Sarah's Weekend List, July 8-10

Cumbia music, circus and dance converge in Barka, a new show by Créations Girovago. 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

Last weekend to avail yourself of the Festival International Jazz de Montreal, with oodles of live musical acts down at Quartier des spectacles! 

Acts to catch on Friday: Bran Van 3000 performs at the TD stage, 9:30pm. SUUNS at Club Montréal TD, 11pm. Cadence Weapon at the Rio Tinto Stage, 8pm. Basia Bulat with Serpentwithfeet, Théâtre Maisonneuve at 8pm. Oji-Cree singer Aysanabee, Loto-Quebec stage at 6pm. 

On Saturday: The Roots light up TD Stage at 9:30pm. singer Bebel Gilberto at Théâtre Maisonneuve at 8pm, with Ranee Lee down the street at Monument-National, also at 8pm. Local rocker Shane Murphy, Club Soda at 8pm. Guitarist Jesse Cook is at Maison symphonique, 7pm. American blues band Mississippi Heat at Rogers Stage, Saturday 9 and 11pm.
Close out both nights with Urban Science #LeCypher X2 at M2, 11:59pm. 

Montréal Complètement Cirque has just kicked off with a rich round of circus shows. Over at La Tohu in St-Michel, check out two new shows: 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! Circus performances will also be coming to local neighbourhoods. Until July 17.

Meet your heroes at Montreal Comiccon! The annual geek party will be wall-to-wall with celebrities, artists and fans. The big names coming into town include Harry Potter’s Bonnie Wright and Matthew Lewis, plus Dave Foley of Kids in the Hall and Malcom McDowell - as well as Vikings star Clive Standen, our Friday morning guest! Terry Mosher aka Aislin will be one of many illustrators and artists at the exhibition hall. Speed dating, Burlesgeek, video game and tabletop game zones round out the fun. Friday to Sunday at Palais des congrès. 

Everyone is invited to the 30th Annual Echoes of a Proud Nation Powwow in Kahnawake. with dancing, vendors and food on-site. You can drive there, or grab a CITSO bus from Angrignon metro every half-hour. Saturday and Sunday. 

West Island Blues Festival returns with star talent Syd Sid Blues Band, Chris B and the Storm, Don Gunn Band, Justin Saladino Band and Sylvie Desgroseilliers. The live music runs from 3:15 to 11:30pm on Saturday at DDO Park. 

Spice Island Cultural Festival celebrates Caribbean culture at its fifth edition, with live music, dancing and food at Vinet Park in Little Burgundy, Saturday 1 to 10pm. (Afterparty starts 10pm at Greenz Restaurant in Lachine.) Chef Belinda Bishop leads an authentic Grenadian oil down cook-off on Sunday afternoon at Greenz. 

Festival of India brings live dance, drama and music to Jeanne-Mance Park in the Plateau. Between performances, take in a yoga or dance workshop, peruse the bazaar or be adorned with henna and face-painting. Oh yeah - there’s food, too! With a kids’ zone and bouncy castles. Saturday and Sunday. 

Shake it out at the Club Dôme throwback party! MC Mario and DJ Quest sprin hits from ‘90s and 2000s, while drinks and light food to round out the experience. Jardin Royalmount, Friday at 8pm.

At the International Feux Loto-Québec at La Ronde this weekend: a salute to the energy and vibrancy you find on Sundays in both Mexico - and Montreal. Mexico’s Sirius Pyrotechnies promises the sound of ‘bells and drums’ in this colourful homage. Grab yourself a ticket, walk up the Jacques-Cartier bridge or watch from across the river. Saturday, 10pm - rain or shine. 

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. 

Get warmed up for JFL with Comedy Nest headliner Canadian Chris Locke this weekend! Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm. Rodney Ramsey hosts Sunday Funday, 8pm.

Humourist and poet Brunty ‘revels in incomprehensible symbolism and obscure imagery’. See him perform live, Sunday, 3pm at McKibbin’s Vaudreuil. 

Shoutout to CJAD 800 team member Cinzia Abbate, who will perform with her group The Eclipse, opening for Jess Abran and Stephen Voyce at venue-slash-plantshop L’Orbite, Friday 7pm. (You can buy a plant along with your ticket.) 

New venture Apex Championship Wrestling holds its first event, with wrestlers like Matt Sydal, Brian Pillman Jr and Psychosis. At Paradoxe Theatre, Sunday at 7pm. (They will also make an appearance Saturday at Comiccon.) 

Lady Gaga Burlesque features Celesta O'Lee, Honey Lustre, Tristan Ginger and Zyra Lee Vanity. Saturday, 8pm at Café Cléo. 

On the bill at Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room this weekend: Kage Wolfe, Booty Jones, Sugar Vixen and Rosie Bourgeoisie. Shows Friday and Saturday.

New in theatres: Taika Waititi’s latest Marvel offering is Thor: Love and Thunder, wherein the golden-locked Norse deity tries to get his groove back. 

Streaming: Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story joins Crave. Hit horror teen adventure show Stranger Things wraps up season 4 with the arrival of Volume 2 on Netflix. 

And the 5th annual PINK Charity Softball Tournament will aim to match the over $31,000 raised back in 2019 for the MUHC’s Breast Clinic Wellness Program! Cheer on the players and donate for a good cause. There will be a barbecue, raffle prizes, drinks, silent auction and live music. Friday to Sunday at St Charle Park in Dorval. 


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.