June is here at last, flooding Montreal with festival fun and games: this week we’ve got electronic music festival Mutek, international performance at Festival TransAmeriques, a rollicking Beer Festival, underground theatre at Fringe Festival and a Bike Fest, complete with ferris wheel…
(electro fest) Well, the first two nights of Mutek have been off the hook, and since the electronic music festival is notorious for its Friday and Saturday late-night shows, packed with talent and pure digital love, this year is sure to be massive, what with the likes of Nicolas Jaar, Nautiluss, A Guy Called Gerald, Minilogue, and many more. Plus there are free performances on Friday from 5-8 p.m. at Parc de la Paix and from 10:30-2 a.m. at Monument National and on Saturday at the park all afternoon and into the evening. Not a secret, but perhaps underestimated in its excellence, is Sunday at Mutek: a long afternoon of music at Piknic Electronic, followed this year by Farben, Alex Smoke, Public Lover and Dave Aju at SAT. And last but certainly not least, take some time to explore Mutek’s arty side.
(persuasive performance) Some of the best avant-garde dance, theatre and performance art hits the stages of Montreal during the 6th edition of Festival Transamériques, on until June 9. This week at the FTA see Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska’s Life and Times, a surprising tale told in telephone calls, the 19-person dance and vocalizations of Cesena, Danièle Desnoyers’s cabaret-like dance piece Sous la peau, la nuit, Italian theatre artist Romeo Castellucci’s On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God, and much, much more.. Meanwhile, the OFFTA offers an even more alternative alternative, with shows and other creations at venues around Montreal. Or, for something completely mainstream and non-festival, get your kicks with Riverdance, June 4-5 at Place des Arts.
(beer here) It’s been 19 years of beer celebration for the Montreal International Beer Festival and the cups still overfloweth at this year’s fest, where you can find over 600 kinds of beer from here, there and everywhere, starting June 6. The Mondial de la Bière, as it’s known in French, is also a great place to brush up on your beer education, with workshops and discussions, as well as plenty of food to sample, all taking place in Old Montreal at Place Bonaventure (800 de la Gauchetière West).
(theatrical fringes) The Montreal Fringe Festival kicks off June 4 and keeps the theatre hijinks high-energy until June 24 with your pick of comedy, drama, dance and everything in between, taking place in great little venues in the Plateau neighbourhood, with Festival Headquarters (and all-imporant Beer Tent and free music shows) at Parc des Amériques on the corner of Rachel and St-Laurent. Plus this week, some of the cutest, funniest, hottest Montreal performers get down and dirty in the Acme Burlesque showcase, June 7, 9 p.m. at Mainline Theatre, and the Montreal Strip Spelling Bee Fringe Fest edition gets rid of pesky clothing in the name of, um, education on June 6 at Mainline. And every night, the 13th Hour features Fringe performers doing unexpected late-night performances. Not fringe, but still great theatre is SideMart Theatrical Grocery’s award-winning Haunted Hillbilly, at Old Montreal’s Centaur Theatre to June 3, rock opera Jesus Christ Super Band at Théâtre Ste. Catherine, June 6-9, and the National Circus School’s Grande Finale shows at Le Tohu.
(bikes for all) Montreal’s Bike Festival celebrates the most efficient two-wheeled, person-powered vehicle around, and this Sunday’s Tour de l’Île, a 25,000-person, all-ages, cross-city bike ride, kicks off at Parc Jeanne-Mance (Parc Ave. at Mont-Royal) at 9 a.m., plus throughout the morning, food and information kiosks will be set up in the park alongside a giant ferris wheel – climb on board and see the city in fun-fair style. If you’re up for taking part in the Sunday ride, check out the Tourism Montreal Buzz Bike Guide for more info on bike rentals and biking in Montreal.
(art infusion) Even though it’s June, some rain may fall – if so, head inside one of Montreal’s many art hot spots. The MMFA hosts a beautiful retrospective show on innovative American painter Tom Wesselmann, who fused figurative painting with collage, sculpture and pop-culture – also check out their permanent collection (entry is free) and kids programs. Over at the MAC, animal metaphors (and realities) abound in new exhibition Zoo, featuring Ai Weiwei’s golden zodiac animal heads, an installation by David Altmejd, a meat chair by Jana Sterbak, an underwater ecosystem in an aquarium, and much more. And new arts and cultural hub PHI Centre in Old Montreal invites the public to experience Amentia, an interactive video experience that tracks your reactions – and gives you a Rorschach-like image of your movements.
(music nights) Along with all the music and dancing at Mutek, Montreal’s music-infused night life is hopping this week. Montreal electro-rock stars aRTIST oF tHE yEAR launch their new album on Friday night at Le National. The Jazz Fest’s Balmoral venue (305 Ste-Catherine West) opens its doors free of charge to the percussion and guitar of El Pachuco’s EntreNos flamenco, June 1-2. The Montreal Chamber Music Festival continues with four-hour Dvorak in America concert on June 2 at Église St-Georges (1101 Stanley). Toronto’s jazz-hip-hop punks BadBadNotGood are at Le Belmont with DJs Lexis, Guilty and Scott C on June 2, while The Dandy Warhols and Psychic Ills are at the Corona Theatre. Check out the rock guitar mastery of PS I Love You, with Army Girls and Reversing Falls, at Il Motore (179 Jean Talon West) on June 2. And bad-to-the-bone all-American blues-rock returns to town with none other than George Thorogood and the Destroyers,with Gordie Johnson opening, at Metropolis on June 7.