This last weekend in May could be said to mark, if not the beginning of summer, the end of spring. With sunny days and warm temperatures on the very, very near horizon, the final days of May are anything goes. Weird, wild experimental theatre and dance? Check. A fancy food festival? Check. An entire day wherein all the city’s museums are free of charge? Check. An outdoor dance party on an island in the middle of the St-Laurent river? Aw yeah, check…
(historical and edible) Montreal history museum Pointe-à-Callière isn’t dusty and drab and never has been. These guys love a good time. This weekend’s Cultural Feast is no exception: the family-friendly fest pairs food with wine – chefs whip up their specialities and food kiosks galore represent Montreal’s cultural fluidity – and celebrates the necessity and drinkability of water (true!), while entertaining with Italian singer Marco Calliari, Argentinian group Radiotango and Taiko drummers extraordinaire Arashi Daiko. So put the kids in gumboot dancing classes or in the competent care of many a balloon-animal-making clown, and gorge yourself on Montreal culture. Outdoors at Pointe-à-Callière Museum (350 Place Royale), starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
(performance spectacular) Festival Transameriques. The FTA’s website gives video glimpses of all the shows, so you can try before you buy – but believe me, if something peaks your interest in a video, in this festival it’s certainly likely to keep you captivated in a live show. This weekend, see Sylvain Émard’s newest version of mass line-dance party Continental, Falk Richter and Anouk Van Dijk’s acclaimed Trust, or Israel Galván’s twist on flamenco. For even more off-the-beaten-track performances, look no further than the OFFTA, a festival that sees Montreal artists walk the cutting-edge of FTA to shock, awe and inspire.
(museums mania) Okay, let’s face facts on this one: even though this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., over 30 museums in Montreal’s core and surrounding area are open and free, with shuttle buses running constantly between each locale, it’s impossible to get to all of ‘em. Montreal Museums Day has become tradition by now, bringing jubilant crowds to the downtown core’s big-name museums of art and history and enticing city slickers to places a little further away, like the Lachine Canal museum of industrial history. Museums Montreal breaks down the details of the day, but it’s up to you to choose and choose wisely – thankfully, on a day like this, you’ll win no matter what.
(house proud) As if having more than three cable channels and lord knows how many magazines dedicated to home design isn’t enough, this weekend’s Montreal International Interior Design Show gathers even more ideas for making your home a castle. The difference here is that those ideas are all in one place and the idea-makers are there too! Talk to designers, decorators and other home professionals and see all that’s new in furniture, flooring and whatever says “home” to you, because I’m sure it’s there this Saturday and Sunday at Place Bonaventure.
(eclectic arts) Montreal’s multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary arts hub the MAI (3680 Jeanne-Mance) brings together over 30 artists, dancers, musicians, videographers and poets for the fourth edition of Eclectik, May 27–28, 8 p.m. Montreal’s cultural heritage is truly spread far and wide and this event shows the merging of traditional arts with modern inventions, the history of storytelling with brand new tales of the city told in words, movement and image.
(pop fashion) What’s hot on the runways isn’t always immediately accessible on the streets. But this weekend, Montreal clothing designer Barila opens a pop-up shop, featuring fun, fabulous and flouncy locally made pieces from their Spring-Summer 2011 line (little white dresses, little black dresses, shorts, rompers!) plus nicely priced items from previous seasons. At Off Interarts (5145 St-Laurent), May 26 to June 5.
(music) On Friday, indie-rock experimenters Philadelphia’s Man Man entertain in their signature strange style at Cabaret Mile End (5240 Parc), while Belgian singer-songwriter Milow, perhaps known best in North America for his acoustic cover of 50 Cent’s Ayo Technology, woos the crowd at Le National (1220 Ste-Catherine E.). On Saturday, the great Ray LaMontagne calls in the lazy, hazy days of summer at Theatre St-Denis (1594 St-Denis). And on Sunday, dance the day away in beautiful Parc Jean Drapeau at Piknic Electronik, with Zubi, Roux Soundsystem and Dapayk. Mellow out at night with Snailhouse at La Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent).