As Montreal moves into August, entertainment and leisure options continue to abound: comedy festivals Just For Laughs and Zoofest bring the laughs, Fantasia freaks-out with films, the parks and Quartier des Spectacle are plentiful with culture-filled entertainment, and live electro, rock and folk music keeps the city cool…
(laugh it up) It’s gala time at Just For Laughs! Big shows with big names and big laughs: on July 27, Lewis Black hosts The American Dream? Gala and Bob Saget hosts the JFL XXX gala, and on July 28 see Howie Mandel Gala and Joel McHale. A live and over-fed Epic Meal Time show happens July 27, followed by Aziz Ansari later in the night and Kevin Hart on July 28, at Metropolis, and The Nasty Show goes on with host Bobby Slayton at Club Soda on July 28. Solo international shows and TV talents pervade JFL offshoot Zoofest this week. See Flight of the Concords’ Kristen Schaal with Kurt Braunohler, WWF wrestler Mick Foley, Paul F. Tompkins’ Holy Trinity (Plus One), Paul Provenza and Troy Conrad’s improv stand-up comedy, Twitter “star” Rob Delaney, Aussies Adam Hills and Sam Simmons, Scotland’s Daniel Sloss and Adam Riches, locals DeAnne Smith, Mike Ward and more, plus encore performances at the New Faces of Comedy shows on July 27. And eat in gourmet trucker style at food trucks downtown until July 29.
(film glorious film) The Fantasia Film Festival, one of the biggest underground film festivals in North America, continues to August 9 with all kinds of international, indie and rarely seen (at least in North America) films, from horror to fantasy, animation, action and many films that defy categorization – check out the program for full listings and descriptions. Meanwhile, the JFL Film Fest, to July 28, specializes in new comedy films: on Friday see Swedish film Sound of Noise, followed by Stephen Feinartz and Marc Maron’s The Bitter Buddha, while on Saturday see Neil Berkeley’s Beauty Is Embarrassing followed by a variety of great short films including Montreal-made Sorry, Rabbi at 9 p.m. – all films at NFB Cinérobothèque.
(electro pop) In the build-up to Osheaga at Parc Jean-Drapeau, the music fest and Piknic Electronik presents two electronic music shows at the park this weekend: on July 28, groove to DJ Kobal, Ikonika and Squarepusher, and on the afternoon of July 29 starting at 2 p.m. it’s Son Raw, Jacques Greene, Lunice and Machinedrum, co-presented with Montreal Electronic Groove (MEG). MEG dances it up in the city with Canblaster and Sam Tiba on July 27 at Belmont, and keeps on going with Tu Fawning at Divan Orange on July 31, The Jezabels at Sala Rossa and Huoratron at Belmont both on August 2, and runs to August 5, with all kinds of great bands playing in venues around town.
(native land) The 22nd First Peoples’ festival, July 31-August 8, brings different native cultures together from Canada, the U.S. and overseas, celebrating self-expression, creativity and community. On opening night, see Ivan Sen’s Cannes-screened film Toomelah and short films Les Racines de l’art, In Your Heart, and Skátne Ronatehiaróntie at the Grande Bibliothèque downtown. On August 2, outdoors at Place des Festivals, the ceremonial fire is lit at 7 p.m., followed by drumming and a performanc by Innu singer-songwriter Florent Vollant at 8:30 p.m. The festival continues to August 8 with shows from A Tribe Called Red, plenty of film screenings at the NFB cinema, awards, poetry readings, public talks, food and more.
(celebrate difference) Non-conformists, the LGBT community and lovers of diversity unite at Divers/cité, one big, fab party – with dance, music, performance (drag and otherwise), film screenings and more – taking place at the Quays of the Old Port and other locations, July 30 to August 5. The festival opens at Theatre de Verdure in Parc Lafontaine with film screenings starting at 9 p.m. and follows that up on August 2, with music and variety show 1, Boulevard Des Reves, hosted by Marleen Menard, at 8 p.m at Jacques-Cartier Pier in the Old Port. Music, parties and more continue to August 5. And speaking of difference, check out how to stand out in the fashion crowd at Festival Mode and Design, August 1-4 in downtown Montreal.
(under the stars) Theatre de la Verdure in Parc La Fontaine, in the Plateau neighbourhood, teems with outdoor entertainment this week. Repercussion Theatre Shakespeare company stages rollicking romantic comedy Taming of the Shrew on July 29, 8 p.m., Haïti en Folie celebrates Haïtian culture, with film screenings, music and food, July 27-28 at 7:30 p.m. each night, and on August 2 at 9 p.m., and Montreal-based African and contemporary dance choreographer Zab Maboungou presents her work Nyata Nyata, featuring four dancers and three musicians. Meanwhile, in the sky above Parc Jean-Drapeau, the Montreal International Fireworks Competition continues on July 27 at 10 p.m. with Italy getting all pyrotechnic in the name of Khalil Gibran’s The Prophete (seriously) and on July 31 with the U.S. fireworking it to Disney’s Fantasia.
(over the rainbow) The Grammy and Tony award-winning musical Wicked busts its way out of New York City and comes to Montreal’s Place des Arts, August 1-26, unravelling the strange and sordid untold tale of the witches of the Wizard of Oz. Through song, dance and drama, Wicked delves into the childhood friendship between The Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch and how it took a bitter turn long before Dorothy set out on the yellow brick road.
(mega music) Along with the electro-pop and dance music shows mentioned above, there’s even more live music this week. Coldplay play their second Montreal show on July 27 at the Bell Centre and former Guns n’ Roses guitar bad boy Slash holds his own at L’Olympia. British indie-rockers The XX return with opener Jacques Green at Metropolis on July 29. Kishi Bashi, who tours with Of Montreal and Regina Spektor, brings his solo self to Il Motore on July 30. On July 31, Montreal favourites Tune-yards and Mozart’s Sister rock on at La Tulipe, while Aesop Rock is at the Corona Theatre and California pop-rock group The Growlers play Casa del Popolo. On August 1, Childish Gambino raps at Metropolis, guitar psych-rock masters Blues Control play Il Motore and underground indie-folk stalwarts MV & EE play Casa del Popolo.