Today, I had coffee with some artists from the Montreal collective 5 Wolves No Pig. We discussed their upcoming project The International Public Art Festival. Its second edition runs April 13-19 in Holbox followed by a combined project in Mexico City hosted by the art gallery Arca Mexico.

Holbox (black hole in Mayan) is a fishermen’s island located on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo with a population of approximately 1200 people. It is well known for being one of the few locations in the world where one can swim in the open sea with whale sharks. It is also the home of a vast collection of flora and fauna and no vehicles are aloud on the island to preserve its eco-friendly lifestyle.

In 2014, 5 Wolves No Pigs and Soñando por Holbox created the festival. They invited a few Montreal artists to head to paradise and paint some murals. Jason Botkin, Labrona, Omen, Cedric Taillon and Decover Magazine represented the 514 in epic ways (check out their work in the gallery)! They were joined by Mexican artists Curiot and Superdemon and others.

For the second edition, IPAF 2015, Arca Mexico is joining the team. They will be taking part in the Holbox leg of the festival and providing a second collective exposition in Mexico City. Featured invited artists include Jason Botkin, Cerrucha, Eric Paré  in collaboration with Kim Henry and many others.

They are currently holding an international open call for submissions with a deadline of February 14. There is a $20 application fee and the first place will win free transportation to the festival and all selected artists will be provided with accommodation and materials for the murals. This is a great opportunity for artists looking to expose their work internationally.

IPAF is an independent festival created by artists for artists. It prides itself for implementing a zero waste philosophy inspired by the ecological lifestyle of the island. Those who plan to attend IPAF will also be able to enjoy of Bio-luminescence and live music among other activities.

We will be covering further developments of the festival and talking to some of their artists, in the meantime hasta luego!

Click on the first image to view our gallery

IPAF

Montreal’s underground music and arts scenes are multiple and varied. So many pockets of underground (counter)culture exist in this city, it’s impossible to be aware and keep up with all of it. Thankfully, a great culture of collaboration exists here among underground musicians and artists and it’s common to see people blending different sounds and media while working with other artists.

Witching Hour is trying to take that concept and really turn it on its head with full moon or new moon parties that combine music, visual arts, performance and much, much more. Their next event takes place tonight, October 8, and is being promoted as the first Halloween party of 2014, so yes, costumes are welcome.

I’ve been following Witching Hour for a little while now. I’ve even spoken to its founder Michael Noom about the project and have seen the concept evolve over time.

At its core, Witching Hour aims to bring people together for a fun night out in a way that breaks down barriers and banishes inhibitions. But it’s not just fun for the sake of fun (although it can be if that’s what you’re looking for). Rather, Witching Hour hope that attendees will actively participate in the night’s planned activities — which in the past have included yoga, meditation, drawing, body painting and martial arts — and learn something about themselves or the world through discussions of social and geopolitical issues. However, they are very careful to not taint the vibe of their events with personal opinions or schools of thought.

It’s important for Noom to make sure that “it’s the one time people can come together where they’re untouched by educational, corporate and social institutions. Almost everything we do in life is imposed upon us. The concept of magic and wonder is not just for the movies and TV.”

10704103_858039550895339_2463121004087479968_nIf that sounds ambitious, it’s because it is. Noom and others created the group with the idea of bringing the counterculture to the mainstream and welcoming as many opinions and ideas as possible as long as they are presented with compassion and an open mind. They make it a point to team up with others in the artistic community in an effort to draw more and more people into to these events.

Tonight’s event, called Collision of Dimensions, takes place in the very grandiose main hall at the Rialto and has been curated by No Exist (the duo made up of Vincent Ferrari, who performs solo under the moniker Così e Così and Max Posthoorn, who performs as Nothinge) and QuebékisŤanz and features musical performances by Marie Davidson, Così e Così, Pacifique Bleu (YlangYlang and Hazy Montagne Mystique feat. Black Givre), Hobo Cubes, She Devils, Look Vibrant, L’Ħāliġ Orchestre Impérial du QuebékisŤanz and a battle of theremins by Adam O’Callaghan and John Tielli. There will also be short-film screenings, an Easter egg hunt and bobbing for apples as well as visuals by Guillaume Vallée and live painting by artist Chang E Ling, who also helped organize this edition.

I spoke with Ling and Vincent Ferrari (aka Così e Così) of No Exist about their involvement in Witching Hour. They were both invited by Noom to participate as performers in previous editions and have decided to join forces in putting on this event, thus Collision of Dimensions is an appropriate title for this edition.

10458098_810338285665466_5531972389165084846_nOriginally from St. John’s, Chang E Ling moved here and started painting. Previously, he was more into illustration but discovered he loved using watercolours. He told me about his evolution and growth as an artist, about having to get over failures and accept that making bad work is part of being a good artist. Most importantly, he’s very much about encouraging people to re-think what the role of an artist is or what their place is in the cultural fabric of society.

“Definitely I can see an alignment of my values and those of No Exist or Witching Hour or QuebékisŤanz,” Ling said. “All those people are definitely who ‘get’, per se, what I do and they understand the value of trying to do things differently just for the change. I want to be where that is being done. I don’t want to be doing something that’s just some money-making motion, I want to do something that’s about tearing all of that down and trying to get people to reconsider what a show is, what a painter is, everything. Because those are things that I found really helpful to think about when I started painting. It feels good to be a part of something like that.”

Ferrari also hails from elsewhere, having lived in Toronto just before moving here in May. He met Max Posthoorn (aka Nothinge) and they decided to start making intense electronic music together in unconventional or alternative spaces. He was drawn to working with Michael Noom and Witching Hour primarily because of the trust and freedom he is afforded. But he also found that some of his ideas align with the things Noom has put forward.

“I don’t know how much I agree with every single thing he says,” Ferrari said, “but I do know that down at the basis of this, he’s trying to deconstruct the system as it is already and that’s exactly where No Exist is coming from. It’s trying to dismantle these concrete ideas and preconceived notions of how music should be or how we should live. So Max and I are trying to explore this new-found black void, this empty canvas and find new ways of doing things and I believe that’s what Witching Hour is trying to achieve as well. That basic idea is similar so now we’re joining forces and we’ll see what we come up with.”

10393750_811311188901509_9009049144881649170_nThe biggest challenge is really convincing people to take a lot of what they know and what they’re comfortable with and throwing it out the window. It’s not enough to create a space where people can feel free of judgment from others; people need to free themselves from their own self-criticisms and fears.

“If you want to be able to create new things or change the pattern of, or the process of art, the first thing you need to do is accept awkwardness and uncomfortable-ness,” Ferrari said. “To develop, to grow you need to accept these things. That’s what we want to do on the 8th, we hope that everyone gives in to that reality.”

Witching Hour Full Moon Halloween Party: Collision of Dimensions takes place tonight, October 8 at the Rialto Theatre. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., $15.

Photos by Bruno Guérin courtesy of Witching Hour.

The 19th edition of the international graffiti convention Under Pressure is upon us! It is the largest and longest running festival of its kind in North America.

Started by Montreal graffiti artists to show the positive side of street art, it is an event for the community and by the community. Everyone involved in making it happen volunteers and most of them have been involved since the early years.

This year, as always, the Under Pressure team has put together an amazing program. Here is a preview of what is coming up through the week:

The festival opens Wednesday August 6th with the 22nd edition of Beaux Dégâts at Foufounes Électriques. $5 entry will allow you to see six teams paint live for two hours with music from High on Beats. Plus you will get to vote for your favorite team with your empty can of beer.

On Thursday August 7th, the Fresh Paint Gallery (221 Ste-Catherine E.) will host their seventh Off The Record Conference. This time, guests will speak of Hip Hop and Education. It sarts at 6pm and entry is $2.

Friday night, the Fresh Paint Gallery will host the 5th edition of Art Attack where artists Otek, Lapin, Mad Dog, Sime and Asur will be painting one of the walls to the sounds of live music from the High on Beats team.

Then, over the weekend, you can witness local and international artists fill up the walls along Ste-Catherine between St-Dominique and St-Elisabeth. The street will be shut and a stage installed in the parking lot next to De Bullion. There will be live music both days from noon onwards. Also on the agenda are a skateboarding competition with $1000 cash prize and Bboy and Bgirl competiton.

At night, you can keep the party going with the Heavy Pressure evening at Cabaret Underworld on Saturday night for $5 and, to close up the festival on Sunday, DJ Afrika Bambaataa will perform live at Foufounes Électriques for free.

For more info, please visit underpressure.ca

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Concert poster design has become a great art unto itself and the proof is in the pudding with the fourth edition of Music on Paper, the annual exhibit co-presented by Osheaga. The event is held at Yves Laroche Gallery and entry is free. There you’ll find iconic poster art by some of the best in the business, silkscreens of which are for sale and cost between $30 and $150.

Here’s a short rundown of some of the artists featured at this year’s exhibit:

Scott Campbell

The New Orleans/Los Angeles based graphic designer and illustrator boasts an impressive roster of clients including NPR, Warner Music and Sub Pop Records.

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Matt Pfahlert

The founder of Pfahlert Creative Labs in North Carolina was inspired by design at a young age watching his father work in graphic design back when it was still done by hand. He’s done posters for The Black Keys, Wilco and Band of Horses, to name a very few.

Matt Pfahlert

Mishka Westell

The Ausin, Texas transplant via England blends influences from Art Nouveau, psychedelic art and 60s-era line drawings and imagery to create a style all her own.

mishkawestell

José Garcia

The Toronto-based artist is obsessed with Wilco. He has designed posters for them several times and his favourite book is Learning How To Die, which is about Wilco. But he designs rad posters for plenty of other bands too.

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There’s plenty more where that came from so get your fill at Yves Laroche Gallery (6355 boul. Saint-Laurent), open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The exhibit runs until Saturday, July 19 and will be subsequently available for viewing at the Osheaga Arts Village during the festival August 1 to 3.

Our fair city is just a little bit more colourful than it was since the second edition of Mural Festival took place last month. Local and international artists painted 20 new murals along the Main. The festival started under the rain but thankfully the sun came out just in time, allowing the artists to work on their walls. Some artists kept painting despite the rain such as RONE, from Australia, who finished up his mural on St-Dominique just as the rain stopped.

A few of the walls from last year’s Mural were repainted but most of them were done on brand new walls adding even more art to the city. Kevin Ledo’s breathtaking wall of a woman from the Hupa Tribe, inspired from a photo by Edward Curtis, is of a significant contribution to this year’s festival.

This year Mural introduced Le Market, a pop up shop in the Parc du Portugal, where festival goers could shop local to live music all weekend. Also new this year, in collaboration with ExCentris Cinema, screenings of  street art or graffiti related movies. Patrick O’Connor’s Making A Name and Freights were two of the nine documentaries screened the first one focusing on Montreal’s graffiti scene and the second on graffiti traveling on freight trains. A wonderful initiative to educate on this underground culture.

Every day, the Block Party entertained the masses with live music in the parking lot behind Station 16. Kashink’s impressive, massive and colorful mural in the same parking lot is just a preview of her exhibition at Station 16 which runs until July 3. Walking around felt like being on a treasure hunt because Mural’s not just about paintings along building walls. In the spirit of street arts, Peter Schmittson decorated our streets with sculptures,  Mathieu Connery  painted our sidewalks, Labrona gave more colors to doors along The Main, Garbage Beauty beautified with calligraphy discarded items found on the curb. Finally, be on the lookout for hundreds of diamonds installed on walls all over the city by Le Diamantaire.

It’s now time for a walk around with the camera or your phone to spot all these treasures. Don’t forget some murals are on Clark, on St-Dominique and one at the corner of St-Urbain and Guilbault.

The next urban art related festival will be the 19th edition of Under Pressure International Graffiti Convention on August 9th and 10th!

Click on the image below for visuals of the festival.

Mural Festival

 

If you weren’t willing to brave the treacherous sidewalks on Nuit Blanche, you were likely viewing art below the streets. Navigating the underground city was trying, given its immensity, but well worth it to avoid the cold and the drunken ruckus up above. Art Souterrain had on hand cultural guides, and the sometimes even the artists themselves on hand to have a chat. Foundations is the theme for Art Souterrain 2014, calling for reflection on how we build connections, identities and places, whether they be in the digital or physical realm.

Touche-o-maton by Hannah Palmer and Aude Guivarc’h at the Eaton Center. Photo by Julia Gunst.Tucked away in the Eaton Centre, Touchbooth, provides an antidote to our selfie-saturated world with an interactive photobooth created by Hannah Palmer and Aude Guivarc’hOne artist who embraced the selfie in video format was Owen Eric Wood. Many of us have snapped a photo ourselves while traveling, in lieu of asking someone to do it for us. Owen Eric Wood had the idea to create a video self-portrait in selfie-style, titled Return. While traveling, he used the camera to film himself he expresses continual self-evaluation and transformation in unfamiliar lands.

“I had this idea- does traveling make you feel either alienated or disembodied or disconnected…because you have nostalgia from the place that you are from and when you come back you have nostalgia for where you were?” he told me in the Place Victoria food court.

“It’s not just about these places, but this character in these places…it is about self-reflection… now that I’m displaced and I don’t feel like I belong there, who am I?” he added. He juxtaposes images from Mexico to Italy with narration in several languages, as he swirls in and out of the frame. Wood, who obtained a B.F.A. from Concordia University and an M.F.A. from the University of Windsor, explores identity in the context of specific themes in his work, and is certainly a video artist to watch.

Next door at Place de la Cité, photographer Meagan Moore was present at her piece Maison. The piece used photography and video to Megan Moore's Maison. Screenshot courtesy of Megan Moore.recreate the experience of her Grandmother’s home. “It was kind of like a sanctuary when I was young and I wanted to preserve the calm feeling of the house,” explained Moore.

That house is presently up for sale, and a connection to this place ever more important. Moore used both photography and video in a patchwork fashion to reconstruct the house, while leaving a living and open feel. “I didn’t want it to become a memento mori,” she added. The soft sound of a ticking clock loops to accompany the images, and you can easily begin to feel at home.

Later on, I caught a performance of Taktiligne by Geneviève Le Guerrier-Aubry in Place Bonaventure. Using an infrared camera and programming code, Geneviève drew as her body moved with the goal of saturating the screen with geometric shapes.“My performance consists of creating a design, and my body is integrated into the design. I’m using a wireless mouse with which I’m drawing,” explained Geneviève, “I find there is an interesting effect with the costume. There is a visual effect and this is what I research. How do we integrate the image into the body and make it fluid?”

The design disappears after the performance, making it truly a live drawing. If you missed the Nuit Blanche performance, you may get another chance to see her perform. “I really want to continue to do more in the future,” added Geneviève.  She is currently completing a Masters in Communication and Media at UQAM.

Margo Majewska's Plato’s Tectonics. Photo by Julia Gunst.

I ended my underground adventure at Plato’s Techtonics by Margo Majewska in Place de la Cité. Seeing the shadows of passersby float onto the folded paper structures,  I was reminded that things aren’t always as they seem and certainly that was the message of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The exhibits I saw questioned identity, time, place and how we perceive them. Until March 16th, you can come make your own conclusions and explore these exhibits, along with the many more present throughout the underground.

 

Our lives are immersed in ephemeral digital media and we are no stranger to constructing and archiving narratives on social media. When it comes to personal and collective histories, however, few have gone through the process undertaken by Tris Vonna-Michell. Using spoken word, photographs and objects, Vonna-Michell, a British artist who started a residency in January at Darling Foundry, creates spaces where the personal and the historical collide.

The VOX centre de l’image contemporaine is presently showing four pieces by Vonna-Michell, Prelude: Capitol Complex, Postscript (Berlin) III, Prelude: Capitol Complex, Capitol Complex / Le Capitole de Chandigarh and Finding Chopin: Dans l’Essex until April 12th. Opening up his process of memory to our eyes and ears, we experience what Tris Vonna-Michell has chosen to preserve, repeat, and modify often over periods of several years.

The installations offer both visual art and spoken word carefully arranged using analog and digital media. Kodak Ektagraph AMT III slide projectors are synchronized with digital sound recordings, while carefully selected objects are included along with a video in Finding Chopin. You can also find a Telex projector at the beginning of the exhibit. One can find a vast array of influences, in addition to media, from Le Corbusier’s modernist architecture to the emergence of sound poetry. These influences often arise from time spent traveling.

The exhibits give a look into how disparate connections and interests can form both a visual and oral narrative. Finding Chopin was inspired by Vonna-Michell’s father’s remark that their old neighbor, an avant-garde French artist and sound poet Henri Chopin, had influenced their move to Essex, England.

The arrangement of objects and photographs in Finding Chopin has remained largely the same for almost ten years, with small purposeful changes- much like creating and recreating memories. There is no fear of the vernacular, or everyday objects that spark a particular memory, but it is the words of Vonna-Michell that give you the experience of what they recall. “After we heard him perform, we found that it becomes personal for you in a way,” noted VOX coordinator Geneviève Bédard, “it is integral to the work.”

Objects and photographs can often fail to give the whole story, but when combined with spoken word it is possible to gain a richer experience and contextualization. Each exhibit is adapted to the exhibition location, and each iteration is unique. The non-linear and stream-of-conscious nature of the work eludes finality.

“History or art history is a construction, and you need to see the parts that have been left out and revisit the practices,” added Bédard. Supporting critical and experimental practices in the visual arts is a strong mandate at VOX, along with supporting emerging talent.

The VOX centre de l’image contemporaine (2 rue Sainte-Catherine Est) will be offering a unique opportunity to experience a live performance of the spoken word component of Finding Chopin on Saturday, March 1st at 11:00 pm sharp.

* Top image by Michel Brunelle. “Tris Vonna-Michell”, VOX, from February 7 to April 12, 2014.

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Well it’s already that time of the year, time for Nuit Blanche as part of Montréal en Lumière Festival. The 11th edition is as packed as ever and spread out across the city.

From Quartier des Spectacles to downtown and Old Montreal to the Plateau/Mile End area, east to the Olympic Park and to the newest Nuit Blanche location: the Blue Line, this night promises to be amazing!

What to see, where to go, what to do? Here is a little preview of some events happening in the Arts.

At the Musée des Beaux Arts, join the illustrators, Cyril Doisneau and Siris, and participate in creating a colourful collective mural. While you’re there, check out the Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands exhibition (admission $10).

If you have ever wanted to explore a museum with  a flashlight, then the Redpath Museum should definitely be on your list (admission $10 at the door).

MAC will have four exhibitions open including the 24 hour projection of The Clock by Christian Marclay. In conjunction with the exhibit, DJ Monique Giroux will help you seize the moment with tunes from Pink Floyd to Charles Aznavour to Nina Simone.

The Fresh Paint Gallery ‘s second Art Attack exhibition with artists HOARKOR and MissMe painting live to the music of HighonBeats (admission $5 at the door). In Old Montreal, the Phi Centre will host Hybrid Bodies which explores the complexity of organ transplants with a Dubstep DJ set by VILIFY and The Salvation Army.

The Belgo building is offering, as always, so many activities in different galleries. There’s a fun fair at les territoires and an interactive photo booth at studio 303 to name a few.

Meanwhile Maxime Geraldes invites you to Theatre Ste-Catherine to help him create a piece and then destroy it at 3AM. 

At the Darling Foundry you can taste some mulled wine while discovering two new exhibitions.

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The Plateau and Mile End area will also be bustling with activities. The MAI will have an immersive installation by an Icelandic artist which sounds quite trippy. You can also get your cut and paste on at gallery Monastiraki‘s Collage Party or create etchings on vinyl records at Espace 503.

If you plan on hanging out around the blue line then you can learn to make a mosaic at Mosaïkashop or experience a night of performance and sonic art with a hot beverage at Espace Projet

Obviously we can’t mention all the Nuit Blanche events here, so pick up a copy of the program for more info or check out the Nuit Blanche’s website. Now let’s all hope for warmish weather even though the weather won’t change how awesome the night will be.

Remember, the metro is open all night!

Montreal Poutine Week

Poutine Week is a festival where we get to celebrate poutine in Montreal! Between 20-30 restaurants prepare a special poutine just for the occasion for $10 or less. Fans get to vote for their favourite ones by using the unique code provided by each restaurant. By the end of the week, winners are declared. Log on to http://lapoutineweek.com/ for the list of participating restaurants and to cast your vote. Poutine week ends on Friday February 7.

An Evening of Multimedia Performance: “Deep Screens”

The performance series “Deep Screens” showcases live music/film/video acts that extend the screen into physical/virtual space through performance and formal interventions. This inaugural version of the series focuses on acts that use optical illusions, 3D animation, props, synthesizers and wicked tricks to expand screen planes and alter planes of consciousness.

Featuring: Le Révélateur/ Sabrina Ratté / Alaska B/ Katherine Kline / Leyla Majeri. The event takes place Friday, February 7 at Studio XX.

LE RÉVÉLATEUR / DATA DAZE from Sabrina Ratté on Vimeo.

Concordia University Department of Theatre Presents: Tonight We Play “A SOGGETTO”

concordiaWith only a few weeks to go, Concordia Theatre students are busy preparing for their production of Tonight We Play “A Soggetto.” The show is a metatheatrical experience that challenges conventions and actively leaps from comedy to drama while exploring the permeable boundary  that separates life from fiction and actor from character.

This third part of Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature Luigi Pirandello’s “Theatre within Theatre” trilogy takes an incredible and extreme situation as the starting point to question the meaning of theatre: a director/scientist asks a group of actors to improvise an entire show in front of the public.

Concordia’s version of Tonight We Play “A Soggetto” is a never ending rollercoaster ride. A true challenge for young actors, it is a pyrotechnic game and a leap into the world of theatre that draws on theatrical forms such as Commedia dell’arte, German expressionist theatre, puppetry, musical theatre and the Italian lyric opera.

Wednesday, February 12 to Sunday, February 16 at F.C. Smith Auditorium (Concordia’s Loyola Campus).

Persephone Productions Presents: The Walnut Tree

walnut tree

The Walnut Tree tells the story of the intense journey of Sussel, a young, privileged Jewish woman who grows up in Czernowitz, studies in Prague and Paris, endures the horrors of World War II in Eastern Europe and ultimately escapes to the peace and promise of a new life in Saskatoon. The character of the older Sussel looks back at her life, accompanied by her alter ego, a Musician, who performs on a piano. This powerful, transcendent drama sets the devastating power of historical events against the personal forces of reconciliation. The Walnut Tree deals with vital social, political, and ethical issues, and finally (most importantly) with enduring love.

February 20 to March 1 @ Centre Culturel Calixa-Lavallée.

You have an awesome event coming up? Send us all the info at arts@forgetthebox.net.

Drawing, as a fundamental medium in both the arts and sciences, is a rich topic for exploration. Very few of us have gone our entire adult lives without being asked to draw out our ideas, stick figures and all. A Priori, an exhibition held at the VAV Gallery, is showcasing the works of 12 artists that have investigated the important relationship between drawing and communicating knowledge. The aim of the exhibition is to showcase work created during the Concordia University course “Drawing and Knowledge” taught by professor Patrick Traer.

The exhibition will also provide the public with a chance to meditate on what drawing means to them. Tremé Manning-Cere, one of the participating artists in the exhibition, explained their goals: “We hope that after visiting the exhibition the viewer has gained new knowledge, either on a topic they were unfamiliar with, or on how drawing as a medium, can hugely vary and has the power to portray great information, ideas, narratives and histories.”

Each artist has chosen a particular subject to communicate through the medium, ranging from gun laws to anatomy.  “Much like the diverse experiences and ideas that each artist is trying to document and express, their representations are fluid and each uniquely individualistic”, added Tremé. The exhibition gives equal space to both traditional forms of drawing and broader conceptualizations, such as using makeup to create marks on a face.

The place of the artist themselves in drawing is questioned in some of the pieces that have used mechanized objects, such as a mousetrap, to create marks. One of these mark-making machines will be running during the exhibition, giving the viewer a chance to experience the performance of drawing and mark making.

What place does drawing have in today’s image-saturated world? Make your own interpretations by visiting the exhibition February 3 – February 14. A Vernissage will be held February 4 from 6- 9pm, as well as a Finissage on the 14th from 6- 9pm, each with a different set of artists present to talk about their works. For more information, visit their Facebook event page.

 

 

Many things happened in the Montreal arts scene in 2013 and Forget The Box was there! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

Stage

Early February, Cabaret 87 at Sala Rossa celebrated the 25th anniversary of AIDS Community Care Montreal. It was a very successful evening hosted by Antonio Bavaro and Ryan Ghinds with performances by artist Danny Gaudreault and friends.

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Edgy Lucha (photo Chris Zacchia)

March brought us the 20th edition of the Edgy Women Festival, a celebration of feminist art. This year featured events at a gym, on an ice rink and finished up with Edgy Lucha, a sexy boxing evening covered by Keltie.

Summer came around and so did full coverage of the 10th edition of the Montreal Infringement Festival featuring a multitude of awesome events including a haunted mountain walking tour that Bianca reported on and plenty of music goodness and stage performances which Jason (also a performer this year) covered.

It also brought the Fringe Festival. Jerry, Chris and Stephanie checked out quite a few events this year including the Hopegrown Productions debut at the festival, Jon Bennett’s Fire in the Meth Lab was also a must and Jerry checked out Peter ‘n Chris exploring their bodies in an improv comedy which almost gave him a spleen injury due to so much laughter. Also Forget The Box teamed up with Yelp for their annual party Yelp Helps during the fest.

aint misbehavin
Aint Misbehavin’

Then it was time for Zoofest! Jason and Chris went down to Café Cléopâtre to check out an unforgettable Burlesque show with the Bad Ladies and Detective while Jon Bennett’s show Pretending things are a Cock  gave Bianca a new understanding of dick jokes.

The summer also gave us Fantasia and Just For Laughs and many more music-specific events that Bianca will cover in our Year-In-Review music.

In early fall, Stephanie reported on Ain’t Misbehavin’, a great production at the Sadie. Later, in November, Jordan checked out Pure, an incredible dance performance by Charles Koroneho from New Zealand at MAI.

Meanwhile, Halloween was definitely sexy this year thanks to Tales from the Crotch, a burlesque play produced in 24 hours, another awesome project by Glam Cam production with the participation of our awesome Jessica!

Visual Arts

A different type of event happened at Café Zosha early this year. Music for 12 Domestic Lamps was an interesting installation and performance using lamps and sounds reviewed by the lovely Naakita! She also went to discover the new exhibit at the DHC Art Foundation where artist Thomas Demand filled up the gallery with an installation of animations and photographs.

nuit blanche outside

Taymaz shared his thoughts with us on photography as well as the art of love for Valentine’s day. He also reviewed The See by Jessica McCormack, a beautiful book with great artwork and covered Chinese art and it’s importance in today’s art world.

March brought us Nuit Blanche which is always packed with interesting things to do. Naakita took a look at what was happening in the streets while Stephanie reported on her night at the museums.

The 13th edition of the Art Matters Festival also happened in March. The Human Error paintings at the VAV Gallery really impressed Taymaz and Naakita checked out the MAC for their exhibition on abstraction.

Summer came around and brought us a new festival, Mural, a celebration of street art. Local and foreign artists covered a few walls along the Main and its neighboring streets during the St-Laurent Street Festival.

Under Pressure (photo Iana Kazakova)
Under Pressure (photo Iana Kazakova)

Meanwhile, the original graffiti festival Under Pressure had it’s 18th edition in August. This self-funded event run by an amazing team of volunteers is still going strong. The Fresh Paint Gallery, run by the same team, moved to its new location and still showcases great work by many different artists.

More Festivals

A new festival started this year, the Pitch Fest, a celebration of the soccer culture, it happeneed just a few weeks ago. Luminotherapy, the light festival is on until next year so make sure to check out the awesome installations all over the Quartier des Spectacle area.

Looking forward to what 2014 has to bring us, be ready for some more awesome coverage of everything that matters on Forget The Box.

While Montreal may not come close to rivaling the level of fanaticism many European and Latin American cities display toward their soccer teams, there are definitely many devoted enthusiasts of the beautiful game among us. For the first time in North America, an effort is being made to bring them all together. Pitch Fest, Montreal’s newest festival, aims to connect hardcore and casual fans alike through film, visual arts, and music all in celebration of the game of soccer.

Paul Desbaillets, one of the founders of the festival and an avid soccer fan, said the time is ripe for this kind of festival to exist here and he hopes the idea of a soccer-themed festival will spread to other North American cities. Soccer as a cultural phenomenon is becoming very prevalent here, he said, but we don’t really have as much of an outlet for it as other parts of the world.

In a way, the cultural aspect of the game is the true focus of Pitch. It seems as though Desbaillets and his fellow founders really sought to make this a celebration of the fans rather than of the players of the sport. Soccer players are idolized the world over so it’s refreshing to see the focus shifted to soccer’s legions of supporters.

Desbaillets said it was important to not make this just a film festival, but to include other forms of art as well. Photography by Jeremy Patterson, art installation by Alan Ganev, painting by Ruben Ramonda, and visual art by street artist Stikki Peaches, as well as DJ showcases presented by MEG are some of the non-film components of the festival. Desbaillets said all the artwork presented in the festival (all of which are for sale) were specially created for this year’s edition of Pitch.

Additionally, organizers have made a great effort to showcase the cultural phenomenon of soccer from as many viewpoints as possible. Ladies’ Turn, which premiered in North America at the festival, tells of the difficulties Senegalese female soccer players face; Casuals explores the development of a youth fashion movement among UK soccer fans in the 80s. 11 Metri is the story of Agostino Di Bartolomei, legendary captain of Italy’s Roma team who took his own life with a gunshot to the heart.

TRAILER “LADIES’ TURN” – Un film d’Hélène Harder from WENDIGO FILMS on Vimeo.

In a city with as much multicultural diversity as Montreal, it can be difficult to unite soccer fans whose loyalties are fragmented and lie with so many different teams. This festival may prove the one occasion per year when every soccer fan, no matter their allegiance, can share the love of their favourite sport under one banner.

Pitch Fest runs from December 5 to December 7. For a full schedule, see their website.

 

Following my latest article on volunteering, I must now write about my favorite volunteer experience so far which is at the Fresh Paint Gallery!

The Fresh Paint Gallery is an alternative and self-financed project managed by the Under Pressure festival’s team of volunteers. The first gallery opened up in 2011 and was located in an old building on Ste-Catherine which used to host French newspaper La Patrie. The gallery was open in that location for quite a few months, getting as much as 3000 visitors monthly. The gallery is now upstairs at 221 Ste-Catherine E. at the corner of Ste-Elisabeth!

What is this gallery, you wonder? The purpose is to fill in empty spaces along Ste-Catherine and give a chance to artists from Montreal and beyond to fill it up with their art. From the moment you walk up the stairs, you are welcomed by art by Adida Fallen Angel on one side and by Delphine Delas on the other side. The art changes regularly in a very organic fashion as in it will not necessarily change all at once but one room or one wall at a time. It makes it well worth checking out regularly. You might even witness artists in the middle of taking down or putting up some art. The challenge for the artists is really to use the space fully, not just hang a painting on the wall. Most of the exhibits are inspired by graffiti and the street art movement.

The gallery runs by donation, there is a minimum $2 per person required. If you give $5, you will get a CD or a magazine and by giving $10, you will get a poster. There’s also a shop where you can get some prints. Also available is awesome Montreal streetwear with merchandise from the Under Pressure Festival as well as from Artcore.

tshirt

The gallery also hosts conferences on a regular basis. The first one happened during the Under Pressure festival and was about women in Hip Hop culture. The next conference is this Friday, October 18th at 6 p.m. featuring artists such as Emmanuel Laflamme and Shawn Davis, who will discuss learning art in the streets versus art school education. More info here.

Another upcoming event at Fresh Paint Gallery is Beaux Dégâts, an art mashup evening. It started at the old location but is now hosted by Foufounes Electriques due to lack of space at the new location.beauxdegats

Six teams of two to five artists have two hours to paint a canvas after being given a theme and some restrictions. At the end, the public votes by putting their empty beer can in a garbage in front of their favorite piece. The winning team gets to destroy the others’ work! Wednesday, October 23rd will be the 13th edition. Don’t worry if you can’t make it this time, the next one will be Wednesday, November 27th. The event starts at 7 p.m. and there is a $5 entrance fee.

Go check out the gallery whenever you have some free time for some awesome art! If you are interested in volunteering, check out the recruitment page on their website and get in touch with the team or just come say hi!

Fresh Paint Gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The 18th edition of the Under Pressure Graffiti Festival is about to take place over the weekend. After a bit of a scare that the city wouldn’t support the Festival with the usual street closure, it seems that all is now ready to go!

The Festival started in 1995 as an inside event called Aerosol Funk and was founded by Sterling Downey. 18 years later it is the biggest and longest running graffiti Festival in North America, now that is quite impressive! Go Montreal!

The fun has already started. Six teams of artists competed against each other last night at Foufs.

Tonight, there will be a talk about women and hip hop at 630pm at the Fresh Paint Gallery, a pop up gallery located at 221 Ste Catherine E that also plays host to Friday night’s opening party. Entrance for both events is by donation.

During the weekend, the main action will be along Ste-Catherine E. between St-Dominique and Hotel-de-Ville. Live music will be happening from noon both days, with quite a few sets happening through the day all the way up til 7pm on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday.

Want to party a little, make sure to pop in the Cabaret UnderWorld on Saturday night from 9pm onwards for a minimal $5 entry. Of course, there will be an official after party at Foufs on Sunday night.

There will also be a breakdance competition happening Sunday afternoon from 3 to 5, which should be quite impressive!

You can find out more information and detailed set times at UnderPressure.ca

Come out and support this great event!

Wow! How much fun was the MURAL Festival!

What a success for a first edition, everything was well set up and everyone looked very happy. St-Laurent was packed with people Friday and Saturday, a beautiful sight. A sight which is one of the reasons for the festival, to evelop and upgrade the Main by bringing people back to it.

The SDBSL (Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent) has a five year plan with the MURAL Festival which is very exciting! It’s great to see new concepts and innovative ideas such as this one and to also see the support from the city and the shop owners. There are a lot of empty walls all over St-Laurent and many talented artists out there so it won’t be hard to do it again.

So what happened during the Festival?

20 murals were painted by international and local artists
Many activities on the street and random live music acts
Spotlight on an underground culture, street art, for the general public
A rare opportunity to see artists paint in the daylight and in front of the public
A chance to observe incredible techniques and the progression of the pieces over the days
4 days of no cars on St-Laurent, always a pleasure to walk in the middle of the street with no cars around and so much more

mural fest montreal

Friday night was the vernissage at Station 16 gallery featuring festival artists. There were some very interesting pieces.  The art is still up and well worth checking out!

On Saturday afternoon I joined the walking tour given by urban artist Cam Novak. What a great tour, full of information. It was nice to find out about the different artists, their styles, the street art scene in Montreal and so much more. Finding out about the inspiration behind some of the walls was probably my favorite aspect of the tour. Check out Cam’s Facebook page for more tours coming up this summer.

What’s great about the Mural Festival is that the work from the different artists is available to everyone all the time, the new museum of Montreal is open-aired along St-Laurent.

All of the murals are between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal, starting South with Reka One (from Australia) who painted the back of the Hotel 10. As you go up St-Laurent you will find eight murals around the parking lot just before Prince Arthur, a massive one by Montreal’s collective En Masse as well as a very interesting 3D mural by Montrealer Jason Botkin and many others.

phlegm mural montreal

Escif from Spain painted a very precise lock with the word Barré (locked) as his first mural in North America on St-Dominique just up from Sherbrooke. The idea behind it is a political reflection on the fact that we are all in a hidden jail without real liberties.

If you keep going up, you will see A’Shop’s wall at the corner of Des Pins. The collective is one of Montreal’s most respected and have been doing graffiti for 25 years. You can see some of their work in NDG as well. On this wall, there is a grandmother with a paint can, showing  that street art and graffiti is accessible to everyone and all can enjoy it! A great message as graffiti is too often judged negatively by some.

This is followed shortly after by Omen’s on the left hand side on St-Laurent and then Phlegm’s very detailed and precised murals. The bar Frappé is now covered by Ricardo Cavolo’s colorful art. The very trippy wall by collective WZRD GNG is at the corner of Bagg street.

On the East side of the street, you’ll find Other’s wall with the Paria Crew’s wall at the corner of Duluth. The face on Other’s wall (mural on Napoleon corner St-Laurent) belongs to a homeless man he met in Ottawa who asked him to bring him back with him to Montreal as he’d been stuck in the capital for too long. Other told him he couldn’t take him back but took some photos of him and brought back his face to the city! Other is a well known and respected street artist who’s been doing graffiti in Montreal for about 25 years.

Stare, Montreal’s King of graffiti since 1996, is on Marie-Anne on the North side, straight across is an interesting piece by A Squid called Sebastian.

The last two murals are some of the largest of the Festival:

roa mural montreal

 

Roa, a world renowned artist from Belgium is inspired by animals from the country where he is painting. His mural on Clark between Rachel and Marie-Anne is of a Buffalo. It’s his way of bringing an animal that used to be all over this part of the world to the people of the city.

On top of the buffalo, he painted a polar bear, an endangered species as well. Maybe he’s sending a message that if we are not careful, the polar bears will disappear as well. 

Also on Clark just before Mount Royal is Pixel Pancho’s amazing robot.

Along the way, you can also take detours through the many alleyways and see more work by a big variety of street artists. Check out the walls behind Greenlight Gallery, beautiful stuff!

Montreal is really lucky to have had this Festival, can’t wait for next year’s edition!

As of Thursday night, Citizen Vintage, (5330 St-Laurent) will be hosting the vernissage of the Snapshot Project for a few days.

The Snapshot Project was thought of last September by Cleo and Christyna, both new to Montreal. The girls figured this would be a great way to get acquainted with the city and to understand it better through the eyes of strangers with a disposable camera.

The girls applied for a grant with FASA (Fine Arts Student Association), bought 40 disposable cameras and dropped them off with instructions in over 25 locations around the Plateau, Outremont, Rosemont Petite-Patrie and Ville-Marie. Among the places hosting the cameras were Pikolo Espresso Bar, Lapin Presse, Flocon Espresso and many more. The instructions were very simple, pick up the camera, take a photo of whatever and wherever and then bring back the camera.

A month later, Christyna and Cleo picked up the cameras, they collected 31 cameras, very impressive number!

The result is 463 pictures which took 6 hours to install in the shop. The photos are displayed in a way to look like a constellation. The only editing that was done was removing the photos which were too dark or were double. Apart from that all the photos made the cut!

What a clever and simple idea! The result is very cool, the photos are very interesting, some are beautiful shots. Some people took the camera up the mountain or on top of buildings with awesome views of the city.

Disposable cameras are rarer and rarer these days, there were two at the vernissage for people to enjoy. I took a few shots and enjoyed turning the little wheel to be able to take the next shot. It was also refreshing not to be able to see my shot!

The photos will be taken down on Monday so go in this weekend and take a look!

If you miss out on the exhibition, don’t despair as the photos will soon be online, http://snapshotproject.tumblr.com/ , so keep an eye out for them in the future.