high-tech Technofollies keeps kids active in mind and body, while the Harbour Symphonies (March 4 at 1:30 p.m.) puts the music of composer Sandeep Bhagwati in the hands, er, horns, of boats harboured at the dock. For a more traditional symphonic experience, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal performs just for kids on March 4 at 1:30 p.m. (there are plenty of OSM performances for adults throughout March too, of course.) The circus comes to town in the form of Jamie Adkins’ Circus Incognitus at TOHU. And Disney on Ice Dare to Dream skates into the Bell Centre March 7–11.
(snow scenes) Eat, drink and be less than chilly at Montreal’s all-new Snow Village, a multi-building creation that definitely is one of those only-in-Montreal experiences, open until March 31. Also at Parc Jean-Drapeau, a short metro ride from downtown, where winter is all fun all the time, or at least until March 11, go ice-skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, ride the tube-slide and the zip-line, or just walk through the park’s winter wonderland. Ice skating at the Quays of the Old Port continues until March 11 as well (rentals available at both sites). And the famous Mountain, in the middle of Montreal, is always open for walking, sledding, skating, cross-country skiing and taking in one of the best views in the city.
(dance discoveries) Dance in Montreal runs the gamut from classic to contemporary to non-categorizable experimental. Of the former, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens presents the National Ballet of Ukraine’s production of Swan Lake, March 8–11, and Soirée Stravinski, March 22–24 and 29–31, both at Place des Arts. Contemporary dance promotors Danse Danse bring The Batsheva Dance Company back to Montreal with their show Hora, to March 3. Dusseldorf’s Ben J. Riepe Kompanie shows Love Death The Devil – The Piece, at Theatre La Chapelle , March 6–10. Agora de la Danse presents cutting-edge choreography from Deborah Dunn and Crystal Pite. See hoop dancer Rebecca Halls and whirling dervish Brian Burke at Tangente to March 4. And the Edgy Women Festival, March 15–April 1, does exactly what it’s name implies, blending dance, theatre and performance art with fabulous, rebellious womanly ways – always a wild time.
(take the stage) In March, The Segal Centre puts on Morris Panych’s comedy Vigil as well as two smaller shows, both headed by women: Traffik Femme about human trafficking and crowd-pleasing, burlesque comedy Miss Sugarpuss Must Die! Meanwhile, Centaur Theatre puts on Nicolas Billon’s romantic comedy The Game of Love and Chance. And Infinithéâtre presents François Archambault’s award-winning The Leisure Society, a darkly humorous drama about love, marriage, divorce and the meaning of life, at Infinithéâtre’s Bain St-Michel (5300 St-Dominique), March 6–25.
(arty interests) If the weather sends you indoors, know that Montreal’s art museums and galleries have you covered. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts hosts the carnivalesque world of American cartoonist turned painter, photographer and composer, Lyonel Feininger, and as always the museum’s regular collections, including the new Claire and Marc Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art, are open to visitors free of charge. See astounding work by three women artists, Valérie Blass, Ghada Amer and Wangechi Mutu, at the Musée d’art Contemporain. In Old Montreal, DHC/ART impresses (as usual) with group show Chronicles of a Disappearance, plus workshop on March 10 with artist Emmanuelle Léonard. And wander Montreal’s underground city, a series of corridors and malls linked up throughout downtown, to see hundreds of works of art – photography, sculpture, sound art, laser art and much more – at Art Souterrain until March 11.
(March music) Start the month off dancing into the night with Martyn and Egyptrixx, March 2 at SAT, with a Red Bull Music Academy info session with the musicians at 7 p.m. Keep the beat alive at Dim Mak’s Deadmeat Tour 2012, with Steve Aoki & Datsik, at Metropolis on March 3. Montreal-made Plants and Animals are at Cabaret du Mile End (5240 Park) on March 10. Rock out with The Black Keys on March 13, with Van Halen on March 15, and dance in the aisles while simultaneously being awed by Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour runs March 20–22, all at the Bell Centre. Canadian singer and much-loved personality Jann Arden plays the Olympia on March 14. The Weeknd plays Metropolis March 23 (aw yeah!). Aussie pop star Gotye comes to the Corona Theatre on March 30, followed by Band of Skulls on March 31. The Magnetic Fields are back with a new album as catchy as it is darkly funny, at Le National, March 31. And Montreal’s awesome and danceable Grimes plays on March 31 at Cabaret du Mile End.