Summer entertainment keeps the heat at bay this week in Montreal with jokes, music, fresh air and movies: see Just For Laughs comedy festival shows from some of the most brilliant comedians working today; Shakespearean performance in the parks; underground films in air-conditioned theatres; and live music from Beyoncé to beats brought all the way from Africa…
(comedy gold) Montreal keeps everyone laughing until the end of July with comedy festivals Just For Laughs and Zoofest. Not only have eight Dave Chappelle shows recently been added to the roster this week, starting July 24, but the JFL Galas begin as well: see showcases hosted by Eddie Izzard, Jay Baruchel, Seth Meyers and Dane Cook, with more to come next week. Catch solo shows from Amy Schumer, Colin Quinn, Bo Burnham, Hannibal Buress, and John Mulaney. For something a little weirder, look to the OFF-JFL shows, with comedians Tig Notaro, Judah Friedlander, Maria Bamford and many more. Don’t miss themed showcases like the popular (because it’s truly dirty) The Nasty Show, as well as Date Night: The Relationship Show and Talk of the Fest, showing twice a night for eight nights at Club Soda starting July 23, with different hosts every night, including Kristen Schaal and SNL’s Taran Killam and Bobby Moynihan. On top of all that, all kinds of family-friendly free performances and activities go on outdoors at Place des Festivals, including the wildly-costumed, circus-like Terrakarnavale.
(sounds of Africa) One of the highlights of the hottest time of year in Montreal is the Nuits d’Afrique festival’s weekend of free concerts, dance and percussion workshops, beginning this Friday afternoon and continuing until Sunday night outdoors at the Place des Festivals (corner of de Maisonneuve and St-Urbain). Sit back in the grass and listen to a variety of African music by international and local musicians, including Angélique Kidjo and Abou Diarra on July 19, Kadan’s and Joyce N’Sana on July 20, and Orquesta Aragónon on July 21. And be sure to catch at least a glimpse of the Parade Afriqu’en fête on July 21 at 4 p.m., Brazilian Capoeira Workshops at 11 a.m. each day, and African dance with Oumar N’Diaye Martinos on the afternoons of July 20-21.
(green scene) See romantic, fantastical comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this year’s Shakespeare in the Park, a production by Repercussion Theatre, playing outdoors in Westmount Park July 19, at Théâtre de Verdure in Parc Lafontaine on July 21, and at NDG Park on July 23. The Osheaga music festival presents Forêt and Timber Timbre in a free concert at Théâtre de Verdure in Parc Lafontaine on July 20 at 8 p.m. The impressive and beautiful Mosaiculture exhibition of giant sculptures mad entirely out of plant-life continues at the Montreal Botanical Garden. And find entertainment in parks around town throughout the rest of summer too, including at Place Émilie-Gamelin, a public square located at the corner of Berri and Ste-Catherine in downtown Montreal, where gourmet food trucks set up shop every day.
(movie madness) Take a break from the heat of summer in a gloriously air-conditioned cinema: the Fantasia International Film Festival screens films all day, every day until August 7. The festival, now in its 17th edition, specializes in thrillers, horror, suspense and fantasy from around the world, including many rarities and a huge number of hard-to-see films from Asia, and features Q&A sessions with directors. See Takashi Miike’s Shield of Straw, James Wan’s The Conjuring, Joe Swanberg’s erotic thriller 24 Exposures, and over 200 other feature films and shorts. Meanwhile, at 9 p.m. on the night of July 22 on the Videotron stage at Place des Festivals, Fantasia and the Just for Laughs festival team up for outdoor film screening The Kings of Comedy, featuring Charlie Chaplin in The Immigrant, Buster Keaton in One Week, and Laurel and Hardy in Liberty.
(more live music) The hottest night for music is Monday, July 22: a feel-good night of music is in store beginning with one of pop’s biggest starts: Beyoncé, thrilling fans at the Bell Centre. Also on Monday, hear something different in Gregory Alan Isakov’s a guitar-plucking, folk-pop, a style similar to Andrew Bird’s, along with Montreal’s Lakes of Canada Petit Campus, and Kopecky Family Band plays jangly, summery pop at Divan Orange. Of course, Sunday afternoon looks great too, with ever-popular electronic-music dance party Piknic Electronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau, this week featuring a record 13 different DJs. Internationally-touring singing group the Voca People entertain with their a cappella versions of show tunes and pop songs at Olympia all week. Visit Place des la Paix next to the SAT on July 24 to hear music from Montreal DJs, eat great barbeque and see classic short animated films from the National Film Board presented by artist Luc Chamberland, who has collaborated with Dreamworks, Universal and Warner Brothers. On July 25, Montreal’s Alaclair Ensemble get the dance floor shaking with their sweet hip-hop style, at Sala Rossa. And classical music Festival de la Lanaudière continues just outside Montreal in Joliette (a shuttle service runs from downtown Montreal) until August 11, with outdoor concerts and activities for children.