Sarah's Weekend List, October 14-16

Scarlett James is the founder of the Montreal Burlesque Festival. She'll perform at Club Soda with a bevy of dancers Saturday. PHOTO: Scarlett James
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 call for two shows: 

Les 7 doigts de la Main circus troupe’s new, immersive circus cabaret. My Island, My Heart is a love letter to Montreal, through the eyes of a nouveau arrivé who followed someone for love, but ends up falling head over heels for the city instead. The action unfolds in a new venue, the Studio-Cabaret at Espace St-Denis, with alternating French and English-language presentations, until Sunday. 

Also closing, at the Museum of Fine Arts: Nicolas Party: L'heure mauve is 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! Until Sunday. 

The MMFA also has some new exciting shows: Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music is the first major exploration of the electric artist’s work to land in Montreal. The MMFA teamed up with the Musée de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris to examine the role of music in his work, from Beethoven to Charlie Parker to Maria Callas to New York’s underground scene. It opens Saturday. And speaking of the New York connection, a selection of photographs taken by Diane Arbus in and around the Big Apple between 1956-71 is also on now. (Note that tickets for Nicolas Party do not give you access to these two shows.) 

The 12th edition of the Montreal Burlesque Festival celebrates not only the art but Montreal’s past status as the capital of burlesque. Fest founder Scarlett James will perform, along with Chris Oh!, Kiki La Chanteuse, Audrey Ivory, Kitty Kin Evil and others. Guests are asked to “dress to impress”. The champagne flows Saturday, 6:30pm at Club Soda. 

It is also the final weekend for Festival du Nouveau Cinéma with screenings, virtual reality shorts, films for kids and musical performances. Canadian filmmaker (and focus for this edition of the fest) Bruce LaBruce will be in attendance at the screening of his new work, The Affairs of Lidia, an erotic revenge comedy shot in Montreal, Friday 7pm at Cinémathèque québécoise. Helena Wittmann’s Human Flowers of the Flesh is an adventurous look at history and time, at sea, screening Sunday, 2:30pm at Cinémathèque québécoise. FNC continues until Sunday. 

The NBA Canada series comes to town when the Raptors play the Boston Celtics in pre-season action, Friday 7:30pm at the Bell Centre. 

Cheer on Pointe-Claire’s Brianna Miller and Team Canada as they face Italy in the round robin stage of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand! The game will be televised live, Saturday at 7:45pm, on TSN. Brianna’s husband Bryce is organizing a free watch party. Join the fun at Golf Dome, 3000 Edmond St in Kirkland. Doors open at 6pm. 

A Ukrainian music student at McGill is organizing a United for Ukraine charity concert. Violinist Sofia Yatsyuk aims to raise money for Misto Dobra, a charity aiding children impacted by the ongoing war, and she plans to return after the concert to check in how the funds are being used. Catch performers like Serhiy Salov, Paul Merkelo, Orchestre Nouvelle Génération, the McGill University Community Chamber Choir and more at St-Jean Baptiste Church (4237 Henri Julien in the Plateau) Saturday at 7pm. Free entrance, donations encouraged. 

Musical choices Friday include Minnesotan indie rockers Hippo Campus, at Le National, 8pm and soulful singer Eloise at Petit Campus, 8pm. 

More music on Saturday: Regina’s own folk-bluegrass band The Dead South, MTelus at 8pm. London-based psychedelic-jazz rockers The Comet is Coming to Le National, 8pm. Indie trio King Buffalo at Bar Le Ritz PDB. 

Sunday music: Pop star Demi Lovato at L’Olympia Friday at 8pm. R&B singer (and recent contributor to the Amsterdam soundtrack) GIVEON at MTelus, 8pm. 

Two languages, three venues, very Montreal: new play Cyclorama explores the concept of ‘the two solitudes’ in regards to the city’s arts scene. Playwright Laurence Dauphinais is a former child star who went on to study at the National Theatre School, in the French stream; she has worked in both languages. Her new documentary piece is supported by two venues: The Centre du Théâtre d’aujourd’hui and The Centaur. The first part of Cyclorama begins at the latter in Old Montreal, then you hop on a city bus (where you hear part two) then conclude with part three at the Centre on St-Denis. 7 to 10pm, until November 5. 

Mile End multi-disciplinary arts fest Festival Phénomena continues, with the expressive DADA Cabaret at La Sala Rossa, Saturday and Sunday at 8pm. Just beforehand outside the storied venue, a free palimpsest show: Garden Gateways will project floral images onto the facade of La Sala, Friday through Sunday, 6-8pm. Programming continues until October 21. 

Imago Theatre’s Foxfinder presents a dystopian thriller, where humans blame foxes for food scarcity. A pair of struggling farmers greet a government “foxfinder” in this play, by award-winning British writer Dawn King. Until Saturday at the MAI. 

Thank You For Reading is an exhibit of pandemic portraits and ‘selfies’ that examine connection and isolation. Artist Melissa G plumbs her now-defunct social media page to question the existence of the ‘self’. 1637 St Denis. Saturday, 6-9pm and Sunday, noon-5pm.

Human rights lawyer-turned comic and Montrealer Jess Salomon headlines The Comedy Nest. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm. With support from Jacy Lafontaine, David Pryde and Lawrence Corber. 

Disney After Dark is the theme this weekend at Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room. On the lineup: Lily Monroe, Rose De Flore, Roxy Torpedo and Celesta O’Lee. Shows Friday and Saturday, 8:30pm. 


Get ‘em fast: new tickets for the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Phi Foundation open up on Saturday morning! The whimsical, mega-popular Japanese artist’s show, Dancing Lights That Flew Up To The Universe, 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.

Les Jardins botaniques have a stacked set of Halloween programming for kiddos, from pumpkin lectures, a ‘potions’ workshop, the magic steps walking circuit, to the Sorcerer at the main greenhouse. The 30th edition of Jardins de lumière is also on: the Japanese, Chinese and First Nations gardens are reinvented for nightly excursions with spectacular lanterns and lighting arrangements. 2021’s Ode to the Moon is back, with the interactive wolf call. Don’t forget, the tickets are now timed - but you also get daytime access to the gardens the day-of! Programming until October 31. 

Sometimes, riding a roller coaster is better in the cold dark. Fright Fest is back at La Ronde, with ‘scare zones’, roaming ghouls and vamps and several haunted houses to put you in spooky season mood. For those who prefer to not get chased by chainsaw-wielding randos, there is family-friendly programming. The festivities continue until Halloween. Opening hours this weekend: 1pm to 10pm (closes at 8pm Monday). 

SOS Labyrinth in the Old Port unveils its Halloween spirit, with seasonal decorations to spice up the 2-kilometre maze. Save 15 per cent off your ticket when you come in costume! Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 5:30pm.

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.

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!