When the 2013 Montreal Infringement Festival closing weekend arrived, I was ready. This was, after all, the 10th edition and I had been to all the previous incarnations, but I soon remembered that when it comes to the Infringement, it’s best to expect the unexpected.


Thursday night, the Montreal Infringement was supposed to be a night of theatre featuring Buffalo’s 420 The Musical. Unfortunately, the show wasn’t able to make it (insert whatever stoner joke you want here).

That didn’t stop some of the members of the troupe behind it from coming down and Infringing anyways. We were treated to musical sets from Lola and the Creen Machine and Dozo My Lady, who both brought the house down.

The house, of course, had changed to Cafe Sierra. I’m glad I had the chance to check this venue out, it’s a cool new artistic cafe on Prince Arthur and it’s worth a visit.

Lola and the creen machine
Lola and the Creen Machine

I’m also glad I got to see a set by Atlantic City native Lucas Simmons. This mentalist had been in town since the beginning of the fest, drawing portraits of whoever wanted one at various Infringement events and now the stage was all his.

I have to say his performance was both entertaining and impressive. It felt like someone you’re having a beer with all of a sudden starts doing magic tricks, except these tricks are damn good.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how he did most of them, including when I was pulled up from the audience, not once but twice. I thought I had figured out one trick, but then was reminded of one crucial detail which I could not explain. Mind…blown.

Thursday was also the night the fest went into overtime, unofficially that is. I got to hang out with the performers and out of town guests like Hannah and George Hampton who came all the way from Buffalo just to check out the fest. True Infringement spirit if I’ve ever seen it, and believe me, I have.


crazy knows crazy
Crazy Knows Crazy

We partied into the wee hours, so making it down to the fest on Friday was a bit of a challenge and one I’m glad I met.  I’m also glad that Bianca David was covering Sunshine (check out her review and interview), but I will mention that Montreal band Crazy Knows Crazy’s first show was, um, loud to say the least and heavy, very heavy.

I couldn’t make out all of the lyrics, but I think that was the point. It didn’t stop the tunes from being really catchy.


I headed out to Smoke n’ Mirrors on Saturday not expecting to perform, but alas, in the Infringement, it’s a good idea to expect the unexpected. There were a couple of last-minute cancellations and Infringement music coordinator Nikolai Kush and I filled the gaps.

Nikolai impressed not only me but the whole audience with his beat boxing, vocal and harmonica skills. I love the one man band aesthetic and Nikolai pulled it off.

I did a bit as a politician who chose to celebrate Montreal’s corruption. It was fun and got a rise out of the crowd, which I was happy with considering I followed the very definition of a tough act to follow.

What started as a spoken set by Math Boylan (who runs the — gallery where the show was taking place) quickly turned into a burlesque performance when Sandrine Charbonneau walked out topless. She danced as Boylan spoke and painted her body. Again, in the Infringement, you have to expect the unexpected.

nikolai kush
Nikolai Kush

Jay Manafest, who normally hosts this now unhosted show, performed a few of his socially conscious hip hop tracks throughout the evening. This time, though, he gave some back-story, which made his catchy tunes more relevant.

That was the planned part of the evening. After the break, though, it turned into a jam session.

We all took part in this jam. I performed a few songs and even took part in a positive rap battle (a great idea: compliment each other instead of dissing).

For me, this was the end of my infringing in Montreal for the year. The next day, there were two events: Infringement Therapy and everyone hanging out on the mountain.

That’s right, no show, no plans, just infringers enjoying each other’s company and planning for the future. While I missed the closing, I plan to be a part of that future.

You see, next year is the 10th anniversary of the Montreal Infringement Festival. But wait, you might be thinking, wasn’t this year ten? Well, it was the 10th edition, but the anniversary is next year.

A trick? Nope, just some fun with numbers and yet another reminder that in the Infringement, you’ve got to expect the unexpected.

Can’t wait till next year for more infringing? The Buffalo Infringement Festival runs July 25 to August 4. Check infringebuffalo.org for details.

* Photos by Hannah Hampton. For more of her photos, please visit urbex-buffalo.com. Top image of Lucas Simmons (2nd from left) and audience volunteers.

Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s just the thought of Alf’s face that makes me light up with glee. But when I look up eighties pop culture on the internet I can’t help but feel like I belong, and it’s not just because it reminds me of my early childhood.

The eighties had a special je ne sais quoi, a hodge-podge of style and culture that resulted in not caring if that rat tail went with those neon sunglasses. All that I know is: It was “cool” when I was five.

Recently a friend of mine brought over a hard drive full of shows from the 80s and I decided for some ungodly reason to watch Three’s a Crowd a spinoff of Three’s Company. After this experience I felt compelled to write this week’s Blog on Blog on the ninteen eighties.

I was very young around the eighties. What I remember about them is there was an ET, there were Perfect Strangers and a wrestler who wore an elastic band on his face and  partied with Cyndi Lauper. There were LCD games and Goonies and elaborate hairstyles, meshed up together in my memory.

Let’s face it, for us who were really young living through the nineteen eighties our memory is a little blurry. This is why we have the internet: our link to the past.

The Music

Pop Eighties
Where else should we begin but with music. The music of the eighties was pretty unique in its style and Popeighties is the site that will take you down musical memory lane.

Lost in the 80s
Then there is the music that I never really got. I mean there was cassette after cassette produced of this junk. Thousands of cassettes must be somewhere now piled together on the floor of an abandoned BMG warehouse. This blog is that warehouse of music.

The Great 80s Blog
If you’re into Pac-man and Rubik’s cubes this is the site for you. But this site is also dedicated to the fashion, style, television, music and general culture of decadent eighties. Check out the great 80s blog and jog your memory on music you may have forgotten,

The Unofficial Weird Al Yankovic blog. What would this decade be without the musical re-inventions of Weird Al? Yes. This is a parody of a parody site. These people even pray to Al. This type of devotion to Al, also known as “His Lordship,” can only be found on his unofficial Fan Club.

Ten Crazy 80s Haircuts in Music
This really could have fit in either the music or hair category. Trailblazing hair in the eighties caught on from the popular styles of music. There was so much weird hair that went along with music , Suzie and the Banshees, the cure , etc.

The Hair
Yes it’s true, Flock of Segulls had some of the weirdest hair in the 80s, but that isn’t a crime is it? These people were the “hipsters” of their time, victims of a world submerged in new found wealth and decadence. A world where Versace suits were worn to business luncheons and cocaine breakfasts were common – fashionable hair was the only escape from this type of meager existence.

Like Totally Eighties Mullets
Business in the front party in the back, the two styles collided in the 80s and made for one of the most fundamentally frightening looks of all time. I am of course speaking of the mullet. Now these weren’t no creeper mullets that just snuck up on you. These mullets went full force.

The Shows

The Great 80s Television

The eighties had some classic tv shows that have managed to withstand the test of time. It will be remembered for it’s great dective shows like Magnum P.I. and Simon and Simon, but also Dukes of hazard, as well as The Cosby show, Perfect Strangers and so much more. This blog thoroughly goes over every detail of popular TV shows of the time. The sitcom ruled this decade and made way for trailblazing shows like Seinfeld and Twin Peaks.

The Alf Blog
The Alf blog deserve recognition because the person that runs it seems to hyperventilate every time there is discussion of Alf making his way back to television. A few years ago there was a rumor that Alf was going to have his own talk show, but that never seemed to pan out.

80s Wresting
The eighties were good to wresting. It’s where I got my first taste of the World Wresting Federation). There was Bam Bam Bigelow, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ravishing Rick Rude Mean Gene and so many more that made wresting great. For me the story lines never really improved past the “I’m coming after you” story arcs of the 80s. Check out these classic wrestlers from the eighties.

Dead Wrestlers
Thanks to steroids and drug use wrestlers are the fastest dying population in America today. Unfortunately for many of these greats they had a limited time in the ring and are now wrestling angels for wings up in heaven.

And just to throw in a little of the wrestling morbidity, here’s a site I find really fascinating since it dealt it the many, many wrestlers I have forgotten about that came from what I would call wrestling renaissance, the nineteen eighties.

It’s not easy to forget the immense amount of young and exciting talent that all of the Concordia Fine Arts programs harbour within their walls. With the naturally artistic and inspiring winds of Montreal at their backs, these students create impressive work, without an air of amateurism, that is not to be ignored. That’s why a festival was created 12 years ago to showcase such talents and spread the broader message that yes, art matters.

Art Matters is a student-created and student-run art festival put on each year to help promote these young emerging talents and connect them with the Montreal art scene. Groups of students come together with local galleries and other artistic venues to put on various exhibitions, allowing the city to appreciate what they create.

These shows celebrate Concordia’s multidisciplinary environment and therefore welcome all mediums and are not language exclusive. Works of photography, painting, drawing, dance, video, music, design and more are all put on display and enjoyed by many.

Over its two-week span, there are not only the shows to enjoy but also artist discussions, vernissages and a kick off party that is highly anticipated each year (this year’s successful event welcomed local band SUUNS). It is through the diversity, talent and message of Art Matters that it has gained such vastly positive recognition.

Below I have provided a list of four shows that are certainly not to be missed during the 2012 Art Matters festival:

My Pregnant Preteen Birthday Vacation With Dad
Cutator: Nafisa Kap  Location: Les Territoires, 372 St. Catherine O. #572 Vernissage: March 7, 18:00-21:00 Open House: March 10, 17:00-17:45

My Pregnant Preteen Birthday Vacation With Dad focuses on how passing time can alter how a moment from the past is reflected upon. Nine artists consider moments from their younger years and how they feel about them at an older age, creating a multidisciplinary show that suggests a feeling of nostalgia and longing for the past.

From That Time
Curator: Linnea Gwiazda & Carolann Shea  Location: Studio 303, 372 St. Catherine O. Show 1: March 10, 19:30 Show 2: March 11, 16:00 Open House: March 10, 18:00-18:45

From That Time presents a diverse array of mediums conversing in space to bring together individual moments of past times and experiences. Thirteen artists who are represented through performance, painting, video, installation, photography and sculpture come together in collaboration between mediums to create a dynamic exhibit dealing with the fragments of past that influence one’s life.

Block Party
Curator: Aditi Ohri  Vernissage:  March 8, 17:00–19:00 – Annex Vintage (56 Rue St. Viateur O.) & General 54 (54 St. Viateur O.) Open House: March 11 (Van Horn & Parc) 13:00-14:00, 15:00 Monastiraki Reception  (5476 St. Laurent) Finissage: March 16, 17:00-19:00 – Phonopolis (207 Bernard O.)

Taking place in various beautiful Mile End locations, Black Party exhibits 13 talented artists who have created a show that exists within both the retail and public locations of the neighbourhood. The collective works of these artists comment on our identity and behaviours as consumers in society and the effects it has on restoration and decay.

Curator: Clinton Glenn  Location: Gallery AB (372 St. Catherine O. #313) Vernissage: March 7, 18:00-21:00 Open House: March 10, 16:00-16:45

Citation pulls together a group of seven artists to promote a question of sexuality, gender and the body and the effect they all have on how personal identity is viewed by others. Through both direct and indirect interpretations, each artist depicts the complications that accompany creating one’s identity exclusively through visual characteristics.

A couple of months ago I was hanging out with a friend who suggested we check out a performance art piece. An art show is always my kind of thing, so I was happy to come along without knowing anything about the artist, Jason Levine. Technical delays were mitigated by good company and good wine and when Jason did eventually take the stage I was blown away by the way he combined movement, beat boxing and technology so seamlessly.

Being the shameless blogger that I am, I immediately introduced myself to Levine after the show and hounded him for an interview, which he generously agreed to. Over chai tea recently we talked about the evolution of his work, his trip to India and what the future has in store for him.

Stephanie Laughlin: I love hearing about the evolution of an artist’s work; how did you get started?

Jason Levine: I’ve been a musician for a long time, started out as a guitarist and vocalist, and I was in probably just about every type of band you could imagine: Reggae to hip hop to punk to metal… it was fun, but after awhile, I was definitely looking for a change.

SL: So what did you do?

JL: I love the idea of music inspiring images. And so while I don’t paint or draw, I realized that my degree in computer science could be used for creative purpose after all. I hooked up with the Manucirque company and started creating music for the circus, we went and did shows in Mexico, Austria… that was the beginning of developing the type of performances I do now.

SL: That sounds incredible

JL: It was…I discovered what I wanted to do after running away with the circus (laughs). This type of performance has been my focus for about a year now.

SL: What do you like the most about the pieces?

JL: Without a doubt that no two pieces are the same. Sure I may try and work out a bit of the basics, but nothing brings me more excitement than feeding off the moment. I also love collaborating with other artists to see how they utilize the technology… No matter what ends up happening in the performance, for me the intention is more important than the goal. Planning any of it would ruin the magic.

SL: So you travel around North America presenting your performance pieces, and by the time this article comes out on Forget the Box you’ll be off to do a performance in India! Tell FTB readers about that…

JL: I’m going to The Carnival of eCreativity near the northeast foothill of the Himalayas. It’s something I’ve been really passionate about doing, not only for the opportunity to showcase my work outside of North America, but as soon as my performance is done, I’m gonna put the computer away.  The plan is to stay for a month and just do nothing but yoga, meditate and travel.

SL: I can imagine it’ll rejuvenate you for any future projects!

JL: Exactly, and my next big project is pretty exciting. I’m working with the Eric Taylor Dance Company in NYC to program a piece for the ballerinas. Movement artists have long been my favorite kind of people, so I can’t wait. It’s gonna be great.

Photo by Lianne Gagne

When I started writing this post about the dying state of handwriting, I originally intended to write it out in the black journal book that I keep for occasional note-taking. After a few days of procrastinating, I went back to my thoughts on the page.

As I looked down at the chicken scratch I composed the day before I realized that it was completely illegible! How could this be? How could years of practicing handwriting still produce a doctor’s note full of cryptically indecipherable scribbles?

This is just one of the reasons why handwriting has gone out of style for me and why I have turned to the laptop and iPod for taking notes, but I’m not the only one. It seems that the whole world is turning its back on handwriting.

Technology has really put a vice on handwriting; some administrators in the US educational system already consider handwriting dead.

In today’s classes, cursive is used irregularly with the exception a student’s individual note taking. Most teachers, when asking for handwritten work, will ask for printed fonts so it can be read clearly.

Since the 1920s, printed letters have dominated cursive, which is becoming more and more obsolete with the emerging technologies of mass media. Many parents would rather see the subject just simply disappear from the curriculum taught to their children so they can focus on more important subjects, like typing.

As more schools turn electronic the focus has been directed to early year engagement with typing. Think how fast children will be able to type, having all their educational lives interfaced with computers. Computer illiteracy will be a thing of the past. But eventually, most children will no longer know how to use cursive or even print handwriting.

Many in the field of education have been prophesying the death of handwriting for years, and yet, people still write in books, keep journals, students in universities still have to hand in written documents during exams. The great changeover was already suppose to have happened fifteen years ago and yet it still hasn’t come to pass. But why not?

Well, for one thing, old habits die hard. Even though I can’t read my old handwriting I still enjoy the organic quality of writing on paper, the intimacy of being as far from Facebook as possible!!

Another reason is the increased popularity of digital pens and handwriting apps. PenultimateWritepad and Note-Taker have all grown in popularity since the iPad came out. Now you can easily transcribe your handwriting to print at the click of a button. This is amazing for people who just can’t quit cursive!

Also, this generation is the first to live its entire life within the scope of the computer. Think how future generations will use computers comparatively to those who only had a partial engagement with them as children. These days, three year olds can use cellphones! So, eventually, the human experience with education will be synonymous with computer usage. By the next generation, the change will have occurred.

The printed page would forever change once computers were more predominantly used in schools. Even in high school I remember the out-of-date Apple II series computers we had, a few years of kids were trained on these archaic pieces. I remember giving up on cursive around the same time. I just never bothered after teachers complained about my handwriting.

While my computer training effectively helped me to type, all the cursive training I had was not so long lasting. I remember making sure the letters were at the appropriate size and that I was able to reproduce the calligraphic style. It was tough work, well it was for me at least. But I don’t feel bad about learning it, I just feel bad that I might have been part of the last generation that did.

As handwriting becomes less important, do our penmanship skills suffer? And might this have a detrimental effect on learning? After all, we have been writing down stuff for thousands of years and before that we used cave graffiti to tell our stories.

It seems schools have already decided to cut out handwriting curriculum, but it might be a little to early to claim handwriting’s death, especially since many studies have shown handwriting to be beneficial to the educational process.

An article recently published in the Sun Sentinel claims that children that have better handwriting also do better in school. Perhaps we shouldn’t write handwriting’s obituary quite so soon. There is still a lot of benefit that arises from calligraphy skills, after all didn’t Steve Jobs study calligraphy in university?

What if we had the technology to no longer need to write anything? Would we no longer train our young minds to write? No. Of course not!

Just because we can get rid of a curriculum doesn’t mean we should; writing is an art after all, it trains the mind and keeps us sharp.

Now if we can only figure out how to decipher my chicken scratch…

I love free stuff. I also love it when free stuff actually isn’t supposed to be free. If you haven’t caught on by now, let me spell it out for you: pirating. Not that it’s a good thing to pirate music or software or movies, but when you’re broke as hell, sometimes it’s just a good idea to do a few Google searches. And there are faster ways to get the files you want without using torrents and praying that the file you want has been seeded. This is a guide to get what you want faster than any other method I have discovered.

Also, for the record, pirating helps artists.

Trista - New Age Pirate

And the risk of you getting a virus using this method is about the same as it would be if you’re using a torrent. I’ve done this over 500 times and have never, not once, got a virus, so take this into consideration. Don’t download files that seem strangely small. No album or movie is only going to be 2MB. Be smart when you’re downloading, not just with this method, but with everything. Also, you’ll be getting over 800KB/s depending on your internet connection. This is safe, simple, and fast. Enjoy.

If you want an album literally any album there are a few ways to go about doing this, and they all involve Google. All you have to do is this:

Step 1: Go to Google

Step 2: Search for the artist and album name in quotes followed by Mediafire so it looks something like this…

Step 3: Go to the Mediafire link. Most of the time it will be the first result of the search.

Step 4: Download the file, and it’s yours. Unzip it and bang. Instant album. This works for just about ANY album you can think of too. Give it a try. And if you can’t find it on Mediafire, feel free to replace Mediafire with something like Megaupload, Rapidshare, Filesonic, or something along those lines. Or, you can do this:

Step 2B: Type in the name of the band and album but replace Mediafire with “blogspot.com”. The reason for this is that a lot of people have blogs devoted to album downloads and normally have a link waiting for you when you enter the blog. Piece of cake.

School textbook prices got you down and your wallet empty? Not to worry.

Step 1: Almost the exact same thing as how you download music! Here’s an example…

Step 2: Download, and never have to worry about having to pay money for school books again! Your wallet will thank me.

Want movies? By now you probably have the idea on how to download things faster than torrents, but now, because I’m so nice, I figured I’d provide you with my all-time favourite streaming, downloading and video sites. Here we go:

Heavy Metal fan?

http://freehardmusic.com/ – All you need to do is register and you’ll have unlimited access to tonnes of albums all ready for you with Mediafire links.

http://getmetal.org/ – Loads of obscure albums from countries such as Russia, South Africa and Uruguay. A really good website to say the least. A tip for this site is that if you find an album you like but dislike the method of downloading they’ve provided is to take the album and artist name and (you guessed it) proceed to step one of my downloading music guide.

http://metalarea.org/forum/index.php – One of the best metal sites out there. Only issue is the site isn’t in English… for the most part. But it’s still easy enough to navigate. This forum honestly has about thirty new albums uploaded every single day. And some are really rare. Amazing site to say the least.

Film / TV sites?

http://www.sidereel.com/ – Incredible site for finding full seasons of TV series and films. This site provides numerous links for all your viewing pleasures.

http://www.1channel.ch/ – Badass for foreign films and new releases. This site also provides links to download films too. If you ever have the urge to watch The Room, this site is for you. Haha. Or, you know, good films especially foreign ones from Japan, South Korea, Russia, etc. Good stuff.

Like sports?

http://livetv.ru/en/ – Not very often does a website provide links for KHL hockey games, but this one does. If you’re a fan of hockey, soccer, football, baseball, basketball, or any sport even ping pong and want to watch live, then this site is for you. And if you love foreign leagues, even better. Beach soccer anyone?

I’m not advising you to download things illegally. It’s never a good thing to do. I certainly don’t do it. This guide is strictly for referral purposes in case someone asks you if you know how to get things for free online without needing to use torrents. I hope this guide has helped you, and as always, may the force be with you.

Follow us on Facebook for more updates and tips!

Google, Bing, Yahoo…what do they all have in common? They are all trying to finish the race in enriching their search results to include a user’s Social Circle.  Well, guess what? Wajam beat them to the race! Wajam is a cool start up out of the Montreal Tech Scene. I’ve been a Wajam user for some time now [yes, I got ubercool early access].

We all use the internet to search for information, but when we’re looking we have to rely on some authority that dictates to us what we want to see. Since we’re human and social, we want to know what our friends think of things, or see if they have posted information on a topic we are looking for. I’m sure that you just like me would rather see search results from your friends since we put more faith in them than some anonymous server.

Let’s take a look at a search for the Android Homecoming, an event coming up in September for Android enthusiasts, evangelists and app builders (I will be there with start up Band Tracker), this one is done on Bing:

Now here is another search done with Yahoo for one of my classes, ECO310 a computational methods in economics class:

And here is one from my AMS 210 Applied Linear Algebra class on Google:


So, as we can see from all the results posted from the Generic Search Engines, I get what I want.

Now, let’s take a look at what I get when I go straight to Wajam and do a Social Information Search – something I’ll most likely start defaulting to in the future. This is what shows up for a search query for Scilab, a program I use for my AMS class:

Even though Wajam is in its infancy, as you can see it has already proved its usefulness. The more you use your Twitter and Facebook and the more your friends share information on those sites it becomes increasingly easy to find what you’re looking for without having Google, Bing or Yahoo decide for you.

In short, I’m giving Wajam major thumbs up for a solid beginning to a great product. As the world continues to evolve and become more and more social digitally, products like Wajam are going to succeed and replace those that cannot keep up with the rapid changes in the tech realm.

Wajam from Wajam on Vimeo.

About Steven P Sanderson…

Steven is a student at State University of New York at Stony Brook, currently completing a major in Economics and also studying Applied Math and Statistics. He loves computers and new technology. You can check out his own start-up www.MyBandTrackr.com and follow its progress on twitter @bandtrackr or on Facebook.com/bandtrackr.

If you like what Steven has to say, encourage him by leaving a comment below or even  by following him on twitter @stevepsanderson or on FB or drop him a line!

What the fuck is up with our Arts & Theatrics section? We’ve given you reviews of half-naked people dancing around various stages via our Burlesque coverage. We’ve attended art and theatre shows that focus on breaking the glass ceiling by portraying women as silicone objects and transvestite grand-mamas?

How about the local comedy show at The Comedy Lounge that mentioned the late Patrick Swayze in ways Dirty Dancing wouldn’t be able to explain? The fact we only focus on Festivals that don’t charge artists to participate because they value their talent, rather than the profit? And loft shows, like Smoke n’ Mirrors, that ask you to consider political conspiracy theories, opening your mind to situations and facts about the state of our world that could be very possible?

Your grandparents probably wouldn’t be impressed with us, but hopefully we’ve grabbed and kept your attention. And hopefully we’ve artistically undressed you in unusual, constructive ways. It’s not that we’re deliberately trying to be raunchy, it’s quite the opposite our content focuses on showing the artistic side of Montreal (and other cities) through various interesting mediums.

In 2010 our Arts & Theatrics section went from a “dead tab” to one of the most viewed sections on the site. We’ve introduced new writers who love what they see and do, focused on shows most Montreal print and online magazines overlook and tried to bring you content you’d truly and actually like – we’re not really the fluffy type (or pretentious type…minus statements like this). So, thank you for reading our Arts & Theatrics section we can’t wait to add a new layer of interesting content to your mental wardrobe in 2011.

Here’s the breakdown of our coverage by category and in alphabetical order:

Blood Ballet Cabaret (September) (December)
Glam Gam (Nightmare on the Main) (Tits the season)

Montreal Comedy Competition
The Comedy Lounge

Buffalo Infringement Festival
Smoke n’ Mirrors

Rocky Horror

Don Quixote (Centaur Theatre)
Literacy (Tatiana Koroleva)
The Silicone Diaries (Nina Arsenault)

Visual Arts

*image: Courtesy of the Preston Arts Festival. For more information visit: prestonarts.com

Tomorrow is September 11th.   Most of you know that already and if you don’t, just turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper and you’ll most likely be bombarded by stories of tragedy remembered.   Some of you may also remember how this tragedy prompted more tragedy in the form of two wars and restrictions on personal liberty unprecedented in western democracies.

For some, though, this date was important already before 2001, but in a positive way, a way that has now changed for the worse.   These are the people born on September 11th who now have to share their birthday with a tragedy.

“I know a good five or six people who share that birthday,” says Jay Lemieux, a documentary and guerilla video artist and one of the people behind the weekly Smoke N’ Mirrors series, “they all say that September 11th changed their lives as they no longer can enjoy their birthday now that all that negative energy is associated with it.”

That’s why Smoke N’ Mirrors will be throwing them a birthday party this Saturday, cake and all.   As Lemieux puts it, “we’re trying to give back to some of the forgotten victims of 9/11.”

Lemieux is fully aware of the bad taste implicit in such a statement.   He is also aware of all the baggage that comes with 9/11 and the ironic way the events of that day have been used to “manipulate and even hypnotize the population.”

“I just think about all the propaganda that came with it,” he argues, “it was a very sad day of course, but even more sad is the hundreds of thousands who died from the wars that were justified because of the attacks.”

Smoke N’ Mirrors is all about cutting through the propaganda.   The weekly series conceived by Lemieux and comedian and visual artist Math Boylan “is a multi-media brain fuck that is meant to show the audience a different perspective then what they usually see at most shows.”

The event features comedians such as Boylan and George Hamilton Braithwate, Sandrine Charbonneau and Stefan Petersen performing with a live video feed of themselves mixed in with projections of videos by Lemieux and others.   Lemieux sees it as an alternative way of doing comedy.

“Most comedy shows have a certain formula – set up, punch line, laugh –   mostly based on self deprecation,” he says, “I think that just by taking people out of that formula or box you are giving their brains room to breathe and hopefully open up to things they were previously closed minded to.”

The show premiered in June at the Montreal Infringement Festival then picked up again and went weekly in August.   Lemieux feels it will keep growing, just as media disinformation and public acquiescence unfortunately grows as well.

“I think right now, with the BP spill that people have already forgotten, a US president that is doing the same shit as the last one but happens to be black so everybody either likes him or dislikes him for the wrong reason, there’s a lot of smoke n mirrors going on in the media,” Lemieux points out, “so as opposed to most magic shows where they try to trick the audience, we’re trying to show the audience how we’re being tricked.   It’s an unveiling of sorts.”

The Smoke N’ Mirrors 9/11 Birthday Bash starts at 9pm at Xpression Gallery, 5334 de Gaspe #308, pay-what-you-can