DL Jones

* Featured image by Sylvain Granier, the t-shirt DL Jones is wearing is a collaboration between Jones, Mad Decent, and Off The Hook, available at Off the Hook Downtown, 1021 St-Catherine Ouest

Over the next few months, Ford Donovan will be catching-up with some of the most influential culture-makers in the Montreal music scene with a central question in mind: “What makes Montreal’s music and entertainment industry tick?” Using a combination of old metro cards, loose change, and pleading with cab drivers, Ford will trek around Montreal to talk to artists, record execs, and event planners about what they do to help make Montreal one of the best and brightest artistic scenes in the world.

Today’s guest is one of the biggest names in Montreal’s entertainment and nightlife landscape, DL Jones. Leading the charge for Diplo’s label Mad Decent in Montreal, as well as working with Arcade Fire on the fundraising event series Naïve Melodie, DL is a busy guy who takes his ‘fun’ very seriously. I met-up with him at Café Olimpico for an Americano (no milk or sugar) and a discussion about his role at Mad Decent, the importance of creative relationships, and the “meaning of cool.”

FORD: What would you say DL are the core factors that give life to Mad Decent, both inside the context of Montreal, but also beyond it?

DL: Well… I’d say it’s kind of when you get things coming out of left field. The creativity of everything we do… It’s just kind of thinking outside of the box; from the presentation and aesthetic, to the music itself. It’s really hard to peg just one factor. A lot of the artists you’ll see on the label are working in different styles and genres.

FORD: Well, what in your mind defines coming out of left field? I feel like that sensation is different for everyone, so what does it mean to you?

DL: I think one factor is that when you hear something, your first reaction is like, “What the fuck!” [Laughs] But in a good way! It’s like you can feel your brain trying to process the sound and it’s saying, “Okay, this is something new.” When you hear something that sounds too familiar, your brain kind of goes on autopilot. But when you hear something new, the reaction in your head is unmistakable.

FORD: What would you say that you value most about the Mad Decent community? That could be anything from the people that you work with, to the artists that you work with, the events you organize…

DL: I think it’s exactly how you put it – it’s a community. Internationally, those little pockets that Diplo’s developed all over the world kind of shows how we’re all like-minded people. You know, the label just started block parties in India – that’s pretty far away. But when you look at the footage from the party, you see that these are kids goin’ off the same way we do. To be able to reach those pockets all over the world, and to find communities that all appreciate this kind of music, and can get turnt to it just the same, is pretty cool.

FORD: When did you first get involved?

DL: That was about eight years ago. Diplo’s first show in Montreal was with Chromeo, actually. And we met, and kind of hit it off, and I took him to an after party. I had just started doing parties during that time as well, and just kept in touch. And I’ve been doing most of his bookings here since. It kind of evolved naturally.

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FORD: It seemed to just grow out of a personal relationship, a friendship.

DL: Yeah, totally.

FORD: Would you say that personal connection is important with the people that you work with?

DL: I think it’s the most important thing. When you build that friendship, that’s when things get really exciting, you can really vibe with someone. If it’s too much of a formal situation, you’re not as driven to “get weird.”

FORD: So I guess it’s kind of good to move past those initial formalities.

DL: It’s hard to put those crazy and fun ideals on a resume. When you already have that bridge built with someone, there’s that rapport that’s a bit more immediate.

FORD: It’s also sort of an intangible thing though, isn’t it? Like, you can’t really force creativity.

DL: Yeah, exactly.

FORD: In what ways would you say that your position ‘changes’ at Mad Decent? At a more corporate institution, tasks and roles are very much assigned. I’m wondering in what ways a creative enterprise works differently?

DL: My job, first and foremost, is to blow it up here as much as possible. Slowly but surely, I’m able to introduce acts that I think are cool, with an emphasis on Montreal artists, trying to further diversify the label, and at the same time, trying to expand our image as much as possible.

FORD: It’s interesting you’ve mentioned the word ‘cool’ a few times. It seems that a big part of your job is to make a call on what’s cool and what’s not. How does that decision-making process even work?

DL: The best I could do with that is just to say that it’s all a matter of gut feeling. I’ve been doing parties for a while now, and if I get excited about something – even though it’s super subjective – that’s what I go with.

FORD: So after that initial gut feeling, what’s the next step?

DL: You just get a feeling about something, and then you try to see how you can spread that gospel. When I’m excited about something, it’s a big part of my job to make everybody else excited, too.

FORD: Kind of the age-old question, but from your perspective, do you find that the business side and the cultural-artistic side of the entertainment industry are constantly at odds with each other?

DL: Yeah, it’s kind of an age-old thing. You basically keep trying to convince a group of people that something’s cool, and once it is, they try to take it away from you. But you don’t want to be a ‘bandwagoner’ either, you know? In terms of trends, you kind of just always want to be on the forefront of everything. By definition, being at the forefront of something means constantly trying to convince people that something’s about to pop off. Really, it’s just a bunch of factors both on the business and artistic side of things, and my job is just to try and make everything gel.

FORD: Why might Montreal be such a constant hub for creativity?

DL: Well, for one, it’s a very transient city. Rent is very cheap. I think a lot of artists can live here and not have to do that much in terms of finding another job to pay the bills. It’s also close to New York, it’s close to Toronto, and so the actual location of the city is really important, too. There’s a pretty tight community here. I think artists support each other well, so that’s a big factor.

FORD: And finally, what is your favourite song, favourite album, and favourite artist?

DL: That’s a tough one! Album, I’d probably say Illmatic, artist I’d say Marvin Gaye, and song – that one I’ll have to get back to you on. Actually, I’m listening to that new Kanye album a lot right now. It’s great, because it’s kind of a mish-mash of everything he’s done so far.

A big thank you goes out to DL for taking the time to sit down with Forget The Box. Look out for the next Mad Decent House Party on April 21st at Newspeak, featuring Walshy Fire of Major Lazer

Cakes da Killa at PHI center in Montreal

Last Saturday, FTB  went to see the 25 year old Jersey rapper  Cakes da Killa at PHI Center. The show opened with WASIU ft. Dear Lola & KD II Times.

It started off with a small crowd until Cakes took over, dressed in Rad Hourani and ready to turn the heat up. His performance was strong, carefree and intense and featured some of his old tracks such as Serve it up, Goodie Goodies and Truth Tella.

The crowd got the chance to vogue with him. When he finished, the crowd was left wanting more!

Click on the image below to open the gallery:

Cakes Da Killa @ Centre Phi

*Photos by Bianca Lecompte

Cat McCarthy Burlesque

“Why aren’t we getting finger banged in a church parking lot right now?” I asked my burlesque dancing brethren.

I walked into a restaurant in full glitter makeup with another performer, Max Darling. The cashier started talking to us because she recognized that we were Stripteasers. A few minutes into our conversation she said “Thank you!” I asked for what?

She explained that the first time she watched one of our shows she also happened to be on her first date with her current boyfriend. They were both so turned on by our show that they ended up getting dirty in a church parking lot afterwards.

I was jealous, I never get any action due to my show, I just end up tired and eating dinner at 3 am alone. I want to get finger banged in a church parking lot, dang nabbit!

We are sex facilitators

Party2People are always having more fun than me. I feel like it’s nearly impossible to have a bustling sex life when you are a burlesque dancer. Our confidence scares the shit out of most people. It seems like the only people who have the balls to hit on us are absolute creeps or fawning fans that are just plain doing it wrong.

I am in the business of making everyone else horny, which is great, but by the time I change into my street clothes and count my money the party is over. We are sex facilitators.

It feels good to go to an event and not be performing, hosting, or volunteering it. Just to let loose and enjoy yourself for once. Generally, I will go to a cool art event once and then be like “omg I have to be part of this! I have so many ideas” then that’s it, I’ll never really enjoy it the same carefree way ever again. That’s how I became a burlesque dancer and festival organizer.

To serve and entertain

I am also a bartender. Again, being paid to bring the party to the people. To serve and entertain. Midnight. New Year’s Eve. Everyone else is about to have their kiss and I’m pouring champagne. Missing the party cuz I am the party. Someone needs to stay at least sort of sober to make it all run smoothly.

July 3rd parties at my parents house were always my one big shin dig of the year. It was tough because I had to stay sober enough to keep shit under control. The neighbours and my mom still got mad, half my friends would be naked in the pool and the other half passed out drunk on good times and strong as fuck jungle juice.

Cat McCarthy

This year was the first year since high school that I did not throw the party and my friends were shocked. It was bittersweet. I went to a music festival instead and got crazy and enjoyed myself fully. I mean it was cool to have an annual party that people looked forward too, but I couldn’t hang anymore.

One day it might be nice to step back and let someone else take the stage

I’m either too tired to party or ready to party when everyone is too drunk. I recently hosted and performed at an art party called Peepshow. The end of the night was approaching and our show had killed it. The peenyata (giant phallic piñata) was smashed and the keg was nearly kicked over. People were dancing their faces off, smiling and cheering. Then, over in the corner on the squishy beanbag-like tentacles, was a pile of tired and heavily glittered burlesque dancers. We had once again given it our all.

Backstage Performers

Work to live not live to work. Working during shows or family outings is the worst. I love my job, don’t get me wrong. I do all of my jobs with absurd passion or I don’t do them at all. I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

But one day it might be nice to step back and let someone else take the stage. Let them entertain me. Let someone else hang their art, dance to their own beautiful beat, and most importantly, serve me drinks.

But that day is not today. The show must go on and it will be fantastic. It’s what I breathe. It’s my life and inspiration.

Miguel Legault Piknic

Piknic Electronik is opening this weekend and I am super amped to catch the first show of the year, it’s a sure banger. Werd up. You know how flavourful it can get with all those freshly dressed people dancing hard around that abstract grey steel sculpture— plus Parc Jean Drapeau is lush and spacious.

I’m pumped to catch the Mayssam set, she’s been in New York for a minute, but hails from MTL. Artists who migrate away from home then return almost always throw the best sets. Here’s a sample:

Other acts like Gold Diggerz and The Drifter will be spinning prog house and garage styles into the night. I got a nice pair of shades picked out, it’s supposed to be mad sunny and 25. Right. Find me where the weird kids are and we’ll chill a bit, you know the deal. One.

Photo by: Miguel Legault

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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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Denis Coderre doesn’t mind if Montrealers drink a little bit later. Inspired by Nuit Blanche, he’s calling for proposals on how to allow bars in certain areas to have a closing time of 6am, a full three hours past what it is now.

My initial reaction was surprise. It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest Coderre fan, but letting Montreal bars stay open later is damn cool and something I’ve been hoping would happen for years.

My next thought was one of support for this plan because it makes total sense. Why clog up our streets with a mass exodus of uprooted partiers when you can let people trickle home drunk instead?

Before getting clever and saying that the only downside was for whomever gets royalties from that kinda annoying 90s song Closing Time (I like the Leonard Cohen version better) and calling it a day, I decided to speak with a few people directly affected.

Christine Rigby, who has been bartending for the past 15 years, isn’t sure if the benefits of this idea will outweigh the cons.

bar6“Coderre’s romantic fantasy of allowing people to prolong indulgence as part of the Montreal joie de vivre,” she speculates, “was born of his very controlled experience of the recent Nuit Blanche event. The reality of day to day city life where bars are open until 6am might be escaping him.”

Rigby wonders if the project’s purported economic benefits may not materialize if operating costs and salaries increase to stay open longer while the clientele during the extra hours is significantly smaller. She also questions the public security benefits:

“Anyone who has worked in service,” Rigby argues, “can tell you that people who misbehave when they leave the bars will do so regardless of what time it is.

But she doesn’t rule out that Corerre’s idea may end up working. We just need to be cautious about it.

“I imagine that the experiment is worth trying and that time will tell,” she says, “but overall, once you look past the basic frat boy notion that it’s an ‘awesome’ idea, because who doesn’t want to party all night, the reality is much more complicated and may have less than desirable results.”

But everyone doesn’t go home at 3am under the current setup. Montreal is already home to a vibrant underground after hours scene. Some larger licensed venues stop selling booze at 3am like bars or they don’t sell it at all and others are, well, more underground.

If regular bars remain open until six, it will undoubtedly affect the after hours scene. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the scene will die.

“I think this scene will always be alive,” says afterhours DJ Matteo Grondini, “because it lives on the margins of society. Artists will always have loft parties, trying to live away from the disco-malls.”

Grondini doesn’t feel, however, that police tactics towards unlicensed after hours events will change with an extension of regular bar hours.

bar3“There already is a huge crackdown on illegal venues,” he observed, “I don’t see why they would tolerate them in the future.”

While he admits bars staying open later may attract some of the clientele currently extending their evening elsewhere, Grondini thinks that it really depends on where the 6am closing time is permitted.

“If this pilot project only goes into effect in the Quartier de spectacles and Crescent area, caters only to tourists and is limited to big clubs with 3000 square foot dance floors,” he speculated, “I guess there will still be a market for smaller, illegal afterhours. In fact, that’s what worries me the most. That this project doesn’t cater to the crowd that’s actually going to illegal afterhours but creates another class of consumers who never felt the need to go to bed drunk at 7am.”

The parts of town where this will be permitted is just one of the details that needs to be ironed out. Grondini asked how this will affect bar opening hours, currently legal as of 8am, and the fact that liquor regulation is actually a provincial matter, so Coderre would need to work with Quebec to make it happen.

“We know too little about this possible project to have an opinion on it,” Grondini said. And I agree.

How will this affect taxis, residents, police and others. Will the metro stay open 24 hours on the weekend? I think it should, but given Coderre’s admitted fondness for the taxi industry, I’d be surprised.

But then again, this whole idea caught me by surprise. I still think we should be excited by the prospect, but the true success of such a project is in the details.

UPDATE: The pilot project will go ahead for a few weeks this summer on St-Denis below Sherbrooke and Crescent Street. While certain bars will remain open until 6am, alcohol sales will stop at 3am for this initial phase.

* photos by Catalin Croitoru

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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!

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.

 

mutek

Mutek 2013 is starting tonight. We could make a list of top five acts not to miss at this year’s festival, but we all know you’re too busy and excited to go through all that reading.

This year we decided to go straight to what’s important: the music itself! We made you a playlist that you can enjoy while pre-dinking at your house. We honestly think the Mutek organizers have come up with the most impressive lineup in their history and you should attend ALL of their events!

So, for now, sit back, relax and for the complete schedule head to their website.

 

John Tejada – Operation Photon (original mix)
Michael Mayer – Good Times
Brandt Brauer & Frick – Plastic like your mother (feat. Om’mas Keith)
Andy Stott – Numb
Robert Hood – Dancer
John Talabot – Afrika
John Roberts – Fences
Laurel Halo – Throw
San Proper – Cut your hair
Axel Boman – Purple drank
Juju & Jordash – Doctor Strangepork

 

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So Nuit Blanche is upon us once again and you’re wondering what to do with your night. Well, we have you covered with over 25 activities and shows not to miss. We’ve divided this guide up by area to help you plan your night accordingly. Nuit Blanche is very much about art and local artists and the Belgo building and the underground city are the best place to find this. As everything is so close together I’ll just cover it briefly and suggest that you should definitely check some stuff out. Wander through or hit up the 4 floors of the Belgo for your art fix either before, during or after checking out some of these great activities

 

OLYMPIC STADIUM

NB_RIO_Esplanade_Activité2So I’m going to start my night out here as there are only a few things I want to see and the Olympic Stadium is so far.

1. First stop is dinner at 1st Saturdays. First Saturdays is the time of month that Montreal’s Food Trucks gather to offer their fine cuisine on wheels. Come grab a bite and prepare your tummy for the long night ahead!

2. The new Planetarium will be opening this evening for a special Nuit Blanche pre-launch. Come check it out before it officially opens in a few weeks time. (potentially exterior site only)

3. There is also a Who Done It, Murder Mystery at the Biodome. While there is a fee of 12$ this could be fun.

 

DOWNTOWN

Downtown is a much larger area, but there is shuttle bus service that will be passing regularly to speed you along your way. The Belgo is also in this area so I’ll start with that.

4. The Belgo building is one of Montreal’s best collections of local artists in one space. There are 4 floors with a dozen different studios and exhibit rooms for you to check out. Of particular note is:

NB_Diego_Piccini5. Incarnation 3 – Les femmes fleurs which is a series of long exposure photos of women that turns them into beautiful flowers.

6. MAXX HQ en DS is a clothing art thing where they promise to edit/add some fun pieces to your attire!

7. 10, Coconut Beach Drive is a photo exhibit that will help you beat the winter blues. You can get your photo taken and they will add a beach backdrop to remind you of the warmer months.

8. Edgy All Night Long is the begining of the EDGY WOMEN festival which features strong independent women and focuses on the domain of ART, SPORT & GENDER. (Watch for our feature article on the festival in the next few days)

Near the Belgo building there are a bunch of other fun activities.

9. Bouge De La! – For those of you that remember MusicPlus’ late night dance party show, it’s back! Come dance for a retro good time.

10. Want to eat cake? Bakers at the Carré Confiserie will be building a 10 foot cake and are inviting you to help decorate it. (and then eat it)

11. Herbes dix is an exhibition about herbal plant remedies. If you’ve got a bit of hippy in you, you’ll want to check this out.

12. The Omni hotel will be giving out free cookies & hot chocolate if you happen to pass by.

13. Picollo expresso bar is also doing free tastings if you want a cafein fix.NB_SAT

14. The SAT (Société des arts technologiques) is doing a cool 8-bit exhibit with live music, food and installation that is definitely worth checking out. 3 floors of fun!

15. Montreal’s Contemporary Art Museum always has cool stuff. If you don’t get a chance to go regularly why not take this opportunity.

 

PLATEAU DE MONTREAL & MILE END

While the Plateau is usually the center of Montreal’s art community, it especially is on a night like tonight.

16. Art Matters at the Mainline theatre will be featuring tons and tons of artists each performing super short art, dance & performance pieces.

17. Need a hair cut? Visit Coupe Bizzare for a unique new do!

18. La Cuvée d’hiver – beer tasting is the perfect tasting event to warm your winter evenings. 5$ ish with a reusable cup

19. Jive studio, (rockabilly dancing 2$)

NB_Atelier_Circulaire20. The Postcard Project – Sarah Nesbitt’s “Postcard Project” invites you to rediscover the joys of social networking “the old fashioned way,” using personally designed postcards.

20. Spin and Scratching session (vinyl disc making) – an exhibition of screenprinted vinyl covers by Suzie Smith, and take part in an interactive breakdance performance and drawing session.

 

OLD PORT

NB_centre_histoire21. Qui Va La? Historivcal re-enaction – This year, the Centre d’histoire de Montréal has invited the Compagnie de Lacorne to garrison the museum. Night owls will learn about the daily life of soldiers in New France and watch troops fire musket salvos in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Nuit blanche.

22. Contes de vers (glass blowing)

23. Like/Comment/subscribe (classic youtube vids)

If you’ve got more suggestions leave them in the comments below.
And for a guide to help you get the most of the evening check out our Nuit Blanche Survival Guide!

*Top image Esther Gibbons, where.ca

 

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This Saturday welcomes the tenth celebration of Montreal’s Nuit Blanche. These festivals have been happening all around the world for over two decades now. The goal: to transform a city into an all night art party. With events from dancing to performance to  poetry to visual art, there is something for everyone. This is the one night a year we are shaken out of our homes to experience the city and it’s cultural decadence illuminated.

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Programming is in five different zones: Quartiers de spectacle, Old Montreal, The Olympic Park, The Plateau and Mile End, and even an underground site throughout the metro stations. During Montreal’s all nighter,  the metro will stay open all evening, as well as shuttle buses around the city to get you to and from each happening – clearly you have no excuse to stay in this Saturday! Do your best to plan the night accordingly as there’s lots of ground to cover and lots of hours to fill. After a few fantastic Nuit Blanches in several major cities, I look forward to see what Montreal brings to the table.

Here is my advice on how to get the best out of your Nuit Blanche experience:

1. Plan accordingly! Make a list of the sites you want to visit, plan out your route and double check times to make sure you can get there on time. Most listings include start and end times, as well as the times that the artist is present (if you’d like to get a more immersive understanding of what you’re experiencing). With many things closing at 3 a.m., do your research and check out what you’re really interested in, there is nothing worse than making it across town to be disappointed with the experience.

AS_6_2_C_Bolduc2. While the snow might be melting, let’s not forget it is still winter. The best advice I can give for enduring a full Nuit Blanche is keep warm. You might be bouncing between sites but remember travel time is included, and as the sun goes down it gets chilly. Wear an extra layer or two if you’re trying for endurance this Saturday.

3. If you plan on enduring the entire night – make sure you get enough sleep. Maybe catch a nap, and take the first couple hours off. Getting out a bit later means that the crowd becomes thinner, which allows you to have a more intimate experience as a viewer. If you take this route, make sure you double check times of the events you’d like to get to as some of them aren’t open the full duration of the festival. Remember, the metro is open all night, no reason to rush!

4. Let yourself be fluid. While it’s best to have a plan, it’s okay if you don’t hit each spot on your list right away. You have all night, and there’s tons of beautiful art of each persuasion to experience.

Here are some of the events I recommend Nuit Blanche 2013:

Catherine Bolduc, Labyrinth (Ikea) (Square-Victoria)

Caroline Dejeneffe, La Naissance, La Vie et La Mort (McGill)

Emily Hermant, Hésitations (Bonaventure)

Matériaux Composites and Marie Eve Fortier, Living Room N˚2: L’effet Tunnel (Square-Victoria)

AS_1_4_F_DuboisFrance Dubois, Nébuleuses (Place-des-Arts)

Vincent Ducarne, Still Lives (Square Victoria)

Luminosonicities, Goethe-Institut (Place-des-Arts)

Every Song I’ve Ever Written, Usince C (Beaudry)

The Divine Comedy, Galerie Bac (Beaubien)

Turn on a Dime, Citizen Vintage (Mont-Royal)

Spaces Between, Mainline Theater (Sherbrooke)

 Nuit Blanche at the CCA

You can also download the Nuit Blanche iPhone/Android app for updates.

A happy Nuit Blanche to all!

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A hot new kind of karaoke has been taking cities across the world by storm. Now, this isn’t your run of the mill drunk-people-destroying-good-music type of karaoke. This is hip hop karaoke, and all the cool kids are doing it.

At Hip Hop Karaoke (or HHK) Montreal, there is no screen with the little bouncy ball to help you follow along with the lyrics. In fact, there are no lyrics at all. If you want to get up on the HHK stage, you gotta have that shit MEMORIZED. Just think about that for a minute. Now try to sing even one verse of your your favorite hip hop song out loud, right this minute. It’s hard right? What I’m getting at is that this monthly event at Le Belmont on Saint Laurent attracts some serious talent and is, therefore, more than worth the measly cover charge. So far, I’ve been to the show three times and it has never disappointed. People drink, people dance and, when the performers really nail it, everyone goes wild.

Last time I went to HHK I was really impressed by how many fierce, talented ladies got up on the stage and just fucking killed it. Women folk are notoriously underrepresented in the music world in general, and in the world of hip hop in particular. Seeing that many strong ladies represent at this event made my inner feminist clapp her capable hands and click her sensible shoes with glee. Those dames really blew it up!

So, in honour of the little feminist that lives, or should live, inside us all, I proudly present to you some of the fabulous females of Hip Hop Karaoke Montreal:

HipHop Kareoke-126Nova Kayn and Cat Venture
Age: 26 and 26
Favorite Hip Hop artist: Nova: Wycef Jean and Pharoahe Monch Cat: Eve
Song they performed: It Doesn’t Matter by Wyclef Jean featuring The Rock
Number of times they’ve performed at HHK: Nova Kayn 4, Cat Venture 1

With their eclectic looks and strong, confident vibe, these Montreal natives are a treat to watch onstage. “I love performing,” says Nova Kayn. “Like they say on the HHK site, it’s about taking it from the shower to the stage and just being yourself.”

“What I like about HHK is that If you bring good energy and you give a good show, then you get the same props, the same respect, [as a guy],” says Cat. “Because I’m a woman people think they have jurisdiction to tell me how I should look, how I should act and what I should say. Hip hop is a really cool way that chicks can come up and say what they want. They can be hard with it and be respected for that. Like the Put It In Your Mouth song we heard tonight: that’s a chick talkin about some dirty shit, ya know? And she’s just being real.”

HipHop Kareoke-048MC Donatella
Age: 30
Song she performed: We Run This by Missy Elliot
Favorite Hip Hop artist: Missy Elliot
Number of times she’s performed at HHK: Many

MC Donatella has the kind of deep, husky voice I spent the better part of my youth chain smoking and drinking whiskey trying to get. She’s obviously the kind of woman who doesn’t take shit from anyone. I can tell from the confidence she exudes that she’s no stranger to the stage.

“I really love karaoke. It allows me to be a different person for a night,” she says. “Not everybody can be a professional hip hop artist. This gives us a chance to just let go, have fun and emulate our favorite rappers. And who knows? You might just find the next [big rapper] on our stage.”

HipHop Kareoke-098Baby J and O Swag
Age: 20 and 21
Song they performed: Make Me Proud by Niki Minaj featuring Drake
Favorite Hip Hop artist: O Swag: Warren G Baby J: Jean Grae
Number of times they’ve performed: 5 or 6, always together

O Swag graced the stage wearing a Lady Gaga-esque pink wig and tight little black shorts. She and Baby J (two of the six person team that organizes the events), are both gorgeous twenty somethings that you can just tell have an ear to the ground on all the hippest shit in town.

“My love of hip hop started at the tender age of ten when I heard the song I Like Big Butts,” says Baby J. “I memorized all the lyrics.”

“One of the great things about HHK is that it attracts a pretty significant female crowd and a lot of the participants are female too,” says O Swag. “Last round there were more girls that rapped than guys. That’s rare in the world of hip hop.”

MelissaNepton1

Montreal Fashion Week, also known as Semaine de la Mode Montreal, began its 24th season at its new venue, L’Arsenal, with the aim of rivaling other fashion weeks and becoming known as an international fashion city. Follow along as I go through the high and low lights of the four-day display of Autumn/Winter 2013-2014 collections:

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Fully prepped, gathering up my first look of the week. I’m all leg in a sheer, shaped grey camo sleeveless robe by diesel under a black Tavon & Mitto kimono vest, no tights, and huge platform boots; a foreshadowing of the evening ahead. Camera charged, beer chugged, a new teal ‘do and we are bound for the first show, By Thomas, in the smaller Studio des Createurs par Target. Natasha Thomas, one of five participants in the Target Exchange prize which awards a $25,000 scholarship, a spread in ELLE Quebec, and their winning looks sold in the new Target Canadian stores, came in as colour-faded out in shades of the black rainbow, a huge departure from the preppy-bold hues and safari patterns of last season. Trending shades of pewter pink, red wine spills, pleathers, and revised turtlenecks. Metallic champagne pants alongside other neutrals and creams soothed me instead of rocking me to sleep. A step-up in design for this masculine inspired collections has me ready for what is next in this evolution.

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Finally out of the side room and onto the main stage, Pedram Karimi stole the week right out from under everyone’s stilettos with an earth-shattering show of intergalactic portions. Androgynous earthlings paraded forward in layers of black, white and grey, including silver with splashes of burnt cantaloupe, dark teal, and even a black-out algae crushed velvet coat and fetish inspired caps. Billowing shapes and capes bring this futuristic aesthetic to new heights, and I’m not just talking about the buffalo platform boots. I talked with Pedram about the show in his studio where we discussed his inspiration, textures and how his show captured just enough avant-garde, and just enough consumerism. To read my full praise on his third collection visit Montreal Street Fashion.

A crowd favourite season after season is Melissa Nepton. Her “Equestrius” collection, which was quite graphic, added more white and black, innovative necklines, houndstooth, full body stripes and sheer, voluminous silhouettes. Nepton also unveiled a new line of accessories which was all a very urban take on the usual equestrian influences.

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The evening took a down spill with the last fashion show of the night. Nadya Toto’s florals and drapery patters needed an injection of youth as her collection was out of place with the styling of the show. Dowdy crimped hair and over sized jewels painted a portrait of the rich older woman who finally stepped out of the house and away from her collection of porcelain cats. However, I loved the black frilly jackets similar to that of Martin Lim. The appeal would have escalated had their been a more noire approach to the styling. If there had been added witchery, perhaps a romantic goth poem could have emerged.

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Day Two of Semaine de la mode Montreal was a mix of unfortunate design and intense spectacles. Annie 50 and Symbiose by Hinda a took a more artistic approach, preventing themselves from expanding outside their Mile-end woman’s aesthetic. Nisse took on work wear with tailored jackets and a stand-out plum piece with bow. A collection for any age with leather mini skirts, teal tuxedo jackets, military style coats, and lace frocks that take you from your desk to the nice table at the bar.

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Ralph Leroy clocked in the snooze button with basic suits of bland hues, floor length sequin gowns tacked with a back floor length bow. What saved the show, but not the fashion show, was the integration of a traditional Haitian dance with contemporary ballet. It also helped that the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” himself, Will Smith, was front row as well as Canadian icon Jeanne Beker, who spent the show looking at her phone.

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Fringe, fluidity, and texture: finally some innovative designs. Martin Lim went retro with his big 70’s looks. A little bit of everything with a Sister Mary/Wednesday Adams vibe, full fringe new goth frocks, mixed gold and silver petals, ballooning sheer fabrics in white, black, blue, grey and rose.
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Photos by Tristan Harris for Montreal Street Fashion and Raphaelle Bob Garcia of Bobby Leon.

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As the winter progresses and the winds get harsher, we become more and more inclined to stay cozy through the week and into the weekends… or maybe we just complain more about our country. In spite of our winter lifestyles, Igloofest is doing a pretty good job of getting us out of hibernation. Even in -20˚C weather, the crowds are thick and people are partying as hard as ever. It is pretty novel to suit up in your snow gear to party and play outdoors and Igloofest is the best excuse. I don’t know how to skate, I hate hockey, and I have only had a couple Beaver Tails in my life, but Igloofest makes me feel like a true Canadian!

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This was my second weekend at the festival, this time around I feel like I got to enjoy more of the event and it was awesome. The warm up stations were a blessing on such a chilly night, and were even more appreciated when I realized there were marshmallows being offered! I also took the time to check out the Virgin Mobile Igloo, where the crowd was tighter (and therefore warmer), and the locals were banging pretty impressive beats. Not to mention you get to rave in an igloo.

A Tribe Called RedWe got there just in time for A Tribe Called Red. I’ve seen these guys a few times as they came out of Ottawa, the city I grew up in. The trio is made up of DJ Bear Witness, Dj Shub and Dee Jay NDN. They perform what they’ve dubbed “Pow Wow Step”, mashing up indigenous song and sound, electro beats, with the occasional mainstream tunes. You can download their album for free at www.electricpowwow.com. Spinning awesome tracks as per usual – these guys never let me down!

Headlining on the 31st was Caspa, a producer from the UK. I started listening into dubstep when I was sixteen. My introduction to it was FabricLive.37, a collaboration album produced by Caspa and Rusko. My heart has a soft spot for the DJ that got me started on the music I spent my formative years dancing to. When I saw him on the lineup I got a little giddy to say the least. His set was better than I had expected, and kept my body moving and my temperature up!

Awesome music is paired with equally awesome visuals at Igloofest. Each weekend brings with it not only guest DJs, but guest VJs. Giving credit to the VJs shows a ton of respect for the craft. Let’s be honest, it happens ever too often that this aspect of the live music scene is less acknowledged. The visuals on January 31st were provided by Chocobeets, and Tind. With the amazing lighting, projection, and screens installed, the VJs have been doing a fantastic job at keeping our eyes happy.

3-igloofest-095My first Igloofest has helped to make my first Winter in Montreal even more fun. Unfortunately now I’m left longing for Piknik Electronique and the music festivals the summer will bring.

For all our awesome pics from the night check out ForgetTheBox on FB
Photos: Chris Zacchia

2013 Igloofest thur-109

Igloofest’s first week is behind us and with such a strong beginning we’re happy they decided to extend it an extra week. That means there are still nine more nights to go. Hopefully Mother Nature will be nicer to us, but like a girl working the festival mentioned: “It wouldn’t be the same if we weren’t freezing cold; only the true electronic music lovers come out and play under these circumstances.” Here are my thoughts on the first weekend, including Wolf + Lamb and performances at the local DJ stage.

Wolf+Lamb

Wolf + Lamb proved once again they’re true party animals. They delivered a DJ set that even your mother would have danced to. It might sound negative  but when it’s as cold outside as it was last Thursday, a little crowd pleaser here and there is exactly what you need. They put a smile on everybody’s face when they dropped Eddie Murphy’s hit “Party all the time”. They played one of my guilty pleasure “Sensual seduction” by Snoop (when he was still) the Dogg and finished their journey with Detroit anthem “Big Fun”.

Mistress Barbara

Mistress Barbara followed up and you could feel a true connection between her and the crowd. She loves what she does, and in return Montreal fans fought the freezing weather and stayed until the very end.

 

Talking about Montreal DJs, I was happily surprised by the Virgin Mobile Igloo. Not only that sound quality is way better (it’s a cozy sphere so the speakers are more efficient compared to the outdoor setting), but I must say our local scene is healthier than ever. I got to see G O’Brien, who’s been a techno veteran for years now, formerly involved in the rave scene and later in afterhours such as Sona and Aria. The stage is in a closed, heated area and it literally saved my life last Thursday. It’s definitely the best way to defrost your body and discover new talents. Beware though, the space is small and the line up is long but your toes and ears will thank you for being patient.

2013 Igloofest thur-128 2013 Igloofest thur-109Igloofest was not at full capacity on the colder days which made me wonder why they don’t offer a special price for exceptionally cold weather. I mean, not everybody can stay outside when it’s -25 and most people will think twice before spending 20$ when they know they can’t deal with the cold for more than an hour or two.

This weekend we’ll be back covering: Miss Kittin, Ellen Allien, Nina Kravitz, Pan-Pot, TNGHT, and Schlachthofbronx. Here is a bit of a preview.

If you’re a female DJ or just a fan of the female persuasion (and I know there are more and more of us out there), do yourself a favor and attend Igloofest on Thursday January 24th. Miss Kittin and Ellen Allien will be sharing the stage and seeing these two working in the electronic music industry for over a decade has been truly inspiring.

IglooFest

It’s the time of the year where winter seems to be wearing on with no end in sight. We’re all getting tired of the snow but Igloofest is back again to help you dance away the winter blues. For the fifth year in a row, the people behind Piknik Electronik are bringing us Igloofest, 4 weekends of great music and lots of fun in the Old Port. Each year as the festival has grown so have the crowds. This year organizers have prepared 4 weekends of festivities. To help you decide which night you’ll be attending here’s my selection all top acts including both up and coming artists and the not to be missed legends.

Kicking off the festivities on Thursday January 17th, Wolf + Lamb are definitely the right people to get a party started. Here’s a video of a set they did a couple of days ago during BPM. They will have to trade their t-shirts for wool sweaters but expect the vibe to be the same… like a nice mdma trip. Mistress Barbara is also playing that night if you’d prefer the tried tested and true.

Mutek will be showcasing the night on Friday January 18th with DJ KiNK followed by Mathias Kaden. For those who were there when he last came to Montreal in June, you know you have to brave the cold to see KiNK aka Strahil Velchev. For those who missed out, here’s your second chance.

If you followed my advices so far you’ve already attended the first two nights of Igloofest so why not complete the circle and go Saturday January 19th too? The house legend from Chicago, DJ Sneak, will be holding down the decks that night. He will be followed by seasoned party veteran Josh Wink.

If you’re a female DJ or just a fan of the female persuasion (and I know there are more and more of us out there), do yourself a favor and attend Igloofest on Thursday January 24th. Miss Kittin and Ellen Allien will be sharing the stage and seeing these two working in the electronic music industry for over a decade has been truly inspiring.

On February 1st, Magda will be gracing us by her presence. 2012 has been a busy year for her since she left Minus records to found her own label, Items and Things with Marc Houle and Troy Pierce, it will be interesting to see how it has influenced her work.

The next night, February 2nd, has also an impressive booking with the British/Spanish Audiofly and the French Agoria. Audiofly play a powerful, experimental style of music that has been heating it up in underground clubs around the world. It’s a dirty mix of tech meets house that’s sure to impress. Agoria is a little newer to the scene having only really started out in 2009 but already has 3 albums out, you might want to check out his 3rd full length Impermanance, launched in February 2011 which features a collaboration with Carl Craig.

Eager to discover younger talents? Make sure to catch Ben Ufo on Thursday February 7th. Rarely these days do you see a young DJ able to get amazing bookings all over the world without a being a renowned producer. Here’s a young, passionate music fiend that will show you what a true disc jockey should be. After his set be sure to stick around to catch Joe Goddard of Hot Chip!

One last younger DJ you shouldn’t miss is Oneman aka Streatham’s Steve Bishop, performing on February 8th. For any of you, born in the 80’s, you’ll recognise the music you grew up to in his set. Blending dubstep to r’n’b and hip-hop classics, he’ll surely makes the snow melt.

If it’s your first year attending Igloofest you’ll want to be prepared, here are some useful tips.
1. You might want to take Friday off since there are events every Thursday night (as well as Fridays and Saturdays of course) and I doubt you’ll stay sober.

2. We never say it enough but it’s no joke, you gotta wear warm clothes. A snow suit can help you enjoy your experience more but the key is keeping your feet warm. Bring extra socks and make sure your boots are water proof. Finding a crowd of good looking people and dancing close to them can also help.

3. Buy your tickets in advance. It’s cheaper and some nights will be sold out. Seriously it sucks to show up with a bunch of friends and then not get in.

4. Arrive early to avoid line up and make sure you have everything you need cause there’s no re-entry.

5. You can’t bring alcohol, so make sure to pre-drink before hand. They will be selling mulled wine, Sapporo, Jagr and other beverages there.

6. Igloofest ends around midnight but it’s not a reason to stop partying. This year, you’ll be able to get your electronic music fix until 5am at Espace Griffintown. This year a new festival is springing up to keep the party going called Apres Ski. The party starts at 11pm and goes on until 5am every Saturdays during Igloofest. You can see the full schedule and find out more about the festival right here: http://www.apresski.ca/

Forget The Box is also offering up 4 free tickets for you to go to the Apres Ski party with your friends. Simply comment below on this article telling us what you love about Igloofest and share this article to enter!