The city begins to sparkle with holiday spirit this week as rock, classical and electro music festivals light up the night, the Santa Claus Parade comes to town, one film festival ends and another begins, circus and dance delight all ages, and holiday fairs give us another reason to shop.
(movie moments) Hundreds of new films screen during the 16th annual Montreal International Documentary Festival to November 24, including a new documentary and special presentation by Mexican actor, director and producer Gael García Bernal, Egyptian filmmaker Jehane Noujaim’s The Square, Narimane Mari’s Haricots Rouges, an creative rendering of war in Algeria, a doc on actor Harry Dean Stanton, Jeff Broadway’s record-label film Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton, a look at the life of riot-grrrl instigator Kathleen Hanna in The Punk Singer, as well as late-night parties, an interactive outdoor short-film screening next to St-Laurent metro station, and more. Canada’s longest-running LGBT film festival, image+nation, starts up this year on November 28, featuring films from around the world, beginning with festival opener In the Name Of by Polish director Malgoska Szumowska.
(music fests) Spend time in some of the city’s best rock venues this week as music festival M for Montreal rolls out new indie-rock, folk and hip-hop talent: see Grand Analogue Sound rap with soul and Thus: Owls croon and strum on November 22, the charming Mac DeMarco and danceable Young Galaxy, Miracle Fortress and a Purity Ring DJ set on November 23, and much more. Electronic music and arts festival, Mutek, presents a laser-light-filled Friday night with Brooklyn-based producer ITAL and more, and German electronic musician Frank Bretschneider and other audio-visual artistry on Saturday night, all part of digital-arts festival Mutek_IMG, at the Phi Centre.
(holiday shopping) Find stylish and unique clothing, jewelry, housewares, toys, food items and more at the 10th-annual Souk @ SAT artisanal fair, featuring over 400 Montreal artists on hand to sell and talk about their creations, November 28 to December 1, at the Société des arts technologiques in downtown Montreal. Upstairs at the SAT’s Foodlab restaurant, have dinner on the new Nordic Terrace, enclosed within a cozy yurt. A more traditional Christmas craft fair also begins this week: The Marché Casse Noisette, or Nutcracker Market fills Montreal’s Palais des congrès convention centre hall with the Christmas-shopping spirit, starting November 28.
(theatre & dance) An artistic circus comes to town in Cirkopolis, the spectacular new show from Cirque Éloize, running until November 30 at Place des Arts. Inventive Montreal dance company Groupe Rubberbandance blends ballet with breakdance in the captivating Quotient Empirique, to December 7 at Place des Arts. A tragedy of love, racism and betrayal unfolds in a new version of Shakespeare’s Othello, by Montreal theatre company Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre, at the Segal Centre, to December 1. And Clea Minaker uses puppetry in inventive ways in The Book of Thel, a theatrical interpretation of William Blake’s poetry, at Theatre La Chapelle, November 25-27.
(family playtime) The annual Toys exhibition returns to the McCord museum, and this time it heads for outer space: climb on board a rocket ship, visit other planets and strange life forms, and walk through a lunar garden, all populated by over 200 toys from the museum’s collection, with story hour every Saturday at 2 p.m. and craft workshops on Sundays. On November 26, see a version of the Nutcracker made especially for kids: Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite features the two children’s-book bunnies dancing along with ballet pros in a holiday classic, at Theatre St-Denis. On November 24, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra presents a bilingual concert for the whole family: How the Gimquat Found Her Song explores the history of Western music through the story of an imaginary creature’s search for identity. And for a more hands-on experience, visit the Truth Or Lie? exhibition at the Montreal Science Centre, where kids can go on an interactive fact-finding mission through the worlds of magic, illusion, pseudoscience, advertising and the media. Santa arrives early, leading the 63rd annual Montreal Santa Claus Parade on Saturday along Ste-Catherine Street from Fort Street to St-Urbain, beginning at 11 am.
(classical music) Alongside all the M for Montreal shows, comes more live music. The weekend begins with a high-energy blend of jazz, funk and Afro beats as The Souljazz Orchestra at L’Astral on Friday night, while the Montreal Bach Festival, brings classical style to the city November 23 to December 7, featuring an opening concert by the Virtuoso Baroque Orchestra, followed with a by-donation Night of the Choirs event at Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul on November 24 at 4 pm, and pianist Ishay Shaer and the McGill Chamber Orchestra playing the complete keyboard concerti on November 26. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra plays Dvořák’s New World Symphony, on November 23, and on November 27-28, pianist Jan Lisiecki joins the orchestra in the Schumann Piano Concerto and more. And hear avant-garde classical music from saxophonist Ida Toninato and percussionist Ben Reimer, on November 25 at La Sala Rossa.
(rock ‘n’ jazz) Change the tune completely on November 23 with legendary metal-rock gods Slayer, sharing the stage with Gojira and 4Arm at the Université de Montreal or dance Saturday night away with the Caribbean flare of DJ collective Canicule Tropicale at L’Inspecteur Épingle. On November 27, more legends, this time of hip hop, come to town: the Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) 20th Anniversary show blows minds at Olympia de Montreal. Also that night, the L’OFF JAZZ festival presents new jazz with the Adrian Vedady Quartet, Duo Jean Derome & Ellwood Epps, and many more at La Sala Rossa. And the Montreal Jazz Festival pops up for winter this week to bring us the soulful sounds of Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré, whose latest album was produced by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, at Club Soda on November 28.
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