Sarah's Weekend List, October 21-23

Dancers Vanesa G.R. Montoya and Andre Santos perform in Les Grand Ballets' Carmen this weekend. PHOTO: Sasha Onyshchenko
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

Les Grand Ballets puts on Étienne Béchard’s sultry, contemporary take on Carmen, the torrid love story between a dancer and her lover, a repressed soldier named Don José. Accompanied by music adapted from Bizet’s classic opera. The mixed bill packs a punch, with dancer Kiara Wavin’s The Waves (her first piece for the company), Uwe Scholz’s pas de deux set to Mozart’s Jeunehomme concerto, and back to Béchard to close out the show with his spin on Rite of Spring. Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Saturday, 2 and 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm. 

Musical choices Friday include psychedelic superstars The Flaming Lips, whose oft-delayed tour finally arrives at MTelus, 8pm. Punk rockers The Bronx team up with ‘shed rock’ band The Chats at the Corona, 7pm. 

More music on Saturday: Florida pop duo Sofi Tukker, MTelus at 8pm, Swedish metal heavies Sabaton at Place Bell, 8pm and pop singer-songwriter Clinton Kane, Corona at 8pm. 

On Sunday, catch Aussie indie singer Dope Lemon at Corona at 8pm, and Toronto alt-rockers Monowhales at Petit Campus, 8pm.

The Wheel Club in NDG hosts a big lineup for its annual fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital, with Daylite Vampires, Relik, The Other Ones and Chris de Burgh tribute band Spanish Train hitting the stage, among others. Saturday, 3pm.

For the kids: Geordie Theatre and Kidoons have just launched Frankenstein: A Comic Book Story, an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s horror story designed to look just like a comic strip come to life!  Mary is a young comic book artist who finds the journals of one Doctor Frankenstein - and she is ‘drawn’ right into his world! Rick Miller, Craig Francis and Paul Van Dyck’s new adaptation tackles fear, climate change and technology in a dazzling, kid-friendly format. At the Segal Studio until October 30. Tickets are nearly sold out! (And check out the company’s virtual silent auction fundraiser here!)

Across the hall at the Segal, Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors puts a Mel Brooks-like spin on Bram Stoker’s tale of a bloodsucker seeking new life. Director and co-writer Gordon Greenberg is overseeing this production, which has the five cast members taking on numerous roles. The first preview is Sunday, before opening on the 27th. I will be hosting the Sunday @ the Segal pre-show chat, where we will discuss the challenge of bringing joy and lightness to the world of horror! Join us in person (fresh coffee and pastries!) or tune in from home at the Segal’s YouTube or Facebook page. 

If you are lucky, there may be a few tickets at the door for a screening of horror classics Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Organist Peter Krasinski will accompany the vampire tale, and Andrei Castanon, Justin Wright and Beth McKenna provice the musical accompaniment for Caligari. Co-presented by Montreal Cinéclub and the Canadian International Organ Competition. Saturday 7pm at St James United Church.

My friend Ann Lambert launches the third chapter of her Russell and Leduc murder mystery series. Whale Fall opens as Marie Russell and Roméo Leduc are planning to tie the knot… until they pivot to solving a murder, and tracking down a missing couple. Ann’s daughter, playwright Alice Abracen, will host the Q&A while Ann delivers a reading at Paragraphe Books at Sunday, 2pm. 

The 12th Knowlton Literary Festival hosts a bevy of freshly-published authors. André Picard, Kathleen Winter, Rachel McCrum, Liana Cusmano appear Saturday, and honorary patron Louise Penny interviews Amy Tector. Martha Wainwright and David A Robertson are on the bill Sunday. At the Community Centre Lac-Brome. 

StoryFest hosts renowned publisher Linda Leith, who will chat about her memoir, The Girl from Dream City: A Literary Life. Sunday, 2pm at Greenwood Centre for Living History, 254 Main in Hudson.

Interfaith Jewish and multi-heritage families are invited to Family Camp Day. Nature-focused activities for kids up to age 12, like arts and crafts and camp-style games. At Dawson College Sunday, 10:30am to 1:30pm. 

Mile End multi-disciplinary arts fest Festival Phénomena wraps up with Music Sensation, a “whacking battle” that will show off an Afro-Latino street dance style that has in roots in the in queer clubs of 1970s Los Angeles. Friday, 8pm at La Sala Rossa. 

Juno-nominated funny man Arthur Simeon headlines The Comedy Nest. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm. With support from Darren Henwood, David Pryde and Joey Elias. 

Horrorlesque is the theme this weekend at Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room. Ivory, Célesta O’Lee, Charlie Deville and Rosie Bourgeoisie will incarnate your favourite horror movie personas! Shows Friday and Saturday, 8:30pm. 

And Beyoncé Burlesque comes to Cafe Cleo, with Booty Jones, Eva Von Lips, Foxy Lexxi Brown, Kate Pearl, Kitty Kin-Evil and Sugar Vixen paying homage to Queen B. Saturday, 8pm.


Two languages, three venues, very Montreal: brave, 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 later found work 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 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. 

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ new show is Seeing Loud: Basquiat and Music , 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 now. (Note that tickets for Nicolas Party do not give you access to these two shows.) 

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. Saturday and Sunday, 1pm to 10pm. 

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, is dressing up for Halloween! Wander through the museum’s extensive collection of antique trains. 

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!