Montreal summertime has truly hit the city along with a certain early-summer festival magic: dance and theatre comes to town in new forms with Festival Transamériques, awesome electronic music festival Mutek and the Montreal Bike Festival rolls out. Oh, but there’s more. Sunday is Montreal’s now-famous free Museums Day, Faust is at the opera, the new circus generation shows off, and live music rings from downtown to Mile End…
(digital groove) Lovers of electronic music and digital art flock from around the world to Mutek May 30-June 3. The festival not only throws all-night dance parties with top-name DJs, but is host to cutting-edge audio-visual sit-down shows, free outdoor showcases, a pre-fest symposium called Mutek_Lab, and audio-visual immersive installations such as Recombinant Media Labs’ Cinechamber and Parcours Numérique (pictured above).
(stage & scene) The wide world of dance, theatre and performance art comes to Montreal for the 6th edition of Festival Transamériques, May 24-June 9, with shows as diverse as they are beautiful and strange, including German artists Angie Hiesl and Roland Kaiser’s X-Fois Gens Chaise, an installation of senior citizens sitting in chairs placed high above the sidewalks in the Latin Quarter, Guilherme Botelho’s dance work Sideways Rain, Dana Gingras’ radio-friendly Heart as Arena, a free night of short dance pieces on May 28 at the FTA headquarters, and so many more artists who challenge conventions. At the same time, the OFFTA offers an even more alternative alternative, with shows and other creations at venues around Montreal.
(dust-free history) The city’s museums, big and small, open their doors and offer family-friendly tours and workshops for free this Sunday, May 27 for Montreal Museums Day. Along with the fabulous permanent collection at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, don’t miss the amazing retrospective show on innovative American painter Tom Wesselmann, who fused figurative painting with collage, sculpture and pop-culture. The Musee d’art contemporain taps into our animal nature with 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. Japanese history buffs and martial arts fans should drop by Pointe-a-Calliere’s exhibition of samurai artifacts.
(comedy & tragedy) The Opéra de Montréal makes a pact with Charles Gounod’s Faust, a story of desire and the devil, starring tenors Guy and Antoine Bélanger, at Place des Arts, May 19-26. The National Circus School graduation class shows off their skills at La Tohu circus centre, May 29-30. Country music and vampires unite at last in SideMart Theatrical Grocery award-winning Haunted Hillbilly, at Centaur Theatre to June 3. Montreal-made Poutine Masala fuses the tastes of Quebec and Bollywood in the story of a young Quebecois man who falls in love with an Indian woman, at Mainline Theatre, to May 27. The 7th Montreal Sketch Comedy Festival brings down the house with improv comedy, May 21-27 at Theatre Ste-Catherine. And May 30 kicks off The Comedy Hostel, a summer series of stand-up comedy at Cabaret Playhouse, 8:30 p.m.
(bike friendly) Vélo Québec’s annual bike festival, Féria du vélo de Montréal begins May 27, culminating in not only Tour de l’Île, a cross-city bike Tour on June 3, but a huge night-time group ride on June 1. In the meantime, learn more about biking in Montreal on May 30 at Parc LaFontaine’s Bike-to-Work Activities Day, show off your bike style and calf muscles at Montréal Cycle Chic’s photo booth, open May 28-31 (various locations), and if you’re up for a bike trip out of town, take part in the Montreal Challenge on May 27.
(music & more) Massivart puts on a massive weekend of music and video mayhem: the third edition of Chromatic takes place May 25-26 at the SAT with over 150 amazing Montreal artists doing what they do best. Hip hop and classic soul meet up in new ways as Mayer Hawthorne & The County play at the Corona Theatre, May 26. The first Piknic of the year happened over two days last weekend, kicking off the 10th year of the Sunday-dancing-in-the-park phenomenon – on May 27, groove to Live Affair, Nina Kraviz and more DJs at Parc Jean-Drapeau – also where Montreal’s Outdoor Festival is going on all weekend. On May 29, Women in Music Montreal puts on an all-women showcase, from soul to electro to drum and bass, to benefit the Herstreet Foundation, at La Sala Rossa. The Roberto Lopez Afro-Columbian Jazz Orchestra plays Cabaret du Mile-End on May 30. And on May 31, Philadelphia’s PuppeTyranny brings their national tour of Beans! Beans! Beans! puppet show to town with Montreal’s rock-operatic Teen Sleuth at Cabaret Playhouse.