Sarah's Weekend List, September 16-18

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 7 Doigts de la Main circus troupe presents a brand 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 October 16.

The BLVD Festival brings a last feel of summer to the Main. Saint-Laurent is closed to motorists from Sherbrooke to Mont-Royal, allowing you to amble up and down the street while grabbing a treat, lounging on a terrasse, playing an outdoor game or perusing sales put on by local vendors. There will be a block meets skateboard competition at the parking lot between Prince-Arthur and Milton. Until Sunday. 

Ladyfest Montreal returns from a pandemic hiatus in a scaled-back but mighty form, with its mission to platform women, non-binary and gender nonconforming performers in a multitude of performance disciplines. On Friday, catch the Mythos Drag King Cabaret, 7:30pm, followed by the 10pm closing dance party with live music by Yzabo, and DJ Ju!ce. Diving Bell Social Club. 

When comedian Alex Edelman was trolled by anti-Semitic keyboard warriors, he decided to go undercover at a white supremacist meeting in New York City. That remarkable true story, as well as a bundle of threads like the family Olympian and a quirky holiday season, are told in his off-Broadway show Just For Us. Edelman brings his much-loved show to the Segal Centre, in co-production with Just for Laughs, for just one night - this Saturday, 8pm. 

See James Austin Johnson, the man who plays Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, before the sketch show returns this fall. The redhead impressionist brings his Close to You tour to Bar Le Ritz PDB, Friday at 8pm. Montrealer Mike Carrozza opens, and Mike will also join… 

Rob Bebenek (Just for Laughs) as he headlines The Comedy Nest, flanked by Dina Hashem and others. Friday and Saturday, 8:30 and 10pm.

Opéra de Montréal presents Verdi’s revenge tale Il Trovatore. Troubadour Manrico is in love with Leonora, as is his rival, the Count di Luna. But the two are linked by so much more… and someone plans to use that information to her advantage. At Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier Sunday, 7:30pm.

Vittorio Rossi’s Paradise by the River explores the internment of Italian-Canadians by the federal government during World War II through the eyes of Montrealer Romano Dicenzo. He is sent to an internment camp in Petawawa, Ontario - but his brother vows to seek revenge on those who turned Romano in on false information. Rossi is a premier chronicler of the Italian experience in Montreal. This play was first performed at The Centaur in 1998, and this latest mounting is guided by the sure hands of director Harry Standjofksi. It just opened this week at the Saputo Theatre at the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre, running until October 2. 

West Island Theatre Association presents Mamma Mia! The Musical at the Louise Chalmers Theatre, in Pointe Claire. This ABBA ‘jukebox musical’ centres around a young woman about to marry her fiancé on a Greek island. Sophie has invited three men she suspects could be her father to the nuptials. Friday, 7:30pm and Saturday, 1:30 and 7:30pm. Until Saturday.  

Musical options for Friday: NOFX at MTelus, 8pm. The Paper Kites at Fairmount Theatre, 8pm. Ghost at Place Bell in Laval, 7pm.

On Saturday: iconic Canadian rocker Fefe Dobson goes to Foufs, 8pm. Colombian singer Karol G brings the Strip Love Tour to the Bell Centre, 8pm. Italian popstar Zucchero at L’Olympia, 8pm. Aussie hard rock band Airbourne with the Native Howl at Corona at 8pm. Indie singer-songwriter Lizzy McAlpine, Le Studio TD, 8pm.

And songstress Sarah Harmer closes out the weekend with a Sunday night visit to Corona Theatre, 7pm. 

Porchfest NDG brings live music to the front yards and balconies of the West End neighbourhood. Opening show at 11am (pop-R&B sibling act Just Costa, NDG or Girouard Park), with a Latin-infused closing show (Arena Latin Band and Maractu Raio de Ouru, 2180 Belgrave) at 6pm. Print out a map or follow the listings on your phone to catch acts like the Old Orchard Jazz Collective, all-woman Celtic quartet Sassenach, The Pubcrawlers, Sofa Kings Montreal, polyphonic Balkan vocal music ensemble Dragana, cover band Ready Freddie,  Iguana on Fire or the Leonard Cohen Tribute Band. Saturday, 11am to 7pm. 

This Sunday, the annual Terry Fox Run returns in full force after a two-year break to continue its legendary support for cancer research. The Montreal run starts at 9:30am at the Old Port, Montreal West’s race starts at Strathearn Park, at 11:30am, and in Town of Mont-Royal the fun begins at 11am at TMR Recreation Centre. 

The real estate brokers, including my father Normand, at Royal LePage Ville Marie will Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to raise money for the RLP Shelter Foundation. Male brokers will slip into red pumps to walk through Monkland Village collecting funds. It’s a rollicking good time! Proceeds go to three local shelters: Auberge Transition, Hebergement La Passerelle and West Island Women's Shelter. Sunday at 9:30am. 

Montreal burlesque HQ The Wiggle Room brings in Tristan Ginger, Ava Lure, Booty Jones and Genie Emerald. Shows Friday and Saturday, 7:30pm. 

Nick Cave’s essence will be hanging around for a bit longer: Stranger Than Kindness has been extended. The exhibit is 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.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. Galerie de la Maison du Festival, 305 Sainte-Catherine, until September 25. 


The Botanical Gardens have just kicked off the 30th edition of Jardins de lumière. 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! Until October 31. 

World Press Photo returns to Marché Bonsecours for the first time in two years, with a wide display of impressive press images captured around the globe. Included in the lineup is our Wednesday guest, photojournalist Amber Bracken, who is in town to present her award-winning image of a memorial near the former Kamloops residential school. Until October 2.

The Arsenal’s immersive show about the life and work of an iconic Mexican surrealist! 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 October 10. 

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.

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! 

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. 

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!