The encroaching winter hasn’t made an impact on the bustle of Montreal’s entertainment and arts scene– no fewer than three film festivals, a city-wide celebration of French music, brand new art that references masterful classics in accessible ways, classical and traditional music of the highest calibre from around the world, sweet nights at the theatre, experiments in dance and electronic arts, and indie-rock and folk to warm the heart…
(creative robotics) Montreal has a great love for the electronic arts. This week, ELEKTRA_LAB 4 presents Cinétose, an “immersive robotic performance” from Montreal collective Projet EVA. Referencing artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, composer John Cage and choreographer Lucinda Child, the installation-performance merges art, science and technology: a mobile grid of metal plates, with video and audio components, disorients the audience and alters space and time. Performances November 3–5 at Usine C. And independent games, video and otherwise, meet art at J.E.U.X., a three-day exhibition at Eastern Bloc (7240 Clark), to November 5, with roundtable discussions at 6:30 p.m. each night.
(movie city) French-language film shares the spotlight with two other film festivals this week, but Cinemania might just feature the most hyped films and stars, at least if you’re a Francophile. November 3-13 at the Imperial Cinema (1430 Bleury), the fest presents the likes of Maïwenn’s Cannes Jury Prize winner, Polisse, Pierre Schöller’s award-winning L’Exercice de l’état, Cédric Klapisch’s Ma part du gâteau, and many more. Alongside Cinemania, Montreal’s LGBT-focused film fest, Image-Nation, continues to November 6, with features, shorts, documentaries and musicals from around the world, with filmmakers present at many of the screenings. And, starting November 9, get really real at RIDM, the Montreal International Documentary Festival.
(big art big time) The art buzz this week is all about the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Big Bang show, a multidisciplinary event-exhibition that can be enjoyed on many levels, whether you’re an art aficionado or just looking for a dry place to spend a rainy day. Twenty artists have teamed up to show not only their talents, but the interplay of their work with works in the museum’s collection – from the video work of Denys Arcand and Adad Hannah to choreographer Marie Choinard’s photography and En Masse collective’s graffiti-like mural art, the show is an intriguing and entertaining journey. Over at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery is a great retrospective of conceptual artist and musician Raymond Gervais, with over 15 visual and audio pieces. And the Musée d’art Contemporain’s Quebec Triennial continues with a performance by musician Tim Hecker on November 9 and the final days of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s outdoor spotlight-art installation.
(whistle a french tune) It’s only right when visiting Quebec to take in some French-language Quebec-made culture, perhaps the most accessible form of which is music – this week Montreal makes that easier than ever with the 25th anniversary of Coup de Coeur Francophone, November 3–13. Go to L’Astral (in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles), Lion d’Or, Club Soda and other great venues to see Richard Séguin, Richard Desjardins and other biggies as well as much-talked-about young singer-songwriters and rock bands like Les Breastfeeders and Galaxie. There’s also a tribute to Montreal musician Lhasa, who passed away last year – musicians and dancers join talents in the serene Danse Lhasa Danse, November 12 at Cinquième Salle.
(classical classics) Montreal’s classical music scene is rich and vibrant, not only because we’re home to many great composers, musicians and conductors, but because we know how to welcome others too: this week, the New York Philharmonic sets the tone November 4–5, with music director and conductor Alan Gilbert at the Maison Symphonique. While the Montreal Symphony Orchestra takes over November 9–11, with conductor and director Kent Nagano and Bach’s St-John Passion. And Theatre Outrement hosts pianist Koji Attwood paying hommage to Horowitz, November 6.
(theatre days) Theatre season is upon us! What better way to get into it than with a play about plays: Ferenc Molnár’s comedy The Play’s the Thing bounds into the Segal Centre, to November 20. Meanwhile, 1920s vaudeville debauchery meets with honesty and tragedy in The Wild Party, at MainLine Theatre, November 2–12. Tony Award-winning comedy God of Carnage pits yuppie parent against yuppie parent, at Centaur Theatre, November 8 to December 4. And Montreal actor and writer Johanna Nutter’s award-winning play My Pregnant Brother, questions sex, gender and identity and now sees its premier in French at Petite Licorne, with three English-language shows November 11, 18 and 25.
(art and the arab world) The 12th Festival du Monde Arabe, brings music, dance, art, cinema and other cultural events to the city to November 13, calling for a true interaction of differing views, realities and creative pursuits. The dialogue the festival hopes to inspire is between artists and among audience members, deepening communication about cultures, belief systems and commonalities. The traditional and modern meet in Charabia, mythical Andalusia is revived in the Layali Al Andalus (Andalusian Nights) ensemble, Tunisian revolution is told in song and dance, with the voice of Emel Mathlouthi and movement of Imed Jemaa, documentary film highlights new movements in hip-hop, and more.
(performance experimental) The new festival Artdanthé, combines art, dance and theatre in unusual ways, giving emerging artists a platform to explore and experiment. Cases in point: Stéphane Gladyszewski’s multi-media dance creation Corps noir ou l’inconscient convié, Anthony Rizzi’s performance An attempt to fail at ground breaking theater with Pina Arcade Smith, the amazing (and disturbing) performance art of Julie Andrée T., and Jonathan Fortin and Vincent Morelle’s Chair Homme. Ongoing at Theatre LaChapelle to November 20.
(old is new again) See what some of Montreal’s best vintage hunters have found at Smart Design Mart Vintage Mart – Caesar Pony, Cheap Opulence, Lily & Ruby, Vintage HQ, Supayana Vintage and others set up collective shop for two days, featuring one-of-a-kind clothing, accessories, furniture and more. The sale happens November 4 (5–9PM) and 5 (12-6PM), at 5445 Rue de Gaspé (suite 600), located in the friendly, funky Mile End neighbourhood.
(music meanderings) The live music week starts lovely and local with Montreal singer-songwriter Charlotte Cornfield at La Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent), then off a little weird yet wonderful with Sandro Perri and his wonderful voice and experimentation at Casa del Popolo (4873 St-Laurent), on November 5. On November 6, Chicago’s The Sea and Cake prove why they’ve never skipped a beat over the years, playing what they’re known for and new songs from The Moonlight Butterfly, at Sala Rossa. Also at Sala and much loved by me, San Francisco’s Wooden Shjips sail in on a sea of echoing reverb, on November 8. Montreal’s first-ever used record store, Cheap Thrills, celebrates 40 years, with Montreal bands Mozart’s Sister, Hidden Words, Pigeon Phat, at Casa del Popolo on November 9. And November 10 brings the Texas noise punk of Scratch Acid to Il Motore (179 Jean Talon West) in a one-off reunion tour.