Culture & Conversation

Expozine 2013

Montreal’s small press, comic and zine fair, Expozine, is happening this weekend at the St-Enfant Jésus Church on St-Dominque Street in the Mile End. Expozine started…

Nuanced understanding of “back home”

To read The Girls of Piazza d’Amore is to be transported heart and soul to a Calabrian village in 1950s Italy. Guzzo-McParland creates a warm, sensuous, detailed and compelling portrait of everyday life in Mulirena, which is nestled in the Appenine Mountains.

A love of the sea

Lorne Elliott’s Beach Reading displays the wit the author became known for on his CBC radio comedy show, “Madly Off in All Directions.” It is gentle and sweet without being sappy, and demonstrates a lively affection for the natural charms of Prince Edward Island.

Bracegirdle

Mot/town: P.J. Bracegirdle

It was a wet and soggy October day when Elise Moser and I passed through street number 13 1/2 to find P.J. Bracegirdle’s hidden apartment. We were surrounded by a constant din of construction noise – every single neighbour was digging their secret dungeon.

MontrealNewSkidsOnTheBlock

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

In 3-inch heels, a bustier and cufflinks, Plastic Patrick takes care of the play by play. Smack Daddy sends Miss Tea Maven to the floor in a backwards shove. But Suzy Hotrod breaks through the scrimmage and wins the day for the New York City Gotham Girls. The audience of thousands goes wild. Arch rival team New Skids on the Block have to wait another year to vie for the world championship. Welcome to roller derby.

Funny stuff is Falstaff

It’s an amusing irony that Verdi, best known for great tragic operas such as La traviata, Rigoletto and Otello, closed out his oeuvre with a comedy – and a funny one at that. Opéra de Montréal has gathered a mostly Canadian cast for this production of Falstaff from the late, lamented New York City Opera, bringing a bland set to life with fine singing and situational comedy – which often had the audience laughing during the second-night performance I attended.

Parti (pris) politique

De nombreuses œuvres de fiction sont un véhicule nous permettant de voyager, de rêver, de nous enfuir. D’autres œuvres, par contre, sont un miroir nous montrant l’état actuel des choses, la réalité telle qu’elle est, bonne ou mauvaise. La traversée de la mer intérieure, de Jean-Rock Gaudeault, est l’une de ces dernières : une pièce on ne peut plus opportune qui, en même temps, traite d’un sujet dont on a bien assez entendu parler.

No monkeying around

I had the only reasonable excuse for missing this show last year: I was in Ecuador. Howard Rosenstein gives an absolute tour de force performance that is literally breathtaking. Alexandra Montagnes is fantastically convincing as his terribly inebriated partner. These performances are certainly worth the price of admission.

Growing up too fast

When the Lily and Taylor meet at a local high school, they discover that they have something in common — both their mothers had been in car crashes. But while Taylor’s mother died, Lily’s mother survived, yet the head injuries she sustained often require Lily to act as the parent.

The Outsider

Imagine you’re a blond-haired, blue-eyed thirteen-year-old from Vancouver moving with your parents and two siblings some 8,000 km away to Guyana. You step off the plane and you are immediately assaulted by perplexing smells, a blanket of heat and an all-encompassing dark. “Night there is not like anything I had felt before.” So begins Shelagh Plunkett’s four year adventure that eventually ends on the other side of the world with a surreptitious departure from the island of Timor.

Organic genius

Some people think that a docu-drama is like a documentary film, and in some ways that is so; both require an exhausting amount of research. However the live performance of SEEDS with its organic overlay of technology is a multi dimensional and fascinating evening of theatre that simply cannot be matched by anything two dimensional on this planet.

The Real Haiti

Fred Voodoo is not a real person. He has never existed. This made-up name is the shorthand used informally by some foreign correspondents to refer to the man (or woman) in the street in Haiti, often in a condescending tone.

Brother to brother

In 1972, twenty-one year-old Gino Vannelli showed up in LA, with his trademark Italian-afro, bell-bottoms, low-buttoned shirt and medallions. Ready to make it big. “People looked at me like, ‘Where the hell are you from?’ ” he laughs. “The look there was the roadie look – everyone in LA looked like Jerry Garcia. They all thought I was from the Greek islands.”