Sarah's Weekend List: May 21-24

Eurovision vibes in a new work by NTS student Sarah Currie, I Got My Life Back! Now available to stream! PHOTO: National Theatre School

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.


 

Eurovision, the annual kitschy singing competition, returned this week with live shows in Rotterdam. You can catch the results this weekend online here, Saturday 3 to 7:30pm and Sunday, 3 to 4:30pm. To get in the mood, watch Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in the 2020 Netflix comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, about a pair of kooky Icelandic singers who fight to compete in the show. 

Season finale of Saturday Night Live puts the chess monarch of Queen's Gambit in the spotlight: host Anya Taylor-Joy will be joined by musical guest, the cheeky and talented Lil Nas X, fresh off a Satan-pole dancing controversy and a Nike lawsuit. Saturday, 11:30pm.

The 36th edition of Festival Accès Asie spotlights arts and culture on the occasion of Asian Heritage Month. In person, you can check out Les Nocturnes, an exhibit of work by dancer-artist Azalia Kaviani, who lives with cerebral palsy. It's at Maison de la culture Janine-Sutto until May 30. A discussion about her work wit Kaviani and h her team airs Sunday at 2pm. Pianist Kyoko Hashimoto performs Friday, 8pm on Facebook Live. The festival also has an on-demand shadow theatre video workshop for kids aged 7 to 10, and a podcast exploring the experiences of Asian-Canadians, ttled Asiate Imparfaite. Until May 31. 

Violette is an immersive theatre piece where a young woman with Down's syndrome invites you into her room for a visit. But Violette has a harrowing experience to share with you. This brief theatre experience melds live performance with virtual reality headsets. It's an interesting premise, from Joe Jack et John theatre company, which works with actors with intellectual disabilities; this bilingual show is their first big introduction to English audiences. Until May 30. 

Two theatre schools are releasing student projects online: National Theatre School's New Words Festival presents two new plays: I Got My Life Back! by Sarah Currie and Bonus Points if You Have Air Conditioning by Jena McLean. It's pay-what-you-can, and online until June 2. And Concordia's theatre department has four short shows under their Short Works Festival, available until online Saturday.

Dance partners and real-life couple Daphnée Laurendeau and Danny Morissette perform On the Matter of Flowers, a medley of contemporary dance choreographed by four (!) different artists. Catch the show online until Saturday.   

Netflix's latest this week is a five-part series about Halston, the mononym, first-ever celebrity American fashion designer. Ewan McGregor portrays his rise as a milliner (he designed Jackie's pillbox hat) and his pivot to fashion, as well as his fame, endless partying and cocaine use. 

I've also been digging into Love, Death and Robots, an excellent series of animated shorts that wrangle with life's big questions with a powerful punch. I devoured season one and am delighted to report there is a season two! They are brief, about a dozen minutes long. The first episode of series two is set in a bucolic retirement community that is serviced by hundreds of tiny robots - until one zealous vacuum starts to go haywire.

We just learned the Friends reunion will air this coming Thursday, May 27 on Crave. You can get yourself psyched up by rewatching any of the 236 episodes on Crave. 

Coldplay, Haim, Damon Albarn, Idles and Wolf Alice are at the top of the lineup of a virtual Glastonbury, live from Worthy Farm in the United Kingdom. You could watch in the afternoon on Saturday, or select the North American stream to catch it at 7pm. 

Rockers twenty one pilots perform Friday, 8pm.

The Grand Ole Opry returns with Brothers Osborne, Vince Gill, Charlie Worsham and comedian Leslie Jordan (you loved him in Will & Grace and American Horror Story, and love him in Call Me Kat). Saturday 8:30pm. 

Happy birthday, Bob DylanCelebrate with a slew of artists performing his hits, live in a show projected to last more than three hours. Monday, 7:30pm. 

And an outdoor recommendation: last weekend, I visited the bird sanctuary in LaSalle. It was a little urban escape to spot birds and take in the Lachine rapids. Leave the dog at home, bring your sunglasses and enjoy! 

The eighth edition of SatFest presents eight short immersive works to be enjoyed under the dome, on a cozy black bean bag chair: check out a 'vertigo-inducing ive into entropic chaos', a fictional exploration of microbiology titled Immunity and an AI-generated trip called Piece.

On Amazon new limited series The Underground Railroad, based on Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer-winning novel. We meet an enslaved woman who escapes a Georgia plantation, with a bounty hunter on her tail. It was directed by the talented Barry Jenkins, who won an Oscar in 2017 for Moonlight and was nominated again the next year for If Beale Street Could Talk.

Sex and relationship columnist Dan Savage's Hump Film Festival has returned with a latest round of 'Best Of' from his annual DIY erotica series. Dates until May 29. 

Gorgeous views and photo opps abound as the cherry and magnolia trees are blooming at the Chinese and Japanese pavilions at the Botanical Gardens. 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.  

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 is Italian Montréal. Drawing 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!)

In the Old Port, the Voiles en Voiles adventure park features archery, aerial circuits, inflatable games. And MTL Zipline and The Observation Wheel in the Old Port has reopened, open daily 11am to 7pm. (Each carriage is cleaned after use.)  

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. 

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