Sarah's Weekend List, January 29-31
The Montreal-based organizers of Muslim Awareness Week are featuring commemoration events to mark the fourth anniversary of the Quebec City mosque attack, when six men senselessly lost their lives after evening prayers. You can tune in virtually to McGill's event at 12pm, Concordia's at 2pm anda panel discussion on taking action against Islamophobia at 7pm. There will also be an in-person vigil at 5pm at Parc metro station. MAW itself continues until Saturday.
Two nonagenarian grand dames of the silver screen passed away this week. Cicely Tyson was a groundbreaking, award-winning actor and activist who was still working regularly into her 90s; she was in Roots and Sounder, and one of her most recent credits was on the highly entertaining Shonda Rhimes drama, How To Get Away With Murder (Netflix). Her memoir, Just As I Am, was released earlier this week. And Cloris Leachman died at age 94. She won an Oscar for her dramatic work in The Last Picture Show, but I will forever know her as the forbidding Frau Blucher (neigh!) in the excellent Gene Wilder comedy Young Frankenstein (Crave).
The GameStop and Reddit day traders versus Wall Street drama has me craving movies about Wall Street and the vagaries of money: consider watching Michael Douglas in the classic Wall Street, Christian Bale in The Big Short and American Psycho, or Leo DiCaprio in the based-on-a-true-story Wolf of Wall Street.
Listener Natalina wrote in after she heard our interview with musician Alan Doyle about the current popularity of sea shanties online. She recommended a movie on Netflix called Fisherman's Friends. The 2019 movie introduces you to 10 Cornish fishermen whose ordinary lives change when their songs make it on the charts And there is a personal connection... Natalina said she plays the role of "the one with the hair in the village" in the film!
Superstar K-pop girl group BlackPink are performing their first-ever virtual concert this Sunday. Prepare to pay up, though... I believe access starts at $40.
Roots musician (and 2020 Juno nominee) Michael Jerome Browne plays from the Wheel Club. Billed as a 'living encyclopedia of American Roots music'm he will be accompanied by percussionist John McColgan. Saturday, 8pm.
The Grand Ole Opy returns, with Gatlin Brothers, Maddie & Tae and Michael Ray. Saturday, 8:30pm.
Wednesday was Holocaust Memorial Day, chosen because that was the day Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Soviet forces. Check out the story of Martha Katz, who arrived at the camp with her family at age 14. She survived, eventually rebuilding her life in Winnipeg. Her grandson Daniel Schubert followed her on a visit to a Holocaust museum. His short film Martha is a loving, warm portrait of her life and memories. Catch it online at the NFB.
Black Theatre Workshop is the country's longest-running black theatre company, and it is marking its 50th season this year. Its annual Vision Celebration Gala goes virtual, with awards to honour members of the arts scene (like choreographer Eddy Toussaint) and live entertainment (singer Ranee Lee, among others). It streams live on Facebook and YouTube, and viewers who register to watch are eligible for raffle prizes! Saturday, 7pm.
(You can also stream a recent reading of BTW artistic associate Lydie Dubuisson's play Sanctuary, about a teen girl figuring out her identity and future as she converses with different people in her life.)
A few more days to catch the 24th edition of Wildside Festival, Centaur Theatre's short, experimental theatre festival. Learn more about cultural appropriation in The White Cabaret, and revisit a classic piece of feminist Quebec theatre in the surreal Night Cows. A rising Montreal designer presents Black Balloon: Leila, blending the myth of Joan of Arc with a dreamy alternative landscape. And 453 St-François-Xavier is an audio tour of the theatre's future self. This weekend in particular, learn about new, rising writers via Catalyst, a series that will air at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. The festival is online, on-demand and entirely free, until Sunday.
Improv darlings Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood present an all-new show, Stream of Consciousness, from their homes and on Zoom. And yes – they do need suggestions from the audience! Join in Saturday, 8pm.
There is fun to be had outdoors while you respect the 8pm curfew. Toboggan or cross-country ski on Mont-Royal. The Jardin botanique has opened its winter gardens for free entry. Walk or cross-country ski every day, from 7:30am to 5pm. Parc Jean Drapeau is open for winter exploration with a refrigerated rink, open sliding area as well as cross-country and fat bike trails. Don't miss the ice-climbing wall! There will also be rental equipment available, including skates, skis, fat bikes, snowshoes, with items free for those under 18. Or you can snowshoe on a 2-km trial around Mont Boullé and learn about the history of Ile-Sainte-Helene via displays with the help of the nearby Stewart Museum.
Tiny Plateau arthouse Cinema Moderne is still renting out films on its site, with new flicks out this month. Check out Brandon Cronenberg's new body-snatching thriller, Possessor.
The Cité-Mémoire project in Old Montreal 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.
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.
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.