What To Do This Victoria Day Weekend: Giant Puppets, Pouzzafest + Porchfest
First off, if you have time to spare, consider helping out some of the communities who were flooded with clean-up efforts this long weekend. There's a handy list of places here, and if you can't make it, please consider donating to the Red Cross.
We've had the bridge, now here come the giants puppets! 20 million people around the world have laid eyes on these massive, five-storey creations and now it's our turn. Built by French street theatre troupe Royal de Luxe, these gentle giants will be winding their way through town on Friday, Saturdya and Sunday. Check out their itinerary online.
Porchfest makes a giant, free music festival out of NDG, with local acts taking over the front porches and yards on Saturday and Sunday. Acts on Day 1 include funk-rock outfit Safe in Sound plays Montclair below Sherbrooke at 3pm, blues artists Eleuthera and the Melrose Mob on Melrose (where else?) below Sherbrooke at 1pm. And my pal Sarah Segal-Lazar strums her guitar at noon on Old Orchard. There are appointed rain days if the weather gets out of hand. Full schedule here.
Restaurant Day is when ordinary citizens throw open their doors and set up pop-up restos in their own homes and neighbourhood parks. On Saturday, Check out their map to find out where to get gluten-free tacos, crepes and beet chocolate cookies.
Pouzzafest, Montreal’s punk festival, kicks off on Friday! You can check out bands for free by walking into the beer garden at Maisonneuve and Clark. There on Friday night, we have Lara Carabine, Mustard Plug, Two Cow Garage and The Slackers on the bill. Over at a venue called Foufs 2.0 at 87 Ste Catherine E, Philadelphia's Fire in the Radio plays at 10pm. And a Montreal band with the great name of Mansbridge plays Foufs at 5:45pm.
Jardins Emilie-Gamelin officially opens for business tonight with an opening party. The big park next to Berri-UQAM metro has been remade in recent years, and there is a bar, terrace and giant adirondack chairs to get cozy in. Friday night's entertainment will include DJ Poirier, Speakeasy Electro Swing and a salsa demonstration!
Coming full circle! St Viateur Bagel celebrates 60 years of bagel-making with a block party on Sunday, closing their namesake street from Parc to Jeanne Mance. There will be a barbecue, drinks giveaways... and all proceeds go towards the Foundation of Stars. They are trying to raise $60,000 for pediatric research.
Kent Nagano brings his Montreal Symphony Orchestra to the Shaar Hashomayim for a Sunday evening concert to help celebrate the venerable Westmount shul's 170th anniversary. On the program: the epic Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Call 514-937-9474 ext 139 for tickets.
And on the theatre scene, last chance to catch three shows I loved:
- How to Disappear Completely is a solo show that asks: What would you do if a loved one asked you to help them die? Israeli-Canadian lighting designer Itai Erdal shares his real-life story of watching his own mother's battle with cancer. Surprisingly funny and real.
- Bed and Breakfast is a whipsmart, quirky two-hander about a gay couple that decides to ditch Toronto for a small town - and all the adjustments that come with it. It's about identity, acceptance and discovering buried secrets. Starring a real-life couple, Paul Dunn and Mark Crawford (who also wrote it!). They each play 11 characters, and the effect is awesome.
- Million Dollar Quartet recounts that one time Johnny Cash, Elvis, Carl Perkins Jr and Jerry Lee Lewis gathered to play music together at Sun Records. A rollicking rock 'n roll of a time, with a stellar showing from Christo Graham (Lewis) and Habs anthem singer Sara Diamond as Dyanne, the King's flame.
Speaking of rock, there are not one but two evenings of Rock ‘N Roll Burlesque at the Wiggle Room on the Main Friday and Saturday, with host Divine Danny D, live house band the Wigglers and dancers Mimi Cherry, Fairy Floss and Magenta Haze.