Sarah's Weekend List, September 17-19

Civilian astronauts rocketed to space this week. But there are cheaper and easier ways to take in the cosmos in Montreal this weekend... see below. PHOTO: The Infinite | PHI Centre
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! Submit your event to sarah.deshaies@bellmedia.ca.

Hey! It's Jazz Fest in September! Organizers have assembled a mix of free, outdoor concerts and paid indoor shows. Inuit singer Elisapie hits the stage at 9:45pm on Friday. High-energy, funk-soul outfit The Brooks perform Friday at 9:15pm. Multi-talented rapper Socalled performs Saturday at 9:15pm. A Chick Corea tribute includes Coral Egan and Yannick Rieu, Sunday at 5:30pm. Patrick Watson performs Sunday at 9:45pm. And if the show you want to see is sold out? Have no fear: the big outdoor shows will be streamed online

If you trek to see a live Jazz Fest show on Friday, take note of the Festival Quartiers Danses, which is offering short performances that last about a quarter-hour at Place des Festivals, from 11:35am to 2pm. On Saturday, a noon hour show by Nicols Patry and James Viveiros will be performed at one spot on the Lachine Canal.  And several short films on dance are streaming online, too. Full schedule here. Until Sunday.

More movement: dancer Alida Esmail presents Backyard Solos, a new dance-theatre piece developed with Sophia Wright, that delves into societal adaptation and integration, and Esmail's viewpoint as a Muslim-Canadian. Friday, 6:30pm at the outdoor L'Entrepôt 77, located at 77 Bernard East in the Mile End.  

The fabulous Mike Paterson headlines at the Comedy Nest, Friday and Saturday.  

Thinking of 'greening' your commute? The Montreal Electric Vehicle Show brings you the latest in green transportation tech, includings cars, bikes, scooters, motorcycles - even boats and hoverboards! Compare and learn more at the Olympic Stadium, until Sunday.

Last weekend to travel, in a way, to Italy, thanks to the Phi Centre's Venice VR Expanded show. A curation of virtual reality stories presented at the 78th Biennale di Venezia is on display for the second year in a row at the Old Montreal gallery. You grab a headset for a two-hour block, sit down on a stool and select from a library of 30 works from 21 countries. Many of the works are interactive, like the charming British piece Glimpse, featuring an artsy, heartsick panda (Taron Egerton). In Le Bal de Paris de Bianca Li, you are invited to a glamorous, fantastical party - but first you have to select an avatar and Chanel outfit! But take note: you'll need repeat visits to take in the full library. And how's this for bragging rights: Montreal is the exclusive Canadian stop on Venice VR's global tour. Until Sunday.

Historic Hudson house Greenwood Centre is hosting an appraisal event. Bring your paintings, books, coins, art and jewelry and more to Treasures in the Attic. Make an appointment by calling 450-458-5396 or email history@greenwoodcentre.org. To sweeten the deal, acoustic duo the Wineberries perform at 1pm, and tea and freshly baked scones will be served throughout. Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

You have a few more weeks to check out the divine Dior show at the McCord Museum. Meet Christian Dior, who founded his house in 1947, fueling the post-war haute couture revival. And learn the difference between daytime and night wear, and gaze at jaw-dropping gowns designed for actual Canadians. 

Festival Stop Motion Montreal features a lot to see online: pick up a VIP pass to access 13 hours of film, including feature length pieces and shorts, and a special Indigenous program. Or rent individual shorts for $10 a pop. Until Sunday. 

The Jardin botanique have brought back the popular, after-dusk Gardens of Light show after a one-year hiatus. First up, kids will love the Halloween-themed tour followed by an Ode to the Moon, an installation which allows you to 'howl' at the night sky (be warned: there is a lot of wailing.) The walking tour is different from past years, starting with the Japanese pavilion, through a spectacularly atmospheric First Nations garden, ending with the Chinese pavilion, where brand-new lanterns pay homage to Pangu, the world creator from Chinese mythology, who is accompanied by a slew of creatures. Entry has been timed since 2019 (since before it was cool!) allowing 500 visitors to enter every half-hour. 

While you're in the area, the Îlots 76 play area near the Saputo stadium offers a series of sports-themed bouncy castles, including a small replica of the Big O. Let the kids tire themselves out while you sip a coffee; $9 gives you an hour of bouncy time, no reservations required. Open 10am to 6pm. 

The Marché Asiatique de Montréal offers a magical spot to grab a bite to eat and unwind at the corner of St Laurent and René-Lévesque. An initiative by local merchants to boost the neighbourhood amid the pandemic and a rise in anti-Asian racism, the thoughtfully-arranged space (inspired by Asian and Buddhist design principles) houses two concentric circles, lined with vendors. Grab some noodles, barbecued octopus, fried chicken and some ice cream and chill out under the Tree of Wishes. Thursday to Sundays, until October. 

The Biosphère on Ile Ste Helene has finally reopened, joining the Space of Life constellation that also includes the Biodome. With the recent "red alert" climate report from the UN, the Biosphère's mission is as urgent as ever: to educate Montrealers about the environment and how best to care for it. 

Did you see those citizen astronauts blast to space this week on the SpaceX capsule? Discover space, from the comfort of Earth, this weekend. Trevor Kjorlien, our Friday morning guest, hosts astronomy workshops from Jeanne Mance Park and the Mountain. There's Spot the Space Station on Friday, 7:30pm, and a Night Sky Tour, Sunday at 7pm. I took one of Trevor's tours in June, and learned a lot! The Phi Centre's The Infinite at the Arsenal gallery in Griffintown show is another avenue to space exploration. Would-be astronauts strap on virtual reality headsets, then walk into a cavernous room. But what your eyes see is a slightly smaller version of the International Space Station. Stepping aboard, you reach out to activate capsules that bring you elbow-to-elbow with actual astronauts, like Quebec's own David Saint-Jacques. In these 360-degree capsules, the space travellers explain how they work, eat and exercise 400 kilometres from home. Since it's the Phi Centre, the VR show is then complemented by two immersive art projects inspired by the themes at hand. It's a vivid, thrilling and educational adventure - no spacesuit required - brought to you by a collaboration with NASA, the ISS National Lab, Time Studios and Montreal outfit Felix & Paul Studios. Appropriate for ages 8 and up. 

It was a hot week! Cool off at Below the Ice with Mario Cyr, a new immersive walk-through exhibit by Cirque Éloize. You will journey north to follow Cyr, a documentary filmmaker, to nearly inaccessible spots in the Canadian Arctic. Marvel at the polar bears and narwhals and walruses, and learn more about what a precarious position their environment is in. At the Éloize Studios In Old Montreal, at 417 Berri.

Night out with burlesque dancers like Classy Clare, Salty Margarita and Penny Royale at the Candyass Cocktail at Café Cléopatre on Friday at 8:30pm.