What to do this weekend, June 22-24: Motown, Meditation and Backstreet Boys Burlesque

Sarah Deshaies produces the Andrew Carter Morning Show. Every Friday at 8:20am, she tells you about the big, quirky and off-the-beaten-path events happening in Montreal. Here is this week's list, with links for more information so you can get out and enjoy the city! 

 

They first called it the "Sound of Young America"... now we know it simply as Motown! The story of music mogul Berry Gordy is chronicled in Motown the Musical, running at Place des Arts until Sunday. Gordy launched the careers of Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson and more. And yes, they sing Ain't No Mountain High Enough. 

 

If you're feeling the musical bug, you might want to head a bit more east to see Fame at Theatre St-Denis. The show about talented young artists is performed both in French and English. There is a show Friday night, and the next open date is June 29. The show runs until July 21. 

 

Sunday is St Jean-Baptiste, which means outdoor parties and a parade (fingers crossed for no gaffes this year). There's actually not one but two parades moving towards each other on de Maisonneuve, meant to be two winds meeting up. At 9:15pm, one leaves Peel and the other leaves St Denis, to meet up at Quartier des spectacles. The night before, artists like Marie-Josée Lord, Klô Pelgag, Martha Wainwright and Kim Richardson  will perform a live outdoor show at Place des festivals. Check out the full celebrations here.

If that doesn't fit your taste, there is also a tropical St Jean dance party at Groove Nation, Saturday night at 10pm. And over on Notre Dame St West in St Henri, there is a street fair and party on Saturday. 

 

Take in the NHL Draft at the Montreal Canadiens' official Draft party at the 1909 Taverne at the Bell Centre. There will be giant screens, free tattoos and Youppi. Party starts at 4pm, and the show starts at 7:30pm.

 

If the Habs get you worked into a lather, how about hitting the pause button and recharging? Try meditation on Mont-Royal, at the foot of the Statue on Parc Avenue. Let a Buddhist monk guide you through a meditation, from 10am to 11:30am. 

 

Celebrate St Jean, Caribbean-style with a jerk poutine - one of the many offerings by food vendors at the Jerk Food Festival at the Soccerplexe Catalogna, Sunday 11am to 9pm. 

 

Check out this concept: one Odyssean tale inspired by Vietnamese myths, performed by one actress. But - the show changes venues, scenery and musicians every night, for seven days straight. That's the idea behind filmmaker Khoa Lee's Dans Nos Villes. This show switches up its venue and composer every night, and the cycle begins Saturday at 7pm The Centre Clark art gallery (5455 avenue de Gaspé #114, ) and continues to Molson Park on Monday night for an outdoor movie screening and family picnic a 9pm. Other venues include the SAT, a restaurant and an apartment. 

 

Celebrate Her is an art installation that celebrates 12 remarkable women from different backgrounds. The creative team at Imago theatre received over 50 nominations for possible candidates to profile, and they narrowed it down to a diverse group that includes a law student, a queer art activist and a speech language pathologist. Writer Erin Lindsay created an audio play composed of questions the women answered, and visual artist Aquil Virani painted large portraits of each one. For 55 minutes, you are invited to peruse the portraits while the women's voices wash over you. Tickets are "pay-what-you-decide" after the show. There are five showings over Friday and Saturday's Morrice Hall. 

 

Over 300 singers from a dozen choirs will descend upon St James United Church downtown on Sunday night for a free concert! Led by Henry Leck with artistic director, Joshua Pedde. June 24, 7pm. 

 

Relive the singular beauty of one of the most successful boy bands of all time at the Wiggle Room this weekend. The venue plays host to Backstreet Boys Burlesque! Saturday at 9pm. Talent includes: Mann Halen 
 and producer Miss Meow. The next evening, comedian Ellie MacDonald offers up her variety show, Crazy Bitches: La Belle Province Edition.