Even though the 30th Edition of the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival won’t happen until June 2021, MainLine Theatre hopes to remain engaged with the community during these difficult times. With that in mind, they are planning This Is Not a Fringe Festival.

“Just because we’re pressing the pause button on the Fringe doesn’t mean that we can’t gather. I’m looking forward to encouraging artists and audiences to connect in new and exciting ways,” said MainLine’s Executive and Artistic Director Amy Blackmore about the upcoming festival.

In the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, this online socially distanced art festival will take place from June 11-21, 2020. Full programming, which will include micro-dance videos, storytelling events, theatrical parties, community art projects, mail-in art and more – will be announced on June 1.

For more information, please visit montrealfringe.ca

Small outdoor gatherings in backyards or parks will be permitted in Quebec as of this Friday, May 22nd. They can have no more than ten people who come from a maximum of three households

Quebec Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault, sitting in for Premier François Legault at the government’s daily COVID-19 briefing, made the announcement and stressed that we were not at the stage where parties and indoor gatherings could start up again. While she understands that, in some cases, guests may go indoors to use the washroom or change a baby, she urged people to not move indoors as a group when it gets late and colder, instead people should head home.

Guilbault also said that people who don’t live together need to maintain two meter distance from each other at these gatherings and urged people to wear masks when not at home as much as possible. This change may be reversed if a new outbreak happens and is Quebec-wide.

Home healthcare providers province-wide will also be able to resume operations as of June 1. Same for personal care businesses such as hair salons everywhere in Quebec outside of the Greater Montreal Area and Joliette.

Guilbault said that a re-opening date for personal care businesses in Montreal and Joliette will follow. Non-essential retail businesses not located in shopping malls or with a private street entrance will be allowed to re-open in the Greater Montreal Area this coming Monday, May 25.

Watch the full press conference with Guilbault and National Director of Public Health Horacio Arruda

Yesterday, in a continued response to COVID-19 (aka the Coronavirus) Quebec Premier François Legault ordered all shopping malls, hair salons, sit-down restaurants and spas closed until May 1st and extended school closings to that date as well. He also announced that police would now be enforcing a ban on groups of more than two people either gathered outside or indoors (where not everyone lives in the residence).

Yesterday there were 219 cases, today there are 628. While the new number is a little less than triple the previous one, it is also the first time the government is including presumed cases along with confirmed ones.

This jump was also anticipated, given the time it takes for the virus to show up. It’s still too early to tell how well the social distancing measures, which began here when Legault ordered all bars and gyms closed last Sunday, are working.

With the larger number, though, Legault ordered all in-person businesses not deemed essential to close by midnight tonight until April 13th. Or, as the Premier put it: “Quebec will be on hold for three weeks.”

What Is Considered Essential

Quebec just released the list of what is considered essential (post updated from a previous version without the list). You can read the complete list, currently in French only, on quebec.ca

In addition to healthcare (including veterinary), government (including garbage collection, postal service and snow removal) and infrastructure services and some construction services, the following can remain open:

  • Grocery stores and other food businesses
  • Pharmacies
  • Depanneurs
  • Big box stores in commercial centres with separate entrances offering hardware, grocery or pharmacy products
  • Agricultural product stores
  • SAQ and SQDC
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemetaries
  • Takeout and delivery restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Cleaners and laundromats
  • Medical and orthopedic supply businesses
  • Pet food and supply businesses
  • Movers
  • Workplace security equipment businesses
  • Telecommunications (equipment and service)
  • Cable
  • Local and national media (not just indie media like us that already work remotely)
  • Newspaper printing presses
  • Banking (at the bank and support centres)
  • Payroll services
  • Accounting services
  • Financial market services
  • Electricians, plumbers and similar services supporting emergency services
  • Construction equipment rental
  • Building maintenance and related services (alarms, ventilation, etc.)
  • Public transit
  • Taxis and adaptive transport
  • Ports and aeroports
  • Vehicle repair and service stations
  • Package delivery
  • Businesses in the supply chain of essential businesses

We will update you on any changes as this promises to be a developing story for weeks to come.

Social distancing to slow the spread of COVID 19 (aka the Coronavirus) means we can’t go out to shows, but it’s clear that the shows haven’t stopped, they’ve just moved to your home. With a spate of online concerts popping, a Leonard Cohen balcony singalong scheduled for tonight and a dance party that you still have to dress up for, there’s more than enough going on for Shows This Week: At Home Edition!

Leonard Cohen Balcony Singalong

If there’s one name that seems to bring all Montrealers together, it’s that of the late, great poet, singer and icon Leonard Cohen. Tomorrow (Sunday), POP Montreal and Martha Wainwright hope Cohen can bring people together as they stay physically apart.

They’re calling it So Long Marianne de Balcon Montreal. In the very recent tradition established by quarantined people in Italy, everyone is encouraged to sing Cohen’s So Long, Marianne together at 8pm tonight from their balconies or out their windows.

Wainwright will be streaming a guide vocal, sort of like a virtual choir master and will follow up the Cohen song by leading a group performance of Richard Desjardins’ Le coeur est un oiseau. You can find the lyrics and info on the stream through the Facebook event page. For now, though, you can practice to this:

Montreal Balcony Drone

Friday from 9-9:15 pm, it’s drone time. No, not the kind of flying delivery, warfare or temporary pandemic dog walking devices that you may be thinking of, but rather the sound that links several forms of music.

John Triangles Stuart started the Facebook event and so far over 2000 people have responded. People are encouraged to go to their balcony or open their windows and use whatever physical instruments they have (or use online synths) and collectively create a drone in the key of C.

Virtual Party

Montreal’s first virtual nightclub launches next Saturday, March 28 between 8 and 11pm. No lineup or coat check, but you will need to access it with your camera enabled, as you’ll be able to see the other guests and they’ll be able to see you.

The DJs are provided, but the drinks are on you and for just you (and possibly the people you live with). You are also asked to dress up like you were going to a real world party with other people and your own light show is encouraged.

You can find the details on the Facebook event page, which has already reached over 20 000 people, so the virtual nightclub may very well be packed for its opening.

We’ll be posting about similar events or livestreamed concerts as this shutdown continues. If you are hosting such an event, please let us know at music@forgetthebox.net (no promises we will mention it, but we’ll do our best)