With summer behind us, we can now move on to more serious things. Like pop music festivals, eating hamburgers, singing karaoke classics and high-fiving extreme skiers. That’s just how Montreal rolls. But along with all that fun – all of which is actually happening in organized-event form this week – we’ve got thought-provoking drama and dance on more than a few stages, new mind-bending art, some very short films and, as always, rock n’ roll…
(pop ‘til you drop) Okay, so it doesn’t start until Wednesday, but the 10th-anniversary hype for Pop Montreal began sometime in the summer, right around the time Arcade Fire announced they were playing a free outdoor show on September 22 – so consider this a warning of the frenzy that’s about to happen in just a few days… Of course, like all good festivals in this city, Pop Montreal gives us a few previews, including some film screenings (including H2Oil and Blue Gold) on Tuesday, September 20–21 at Places de Festivals, 6–11 p.m., during In the City Without My Car week. The party begins in earnest on Wednesday, with all kinds of music, film and much, much more.
(high-class and high-art) The Marriage of Figaro kicks off the new season for Opera de Montreal with the music of Mozart and the romantic notions of the ages, September 17–24 at Places des Arts. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra continues to inaugurate its new concert hall with classics and more creative fare like pairing up with pop group Simple Plan for a benefit show on September 20. And Montreal’s dance scene begins to heat up already – and it only gets hotter as winter comes on: dancer-choreographer Jocelyne Montpetit delves deeply into butoh in at Agora de la danse to September 23, and Virginie Brunelle’s Complex des Genres feels out the commonalities between men and women, at Theatre La Chapelle to September 17.
(extreme winter sports) With summer barely over, the International Freeski Film Festival already wants us to get ready for winter sports season – the fest brings some of the greatest extreme freeski films and skiers to town, screening films at the Imperial Cinema (1432 Bleury) September 16–18 and outdoors on September 15 at Peace Park (on St-Laurent between Ste-Catherine and Rene-Levesque), and throwing parties all weekend. Friday night’s Reggae Party, hosted by freeski legend Tanner Hall brings reggae star Cali P. and others to Metropolis, while Saturday night’s Rocker Party with Sean Pettit goes off at Club Soda after the IF3 Palm Awards Gala at 9.30 p.m. at Imperial Cinema.
(equestrian thespians) The new theatre season opens in high-drama style with Peter Shaffer’s Equus, directed with nuance by Domy Reiter-Soffer, with some of Montreal’s best actors doing some of their best work, at the Segal Centre to October 2. Zeitgeist Theatre Collective sheds necessary light on women in Canadian prisons in Unfit for Bears, at Les Ateliers Jean-Brillant (3550 St-Jacques W.), to September 24. On a lighter note, Processed Theatre puts on comedy-musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the tale of overachieving adolescent outsiders and their perfect-spelling dreams, at Mainline Theatre to September 24.
(art again) Montreal’s independent galleries are back in action this week, with vernissages (openings) for new shows all around town. Some of the shows are a part of Le Mois de la Photo, such as at Galerie Pangée (now in its new home in the Belgo building), showing new large-scale colour photographs by Normand Rajotte, at Dazibao, where photography by Hans-Peter Feldman and video by Saskia Holmkvist provokes the senses, and in work by Éliane Excoffier and Serge Clément at Galerie Simon Blais. New painting work by John Ancheta is unveiled September 15 at Battat Comtemporary and sculpture and drawings by Jean-Pierre Larocque comes to life at Galerie D’Este, while artist-run feminist centre La Centrale challenges perceptions with the work of painter Marie-Claude Bouthillier.
(good people, good causes) Dig in to some haute hamburgers made by some of Montreal’s best chefs at From the Street to the Stars, an evening of creative cuisine inspired by the humble burger and a fundraiser for Dans la Rue, a grassroots organization that works with street kids in Montreal, on September 21 at at the Montreal Science Centre. Hit the streets with thousands of others on Sunday morning at Place Emilie-Gamelin (at Berri-UQAM metro) for Ça Marche, Quebec’s biggest AIDS walk, with all funds raised going to community groups dedicated to research, awareness and prevention of AIDS and HIV.
(short short film) Short, sweet and very local, The Montreal 60 Second Film Festival screens the resultant films made by amateurs and professionals alike earlier this summer. This year’s theme is “chance” – a word and idea open to much interpretation. See what the filmmakers made of it in 69 films, each no longer than a minute, all playing at the Rialto Theatre (5723 Parc), September 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m., $8. And on September 18 at the Rialto, a film slightly longer than 60 seconds: The Wizard of Oz, screening at 8 p.m.
(fun and games) Montreal is as charming as it is creative, as funny as it is sexy – if you’re still in any doubt of that, check out the outrageous and fun Strip Spelling Bee – like strip poker, but with spelling instead of card-sharking – on September 17, 11 p.m. at Mainline Theatre (3997 St-Laurent). In that same group-participation vein, Sunday night’s Crowd Karaoke – like regular karaoke except everyone sings together in one big, joyous crowd – fills Montreal’s hottest hippest queerest Royal Phoenix Bar (5788 St-Laurent), 8 p.m.
(music moods) This Friday starts the weekend off on a Northern-Irish indie-rockers-note with Two Door Cinema Club at Club Soda (1225 St-Laurent). The weekend offers up some tough choices for live music lovers. Or at least for this music lover. On Saturday, The Olivia Tremor Control returns to the present day and plays Il Motore (179 Jean Talon W.), while Toro Y Moi chill at Cabaret du Mile End (5240 Parc). On Sunday afternoon, Piknic Electronik sets up its second-to-last dance party in the park for the season, and later Wilco and Nick Lowe play Metropolis in what’s sure to be a memorable show, and the great and powerful and loud Kyuss destroy L’Olympia. On Monday night, The Moody Blues count the days of future past at Theatre St-Denis (1594 St-Denis). And starting Wednesday, it would seem to be Pop Montreal everywhere, all the time for the next five days… Whoo!