Even as we near the end July in Montreal, typically a slightly slower city vibe, the festivals keep on coming, with big-name comedy shows, live music and underground film screenings throughout the week, plus non-festival entertainment, arty adventures and food, glorious food, served from the sides of trucks…
(big laughs & good eats) Just For Laughs and Zoofest bring the good times to Quartier des Spectacles this week, with plenty of great indoor shows and outdoor entertainment on Sainte-Catherine Street – which will be lined with gourmet food trucks, cooking up tacos, pulled pork, hamburgers, Japanese takoyaki and much more until July 29. Among the comedy shows to see this week: John Pinette hosts a multi-comedian gala on July 24 and 25 as does SNL’s Bill Hader on July 24, while on July 26, it’s nothing less than the Muppets All-Star Comedy Gala, plus The Ethnic Show and solo shows with Patton Oswalt, Aziz Ansari and more. Meanwhile, over at Zoofest’s smaller stages, get cozy with comedians like DeAnne Smith, Rob Delaney, Amy Schumer, Paul F. Thomkins, and more.
(boats gone wild) From July 20 to 22, Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Olympic Basin will be taken over by the 17th edition of the Montreal International Dragon Boat Festival. 200 crews competing head to head in intricately decorated boats that can stretch over 100 feet long. A wonderful and wild time on the water. It is known.
(pop outdoors) Watch all kinds of weird and wonderful short films, hear film aficionado Skip Elsheimer talk about being a collector, listen to music and drink quality Montreal-made beer at the Pop Montreal Bike-In, July 21 at the McAuslan Brewery – all for free! Over at beautiful Park La Fontaine, Wim Wenders’ amazing film on Pina Bausch screens on July 23, while on July 26, watch gorgeous dance piece Petites danses pour l’espoir by Montreal choreographer Margie Gillis. And on Saturday and Tuesday, stay up and watch the International Fireworks Competition.
(africa in Montreal) Stay cool on these hot July nights at the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique’s free outdoor shows. On July 20, don’t miss Trinidad and Tobago legend Calypso Rose and Tiranké Sidimé, all-female djembé group Nimbaya on July 21 and Diblo Dibala, plus many more, including music and dance workshops. And if you’ve still got energy, stay out late with Senegal’s Awadi and US-based DJ Rupture at SAT on July 20, or hit up the Étoiles Nuits d’Afrique series at Club Balattou. And on July 22, catch festival-closer Ivory Coast reggae star Tiken Jah Fakoly.
(active family fun) The summer Olympics, while happening on another continent, are just around the corner – ready your eyes for such extreme physical feats at Montreal’s own Olympic Park this week during the free, all-ages Jackalope Festival, July 20-21 – watch competitors defy gravity and sense with extreme sports like skateboarding, fixed-gear biking and parkour. Add your own physical element by taking a bike ride from downtown or Old Montreal over to the Olympic Park or head in the other direction along the Lachine Canal.
(audio-visual art) The UK’s DJ Food is in town for a few days with his truly mind-blowing immersive audio-visual, space-inspired show The Search Engine, July 19-21 at the SAT Satosphere dome (it’s like a mini planetarium with a kick-ass sound system). Later in the week in the park next door to the SAT, show up around 7 p.m. to eat some gourmet BBQ, dance to DJs Diagraf and Taxi Nouveau and watch short films from film group Prends Ça Court, starting at 9 p.m. on July 26-27. And inventive Montreal sound artist Gambletron presents Campers’ Christmas while artist Geneviève Moisan unveils her Urban Forest public artwork on July 25 at the McCord Museum.
(fantastic films) All manner of rare, genre, underground and weird films make it to Fantasia, one of the biggest underground film festivals in North American, happening July 19 to August 9. Perhaps the biggest draw at the fest is the slew of Asian films – from horror to animation, sometimes one in the same – that rarely see proper North American releases, prompting film fans to line up for blocks. This year’s opening film is one that is bound to have a bigger release though: Takashi Miike’s For Love’s Sake, which premiered at Cannes this year. The fest also brings in fantasy films, action movies, kid-friendly fare and plenty of off-the-beaten-track picks entirely worth browsing through the program.
(music life) The weekend starts off sweet and jangly with Best Coast at Le National on Friday. Osheaga music and arts festival is coming up August 3-5, but get ready early as Osheaga and Pop Montreal not only brings Liars to Sala Rossa on July 23, with Cadence Weapon opening, but hosts a free talk with the band on July 22 at 2 p.m. at Espace POP. Fans of moody synthesizer music zoom on over to the Corona Theatre for The Drive Tour, featuring College Anoraak and Electric Youth playing music from the soundtrack to the recent film Drive. Some little band called Coldplay play their first of two Montreal dates on July 26 at the Bell Center. Former Guns n’ Roses guitar bad boy Slash holds his own at the Olympia on July 27. And the MEG music festival runs July 26 to August 5, with all kinds of great bands playing in venues around town: check out The Balconies, Monogrenade, The Fadeout and more, all on July 26.