2011 Year in Review: Arts

Alcoholic Faith Mission play at Canadian Music Week in March
Alcoholic Faith Mission play at Canadian Music Week in March

From infringing on corporate culture in Montreal and Buffalo, venue hoping in Toronto during Canadian Music Week, catching experimental music in Brooklyn and hanging with bonafide rock stars at Osheaga, 2011 proved to be yet another exciting year for the arts section at Forget the Box.

Those arctic Montreal winters be dammed, in February FTB was out in force reporting on the city’s annual Nuit Blanche celebrations. Editor in Cheif Jason C. McLean was at Smoke n’ Mirrors, a monthly multi media event at Xpressions Gallery run by Infringement Festival contributor Jay Lemieux. Former arts and culture editor (and still beloved FTB friend) Cassie Doubleday meanwhile checked out the We are Women Artists show.

In 2011 FTB moved beyond our indie rock roots. Not only did music writer Brian Guthmann give us a review of the experimental music Acid Mother Temple show in Brooklyn, but we welcomed electronic music writer Heidy Pinet. Pinet not only provided some awesome electronic playlists for us to enjoy, but also gave reports from two electronic music festivals; Mutek in Montreal and Movement in Detroit.

In March we took a trip down the 401 and checked out Canadian Music Week in Toronto. As FTB creative director Chris Zacchia ran around town like a mad man shooting bands (which honestly isn’t exactly new territory for him) Cassie and FTB co-founder/music writer Jerry Gabriel spent four days watching and reporting on shows that included Alcoholic Faith Mission, Little City, Barr Brothers and Sammy Hagar.

Film writer Stephanie Laughlin also saw Sammy Hagar during CMW… sitting down the row from her during the film festival portion of Canadian Music Week. Held in the newly constructed home of The Toronto International Film Festival TIFF Bell Lightbox, CMW FF was two days of music inspired films. Amongst the programming included the trippy experimental film Beyond the Black Rainbow and a rare print of the 1979 film Quadrophenia.

FTB embarked on more film excursions in 2011, albeit this next one was of much seedier nature. In April Stephanie and sex columnist Jessica Klein embarked on FTB’s first ever joint column experiment in which they took a trip to the Montreal porn theatre Cinema L’amour. Not only did their adventure provide two interesting articles, but it gave the ladies some excellent cocktail party banter for years to come.

A burlesque performer shakes her stuff at a Smoke n’ Mirrors show during the 2011 Infringement Festival

Although there are interesting arts events in this city all year round, it’s when the snow melts and the temperature rises that things really kick into gear in Montreal. In June FTB checked out for the first time the Montreal Folk Festival. And instead of re-hashing all the things that have been said to death about the Montreal Infringement festival versus that “other” Montreal festival, FTB friend and occasional contributor Brian Keegan gave a fresh perspective on what it means to Infringe. Brian also reviewed the excellent music portion of this years festival, which included shows from Annie Becker, Elgin Skye and Buffalo based band Anal Pudding. Jason meanwhile headed down to Buffalo in August to give a report on the Buffalo Infringement festival…and as always had a great time.

One event that everyone at FTB is always eager to cover is the August music festival Osheaga. Arts writer Jessica Alley and Chris had a fun adventure drinking mimosas and catching Broken Social Scene, while Jessica Klein scored a big interview with Saskatoon band The Sheepdogs,  who shortly after talking to FTB landed the cover of a print magazine you may have heard of called Rolling Stone.

By September, FTB was back at covering one of our favourite festivals, Pop Montreal. Coverage this year included a review of the annual Pop Montreal/ Indyish collaboration and shows by Matt Stern and Deep Dark Woods. Fall 2011 also saw music writer Beth Luscombe interviewing Juno award winners Said the Whale and FTB contributor Azra Rashid giving us a profile on independent  Montreal painter Ray Nylund.

Now that 2012 is upon us, FTB is looking forward to another year jammed packed with music shows, plays, film festivals and anything else fun and interesting that might catch our eye. And most of all, we look forward to sharing our experiences with you. Here’s to a great year.

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