Montreal is slowly starting to move indoors as summer fades away – things to do this week straddle the open-air events Montreal is famous for and the many sheltered options necessitated by the winter season. See films, dance and music shows in parks and in theatres, tour Tall Ships, meet Star Trek royalty, go to the Opera, or dance the night away…
(pop ‘til you drop) Pop Montreal, the little music fest that could, celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, proving that it may be all big-time now but it’s still fun and friendly. The fest, running September 19-23, bends the definition of pop to include rock, hip hop, folk, electronic and combinations of all of the above and more. On Wednesday alone see Stars (for free!), Laetitia Sadier, Antibalas, Knaan, Joseph Arthur, and on Thursday not only are there free outdoor shows at Parc de la Petite Italie in Little Italy (St-Laurent at Ste-Zotique), but see Dirty Three, Gang Gang Dance, Katatonia, Grimes, Alaclair Ensemble, Deerhoof and many, many more play throughout the evening.
(fall fresh air) Five Tall Ships drop anchor at the Quays of the Old Port, September 13-16, open for tours and accompanied throughout the weekend by activities day and night, including music concerts, street performers, food, games, nautical-themed vendors, a Pirate’s Cabaret and fireworks every night! And see lanterns of every size, shape and colour light up during the evenings at the beautiful Montreal Botanical Gardens throughout the fall, with special events for families and for food lovers.
(fantasy land) Montreal’s Comiccon, happening September 14-16 at Palais des Congrès, isn’t only for fans of comic book heroes and graphic novel anti-heroes – no, Comiccon is a carefully curated pop culture interzone where fiction meets reality, where stars like William Shatner, Patrick Stewart (two Enterprise captains! I mean, actors who played Enterprise captains!) and Malcolm McDowell chat with fans, famed comic book creators talk about their work and even do some live drawing, and the Batmobile revs its engines.
(film forays) The 8th edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival begins September 19 with an Homage to Harry Belafonte, winner of the festival’s Humanitarian Prize this year, and a screening of opening film Winnie, about the life of Winnie Mandela, directed by Darrell Rood and starring Jennifer Hudson. The festival continues until September 30 with films from around the world. Two more film phenomena happen this week: iF3, the International Free Ski Film Festival, to September 16 at the Monument National screens films on skiing, welcomes pro athletes to town, sets up an outdoor village next to the SAT and throws a few good parties; and the M60 film fest, September 13-15 at Excentris, screens a wide array of Montreal-made films that clock in at under 60 seconds – always a fun time!
(art action) The Ryoji Ikeda exhibition at DHC/Art is worth a visit any time, but on September 15, it’s extra special because the artist/musician himself will be in town and performing a live set of Test Pattern at the nearby PHI Centre – fans of minimalist electronic music won’t want to miss this. Also in Old Montreal, catch the artistic, political and emotional World Press Photo exhibition until September 30. And SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art presents Technical Temptations: The Films of Maria Lassnig, showcasing the work of the acclaimed Austrian artist. And venture over to the Parisian Laundry in the neighbourhood of St-Henri (also home to the Atwater Market) to see mind-warping paintings by Rick Leong and an interactive installation by Dean Baldwin.
(stage setting) L’Opéra de Montréal opens its 33rd season with Verdi’s La Traviata, September 15-22 at Place des Arts. Greek soprano Myrto Papatanasiu shares the stage with Italien tenor Roberto De Biasio and baritone Luca Grassi to play out a dramatic tale of love, honour and sacrifice. For more drama, see Theatre Teesri Duniya put on Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Kevin Loring’s Where the Blood Mixes, about the life-long effects of Aboriginal residential school experience – at Centre Culturel Calixa-Lavallée in Parc Lafontaine. In dance, the Quartiers Danses festival roams the city with the aim to make dance accessible to all – see Florence Figols in a “carte blanche” evening for Marie Brassard, at the Darling Foundry September 15-16, Spain’s Kukai and Montreal’s Atypique collection outdoors at the Quartier des Spectacles September 14-15 starting at noon, and more dance throughout the week.
(music delights) Hip hop happens September 14 at Olympia as part of the iF3 festival: get down with legendary Mix Master Mike, Rahzel and more. Meanwhile, over at the SAT, groove to Ladyhawke and Computer Magic – also at the SAT, starting September 18, see DJ Food’s immersive music-and-video experience The Search Engine. On September 15, listen to the sweet, weird, strange San Francisco sounds of Vetiver at Il Motore. On Sunday afternoon, dance to the beats of Oliver$, Electric Rescue, Astropolis tagteam, Sipherdee and more at Piknic Electronik. Sandro Perri knows how to captivate a crowd September 17 at Cabaret Mile-End. And on September 18, Peter Gabriel comes to the Bell Centre to remind us that it’s been 25 years since his album So – and it’s still good.