Sarah's Weekend List: March 5-7
Friday into Saturday is Unplugging Day, so if you need a reason to put your phone down, look up and disconnect from social media - here's your chance!
Montréal en lumiere kicks off this 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.
Lots of new movies: Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina star in Raya and the Last Dragon (for kids) and Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley play literary agent and aspiring writer in Philippe Falardeau's My Salinger Year (for the adults). On Amazon Prime: Eddie Murphy returns as King Akeem in Coming 2 America, the long-awaited followup to 1988's hit comedy about an African prince who arrives travels to Queens in search of a wife. And the final episode of the first season of WandaVision, the weird-but-it-works domestic spinoff from the Marvel Comics Universe, is out now on Disney+.
Oprah's much-ballyhooed sitdown with Harry and Meghan airs on Global, Sunday at 8pm. Based on early snippets, the couple appears primed to share their side of the story after 'Megxit', their very public split with the Firm and subsequent move to Los Angeles to be freelance do-gooders and content creators. (I'll be watching while I sip tea from my HM commemorative wedding mug.)
The annual celebration of Black excellence in Quebec's culture, media and arts scene, Gala Dynastie, will be presented live from Théâtre Maisonneuve. Though the audience will be cozy at home, there will still be a 'black carpet' presentation as well as live music performances, including singer Dominique Fils-Aimé. Saturday, 6pm.
One of the first arts events to be impacted by covid-19 a year ago, Festival des Casteliers this season presents animated shorts for kids and adults, marionette works in progress, a pop up puppet show in Outremont, and of course, they have installed classic puppets in storefronts all over Bernard, Jean Talon and Parc in the neighbourhood. Until Sunday.
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.
The graduating students at the National Theatre School present Everybody, a play inspired by a similar story first written over 500 years ago. Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, the play's central character confronts all aspects of their life. Pay what you think after viewing. Until Saturday.
Last wekeend 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 6.
Last weekend to catch the latest of Dan Savage's Hump Film Festival. The lineup of homemade films d'amour (for adults only) is always a shock and delight. The final show this season airs Saturday.
It would be 'illégale' to leave your house to see Quebec songstress Marjo perform after curfew. But luckily, she's streaming a live show so you can bop along legally from the comfort of your home. Catch Marjo live from L'Anti-Bar, Sunday at 9pm.
Rising pop star Madison Beer performs her debut album Life Support for the very first time in this 'global streaming experience'. Promoters promise it will be innovative and fueled by interactions with fans. Saturday 8pm.
Indie Montreal's virtual concert series Les Dimanche Couvre-Fun features a new emerging Quebec artist every Sunday evening. It kicks off with Millimetrik, from Piedestal's virtual amphitheatre, Sunday at 8pm. (Every weekend until April 4.)
Montreal indie darlings The Dears perform live from Palais Montcalm, their first full-band live show since 2020's release, Lovers Rock. Backed by a string quartet and led by founding members Murray A Lightburn and Natalia Yanchack, the group will play tunes from their 25-year catalogue. Streaming live, Saturday at 8pm.
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.
Massimadi Festival highlights Afro-LBGTQ+ cinema with its online 13th edition. The selection includes features and short films, like One Life to Blossom, a recent doc about a Black trans artist and activist trying to live her dream, and the acclaimed Keyboard Fantasies, about composer Beverly Glenn-Copeland and the cult following he attracted in his 70s.
Last chance to see Phi Centre's Infrared, "17 sleepless nights of live broadcasting" an series that invites artists into the building, shutting them from evening until morning to create performance art. For the final weekend, check out visual artist Marilou Lyonnais with musician Kroy and singer Hanorah (Friday) or multimedia artists Aude Guicharc'h and Hugo Daoust from the MAPP_MTL collective (Saturday). Check in between 7pm and 7am.
Want to atch some theatre in service of science? Actor Véronick Raymond's one-woman show about fertility and conception, inVivo (testé sur moi), is streaming Saturday at 2pm as part of a UQAM psychology study that wants to gauge how audience members are influenced by documentary theatre. Do stories sway you more than facts and figures? Find out by signing up here to see the show for free this weekend, or at another date.
Horror theatre Festival de la Bete noire presents 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.) Bete noire continues until Sunday, but you can stream each show until March 15, at $5 a pop.
Several museums re-opened their doors this month, as part of Quebec's gradual de-confinement plans. 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 Pointe-a-Calliere's train-themed A Railroad to Dreams.
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.)
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.