There’s no shortage of entertainment and creativity this week in Montreal, starting with the hot bands and equally hot people of music festival Pop Montreal, and moving into innovative international circus and dance shows, film screenings, and three days of free, family-friendly arts and culture activities at Journées de la Culture…
(pop life) International music festival Pop Montreal keeps music fans busy all weekend with The-Dream, Shuggie Otis, METZ, Parliament Funkadelic’s Bernie Worrell and Fred Wesley, and hundreds of other bands, from indie-rock to hip hop. But Pop Montreal is more than just a music festival: find unique made-in-Montreal items at Puces Pop art and craft fair (105 St-Viateur W.) and get your hands on hot albums at the Record Fair (5213 Hutchison); see films like The Story of the Descendants at Film Pop; discuss music and cultural affairs at the Pop Symposium; see and at Art Pop (3450 St-Urbain); and set the kids free to make puppets, decorate an art maze and spend some storytelling time with musician Kid Koala at Kids Pop.
(cultural days) Stay active with the arts this weekend during city-wide Journées de la Culture, featuring free music, theatre, dance art, circus performances and more at hundreds of museums, galleries, cafes and outdoor locations. That includes activities at Place des Arts in the heart of downtown, from singing with the Orchestre Métropolitain chorus to tours of the massive Salle Wilfred-Pelletier performance hall. Not part of Journées de la Culture, but just as fun, the Montreal Model Train Exposition lets kids and adults alike operate more than 30 different model railroads, including Thomas the Tank Engine and Harry Potter-themed trains, at the Sun Youth Centre (4251 St-Urbain). On the classical music side of the cultural spectrum, the Festival Orgue et Couleurs, highlighting organ music from around the world, September 27 to October 5.
(circus & stage) Five acrobats, a DJ and a magician create a fun, chaotic world of their own inside and outside a revolving four-room cube in circus production Hans was Heiri, from Swiss circus company Zimmermann & de Perrot, at La Tohu circus centre, October 1-13. Romance and tragedy collide in Opéra de Montréal’s new, brightly colorful production of Lakmé, starring soprano Audrey Luna and Canadian tenor John Tessier, September 28 at Place des Arts. Compagnie Maguy Marin revisits Montreal from France with high-energy, tableau-like production Salves, to September 28 at Place des Arts. And South African dancer-choreographers Pamela Schneider and Sifiso Seleme blend contemporary dance and street styles in Tikvahthemba, presented by Tangente and Pop Montreal.
(film & art) Feature films, documentaries, shorts and presentations by directors on the subjects of black history and current lived realities make the Montreal International Black Film Festival, to September 29, a unique experience. Among the many films this weekend, see Dawn Porter’s Gideon’s Army, Namibian director Richar Pakleppa’s Taste of Rain, Andrew Mudge’s The Forgotten Kingdom, and festival closing film Denis by Lionel Bailliu. On September 30, the Phi Centre screens Wong Kar Wai’s newest film, epic adventure The Grandmaster, based on the life story of Chinese kung fu master, Ip Man. Catch the last week of Mois de la Photo, an intelligent, creative, international photography exhibition spanning 14 galleries in the city. Pair it with the newsworthy and moving World Press Photo exhibition at Marché Bonsecours. And learn more about the complex history and artistry of tea during the final days of Pointe-à-Callière’s The Tea Roads exhibition.
(live music) Though hundreds of Pop Montreal shows dominate the weekend at venues around town, there’s plenty of musical variety still to be had. Friday night starts on a good-time note as Jamaican band Third World celebrates 40 years of playing soulful, disco-infused reggae at Theatre Corona. Classical music delights as I Musici de Montréal begins its season with a tribute to Yuli Turovski. And later on, see Portland-based trip-hop artist Emancipator at Club Soda, while the catchy indie-rock tunes of Local Natives get Metropolis hopping. On Saturday night, Lebanese alt-rock band Mashrou’ Leila proves why they’re adored by fans around the world, with openers Labess and The Narcicyst at Metropolis. On Sunday, September 29, Danish electro-pop singer-songwriter Oh Land comes to the Corona, while Brooklyn’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah keeps their indie-rock sound real at Cabaret Mile End. Fronted by Jared Leto, Thirty Seconds to Mars plays two nights, October 1 and 2, at the massive Metropolis, with light show to match. Singer-songwriter Basia Bulat and Evening Hymns create a relaxing mood at Cabaret Mile End on October 1. And on Thursday, October 3, heavy Japanese band Guitar Wolf stays loud and noise-punk with openers The Coathangers and Coward at Sala Rossa and Brooklyn rockers The Obits blow minds at Il Motore. More loudness is definitely in store as Nine Inch Nails and Explosions in the Sky make the Bell Centre shake.