Posted on March 10th, 2011 by .

Spring is a time of new things, so why not make this weekend a little experimental? The Festival Voix d’Amériques offers up a bevy of strange and fascinating shows (some for free!), while on the other end of the performance spectrum, but perhaps just as strange in its own way, is this weekend’s Montreal Burlesque Festival. All that, plus poetry, dance, art and live music to mellow and/or rock out to…

[powerful voices] Now in its tenth year, Festival Voix d’Amériques is a uniquely Montreal experience, blending languages, cultures and different perspectives on performance art. The fest is known for its risk-taking when it comes to performance – to surprise and even shock is part of the game. Former Smashing Pumpkins bassist and solo musician in her own right, Melissa Auf de Maur (pictured above) and Quebecois roots and traditional musician Michel Faubert are this year’s guests of honour. Add to that free performances and music every evening and late at night, and there’s no reason to pass up what’s bound to be a new experience at the FVA. At various locations, March 11–18.

[book ‘em] There was a time when we respected literature, read our books in well-lit spaces and pontificated politely. I’m not sure when that time was exactly, but I think it was a long, long time ago. These days, we’re a bit more raucous. Take the North American sensation Literary Death Match for example, a performance and a contest, with readers and judges entertaining us while educating us (though that’s still up for debate). The Death Match hits Montreal this weekend and ropes in our literary talents, including Arjun Basu, Sherwin Tjia and Alexis O’Hara, hosted by Literary Death Match creator Todd Zuniga, at Club Lambi (4465 St-Laurent), March 13, 8 pm.

[wide melodic world] Amazing, inspiring jazz pianist Rafaël Zaldivar takes the lead in The Afro-Cuban Musical Experience, at the Segal Centre Studio, March 13, 8 p.m. While earlier on Sunday, the Segal keeps the International Women’s Day celebrations going with their Musica Camerata Montreal series of classical concerts, with compositions by Fanny Mendelssohn, Grazyna Bacewicz and Amy Beach, at 2:30 p.m. And on Saturday, classical Indian musicians Amjad Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan show us how it’s done on the sarod, their stringed instrument of choice, at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall (7141 Sherbrooke W.), March 12, 7:30 p.m.

[burlesque booty] The Grand Burlesque Show flies in hot talents Michelle L’Amour from Chicago, Midnite Martini from Denver and many more beautiful babes from afar, not to mention saucy ladies from our own fair city – catch a peek during three nights of booty shaking and tassel twirling with a sexy sense of humour, at Club Soda (1225 St-Laurent), March 10–12, 8:30 p.m.

[dance ability] The Corps-Atypik dance festival gives space to dancers and choreographers whose presence is slightly out of the so-called norm, whether due to physical or mental disabilities or bodies not always accepted by the mainstream dance world. Performances include Martha Carter’s Twisted and Propeller Dance and Corpuscule Danse’s Mobilise at Studio 303, and Menka Nagrani’s Pharmakon at the Gesù, March 10–13.

[shot by shot] Photography can capture the real world as much as it can capture illusions of the real world – questions of truth and representation come up in exhibition En Trois Temps, celebrating the work of three great, inventive, imaginative Canadian photographers: Aislinn Leggett, Elena Willis (pictured above) and Davida Kidd, at Galerie d’Este (1329 Greene), opening March 10, 5 p.m.

[city lights] French artist Xavier de Richemont brings his illuminating work Feu l’Indien (Indian Fire) to the streets of Montreal, lighting up the steeple of UQAM’s  Judith-Jasmin (1400 Berri Street) with light-projection art that is poetic, spectacular and pays homage to those who came to create this city hundreds of years ago as well as native people who were here for so many hundreds of years before then. Presented by the Quartier des Spectacles, until March 19.

[going zen] Everybody knows that musician, writer and zen Buddist Leonard Cohen lived in Montreal for years, capturing its complexity in words and song – fewer people know that Buddism is so loved here that we have our own Zen Poetry Festival. Learn how to meditate, do calligraphy and write your own verse in the Buddist tradition – plus catch workshops, readings and live concerts on St-Laurent Boulevard and around town, March 10–13.

[theatre] Dark political satire meets the 2008 financial crisis in playwright Michael Mackenzie’s Instructions to Any Future Socialist Government Wishing to Abolish Christmas, as a middle-aged hedge-fun manager and a brilliant young mathematician go head-to-head in a search for their own stability and humanity, at Centaur Theatre (453 St-François-Xavier) in Old Montreal, to April 3.

[rockin’ out] Detroit’s indie-funk-surf-pop Electric Six instantly turn all-to-cool smirks into happy smiles – these guys are great, ridiculous fun, at Cabaret Mile End (5240 Parc). Find out first-hand why Montreal music is all the rage these days: much-loved pop-punk locals Les Breastfeeders play La Tulipe (4530 Papineau) on March 10, and the psych-rock stylings of Plants & Animals at Le National (1220 Ste-Catherine E.) on March 11. For something a little darker and more Finnish, super popular orchestral rock band Apocalyptica play Metropolis, March 10. And for lovers of electro beats and dancing the night away, Designer Drugs, Black Tiger Sex Machine (band name ever?) and Dooze Jackers drop off-the-hooks beats at the SAT (1201 St-Laurent Blvd.), March 12.

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