Sarah's Weekend List, March 12-14

Free, outdoor and safe: Montréal en lumière's light displays on display at the Quartier des spectacles. PHOTO: Benoit Rousseau
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 sarah.deshaies@bellmedia.ca

Remember: we lose an hour as we spring forward Sunday at 2am, when Daylight Saving Time begins. 

Hey, night owls! Nuit blanche is Saturday! Over 30 free virtual events, with something for everyone - theatre, dance, trivia, music, visual art - as part of Montreal en lumière. The MAC presents a visual art workshop, Cinema du Parc presents a series of short films that explore the stars and the night. Pointe-à-Callière teams up with A/Maze escape room to present a 3D escape game in the remains underneath the museum. Casino de Montreal hosts Les 24h Vinyle, a marathon of DJ sets going all night. Spectrum Productions have teamed up with Nouveau Palais resto to present Cinéma au Palais, a program of short films made by filmmakers on the autism spectrum. Randolph Bar is partnering with Rosemarie Records for trivia rounds on local musical trivia. And there is La Nuit des cordes, a display of shibari bondage techniques originated and developed in Japan. There is way more to check out here.

Nuit blanche is part of Montréal en lumiere, which kicked off last week with virtual and in-person programming. Online, there are four web series to scarf down with a glass of wine in hand: conversations with artists like Martha Wainwright and Fouki, chefs trying out new kinds of cuisine and foodies like Dyan Solomon (Olive and Gourmando) developing new dishes. In person, check out five outdoor illuminated works at Place des festivals (see above!). There is also a Ferris wheel, and the ongoing Luminotherapie to dazzle your sense. Over 30 restaurants including Le Mousso, Foodlab, Signé Toqué and Manitoba have designed exclusive take-out menus. And for a little escape, check out the Quilt & Fine Cuisine deals: stays at fancy hotels paired with menus from local restos. Until March 28.   

Eat and laugh while doing good: Local Supporting Locals encourages audiences to order in from restaurants while settling in for an evening of comedy at home (performers include Joey Elias, Abdul Butt, Kim Sullivan and Mitch Melnick). Each restaurant will donate $5 to a local charity for your order, and proceeds from each ticket sale will be donated, as well. Saturday, 8:30pm. 

The easiest way to help out: the Miracle Montreal Food Drive is asking you to leave non-perishables items, baby products and menstrual items on your doorstep on Saturday. Don't forget to register your address first! The pickup starts Saturday, 10am.

If you are in the Mile End, join a "read-in" Saturday on St Viateur to highlight local businesses, hosted by local group Mile End Ensemble. This was launched after the brouhaha over Welch's bookstore, which was set to close after a massive rent hike - but we learned this week he'll be staying for two more years after an agreement with the landlord. Buy a book, grab a coffee and bring a chair if need be!  

Indie Montreal's virtual concert series Les Dimanche Couvre-Fun features a new emerging Quebec artist every Sunday evening. This time features jazzy big band sound with The Liquor Store, live from the Lion d'or venue, Sunday at 8pm. (Every weekend until April 4.) 

Support a sugar shack and feast on maple treats by ordering through Ma Cabane à la maison, an initiative to support Quebec's sugar shacks.

A quarter of a million Montrealers count themselves as having roots from Italy. Now, Pointe-a-Calliere Museum is profiling the community and how it has shaped the city in a new show called Italian MontréalDrawing on loaned treasures from local families, the show touches on culinary traditions and how first-generation families fared after arriving in the city. And you can also check out Pointe-a-Calliere's train-themed show, A Railroad to Dreams.

MainLine Theatre's contemporary dance festival Bouge d'ici features a neat spate of shorts, also created in the past few months under lockdown. Join the virtual dance party Friday at 8pm. Until March 14. 

Last weekend to see Cavalia's Illumi! Drive through a colourful, 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 March 14.

I wanted to mention a weird movie I randomly found on Prime last weekend: Earth Girls Are Easy stars Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Marlon Wayans as furry aliens who crash land in manicurist Geena David's pool. The aliens learn to speak from watching television, and it's a chance to see newbies Carrey and Wayans chew the scenery. There are musical numbers, exotic fish, a beach scene and a terrible fiancé. Yes, it's a sexist romcom, but since March is women's history month, I'll mention that Davis lent her name to an organization that researches female representation in media. Also: Festival Filministes wraps up on Friday, with five feature films and over 50 shorts, all free to stream!  

Last chance to stream offerings from horror theatre Festival de la Bete noire. They present a range of online shows, from ghost stories to spooky audio dramas, to darkly delicious burlesque and a love story from Japan. I'm keen to check out Home Theatre Production's choose-your-own adventure game, Only Footprints. Here, a bloodthirsty killer is after you... and you can play through several different scenarios! (Local drag diva Uma Gahd plays through the game in a livestream on Saturday. Stream until March 15, at $5 a pop.  

Degrassi fans and the film community are mourning the loss of actor Jahmil French, who passed away at the age of just 28 this week. One of his roles was in the thriller Boost as A-Mac, a teenager who runs afoul of the mob with his best friend, Hakeem. The boys steal a car and recuperate a bundle of cash in the process. leading to a whole whack of trouble. French was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and Quebec Cinema Award for his work. The team behind the 2017 Quebec film are sharing it for free in his honour. Don't miss this chance to catch an English feature film set in Montreal with a full ensemble black cast. Check it out here on YouTube until March 31. 

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 Landscahpes 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 blessing 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 Observation Wheel in the Old Port has reopened, open daily 11am to 7pm. (Each carriage is cleaned after use.)  

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