Station 16, the Montreal art gallery specializing in street art and graffiti, fell victim to an art heist that happened over the weekend. The gallery’s creative director broke the news in a blog post on the Station 16 website, saying that over $50 000 worth of original artwork, prints and computer equipment was taken from the gallery located on St-Laurent just south of Prince Arthur.

The story has since been picked up by The Gazette and CBC Radio. Gallery owner Carlo De Luca is urging the public to be on the lookout for the stolen pieces. Any information can be reported to Montreal police. The following is a selection of some of the missing works:

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Screen_Shot_2013-11-05_at_12.39.14_PM_largeScreen_Shot_2013-11-05_at_12.39.05_PM_largeROXY_TURQUOISE_largeIMG_0085_largeIMG_3562_largeIMG_3557_largeIMG_0038_largeIGP8023_large543336_408324839196111_1620649262_n_large

 

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

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

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

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

tshirt

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

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

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

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

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

When it comes to the live concert experience, we expect a lot from the artists up on stage. But what about the crowd? If we demand that an audience display as much energy and excitement as we’ve come to expect from our favourite bands, every show would be like the ORG713 show that happened at Sala Rossa last Thursday.

Most of the crowd were very happily and exuberantly dancing along to every song. As one girl at the show put it, it was as if they were all competing to see who can dance in the most psychotic fashion. Indeed, most people looked like they had lost their minds from sheer joy and good times.

This much frenetic, arrhythmic movement is usually reserved for the most brutal heavy metal mosh pits. But there was a style and grace to the dancing people not present at louder, heavier shows.

The show featured Montreal bands The Haiduks, Blood and Archery Guild. Headlining was Toronto-based psychedelic outfit Ostrich Tuning.

The Haiduks’ psychedelic 60s pop started the show off on the right foot. Their warm sound has a tendency to envelop you in a fuzzy blanket of comfort and make you feel a little zoned-out and loopy.

Just when you were feeling nice and relaxed, spanking-new band Blood took the stage. Founding member and show organizer David Kleiser describes Blood as “Elephant 6 forming a KC and the Sunshine Band cover band.” This is when the crazy dancing started. The lights were off and some very trippy footage from obscure old films was playing on a big screen behind the band.

The captivating visuals continued when Archery Guild took the stage. The lights were back on and all nine (and sometimes ten) band members could be properly seen. Sala Rossa is a great venue to see bands with big lineups and even bigger sounds. There’s something about the way those chandeliers and the velvety red curtains get reflected in brass instruments. It makes you feel like you’re in another time.

In all honesty, I missed Ostrich Tuning’s set. The show started well past the advertised start time of 8 p.m. and I wasn’t able to stay until the end. I can imagine how their darker, moodier brand of psychedelic indie rock brought the entire evening to a beautiful culmination.

This video nicely captures the essence of the show, minus the amazing music.

ORG is a multimedia creative collective made up of musicians, artists and filmmakers. They regularly schedule events to showcase music, zines, comics, posters and other pieces of art from members and friends. To read more about the collective, see Pamela Fillion’s interview with David Kleiser.

Archery Guild

Photos by Bianca David.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

yelp helpsForget the Box is thrilled to team up with Yelp Montreal for Yelp Helps! , an annual event that helps spotlight worthy non profits. Along with blogs such as ours writing posts about some of the Yelp-supported non profit organizations, everything culminates when Yelp has a party on June 18th at Parc Ameriques during this year’s Fringe Festival.

Those who RSVP to the party get a chance to connect with these non for profits who are always looking for volunteers, donations, and supporters. And did we mention you get to do so while enjoying delicious McAuslan beers, samples of barefoot wines and a chance to win all sorts of neat prizes?!

For our Yelp Helps spotlight, Forget the Box wanted to talk about an organization that we feel very strongly about: Distroboto. Since 2001 Distroboto has been re-purposing old cigarette machines to instead sell pieces of art, and all for the low price of $2.00!

This project was conceived by Louis Rastelli and is administered by ArcMtl with the goal of providing a venue for emerging artists to sell their work. Through Distroboto, 750 artists have sold over 50 000 pieces of art in Montreal.

Distroboto has been featured multiple times on local TV news and even caught the attention of media as international as the New York Times. All this while remaining a non profit organization, proof positive that with our support, non profits like Distroboto can continue to do wonderful thing.

Let’s help them keep growing!

If you are interested in being apart of this years Yelp Helps party, make sure you check out their website.

* Top image from Radical Montreal

If you don’t already know what Hip-Hop Karaoke is then you should check out the feature we did on them a little while ago. Basically Hip-Hop Karaoke invites performers to prove what they’ve got on stage while the crowd enjoys the party.

Hip-Hop Karaoke has been going strong for 15 months now and to celebrate they are hosting a special contest where you can win WeSC gear courtesy of Tiger Distribution, printed + signed artwork from Overthebreaks and BEST of all, you could win lifetime free entry to HHK MTL! To enter the contest check out their FB album with the last 15 HHK poster designs up and vote for your favorite by “liking” it!

This month we look at the artists behind the Hip-Hop Karaoke posters. The poster design for HHK helps showcase local artists and also helps allowing people to familiarize themselves with Hip Hop Karaoke; inspiring new performers to get involved and show support. Their designs are a perfect visual extension of their fun-loving approach to the event.

Originally the posters were designed by co-founder Patrick O’keefe, who has since moved on to San Francisco and other projects. He created the Portrait series posters in the series. Currently the Hip-Hop Karaoke posters (and logo) have been designed by local artist Nik Brovkin, aka Overthebreaks.

Hip-hop karaoke

If you wanna get up on stage and show em what you’ve got spots fill up quick, so pre-register your track at HHKMTL@GMAIL.COM for the next HHK.

Montreal was once the most bombed city in North America and by bombed I mean there was graffiti all over the place.

Next week will be the beginning of a 4 day festival dedicated to street art in Montreal, MURAL ART FESTIVAL organized in collaboration with LNDMRK.  From June 13th to the 16th, 35 local and international artists will be featured and paint close to 20 unique murals around the Main!

Montreal was once the most bombed city in North America and by bombed I mean there was graffiti all over the place.


muralist_cavoloAll the activities will be happening on St-Laurent boulevard between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal, the street will be closed during the event which will give you a chance to wander the street freely.


The quality of the artists that are taking part in the Festival is quite mind-blowing! Montreal has its share of amazing artists such as Omen, Jason Botkin, Labrona, A’Shop, Paria Crew, WZRDS GNG, Stare, Chris Dyer and super crew En Masse, who will be covering up some 3 story walls! Other Canadian artists and some well known international artists will be joining the fun with names such as ROA from Belgium, ESCIF from Spain, Pixel Pancho from Italy, Phlegm from England and Reka One from Australia and many more.

During the festival, Omen and Reka One will be doing their biggest walls yet! It will also be ESCIF’s first wall in North America!

Twice a day at 2pm and 4pm on June 13th, 15th and 16th, you will have a chance to go on a guided walking or bike tour to discover the other urban art in the area! Every night will also offer some entertainment at different venues along the street.  

The official vernissage of the festival will be happening at Station 16 on June 14th from 7pm onwards. The closing of the MURAL festival will be curated by Alan Ganev at the Atrium of The Conseil des Arts de Montreal on Sunday June 16th.

Check out the many events that will be happening during the Festival and more about the featured artists at http://muralfestival.com

Looking forward to seeing the murals that will make the city even more beautiful!

The streets of Montreal are filled with art and graffiti, the line between the two often being blurry at best and non-existent to many. Graffiti has been around for a long time, we can find examples of it in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. The grandfather of modern graffiti was Kyselak, from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 19th century. He made a bet with friends to have his name known through the Empire within 3 years without inventing a new form of suicide, which was apparently quite popular back in those days! So he started tagging his name all over the Empire and won his bet very quickly, some of his tags are still visible to this day! Modern graffiti mostly started in New York City and spread all over the world.

972241_582917585060898_979767116_nLast March, I had the chance to learn more about the graffiti culture in Montreal thanks to Patrick O’Connor’s documentary Making A Name, un art urbain  premiering at FIFA. Graffiti and tags are all over Montreal, and there are many different versions and styles. O’Connor has been documenting the scene since 1995 and has much of the city’s graffiti history as well as great interviews with many of the cities most prominent Graffiti artists. He manages to show different people’s opinions on graffiti which aren’t always positive, such as his dad’s who really doesn’t understand why people would write such ugly stuff all over the walls of his neighbourhood! The atmosphere in the theatre at Place-des-Arts was quite amazing and unique as a lot of Montreal taggers were gathered together, a rare event which resulted in a lot of cheering and booing depending on who was being interviewed and what was being said. Street artists and cops were amongst the least popular!  (Taggers and street artists don’t always get along.)

Growing up in NDG, I’ve been surrounded by tags left behind by Castro, Sake, the VC crew and many more. I never really paid any attention to them until I recently traveled to Melbourne, Australia. There I really fell in love with street art and learning to appreciate graffiti more. Since my return to Montreal in December, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of the streets and its writings. Take a look at an album I’ve compiled and see if you can figure out where the pics were taken <WWW.facebook.com/forgetthebox/photos to be created just link to our fb photo page and i’ll put the album there later>

I also learned that when Castro travelled to LA and saw highways signs tagged, he thought it was such a good idea he brought the technique back to Montreal!

Graffiti and street art are such ephemeral forms of art, you never know how long something you paint may last. Will someone else write over it or will the city cover it up?

You might pass in front of a piece several times before even noticing it.

Street Art versus Graffiti

181199_582917631727560_275387127_nThe difference in many people’s minds between street art and graffiti is that street art has an aesthetic purpose while graffiti is considered to mainly consist of tags. The purpose of tags is mainly to satisfy the writer’s ego and spread his or her name throughout the community or a geographical area. This is the reason why you’ll find a lot of graffiti around highways, tunnels or on trains and trucks. All places where they will last for a while and that will be seen by many. Not everyone appreciates graffiti or even considers it a form of art. What you may not realize is that some taggers spend months perfecting their signature before bombing it all over the city. Also there is a code of ethics, you shouldn’t hit someone’s house or car, not that everyone respects these but they do exist.

Some taggers like to push the limits and climb high buildings to have their names reigning over the city for everyone to see; sometimes literally putting their life on the line. SAKE and CASTRO have created several great examples of these massive displays! I’m always so impressed when I see writings on top of high buildings and wonder how did they got up there Three Montreal taggers died a few years ago after getting hit by a train which reminds us of the dangers of graffiti writing.

Over the past few years graffiti art has begun finding a more mainstream appeal as some street artists have become household names (Banksy, Obey) and major companies have begun using street art to advertise their brands. A local company that is doing just that is called Eragraff, an urban skate and street wear company. Eragraff’s clever advertising campaign consists of people ordering free stickers by mail and then putting them up all over the city. They encourage you to then take a photo of your branding work and load it onto their website, it’s called Placardes ta ville! Got my stickers and started to work, get yours here www.eragraff.com/en/placardestaville_en.html

 

I read The See twice, and both times it took me several unsuccessful attempts to read it all the way through in one go. It might seem easy when you hold the book in your hand and browse quickly, as the written section are few and far between and artwork The See 3inhabits most of the pages; however the reality of carefully understanding it as a work of literature and art becomes a clearly harsh uncompromising task.

The passages are immaculately written in an almost childlike simplicity, which is the more difficult to swallow when you start to partially comprehend what the subject is about, and the subject cannot be put to simple terms. You cannot understand it all, and you and I could talk about it nonstop and still fail at reaching an agreement.

The beauty of this book, like the artwork in it, is that it is all up for interpretation and analysis, and what ultimately strikes you is as personal as your deepest, darkest memory. The book conjures up emotions, secrets, recollections that you might have locked away in those rooms of your mind and long since thrown away the keys.

That is precisely what we do. We protect ourselves. We lock away bad memories and horrifying happenings. Because otherwise we would not be able to function in a “normal” socially acceptable way. If you and I had the option of releasing our inhibitions and for one minute dredge up all our memories, the result would be screaming, crying, suicidal, messed up specimens that would be, on any other day, locked up in a mental institute.

No matter how hard we try, however, we cannot rid ourselves from these memories, because even though they might be repressed unconsciously, they will resurface and sooner or later we will have to deal with them consciously. Yet, all is not lost here, because The See 1along the way we develop certain skills and the mental knowhow to be able to come to terms with our past, even though it will upset and mentally scar us for the rest of our days.

All that has been said is of course conditional and comes into play uniquely for each individual. How I deal with my psychological problems is not and will not be the same as the way you or others deal with theirs.

What this book does in describing a very disturbing turn of events that ultimately causes destruction of an individual, is force you to face your own demons. You close your eyes; you scream mutely; you clench and grind your teeth; you shudder and curse; you “bitterly regret and pour forth bitter tears, but cannot wash those grievous lines away.”

The story is close to my own heart as I’ve had some personal experience with psychological issues and abuse, however I do believe that the events described and elegantly put to words here are universal and have a common connection with everyone in human terms.

Stop me if this sounds familiar:

You graduated a year (or two or five years) ago with high honours and the greatest hopes for your bourgeoning career in the arts.

Maybe you were going to be a brilliant poet, or painter, or sculptor, or DJ, or performance artist or writer – but whatever it was – you were going to be living a creative, independent lifestyle, making your voice and unique perspective on life, the universe and everything known to the community at large.

The fact that you had to take a shitty customer service or tele-surveying job is just what new artists have to do before the world sits up and takes note of your brilliance.

Am I ringing any bells?

You still make art and you’re still involved in the creative communities that mean so much to you – but it’s not exactly paying the bills.

Worse – you’re still working your shitty service job because at the end of the day, bills need to be paid and food put on your table.

You may get the occasional gig, and that vernissage you put on last year was just lovely, I promise – but it’s not enough. It’s not what you’d planned for yourself, and it’s not how you see the rest of your life shaping up.

What’s a creative type to do?

hustling

Why You’re Not Making a Living as an Artist

Before we get into how you can turn some of your art into cold, hard cash, let’s look at why so many artists fail to make it happen – and it’s not some kind of high-minded refusal to sell out. That’s just what you tell your parents.

It’s simply that most artists, writers, designers and musicians are great at what they do – really spectacular! But they know shit-all about business. Starting one, running one, growing one – no one went over any of that stuff in college because of the beautiful but false myth that talent will rise to the top and be recognized.

It won’t. Being amazing at what you do isn’t enough. Not nearly.

It doesn’t matter how epic your short stories are, how sublime your oil paintings, how incendiary your beats – if no one knows what you’re doing – no one cares.

Making art isn’t enough to make a living through art – you need to dive into business and get your hands dirty, meet the right people, find the right market and charge the right price.

It’s hard, mostly thankless work, the potential for failure is high, and screwing up will feel like a decisive kick in the groin.

In short – creating a business is very much like creating art.

You take a set of tools that are more or less common across the board, and manipulate them to reflect your vision.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

What is a business, really?

Quite simply, you can have a business if you have something to sell, a person to sell it to and a way to collect payment.

That’s it. That’s all.

I’ve got a little exercise for you:

  1. Get a blank sheet of paper, and draw a line down the center of it. On one side write: “Things I can do.”  On the other side write: “Who cares?”
  2. Fill in the “Things I can do” side with all of the skills, relating to your craft, that you poses. This can mean anything from the ability to draw a recognizable portrait, to play an instrument, to wedge clay, to speak eloquently, to dress with style, to mix colors, to keep a workplace clean to recognize obscure musical references. Go as far afield as you can and list every single thing that contributes to you being able to conceive of and produce art.
  3. Fill in the “Who Cares” side with every type of person who might possible be able to use (and be willing to pay for) that skill. If you can’t think of anyone who might care about knowing someone who has a particular skill – cross out that skill.
  4. Cross out the ones that make you sad to look at and think about.
  5. Re-copy the rest into a fresh list. It might look like this:
  • Write eloquently – People who need about pages.
  • Edit and Proofread – Students and bloggers.
  • Play an instrument – College guys wanting to impress their girlfriends.

Do you see where this is going?

thinking_boxThe trick here is to start thinking outside of your artistic box a little bit.

Do you sketch beautiful pictures? What a wonderful mother’s day gift someone could give!

Do you play music and like people? So many folks want to learn how!

Do you have a gift for witty prose? How many best men are aching to get out of writing a speech themselves?

You don’t have to be doing it the traditional way to be making money from your talent – you just need something that will act as a bridge while you’re getting out there.

Hammering all of this out is one thing, of course – getting someone to pay attention – and then pay you money, is another.

But it’s not really all that hard.

Craigslist and Kijiji are amazing starting places, a well-placed flyer can work wonders, and even a professional looking website can be knocked together without too much effort,

And dollars to donuts you’re already on Facebook and Twitter.

Stop pussy-footing around and TRY. The worst that will happen is you’ll be out a few hours and know that you’ve eliminated a possibility from your list.

Figure out what you can do. Figure out who might care. Make the offer.

Further Resources

This has been a very, very brief run-down of how to start an artistic side project – turning it into a real business is another kettle of fish.

But if I know anything, I know this: it’s possible. There are as many ways to bring joy and inspiration and insight to the world as there are artists and there is always someone who wants to know what you have to say – they just might not be aware of it yet.

If this interests you at all – if this is getting the motors in your head going a little bit – I’d like to point you at a few resources that I’m a real believer in:

Be a Freelance Blogger  – Make money by freelancing. Do it today.

The BootStrapper Guild – Micro-business building and growing

The Art of NonConformity – Creating an interesting life – and financing it.

Firepole Marketing  – Get more real people to pay you more money, more often.

Fine Art Tips – Blog, business and social media tips especially for fine artists.

None of these are affiliate links-  just honest recommendations for blogs and companies doing work I think you can get a lot of value out of (Full Disclosure – Firepole Marketing is my day job).

And of course – I would be remiss if I gave you this tip of the iceberg without offering more.

If you’re looking at this process and saying to yourself “it will never work for me!” Get in touch! Leave a comment, send me an email – reach out and let’s talk about it!

It’s not a matter of IF you can make a living doing what you love – it’s just a matter of when and how.

(If you like this, and would like to see more about starting businesses, side projects and making money from artsy-skills – please leave a comment to that effect!)

Megan Dougherty  (@Megan_Rae_D)is serious about wanting to talk about your ideas – she really is interested! 

I like the idea of the Nuit Blanche celebration. While the common view of the art space is that of a white, occasionally esoteric one, Nuit Blanche is fueled by the desire to turn that view around. The event has something to share with everyone. It truly encourages the celebration of culture, in an way that you can easily get amped up about. It promotes the arts – local and beyond, and encourages people to get outdoors and spend an evening on the town as pedestrians.

It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of the night. The noise, excitement and energy vibrates around you and makes it hard keep focused. I got swallowed  by the bright lights, video projections and dance music. While I only managed to make it to three of the sites on my already very narrowed down list, the night was a success.

First Stop: Turn On a Dime hosted at Citizen Vintage.

IMG_2088
Collectif Beaux Enfants at Citizen Vintage

The performance was put on by the ten members of Collectif Beaux Enfants. The group sat in formal wear at the dinner table eating, chatting and watching the audience watch them through the window front. The group of ten seemed quite relaxed with one man lying on a bench as the others poked at their food on the table. The audience had access to headphones that fed through the microphones stationed inside the store.

I find the act of watching mundane actions somewhat fascinating. By turning a usual ritual into a spectacle, the viewer is allowed a brief moment into another persons behaviors. This aspect of performance is one that I enjoy watching being pushed and prodded. I found it slightly more enjoyable as I have my own neurotic tendencies when eating in public, so kudos to them!

Second Stop: The Postcard Project hosted by Gallery Co

Postcard Project at Gallery Co

This was Sarah Nesbitt’s second year of The Postcard Project. Last Saturday at Gallery Co people gathered around the benches and tables to chat and craft as a group. The stations were outfitted with glitter, glue, gems, magazines and all sorts of collaging material. The goal of the piece is to engage participants in social media “the old fashion way”.

There were also pre-designed postcards to be sent to Stephen Harper. In hopes of encouraging activism and taking a role in change. Others made cute mementos to share with friends for the sake of crafting. Sarah introduced me to one woman who was making and addressing a postcard for the very first time, definitely a curious moment to share.

Third Stop: Montreal En Lumiere

After having been running for two weeks, I finally made my way down to the site of Montreal En Lumiere. The site was busy and bright as expected. The line ups were too long to get into any of the art installations, but I enjoyed seeing people young and old celebrating. With a roller coaster, ice slide, live music, and installations it would be hard not to. I stayed for a bit of music and took take advantage of the opportunity to roast a sausage downtown.Slides at Montreal en Lumiere

After a long search and a failed attempt to get to my next event, I called it a night.My biggest complaint about Montreal’s Nuit Blanche is the early close. At the end of it all, I got to check out a few sites, enjoy projections and music with good people. Not much to complain about there. Despite a cold winter, this city never looks as fantastic as it does when it’s lit up and in a light snowfall.

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

 

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!

After watching Ang Lee grab an Oscar for best director on Sunday, I ventured into our local cinema to watch the film “Life of Pi”, even though I had read some bad reviews in The Guardian and New Yorker. I have to say as an art critic I loved the visual aspects of it, and as an atheist and writer I hated every self-congratulatory, self-righteous second of it all.

book cover-1I knew the story because my brother Siavash had read the book by the Canadian author Yann Martel and due to my badgering spilled the beans about the ambiguous ending afterwards. Yet with the film there was no ambiguity to be found in the end, and we discover that the story had been made up just to entertain, this came as a welcoming surprise because I really couldn’t stomach a lesson in religious doubt and essence of faith. Yet, Yann Martel himself stated: “I’m happy it works so well as a film. Even if the ending is not as ambiguous as the book’s, the possibility that there might be another version of Pi’s story comes at you unexpectedly and raises the same important questions about truth, perception and belief.”

The story revolves around Pi who from the start is exploring his relationship with religions and faith in God. For him confusion never ceases as he is bombarded with different ideologies from every corner. So, I guess inevitably, he decides to practice all religions and believe in mighty forces watching over him. As is always the case with these kinds of stories, our protagonist finds out that only through knowing himself he can love God. I could almost hear Deepak Chopra shouting: “Every person is a God in embryo.”

Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian writes: “the film itself, despite some lovely images and those eyepopping effects, it is a shallow and self-important shaggy-dog story – or shaggy-tiger story – and I am bemused by the saucer-eyed critical responses it’s been getting.” I agree with his description, because the film’s special effects are amazing, and digital creation of the world Pi encounters is just breathtakingly beautiful, but the story lacks the oomph it needs and the double narration, even though great in literature, doesn’t come out well on the screen.

I have to state that I’m not a big fan of 3D, and all the things that were promised to us with renaissance of the technology has faded with sales of 3D television hitting rock bottom. I get headaches every time I watch these movies in cinema, and from my experience with televisions the glasses issue has made it tremendously hard to enjoy a movie. Life of Pi catering for this market, and the fact that all the effects in the movie were designs for the 3D experience really worries me about Ang Lee’s sense of judgement. Why would any director, let alone a celebrated one like Mr Lee decide to create a movie that cannot be enjoyed on DVD? Even if they release it as a normal HD the effects won’t be the same, so why?

life of pi 2From an artistic point of view no one can fault the movie. It is beguiling, mesmerizingly beautiful example of what digital art can do. There are colours and effects that are unmatched by any other film, and you are drawn into a world so hypnotic that you forget every scene has been created using softwares. I know if we look back at it in 10 years’ time we will laugh at ourselves for being so naïve, but for now we can enjoy it as an enticing spectacle and one that should not be missed as long as it is in the cinemas.

However, again the story, apart from the ending, really brings it down in my view. Obama in 2010 wrote a letter to Yann Martel in which he described the book as “an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.” Obviously President Obama is not seeking scientific proof and is happy with fiction, however I cannot deny Mr Martel his power of storytelling, because he has written a book that is sold more than 10 million copies, and the fact that this book was rejected no less than five times by publishers, gives us all unpublished writers hope. As for the movie, I would suggest bringing your earplugs and you will have an experience of a lifetime.

nuit-blanche-festival-montreal-lumiereYet another winter festival is upon us! This week kicks off the 14th edition of Montréal En Lumière. From February 21st to March 3rd the city will be filled with theatre, music, dancing, and visual art programming, both indoor and outdoor! While many of the events are hosted indoors have ticket prices, the central outdoor site is free. Throughout Quartier des Spectacles there will be live performances, interactive art  installations, food and drink vendors and of course beautiful lights. In addition to the live entertainment and arts, Place des Festivales has a ferris wheel. There is also a cinematic dome that will screen films, as well as for performances by VJs and DJs providing eye and ear candy. The festivities run until eleven each evening (excluding Sunday).

The event ends with Montreal’s Nuit Blanche on March 2nd. This year will mark the tenth celebration of the all night art festival for Montreal. The downtown site of Montréal En Lumière will remain open until 3 a.m., but there is no lack of things to see. Programming for the event is city wide and has designated spots through quartiers de spectacle, old Montreal, the olympic park, the plateau and mile end, as well as art through the metro stations. There are shuttle buses  provided to get you to and from each happening. Do your best to plan the night accordingly as there’s lots of ground and lots of hours to cover! I’ve experienced Nuit Blanche in several major cities now and am looking forward to seeing how Montreal differs from the rest.

Watch for our complete Nuit Blance preview coming out soon!

 

It’s the time of the year for red roses, pink champagne, over-sentimentalized cards and silly useless gifts that tend to end up in the closet along with the weight loss paraphernalia you bought after the holidays. Also it is the loneliest time of the year for the majority of the population who are single and find themselves looking hastily for misguided companionship in the most unfortunate places. Been there my friends.

Fortunately I am now married, so the only thing I need to do is think of a better gift than the one my wife is getting me. Nevertheless I want to introduce some artwork that might come handy when considering cards, prints or even reproductions for your special someone. Artwork that would surely impress and bring you extra points in this great manufactured capitalist lie that is Valentine’s Day.

Venus and MarsThe first piece is “Venus and Mars” by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli. The work can be found at the UK National Gallery in London, and it is a thoroughly striking piece. The story is that of a love affair between the god of war Mars and goddess of love and beauty Venus who was married at the time. Not to worry my friends, they get punished later on when the matter becomes public so to speak; however this artwork is concerned with the moment that the act of love making has ended.

The painting is symbolic in terms of the triumph of love over war, as Venus has managed to seduce and win over Mars. Yet the scene is tremendously humorous and lighthearted. Mars for all intents and purposes has been drained, exhausted, you might even say passed out. I would like to say the god of war has been conquered. Mars is so out of it that even the little annoying infant Satyrs cannot wake him up. One of them is actually blowing a small conch shell in his ear, alas Mars is too shagged out to react.

Venus has an interesting expression on her face, she almost looks disappointed, displeased and irritated. Could it be that Mars didn’t perform adequately and the artist is anticipating her regret later on when being punished, which is also evident from the bees that hover around Mars? After all if you want some honey you have to take the chance of being stung by the bees, which is actually another story that features Venus and her son Cupid. Other interpretations by art historians read Venus’s expression as that of a peeved lover who wanted more after sex. However you look at it Botticelli paints a scenario that can be tried and true at any time throughout history, I just hope you have happier ending post coitus.

BerniniAnother artwork I want to share with you is “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, residing in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. If you were looking for heavenly love, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example than this. Bernini gives you love that is out of this world, beyond description. As words fail to bring to life this ecstasy Saint Teresa felt when she was visited by an angel, Bernini makes marble flow, twist and coil in complete orgasm.

The story comes from St. Teresa’s written account which was tremendously popular in Rome at the time, and people would read it in awe and envy. She writes of the angel piercing her heart with an arrow, however if you look closer at the sculpture you see Bernini’s angel pointing the arrow lower down. This is not just heavenly love; this is very much an earthy human climax. O’ how we fail to take our eyes off of her.  Charles de Brosses visiting in 19th century remarked “If this is divine love, I know all about it.”

Since I couldn’t find a good example of artwork which would appeal to our gay and lesbian community, I decided to create one myself, and so I present to you my “Let it Be”. The inspiration behind the work comes from the battles our gay friends are involved in to secure more rights all over the world. USA, France and UK have been in the news recently concerning the legalization of gay marriage, and the offensive comments uttered by certain opposition groups in those countries really show how much ignorance still exist in the democratic developed countries. I really cannot fathom why some people choose to spread hatred for something so human as expression of unity between two people. Some day we will look back at this period of our lives and wonder why we were so benighted. Wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day.