Several music legends grace Montreal this week: Neil Young, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, Gilberto Gil, and well, more recent legend Justin Bieber. Whether you’re in town to see any of them or simply here to take in the plentiful sights, sounds and good food, there’s also plenty of entertainment for all ages at holiday fairs, on stage and screen, and out in the streets…
(live music) The week is bookended by three great music men and a great music woman: get out on the weekend on Friday, November 23 with Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Patti Smith at the Bell Centre, while Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil plays at Place des Arts, and later in the week, the Montreal-born-and-bred man himself, Leonard Cohen, spends two nights at the same venue, November 28-29. Canadian indie-rock royalty Sloan returns to town on November 23 at Le National and the next night captivating R&B singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé plays Metropolis while hip hop virtuoso Araabmuzik is at the SAT. It’s a school night, but that won’t keep Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen fans away from the Bell Centre on Monday, November 26. On November 28, Titus Andronicus bring their friendly-punk indie-rock to Il Motore and Montreal rock-pop faves Malajube play the beautiful old Corona Theatre, while the next night Kid Koala brings his 12-bit Blues Vinyl Vaudeville show to the venue and the experimental-rock-drone of Six Organs of Admittance transcends space and time at Casa del Popolo on November 29.
(screen stories) Montreal’s film fest season winds down this week as Image+Nation celebrates 25 years of bringing LGBT films from around the world to Montreal – the festival runs until December 2 and this week features Lesbomundo, a series of lesbian-centric short films (November 23-24), Call Me Kuchu a portrait of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato, David Lambert’s Hors les murs, short-film series Deep End and Queerment Quebec, and many more films, playing at Cinema du Parc. Also this weekend, travel the world in search of exotic fruit in colourful (in all ways) new Montreal-made documentary The Fruit Hunters, playing for a limited time at Cineplex Odeon Forum and Excentris.
(art in the street) Catch the end of the collaborative Montreal/Brooklyn exhibition, with city-spanning shows at several galleries, and long-time art activist group ATSA, who continue their annual installation outside at Place Émilie-Gamelin, this year featuring a 30-minute art video on the construction of Montreal’s metro system, as well as an homage to this spring and summer’s student strikes and community protests for equality, and art works that raise awareness about homelessness.
(comedy & theatre) Fans of Canadian comedy that mixes low-brow humour with dry irony shouldn’t miss The Trailer Park Boys at Theatre St-Denis on November 27, where the boys turn their television show into a live, bawdy affair during their countdown to Liquor Day. On a different note, one more traditionally in-tune and swear-word free, award-winning Broadway musical Mary Poppins floats in to Place des Arts, November 23-25. Get your heart warmed at family-friendly circus, musical and epic adventure show Loucho the Clown at Theatre Ste-Catherine. David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Good People, set in Boston’s working-class Irish “Southie” neighbourhood, continues at the Centaur Theatre to December 6. And stage play Red, based on the work and life of artist Mark Rothko, begins November 25 at the Segal Centre.
(shopping & Santa) It’s the end of November, but Montreal is already lit up for the holidays – and ready for holiday shopping. For traditional and contemporary Quebec-made gifts, from clothing to gourmet food, take a stroll around Le Marché Casse Noisette, also known as The Nutcracker Market, one of many of Montreal’s upcoming craft and artisanal fairs – this one is a non-profit market co-organized by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and held downtown at Palais des congrès, beginning November 29. And downtown shopping mall Complexe Desjardins, in the same building as the Hyatt Regency Montréal, has its Christmas Village up and running until December 24 – kids can visit Santa, burn off some of that candy-cane-fueled energy in the play areas and watch holiday-themed performances throughout each day.
(dance delights) Danse Cité takes over the Les Ateliers Jean-Brillant, a brick factory space refurbished for performances, for Charmaine LeBlanc’s mid-life inquiry Terminus, for six dancers with music and video accompaniment, on November 23. Dance Cité also presents Nancy Leduc’s Projet Harlequin, inspired by reading Harlequin romance novels as a teenager, November 28-December 8 at Théâtre de Quat’sous (100 Pins West). Tangente presents cutting-edge, energetic works by NYC’s Brian Brooks (who mixes formal dance with street and sports moves) and Montreal’s Raphaëlle Perreault, at Monument National, November 23-25. And for those of us with short attention spans, Wants and Needs brings back the popular and often hilarious Short & Sweet show – performances that finish in under two minutes! – at Sala Rossa on November 28.