It would seem, at least this month, that the circus never stops in Montreal – for real! Circus festival Montréal Complètement Cirque goes strong all weekend in various locations and Just For Laughs’ Pinkarnaval parade and performance night are like stepping right into the three-ring – if it were directed by Jean Paul Gaultier. Festival Nuits d’Afrique has fantasic music options outdoors and in, while the Fantasia film festival turns the lights off inside so whole new worlds can pour out from the screen, and Kid Koala brings joy to our ears at the Biosphere…
(fashion parade) Seems like there’s been a parade in Montreal every weekend for at least five weeks now… No joke! Who knew Montrealers loved dressing up and marching down streets so much? Well, I guess I did. This weekend’s Carnaval Arts Parade, this year known also as Pinkarnaval, kicks off the 29th edition of the Street Arts part of the Just For Laughs Festival.
The 1600-person-strong parade, inspired by the equal parts classy and outrageous French designer Jean Paul Gaultier and his current Montreal exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, starts at 7:30 p.m. on July 16 at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and makes its way to Place des Festivals. The next day, performers (dancers, choreographers, DJs) and non-performers (that might include you, especially if you’re ready to learn some new moves) dress in their striped best for the Striped Ball dance party at Place des Festivals at 9 p.m.
(acrobatic entertainment) Montréal Complètement Cirque is drawing crowds around town, turning frowns upside down on the young and not-so-young alike. Boundary-pushing Australian circus troupes Circa and Tom Tom Crew put their own twist on acrobatics, adding in elements cabaret and hip hop respectively. Co-director of Quebec-based circus Les 7 doigts de la main, Patrick Léonard puts on one of the most physically demanding one-man shows imaginable. And, of course, what would a circus festival in Montreal be without Cirque du Soleil? The imagination soars in nature-meets-culture extravaganza Totem. Catch free performances – and try the trapeze out yourself – with Cirque Carpe Diem at the Quays of the Old Port, every day from 2–8 p.m. Montréal Complètement Cirque runs July 7–24 at various locations. For tickets and showtimes, see the full schedule.
(rhythms of africa) Expect the unexpected at the 25th edition of Festival International Nuits d’Afrique – the term “world music” means so much more than it used to, especially when that music is coming from the world’s second most-populous continent. Hear traditional and folk music alongside rock, blues, jazz and the uncategorizable, at shows downtown in the Quartiers des Spectacles and at cool venues around town, to July 24. Also focusing on Africa, this weekend Théâtre De Verdure hosts African films under the stars at Parc La Fontaine: on July 15, the band Maloukai warms us up at 7, followed by a screening of Abdelkrim Bahloul’s Voyage à Alger at 9; on July 16, it’s Quebec multi-instrumentalist Atna Njock, followed by documentary Kinshasa Symphony; and on July 17, be charmed by Namori, preceding Boubakar Diallo’s film Julie et Roméo.
(taste of osheaga) At the end of this month, comes Osheaga, Montreal’s biggest outdoor concert – three days of music and more over at Parc Jean Drapeau, but to tide us over until then, Osheaga has are a few pre-show treats for us. This weekend, chill with musician, DJ and creator of immersive-art happenings, Kid Koala on his Space Headphone Tour, all set up nice and cosy at the awesome Biosphere, July 15–17, various showtimes. Also part of Osheaga Arts, check out Montreal’s always-thrilling rock n’ roll poster art at the Music on Paper exhibition at 4220 Drolet (corner Rachel) to July 20.
(film fest fantasies) It’s been 15 years, but Montreal’s Fantasia Film festival keeps getting weirder, wilder and creepier – and more popular (sold-out screenings are a regular occurance at this fest.) Fantasia brings together films from around the world that are anything but mainstream, no matter how big their budgets – see films at the fest before they open to a wider audience months later or films that will never make it back. This year’s biggie is Kevin Smith’s Red State, a comic-book-style action-horror film – the director will be here to introduce it too. Also making their premieres at Fantasia are Joe Cornish’s alien-invasion-in-London flick Attack the Block, Carl Tibbetts’ thriller Retreat starring Cillian Murphy and Thandie Newton, Mike Flanagan’s indie-horror Absentia, South Korea’s Ryoo Seung-wan introduces his The Unjust, Korean director Kim Jeong-hoon’s Petty Romance, a sex-and-violence take on the romantic comedy, Japanese director Shinji Imaoka’s fantasy Underwater Love, Takashi Miike’s Ninja Kids, and many, many, many more. All at Concordia University’s Hall Theatre and J. A. de Sève Cinema, July 14 to August 7.
(laughs, gags and chuckles) Just For Laughs is just warming up with the ever-popular, ever-totally-nasty The Nasty Show, hosted by Jeffrey Ross and featuring Anthony Jeselnik, Mike Ward and more – July 14–16 at Metropolis (59 Ste-Catherine E.). The Couscous Comedy Show, created and hosted by Uncle Fofi takes us on a tour of the new and hilarious multi-culturalism, July 13-18, at Esplanade de la Place des Arts. JFL kid sister, Zoofest always gives us what we want in comedy, but with a twist and don’t forget to try a tour off the beaten path with Local Montreal – tours start in English at 10:30 a.m. every day!
(outside entertainment) In the middle of the St-Laurence River, just across from downtown Montreal, is Parc Jean-Drapeau, a gorgeous park on Île Sainte-Hélène, easily accessible by public transit (the metro goes under water! This still somehow thrills me). During July, the park hosts Weekends du Monde – this weekend, catch mini-festivals highlighting the arts and culture of Haiti, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba and more, from 11 a.m. to midnight, June 16–17. Meanwhile, on Île Notre-Dame, a 15-minute walk away, the Vans Warped Tour shows that its still going strong as long as kids still skate and listen to California punk and metalcore – Less Than Jake, Against Me!, Planet Smashers, 3OH!3 and D.R.U.G.S. are among those causing sanctioned trouble on stage.
(hot sounds) The aforementioned Nuits d’Afrique, Vans Warped Tour and Kid Koala shows make up the majority of music to be found in Montreal this weekend – but, of course, there’s always more, whatever your tastes run to. On July 16, dance to the melodic techno beats and blorps of Mutek fave Arthur Oskan, at Le Belmont (4483 St-Laurent). On July 17, old-school British punk is back with The Vibrators, with The Genratorz and many more at Cafe Chaos (1635 St-Denis), California’s ska-meets-indie-rock-folk RX Bandits are with Maps & Atlases at Cafe Campus. And on Sunday, as always in the summer, Piknic Electronik, at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Jardin des Floralies for the day – dance in the sun and breeze, make new friends, try not to fall in love too deeply with Montreal…