Montreal - ARTS & CULTURE
August 31st, 2011
Montreal will experience a Russian Dance Dance Revolution when the The Alexandrov Red Army Choir and Ensemble takes to the Place des Arts stage from September 1 to 4.
They’ll perform rousing songs and energetic dances with their travelling team of 125 musicians and performers, soloists, a male choir, dancers and a full orchestra. Playing both traditional Russian instruments, including the balalaïka, the domra and the bayan along with the more familiar double bass, woodwinds, brass and percussion instruments, you won’t need to know the words in Russian to sing along.
Our recommendations for after? Pour everyone a shot of vodka and shout na zda-rov’-ye! —Jenn Nachshen
Tickets range from $87.90 to $97.90 and are available online.
August 25th, 2011
If you're a girl-adult who goes to bridal showers drunk, loathes pastel with a superhuman passion and wonders whatever happened to, like, dating: someone wrote you a book.
The generally acclaimed debut novel from Jennifer Close, Girls in White Dress, isn't as (terrible word alert) chick-litty as you'd think. Sure, the cosmopolitan one-liners can feel lifted from a certain '90s HBO show. But her interconnected short stories, tracing familiar patterns of post-graduate ennui and reluctant maturity among New York twenty-somethings, have a welcome and sardonic honesty. There's a dark thread in all the air-light dresses, seen by Close as more economic burden than feminine pleasure. If you tug a little, it unravels a hard knowing: happiness doesn't get easier, and getting older sometimes just feels like getting less young.
This isn't a beach read, but a transitional one, for girls between seasons. —Sarah Nicole Prickett
August 11th, 2011
These lit picks have earned a spot in our sand- and sunscreen-filled beach bags.
The Cellist of Sarajevo
by Steven Galloway
The fact that it’s written by one of Vancouver’s own is just one of the reasons we love this tense (like, really, really tense) tale of a city under siege.
Making Ideas Happen
by Scott Belsky
Just because we’re sunning our bottoms at the beach doesn’t mean we can’t also be productive. Or at least read about being productive.
Monocle, the magazine
It’s fashion, it’s design, it’s travel, it’s culture. Come to think of it, it’s starting to sound very familiar.
On the Road
by Jack Kerouac
With the movie adaptation coming out soon, we figure now’s a good time to brush up on this classic.
iPad 2 by Apple
So we can bring Vitamin Daily to the beach too. (We kid, we kid. We’d totally read canonical literature on it.)
August 3rd, 2011
What do you get when a pianist/accordion player develops a sound mixing hip hop and Klezmer? You get Socalled, the brainstorm of “Jewish cowboy” Josh Dolgin.
Discover Socalled’s stylishly schizophrenic sounds on his newest album, Sleepover, featuring more than 30 contributing musicians including the quirky-sweet vocals of Katie Moore. Then go meet the coolest kids in town at Théâtre de Verdure Wednesday August 4 at 7 p.m. for a free live performance followed by a screening of The Socalled Movie with director Gary Beitel in attendance.
It’s a plus if you understand Yiddish. But we’re pretty sure we’ll catch you dancing even if you can’t sing along. —Jennifer Nachshen
August 2nd, 2011
To quote Young MC we’re spending our holiday “lying on the beach perpetrating a tan" (fully sunscreened, of course). Here are some of our fave summer reads, tan and man not included.
Pick up The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein to get lessons about being human from a very clever dog.
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett is Heart of Darkness with heart, transporting you to the Amazon with a pharmaceutical researcher sent to track down her missing former mentor.
No one does bodice-rippers like Philippa Gregory, back with The Red Queen, telling the War of the Roses as seen through the eyes of Henry VIII's politically-minded grandmother.
It’s hard to argue with the Pulitzer committee (not that we’ve tried), so pick up A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan to follow an aging rock music executive and other characters as their lives take them places they never intended to go.
Speaking of places you never intended to go, Jon Ronson takes you into minds of madness in The Psychopath Test. Hey! Who said beach reading needed to be light and fluffy? —Jennifer Nachshen
July 27th, 2011
We never really feel like summer is in full-swing until we’re sipping beer in the hot sun listening to the music at the Osheaga Music and Arts festival, held this year from July 29 to 31.
This year’s line-up really rocks, with up-and-coming artists like feisty and fashionable, Janelle Monáe, orchestral pop band, Beirut, rockin’ Tokyo Police Club and poppy Smith Westerns peforming alongside headliners like Eminem, bringing his trademark irreverent rap and Elvis Costello and the Imposters’ country-folk sound.
Can’t wade through the lineup? Download the Osheaga app to make sure you don’t miss a show (and know where the beer stands and bathrooms are). —Jennifer Nachshen
Tickets (starting at $75.50 for a single day to $217.50 for a 3-day General Admission pass) available online.
July 20th, 2011
Now that Hermione has a pixie cut and is attending Oxford, Harry’s been nude onstage and we’ve developed an awkward May-December crush on Ron, we’re looking for a new series to submerse us into the world of magic.
Described as a subversive Harry Potter for grown-ups, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians introduces us to Quentin Coldwater, a melancholic genius who attends the magical Brakebills Academy and discovers the less enchanting side of wizardry, pounding back more beer than butterbeer. We’ve already pre-ordered the sequel, The Magician King for our fall reading list.
Maybe we’ll give platform 9 and ¾ just one more try…. —Jennifer Nachshen
$14.44 at Amazon.ca
July 19th, 2011
With so many performances at the Just for Laughs Festival (from July 14–31), it can be hard to predict whether you’ll laugh ‘til you cry, or just cry. Montreal-based comedian Sugar Sammy is taking a break from the festival stage and we lucked out by getting his pro tips on how to get the best out of the fest.
1. You never know who’s going to be at the Best of the Fest, but according to Sugar Sammy, you may just find some big international stars warming up their sets (and having a drink with the crowd after).
2. Pick up a pass for the Comedy Conference ($99) from July 27-30 to attend panels, speeches, and discussions about the business of comedy. Way funnier than your industry conference.
3. “Discover” up-and-coming, alternative and underground comics at the bilingual Zoofest with a $39.99 pass for covering all shows.
4. Check out Cheat Live with Bill Burr, Robert Kelly and Joe DeRosa for the funny side of infidelity (guess there’s a funny side to everything).
5. If you’re French, or at least a franglophone, go see Mike Ward S’Expose, an edgy francophone comic who isn’t afraid to push boundaries.
Who knows? You may even bump into Sugar Sammy at one of the shows. But if his absence from the stage is making your heart grow fonder, just sign up at www.sugarsammy.com to be the first to hear about something big coming up soon in Canada (and, no, he didn’t give us any hints!). —Jennifer Nachshen
Festival Line-up and tickets at www.hahaha.com
For more of Jenn Nachshen’s interview with Sugar Sammy, see today’s Editors' Diary.
July 14th, 2011
We may not be heading to Paris anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we can immerse ourselves in "La Ville-Lumière," without even leaving the comfort of our couch.
As far as we’re concerned, Midnight in Paris is the movie must-see of the summer. Follow along with Owen Wilson as he meanders through time, partying with F. Scott Fitzgerald and his irrepressible wife, Zelda, pounding back drinks with Ernest Hemmingway, discussing his own literary merit with Gertrude Stein, and savouring the artistic temperament of Salvador Dali, Picasso and Toulouse Lautrec in Woody Allen’s magical tale of self-exploration and discovery.
Having had a taste of Paris in the '20s, turn the pages of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Told from the point of view of Ernest Hemmingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, this beautiful book takes the reader from the initial spark of meeting, to the eventual ashes of their ruined relationship. $18.77 at Amazon.ca
A sojourn in Paris may be no further than the Internet. We get outfit inspiration from Easy Fashion in Paris, filled with eye-catching photos of fashion fresh from the streets of Paris, turn to Meg Zimbeck’s Eating Paris blog for a feast for the eyes, and soak in the life of La Coquette to imagine our parallel life as an expat in Paris. And sometimes we take a peek into the life of our very own Parisienne à Montréal, editor of Vitamine du Jour, Elsa Vecchi.
July 13th, 2011
“At 2 a.m. you can’t come home after a night out and act… but you can write a song.” – Tim Robbins.
We tend to return to the roost after a night out and eat microwaved pizza and fall asleep on the couch, but we may take a page from Tim Robbins’ songbook after hearing his first album, Tim Robbins & the Rogues Gallery, released at the tender age of 51 (what else is a guy to do after breaking up with Susan Sarandon?). In fairness, Robbins has been fiddling around with a guitar for a long time, with a musical family, experience co-producing the soundtrack to Dead Man Walking, and under-the-radar shows in small venues. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the folksy, storytelling songs by Tim Robbins & the Rogues Gallery are actually really good. We won’t miss his Montreal debut tonight at Club Soda.
But we’re probably just going to pack it in with a poutine and leave the song writing to Tim.