Saturday is the highlight day for Montréal en Lumière with the annual Nuit Blanche taking place. For those new to the city, this event takes place all day and night (and overnight) in a variety of locations with more events and activities than I care to count.

For people interested in the music part, there’s no way to preview even a fraction of the stuff going on so it’s best you check out the music schedule for yourself and pick out whatever you like. What we’ve done for this preview is to highlight three shows going on Friday night when there’s a little less action. All fit well into the local arts community vibe of Nuit Blanche, featuring local artists playing shows for reasonable prices.

A word of advice, regardless of your interests, the real key to a successful night is getting around in a timely manner. Get yourself a night pass from the STM since metros will be running all night or take advantage of the shuttle service offered.

Sean Nicholas Savage + Cafe Lanai

Our first suggestion for a pre-Nuit Blanche party is over at La Vitrola where local singer / songwriter / Indie Idol Sean Nicholas Savage and Cafe Lanai will be playing as part of a Blue Skies Turn Black showcase. Both acts are unique and original in their songwriting and should be on your list for this weekend if you’re looking for something a little more fresh and different.

Savage has released ten studio albums on Montreal-based Arbutus records (Grimes’ label), the latest being  The Magnificent First. He is also known as a bit of an unorthodox philosopher, something that comes out in his songs.

Sean Nicholas Savage and Cafe Lanai play La Vitrola, 4602 Boulevard St. Laurent, Friday, March 3rd, 10:00pm (Doors at 9:00pm), $8 in advance through the box office or $10 at the door.

Rust Eden + Krief + Tendre

Divan Orange is also hosting a show on Friday night in conjunction with Indie Montréal and Montréal en Lumière that’s perfect for setting off your busy weekend. The three acts set to hit the stage are Rust Eden, Krief  and Tendre, all local Indie performers who represent our city’s musicians quite well.

Rust Eden released their first album Apartment Green in 2016. Their indie rock sound in punctuated by elements of psychedelia and space rock, creating a very Montreal sound.

Rust Eden, Krief  and Tendre play Divan Orange, 4234 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Friday, March 3rd, 9:30pm.

Ouijatrash + Street Sleeper + Calomine

For those who prefer something a little more, ummm… loud, you can head over to Crobar for a self described “Night of Mischief” presented by the good people over at Grimey Mtl and featuring Ouijatrash, Street Sleeper and Calomine. I’m not fully sold on the “mischief” part, this might be a little more like mayhem with a lineup that hardly takes it easy with their tunes.

Cover is only five bucks so it’s well worth stopping in if you’re downtown on Friday night.

Ouijatrash, Street Sleeper and Calomine play Crobar, 1221 Crescent, Friday, March 3rd, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00), $5 (only at the door).

* Know a band or an artist that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe a show FTB should cover, too? Let us know at music@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

It’s once again time to roam the frozen streets in search of performative emancipation.

To keep you energized, here’s a randomized list of edibles available between 7 pm to 3 am.

Spontaneity is key here – so when it comes to Nuit Blanche food in 2015, pick what you like in the heat of the moment.

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In no order whatsoever (because Nuit Blanche is all about spontaneity), here are 10 eatable, drinkable temptations to drop into your itinerary:

1) Well, fine, maybe you’re the linear type. If you want a basic starting point, pay hommage to the Swiss theme of this year’s Montréal en Lumière fine dining program and warm up with some mouth-burning FONDUE. Other than the severely lactose-intolerant and this guy, who can, POSSIBLY, SAY NO TO FONDUE? What’s more, you’ll start your night off at the base of all activities: Place des Arts. –> Until 3 a.m.

2) Next, as the world is caving in all around us, why not pay tribute in an ironic way to the oil sands with a fracking-themed cocktail? Half-awareness tactic, half (hopefully) innovative gustatory delight, the Maison du développement durable has you covered with various edible “curiosités de pétrole.” –> Until 2 a.m.

3) Though not technically a food event, the Salon du Livre Gourmand makes use of the BaNQ’s always well-curated exhibition space, and this year the theme is feasting. Is this free feast for your mind’s eye worth it? Why, that’s alimentary, my dear Child!  –> Until 11 p.m.

4) Over in the Plateau, the cuvée d’hiver promises a ton of spiritual uplifting, from whisky to microbrews. Try a few bites at this event at the Église Saint-Enfant Jésus and catch some rock’n’roll – with electro-swing? Huh? anyway… Let me know when you get there!) –> Until 2 a.m.

5) Some people spend decades trying to get their name in lights. For $2, get can get your name in chocolate–> Until 1 a.m.

6) Le “Snow Food” is all about exploring the modes of outdoor eating. A special version of the Food-Truck-Fridays at Parc Olympique, this polar extravaganza by the Association des restaurateurs de rue du Québec is a sure bet, and a good way to get out east to check out the art of the Pôle Parc Olympique. –> Until 1 a.m.

Bonne_Nuit_blanche_a_tous_-_Montreal_en_lumiere7) Over at Artexte’s exhibits, you can get free hot choco while they’re still open. –> Until midnight.

8) Another polar menu is offered over in Parc Lafontaine by the quaint Éspace Lafontaine. Chef Martin Bérubé’s QC-focused goods feature polar salmon, something called “crispy storm” and a Qweebek Turkey kebab (not a Turkish one…get it?) Beers and wines on offer, too. –> Until midnight.

9) Similar to last year at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, you can check out candies and mulled wine – though this year while you’re perusing the exhibits of the Musée d’art contemporain. –> Until 2 a.m.

10) Finally, in the spirit of pure conjecture and blatant prejudice on my part, try out the Belgo building, which I love on Nuit Blanche, and whose art purveyors usually tack together some wacky snackbar, and maybe a dance party or disco as an added bonus. One never knows where your frozen-on-the-outside, sweaty-on-the-inside feet will lead you.

11) A user-generated “bonus” option where you help us fill our pages! Found your own tasty stop? Let us know: @ForgetTheBox or @JoshDavidson.

P.S.: we’re also going to be live-tweeting (until we get too cold, too lost, or too drunk), so keep us informed of your best discoveries all night long for some sweet, satiating retweets!

We’re nearing the yearly gastronomical frenzy at the venerable Montréal en Lumière festival (Feb. 19-Mar. 1), purveyors of Nuit Blanche (Feb. 28).

This years’ offerings are more luxuriant than ever, and while the free outdoor site will be on hand for cheaper (corporately-sponsored) thrills, the real delights are to be found in dining rooms at the four corners of town as hundreds of global guest chefs descend upon our city.

In its first year as a UNESCO-recognized gathering, Montréal en Lumière doses up the usual geographical mashup to guide the culinary program: Switzerland, Washington DC and Lanaudière. I’m not going to pretend to find some throughline for these three places, so let’s jump into particulars.

Old Swiss food conjures up images of chocolate and cheese. Of course, things have long since changed and Montréal en Lumière is helping to smash stereotypes with a barrage of Michelin stars. From my count, we’re looking at a total 9 Michelin stars, if you tend to count that kind of thing.

Guest chef menus are vague, yet styles range from classic French to tapas, crossing kitchens from La Chronique to Maison Boulud. Prices vary wildly yet tend on the pricier side. For example, the “World’s Best Sommelier,” Paulo Basso, will pair wines at overfluffed Europea with Paul-André Ayer’s dishes for a smooth $300.

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For choco-cheese addicts, however, the rich nation’s iconic delights are on show across a flurry of fondue dinnerschocolate-inspired menus and all-you-can-eat raclette evenings. These tend to be more moderately priced.

Personally, however, I’m more interested in the focus on Lanaudière and Washington: two more “emerging” culinary scenes. Despite its general eminence in all things political, DC has never really found the same culinary footing as NYC, Chicago or even San Francisco.

Yet its culinary riches are developing: ethnically varied, innovative and well-financed chefs have recently brought some amazing ventures to the forefront. Big names such such as Equinox‘s Todd Gray and uber-competitive TV wonder Mike Isabella of Kapnos fill the program and are likely worth the tab.

However, from past experience, I’ve found the wine evenings can sometimes be the most revelatory—with dishes more odd & exciting than the headline dinners. In this spirit, check out Marjorie Meek-Bradley at the always-pleasurable Pullman wine bar.

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As for Lanaudière—that Nor’Easterly region right next to Montréal—well, what do we really know about its chefs and traditions? Top pick (and likely to sell out first) is Nancy Hinton’s guest spot at Les 400 Coups. Her rural joint Les Jardins Sauvages was the subject of great fanfare & controversy last year as duelling critics Lesley Chesterman and M-C Lortie disputed its merits. For a more low-key introduction to our neighbouring region, however, check out the Jean-Talon Market for local products and demos by Lanaudière cooks.

For amateurs of the peculiar world that is Québec culinary TV, you can brush elbows (and determine the financial fate) of four favourite Les Chefs! contestants in a $100 a head 12-course competition dinner.

In the series known as “Planète Montréal” you can have so many profound questions answered. Questions such as: “What would (Habs GM) Marc Bergevin make for dinner?” or “What kind of meal would (hipster band) Mister Valaire curate if they had a captive audience?”

Last and not least, the always-educational UQÀM agro-gastro talks come to the festival this year with a séance on olive oil. Tastings included.

The real wacky & budget friendly food thrills, however, are often found on Nuit Blanche. As we did last year, we’ll be providing a list of cheap (or free) thrills just prior to Feb. 28.

Follow us on Twitter for more updates: @Forgetthebox / @JoshDavidson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Roaming for art all night is great. But how will you stay energized?

nuit-2A blizzard of delicious detours are on offer to keep you boozed up and well fed from 7 pm to 7 am. From free beer and ice cream samples to chocolate fountains, tartars and pirate rums, we’ve paired culinary events with reliable restos to keep you covered all along your Nuit Blanche route.

In no order whatsoever (because Nuit Blanche is all about spontaneity), here are 29 eatable, drinkable temptations to drop into your itinerary:

1) Heading out from the Plateau just before 7 p.m.? Perfect timing. Grab a quick espresso at Flocon first before they close.

2) Try smoked meat or Belgian waffles in the thick of the chaos at Place des Arts. Too boring? What about Haïtian pork, empanadas or maple delights? Same location.

3) Skate the night away: the gloriously-located Éspace La Fontaine is offering mulled wine and an impromptu menu overlooking the skating rink at Parc Lafontaine.

4) While you’re nearby, stop at historic La Banquise for a kamikaze poutine (merguez, hot peppers & Tabasco).

5) Just down the street at La Quincaillerie you can play games while you drink notable house cocktails such as Boulon (vodka/chambord/cranberry/pineapple)

6) Oh, Musée des Beaux-Arts, you’re getting more down to earth each year! This year our beloved MBAM is offering beer tasting alongside a chocolate fountain.What could be a better combo?

7) Make fanzines & get free hot drinks at Geordie’s Espace 4001. 4001 Berri.

8) Grab free sorbet à la pig roast at Les Givrés—all while playing free games!

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9) Obtain a free coffee from McDonalds at Guy & Ste-Catherine after checking out the nifty FOFA Gallery show at Concordia

10) Gnaw on killer sandwiches from Zoe’s Food Truck at Parc Olympique

11) Still at the Parc, try La fameuse poutine (winner of the Drummondville Poutine Fest) at Lucky’s food truck, or nibble on other street eats from the six other food trucks stationed

12) What Would Alexandre Despaties Do? Who knows. But you can learn what he likes to eat and keep the Olympic spirit alive with Saveurs Olympiques, a cross-pollination of chefs and athletes at Vertige. Warning: expensive tapas.

13) Slurp up some squid ink spaghetti at the always-solid Venti before dub-stepping the night away at PHI Centre

14) Try free beers and commemorate an old Montréal business (the now-defunct Dow Brewery) at ETS

15) Arrrrrr! Six pirate rums are on offer at Cabaret du Roy. Try all of ‘em for the reasonable price of $30 (pace yourself)

map16) Grab free food samples from Rue St-Denis merchants until 12 a.m. between Marie-Anne and Mt-Royal (oh, free ice sculptures too: no licking the transparent animals).

17) Steal some value: curry & BYO-wine. Take a 9 p.m. Plateau break at La Belle Thailandaise.

18) Fill your stomach with all night poutine at La Fameux (24 hours, one of my favourites). My tip:  pair it with their copious Greek salad (best kept secret in town). 4500 St-Denis.

19) Pause for a trio of tartares at Hachoir

20) Go for a brain freeze with a quick ice cream at Crémerie Meu Meu. 4458 St-Denis.

21) What? You’re STILL on St-Denis near Mont-Royal? Re-energize your subconscious mind at Bily Kun with real absinthe. Pair it with a plate of cornichons and olives. Backup choice: Kun’s amazing Slivovice plum brandy

22) Eat oysters with tangerine jelly and dulse (joyous) at illustrious Au Cinquème Péché. Pair it with wine using this handy illustration.

23) Amuse your bouche at Le Sensorium’s performance work on phosphorous.

Gardy Fury - Restaurant Le Chasseur -  ©Frédérique Ménard-Aubin via Flickr
Gardy Fury – Restaurant Le Chasseur – ©Frédérique Ménard-Aubin via Flickr

24) Kick back with friends over a friendly pitcher at Auprès de ma blonde. 3845 St-Denis.

25) Drink microbrews while answering tough questions at Quiz night at Randolph Pub Ludique.

26) Taste the south-west! A personal fave: the Centre Culturel Georges Vanier is featuring Itsi Bitsi cupcakes, Burgungy Lion & Drinkerie booze and more alongside music, games and light installations.

27) Drink and learn from serious gamers at La Recreation as part of the Montréal Joue festival

28) Indulge your sweet-tooth with cupcakes & macaroons in the plastic Provigo dome at Place des arts.

29) Consume hot drinks, sweets and yoga for a voluntary contribution at Vert Prana yoga studio

Found your own tasty stop? Let us know: @forgetthebox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stage

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

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Edgy Lucha (photo Chris Zacchia)

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

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

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

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Aint Misbehavin’

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

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

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

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

Visual Arts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Festivals

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

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

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.

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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 here’s the thing about getting older; after spending a week at the office the idea of standing in long lines and crowded venues filled with apathetic hipsters screams exhausting, not exciting. But as much as I’m having a weekend love affair with sweatpants and Netflix these days, there are certain nights where even this old lady knows she has no excuse not to drag her ass out of the house and go experience some culture. Nuit Blanche of course is one of those nights.

As I walked to my first venue of the evening, The Montreal Museum of Fine Art, I delighted in how pretty the snowy weather made everything look and thrilled that it wasn’t the same sub-artic temperatures as last year. As I waited in the dreaded line up to get into the museum I cursed the heavens and wondered why there couldn’t be one Nuit Blanche that wasn’t affected somehow by the weather.

While I couldn’t really blame some of my companions for deciding not to wait in a snowstorm, I’m glad some of the gang made it in. We wandered around the main lobby of the museum watching body painting and listening to a DJ. My companions and I were sad we couldn’t indulge in our fantasy of running around the permanent exhibitions at night, but then not surprisingly our spirits were quickly lifted when we realized they were giving out free beers.

image_galleryThe main attraction of going to the museum was the travelling exhibit, Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon. While everything in the exhibit was beautiful, my favorite part was definitely the pre-Columbian treasures. Standing in front of ancient crowns definitely brings out the Princess fantasies in a gal. The exhibit runs until June so you have plenty of time to check it out for yourself.

Our night of museum stops continued when we then headed to the Canadian Center for Architecture where there was a Pop Montreal showcase going on. This time the insane line up was too much for me so instead of checking out the music show, I wandered around enjoying the exhibits the museum had to offer. I’ll never regret that choice because while I was wandering around the museum I discovered the Karaoke room, where they were performing the last song of the night Shake Senora.  It was there where I experienced my very first spontaneous conga line, which snaked around the museum. It never ceases to amaze me how you can make the most careful plans in life and then out of nowhere you  have the most random and enjoyable experience instead.

While long line ups also prevented me from getting on the Ferris Wheel at the Quartier des Spectacles, we managed to find other fun like Arts Souterrain and standing on the main stage of Place des Arts. It was not my first time on that stage; I have stood on that stage as a child when my mother organized events there and then when I graduated university, but for me there’s still something magical about it. Standing on that large stage looking out at the crowd really makes me wish I could belt out some opera notes or be a piano progeny. If only…

 

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.

drink___draw_005

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!

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!

 

Jason Botkin en masse

EN MASSE“Really the birth of the project was getting a bunch of artist together to see what experimental art they could come up with, we got these massive canvases by covering the walls with paper, and gave out markers to see what would happen.” I’m speaking with Jason Botkin, one of the founders of En Masse, while standing beside several artists drawing on ladders beside paper wrapped columns in the Eaton Center food court on Nuit Blanche.

It was the second year I’d seen them at the all night festival. The first time was in the Old Port, when they covered the walls of an entire room with the most rich, satirically devastating drawings I had ever seen.

There was so much action going on in the black and white piece of collective consciousness that there seemed to be a hidden narrative being told between the drawings.

En Masse is described as “a boundary-blurring cocktail of high and lowbrow culture, pop imagery fragmented like shattered glass in a spontaneous, multi-genre, black-on-white collision.” The black and white drawings are a continually evolving piece that erupts with creativity. Which makes watching the artists work, an eye-peeling, mind-bending, hypnotic experience.

“When we started, we didn’t care about the artwork so much, but we were interested in seeing what would happen if we got all these cool artist together.”

Realizing that they had something remarkable, they decided to act on it, spreading the word of the black and white revolution across the city. Recently En Masse has had their work on display at the Musée des Beaux-arts. An incredible acceptance for a piece that would be considered on the margins for the fine art community. The group has found a way to break the boundaries of the high/low art divide, and found some acceptance in high art culture.

They have also put on production of their art work at Osheaga, Piknic Électronik, Under Pressure, Manifesto (Toronto). They even worked with the Cirque du Soleil to create a work for one of their productions.

The finished product is pretty neat to see. “We didn’t have expectations that it would turn out so well but this works.”

Jason Botkin en masseFor Jason Botkin, Rupert Bottenberg, and Fred Carr, their first project was a life changing experience that lead them to eventually organizing further events.

Although the group has often mistakenly been labeled a “collective” which does not justifiably define them, they are indeed a “drawing initiative” that brings together many different art forms from the realm of fine art, underground comics, graffiti and graphic design.

“Many people had different ways of creating elements and there were many competing egos.”

The final product however, comes together as a unique piece where the whole is greater than any individual aspect. The amount of artists contributing varies from show to show. “Last year, District Montreal did the numbers and we had something like 2000 drawers.”

Since it’s inception they have also worked with schools to have En Masse activities with students. “That started after our first project. We approached the English Montreal School Board. A year into the project En Masse began For the Masses, it took about a year to resurrect the project and we did it with John Abbott collegiate.”

“We had friends who were doing an out-reach program and worked with Artpop and the Redbird gallery (up on Van Horne), we did a huge project, about 350 sq. ft. It was incredible. One of my favorite pieces.”

That’s a lot of markers!

After a big year expect to see more from En Masse in the future. More markers and more art talent to doodle on massive pieces of blank paper.

En Masse is one organization fighting the over the saturated commercial mind-space with public displays of real art, on the street and in our schools, and for that they should be commended.

Photos: Iana Kazakova & Chris Zacchia

We here at Forget the Box don’t just wait until the warm summer months to report on interesting concerts and festivals. From shaking our tushes at Igloofest in January to rocking out at Osheaga in August, we are committed to checking out and letting you know about all the fun and interesting events that this fair city of our has to offer all year round.

So that’s why this Saturday FTBers will be out in full force all night long (which honestly isn’t that much of a stretch for most of us) reporting on the annual Nuit Blanche, aka the closing night of the Montreal en Lumiere festival. Beginning in Paris in 1984 the idea of turning a city into an all night art gallery has since spread to 34 cities, Montreal being one of three in Canada (Halifax and Toronto are the other two).

So without further ado, here’s a list of some of the events that we’re excited about this year… and of course make sure that you check back to Forget the Box next week to hear all about what we thought about Nuit Blanche 2012!

-Fantasia will be presents highlights from its 2011 edition at Théâtre Maisonneuve. Place des Arts, 260 deMaisonneuve West, 12 am to 4 am

-At the Chapel of Notre Dame de Bon Secours, a Gospel choir will be performing five free shows. 400 rue St-Paul East, 8 pm to 12 am

Stephanie Robert @ Confabulation

-At Club Soda, Poirer and guest DJs invite you to come celebrate a “Montreal heatwave in the middle of winter.” 1225 St-Laurent, 10 pm to 3 am

-Art Matters will be having their annual Nuit Blanche event which they are advertising as a night of boxing, contemporary dance, theatre and sound installations. Blue Cat Boxing Studio, 435 Beaubien West, 10 pm to 3 am

-Interested in in-situ performances, street art and circus art? Mélanie Thibault and the Recircle Collective will be presenting At Night, All Cats are Grey outside of Place des Arts. Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, 175 St-Catherine West, 10pm-4am

-The monthly storytelling event Confabulation, which is hosted by Uncalled For’s Matt Goldberg, will be presenting stories in honor of the shortest month of the year: storytellers that night will have a max of two minutes to share their tales with the audience. Shift Space, 1190 St-Antoine West, 8 pm to 11 pm

-POP Montreal will be collaborating will the CCA for a night of art and DJ goodness. Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1920 rue Baile, 7pm to 2am

-A collection of Montreal multi-media artists have put together a show called “What keeps you up at night?” Taking place at 372 St-Catherine, the curated evening will include drawing, painting, sculpture, video and photography.
-If your an astronomy geek or just want a chance to score points with your lady friend, the Planetarium is setting up telescopes all night for a chance to do a little stargazing. Outdoors, Parc Olympic, 4777 Pierre-de Coubertin Ave, 5pm-2am

-Artist Sarah Nesbitt is putting on a show that night card “The Postcard Project” where she’ll be encouraging Montrealers to try social networking the old fashioned way: creating postcards to send in the mail to friends. Galerie CO, 5235 St-Laurent, 6 pm to 2 am

For more information and options, please check out the Nuit Blanche schedule