Forget The Box is kicking off Autumn with a new weekly calendar of arts shows in Montreal! Check out these events and feel free to contact us with suggestions for others as well.

Alder & Ash

Alder & Ash is a counterpoint of two extremes. The music lies in stillness, introversion, and penitence. It lies in violence, cacophony, and angst. Alder & Ash plays solo cello with loop pedal to create improvised minimal classical music, with influence of doom metal, ambient, post-rock and noise. Alder & Ash will be performing live at Le Réactueur as part of an ambient music showcase – don’t miss it!

Alder & Ash Live at Le Réacteur, 2401 Rue Sainte-Catherine E, Friday, October 14th. Pay-What-You-Can

Fela Kuti Tribute

The Tupi Collective crew, ASMA, KYOU, and DJ Kobal are putting together an exciting evening filled with sonic tributes to Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti at Groove Nation. The event is in celebration of what would have been Fela’s 78th birthday, October 15th (but don’t get it twisted, the show is October 14th).


Fela Kuti Tribute at Groove Nation, 410 Rachel Est, Friday, October 14, 10pm-3am. $5 before midnight, $10 after

Pompette’s Monthly Comedy Extravaganza

Pompette’s Monthly Comedy Extravaganza offers Montreal’s finest in a casual context with one of the best new resto/bars in the city. At your service Riccardo Spensieri & his crew will be dishing out the eats and libations as Franco Taddeo & friends light up the night with laughter.

Taddeo is joined by emcee Peter J. Radomski of Just for Laughs fame as well as Paul Baluyot, ParkEx’s One Name Wonder Pantelis, TV’s Geoffery Appelbaum, Erica “The Funny & No Relation” Taddeo plus a Special apperance by Ernie the 80 year Old Comedian & his stool (chair to sit on to be clear!!).

Pompette’s Monthly Comedy Extravaganza at Pompette, 4128 Boulevard St-Laurent, Wednesday, October 19th, 8:30pm – 10:30pm. $9 with comedy night special on drinks

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

In a small room at Le Bordel, a comedy club that normally hosts French-speaking comedians, a crowd of sweaty members of the press gather. Some are famous, some hope to be, but they’re all here on Just For Laughs’ invitation. Some chat, some sip the beer or wine provided courtesy of a drink ticket included with the invite, others play with their phones, but all are waiting for the night’s event.

For the first time, Just for Laughs offered an invite-only preview of the Nasty Show to members of the press. All braved the 30+ heat and humidity to crowd into that tiny room, everyone trying to speak over everyone else who was in turn trying to speak over the club’s background music. With that many people in one room, the club’s air conditioning proved useless but no one seemed to care as announcements were made and Mike Ward took the stage.

Mike Ward is hosting the Nasty Show for the second year in a row, replacing the Pitbull of Comedy Bobby Slayton who will be performing at the show instead. The preview featured Ward and “Prozac with a head” comedian Brad Williams.

True to the tradition of Nasty Show hosts, Ward started his opening set with some self-deprecation, talking about how he fucks like an old man and wants a woman who’s “legal but not [legal] everywhere.” Turning his attention to the audience, Ward did a bit on dick pics, managing to coax one man near the front to disclose how many he’s sent. When the man in question said “20,” he, not Ward became the subject of applause.

Ward then tackled what the late George Carlin would have called “the turd in the punchbowl” – the issue that everyone had at the back of their minds but were too polite to bring up.

On February 24, 2016 Mike Ward appeared before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal following a complaint regarding a joke he made about a kid with a disfiguring facial condition. Over a dozen comedians showed up on the day of his testimony to show support. Though the verdict isn’t expected until August, Ward took the cavalier attitude one would hope for, boldly telling all present that if he was going to get in trouble for this joke, he was going to tell it as much as possible in as many languages as he can.

Ward told the joke, which turned out to be nowhere near as offensive as the reports on the Human Rights’ complaint suggest. The joke had nothing to do with the fact that the child was disfigured and more to do with the fact that the kid is also deaf. The child’s dream was to sing for the Pope and he got his wish but being deaf he was not able to tell – as per the joke – if he was off key. It was this and not the fact that the kid is disfigured and was dying at the time that Mike Ward was making fun of, and the crowd at the preview responded with laughter not outrage.

Next to take the stage was Brad Williams, a man the late great Robin Williams dubbed “Prozac with a Head.”

Brad is a sight to behold, most conspicuously because he’s a dwarf with more energy than most big people. He quickly won the audience’s affection by starting his set with a joke about Canadian politeness. Apparently a heckler in Edmonton apologized to him after a show for comparing him to a Leprechaun. As Canadians, we love to make fun of ourselves and take pleasure in jokes that are at once critical and complementary. This was no exception. Though the bulk of his comedy is about his trials and tribulations being a dwarf, he peppered his routine with dick jokes.

Brad Williams (image:

Though he only had limited time for his set, Williams surprised everyone by saying that he was having such a good time and wanted to continue. The audience was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and egged him on with shouts and applause.

Williams then talked about how tough Canadians are, citing the behaviour of our hockey players who keep playing despite bloody faces and missing teeth. He went on about how great a contrast it is to his fellow Americans whom he claims have the motto “strive to be a victim.” As an example, he cited a guy who brought a therapy chihuahua onto a flight he was on for “stress reasons.” Williams rightfully pointed out that a stress dog shouldn’t look more nervous than the human who needs it.

One of Williams’ last jokes was a beautiful jab at presidential candidate Donald Trump, a man he called “so orange he comes Cheeto dust.”

Williams and Ward killed for by the end of the hour-long preview most had forgotten the heat of the room as all were laughing so hard. It bodes well for the Nasty Show, which is going on from July 20th to 24th in the much-better-ventilated-venue Club Metropolis with show times to suit early birds (7 p.m.) and night owls (9:30 pm).

If this is just a preview, the main event will be glorious.

* Tickets for The Nasty Show are available through

Toronto-based, Indie rockers Alvvays are back in Montreal, and we couldn’t be more excited. After a jam-packed summer that saw the band perform at the UK’s premier music festival Glastonbury, as well as Montreal’s own Osheaga Festival, Alvvays is on the road again for a series of concert dates throughout Canada and the States.

Alvvays’ eponymous 2014 debut album is an upbeat, jangle-pop affair that draws heavily, both lyrically and sonically, from The Smiths, The Cranberries, and Britpop icons Oasis. Their breakout single Archie, Marry Me put the group on the international Indie radar– you’ve probably already heard the track, and if you haven’t, check it out immediately:

The band’s unique ability to create pop melodies that are whimsical and immediate, dreamy and simultaneously infectious sets them apart from most acts on the Indie circuit. Top it all off with lead vocalist Molly Rankin’s intimate vocal performances and lyrical depth, Alvvays is a name that we’re going to be hearing for a very long time.

Performing Tuesday, October 20th at the Corona Theatre, 2490 Notre Dame Ouest, 8pm, this is a show that you’ll definitely want to check out

* Photo by Gavin Keen

Montreal summer is a great time for film festivals. Fantasia, FIFA, FNC, WFF – there’s something for everyone to go to, no matter where your interests in film are. A festival I look forward to covering for the first time is starting today: the Montreal International Animation Film Festival, or MIAFF.

As much as MIAFF is a film festival, it’s also an event. This year’s fest will feature panel discussions on stop-motion animation and the development process that takes an idea from your head to animated reality, as well as master classes with animation legends Co Hoedman and Heavy Metal director Gerald Potterton.

But what of the films, you ask? MIAFF’s lineup this year is a startlingly diverse smorgasbord of animated films from all over the world, ranging from the deadly serious to the fun and light hearted.

From Germany is The Land of the Magic Flute, a gorgeous looking motion comic billed as a re-imagining of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. The Land of the Magic Flute will be part of MIAFF’s opening night, and feature live music by Philip Lambert.

108 demon kings poster108 Demon Kings is a co-production between France, Belgium, Luxembourg and China, a sprawling CGI adventure set in 11th century China.

For those looking for something to bring the family to, Yellowbird promises a more mainstream family adventure, the story of a small bird leading his flock on the yearly migration. The film is originally from France and Belgiu, but the English dub starring Seth Green and Commnity’s Jim Rash and Yvette Nicole Brown will be playing.

From Argentina, Anima Buenos Aires looks to be a beautiful tableau of styles and rhythms, an animated portrait of the country’s capital featuring sequences by some of the most talented local animators.

Finally, from China, Joe Chang’s Magic Train looks to be a lyrical, poetic experience that will in all likelihood make you cry like a small child.

And that’s not even getting into the countless shorts that will air in special blocks throughout the festival.

While I won’t be there every day, I’ll be attending the first and last days of the festival, with a special FFR early next week recounting my experiences at the fest.

Also, congratulations to Velislav Kazakov who correctly identified our contest still as The Secret of Kells. He wins a pair of tickets to opening night!

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.


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.


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

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

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


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

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

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


Come for the tunes, stay for the folk.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So just because I’ve dug myself into a comfortable rut of not giving a toss about anything local, current or relevant doesn’t mean you should, and if you’re possessed of an actual interest in Montreal’s booming underground film culture, you should probably head down to Cinema Excentris this Thursday for the second installment of Made in Montreal.

A two-program smorgasbord of locally made shorts, the fest aims to “merge a variety of approaches in moving-image art, demonstrating the rich diversity of current practices by Montreal’s film and video artists.” or in layman’s terms “Showcase some funky shorts, some local weirdos made, to see if we can get any of that sweet underground film action going”.

The evening will include the works of Ralitsa Doncheva, Meryam Joobeur, Nika Khanjani, Zohar Kfir, Georges Mauro, Robin Pineda Gould, Brian Virostek, Michael Wees, Erin Celeste Weisgerber, Michael Yaroshevsky and Myriam Yates, who will also be on hand to do a Q & A after the screenings, which include titles like I Listen to the Wind that Obliterates my Traces and Racetrack Superstar Ghost.

Though I will definitely feel cheated if Racetrack Superstar Ghost isn’t about exactly that and they don’t pull some metaphor bullshit.

The shindig starts at 9 on Thursday, March 14th at the Excentris Theatre, and I’ll be there, probably fighting against the urge to go home and watch a Frank Henenlotter movie the whole time. Be there, or most assuredly be square.

PORTRAIT ZERO Dir. Michael Yaroshevsky (super-8/16mm/35mm scope transferred to HD, colour & b/w, stereo, 5:21 min, 2012, no dialogue)


I first heard Les Monstres Terribles at Il Motore when they opened for Alexei Martov, LOFTS, and Photo.Real. I was immediately intrigued. Thus, right after their set, I walked up to the lead vocalist, boldly interrupted his conversation with a pretty lady, and asked for an interview with these compelling bards.

Nicely enough, Quentin Mitchell (vocals), agreed to the interview and I had the opportunity to sit down with him, Scott Wood (vocals, electric guitar), Laura Shrum (bass, double bass) and Rachelle Arsenaul (keys) at Cafe Italia in Little Italy. Mike Beaton (drums), the last (but not least) member of Les Monstres Terribles, was at a hockey game during the interview. We can respect that (even if we don’t understand it).

390133_10151141687992309_590358342_nLes Monstres Terribles began back in Victoria, where Quentin, Laura, and Scott, who had been playing in a mutual friend’s band which out of necessity disbanded, decided to take some songs written by Quentin to the stage. They played around Victoria, even putting together and performing with an orchestra of eleven people. The name of the band was inspired by Quentin’s love of Gorillaz in terms of the plurality of the name and Gorillaz’ collaborative nature. At the time, Quentin had been working on art where he would turn inanimate objects like amplifiers into monsters. His love of the french language and ideas at the time of maybe attending McGill for music combined with aforementioned to give: Les Monstres Terribles.

Two years go by, they decided it was time to go and decided to move to Montreal: “None of us had ever been to Montreal, but we had always been intrigued by the rumors of the magical creativity that goes on around here”, said Quentin. The three friends drove for ten days, making their way to Montreal, after selling their possessions in a huge garage sale and saying good-bye to friends, coming to la belle province with no job or apartment prospects. Once here, they began looking for a drummer and found Mike Beaton who had just arrived in Montreal form Nova Scotia. They worked with several keyboardists and finally found Rachelle Arsenault, who is now a permanent member of the line up.

Their newest album Le Loup et Le Lapin, which they launched at Club Lambi, was originally intended to be a double EP. The imagery of its title and artwork is intended to depict two different sides of a coin: the darker and lighter aspects of their music. The tracks on this album, reveal melodic rock, echoes of fanfare, and a compellingly melancholic nature. Comparisons are difficult, but in an effort to orient the reader try to imagine a combination/pastiche of Arcade Fire, early Patrick Watson, and The National. Of the nine tracks on the album, “That Melody” and “ Graveyard Shift” are the standouts.

564212_10150652471572309_1225272134_nIn terms of inspiration, Laura finds her inspiration in her jazz background and the carnival and circus feel combined with some pop and folk styles. Next, Scott is inspired by “alcohol and drugs”, life in general, and Tom Waits. As for Quentin, he cites “whisky, women, and woe”, Gorillaz, Portishead and Radiohead. The band’s songwriting is moving towards an experimental nature: telling stories with soundscapes and trying anti-narrative lyrical approaches. The song “Waves” on Le Loup et Le Lapin is a good example of this experimentation. Moving away from the familiar arena of heartbreak (re: Women and Woe), for Les Monstres Terribles playing with song structures and trying to keep songs interesting to play technically are strong influential factors in their current songwriting.

In light of the flurry of films like Twilight (Hardwicke, 2008), Beautiful Creatures (LaGravenese, 2013), and Warm Bodies (Levine, 2013), I asked Les Monstres Terribles which supernatural creature/monster they would like to be if they were to be in a romantic tryst with a human. Quentin went with werewolf, in keeping with the theme of their album, naming. Laura would be a hobbit, although Scott feels that she would make a better garden gnome. As for Scott, who sports a killer mustache, he would be a chupacabra. Last but not least, Rachelle would be Superman, who is technically an alien, but declined to reveal her kryptonite.

Les Monstres name Jacky and Judy (now closed) as their favourite venue in Montreal and their show at Club Lambi as their best show so far lauding the sound technician. Their next show is this Sunday, February 10th at Café Chaos(2031, Rue Saint-Denis) for Buckfest 2013.

Print is not dead. The Montreal Exopozine is just one example of how print culture is flourishing, but sort of becoming a niche. It’s unique and independent, but that’s not a bad thing.

In its 11th year, Canada’s biggest zine fair and one of North America’s largest small press fairs will take place at its usual spot, 5035 St. Dominique (in the church) and will have a room full of counters filled with print from a variety of groups and individuals. Expect over 270 creative independent publications featuring a diverse lot of books, mags, comics, prints, toys and trinkets. Anything your little collector heart desires you can find at Expozine.

Tables will include: The eclectic screening room, Drawn and Quarterly, Radical Montreal, One Sentence Story, Jonathan Cumming’s Teen Love, Ballz Montreal, Night terrors and so much more .

All the fun begins on Saturday, November 17th from 12pm until 6pm. Expozine runs until Sunday the 18th. Admission is absolutely free.

On Wednesday night I was invited to Bain Mathieu in Hochelaga to preview the Bang Bang Cabaret Prohibition, a 1920s themed circus and burlesque show up this Saturday. It was the dress rehearsal and the bathhouse turned performance venue smelled faintly like birthday sparklers because performers were practicing with fast-burning flash paper as part of their more fiery burlesque numbers.

The beautiful hall complete with depth markings in tile around the used-to-be pool looked hardly performance ready, littered with juggling pins, rope, and nettings. But Esmeralda Nadeau-Jasso, the Artistic Director for the cabaret, assured me the place will be set-up speakeasy style with the audience comfortably in tables around the stage come show-time.

“Not a lot of people do both circus and burlesque, we’re integrating the two…” said Nadeau-Jasso, “it makes it a big challenge for us, for a performer to juggle or eat fire and also take off their clothes!”

Performers distractingly milled about, chatting and juggling and and swinging from the ceiling on nets and rope. It was all feathers and pearls and legs for miles. A girl in a fur coat fluttered by as I took photographs singing “hide-dee hide-dee hide-dee hi, low-dee low-dee low-dee low” perfecting the old-timey vibe building in the space.

Over 40 people are involved in putting this sexy and quirky cabaret together, the same group that produced Arena, a Roman-themed circus/burlesque show this past summer. This time, half of the acts will be backed by The Unsettlers, a ten piece live band.

“The combination of circus, burlesque, and cabaret in this historic public bath is definitely open to all people… above 18,” said the cheeky Antonio Bavaro who is hosting the show and performing a set in drag as Connie Lingua. “How often do you get to see hot jugglers and burlesque girls on trapeze, live music and drag queens all in one show?”

Each performer was given free-reign to do whatever they pleased with their set, as long as it fit within the 1920s theme.

“But’s it’s not all sexy,” said Bavaro. “there is some darkness in the show. One of the numbers deals with the stock market crash and there’s touching on alcoholism, it’s not just comedy.”

Bang Bang Cabaret prohibition goes up this Saturday for one night only at Bain Mathieu, 2915 Ontario Est, 8pm (ticket info available online). Prohibition is not enforced at the venue and drinks will be available for sale. There will be an electro-swing dance party directly after the show and it promises to be a “roarin good time!”

Look forward to video coverage from

If you’re a fan of engaging, progressive indie rock, consider heading out to Quai des Brumes this coming Thursday November 8th to see the Maritime-born Coyote play.

Featuring a line-up of boys that all hail either from Prince Edward Island or Nova Scotia, Coyote is an emerging group full of youth and talent. The five-piece formed roughly two years ago in Charlottetown, P.E.I, and they bring a Maritime rock element to their danceable indie-flavoured tunes.

Lead by Josh Carter’s unique and powerful tenor and the harmonies packed around it, Coyote’s songs are generally light-hearted and tightly-arranged, featuring a good mix of acoustic and electric sounds. The lyrics the boys belt out can be based on lofty concepts or very specific images, but are, either way, usually easy to identify with. The musical arrangements themselves are backed by solid beats and well-timed tempo switches designed to grab and hold the audience.

If you’re a fan of Modest Mouse, Paper Lions, or Kings of Leon, there’s a good chance you’ll find something to love in Coyote’s style.

They’re also known for giving an energetic live show, so stop by Quai des Brumes on Thursday night to take it in, and to give these Maritime boys a boost on their way across Canada!


*Quai des Brumes is located at 4481 Rue Saint Denis

Tickets are $10 at the door, $8 in advance

Here we are, day two of POP Montreal, what to see, what to see??

At 2pm on the 20th, there’s a free show at Citizen Vintage (5330 Boulevard Saint-Laurent). Starting things off will be the Tontons, with their catchy, soulful and bluesy tunes, fronted by a very talented vocalist. Also rocking a captivating singer is NOIA, a newly-duoed project based on eclectic beats and interactive live performances. Rags to Radio will be playing as well, another group known for their charismatic live shows. If you like the Strokes or the Black Keys, you’ll no doubt find something to love in Rags to Radio’s stylings. On the same bill is Fuka Laka, with their pop-infused spacey soundscapes and echoing, melancholic vocals, and Goose Hut, all Passion Pit-y with diffuse vocals and electric drum patterns. A good vibe for being surrounded by pretty vintage clothes in the heart of Montreal’s hipster ghetto!

In the evening, Lila dit ça will be playing at Quai des Brumes. If you’re a fan of Malajube, Lila dit ça will probably float your boat, though their brand of gentle indie is slightly more poppy than Malajube’s. Joining them at the Quai is Mauves, with their tight vocal harmonies and their music that’s at once soaring, romantic, and maybe a little neurotic. The Belle Comedians are also on the bill with their intimate country-flavoured indiepop, as is Filthy Haanz’s almost Pixies-like sexy junkiepop that can sometimes sound exactly like a city at sunset. This show will be a sonic experience!

If that doesn’t speak to you, there’s something a bit heavier and nuttier happening at Club Lambi. Organ Mood will be there, with their trance-y psychedelic electronica and, hopefully, delivering the immersive live show they’re known for. Pyongyang joins the fun with their culture-collage funk and post-punk vibe that recalls groups like Gang of Four. (Anything that makes me think of Gang of Four is guaranteed to win my heart, basically.) One of my favourite local groups will be playing this night too: VULGAR, YOU!, sure to deliver reeling danceable electropunk with lots of screaming and distortion. Delicious. Finally Quatro and Red Mass, known for having an engaging stage presence, will both be there to round out the night and deliver their own brand of post-punk-flavoured genre-bending funk rock.

Montreal’s new Double Spaced-theatre is putting on it’s first production this Wednesday. The comedy/drama Bea by Mick Gordon offers a glimpse into the life of 25 year old Bea who has been paralyzed by a terminal illness for 8 years. The story isn’t paralyzed by her unnamed disease though, because it is told through the voice of Bea’s inner self.

Through Bea’s playful and cathartic interactions with her mother and quirky new care-giver Ray,  the play explores themes of love and sacrifice when Bea expresses her wish for assisted suicide. Director Michèle Robinson was mindful of the recent B.C. Supreme Court Ruling ruling to grant Gloria Taylor the right to a physician assisted suicide when directing the play but Robinson insists that her role is not that of an advocate for the cause.

“Bea is definitely a hilarious show about a deeply troubling issue, so I want the audience to simply witness what is going on in Bea’s world. The play is not about pushing a stance on assisted suicide; it is about the impossibility of forming any opinion without being directly involved…”

Though it includes dark themes and painful issues Bea is lightened by a bangin’ disco soundtrack, lovely costumes, and Robinson describes the set as a “sparkly sterile party castle”.

Bea features local talent, Director Michèle Robinson is a student at McGill and the three actors featured in the play are graduates of Dawson College’s Professional Theatre Program who have been involved in many local productions. Despite some major set-backs along the way Robinson is excited and confident about the four night run for Bea.

“It feels incredibly exciting to be opening tomorrow night. There are less and less things to do! Though it’s not my first time directing a play, it is the first time that I feel such a professional energy. There is momentum happening everywhere and everyone feels it!”

She hopes that her new company Double-Spaced Theatre will find it’s place as the “it company for aspiring professionals” in the near future.

Bea runs September 12th to 15th at Théâtre Rouge

Check out the trailer

Wicked the musical has come to town my fellow Montrealers, Montrealites, Montrealians, Munchkins, and it all kicked off August 1st at Place-des-Arts. But don’t despair if you haven’t got a ticket yet, the show will be on until the 26th, so plenty of time to stitch up your witch hats and get yourself down there for an amazing extravaganza.

The composer Stephen Schwartz has created something truly unique and worth seeing. Wicked is based on a 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire titled “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, which takes place before the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” written in 1900 by Lyman Frank Baum. It is how the two witches became who they are, one bad and one good, but as all good stories recount, everything is not always as it seems. Nothing is clear cut. Just imagine Studio Ghibli films and you get a sense of where the actors are taking you.

My interest in musicals has grown over the years, and one of the reasons is the use of technology to create spectacular art. From the set design, to special effects and from elaborate costumes to the performances, everything art has set to achieve can be seen in those theatres. But it doesn’t stop there, what we are seeing in musicals currently is unity between the Arts. Visual, literary, music, fashion and dance are all summoned by the creators to take us on a journey. Oh and how we are mesmerized for a couple of hours of pure joy.

Films came very close to uniting the Arts, but somehow the viewer feels left out, we feel as if we are in a safe place watching, not interacting, not in any danger, not involved. We are at a distance with cinema, just enjoying the story and the magic of the visual which we are fully aware is fictional. However, with theatre the magic is happening before our eyes, and one becomes part of the show through the proximity of human contact.

Wagner knew this all too well. Richard Wagner believed in the harmony of the senses, and the composer introduced the idea Music of the Future or “Zukunftsmusik” in which he proposed a harmony between music, performance and poetry, this unity was picked up by many artists throughout the ages who tried to paint music, or perform poetry and so on. Later on John Cage produced shows inspired by colour theory to show the visual spectacle accompanied by flow of poetry and sound.

Noted artists, who believed in the harmony between senses, include: Wassily Kandinsky, Miro and Picasso. Kandinsky was fascinated by a condition called Synesthesia where the subject can actually sense the notes of music as different colors, this lead to him trying to paint music. Some say he suffered from the condition himself, however this cannot be proved one way or the other.

Miro was also interested in the harmony between the Arts. In “Photo: This Is the Color of My Dreams, 1925” he created a painting which was ground-breaking in uniting the senses. The written language with visual arts, accompanied by that dreamy blue cloud which invites you to use your imagination, including the audience.

Picasso was no stranger to theatre, apart from marrying the Russian dancer Olga Khokhlova, he designed the curtain and costumes for the ballet “Parade”. Cubism, dance and music all united to beguile the viewer in 1917.

There is something romantic about the Arts coming together, a sense of irrevocable, unprecedented, enticing beauty. Musicals have so far achieved this notion best, and without fuss given us a sense of belonging. Wicked is right up there with Oliver, Lion King and Les Misérables, and why not allow yourself to be taken away on this new voyage?

Wicked the Musical will be on at Place-des-Arts, Montreal until 26th of August 2012.

This Saturday, July 28th, Forget the Box is excited to be attending Yelp Helps! An event which is organized by the social media website Yelp and Indyish co-founder Risa Dickens.  With a goal to raise awareness about Montreal’s non profit organizations such as Head and Hands and The Leukemia and Lymphoma society of Canada, Yelp is throwing a giant party from 4-6 at Les Deux Gamins on Prince Arthur.

Now why you ask is this an event not to be missed? Well not only will you be helping out important non for profits around the Montreal area, but there is an impressive amount of fun activities happening! All the non for profits attending the event will hosting fun games for you to partake in, and there will be performances from Cirque Acrobats, Bouge D’ici Dancers and music by Krista Muir and Amy Torok of Action Party and Mongrels.

If you’re interested in the event it’s RSVP only, so make sure you head to the events page and secure yourself a spot. We’ll see you at the show!