Even with summer officially gone, Montreal is still an arts and culture hotbed – especially this week, with three days of free arty happenings via Journées de la Culture, new art exhibitions starting up along with dance, musical theatre and circus shows, a burlesque festival and truly almost too much live music to handle…
(arty open house) Three days of free arts and culture happenings are in store at the 16th edition of Journées de la Culture, September 28-30, at museums, galleries, performance venues and even out in the streets. Roam the Quartiers des Spectacles to see art in action at Saturday afternoon’s Marathon of Arts, and catch performances, go on guided tours, participate in workshops, learn to dance or sing throughout the weekend. Search the full schedule for family activities, visual art, dance, circus, theatre and more downtown and in neighhourhoods around the city.
(worldly art) Two new shows open at the MACM on October 4: a retrospective of famed Montreal painter Pierre Dorion, whose photorealist paintings beg for close viewing, and video work by great Brooklyn-based artist Janet Biggs, in collaboration with Centre Clark’s Montréal/Brooklyn art exchange project. Tesla coils and electric sparks are the exciting stuff of artist Alexandre Burton’s Impacts, at the PHI Centre, which also screening skateboarding film Waiting for Lightning on October 2. September 30 marks the last day to see the fabulous World Press Photo Exhibition, while over at the SAT, DJ Food’s immersive film-and-music experience The Search Engine starts up again, along with Maurice Benayoun’s interactive art installation Tunnel under the Atlantique.
(song and dance) Montreal’s BJM – Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal celebrates 40 years of dance with a show featuring gorgeous, emotional (and even funny at times) pieces by Cayetano Soto, Benjamin Millepied and Barak Marshall, September 28-29 – see Danse Danse for tickets. Tony-award winning musical Guys and Dolls starts up September 30 at The Segal Centre, while Metachroma Theatre sticks to classic Shakespeare with Richard III, to September 30. And Montreal-based circus Cirque Éloize blends circus arts with hip hop and breakdance in all-ages show iD, featuring 14 high-energy performers, at Montreal circus centre La Tohu, to October 6, while acrobatics and music astound in Pfffffff, from French circus troupe Akoreacro.
(film fest) The 8th edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival closes on September 30 with Ken Burns’ documentary The Central Park Five, a investigation into the racial tensions surrounding the 1989 arrest and conviction of five Black and Latino teenagers accused of rape, who spent years in jail before the conviction was overturned. There’s also still time this weekend to see docs, feature films and shorts from around the world, including Alaskaland, about a Nigerian man who grew up in Alaska (September 28), documentary feature The Carrier, about a young woman living with HIV in Zambia (September 29), Harry Belafonte documentary Sing Your Song (September 29), and more.
(babes on stage) The Montreal Burlesque Festival returns September 28-29 with sexy, silly and scandalous shows at Club Soda. Friday’s show is Universal Dream Night, featuring lovely ladies from around the world dancing and theatrically cavorting in their own special ways, while Saturday’s fab Crystal Gala is a cabaret of big burlesque names and surprises, followed by the fest’s very first super sexy Midnight Show, with live classic rock band.
(party times) The 22nd Black and Blue Festival launches on October 3, beckoning queer and queer-friendly party lovers to town. On October 4, there’s the Guess Who? Hommage to the drag queens of Cabaret Mado, plus an all-night party at Circus on October 4. But rest up: the main event, an all-night, all-morning dance party at Palais des Congrès, happens on October 7. Unrelated, on September 29, there’s a free outdoor Coca-Cola Block Party, with live music from none other than Sean Paul, Down with Webster, M.T.L., Mugz and more, at Jacques-Quartier Quay in the Old Port. And though it’s not officially a party, there will actually be as much dancing and music in the streets as there will be good ol’ walking at the massive Ça Marche fundraiser walk for HIV/AIDS, in the downtown core on Sunday, September 30.
(live music) Friday night is the first of two nights with KD Lang and the Siss Boom Bang at Theatre Corona, while British psych-rock band Django Django and Montreal’s own Mozart’s Sister play Petit Campus. On September 29, Beth Orton is at the lovely L’Astral. On September 30, Gossip get down and dirty at Olympia, while hip-hop artist A$AP Rocky takes the Metropolis stage – earlier in the day at Parc Jean-Drapeau, it’s the last Piknic Electronik of the year! A star-studded benefit concert on October 1 is sold out, but October 2 is a hot, hot night with metal maniacs Anthrax at Metropolis, Jack White’s unique blues-rock-country at L’Olympia, John Hiatt at Club Soda playing songs from his new album Mystic Pinball, British singer-songwriter Fink at Sala Rossa and Swedish-Canadian pop duo Thus: Owls at Lion d’Or. On October 3, groove with Lee Fields and the Expressions at Cabaret du Mile End and listen to the synth-pop sounds of The Raveonettes at Theatre Corona.