ana jovmir at theatre st catherine

On January 19th Montreal photographer Ana Jovmir debuted her ambitious new series What’s the Problem at Theatre St-Catherine. The series is comprised of photographs from a diverse group of individuals who each tell their own distinct story; I’m passionate. I’m angry. I’m ready for change.

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Erica

With this series, Jovmir stepped away from her usual fashion and commercial photography work to create something much more intimate. Using friends and acquaintances as models, all the shoots were improvised.  “As they stepped in front of the lens, I asked them to tell me about the things that piss them off. Things they’d want to change in themselves or their environment. And we just went from there,” Jovmir said.

So what inspired Jovmir to create a photo series based on the idea that anger and disillusionment can lead to creativity and positive change? “Often our freedom of creation is restricted by the society that surrounds us,” Jovmir explained. ”This project is about making people think what’s important to them. I’m hoping it inspires people to act on the things that they care about in a positive way.”

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Rosemary

The theme behind What’s the Problem is a noble but quite broad one. Therefore certain photos in the series work better than others. It’s not that any of the photos in the What’s the Problem series are bad. Rather two photos in particular stand out for both perfectly embodying the theme of the show, and their immediate emotional impact.

Erica doesn’t just stand out because of the model’s beauty. Rather it’s her charisma and self-confidence that gives the photo a sense of energy. “I know what I want and am NOT afraid to go out and get it,” the photo seems to say.

Rosemary meanwhile is the only two person photo in the series. Immediately upon viewing the photograph one can see it speaks the most to What’s the Problem is trying to express. With only their eyes visible, both models represent that youthful determination that caring for a cause can elicit real change. It’s easy to imagine these two models just returning from a student strike protest.

In reviewing the photos for this series, it’s clear to see that Ana is a talented photographer with a long career ahead of her. Let’s hope she continues to take on interesting personal projects as well for a long time to come.

What’s the Problem will be on display until March 13th at Théâtre Sainte-Catherine, 264 Rue Sainte-Catherine E.

For more information connect with Ana via her website, on Facebook or Tumblr

Photos by Ana Jovmir and Manikmati. Used with permission

 

Aftermath. by Andrea Dworkin. presented by Waterworks Theatre, Montreal.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Andrea Dworkin’s death. On September 26th, 2015 she would have been 69 years old. Opening on September 17th and running until the 27th, Montreal Theatre company Waterworks will be presenting a world premier full staging performance of Aftermath.

Based on a text written by Andrea Dworkin after her drug-rape in Paris in 1999. Her life partner, well known author and activist John Stoltenberg, found the original document on her computer.

“…what I discovered was a 24,000-word autobiographical essay, composed in twelve impassioned sections, as powerful and beautifully written as anything Andrea ever wrote. It was searingly personal, fierce and irreverent, mordantly witty, emotionally raw. It was also clearly not a draft; it was finished, polished as if for publication.”

The piece was edited and cut in half to about 90 minutes and directed by Stoltenberg and Dworkin’s longtime friend and collaborator Adam Thorburn. It was performed as a staged reading in New York by Maria Silverman in May of 2014. “At each step in putting this theater project together, I have wished I could talk with Andrea about it. I would want to tell her how the words she showed no one are now reaching and affecting audiences in live performance,” Stoltenberg writes.

The Montreal production is being directed by Waterworks artistic directors Tracey Houston and Rob Langford and being performed by Montreal actor Helena Levitt as Dworkin.

We’ve heard of this type of story before, more recently with the Bill Cosby allegations and Jian Ghomeshi spectacle where the victim’s creditability was brought into question. “If she can’t remember everything, then maybe it didn’t happen.” It was so long ago, maybe she’s a little sketchy on the details” ad infinitum.

In the text, Dworkin refers to the drug Rohypnol and GBH. “This isn’t an aspirin in your drink. It’s not like getting drunk. It’s not like getting high. This is so easy for the boy. This is so simple for the boy. This is foolproof rape. The gang who can’t shoot straight can do this kind of rape. You can do this hundreds of times with virtually no chance of getting caught. I think how easy this evil is to do.” She goes on to describe how powerless one is to fight back from this kind of rape even after the fact, when there is no memory to report or very little if any evidence left behind.

Aftermath is a very passionate, personal account of Dworkin’s life, family, work and thought process that very few people not familiar with her writings have yet to see or be aware of. Stoltenberg explains, “[Dworkin’s] stirring writing ranges dramatically over many themes—her aspirations when she was young, her erotic and romantic relationships, the marriage in which she was battered, her understanding of the connection between Jews and women, her take on President Clinton’s behavior, her deep commitment to helping women, her critique of women who betray women. And the fact that Aftermath is acted means audiences get to hear an emotional dimensionality in Andrea’s voice that in life she shared only with me and her closest friends—trenchant and oracular, as the public knew her, but also tender, sardonic, sorrowful, vulnerable, funny.”

Rob Langford and Tracey Houston, founders of Montreal’s The Waterworks Company (Palace of the End, Gidion’s Knot, Glory Dazed), a troupe committed to staging the best of contemporary playwriting by women, found out about Aftermath last year from Stoltenberg’s Twitter feed, Langford contacted Stoltenberg, proposing to give Aftermath its first full staging here in Montreal.

Aftermath runs September 17th to 27th, 2015, at the Centre culturel Georges-Vanier, 2450 Workman, Little Burgundy, a couple of blocks northeast of the Atwater Market. METRO: Lionel- Groulx.

A special première takes place on September 17th at 8pm; the show runs over the next two weekends Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 4pm. Post-show talkbacks, with special guests, will take place throughout the first weekend.

Admission is $18 / $13 (buyer chooses price). Tickets are available, via Eventbrite, 
at waterworksmontreal.com, or at the door.

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La Nuit Tribe | Dévoilement de la programmation from Centre Phi | Phi Centre on Vimeo.

In the mist of all festivities taking place during La Nuit Blanche, Centre Phi will be hosting La Nuit Tribe, a series of live shows, visual arts and comfort food, in other words the place to be. Headliners will be none other than A Tribe Called Red AfrotoniX and Arthur Comeau.

To start the evening, cinephiles will be happy to know A Tribe Called Red have selected Rhymes for Young Ghouls by Jeff Barnaby for your viewing entertainment. You will also be treated to a live installation created by street artists Swarm and Red Bandit and a video installation by Red Bandit.

The night wouldn’t be complete without some serious evening snacks. Comfort food will be prepared by Manitoba restaurant for all the foodies and hungry people out there.

This is winter and this is Montreal, so expect the place to fill up fast. You, however, can guarantee your spot as FTB and Centre Phi are giving away two tickets. All you have to do to participate in this giveaway is:

1)Like both the Centre Phi  and Forget the Box pages on Facebook,

2) Comment on this post by letting us know what you like most about winter in Montreal (yes, sarcasm is acceptable).

3) Hit the share button

We’ll announce the winners of the draw on Friday the 27th and tickets will be available the evening of the event at Centre Phi.

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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

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As you may remember, we recently covered the opening night of Igloofest. It was awesome, but freezing. They don’t call it ‘Igloo’fest for nothing!

If you don’t happen to have one of those epic 80s-90s fluorescent ski-suits, or a dinosaur onesie, you can still go to the festival, wearing a more casual attire, and hit the dance floor. So lets get right into it. image4xl

The trick? Layers. For all the new comers to the frozen lands, layers are a good – if not the best – way to avoid discomfort in harsh winters. If you have a pair of snowpants, put them on, and do it now! If you don’t, wear a pair of heat holders or “long-johns.” It will do the trick. This should keep you warm on a daily basis – and you will need this extra warmth six months per year.

A funky toque, a scarf, and a good pair of gloves – the classic winter attire, and voila! You are good to go. Another thing you can do is picking up some heat packs for both your hands and your feet at your local pharmacy, or purchase it at the festival.

The point is, layer up folks but don’t over do it, it could be counter productive if you do.

Keep the warm wine flowing, and get your dance moves on. Worst case scenario, they also play some music indoors. Canadian winter is no joke. So suit up, and get ready to dance!

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Concordia University’s Department of Theatre will debut their production Attawapiskat Is No Exception, an original play conceived in response to 2011’s housing crisis at the Attawapiskat reserve in northern Ontario.

The play is influenced by the historical events and cultural practices of three northern First Nations communities: Sayisi Dene of Manitoba; Lake St. Martin, Manitoba; and Attawapiskat Cree Nation. It draws attention to the problems surrounding living conditions on northern First Nations Reserves, and enacts the troubled relationship between native leaders and non-native policy makers.

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Broad-based research about First Nations issues was carried out by all participants in the early stages of collaboration during the fall semester. Students involved in the production took a required course about First Nations dramaturgy, co-taught by Favel and Neuerburg-Denzer. In addition, Karl Hele, chair of First Peoples Studies at Concordia, gave an in-depth lecture on land rights, and participation in such activities as a visit to Kahnawake’ s Cultural Center, Mc Gill’s First Peoples Week, and the March for the Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women aided students in their research.

First Nations theatre is a new research field for Neuerburg-Denzer, whose area of study has focused extensively on emotion studies for performers. “Through the research and creation of Attawapiskat is No Exception, I expressly aim to help conserve and develop knowledge specific to Canada’s First People” she says, “so that the relations between native and non-native individuals and groups might be improved.”  Floyd Favel is a theatre and dance (contemporary and native traditional) director, performer, writer and teacher from Poundmaker Reserve in Saskatchewan. He is currently in writing and co-producing a feature length film, Sweet Cherry Wine, that will be performed entirely in Cree.

There will be a roundtable discussion after Saturday’s matinee performance about the issues raised by “Attawapiskat” and the ways the performance addresses the intersection between aboriginal and “western” playmaking strategies, including the special responsibilities of a predominantly non-native co-creative team. The roundtable will be moderated by M.J. Thompson (Art Education) with Floyd Favel, Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer, Karl Hele, Anik Sioui and Emilie Monnet of Odaya Drum Group, Chelsea Vowel (activist blogger and Cree instructor) and the student actors Tyson Houseman and Brefny Caribou-Curtin. A talk back session with the cast and designers will take place directly following the Friday night show.

Attawapiskat Is No Exception runs April 2 to 5 at 8pm, April 5 and 6 at 2pm at D.B. Clarke Theatre (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. West). Tickets ($10 regular, $5 student) available at the door or in advance. To purchase tickets, email  your name, phone number, number of tickets requested, and the date and time of performance.

 

Photo by Andree-Lanthier

As someone deeply passionate about the silver screen, most people assume I’ve seen every film ever made. While I’m confident that I’ve seen a far greater number and variety of films then my average contemporary, the 1992 adaptation of the David Mamet play Glengarry Glen Ross is not one of them. So going to a production of the play this past Saturday meant that I was able to view the story of the sordid dealings of a Chicago real estate office with fresh, un-tainted eyes.

Over the past two years that I’ve covered plays at The Segal Center  I’ve always been thoroughly impressed with the set design, and this time was no different. In a play your actors live in the limited environments you create for them, and it’s made me realize that set design is one of the crucial elements to a successful production. For mastering this I tip my proverbial hat first to the set and costume designer Michael Eagan.  In the first act we meet all the characters in a Chinese restaurant, designed in this beautiful deep red. Then the second act plays out in the cold, broken, over head lighting of the real estate office where the characters work. Even the chaos of the vandalized office was put together perfectly.

Having watched Road to Avonlea  as a child, I was most excited to hear that R.H Thomson would be in this production. His character Shelly Levene is supposed to be a once successful salesman who’s now down on his luck and desperate for good leads. Thomson made his Shelley more manic then pathetic and the profanity laced Chicago accent felt a little forced at times. Thomson was good, but I felt he was trying a little too hard to be great.

I was also a bit disappointed in MikePaterson’s performance. Perhaps I’m bias because I know how good he is at comedy and selling the audience on his loud, exuberant personality. So in contrast seeing Paterson as the timid client George Aaronow was a bit of a let down. I’d be curious to read what others thought of his performance.

For me the stand out performance of the night came from Graham Cuthbertson. As office manager Jon Williamson he was engaging without being showy, which I think is an impressive feat in a play; it’s tempting to be as over the top as possible on stage. The program says that Cuthbertson is a staple of Segal Center productions, so I’m excited to attend future productions that he’s involved with.

My final tip of the hat goes to the great man David Mamet himself. This production of Glengarry Glen Ross is not perfect, but absolutely worth seeing for an evening of professional actors reciting this amazing dialogue. Who could of thought that watching a group of alpha-males scream phrases like “You’re a cunt!” at each other for two hours could be so darn entertaining.

Glengarry Glen Ross runs until March 30th at the Segal Center. Get your tickets here.

Photo by Andree Lanthier.

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Last Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with local rock trio Alexei Martov who were fresh from their live performance on CJLO. In light of their upcoming show opening for Vancouver garage rock duo The Pack Ad, we chatted about recording, their evolving sound and what they are listening to these days.

Alexei Martov is Martin Bradstreet (voice, keys, guitar) and brothers Matt (bass, double bass) and Jonah Dorfman (drums). Since our last interview a year and some ago, Alexei Martov has been quite the productive act playing a slew of shows. Just last week they played a show at The Bitter End in New York City and  are opening this Wednesday at Casa Del Popolo. They’ve also recently released a live off the floor video by director Ryan McDowell and talented sound engineer Justin Wiley. This “Night Drive” video was shot in Alexei Martov’s practice space and studio where they are hoping to shoot other bands for a live video series.

Alexei Martov has been working industriously on their first album which they recorded in Chicago with Steve Albini, known for recording Nirvana (and being friends with Lil Bub). During their days at Albini’s studio, Electrical Audio, Martin, Matt, and Jonah were playing ten to thirteen hours a day an experience that the three of them found transformative:

“It allows an awareness of playing music outside of yourself,” describes Matt, “Whereas normally its like a first person interaction but to sit down and listen to what you just played and then go back and play it again and start all over again. You relate to it at once as a performer and as a listener in a way that is very educational.”

Although they had already organized to record with Albini, Alexei Martov decided to record their high-powered single, “Way of The Crow”, with Howard Billerman at hotel2tango.

“You can’t not record a track like that when you are ready to. Even now, to get into the state of mind, the level, where the track was recorded in is difficult. Just with that song. To get into the state where you basically puke your vocal chords on stage,” Martin explains, “When we recorded it, the takes were okay but they didn’t get really good until I didn’t have anymore left and then they started to get really good. I’m glad we did it at that time.”

In the past, Alexei Martov’s tunes fell under the blues rock label, a moniker which at the time felt appropriate and was easy for people to conceptualize, explains Jonah. Their new material seems to be moving towards the psychedelic alt rock realm with their sound opening itself up to a more diversified audience.

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“Now we are getting into a territory where we can see how we interact as musicians together and what are the more interesting aspects of our sound,” Martin illustrates. “ I think that the biggest thing is that there are more boxes that we can fit within now. In the EP times if you wanted to listen to a high energy blues rock psychedelic song in the vein of Hendrix we could give you something in the vein of that. But if you weren’t in that mood, we didn’t have much for you. Whereas now, we can go a lot of different places, a lot of different moods.”

These days, Matt has been listening to MF Doom, Derrick Hodge’s bass playing, the Robert Glass Experiment who collaborated with MF Doom, and Yo-Yo Ma. As for Jonah, he usually listens to old blues and folk and lately to Townes Van Zandt. He also had a great time listening to The Pack AD in anticipation to their Wednesday show. Martin has been listening to John Scofield, Medeski, Martin, Wood, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio, and the Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra. Furthermore, Martin has been working on his swing pi

ano playing with pianist Guillaume Martineau and thus is listening to a lot of big band music. Not long ago while  on the road, Alexei Martov listened to Duke Ellington’s The Far East Suite. Jonah describes this experience like listening to James Bond trailing somebody through the streets of Marakesh.

“When we go on tour we go on long drives we often pick something conceptual – a set of albums – to think about and talk about. It becomes this narrative of and intensive conversation about music,” Matt recalls.

Alexei Martov will be going on tour in May and plan to tour pretty much continuously for “as long as we can keep it up,” says Martin.

Catch them this Wednesday March 26 at Casa Del Popolo. Get your tickets here.

Advance tickets 10$ / At the door 13$

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Despite criticism from fans based on interviews, the Heavy Montréal line-up ended up being one that should sell more tickets than its 2013 incarnation. Headlining one of the days, love them or hate them, is Metallica. The other day will go to Slayer, appearing at Heavy MTL for the first time since 2010.

Other featured bands include Lamb of God who were scheduled to play in 2012, but couldn’t. Three Days Grace, Hatebreed and Symphony X clearly show what the festival’s creators meant by going back to their roots. On the punk/rock side of things, The Offspring, Bad Religion and Pennywise are standouts.

In addition to the stellar line-up, a fourth stage was added. Since the festival intends to reach the largest number of people (and considering the event has grown considerably since its inception) is it possible that stages will now serve a greater importance with the farther out stage catering to the rock and punk fans while the two main stages cater to the heavy metal fans.

Another interesting note is the amount of North American artists. While Heavy MTL has always mainly featured artists out of North America with some European bands thrown in (In Flames, Children of Bodom, At The Gates), this year’s Euro flavour comes from Epica and Apocalyptica from Netherlands and Finland respectively.

In an interview with Canoe, Nick Farkas, head of programming said: “In recent years, the festival took a very metal corner and it has put off people to go.” Part of the reason why the festival had a lower attendance in 2013 than it did in 2012 was because of groups such as Avenged Sevenfold headlining and a lack of ‘must-see’ bands. While 2012 had SOAD, Manson, Slipknot and Deftones, 2013 had to settle with Danzig, A Day to Remember and Godsmack. It should be a no brainer why fans chose 2012, myself included.

Tickets go on sale this Friday with weekend passes going for $165 and gold weekend passes for $400.

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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.

 

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For its fifth instalment, the live, late night talk show Night Fight will welcome celebrated screen and stage actor Graham Cuthberston to the Mainline Theatre stage for a special Saturday night edition on February 22. Known for his frequent work with the SideMart Theatrical Grocery and his roles in recent productions such as the Segal Centre’s Sherlock Holmes and The Haunted Hillbilly, Cuthbertson makes a fine addition to eclectic assortment of personalities  who have graced the Night Fight couch.

Graham Cuthbertson Night Fight, Episode Five, will also feature musical guest Chesley Walsh and celebrity chef Antonine Francoeur-Despres, who will regale all with a demonstration of culinary magnificence.

Normally a Friday night affair, this will be the first edition of Night Fight to take place on a Saturday. Come 11 pm, all bets are off. There’s really no telling where host Walter J. Lyng and Musical Director Leighland Beckman will take the show, but it’s bound to be a place of wonderful insanity.

Night Fight has proven itself to be a surreal one-of-a-kind attraction that needs to be seen to be believed. Featuring segments such as the Top 38 List and the occasional knife stunt performed by the very un-trained Lyng, Night Fight combines the classic tropes of late night talk shows with the manic energy of a Vegas variety review.

In only four episodes, Night Fight has already featured appearances by professional wrestlers Giant Tiger, Twiggy and The Green Phantom as well as T.J. Hazelden, star of the hit series Dinner With T.J., burlesque sensation Miss Sugarpuss and professional dancer Stephanie Morin Robert.  In addition, Night Fight has also offered musical performances by local favourites Nick Raz (of the BCASA), Bones Malones and Aaron Ricker.

MainLine Theatre is located at 3997 Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Tickets are $8 regular and $6 for students at the door.

 

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The genuine enthusiasm and energy with which Alessandro Mercurio, the director of Concordia’s upcoming production of Tonight We Play “A Soggetto”, speaks about the show is palpable. It’s obvious that much care and effort has gone into creating a magical world where theatre, in its entirety, can be explored, expanded and celebrated.

Tonight We Play “A Soggetto”—or Questa sera si recita a soggetto in Italian—opens on Wednesday, February 12 at the F.C. Smith Auditorium. Written in 1928, it’s the final part of Nobel Prize-winning writer Luigi Pirandello’s “theatre within theatre” trilogy and is a script that Mercurio has much experience with. As a student at the Accademia Nazionale D’Arte Drammatica Paolo Grassi in Milan, he worked on the play with Massimo Castri, one of Italy’s most renowned Pirandello scholars. With Castri he spent months analyzing the script, something that has also been part of the process with his Concordia cast.

“The script for Tonight We Play ‘A Soggetto’ is a text that you have to change every time you work on it” he explains. “It’s very linked on the present moment. You have to understand who you are, who is your audience, what kind of society will see this show.”

“It’s the story about a company who is playing a play” Mercucio says. For this reason “every actor has to create two characters: the actor involved and that actor’s character.”

“The script is a celebration of theatre,” he continues. “I wanted to celebrate theatre not only as an art but as a physical space.”

The result is a translucent realm of visibility. The actors are always visible to the audience and to each other; their costumes are translucent and there is a transparent curtain which exposes everything behind it. The entire theatre is in want of the audience’s attention.

Mercurio also celebrates theatre by weaving a variety of theatrical forms throughout the show. Each scene will pay tribute to different cultural theatre traditions, such as Commedia dell’arte, German expressionist theatre and Indian shadow puppets.

In one scene, Mercurio uses a miniature puppet theatre and shadow play to subvert associations of largeness and grandeur that are often attached to the opera. This choice also explores another theme of the show: the permeable boundary between fiction and reality. The small-scale puppet theatre is a playful representation of an opera house, but the audience will still experience a display of abundance through the oversized shadows cast on the wall.

The F.C. Smith Auditorium is an intimate theatre, one that Mercurio says is ideal for this show. “The whole space is used. Theatre is the main character.”

Tonight We Play “A Soggetto” plays at the F. C. Smith Auditorium (FC Building, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Loyola Campus) on February 12, 13 and 15, 2014 at 8 p.m., with matinee performances at 2 p.m. on February 15 and 16.

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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.

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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.

 

 

no pants no problem

no pants no problem

The winter blues are definitely in full swing.  Even as days get longer and the warmer weather isn’t quite so much of a distant memory, it’s still so cold in my apartment that I sometimes have to wear mini gloves with the tips of the fingers cut off while typing. In a desperate attempt to warm up, I watch the Fireplace Channel on Youtube to bask in the warming glow on the screen and the sound of the wood crackling.

Yes, it sounds like I need an excuse to get out of the house and get the blood flowing. What better occasion than the return of No Pants, No Problem, a socially conscious underwear dance party for a good cause. The premise is simple: drop your pants at the door, dance around in your best boxers, briefs, boyshorts, panties, jock strap or even thong and help support organizations with a mandate to advocate for HIV awareness and sexual/gender rights. No Pants, No Problem isn’t just a fun, underwear dance party, it also provides a politicized space for challenging ourselves around our own understandings of gender, sexuality and HIV.

As much fun as it is to dance around your apartment in your underwear, let me tell you that it’s even more fun at a bar, in this case Little Italy’s Il Motore (179 Jean-Talon West).  You can leave your pants at the on-site pants check, but make sure to come early to secure your spot as it filled up around midnight last time.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, there will even be a kissing booth on site for you to practice your lip-locking for the big kissing contest.  If you’re lucky enough to be leaving the party with a fellow sexy pantsless dancer, make sure to visit the safer sex/harm reduction booth first for free condoms, gloves and other goodies.

Tunes for the evening will be provided by resident DJ Like the Wolf, playing a sweet mix tape of classic and contemporary tracks that’s sure to keep the dance floor nice and sweaty. Also heating up the night will be a series of sexy burlesque performances from members of Glam Gam Productions.

No Pants, No Problem was founded as a community building event in 2004 and has also appeared in Toronto, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Vancouver, New York City and Mexico City. They also made their debut at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC last year.  It is a unique and safe space for people for of all orientations to release their inhibitions about body image and sexuality. Their goal is to help build and bridge communities while challenging the binary sexual and gender norms that dominate mainstream culture.

The cover charge is $10 or $5 if you check your pants, although no one will be refused for a lack of funds.  The space is fully wheelchair accessible.  For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

 

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 Earlier this summer, I began journeying back into the world of poetry reading, a scene I had exited almost five years ago, and attended one of Montreal’s new reading series organized by local poet Klara Du Plessis at the lovely Resonance Cafe. Jon Paul Fiorentino was one of two featured readers and took to the stage at the end of the event. I’m not sure what caught my attention first, the wit in his poetry, or the copy of Hello Serotonin that he threw right by my head as part of his performance. Let’s call this a very memorable first impression indeed.

Fiorentino is a young author with an impressive body of work including full length books, contributions to literary anthologies, radio essays, scholarly articles and criticism. His past full length books of poetry and fiction include Indexical Elegies (2010) Stripmalling (2009), soon to be produced into a feature length film, Asthmatica (2005), Hello Serotonin (2004), Transcona Fragments (2002). He is currently a professor at Concordia University where he teaches creative writing.1289851_10151640572503297_849750968_n

After my encounter with Jon Paul Fiorentino at the Resonance Reading Series, it seemed that we kept bumping into each other around the city at local shows and poetry readings. After a little while, I decided it was time for me to read one of his books. On September 8th, Fiorentino is launching his latest book of poetry entitled Needs Improvement.

Needs Improvement is Fiorentino’s sixth collection of poems. In these pages, Fiorentino takes a critical look at the language of education and the way in which pedagogy coerces and enforces certain types of performances. Split into three sections, Needs Improvement, is satirical, witty, and ironically educational in the ways of  poetry and language. Of the collection, “Lowerhand”, “The Report Card of Leslie Mackie”, ‘Guide for Taking the Exams’ and “Open Source” are standouts. Furthermore, the schemas used in the ‘Pedagogical Interventions’ section are poignantly tongue-in-cheek and a treat for those familiar with the seminal works of Foucault, Butler, Freud, and more.

In light of the launch, I had the chance to quickly interview Jon Paul Fiorentino about his writing process, his wit, and Needs Improvement.

Poets you admire/enjoy currently?

JPF: David McGimpsey, Darren Wershler, Darren Bifford, Margaret Christakos, Sina Queyras, Ken Babstock, Christian Bok, Mike Spry, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Jessica Grim, Catherine Hunter, John K Samson. I am happily all over the map.

What is your writing process like?

JPF: Drink, cry, write, rinse, repeat.

What inspires you generally, and more specifically when it came to writing Needs Improvement?

JPF: If this book has a “cause,” I suppose it would be anti-bullying. Needs Improvement addresses the way we receive instructional, evaluative, and pedagogical language. It reveals how teachers are often the worst bullies and it advocates for a space for the marginalized, different, odd.

What would you say was the greatest challenge in writing this book?

JPF: I “wrote” some visual schematics for seminal texts and a series of fake report cards. It was a lot of labour to come up with a design that looked like grainy photocopies of 1980s report cards. The schematics were fun to do, but also very labour intensive. Graphic design is one of my unhealthy habits.

You have an impressive amount of publications under your belt, can you tell us a bit  about your journey thus far as a writer?

JPF: I started young. But I’m glad I did. I am proud of my early books, warts and all. The early juvenilia is still mine and it makes it clear how far I’ve come. I am no longer afraid of saying a thing simply and clearly. Nor am I afraid of letting myself go in the name of linguistic experimentation.

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Wit and comedic ability seem to be at the core of your work, where do you think this comes from? 

JPF: I think I use humour (less so in poetry than in prose) because it’s a natural component of my rhetoric. I was a weird little kid and got picked on a lot. I developed a heightened sense of humour in part because it was the best way to negotiate with bullies. The adult world has even more bullies and I find myself in the unique position of being able to call them out. Humour is an excellent all-in-one tool for disarming thoughtless, evil people.

What would you say has changed in terms of your writing since your last book?

JPF: I think I am more at ease with the idea of the intersection of activism and art in writing. I’ve always believed in this intersection, but I wasn’t always able to be so direct about it in my own practice. I think things changed for me quite recently when I began to write op-eds about things like sexism, depression, mental health advocacy.

Jon Paul Fiorentino launches Needs Improvement on Sunday, September 8, 2013 at Sparrow (5322 Boul. St-Laurent). Readings by Fiorentino and special guests: Jacob Spector, Julie Mannell, Mike Spry, and Jason Camlot. Event website: http://www.chbooks.com/events/sept-8-jon-paul-fiorentino-needs-improvement-montreal-book-launch-2013-09-08