Summer is over but Montreal’s busy fall season is about to leave all that fun and sun in its wake. As the days grow shorter this week, the nights light up here: in bars and restaurants – and for outside dining too, in theatres and music venues, in art galleries and cinemas. The weekend starts with an arts and culture bang with Les Journées de la Culture, three days of free entertainment around town and around the whole province…
(culture days here to stay) First of all, don’t let the thousands of free activities at this weekend’s Les Journées de la Culture overwhelm you – the province-wide arts and culture festival (September 30 to October 2) is considered more of a buffet than a full-course meal, so pick and choose to your liking, whether by genre or neighbourhood. Some good ideas: browse art galleries in the Belgo Building or the Complex du Canal Lachine, sing with the Orchestre Métropolitain’s choir, visit with Cirque du Soleil and with dance company Marie Chouinard, catch the final days of Mois de la Photo at galleries around town, opening night at the Darling Foundrie, with new art (about shoes?) and music from Cocktail Club Soundsystem, get your guitar fix at the Grand Prix de Guitare de Montréal at the Savoy, go slow with Mexican butoh at Studio 303. For all events, see the Les Journées de la Culture website.
(foodie court) Fill your belly with Quebec specialties and new creations alike, this Friday, September 30 at the Foodlab Foodcourt at Place de la Paix, next door to the SAT. From noon to 7 p.m., sample the flavours of Grumman ’78, Nora Grey, Crepe Moi, Nouveau Palais and delicious food from many more of the city’s most talked-about restaurants and chefs, plus DJs Matt Cerf and Julian Prince. The SAT is also open during Les Journées de la culture on October 1 and 2, for tours during the day and, from 3 to 5 p.m., for Rond de Soupe, a one-of-a-kind performance featuring music, visuals, vegetable chopping and food making.
(film worlds) History and the present collide at The Montreal International Black Film Festival as over 125 films from around the world use drama, comedy and documentary to address racism, culture, daily life, the history of slavery, and more. Closing the festival is UK filmmaker Gabriel Range’s I Am Slave, based on the life of Mende Nazer. The fest runs September 22 to October 2, at Cinéma Impérial, Cinéma ONF and Cinéma du Parc.
(martial arts circus) Chi of Shaolin: Tale of the Dragon climbs the walls of Montreal’s own circus centre, La Tohu, bringing some of China’s best acrobats and kung-fu experts from the Shaolin Monastery together in a high-energy, family-friendly show that blends martial arts, dance, sabre work, hand balancing, contortion, foot-juggling and Chinese diabolo to tell tell the story of a monk who takes a failed young thief under his wing. On September 27 to October 6 and starting October 5 under La Tohu’s big top, Vague de Cirque’s Cabotinage blends comedy, cabaret and acrobatics.
(avant dance) Danse Danse begins its season with the conclusion of choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s trilogy cycle, Babel, finding harmonies within a chaotic mix of music, words and movement from 13 different countries and 7 religions, at Place des Arts, to October 1. Choreographer Ame Henderson experiments with dance forms, individuality and synchronicity in the purposefully chaotic relay, at one of Montreal’s avant-garde dance institutions, Agora de la danse, to October 1.
(tragedy and comedy) Horses meet the human psyche in Peter Shaffer’s play Equus – the drama unfolds through great direction by Domy Reiter-Soffer and all-around great words, acting, dance and production – at The Segal Centre, to October 2 (also at the Segal Centre: The Films of Janie Geiser, with the artist in person, October 5–6, 6:30 p.m.). Science and social class meet love and comedy in Montreal playwright Colleen Curran’s True Nature, a story about the parallel lives of two paleontologists from different eras, at Centaur Theatre, October 4 to November 6. And Montreal Fringe Festival Best Comedy Award winner Adopt This!, Dan Bingham’s one-man play about growing up adopted, and the dark humour therein, plays Theatre Ste-Catherine to October 1.
(art and glamour) Though three days of art and cultural happenings around town via Journees de la Culture is enough to keep anyone busy, if you haven’t yet seen the stunning Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, it’s only is on until October 2. After the weekend, take in the equally vivacious Viva Art Action, a festival of interdisciplinary performance-oriented arts, featuring performances and artist talks, at Bain St-Michel (5300 St-Dominique), October 4–9.
(live music) We’re still recovering from Pop Montreal, but, funnily enough, that recovery involves going to more shows. Montreal’s experimental art-rock show-stoppers Yamantaka//Sonic Titan launch their new record at Eastern Bloc, October 1. British singer-songwriter James Blake mixes acoustic and electronic, dubstep and rock, at Club Soda, October 2, while great Malian singer-songwriter and Thrill Jockey recording artist Sidi Touré plays La Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent), with former Unicorns band-members Hidden Words. New York’s experimental Battles bring the party to Le National, October 3. Bass-heavy Primus makes another strong comeback, at Métropolis, October 4. And Josephine Foster sings Spanish folk songs and psych-folk at Casa del Popolo (4875 St-Laurent), October 6.