The Montreal streets are alive with the sound of laughter this week, what with two comedy festivals and a circus festival going on, as well as a street fair the runs the length of Sainte-Catherine Street West, outdoor film screenings from Fantasia and Vues d’Afrique, concerts, fireworks and more…
(just laugh) Just For Laughs starts revving up for real this week with free outdoor comedy-circus programming at Terra Karnaval at Quartier des Spectacles, beginning with a parade at 8:30 p.m. on July 14. Bobby Slayton hosts The Nasty Show (it truly is nasty, dirty and hilarious) at Club Soda, July 13-15, and Maz Jobrani hosts The Ethnic Show, starting July 19. Meanwhile, at weird-cousin festival Zoofest this week, see boozy relationship comedy Scottish Sperm, Cameryn Moore in Phone Whore, Dick Powell’s In the Mood for Jazz, and Australian comedian Sam Simmon’s show About the Weather. On a smaller scale, the weekly international Comedy Hostel on July 18 is hosted by Scotsman Darren Henwood (also at Zoofest) and headlined by Massimo, at Cabaret Playhouse.
(circus land) International circus festival Montreal Complètement Cirque goes strong to July 15 with shows at La Tohu, Swedish troupe’s Cirkus Cirkör’s Undermän at Le National, music-hall evenings with La Soirée Cabaret at L’Olympia theatre downtown, and outdoor performances at Quartier des Spectacles and the Latin Quarter, including at Place Émilie-Gamelin every evening, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cirque Carpe Diem is at the Old Port with trapeze shows and lessons every day, 2-8 p.m. and Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna continues in the blue-and-yellow-striped big top.
(Africa seen and heard) Music festival Nuits d’Afrique celebrates the diversity of music made in Africa, the Caribbean and from right here in Montreal, bringing in international names and Montreal stars. See Spoek Mathambo and Sarah Bernard on July 15, Dub Inc. on July 16, Emel Mathlouthi on July 17, and more. On July 19, the festival’s free outdoor show program starts at the Quartier des Spectacles with talents from around the world. The big screen lights up with African images too at Ciné-spectacles au clair de lune at Parc Lafontaine’s Théâtre de Verdure, with a tribute to Morocco on July 13, starting with performances at 7:30 p.m. and feature film The Rif Lover at 9 p.m., while on July 14 Burkina Faso takes the spotlight with storyteller-actor Ulrich Lonsili and dancer-singer, Luc Bambara at 7:30 p.m. and film Julie et Roméo at 9 p.m.
(almost Osheaga) Three-day music and arts festival Osheaga isn’t until the first weekend in August, but the build-up to the main event starts now. The Osheaga Arts poster show, Music on Paper 2 is packed with awesome, arty rock show posters, many for sale at Galerie le 4220, to July 22. Osheaga also presents electro band Plaster July 13 at Theatre Corona, Andrew Bird with the Philippe B & the Molinari Quartet outdoors at Théâtre de Verdure in Parc La Fontaine on July 18 (tickets via Evenko), and DJ Food’s immersive audio-visual, astronomical show The Search Engine, July 19-20, at the SAT Satosphere dome.
(outside spectacle) Outdoors is the place to be this week not only for Just For Laughs, but for Montreal’s International Fireworks Competition: on July 14 and 17 Canada’s Sirius Pyrotechnics presents a fireworks show called Éclipse, and on July 17, Greece’s Nanos Fireworks presents Renaissance de l’humanité – the fireworks explode over La Ronde amusement park and can be seen from many places downtown. During the day, July 14-15, downtown’s Sainte-Catherine Street hosts a massive sidewalk sale that stretches from Bleury to Saint Marc, with stores and terrasses open and musicians and performers providing entertainment. And to July 15 in Place de la Paix next to the SAT (1201 St-Laurent), film festival Fantasia screens films at 9 p.m., including Noboru Iguchi’s Karate-Robo Zaborgar, and hosts a BBQ and DJs, starting at 7 p.m.
(long live music) The VANS Warped Tour gets loud July 14 at Parc Jean-Drapeau with punk rock/pop, hip hop and more while synth rock band Trust plays Il Motore and the Montreal Ukelele Festival strums away at Sala Rossa. On July 15, The Full Flex Express makes its stop at Parc Jean-Drapeau with Skrillex, Grimes, Hundred Waters, Pretty Lights, Diplo and more starting at 3 p.m. On July 16 and 17, much-loved and praised Beirut play Metropolis, while the UK’s answer to ‘80s glam metal, Def Leppard, has done much rockin’ over the years and returns to rock the Bell Centre on July 16. The great Lower Dens and No Joy play Il Motore, and, while not a live show, the long-awaited music-related LCD Soundsystem film LCD Soundsystem: Shut up and play the hits screens at the PHI Centre on July 18.