Halloween is this coming Monday and we can expect a hearty mix of cute kids in costumes going door to door for candy and drunken idiots who think a cheap dollar store mask excuses obnoxious behavior. Despite the occasional incidents of idiocy, Halloween is by no means dangerous. The holiday the night before is an entirely different matter.

Devil’s Night, also known as Mat Night here in Quebec, is a night for pranks and mischief. It is celebrated throughout Canada and US and is believed to date back to Ireland in the 1880s. Though originally a night for fairies and goblins, it has evolved into a night for pranksters. Some believe the custom of handing out candy on Halloween developed in an attempt to appease jokers with sweets in order to spare their property.

In Quebec, Mat Night used to be celebrated by taking people’s doormats and switching them, ringing doorbells and running off, and by leaving a flaming bag of dog feces on someone’s doorstep. For those unfamiliar with this particular prank, the prankster fills a paper bag with dog poo, puts it on someone’s doorstep, lights it on fire, rings the doorbell, and runs away. When the occupant opens the door and sees the fire, they will presumably stamp it out, thus ruining their shoes.

Other common Devil’s Night pranks include egging people, toilet-papering houses, dumping rotten produce on front porches, smashing pumpkins, covering cars in shaving cream, and tipping garbage cans. In the US, the nature of the prank depends on the location.

In rural areas, pranksters tip outhouses and open the gates of livestock pens. In Detroit, Devil’s Night is a night for arson and was undoubtedly the inspiration for the setting of the 1994 film The Crow. Arson is so prevalent on this night in Detroit that in 2008, the mayor recruited thirty thousand volunteers to try and prevent the mayhem.

Mischief in Canada comes with a price. Laws against mischievous behavior make what might seem like a harmless prank an indictable offense with serious penalties.

The crime of mischief is a property offense, meaning it’s a crime that affects people’s stuff, not their person. In order to be guilty of the crime of mischief, an offender has to have willfully destroyed or damaged property, rendered the property “dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective”, obstructed, interrupted, interfered with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of the property, or interfered with a person’s lawful use, enjoyment, or operation of it.

Mischief laws also apply to computer-related offenses. That means that if you’re the type to stay in on Devil’s Night and prefer to pull your pranks from behind your computer screen, you might still be criminally liable.

The law specifically prohibits the willful destruction or alteration of computer data rendering data meaningless, useless, or ineffective, obstructing, interfering, or interrupting the lawful use of the data, and interfering with a person’s lawful use of said data or denying that person access to information that they are legally entitled to.

The penalty for mischief varies according to the degree of danger involved. If the prank endangered someone’s life, the prankster is liable for life in prison. If the prank damaged property worth five thousand dollars or more, the prankster is looking at a prison stay of up to ten years unless the prosecution agrees to a summary conviction, which has a lesser penalty. Where the value of the damaged property is less than five thousand dollars, the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment unless you get a summary conviction.

If you play a prank at a location that has meaning for society, the penalties for mischief change.

Religious properties such as churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, cemeteries associated with them, and objects on their grounds are protected by specific anti-mischief laws. If the prank was motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on religion, race, colour, or ethnic origin, the offender is looking at a maximum prison sentence of ten years, regardless of the value of the property. Just as in other mischief offenses, it is possible to get a summary conviction, but unlike regular mischief offenses, a summary conviction for this kind of prank comes with a maximum sentence of eighteen months.

The penalties for acts of vandalism on War Memorials vary. If the prosecution opts to charge the prankster with an indictable offense, the offender is looking at a maximum of ten years in jail. If it’s a summary conviction, the penalty is a maximum of eighteen months. Unlike other mischief offenses, this one comes with a minimum punishment: a fine of a thousand dollars for a first offense, at least fourteen days in jail for a second offense. Every subsequent offense will get a prankster thirty days in the slammer.

As with everything, there are good, harmless pranks, and there are bad ones. The good ones are funny for all involved, prankster and victim, and require a maximum cleanup of a hose, some water, and maybe a trash can. The bad ones leave permanent damage to both public and private property and to our collective consciousness by making people frustrated, angry, and feeling unwelcome and unappreciated.

This Devil’s Night, in the wake of heated cultural and political debates, economic strife, and disputes between young and old, it is time to remember what the holiday is really all about: a bit of harmless fun to keep people on their toes.

* Featured image via YouTube screengrab

In a couple of days, I’ll be attending my third Detroit Movement Festival, a must attend event for anybody that loves electronic music. Every time I go, I discover great things about this city that has way more to offer than abandoned buildings. Here’s a survival guide for those of you attending the festival for the first time and for those who’d like to go beyond the Hart Plaza.


One thing I’ve learned getting older is that good food is important for you. I’m no longer nineteen years old, therefore, going on a four day bender without sleeping while feeding my body with MDMA is no longer an option. Detroit has tons of great food options if you’re willing to go a little further than downtown. Here are some places you should check out if food is as important to you as music:


Slows Bar-B-Q – 2138 Michigan Ave
Eating at Slows when I’m in Detroit is mandatory for me. Their Mac-n-cheese is to die for. If you’re into southern food you should pay them a visit. While in the neighbourhood, make sure to check out Astro, a great place to get your caffeine fix.

soup menuMudgie’s -1300 Porter St
Renowned for their sandwiches, I personally have a thing for their homemade soups. One thing that’s for sure, Greg Mudge loves his customers and he will go out of his way to make sure you feel at home in his restaurant. They now have a wine and beer license for your drinking pleasure

Rodin – 15 E Kirby ST
I haven’t tried this one yet but it’s on my list for this year. I’m a sucker for French cuisine so I shouldn’t be disappointed. What better time than Friday May 24th to have a late night dinner while hearing John Collins, from the legendary UR collective, play records. The fun starts at 10pm and it goes on until 2am.

Seva – 66 E Forrest Ave
Worried that the suggestions so far are too meat oriented? Seva’s the place for you, dear vegetarian/vegan friends. A good hangover cure to give your body a break from all the toxins.

Honeybee Market –2443 Bagley Ave
Detroit Eastern Market – 2934 Russell Street
You want to save some money and make your own meals? Make sure to visit these two addresses. People travel from miles away to get Honeybee avocados. They also make their own guacamole and salsa that has nothing to do with your usual supermarket brands.

Movement is a daytime thing, going from noon until midnight. Many festival goers are looking for places to keep dancing. The after party list is overwhelming so I thought I’d let you know about my picks this year:


An Intimate Evening With Carl Craig 
Motor City Wine – 608 Woodward Ave
You want to start your festival in a smooth way. You probably just got in town and are exhausted but it would be a shame to spend your first night at the hotel. You know what they say about a marathon? Starting too strong might make you run slower at the end of the race. Same goes for a festival! On Friday you’ll either find me indulging myself with French food and techno beats (see restaurant picks above) or at Motorcity wine for an intimate night with Carl Craig.

Things get busy on Saturday and you’ll have to make heartbreaking decisions or really dig into your wallet to do some party hopping.

Deep Detroit V.5
1515 Broadway
Kai Alce is once again hosting this one of a kind event. After having guests like Omar S and Marcellus Pittman, he’s making room for the new generation and invited Kyle Hall.  The event is taking place at 1515 Broadway, a venue that is not selling alcohol. When there’s a will there’s a way and you should ask how to get to the second floor…

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Circo Loco Celebrates Arthur Russel
TV Bar, 2548 Grand River Ave
When a legendary Ibiza party makes the trek to the Midwest to celebrate a legendary musician with an impressive lineup you have no choice but check it out. Carl Craig, Lee Curtis, Rick Wilhite, Kim Ann Foxmann, D’Julz; that’s only a short list because the party is happening from 10pm until 2pm (no it’s not a mistake…it really continues until the next afternoon). Something most of us won’t remember since we’ll be too intoxicated, but fun nonetheless.

carl craig


Mecca Detroit
Dirty Jersey’s Club , 1513 Broadway
Taking place on both Saturday and Sunday, the event is definitely worth checking out on the second day. Headliners incluses DJ Assault, Los Hermanos and Eddie Fowlkes

The Ultimate Detroit/Chicago Experience
Fountain Bistro, 800 Woodward Ave
Detroit techno and Chicago house are two music genders not too far from each other. It makes perfect sense to invite legendary artists from both cities to perform together. Glenn Underground, Boo Williams, Rick Wilhite and many more will make you dance all night.

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Direct Contact 2.0
North End Studios, 5101 Loraine Street
A little self promotion here since I was invited to play this party. But seriously, I wouldn’t recommend you check it out because I’m there but rather to catch some seriously great musicians like MGUN and Deastro.

North End Studios is part of why Detroit has become so special. It’s a business working to participate, establish and exist in the creative and DIY communities of Detroit, with a focus on contributing to the empowerment of the current and future generations of artists and entrepreneurs through providing studio space, mentorship and exhbition opportunities.

No way back
1515 Broadway
Legendary NYC parties are once again hosting their Sunday party. Techno music all night and enthusiastic dancers that makes the room so hot you’ll be covered in sweat

The first year I attended the festival, there was a tornado warning. Last year, a friend of mine took a little too many drugs and spent the night at the hospital. I wonder what this year’s edition will be like…In the meantime Beatport made a list of 40 essential Detroit techno and house tracks to get you in the mood.

It’s that time of the year again, America’s Memorial Day week-end. But don’t you worry; I’m not writing a patriotic article. For me this long week-end actually means a journey to the Mecca of techno: Detroit. It all started last year when a couple of Montreal electronic music enthusiast and I decided to make the long drive to Movement festival.

This year will be my second at the festival and I think we can all call it a tradition now. The festival runs for three days from May 26th to May 28th. It features the best electronic musicians out there on five stages running from noon to midnight. After midnight things get even more interesting; it’s after-party time. Just to give you an idea of what the after party scene is like; last year I had the “brilliant” idea to print the list of after parties and ended up stuck with 59 sheets of paper.

Here are some artists I’m definitely checking out this year:

Todd Terje – Inspector Norse:  A Norwegian artist who won my heart with both his remixes and his original tracks. 2012 seems to be his year with his crossover track that got played by both electro and indie DJs.

Lindstrom – I feel space: This guy blew my mind a couple of years ago at Watergate in Berlin. For me it will be a sort of reunion. Although he didn’t impress me that much with his latest release, it will be fun to dance to his beats when the sun sets on the red bull music academy stage.

Marcellus Pittman – You want me: Last year, we ended up seeing this guy in a small loft party with maximum 30 people. It was almost a religious experience. This year he’s invading the Made in Detroit stage where I’ll probably end up spending all my time because Detroit dj’s are the best.

Matias Aguayo – Minimal (dj koze remix): He’s always putting on a good show with his festive beats. If anybody can make the sun shine on a dark indoor stage it’s this Chilean guy!

Lil Louis – French Kiss: A Chicago house legend; I discovered him as pretty much every DJ who respects house music will sneak in some of his tracks during their set.

Hot natured – Forward Motion: When two talented guys join forces you can’t go wrong. Jamie Jones and Lee Foss are there to make you dance with their soulful house beats.

Public Enemy –Fight the Power : It’s quite a weird add to the festival. I mean…a hip-hop act in an electronic music festival?! But I tend to enjoy hip-hop during the summer time so why not give it a try?

You might be stuck in Montreal, unable to attend the festival but I’ll be providing reviews through out the weekend that will make you feel as though you are right in the thick of it. Expect some silly stories, interviews with artists and candy raver pictures.

Covering an electronic music festival is like practicing extreme sports. No matter how careful you are, chances are you’re going to end up wrecked.

The fun started in the car where we pumped up techno music during the 10 hour drive to Detroit for Movement 2011. We were already destroyed the first night but a disco nap gave us force to check the opening party with Cassy. It was taking place in a tiny basement bar, the Oslo. The place was really dark and the sound system was insane! Then we checked out a party where the legendary Juan Atkins was performing. We learned the hard way that bars can’t serve alcohol after 2am. Thanks god we had three bottles of hard liquor in our hotel room and….the swimming pool was still open. Naked gin party was the way to go.

Woke up still drunk to make this interview with Aril Brikha (who turned out to be my favorite artist in the first day of festival).

Hey there! So, you’re playing tonight on the Detroit stage. What’s your set up like?
I use Ableton live and midi controllers.

Will you be playing a lot of your songs today?
I only play my own songs since it’s a live set. I just don’t know what to play yet. It’s a bit nerve wracking. I still have to figure out how to work the new controller I got in Chicago two days ago. It may be stupid or it may be a good thing. The crowd seems to be really open-minded, so it’s a good occasion to try new things! But, at the same time I did my first ever live set in Detroit in 99 so it’s like coming home, and I get nervous because I know a lot of people here.

You just released a track on your own label Art of Vengeance. Do you plan on releasing tracks by other artists or it will remain your own music?
At the moment the reason why I started the label was to get my music out quicker than most labels usually do. At this point I just have too much music that I’ve been sitting on, and actually the thought of releasing other peoples’ music was never on my mind until somebody actually mentioned it. But yeah! If I bump into something I like… and I have friends making music as well. If they have something that doesn’t fit anywhere else and I like it, I’ll put it on the label.

What are the other artists you want to check out during Movement?
Little Dragon, fellow Swedish band and I’m probably going to try to see more discoish artists like Morgan Geist and DJ Harvey (who unfortunately canceled the gig). I’m also going to check Adam Beyer. Hopefully I’ll discover something new actually! That’s what festivals are for…yeah or at least it should be! Rather than going to see the artists you already know.

The whole day was magic. Marc Houle (interview coming soon), Kerri Chandler and Aril Brikha were my highlights. Nothing beats the after party though. Omar-s proved that not only is he one of the best producers of the moment but, he’s also the best dj! The party was taking place in a café so no alcohol was served…except upstairs where there was an illegal free bar with vodka and old Detroit legends like submerge owner. They accepted the little Montreal groupie in their crew. Maybe the tutu helped…at least it gave me free access to the party!

Omar S – day by Dolls 2

Photos by Mathieu Grondin