Sarah's Weekend List, July 22-24

The surreal imagery of Frida Kahlo will be in town for a little while longer! This immersive show has just been extended. PHOTO: Frida Kahlo, The Life of an Icon
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

Final weekend to enjoy the 36th edition of Festival International Nuits d’Afrique. The outdoor venue at Quartier des spectacles is in full swing! On Friday, check out Colombian-Quebec act Ramon Chicharron at TD Stage, 8pm and Côte d’Ivoire singer Dobet Gnahoré, Loto-Québec stage at 7pm. Brazilian singer Flavia Nascimento doing a daytime show, Saturday at 3:30pm at Loto-Québec stage. Yordan & The Cuban Martinez Show at TD Stage, Saturday 6pm. Zambia’s power rapper Sampa The Great closes out the fest with a 9:30pm show on Sunday. Take in a free dance workshop on Saturday and Sunday and don’t miss the outdoor marketplace. 

Just for Laughs is truly revving up with its second weekend in anticipation of the big galas next week. The Nasty Show has just kicked off its NSFW run at MTelus, with Big Jay Oakerson at the helm and two shows a night. Just for the Culture is hosted by Alonzo Bodden at Club Soda, with two nightly showings at 7 and 9:30pm until July 28. Mike Ward records his podcast at  Bell Centre at 8pm. JFL continues until July 31.   

Go off the beaten path with OFFJFL Zoofest’s lineup of quirky, indie and local acts. Viral comic (the drop!) Atsuko Okatsuka presents her one-woman show, The Intruder at TSC. Derek Séguin headlines Rad Dads Forever Friday and Sunday, 7pm at Café Cléo. Performers try out new or risqué material with Figure It Out with Mike Carrozza Friday, 8:30pm at Café Cléo. The ever-popular Midnight Surprise shows also start at TSC. Colour Outside the Lines highlights diversity and laughs, at Pub l'Île Noire, Saturday 9pm and Sunday 10:30pm. 

The Comedy Nest presents its own eclectic JFL lineups, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm.

The immersive show about the life and work of an iconic Mexican surrealist has been extended! 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, now until September 5. 

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 DDO, and Westmount Park on Saturday and Sunday. Bring something comfy to sit on with your snacks and drinks. Free, but donations are accepted. (Follow along in French or English with the show app.)  All Shall Be Well tours in and around Montreal until August 6. 

Just this weekend: Krystle Dos Santos brings to life the story of Nova Scotian civil rights icon (and $10 bill subject) in Hey Viola! This cabaret-style show folds in the story of Viola Desmond with elements from the feminist and civil rights movements, as well as the more recent Black Lives Matter movement. At Hudson Village Theatre until Sunday. 

A ‘giant flying greenhouse’ has touched down at the Botanical Gardens! L’Expédition végétale is a French science-meets-fantasy display that has arrived in North America for the very first time. Meet the ‘scientists’ doing research on local plants and biodiversity at the Gardens. Until Sunday, then July 28-31. 

Punk rockers and pride of Laramie, Wyoming Teenage Bottlerocket at Foufounes Électriques, Saturday 8pm. 

Aussie alt-R&B trio Chase Atlantic are joined by Leah Kate and Xavier Mayne, at Corona Theatre for two nights, Saturday and Sunday, 8pm. 

Dance your socks off at Piknic Electronik with David Orin, Mitch Oliver, Laure, Ellen Allien and Ledisko this Sunday, 2 to 9:30pm at Place Jean Drapeau. 

Film Noir au Canal presents Marcel Carné’s 1939 Le jour se lève. In French with English subtitles. Trapped in a corner, Francois flashes back to trace how a love triangle comes to end in tragedy. Trumpeter Hichem Khalfa performs, followed by a film lecture at 9pm from critic Justine Smith,  shortly before the 9pm screening. Bring chairs. Free on Sunday at Square Saint-Patrick. 

Open-air Mile End venue L'Entrepôt 77 hosts Distorsion Psych Fest, which promises ‘psychedelic anthems, subversive earworms and decadent rhythms’ with acts like Holy F**k, Grim Streaker, Hot Garbage, Zoon, Larynx and Motherhood. Located on Bernard east of St Laurent, in Mile End. 

Exporail, the Canadian train museum in St Constant, relaunches its 1959 MTC tramway on Saturday. See what it was like to commute way back when by by hitching a ride on the refurbished tram. Also on offer: 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.

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. 

On the bill at Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room this weekend: Lily Monroe, Roxy Torpedo, Miss Meow and Miss Kinky Karma. Shows Friday and Saturday.


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. 

Phi Foundation hosts whimsical, mega-popular Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama with her show, Dancing Lights That Flew Up To The Universe. The show includes her legendary Infinity Mirrored Rooms, pumpkins and more. (Tickets are free, but the virtual box office opens up on the 15th of the previous month.) 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.

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. 

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!