Sarah's Weekend List, July 15-17

The Cirque Éloize crew performs one of three 3Giants show at Place Émilie-Gamelin, as part of Montréal Complètement Cirque. PHOTO: JF Savaria
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

At the International Feux Loto-Québec at La Ronde this weekend: feux d’artifice Orion presents the legends and myths of Quebec, including folk tales like the Blue Pig, Lady in White, and the Werewolf. Grab yourself a ticket, walk up the Jacques-Cartier bridge or watch from across the river. Saturday, 10pm - rain or shine. 

Final weekend to see extraordinary feats at Montréal Complètement Cirque! Over at La Tohu in St-Michel, I loved Plast, a three-person circus show imported from Scandinavia that is deceptively simple yet intimately stunning. Benoit Landry’s high-flying acrobatic-dance extravaganza Après la nuit and Barka, a wild cumbia-fueled adventure with music by Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra.St-Denis Street plays host to free outdoor performances. Also free and outdoors: 3GIANTS presents three 52-foot-high giants in three places downtown: Jardins Gamelin, Esplanade PVM and Vinet Park in Little Burgundy, with daily, 30-minute performances at 6 and 9:30pm. Performed by acclaimed troupes Cirque Éloize, Les 7 Doigts and Machine de Cirque! Until Sunday. 

The 36th edition Festival International Nuits d’Afrique kicks off this week. Guitarist Derek Gripper, kora-player Zal Sissokho and Malian singer Djely Tapa join forces at Le Gèsu, Friday 8pm. Cuban-Montrealer saxophonist Giovany Arteaga performs at Club Balattou on the Main, Saturday at 8:30pm. At Balattou Sunday, 7:30pm: Kora player and vocalist Sophie Lukacs (she sings in English, French, Hungarian and Bambara) Until July 24. 

The 40th edition of Just for Laughs has kicked off! The newly renamed Just for the Culture club show is hosted by Alonzo Bodden (and talent like Jessica Kirson and Sheng Wang) at Club Soda, with two nightly showings at 7 and 9:30pm until July 28. JFL continues until July 3.   

Roger Waters brings his This is Not a Drill tour to Bell Centre, Friday 8pm

The reunited Alexisonfire plays the second of two shows at MTelus, Friday 7:30pm.

The Deadbeats Tour plays a Piknic show at Parc Jean Drapeau with Peekabo and Rusko, Saturday at 3pm. 

Repercussion Theatre brings back Shakespeare-in-the-Park with a new, live show that the Canon for the Bard’s take on living through plague times. This weekend: Friday in Parc Basler in Morin-Heights, Saturday at Parc-a-ma-baie in Pierrefonds and Sunday at Parc Saint-Joseph, RDP.  Bring something comfy to sit on with your snacks and drinks. Free, but donations accepted. (Follow along in French or English with the show app.)  All Shall Be Well tours in and around Montreal until August 6. 

Film Noir au Canal presents Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 Rear Window. James Stewart is a photographer who unspools a neighbourhood mystery while confined to his Manhattan apartment with a broken leg. The Ukulélé Club de Montréal performs at 7:30pm, followed by a film lecture at 9pm shortly before the 9pm screening. Bring chairs. Free on Sunday at Square Saint-Patrick. 

L'Entrepôt 77 hosts a Mini Puces Pop crafts sale Friday and Saturday, with a free Afrobeats soirée on Saturday, starting at 7pm with DJ Niabi, followed by vocalist Janette King and Bahia native Xenia Franca. Located on Bernard east of St Laurent, in Mile End. 

Whimsical Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is the hottest art ticket in town. Her show, Dancing Lights That Flew Up To The Universe, just opened at Phi Foundation (now marking its 15th anniversary). Tickets are free, but you'll need to snap them up when a new batch for August will be available at noon Friday. The show includes her legendary Infinity Mirrored Rooms, pumpkins and more. And nip down the street to the Phi Centre to check out a spate of shows: a virtual reality smorgasbord in Horizons and the seven levels of purgatory in Marco Brambilla’s immersive Heaven’s Gate.

Yum! The travelling Grand PoutineFest is setting anchor in the Old Port! With over 20 poutines to choose from (including the limited burrito poutine!) and a variety of family-friendly fun. (Shoutout to the organizers for offering up recyclable, reusable and compostable containers.) Friday to Sunday, starting at noon, until July 31. 

The multilingual Daniel Tirado headlines at The Comedy Nest, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm. Joey Elias hosts Sunday Funday, 8pm.

On the bill at Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room this weekend: Kitty Kin Evil, Miami Minx, Clara Develours and Célesta O’Lee. Shows Friday and Saturday.

Streaming: Dakota Johnson stars in Netflix’s new adaptation of one of my favourite Jane Austen novels, Persuasion. Anne Elliot rekindles a lost love - but will she have the courage to follow her heart and stand up to her silly, controlling relatives? And if you followed the Funny Girl casting drama this week - why not check out the flick that made Barbra a star? Vaudeville performer Fanny Brice aspires to stardom in Funny Girl, at and CTV app. 


A new immersive show about the life and work of an iconic Mexican surrealist has just opened! Frida Kahlo, The Life of an Icon is in a similar vein to the recent Monet show: a big airy space filled with colourful, dynamic projections. At the Arsenal Contemporary art Gallery until July 24. 

The Innocent is your guide to the fantastical world of Charivari in Kooza, Cirque du soleil’s first big show under the big top in Montreal since 2019. At the Old Port until August 14. 

Variations Mile End is a dance school now launching a space for improv and comedy performances on the Plateau. Performer and manager Jason Grimmer launched comedy classes during the pandemic, and now students and comedy lovers can visit Théatre VME for performances. Four shows this weekend, Friday and Saturday at 8 and 9:30pm. 

The Insectarium has reopened post-renovation with a fresh look at all the creepy, crawly, pretty creatures. The team redesigned the space to give visitors an intimate look at what it is to be an insect: in the Alcoves, vibrating floors and ultraviolet projections allow you to imagine how insects feel and see the world. Visitors get to move like an insect, too, slipping through cracks or trodding on rods hanging from the ceiling. Then you get to observe bugs up close, followed by a trip through the Dome, and finally, a greenhouse-like space, the Great Vivarium, where roaming butterflies are the special attraction. 

And reminder that the first signs of spring will also be visible nearby at the Botanical Gardens, and the Planetarium and the Biodome are also open - but getting your timed ticket in advance is an absolute must! A little further away, on Ile Sainte-Hélène, the Biosphère is also open. 

At the Montreal Science Centre, explore evolution in Human or explore the process of invention in Fabrik - Creativity Factory. Plus, the movie theatre is open, so you can sit back and learn about Sea Lions and the Great Bear Rainforest - in IMAX 3D! 

Stranger Than Kindness is a new exhibition based on the life and work of Nick Cave, the  Aussie-born artist known for his deep baritone and religiously-tinged lyrics probing love, religion and violence. We start in his hometown Wangaratta, then travel to London then Berlin, then a loving recreation of his actual home office. Over 300 bits of ephemera, from lyrics to letters, books to bits of hair, bring the show to livid life. Keep your eyes peeled for an email Leonard Cohen wrote to Cave after tragedy hit his family… Cohen is one of Cave’s inspirations, and that’s partly why Stranger Than Kindness is stopping off here after its inaugural run in Copenhagen. The show opens Friday at Galerie de la Maison du Festival, 305 Sainte-Catherine. Until August 7. 

At the McCord: Piqutiapiit celebrates and elucidates the incredible craftwork of Inuit women. Montreal-based, Kuujjuaq-born artist  Niap is the driving force behind the show. We view the tools and the practical works they helped to craft, including beadwork and clothing. And there is original work from Niap, who is currently artist-in-residence at the McCord. 

Also check out the fascinating exhibit JJ Levine: Queer Portraits. The Montreal artist presents 52 intimate images of people who self-identify as queer, selected from three different series taken between now and 2006. 

Indie venue Montreal Improv is back, at its new home in St Henri. Catch one or more of the four shows up this weekend! Tickets and schedules here

Cabaret Celeste is a new show at the recently renovated Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel. A meeting room has been converted to a cozy cabaret space for this Cirque Éloize production, which was cancelled hours before its original opening back in December (thanks, Omicron). Celeste draws inspiration from the astrophysical… think tarot, horoscopes, planets and deities … and it is by equal turns sensual and silly! I loved the creative clay juggling act, and the master of ceremony’s Cyr wheel act. The talented and gorgeous Coral Egan provides the vocals through a slew of pop songs, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Coldplay to Leonard Cohen. 

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents Nicolas Party: L'heure mauve, a look at the Swiss artist’s pastels, watercolours and sculptures, set against murals he’s painted in the Museum… plus with 50 works selected by Party from the Museum’s collection. The show title is a reference to ‘that fleeting moment when the fading light casts purple hues over the landscape’ - how dreamy! 

Exporail, the Canadian train museum in St Constant presents: Train, a Railroad to Dreams: A World in Miniature. It’s an homage to toy trains… so you start with the smallest of the trains, then pivot to marvel at the 50 life-size vehicles on display in the Grand Gallery.