Posted on July 7th, 2011 by .

Oh, it’s hot in the city. And I love it. Of course, I also love air-conditioning. But during July in Montreal, it’s easy enough to strike a balance between too hot to handle and too cold to hold. With Jazz Fest still ringing in our collective ears and the mercury rising, it’s time to wear the bare minimum and seek maximum entertainment: this weekend, find it at one of many circuses, at a full-blown Caribbean carnival, in film fests and in the parks, and, as if any of us could forget, in the form of a guy named Bono…

(caribbean flare) This weekend’s 36th edition of Carifiesta is about more than just a parade – it’s a celebration of Caribbean culture in Montreal – but then again, that also means it’s one heck of a parade. (For more on Carifiesta’s history, read Montreal journalist Richard Burnett’s latest column). On Saturday, July 9, Boulevard René-Lévesque will be filled with brightly coloured (and feathered and sequined) revelry, between Guy and Sanguinet, starting at 11 a.m. Watch in wonder and dance along the sidelines as Montreal’s Caribbean community shakes up downtown.

(circus acts) Whether you’re a lover of clowning around or think the circus is merely child’s play, Montréal Complètement Cirque deserves your attention. Case in point: Australian troupe Circa’s acrobatic Wunderkamer, called “sexy, daring and explosive,” looks like it’s going to be awesome (plus, the show is recommended for ages 12 and up – more points in my book, I’ll admit). Also from Australia, the hip-hop inspired Tom Tom Crew is under the big top at Radio Canada. A little less adrenalizing, but perhaps more family-friendly, Cirque du Soleil’s Totem fantastically twists human history, from amphibian states to flying machines. And there’s plenty more where that came from: Montréal Complètement Cirque runs July 7–24 at various locations – for tickets and showtimes, see the full schedule.

(asian arts tradition) Augment a tranquil afternoon in the park with traditional music and dance from Iran, China, Japan and the Philippines – Festival Accès Asie, sets up this weekend at the Chinese Garden of the Botanical Gardens of Montreal (4101 Sherbrooke E., take the Metro to Pie IX station). On Friday, see the music of Iranian duo Siamak Nasr and the Chinese dance of Hua Yun. On Saturday, it’s Montreal’s own Japanese taiko drumming group, Arashi Daiko (pictured above), and on Sunday, the Filipino dance of Pamana Ng Luzviminda, and the acrobatic Chinese Lion Dance.

(fantasizing about fantasia) It’s a week before Montreal’s one-and-only Fantasia film festival officially begins, but this weekend sets the anticipatory tone, launching the festival program with film previews and parties downtown at the Society for Arts and Technology: on Thursday, see previews from the festival’s Temps Mort selections from 9 p.m.; on Friday, pick up the program and screen previews on the big screen from 8 p.m., on Saturday, see DJ XL5’S Bollywood Zappin’ Party at 9 p.m.; and on Sunday, see previews from the fest’s Trailer selections, outside in the park, with music starting at 7 p.m.

(something old, something new) So, as always, you packed your suitcase with trusty travel standards – jeans, little black dress, cap-sleeved white shirt – but, if you’re like most people, you also packed some things that, in your heart of hearts, you know you’re never going to wear, not on vacation and not ever. So why not just get rid of that excessively flouncy blouse that does nothing for your waist, or that mustard-yellow cardigan that would totally suit you if only you had someone else’s skin-tone entirely? Trade ‘em for stuff you really love at Montreal’s biggest (and possibly cleanest) clothing swap, Take Off Your Clothes Montreal, in collaboration with Zoofest, at the Grand Foyer of Place des Arts, July 9–10.

(retro movie mayhem) Indie filmmakers and filmlovers unite at Mascara & Popcorn, a week-long series dedicated to film that’s fun, fantastical and sometimes kinda freaky. Get into a rockabilly swing of things on July 7 with films, fashion shows and burlesque performances at Mainline Theatre. On July 8, a Movie Madness Marathon of cult classics (Barbarella! Videodrome!) and live performances at Mainline Theatre runs all night (yes, that means 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., no joke) for a mere $10. On July 9, check out a night of live art and performances at Saphir (3699 St-Laurent Blvd.), and on July 10, a rockabilly fashion show and outdoor screening of cult-musical classic Grease, at Parc Pigeon Hole (240 Notre-Dame W.) in Old Montreal, starting at 8 p.m.

(music to sweat by) It looks like the sunny weather is going to hold this weekend – good news for the thousands of people who will see U2 at the Hippodrome this Friday and Saturday – and there are still tickets left! On Friday, July 8, fantastic Texan singer-songwriter rock-n-roller Jolie Holland plays Cabaret Mile End, while over at Il Motore (179 Jean Talon W.), freakin’ Urge Overkill causes instant recall of at least a year of my semi-misspent youth. On Saturday, NYC experimentalists Gang Gang Dance play Il Motore, and good-time music-makers United Steelworkers of Montreal rollick at Divan Orange. On Sunday, dance among the flowers as Piknic Electronik moves over to Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Jardin des Floralies for the day. And, if the weekend just wasn’t enough fun for you, stick around – The Black Keys play the Bell Centre on Monday night.


  1. Julie

    / Jul 8th

    Always love those posts to plan the weekend. Very helpful!

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