Culture & Conversation

Posts from the ‘Trends’ category

Marianne Ackerman about to come to Montreal.

BYOW and be happy

How goes Montreal’s anglo cultural scene? Marianne Ackerman offers some preliminary thoughts ahead of a panel she will join on Sunday hosted by the English-language Arts Network.

All of our Backyards

Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds is a song about mistrust, dysfunctional relationships, and the need to overcome issues in order to maintain the relationship. Unequivocally, the song recapitulates the vast majority of the world’s mindsets. On the other hand, the Quebec Soccer Federation’s (QSF) recent ban on Sikh children wearing turbans from playing soccer in the league because of a safety hazard is objectively illogical and, frankly, bullshit.

I’d Like to Thank My…

I have a thing for Hollywood. I’m also a sucker for all things hope-related. You know, meaningful things. This is not so different from the way I enjoy the thrill of escapism, like a meth addict “enjoys” meth or how most everyone seems to enjoy alcohol. The point is: I really like the world of music, film, television, and other abstract arts.

New Old Faces at The Gazette

Happy birthday Gazette! Montreal’s English-language daily celebrates 235 years today. A fine occasion to spread the news: Lucinda Chodan is coming back to Montreal this fall as the paper’s top dog, as well as eastern region VP editorial for the Postmedia Network Inc. A staff writer and editor for 20 years, she moved on to become editor-in-chief at the Victoria Times Colonist, then publisher and editor-in-chief of the Edmonton Journal.

A Day in the Life

Artistic genres may soon be a thing of the past, so quickly are the walls crumbling. Fusion, connection, hybridity are the order of the day. So it is with one’s own cultural programme. Hence I’ve elected to report one day’s events as a personal journal: Saturday, April 28, 2013. Yesterday once more.

A Will Too Mean to be “Shakespeare”?

The great majority of Shakespeare’s readers have never read his will, a document easily found on the internet but regularly omitted in the editions of Shakespeare’s work and seldom found in the ever growing number of the Bard’s biographies. Why? Because it is an embarrassing, dissonant document within the Shakespeariana.


Black Friday indeed

Why are all my Facebook friends wishing each other Happy Thanksgiving and jumping up and down about Black Friday? Most of them are either Canadian or from abroad. I give a pass to the maybe 10% who are shouting out to their American friends or family. The rest, I can only conclude, are going to bed dreaming vicariously of Blue Rays, iPad minis and even flatter screens. This, people, is how the world ends.

Nightmare on rue Principal

Hallowe’en is our most theatrical of holidays and Montreal’s strong Irish heritage makes ours a truly magnificent and outlandish spectacle to behold. Based on the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, the ancient Irish New Year and a unique time when the dead returned to mingle with the living, today Hallowe’en offers a wide variety of spooky activities and frightful events. Children dress up and go trick-or-treating, costumed adults frequent spooky-themed nightclubs and parties, and there is an ever-increasing diversity of Hallowe’en activities on offer. Nowadays, those celebrating the big scare can enjoy everything from special museum events and kitsch Rocky Horror cinema to creepy attractions, spooky restaurants and, of course, haunted walking tours.

Passion Paint

The greatest thing about the Under Pressure skate/graffiti fest is that it definitely leaves a mark every year. Dozens of artists come together to tag designated walls down Ste Catherine Est between St. Laurent and St. Denis (approximatively), arranged on scaffolding while crowds of spectators watch. The result? A ton of fresh paint left up to be admired until the next edition of Under Pressure the coming year.

Yo Soy 132!

While Quebec students jumpstart their movement – with a march last week that exceeded expectations – students in Mexico are in the midst of an uprising…

Érable à la Radio

A cacophony of casserole dishes is heard nightly in this city from Montreal North to St-Henri. The aim is to voice dissent over draconian emergency legislation, like Bill 78 (or Loi 78, if you will). Banging on pots and pans in the street is the poetic way Chileans (home to Pablo Neruda) protested during the Augusto Pinochet regime. And I have to say what a beautiful way to be heard! However, I’m not going to talk about the casserole protest and how creative, non-violent actions such as this have completely discredited protesters and police who use violent tactics to achieve nothing, but even more repressive measures, like Premier Jean Charest’s Bill 78.

pots and pans3

Naked city

Montreal is on the brink of many things right now, not the least of which are its summer festivals. That’s what’s on Gilbert Rozon’s mind as he worries the student “agitation” will threaten the hugely popular Juste Pour Rire. Mayor Gerald Tremblay is accusing the students of going too far and putting the Grand Prix and all subsequent festivals in peril. Kicking off the season in early June, the Formula 1 race is a monster of a money maker for the city. And as any shit disturber knows, the buck stops there. This is how the line might be drawn. Not by headstrong students, gratuitous police brutality or an intransigent government, but by a merchant’s association bemoaning lost sales.

Compassion is the New Currency

For those who missed out on a Christian education, or have forgotten the words, the carol Away in A Manger tells the story of the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem. Like the Occupiers today, Jesus and his parents were part of the 99%. They were poor citizens of an indifferent Empire. Ordered by government decree to leave their home in Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem, Joseph and a pregnant Mary were made homeless because Rome was preparing a census for taxation purposes. Some things don’t change. The man whose message of peace and love would inspire billions over the centuries, was himself poor and homeless when he entered this world.

Occupy the Future

There’s a great line in one of George Walker’s plays about growing older. A character – somebody’s crusty mother – remarks that as we age, we either get more like ourselves, or less. “I’m going for the more,” she snaps. Me too. Is there really any other choice?