THINGS TO DO IN MONTREAL (JUNE 9-12)

Posted on June 9th, 2011 by .

Just as the first real heatwave of the year ends, this weekend begins – but that doesn’t mean it’s not packed with super hot stuff to do. So hot that not even a forecast of scattered showers can put a damper on this action. Which is a good thing because much of what’s going on this weekend happens outdoors: a huge Formula 1 race (and parties and a beer festival to go along with it), a massive celebration of French music from here around the world, weird and wild independent theatre and music and street fairs galore.

(fast cars and loose beers) The loud and proud Grand Prix F-1 race may happen over on Parc des Îles de Montréal, but the party takes over Crescent Street this weekend. There will be cars, engine and tire demos, leather jackets and gelled hair, food and drink, music and people. Close by, because what says good times better than fast cars and lots of beer, is the 18th Mondial de la Biere, a.k.a. Montreal Beer Fest, a weekend of quality beer from around the world and around Quebec, plus local delicacies, sweet, savoury and sausage-on-a-stick-like.

(street fair fare) While some Montrealers and visitors to Montreal may love their fast cars, who doesn’t like to switch to the slow lane sometimes, maybe even shut the road down completely once in a while? I’m not even speaking metaphorically: this weekend, in a sort of a mini version of the usual St-Laurent Street Fair, St-Laurent Blvd is closed to traffic from Sherbrooke to Avenue des Pins (later in the month it’s closed all way to Mount Royal Ave). Wander up and down the street, shop, eat some food, drink some drinks and enjoy plenty of people watching. Meanwhile, over on Mount Royal Avenue, Nuit Blanche sur Tableau Noir, June 9–12, entices us with its more artistic, neighbourly ways – and its theme this year kind of sums up Montreal in summertime: the carefree joy of doing nothing.

(french kiss and tell) Ah, the French. They have given us much to be thankful for: food, wine, women, sure, but song is the thing we’re going to focus on this weekend – haha, kidding, as if those other things don’t go hand in hand with songs! At least they do at FrancoFolies, June 9–19, a spectacular showing of French music and more at the Quartier des Spectacles. If you’re not a Francophile, it’s likely that many names at the fest won’t be familiar, but that doesn’t make their music any less fun. Whether they’re playing free outdoor shows or swanky indoor affairs, among the ones to catch this weekend are Éric Lapointe, Loco Locass, Mara Tremblay, Tricot Machine, Queen Ka and, well, too many to name really. And if you’re staying all week, get down with reggae royalty Alpha Blondy on June 15.

(heroes and villains) Art imitates life and pokes more than a few holes in it during the final weekend of Festival Transameriques, ending June 11. New York City choreographer and performer Miguel Gutierrez upends the Hollywood bad-boy/hero myth of James Dean in the sexy, subversive Last Meadow, New Zealand company Mau turns post-9/11 anxieties into a beautiful performance in Tempest: Without a Body, Japan’s Potudo-ru challenges with the semi-documentary theatre of Yume no shiro (Castle of Dreams), and the wonderful Crystal Pite’s Kidd Pivot group puts on The You Show. See the FTA’s website for show times.

(life on the fringe) Sit back, relax and be entertained, thrilled, elucidated, mildly horrified and horrifically amused at the Montreal Fringe Festival, to June 19. Pick and choose your fancy among the dozens of shows – biographical tales of intrigue, laughs and woe (Hedwig and the Angry Inch anyone? Or maybe Suicide(s) in Vegas?), improv comedy (Uncalled For for sure and, from Korea, ShLong Form Improv), stand-up (Andrea Stanford for one), plenty of dance (like the b-boy intensity of Body Slam), and everything in between. This weekend, the Fringe Park (corner of St-Laurent and Rachel) opens up with all-afternoon and evening music. Peruse the full schedule and get thee to the Fringe.

(tune in to summer) Heatwave or not, Rihanna – with Cee Lo Green opening! – is sure to cause a sweaty frenzy during her two nights (Friday and Saturday) at Bell Center. For something completely different, Suoni per il Popolo hosts heralded Japanese experimental musician Keiji Haino at Sala Rossa, indie synth-pop duo Junior Boys and so much, much more. On Sunday, Piknic Electronik keeps the outdoor dance party going with Julio Bashmore and more (see what I did there). And on Sunday night, the cool, composed and awesome Architecture in Helsinki end the week right at La Tulipe.

Photo Credit: F1- Montreal_Bunny

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