Montreal’s love of Halloween is in full effect this week, so don’t be surprised to see costumed Montrealers wandering the streets and bellying up to the bars all around town – though they might leave the blood and gore at home while taking in film fest screenings, Restaurant Week gourmet food, performances from circus to sound art, and lots of live music…
(Halloween how-to) Halloween in Montreal is fun for everyone, with parties, ghoulish events and family-friendly activities from Friday night to Wednesday night. Start off slow with pumpkin carving and games at the Montreal Botanical Garden’s Great Pumpkin Ball, to October 31, head to amusement park La Ronde for roller coasters of fun for kids big and small, Tour Montreal’s ghoulish history with Montreal Ghosts, or head up Mont Royal on a Haunted Mountain walking tour. Of course, Halloween wouldn’t be complete without the Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween Ball, an interactive dress-up experience with a live cast on stage following along as the film screens, hosted by Plastik Patrik at the Cinéma Impérial, October 26, 27 and 31, And then there are the parties – check out the Montreal Buzz Halloween Guide for more opportunities for mayhem.
(fantastic food) Montreal’s TASTE MTL Restaurant Week begins Nov 1 and runs for 11 food-filled days. Peruse prix-fixe menus – from $19 to $39 – online, make reservations and experience some of the best meals Montreal can offer, all at unusually affordable prices for gourmet food. But how to choose where to eat among so many restaurants? If you’re into discovering new parts of the city, choose by neighbourhood: spend an evening in Old Montreal, the next one at a restaurant downtown, in the Plateau or Mile End, Outremont, the Village or Griffintown.
(film & animation) Yes, it’s still film festival season in Montreal! The French-language (often with subtitles!) Cinémania begins November 1 and runs for the next 11 days, with features, shorts, retrospectives (including an extensive one on Sandrine Bonnaire’s films), presentations and more. Cinémania opens with official Cannes competitor, Jacques Audiard’s De Rouille Et D’os, starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in a story of a former boxer, his son and a woman coming to terms with a life-altering disability. On Saturday, October 27, check out The National Film Board’s Get Animated! workshops and screenings for all ages – even create your own Halloween-inspired animated film using professional equipment and post it to YouTube.
(circus & dance) One of the most talked-about choreographers in the world these days, Hofesh Shechter, returns to Montreal with his powerful show Political Mother, featuring 10 dancers and 7 musicians – and plenty of rock n’ roll energy – at Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts, November 1-3. And Montreal-based international circus troupe 7 Doigts de la Main returns to La Tohu circus centre with acclaimed show Séquence 8, 90 minutes of breathtaking acrobatics, physical feats and style all wrapped up in a tale of relationships with the “other” – running October 30 to November 17.
(east & west) Enjoy all kinds of entertainment at the 13th Arab World Festival of Montreal, October 26-November 10, linking Arabic and Western cultures through music, performance, film, art and talks. Place des Arts is the place to be to catch free performances all weekend, with evening dance performances, demonstrations of Arab calligraphy, film screenings of highlights of the festival, and plenty of amazing live music. The fest’s opening night performance mixes Arab folklore with world beats, flamenco and jazz via string-instrument vituosi Sultans of String to Le National, with openers Nicolas Pellerin et les Grands Hurleurs playing Arab-influenced Quebecois traditional music, while on October 27 at L’Olympia, hear the pioneering Algerian hip hop of Lotfi Double Kanon.
(sound & performance) Fans of experimental music and performance take note of the following. The Akousma Festival of sound art continues at Usine C (near the Village, super close to Atmosphère B&B: take in fully surround-sound performances (42 speakers!) by Francisco López and Daniel Menche on October 27 and Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, Monty Adkins and Paulina Sundin on October 28. Friday night marks the final night of the Phénomena Festival of performance art with Claude Poissant and (many) friends’ Cabaret Désir Dada at La Sala Rossa, preceded by a mysterious outdoor performance next door. And downtown at the SAT, catch the last screening of DJ Food’s graphic-novel-inspired The Search Engine, a psychedelic 360-degree audio-visual experience in the SAT’s dome – the same place they’re throwing an electro-dance Halloween party on Saturday night.
(music rocks) Friday night is busy with Aussie pop star Kimbra at the Corona, Rufus Wainwright at Église St-Jean Baptiste (309 Rachel E.), former Fleet Foxes member Father John Misty playing songs from his new album Fear Fun at Cabaret Mile End, while Swans and A Hawk and a Handsaw fill La Tulipe with wall-to-wall sound. On the other end of the musical spectrum on Friday night, Video Games Live at the Bell Centre, turns video game tunes into a symphonic stadium concert experience. Then, on October 27, go back in time with The Hit Men, featuring members of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, as they play a dinner show at the Rialto. Meanwhile, Montreal’s Wintersleep co-headlines with Elliott Brood for a night of rock at the Corona. On Sunday, The Smashing Pumpkins return in full form at the Bell Centre and Milo Green is at Sala. Monday night is ear-bending with Sam Shalabi and his Land of Kush orchestra at Sala, while Chris Isaak croons on October 30 at Theatre St-Denis, andThe Weeknd takes over Metropolis for two nights: October 29 and 31.