After last weekend’s Grand Prix hoopla, the Infringement Festival is a welcomed break from the typical over-caffeinated and over-sponsored Montreal festivals.
Since its beginning eight years ago, the Infringement Fest has set itself apart from other arts festivals through its focus on social justice and activism. With a mandate modelled after the original 1947 Edinburgh Fringe, the Infringement Festival is “an artistic protest against corporate elitism and exclusion of local artists.”
The Infringement Festival also prides itself on keeping things free for the activists and performers. Unlike the Fringe Festival which requires participants pay an initial lump sum of money–something not feasible for many artists–the Infringement Fest charges no registration fee and returns 100% of ticket sales to the artists.
The Infringement Fest does accept corporate sponsorship, but only from companies that meet their “criteria for ethical sponsorship”. These criteria include respect for human rights, anti-war/anti-repression standards, labour rights, environmental standards, and transparency.
If that doesn’t have you thinking twice about this interdisciplinary arts festival, consider this: the vast majority of events are either completely free, or suggest a pay-what-you-can donation. That means ten days of theatre, music, visual art, poetry, and film all for the price of, well, whatever you think it’s worth.
To help you with your choices, here are a few of the highlights Rover will be covering in the upcoming days:
The Red Light District Walking Tour, taking place on Saturday, June 18th at 4pm, is an event not to be missed. It will begin at Midway Bar & Salon at 1219 boulevard Saint-Laurent, where participants will learn about the importance of Montreal’s sex culture by following Donovan King and burlesque performer Velma Candyass on a walk through Montreal’s most enticing neighbourhood. Participants will be guided through the history of the district from the days of New France to the present day struggle against developers. This is the Infringement Festival’s most expensive event, with tickets going for the staggering price of $10.
Another highlight is the Infringement Therapy, where, by appointment only, clients are diagnosed by a theatrical doctor who will prescribe “an interactive, dramatic and therapeutic journey.” Curious? So are we. And with a pay-what-you-can admission, it sure beats a real shrink’s bill.
The event that started it all, Car Stories, will take place Sunday, June 19th between 2 and 6pm. This show got kicked out of the Montreal Fringe Festival in 2001 and has since gone on to be an Infringement staple. This piece of experimental theatre has three people led to a secret location where they sit in a parked car and eavesdrop on an improvised conversation. To get in on this event, go to the Fringe Festival Beer Tent at Rachel and Saint-Laurent, look for the person in the yellow glasses, and fasten your seatbelt.
If you don’t have any plans on Monday night, we suggest Infringement’s line-up of short documentaries, hosted by XPression Gallery at 5334 Rue de Gaspé. This “night of cultural resistance” will show films in both French and English, with subjects ranging from social justice theatre to recent violent conflicts in Bagua, Peru. Admission is by donation.
You’ll also find Rover at the Spoken-Word Show on June 21st at 8pm, hosted by the Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore, and featuring performers Laurence Tenenbaum, Ra’akone, Dingo Jones, Jason C. McLean, and Rebecca Anne Banks.
The Montreal Infringement Festival runs until June 26th. For more information, visit the festival’s website: www.infringementfestival.com/montreal