Sarah's Weekend List, December 18-20
Last-minute Christmas shopping? Reminder that it is free to park in downtown Montreal on the weekend until the end of the year. While you are there, check out Luminotherapie at Place des Festival (Place-des-arts metro), which has re-introduced Loop, giant illuminated zoetropes that light up when you sit in them (pictured above). The Jardins d'hiver on Ste Catherine is a lovely, holiday-themed place to stroll. Families can take part in Follow Santa Claus: along Ste Catherine street, search for Christmas-related items hidden in store windows, and take part in free games like Rudolph's Mission. Several prizes are up for grabs! On Peel Street, there is magical light installation honouring the Kanien’keha:ka clans - an initative between the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and the borough of Ville-Marie. More info on the city's Christmas programming and markets downtown and elsewhere here.
Some other places to find presents: Pop Montreal has put its fab Puces Pop online as a catalogue. Both have fashion, food, art and homey delights like candles and prints available! The SAT has a last minute food market. And Café SAT has a 'last-minute market' with goodies and fancy tasting menus for pickup.
Saturday Night Live alum Kristen Wiig is back to host the final episode of 2020, promoting her turn as Cheetah-Barbara in Wonder Woman 1984. Pop star Dua Lipa as musical guest. Saturday, 11:30pm.
Rock band Trans Siberian Orchestra puts on their traditional Christmas show, a performance of their classic album Christmas Eve and Other Stories. Friday, 8pm.
Follow the breadcrumbs to The Opéra de Montréal, which presents a webcast of the opera Hansel + Gretel, with mezzo-soprano Emma Char and soprano Frédérique Drolet playing the curious siblings. Online until January 17
Bourgie Hall is offering a free webcast of the classic jazz score form A Charlie Brown Christmas, featuring the Taurey Butler trio and singer Marie-Christine Depestre. Available Saturday to January 3.
The Lyric Theatre Singers have rehearsed and recorded a Christmas show from their individual homes: Candlelight Christmas from Our Home to Yours is streaming on Facebook and YouTube Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 4:30pm, but you can watch on-demand for the rest of the holiday season.
Gordon Lightfoot performs his first-ever livestream concert, at the El Mocambo on Friday, 8pm. Your ticket gives you access to the show for 48 hours afterwards.
The Barenaked Ladies present A Very Virtual Christmas, featuring songs from their holiday album as well as sketches written and performed by the guys themselves. Friday, 9pm.
The Darkness perform live from Indigo at the O2 Stadium in London, Friday at 3pm.
Fans will treasure Black Panther aka Chadwick Boseman's final role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, out on Netflix on Friday. Based on August Wilson's play Fences set one afternoon at a recording studio, where legendary 'Mother of the Blues' Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) goes head-to-head with her controlling producer and manager. Boseman plays ambitious trumpeter Levee.
The Mandalorian's season finale drops on Disney+ on Friday.
Parc Jean Drapeau launches its winter programming this weekend, complete with a refrigerated rink, open sliding area as well as cross-country and fat bike trials. Don't miss the ice-climbing wall! Rental equipment available, including skates, skis, fat bikes, snowshoes - free for those under 18.
The NFB presents Oh Oh ONF des fêtes, a collection of short holiday films, with selections both recent and classic (The Sweater!) - perfect for the whole family to enjoy online.
The Segal Centre will rebroadcast last weekend's performances of Underneath the Lintel, a one-man show about a mystery spanning hundreds of years, with three livestreams. Emmanual Schwartz, a bilingual theatre star on the French side, plays a librarian keen to track down the story behind an overdue book, returned 113 years late.
Though he grew up on a dairy farm outside Brome, Kenny Streule always wanted to be a city boy. In his solo show. Malunderstood, he looks back at his childhood in the country, with the watchful eye of his tough-but-loving Swiss-German mother. Stream it here.
If you miss comedy and improv, my pal James McGee (formerly of Montreal Improv) is setting up some improv fun on his Twitch talk show, At Home with James, Friday at 9pm.
Listen to Trudie Mason's retro podcast, The Mighty 800, and view images from our history. Our Andrew Carter Weekends show also features more of our anniversary content, and it airs Saturday at 5am at 4pm.
The Christmas Chronicles 2 has Kurt Russell returning as Jolly St Nick, and includes his real-life partner Goldie Hawn as Mrs Claus. Our relatable kid hero is Kate Pierce, who visits Santa and conspires to prevent a baddie from spoiling the holiday forever. Now on Netflix.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has made some of its exhibitions available online for free, as government regulations mean it will not reopen before the new year. Marvel at the ongoing Post-Impressionist show, and check out the brand new Jean-Paul Riopelle show, which focuses on his connection to Canada's arctic and its people, from the comfort of home. Until January 11. And the Museum's online gift shop reopened this week, until December 23.
Quebec artists like Elisapie, Ariane Moffatt, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine and Patrick Watson performed a special concert in celebration of the life of Joyce Echaquan, the Indigenous woman who filmed racist abuse from hospital workers shortly before she died. The concert, called Waskapitan (meaning 'come together'), was filmed live in Joliette and is now available online. Organizers are also raising money to improve Indigenous life in Joliette, to make a public work in tribute to Echaquan and to support her family.
Since it will be lovely out this weekend, why not check out the ongoing Cité-Mémoire project in Old Montreal? I was reminded of the ongoing outdoor installation as a newly-released documentary explains its development by Cirque de soleil vets Michel Lemieux, Victor Pilon and Michel Marc Bouchard. Essentially, it is a series of visual projections that cover various parts of Montreal's history, including Expo 67, Angélique and Joe Beef. All you need is to download the app so you can hear the audio narrations that accompany the different projections (and to navigate to the displays). The projections start at dusk and continue until 11pm, Wednesday to Sunday.
Cavalia's Illumi is a colourful escape through a 3-kilometre labyrinth, starting with spooky skeletons, meandering through pleasant forests to icy fields and a spooky town. Your drive includes a stop with food trucks at the midpoint. It's kitschy, but fun for kids and anyone who just really needs a safe adventure outside the house. In Laval off Boulevard des Souvenirs, until January 5.
Explore McGill and get a thrill with a virtual escape room compiled by the university's librarians, archivists and game developers. A mysterious poisoner is on the loose, and you have to track them down! Starting at the pathology lab, then solving puzzles (based on McGill and Montreal history) all over campus. You can play Raising Spirits with a browser. The game got a fresh update this week! For ages 12 and up.
The Royal Montreal Regiment and Le Royal 22ieme Regiment look back on the October Crisis through the eyes of soldiers deployed after the kidnapping of James Cross. This virtual exhibit is geared to students and teachers, but anyone can check out The October Crisis 1970 online.
Tiny Plateau arthouse Cinema Moderne is still releasing new content, including one Korena feature film about a woman in her 40s who has to reinvent herself after she loses her job. Check out the full list here.
Other things you can do online that will be more enriching that scrolling endlessly through your Instagram feed...a bevy of Canadian museums are putting their offers online: Winnipeg's Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Art Gallery of Ontario and The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau are making their works and exhibits available online. The Calgary Zoo is also sharing their Panda Cam, where you watch their two giant pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao, frolic for a few hours every day.
International museums like the Louvre, the Sistine Chapel, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the British Museum in London and the Hermitage Museum are also online. The Metropolitan Opera has a nightly stream. And visit Yayoi Kusama's mesmerizing Infinity Mirror installation.
And if you're looking for something different visit Open Culture, a fantastic website that lists hundreds of free books, audio books, movies and online courses. The selection here is a mix of the classic, indie and the offbeat. Pick up a Jane Austen novel, watch the original A Star is Born or browse through videos of poets like Maya Angelou reading their work.