Last week at Just For Laughs was definitely one for childhood dreams: First the Weird Al concert on Tuesday, and then I got to see the live action version of the cartoon that I grew up with on late night television, Dr. Katz. He had a hit TV show in the 90s – cult cable TV favourite, pre-Adult Swim showcase for comedy.

I wish more people came out to see Dr Katz, but you could tell that most of the audience were long time fans of the show. We did not leave disappointed. The evening was definitely one of the highlights of my festival experience.

On Wednesday night there was much anticipation in the small but very excited crowd at Theatre Maison. But then there he was –with a cane in his hand, Dr. Katz walks onstage to a standing ovation.

Dr. Katz was just as animated in real life as he was in his squiggle-vision TV show.

The catharsis of watching the show was observing the comedians spill the beans about the inner workings of their comedic minds and seeing how insane many of these celebrities are – you just felt better about yourself and your own life.

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Dr. Katz introduced me to many of the comics I love today (one of them being Dave Chappelle), and that’s one of the reasons why I will always respect Dr. Katz.

While it is a unique way to see a comedy show, it’s more than just a novelty. The show explores comedy through a psychoanalytic prism, turning Dr. Katz’s comedy into a whole new medium. The session begins when Laura buzzes in on Dr. Katz’s phone. “Dr. Katz Jeff Ross is here to see you,” she says.

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Jeff Ross was then followed by Jen Kirkman, Jon Dore, Moshe Kasher, and Artie Lange.

Moshe Kasher came up, acting all paranoid, and saying that voices in his head are laughing at everything he says. Obviously, the crowd laughed at him. Jen Kirkman discussed her insane life, and Artie Lange about drugs.

When Dr. Katz was finished he got a standing ovation. His style works, because, in this setting, we can learn so much more about a comedian, their life and their mind-frame, than we can through regular old stand-up.

And I have to say that Dr. Katz was one of the best shows that I saw at Just For Laughs this year: Here’s hoping that he returns next year for some more therapy.

Photos courtesy of Genie Rae Flynn.

The most unique thing about the action film Momentum is the fact that the star of the film isn’t Tom Cruise or Jason Statham. This time, it’s former bond girl Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace). It’s a breath of fresh air to know that a woman besides Angelina Jolie is allowed to do these kinds of movies.

Kurylenko plays Alex, a mysterious woman involved in a bank heist gone wrong. When her face is revealed during the robbery, she has to go on the run. Meanwhile another mysterious group of people want what she helped steal, and will do anything to get it back.

Kurylenko struggles to make a lot of the dialogue feel authentic, but thankfully she’s more than capable of holding her own in the fighting and car chase scenes. Its unfortunate that the director felt compelled to include a few completely unnecessary shots of Kurylenko lounging around in sexy underwear. But at least Kurylenko spends the rest of the movie using her strength instead of her sexuality.

Kurylenko’s adversary in the film is Rome alum James Purefoy. It’s not much of a stretch to say he’s the strongest actor of the bunch. Similar to his portrayal of Mark Anthony, Purefoy’s in charge of bringing the charm and playful banter to the story. Except Purefoy is so charming that at times you forget that he’s supposed to want to hunt and kill Alex, not flirt with her. Perhaps a romantic comedy next time James?

In many ways, Momentum is nothing more than a formulaic action thriller. The plot is razor thin, the dialogue ridiculous, and the chemistry between the leads extremely questionable. So why then would anyone want to invest time and money in this movie? The same reason you watch all action films; to watch good looking people kick the shit out of each other and see big explosions. And on those two counts Momentum happily delivers the goods.

 

When I first read about this year’s line up for The Nasty Show, I must admit I was excited. Gilbert Gottfried, Artie Lange, Jimmy Carr, etc., the list was making for an ideal night of comedy.

This year would be a very different year for the Nasty Show. Longtime host Bobby Slayton was replaced by local comic Mike Ward, who proved that he could manage the night. But you could still feel that he had big shoes to fill.

I didn’t know how to compare the two. You can tell that Mike was trying to get in there like a seasoned professional and proved that we have some very credibly dirty comics in the this city. But as Canada’s Sin City, we shouldn’t really be that surprised that a Montreal comic can hold his own.

The evening began with the first comedian, seasoned comic Mike Wilmot, who warmed up the crowd with how Montreal is treated much like a mistress for most people in Toronto.

Jimmy Carr was the second to perform that night, and surprisingly, his rapid-fire, short-punchline form of comedy was one of the best of the evening.

There’s something about his punchline comedy that makes audiences laugh nonstop. And although he did break the Nasty Show threshold, telling some pretty lewd jokes, he established himself innocently oblivious while doing it, encased in a powerful wit – really adding to his routine.

Luenell came after. It was the first time Luenell performed at the comedy fest, but she was perfect addition to the night. Luenell’s comedy was based on her very strange stories about dating a man who lived in an assisted living apartment, which ended when he started taking Viagra.

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Luenell performs the Nasty Show. Photo by Matthew Cope

Gilbert Gottfried came on like a man on the mission to make his audience squirm. This, I could see by the 25-year-old “Politically Correct” crowd sitting next to me were starting to feel slightly uncomfortable when Gottfried dipped into his collection of terrible and nasty jokes.

But that’s how Gottfried’s schtick works. When I interviewed Gottfried some weeks ago, he said that he couldn’t remember doing the Nasty Show before this year. This i found surprising, since Gottfried is one of the nastiest and dirtiest comics out there and was an excellent addition to the Nasty Show line up.

The last performer of the evening was the very unhealthy-looking Artie Lange. For years now, Artie Lange has been one of the background voices on the Howard Stern Show. He was also on Mad TV in the 90s. But ever since he joined Stern, he has really made a name for himself in comedy.

On stage, he looks like he’s been through a lot. “I’m one of the few people that never lost weight doing cocaine,” he tells his audience, “I must have been doing it wrong.” His jokes talk about his time in rehab and how he ended up in a mental institution. He’s clean now, but very drunk.

The Nasty Show is what it is. If you’re easily offended, if you are a member of the under-25 PC crowd, if you squirm at dirty jokes, then this might not be the show for you. For everyone else, buckle up and enjoy the lewd ride! This show is going to get nasty!

The Nasty Show runs from July 16 to July 25 at Metropolis and Club Soda. Check out hahaha.com for more information.

Photos courtesy of Matthew Cope and Just for Laughs.

Produced by the Duplass Brothers and directed by Sean Baker (Starlet), Tangerine is a bold and energetic look at a side of Los Angeles rarely seen on screen. The film follows two transgendered prostitutes over the course of one day, Christmas Eve. Shot completely on iPhones, the rough around the edges look of the film compliments the tough and unglamorous lives of the characters.

Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) has just been released from a stint in jail. While reconnecting with her bestie Alexandra (Mya Taylor), she hears some upsetting news that sets her off on a tear to find her pimp boyfriend. Quickly deciding to abandon her friend, Alexandra, meanwhile, tries to convince people to come to her show happening that night. The best friends’ storylines are also intercut with a married cabdriver Razmik (Karren Karagulian) who has a penchant for transgender prostitutes.

The plot in the film is pretty thin. And the climax of the film involves all of these characters screaming at each other at a donut shop. More than once Tangerine verges on crossing the camp line into just plain ridiculous. But as an audience member, you stay along for the ride because thankfully that line is never quite crossed. The non-stop pace of the film also helps one from ever getting bored; as Sin-Dee goes on her tear of some of the poorest blocks in the city of angels you never know what drug dealer, hooker or client she’s going to meet next.

The chemistry between Rodriguez and Taylor is the real reason Tangerine is worth the cost of admission. These two real-life friends display some of the sweetest moments of friendship ever caught on camera. The last scene in the laundromat for instance is filled with such tenderness you’d have a heart of stone not to be affected by it.

Tangerine opens in Montreal on July 31.

ShazamFest celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a great program full of music, skateboarding competitions, wrestling, burlesque, circus, laughter, workshops and so much more. The festival starts Thursday July 9 and runs until Sunday. Camping is available on location, at one of the first certified organic farms in Canada. Also, you can join the fun on Sunday for free, a little gift to the public for the 10th year anniversary.

What is ShazamFest?

From the road, the site doesn’t look like much, just a simple field. But once you get in, you arrive at a magic place. A place that apparently has been a meeting point for a very long time. The site, located in the Eastern Townships, about 20 km South West of Magog, in Barnston West (roughly a 90-minute drive from Montreal) was an Abenaki meeting spot many centuries ago.

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Ziv Pryztyk, the festival’s founder/director, explains that the idea behind the festival, more like a carnival, is to bring together a community, for people to interact and build networks with people that might not be from their regular social circles (or even age group, as it is a multi-generation event).

In its first year, the festival attracted about 400 people. Since then, the party has now grown close to 2000 people, with three generations embracing the fun of camping on the grounds. The festival is free for kids under 12 and you will never be charged for water.

Shazamfest is an eco-conscious festival, meaning local food is provided. This year’s beer of choice comes from Beau’s All Natural Brewery in Eastern Ontario. This craft beer company has been invading the Quebec market for the past five months and is now available in over 70 bars in Montreal, as well as in IGA stores and depanneurs that carry craft beers.

The Lineup

Many acts will be performing during ShazamFest this year. On the musical side of things, there will be Buck 65 on Friday, Lemon Bucket Orchestra on Saturday and Mike Goudreau on Sunday, to name only a few. Miss BonBon Bombay will be hosting the Burlesque side of things.

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There will be a skateboarding competition on the famous Shazam ramp, which gets bigger every year.  There will also be wrestling events and a laughter competition held by Albert Nerenberg. Circus, forging and other workshops will be given each day of the event.

Win Tickets

Want to attend ShazamFest for free? FTB and Shazamfest are giving away a pair of day passes for Saturday. Since Sunday and camping at the fest are free already, this will get you two days and one night of Shazam for free.

To win, just share this post on social media and leave a comment below, letting us know what aspect of Shazam you are most looking forward to.

Good luck!

On Sunday night, while some of you were in the comfort of your home mesmerized by how Missy Elliott stole the Super Bowl half-time show or getting ready for the start of the week, a small crowd of courageous Montrealers headed to the Igloofest. With a similar amount of layers to an astronaut suit we headed straight to the dance floor. Igloofest presented to us J.U.D., Keys N Krates & Tiga on the main stage.

A few hundred people were present, some of them in full blown party mode, while others kept close to the heat stations, bars and fireplaces. The mood was good. Personally, I kept on telling myself, “You’ve got to do it for TIGA,” and honestly, it was totally worth it. While the MTL DJ himself kept the Grey Goose and the beats flowing, his fans were tripping out to remixes of Bugatti and many other songs.

Three weekends down, and one more weekend to go. If you haven’t gone to the fest yet, you have one last chance to attend next weekend. No matter how cold it gets, I assure you, it will be wild.

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To open the gallery, click on the picture above. All photos by Bianca Lecompte.

This weekend on Sunday, I attended Igloofest for the first time. The weather had uncharacteristically warmed up – above zero degrees! – and I knew that the universe was telling me to make merry and go rave to Flosstradamus.

Flosstradamus is a DJ duo made up of J2K (Josh Young) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci) from Chicago, who has worked with big DJ names like Diplo and A-trak, and also rap stars like Kid Sister, Juicy J, and Waka Flocka Flame. They produce music that is a perfect blend of EDM and trap, bridging the two genres together in an intense way that will get you “Too Turnt Up” or TTU for short.

They performed on the Sapporo stage with flashing graphics of purple and green weed leaves. Two fans were waving huge American flags at the front of the stage and it was a mix of wonderful and random things that felt like a hallucinogenic cartoon.

While I was raving along on top of the Jagermeister truck, it was snowing lightly – the kind of snow that is fluffy and unintimidating that made everything look like it was covered in shimmering glitter. I knew it was meant to be. There were ice sculptures everywhere – tall beautiful symbols of shining capitalism that spelled out brand names like Jagermeister and Sapporo. Other than the Igloosnacks and Igloodrinks you could get in heated trucks, there were ice slides and a hockey rink. What a true Canadian gem!

With all the looming dilated eyes, Igloofest was truly a molly winter-wonderland. The soft snow made the whole experience feel magical, while the raving EDM music coming from the Sapporo stage took you to a different world of colourful bodies, dressed up in silly costumes like the Power Rangers and animal onesies. It was a hypercolour free-for-all that everyone was vibing to.

The crowd began chanting “ROLL UP!” on Flosstradamus’ command, everyone lighting their joints in solidarity and excitement. A layer of smoke rose above the crowd, the familiar dankness hitting me at the top of the bouncing Jagermeister truck. There was so much smoke coming from the crowd, that it looked like the bouncing bobbles on the colourful Igloofest hats were on fire. At one point, you couldn’t tell the difference between the smoke coming from the half-lit Js and people just breathing. Flosstradamus flattered the crowd by stating that Montreal had the best weed in Canada, and the crowd screamed back with joy.

This is what Josh Young and Curt Cameruci do. They are charismatic, talented hypemen who curate their set to such precision that they can get the crowd jumping, smoking, chanting, and dancing at their will. At one point, Flosstradamus transitioned from the kind of chaotic, high-energy trap rage that is “Waka Flocka Flame,” to a tribute song for their fallen homie ASAP Yams, who passed away recently. Flosstradamus has a diverse set of talents, from creating fiery bangers you’ll want to destroy the town to, to producing sweet electronic melodies like “Rebound” and “God’s Whisper.” Their style is fun and intense – a lot of their tracks feature minimalistic, yet heavy trap beats with rap verses that build up to an explosive bass drop that is heavier and dirtier than most EDM tracks care to explore.

The point is, Flosstradamus will get you moving.

For the last half of their set, they started playing “Rebound,” and it was beautiful and cathartic. After going hard for an hour and getting their crowd pumped up, it felt like the performance came full circle by ending on such a sweet melodious note.

Igloofest is still going on every weekend until February 8. If you’re in town, this is one show that you will definitely not want to miss out on. It is like nothing you have ever experienced before (unless you’ve already raved to colourful bouncing Canadians dancing to the beat and to the snow) and it is a memorable night for any Montrealer. Come for the ice sculptures, come for the music, come for the silly costumes. Either way, you won’t regret it – Igloofest is a surreal and wonderful music event that is more of a PLUR-fuelled circus.

Igloofest CorrectedIgloofest Corrected

Click on the photo above to open the gallery. All photography by Isabel Lee.

It’s Igloofest in MTL – bang! It was fairly cold Friday night, so you know, I had running shoes on and no scarf, right!? I did on the other hand have a good homie hook me up with one of those fleece neck warmer joints, though. Respect. The scene was wild: people in full digital camouflage snowsuits, characters that looked like they’ve just walked off a ski resort, and these five or so dudes that were pimping full length fur coats. I was chilling in the heated area for a bit, they have these bleacher type structures – not comfy so one can’t stay long.

Time to check this party out though – finished my water and zipped the North Face up. We walked right into the Sapporo Scene. Diagraf, also known as Patrick Trudeau was spinning – great visuals too. That euro-house flavor, except the dude’s from here. The grounds really started filling up around 9 PM and I had to go for shelter again. There’s something disconcerting about big juicy bass lines and -20 with the wind chill.

Got some spiced hot chocolate and went to check out BBBlaster at the Videotron stage. It was bumping hard, people had become good and lubricated by then. I made my way to the front center, you know. Lol. Very good set, though. I actually sweated; then paid the price in chills after. At some point I got a text saying hold up your phone – and bang, one of the most exclusive dudes I know appears out of a throng of dancers and bear hugs me in the pit. Big respect. Classic session, was a lot of smoke in the crowd, everyone grooving. We know how to get down in MTL. I ended up at the Sapporo stage for Gui Boratto. The place was bonkers by then. I stayed and kicked it for about 20 minutes but could not regain an acceptable core temperature. Real talk, blue lips.

Igloofest is its own thing, unique vibes. The night was fresh. Cool people, some all city chillers even. For real, though, if you’re planning on going to Igloofest this year, bring a scarf. I’ll see you around one of those hobo cans filled with burning wood. Holla.

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Click on the photo above to open the gallery. All photos taken by Bianca Lecompte.

The Nasty Show kicked off this year’s Just for Laughs Festival at Club Soda last Wednesday. Hosted by comedy veteran Bobby Slayton, and featuring the acts of Ari Shaffir, Derek Seguin, Hailey Boyle, Kurt Metzger and Nick DiPaolo, the eclectic group of acts delivered their nastiest routines to the crowd.

The unsurprisingly male dominated set of performers was surpassed by the refreshing humour of the lone female comedian in the lineup. Hailey Boyle gave her comedy set full of the same fellatio-focused staples of her male counterparts, but with a refreshing, and dare I say nuanced, twist. Smoothly balancing self-deprecation with some quirky boasting, Boyle’s routine felt fresh and in line with today’s comedy style.

The final comedian, Nick DiPaolo, dubbed “one of the best” by host Slayton, came a bit short, loosing the audience at some punch lines that I guess either felt like recycled or dated material. Derek Seguin on the other hand – the only local Montreal performer of the evening – really stole the set with a parental take on nasty, describing his wife’s birth and the limitations of the Quebec healthcare system. In a US-centric line-up, where many of the show’s comedians used US references to commercials and television shows that don’t air in Canada, Seguin’s Quebec embellished set was clearly appreciated by the crowd.

Though we’re not blind to American media up here in Quebec, one thing the show could have benefited from was either more local references, or at least less US-only. After all, you’ve got to know your audience.

All in all, The Nasty Show held up to its reputation and offered, as always, an exciting lineup and plenty of nasty. Looking forward to checking it out again next year, though I hope more acts like Seguin and Boyle are brought to the forefront.

The Nasty Show is kicking off this year’s Just for Laughs Festival, featuring the talents of Ari Shaffir, Derek Seguin, Hailey Boyle, Kurt Metzger and Nick DiPaolo. The show promises to “push the limits of even the dirtiest of minds.” Returning to host is the “Pitbull of Comedy” and one of the self acclaimed nastiest comedians in the business, Bobby Slayton. I had the chance to interview Slayton on his expectations for the upcoming show.

Living up to his, shall we say bold, comedic reputation, Slayton didn’t miss a beat when I began the interview confirming it was in fact Bobby Slayton on the line. “No its Carrot Top, Bobby’s just fucking me in the ass, so he’s kind of tied up right now,” Slayton started. “Is that nasty enough for you?”

What audience do you expect to come to this year’s Nasty Show?

A lot of women have been coming to the nasty show these days. Over the years, the nasty show […] was a real boys night out, which was great. But over the past few years you saw more guys bringing their wives and girlfriends, and then we saw tables of women. It’s great that women appreciate nasty.

Why do you think more women are coming out?

They’re falling in love with me. I’m not a comedian, I’ve become a sex idol. It’s also such a big show. And its not because its nasty, people says to me ‘hey you’re doing the dirty show this year’ well its not the dirty show, its the Nasty Show. The thing about the Nasty Show is that no one gives a shit, it’s just comics. It’s almost the antithesis shows because they could just let loose and not give a shit what people thought, and you could push the envelope. Each comic would try to get more outrageous than the last comic. Now we have so many professional guys we don’t try to top each other, they just do their show.

What brings you back each year?

Paycheques. I don’t get to see my friends, other comedians, very often, because they’re on the road. I don’t get to see them, so that’s one [thing that brings me back each year]. The Moishe Steakhouse, my favourite restaurant. When I’m not working I walk around a lot, and Montreal’s a great town for that. Montreal’s a great city in the summer.

How is Montreal as an audience for comedy?

Well they wouldn’t be doing the festival for thirty something years […] if it wasn’t a great town for comedy. there’s a lot of great towns for comedy, but I’m not sure if they have a festival like this festival. I think Montreal is great for comedy. Maybe it’s the winter, you guys are locked inside all winter.

Why do you think you’re the best comedian to host the Nasty Show

I’m the nastiest comic, and Bill Burr probably wants too much money. Part of my job is not just being funny, but keeping the show moving along. If someone doesn’t have a great set, which rarely happens, I can move things along, and if somebody kills, which always happens, people start chatting about how great, and I’ve got to bring them down a bit as a courtesy to the next comic. It’s not about funny, its the energy in the room. I don’t think they’d have me back if I wasn’t good at it.

What can you tell us about this year’s lineup for the Nasty Show?

Last year was so good, they have to try to top next year, so they’ve put a lot of effort to get this lineup. [They have some returning talents] because last year’s show was so good. I’m not sure what’s going to happen this year, I never know till I get there and see when it happens.

What are your hopes for this year’s Show?

That hookers will come backstage and give me free blow jobs and there’ll be tons of cocaine and cheeseburgers. That won’t happen. Its one of my hopes, but it’s never happened before. And then that there’ll be so many laughs, they’ll come up to me and say ‘Bobby is doing so well this year we’re going to pay him twice as much.’

I was walking with a friend of mine the other day who was in town for Osheaga. She turned to me at one point after a small group of polyester clad teenagers pranced by and said “I hate it when unfashionable people go to music festivals.”

Now, that was a little harsh, she even realized it when I begged her to let me use this anonymous quote as the opening for this article, but I could understand what she meant.  People shouldn’t necessarily choose to look crappy just because they’re going to a music festival. Now, I’m not telling you to show up at Parc Jean Drapeau in an evening gown, but you don’t have to look all drab and boring just because you need to be practical.

I personally didn’t go to Osheaga- but if I’d  gone, I would have worn a pair of denim high waisted Levi’s shorts (these fit like second skin and nothing ever falls out of their pockets… plus, they’re hot) a sensible tank top (for the August in Montreal heat) with a low maintenance Kimono. Not only have Kimonos been making a huge comeback since the Oriental look quietly maneuvered  its way back into style, but they’re also super practical for nights that aren’t quite nippy enough for a full on jacket.

I also would have carried an over the shoulder tote or bag. Make sure it’s over the shoulder, so that you have the option of wearing it across your body for extra security. Also, it’s way easier to fish out your necessities from a messenger bag. Totes are expandable – you should bring one you don’t care about getting ruined in the rain.

For shoes, I recommend Tom’s loafers or boat shoes. Anything slip on and beat up, basically. Flip flops are a bad idea because they can break easily. Sandals, it depends. They’re cute, yes, but the flimsier they are, the more likely they are to give up on you at the most inconvenient time. If you really want to wear sandals, opt for a more secure model- such as the type that have a thicker weaving, or are practically closed toe.

End of the summer tip for ladies: a friend of mine was wearing a pair of adorable sandals similar to what I had just described yesterday. She reported that they were recently purchased from Ardene of all places! It’s not too late, ladies! Go give ‘er  a look!

Hats are always welcome for a summer festival, after all, we must protect our visages from the ozone layer-less rays of Canadian sun, but I feel that the head accessory differs per person. These days, I have been down with turbans. The nice thing about turbans is that you can use the scarf when you’re cold, or as a veil to protect you from the rain. When you’re not using the scarf for your hair, shoulders, or as an umbrella, just double knot it to the strap of your messenger bag. It makes for a cute bag accessory, and won’t take up any room in your tote.

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Gentlemen, I haven’t forgotten about you. First of all, let’s put my past preachings of patterns to use and go wild with the floral tanktops. If you choose not to wear a tanktop, muscle tee, wifebeater, whatever you choose to call them, wear an extremely thin material T-shirt, but I heavily advise against longer sleeved T’s or even baseball shirts (though you guys look adorable with three quarter length sleeves).

If you’re going to get cold, bring a cardigan or flannel shirt separately, because you might get hot again. And while I understand (and believe me, appreciate) that you can just take your tops off wherever you want when you feel uncomfortable, what are you going to do if your date gets cold? Give him/her your sweaty pit-stained baseball shirt because you weren’t smart enough to bring a button down along? I think a man with a button down is extremely sexy, especially when it’s plaid and he’s offering it to me when I’m cold.

Men, you look adorable with hats on, do what you want to with that accessory. Just no visors, please. You’re never going to get laid if you prance  around this world proudly wearing a visor.

Don’t wear long jeans, ESPECIALLY not skinny jeans.  It’s not the time or place. I encourage you all to wear a pair of demin shorts and roll up the pant legs. Ladies, this goes for you too. A summer festival and long jeans should not mix.

No shoes you would wear to the gym, that’s just stupid. For you, I recommend beat up loafers/any shoe you can easily slip into as well. Also, don’t bring your soccer ball thinking you’re going to play soccer in the middle of the festival, don’t bring your guitar to a music festival, it’s not about you, but please, bring your own bag. Your girlfriend does not want to carry everything around for you all day.

Well mesdames et messieurs, I think that’s all the wisdom I can pass down for this week. We have about a month left of summer, so use this guide for any other festivals you may be going to, or weekend trips to the beach, labour day… whatever the hell you’re going to do to prepare yourself for the cold days that are coming to us.

Peace, love, and forever promoting loafers.

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!

When the thunderstorms retreat, I sit outside on my tiny patio, drinking sangria, content that the seedlings are growing (with only a few transplant casualties), and pluck away at some guitar strings humming along with some of my favourite melodies. The signs of summer also announce the beginning of Montreal’s festival season and there is no lack of choice for the initiated and uninitiated alike. Thanks to McAuslan brewer, who brew the most wonderful rosé cider and are ardent supporters of local arts, and Hello Darlin’ productions Montreal has its very own Folk Festival on the Canal providing a spot for acts to land and share their tunes with music lovers as well as an opportunity to showcase local bluegrass, country, and folk talent.mccoury_band-no-logo

The 6th edition of Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal boasts some impressive programming and begins on June 12th with the first of three indoor shows with Roger McGuinn of The Byrds. The next evening, Corinna Rose, a talented and promising local act, will be opening for headliner Tim O’Brien who in turn will be kickin’ off the fest’s opening gala. On friday, The Travelin’ McCourys who are considered bluegrass royalty by many, will be playing at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre. Of the three indoor shows, I am the most intrigued by The Travelin’ McCourys who have been playing on the road for around twenty years. Two of the band members, the McCourys, have bluegrass in their blood as they are the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury.

Old-Man-Luedecke

For the second year, the weekend programming and “meat” of the fest is free taking place at the Ilot Charlevoix near the Atwater Market. On saturday, I am most excited for Will Driving West and Old Man Luedecke. I first heard of Old Man Luedecke from David Pearce of the Jimmyriggers, whom I met whilst volunteering for the fest a couple years ago, when he sent me the tune “I Quit My Job” after hearing me complain about my barista gig one too many times. Old Man Luedecke is a one of kind treat, not to be missed, and lately I’ve been humming his tune “A&W Song” round the house.

As for sunday, The Franklin Electric, a Montreal based music collective, will be launching their debut album This is How I Let You Down an emotional blend of folk and pop. Apart from them, I am less familiar with the acts lined up for Sunday, but that’s not a bad thing. I’ve found that this can be  the best scenario for finding a new ‘coup de coeur’. A few years ago, I was taken by surprise by Canailles when they took the Folk Fest stage and by Anthony D’Amato when he took part in a songwriter circle. They are now amongst my favourite musical acts. This year, The Once seems most promising. I spotted one of them playing a bodhran in one of their videos and my heart danced a little.

The_OnceThat’s not all, along with showcasing folk, bluegrass, and traditional artists the Folk Fest, in partnership with Parks Canada and Mountain Equipment Coop, provides music lovers and their friends and lovers an opportunity to experience some urban camping. Starting on saturday, tents will be pitched sprouting like tiny mushrooms along the canal and fest goers will be able to enjoy all of the weekend programming on site. Urban camping is made sweeter by the opportunity to try out some of Montreal’s lovely treats and new food trucks including Popcorn Mania, Sweet Lee’s Bakery, Hot Dog Mobile, Smooth Fruit, Grumman 78 (tacos!), Landry et Filles, Ma Tante Quiche, and Latte on Wheels.

 

Come for the tunes, stay for the folk.

I don’t know about you fellow Montrealers, but I’m still pretty darn annoyed that we seemed to have completely skipped Spring. But as my mother taught me its always better to look at both sides of the situation; with the warm weather finally here, summer festival season is upon us!  Whether its stand up comedy, experimental theatre or Drag Queens riding tricycles, I will be spending my June in the Plateau and Mile End watching all the strange and fabulous things the 2013 St-Ambroise Fringe Festival has to offer.

After carefully examining this year’s Press Kit here are the events that I’m most excited to be checking out;

I’ve seen a lot of great comedy shows come out of the Fringe, last year for instance “God is a Scottish Drag Queen” was definitely my favourite thing I saw at the festival. This year there’s a couple of interesting looking comedy shows; “Alex Cross and His Rise to Fame” is one of the first shows that caught my attention, mostly with the shameless poster of a man on a cross with a bunch of hot chicks. A blatant grab for attention, yes, but I admit it was grabbed. The press kit describes the show as;  A talentless philistine sells his soul to the devil for fame and fortune. Follow Alex’s journey during his rise to fame until a conspiracy theorist exposes him and the satanic agenda behind the music industry. What would you give up for fame and fortune? Is this show going to be a satire or a giant mess? I’ll let you know.

I always enjoy watching Zach Adams on stage so this year I’m looking forward to seeing his new show ZACH ADAMS: ZACH TO THE FUTURE. Sillyness and charm is a combination that always works on me and this man’s got it in spades so I have every confidence the show is going to be great. I mean come on, read the description for the show; To find out if his career ever takes Weeping Spoon Productions program and websiteoff, Australian actor/comedian Zack Adams decides to travel through time to find his future self. In the year 2018, Zack finds himself on a comical, musical adventure involving a beautiful parking inspector, a man with two left hands and a 1979 Datsun. Plus how can you not like a guy who makes Back to the Future references?

I’m very excited to check out as many theatre shows as I can; I shamefully admit that as a film and television nerd the Fringe provide me with the very rare treat of going to the theatre. Some of the show’s I’ll be checking is “Around Miss Julie”, “Love in the Time of Time Machines”and “My Pregnant Brother” performed by this year’s Fringe Festival spokesperson Johanna Nutter. The play I’m most excited for is “Cross My Heart” which is described as “What is Love?  What if you could buy it in pill-form, like Viagra for the heart?  Or can you only find Love in your dreams?  Jim and Maggie are arch-enemies at work; but things are different on the Astral Plane.  Cross My Heart:  a romantic comedy with a twist.”  I may just be interested because I’m a sucker for a sappy love story but I also hope its a smart comment on love.

Along with smart plays with characters sharing their feelings, I also enjoy show where characters take their clothes off. (Then again, who doesn’t?) As always I will make sure to check out my friends at Glam Gam productions put on their 2nd Fringe play, the re-vamped “Little Beau Peep Show” and this year I’m also looking forward to seeing “ACME Burlesque”. Other events I’ll be checking out throughout the festival is visual art at Gallery Fringe taking part in drinking and watching a movie with the folks at Bloody Underrated with The Alcoholic Cinema.

By the time the festival kicks off with Fringe for All   June 3rd who knows if my festival plan will be the same, but that after all is my absolute favourite part of every festival. You do enormous research carefully reading through the schedule, and then when the festival actually starts you throw all your plans out the window and sees what actually comes of it. Make sure you check back here at Forget the Box throughout June to find out what adventures I embark on at this years Festival. Happy Fringing everyone!

If you love hip hop then don’t miss out on the second annual Festival de Hip Hop Montreal. This year’s line up boasts big names from Quebec, France and the states.

The festival kicked off Thursday, March 28th with the always popular Hip Hop Karaoke at Le Belmont on Saint Laurent.

Tonight (Friday) you can choose between American underground hip hop legend Talib Kweli, a lyrical genius well known for his politically insightful prose, and French break-dancer-turned-incredibly-successful-rapper Booba. Then, if you’re still game, you can head over to Cabaret Underworld for the after party and showcase Latino featuring Agua Negro and Ghetto Youths.

Saturday don’t miss Quebequois rapper Manu Militari who will showcase some tracks from his latest album, Maree Humaine.

Sunday you can get local with Rap D’icite and then Monday Southern California rappers Pac Div close down the festival.

For times, venues, tickets and info go to mtlhhf.com

This year’s Art Matters Festival is already underway. The event runs from March 8–22nd with venues scattered all around the city. The student run festival aims to join the emerging art community of Concordia University’s undergraduate students with local art institutes. All organizers, curators and artists exhibiting are Concordia students. The festival promotes growth, diversity, exposure, communication, and community.

The first official event was hosted event for the festival’s 13th edition was hosted at the Mainline theatre on Nuit Blanche, and another opening party featuring djs and video projections at Espace Reunion.  Artists from all disciplines are celebrated: visual art, dance, performance, music, and design are just some of the  expressions showcased by this year’s line-up. Come  celebrate the creative individuals that make up Concordia University’s population.

Here are all eleven exhibitions being held this year:

Assumptions are not derivative of accepted facts but of distant tales. -March 7 – 19 at Galerie Espace

Curio – March 8-22 at Coat Check Gallery

Erase and Rewind – March 8 – 22 at Studio XX

Ill Palette – March 8 –  22 at Eastern Bloc

Lab 353 Biologie Materialiste – March 8 – 22 at Espace Projet

Menagerie for Hair & Wood – March 11 – 17 at La Baraque

Nature/Culture – March 8 – 22 at Studio #427

Ruins – March 11 – 22 at VAV Gallery

The Tactility of Objects: A Retrospective – March 7 – 18 at Les Territoires

Youth Well Wasted – March 8 – 22 at BBAM! Gallery

Another F****** Exhibition About Identities -March 1 – 30 / Casa Del Popolo

 

For more information on curators and artists, attend the open house weekend March 16-17.

http://artmattersfestival.org/

http://www.facebook.com/artmattersfestival