It’s the beginning of April in Montreal, which means warm(ish) weather is here, so we’re breaking out the bikes, the skirts and the sandals (but still carrying umbrellas). Experience Montreal’s urban and botanical ways this week, learn a thing or two about bull-riding, and catch a play, a burlesque show or world-class live music from local genius Grimes to Aussie indie star Gotye…
(outdoor life) Montreal’s bicycling season officially begins on April 1 (when all bike lanes re-open) – hopping on a bike, whether your own, a rental or a BIXI is one of the best ways to get around town. And even on days when it’s not biking weather, spend time in a different kind of nature at the Montreal Botanical Gardens’ new virtual exhibition Trees Inside Out. Designed for adults, families and kids alike, the exhibition is full of interactive animation, illustrations, games, photos and videos about the complex life of trees and their central role in the environment.
(ride ‘em!) Say goodbye to the snow and cold and hello to the country and western as the Professional Bull Riders of Canada bring it on at the Bell Centre on March 31. It’s not a full-on rodeo, but it is a rock ‘n’ roll, pyrotechnics-heavy show featuring some of the top bull riders in the world, including Quebecers Éric Isabelle and Sylvain Champagne, as they square off against bucking bulls and challenge riding records in two rounds of action-packed entertainment. And the Montreal Canadiens‘ season winds down at the Bell Centre (despite our tears) as our good ol’ Habs play the Tampa Lightning on April 4.
(theatric thrills) Visit the renowned Segal Centre in the neighbourhood of Côte-des-Neiges to see Morris Panych’s comedy about nothing less than death Vigil, to April 1, and saucy comedic romp Miss Sugarpuss Must Die, to April 2. Also at the Segal, though not theatre, the Walrus McGill Talks inspire ideas on art and cultural diversity on April 3. In Old Montreal, the Centaur Theatre puts on de Marivaux’s romantic-comedy classic The Game of Love and Chance, to April 1, as well as Pulitzer-winning Lynn Nottage’s ragtime drama Intimate Apparel, to April 29. And dance, theatre and a multitude of media collide in Calgary’s Theatre Junction Grand show Lucy Lost Her Heart, at Usine C, to March 30.
(spring steps) Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal welcomes Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis and his Soirée Stravinski, featuring Igor Stravinski’s Noces (The Wedding) and The Rite of Spring, as well as Celis’ trio Anima, March 29-31, at Place des Arts. And until April 1, the Edgy Women Festival makes itself known at various locations such as Studio 303 and challenges audiences with woman-born-and-bred performances spanning dance, theatre and spoken word.
(burlesque, baby!) Let loose in cabaret style as the lovely ladies of The Grand Burlesque Show, entertain with glamour, glitter and titillation, March 29-31 at Club Soda. The multi-performer spectacular produced by Scarlett James, also a performer, features local and international burlesque stars, including Lada Redstar, Jett Adore, La Divina, acrobats, comedians and actors, all heating up the stage and audience in dutiful accordance with this year’s sizzling Island Fever theme.
(artistic ways) Montreal is known for its cultivating cutting-edge artists and for hosting international artists alike. This week, see thought-provoking, carefully crafted work by three women artists, Valérie Blass, Ghada Amer and Wangechi Mutu, at the Musée d’art Contemporain. At Battat Contemporary, Iranian painter Kamrooz Aram’s Further Negotiations blends Western practices with non-Western traditional art forms. At Galerie D’Este , see new exhibition Rêves sous la peau (Dreams beneath the skin) by Canadian artist Michelle Furlong, who looks at definitions of the human figure. Downtown at Joyce Yahouda Gallery, see the large mobile sculptures of Georges Audet’s Labyrinths and Sarah Bertrand-Hamel’s Contingences – while there, take a wander through the rest of the Belgo building too, stopping by SBC Gallery, Galerie Pangée and many more.
(music musts) On March 30 and 31, hip-hop meets pop-jazz meets reggae as Australian band The Cat Empire sinks its claws into Metropolis, also where the lovely Metronomy and Sandro Perri play April 1 and where British dance chart-toppers Nero party on April 4. Aussie pop star Gotye comes to the Corona Theatre on March 30, followed by Band of Skulls on March 31. The Magnetic Fields are back with a new album as catchy as it is darkly funny, at Le National, March 31. Montreal’s awesome and danceable Grimes plays March 31 at Cabaret du Mile End. On April 2, the good-time Great Lake Swimmers chill downtown at L’Astral. And 90s alt-rock is back this week at the Corona with Our Lady Peace on April 2 and Nada Surf on April 5.
Grimes Photo: Richmond Lam