Sarah's Weekend List, April 23-25
The host-less pandemic Oscars start at 8pm on Sunday. You still have time to catch up with some of the contenders: Nomadland on Disney+ and in theatres. Borat 2, One Night in Miami and The Sound of Metal are on Amazon Prime. Revenge drama Promising Young Woman and Korean-American family farm story Minari are available to rent online. The Trial of the Chicago Seven, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga are on Netflix.
Every year, Elton John hosts an Oscars ball as a fundraiser for his AIDS Foundation. This year, the party goes virtual with a one-hour pre-show event at 7pm. Neil Patrick Harris hosts along with John and his husband David Furnish, with performances by Dua Lipa. Other stars: Lady Gaga, Cynthia Erivo, Dr Anthony Fauci, Liz Hurley, David Walliams, Olly Alexander...and more, all for just $20. For the deluxe experience, to view the Oscars with Elton... tickets start at $1,000US and go up to $300,000.
Local horror film fest Cabane à Sang gets underway with feature films and shorts from Quebec and Canada, US, Finland and India, to name a few contributing countries. Friday's opener is The Impalers a made-in-Montreal 'bikersploitation' film, featuring hero Alan Kolovsky being tracked down by hired assassins and spies in endless chases. There is also a program of animated shorts. Check it out online, or at StarCité Montréal, 4825 Pierre de Coubertin. Until Sunday.
Literary arts fest Blue Metropolis launches virtually on Saturday with over 50 events with 200 artists, in a variety of languages. Carl Honoré, the journalist behind In bestseller Praise of Slow, leads a panel that will dissect how the pandemic has challenged our ideas of how to live well, Saturday at 7pm. And there is plenty of fare for kids: YA writer Erin Bow reads from her new book, Stand on the Sky, Sunday at 9:30am. Until May 2. (By the way, Friday is International World Book Day - and Bill Shakespeare's birthday.)
Roots rock band Hootie and The Blowfish perform from their hometown Columbia, South Carolina. Friday, 9pm. (Our listeners say they're one of the sleepiest... I mean, soothing... live acts.)
A (nearly) all-female cast of Montreal comics and actors took on a table read of a 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic on Thursday. In Predator, a team of commandos stuck in a Central American jungle find themselves being hunted... by a scary, alien warrior. (The lone dude in the cast plays Anna, the lone female in the movie.) Catch a stream of the show on Facebook here (there are versions on Twitch and YouTube, too) until Friday, around 10pm. Free, with a request to donate to the Canadian Women's Foundation.
Get help for your thorny legal questions answered with the Young Bar of Montreal. The group's semi-annual phone-in legal clniic takes place Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 4pm. Call 1 844 779-6232.
And I'm thrilled to find out that Izzy's Koala World is back for season 2 on Netflix! Yes, it's for kids... but I'm a big fan of these odd creatures and the gentle storytelling in this docuseries. Each short episode follows a young Aussie koala whisperer and her mission to help her vet mom care for rescued koalas.
Acclaimed Quebec circus troupe Les 7 Doigts shot and filmed a performance last September in Montreal that is now available to fans at home. En Panne envisions an absurd dystopian future where there are no public gatherings or theatres, forcing artists from different walks of life to reunite underground - sound sorta familiar? The creators say they wanted to play with the concepts of 'aristocracy, poverty, power and pleasure' in this covid-inspired romp. The French-language version is available for now, with the English-language one soon to come. (You have a month to view after buying your ticket.) Get a taste of En Panne here. Runtime: 56 minutes.
Pointe-a-Calliere Museum's new show, Italian Montréal draws on loaned treasures from local families, the show touches on culinary traditions and how first-generation families fared after arriving in the city. A quarter of a million Montrealers count themselves as having roots from Italy! (While you are there, visit A Railroad to Dreams, all about trains!)
The Satosphère has moved its latest immersive double feature to curfew-friendly start times, 5 and 6:30pm. Latent Space and Ocular Oscillation are meant to test your physical boundaries and sense of space. Wild! Until Saturday.
Urban art fest Art souterrain presents live art, undeground, for the next two weeks, playing with the notion of time under its theme of 'chronometry'. Check out the visual art pieces in a 4-kilometre route that starts at Palais des congrès, onto the Centre de Commerce Mondial, Place Victoria and finally, the Jacques-Parizeau building. Map here. Every Sunday, a different artist discusses or performs their work. The festival also has an online component. Until April 30.
A British couple plan to turn a rundown mansion into a hotel - except their inherited property comes complete with spiteful ghosts who dislike change. New comedy Ghosts hits CBC Gem as of Friday.
What I am watching: The Luminaries, a six-part period drama set during a gold rush in colonial New Zealand. Based on Eleanor Cattan's complex, award-winning novel, we follow several characters, one of whom likely murdered prospector Crosbie Wells - but who made off with his bonanza of gold? On Prime. In a HBO documentary series, Cullen Hoback attempts to track down the identity of Q, the mysterious person - or persons - fueling the QAnon conspiracy. There's a light touch at times, but it's undoubtedly macabre, shedding light on the darkest corners of the Interwebs. The sixth and final episode of Q: Into the Storm is now on Crave.
In the Old Port, the Voiles en Voiles adventure park has reopened. There's archery, aerial circuits, inflatable games. And MTL Zipline and The Observation Wheel in the Old Port has reopened, open daily 11am to 7pm. (Each arriage is cleaned after use.)
The Space for Life complex is open, including the Biodome, Botanical Gardens and the Planetarium, but make sure to reserve and buy your ticket in advance.
OASIS immersion is a new, 'touchless', next-level experience on the ground floor of the Palais des congrès. There are 105 laser projector, 119 surround sound speakers and a LED lighting setup. You begin in the Anticipation Room, proceeding through a set of different rooms and wind down in the Decompression Chamber. Current exhibitions include: stepping into the worlds of pianist Alexandra Stréliski, and astronaut David Saint-Jacques's recent trip to space. There is also a tribute to hygge, the Danish tradition of finding coziness in the everyday. Each visit is about 75 minutes.
Consider checking out a museum, now that they are open to the public: you pick your entry time in advance, so visits are socially distanced. Demand is high as well, so you will want to select your date in advance. Visit the McCord for the Dior haute couture show (today is the anniversary of the debut of the New Look!) or the MAC for Des horizons d'attente, its bundle of recently acquired works that address today's sense of malaise. The Museum of Fine Arts presents Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and other shows.
And if you don't want to leave the house, several museums are still offering virtual shows... including the MAC, which has updated and expanded their sensational exhibit on Leonard Cohen, A Crack in Everything. Cohen gave his bliessing for the show, which features pieces inspired by his life and work, back in 2015, and it went on display around the time of passing in 2017. The show has been enriched for online viewing, available until February 2024. The Louvre has also just put its over 480,000 items online. From the world's most-visited museum, check out the antiquities to Islamic art to medieval decorative arts, to modern sculpture and beyond.