No doubt about it, it’s fall now – the north winds blow, the leaves fall, the days grow shorter. Which also means Montreal nights are longer, and what better excuse to eat, drink and be merry well into the wee hours. Lovers of live music will adore this week in Montreal, as will lovers of film, as one film festival comes to an end and another begins. Montreal stages brace for drama, comedy, politics and the stomping of hundreds of horses hooves (seriously!). Art, poetry and spoken word round out the busy week with heady, ready made-in-Montreal creative stuff..
(thoughts on theatre) Talisman Theatre takes on Pierre-Michel Tremblay’s play Coma Unplugged, an intelligent comedy that delves into the mind of a newspaper humour columnist, to October 29 at Conservatoire d’art dramatique et de musique (4750 Henri-Julien). At 50 years old, the National Theatre School brings its English and French graduating classes together for the school’s first bilingual play, En Français Comme En Anglais, It’s Easy to Criticize, running October 25–30, at Monument National (1182 St-Laurent).
(movies before mayhem) Catch long-awaited festival-circuite films before the Festival du Nouveau Cinema ends on October 23 and the wait for theatrical release continues afresh. Now in its 40th year, the festival challenges conventions of popular film, with features, shorts and documentaries from around the world. Among many screening this weekend: Quebec director Philippe Falardeau’s award-winning film Monsieur Lazhar, closing the fest; Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald’s comeback sequel Hard Core Logo II; and Shinya Tsukamoto’s Kotoko. Plus discussions with filmmakers such Emmanuelle Demoris and the team behind Mafrouza Cycle, a doc on a shantytown built on the ruins of Alexandria (October 22, 2 p.m. at Cinémathèque Québécoise).
(horse circus) There is really nothing in the world like Quebec-born-and-bred Cavalia. I’ve seen the big-stage spectacle of Arabian stallions and thoroughbred stock, trained for fantastical entertainment and making the dreams of 12-year-old girls (and us older ones too) come true – and it is awesome. The newest show from the Cavalia team is Odysseo, an “equestrian odyssey” of spectacular proportions, now prancing, galloping and looking all majestic and stuff in Laval (just north of Montreal) to October 30.
(out on film) Hot of the heels of one film festival comes a quite different one: Montreal’s LGBT-focused Image+Nation, October 26 to November 6. The longest-running festival of its kind in Canada, now in its 24th edition, features over 125 feature, shorts, documentaries and even musicals from diverse voices in the local and global LGBT community. The fest’s opening film, at the Imperial Cinema (1432 Bleury), is Swedish director Tova Magnusson-Norling’s political comedy Four More Years, to be followed throughout the week by films such as Argentinean director Marco Berger’s psychological drama Ausente (Absent), Sundance-fest films Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, Maryam Kershavarzamong’s Circumstance, Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, and many, many more.
(body talk) Look no further than Montreal choreographer Sylvain Émard’s newest creation Fragments: Volume I for incredible, captivating dance technique and artistry. The choreographer, known for his work with Robert Lepage, has chosen his dancers wisely for this concise show of solos and duos – a Danse Danse co-presentation at Cinquième Salle at Place des Arts, to October 29. And if you’re looking for high drama and ballet bombast, Les Grands Ballets has just the ticket: choreographer Peter Quanz’s full-length, two-act ballet, Rodin/Claudel, at Place des Arts to October 29.
(Ukrainian connection) Whether you’ve got Ukrainian roots or not, the Boen Arts show Talents of the Ukraine will impress with traditional song and dance from the Donbas Honored Academic Song and Dance Company, performances of classical music from violinist Innesa Tymochko, tenor Yevhen Vaskin, actress and singer Svitlana Sasu. The big show goes down October 25 at Centre Pierre Péladeau, Salle Pierre-Mercure (300 de Maisonneuve E.), 7:30 p.m.
(lost in art) Every week during the Musee d’art Contemporain’s Quebec Triennial 2011 features something new and different – this week it’s a free performance by L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres on October 26 – which also happens to be the museum’s weekly no-entrance-fee evening. Check out great work by contemporary Quebec-based artists and afterwards, step outside and watch the blue spotlights of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s art installation at Quartier des Spectacles. Over at Galerie de l’UQAM (Room J-R120, 1400 Berri), see never-before-seen video and musical work by Patrick Bernatchez – the Lost in Time exhibition tackles the artist’s concern about time as “linear, cyclical, reinvented, immaterial, and yet sensed in body and soul.”
(poetry in action) Art, music and storytelling unite at the week-long Mile-End Poets Festival. On Friday, Celebrated NYC painter and graphic novelist Eric Drooker, who designed the animation for the film version of Howl, talks about and shows his work, accompanied by music from Brahja Waldman’s Quartet, on October 21 at La Sala Rossa. Drooker also gives a free workshop at Drawn and Quarterly bookstore on October 22. The Mile-End Poets festival continues until Monday evening, featuring an evening of Voice Dance Trance at Yellow Fish Gallery (3623 St-Laurent) on October 22. Wired on Words and Music on October 23 at Casa del Popolo, 8 p.m., and, until October 29, the great performance artist Cat Kidd performs her new show Hyena Subpoena, set in South Africa’s Kruger Park, at Les Ateliers Jean Brillant (661 Rose De Lima).
(many music moods) Grunge is back and here’s hoping that riot-grrrls and are coming back with it – the return of Japanese punk-grunge-art-girl-group Shonen Knife indicates as much anyway – they’re at Il Motore, October 21. Dance to the electro-punk-pop of Shout Out Out Out at Club Lambi, October 21. On Saturday, October 22, Cant (Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear) totally can at Cabaret Mile End, and the country stylings of Ladies of the Canyon make the Corona Theater a happy place. On October 23, believe it, Duran Duran are at the Bell Centre on their “All You Need is Now” tour. For real. While good ol’ Canadian punk rock returns with Nomeansno, with Ford Pier, at Il Motore, while Moby mesmerizes at Metropolis (59 Ste-Catherine E.). Amon Tobin, whose 3-D lazer light show at this year’s Mutek stunned everyone, plays Metropolis on Monday, October 24. On Tuesday, October 25, Amos Lee woos the crowd at Metropolis, The Black Angels swoop in to Cabaret du Mile End, and Sub Pop recording artist Chad VanGaalen comes to town with amazing singer-songwriter Jennifer Castle, at La Sala Rossa. Ah, yes, and Avril Lavigne is all grown up and at the Bell Centre.