Culture & Conversation

Balayer les amours

The incredible singer Edith Piaf, who died 50 years ago yesterday, may have left this earthly abode behind but her essence, her aura, her songs go on in myriad covers, films and plays. The latest tribute Thursday night at the Rialto was a masterful performance by Claudette Dion (yes, the sister of Celine).

Of birds and women

Very rarely does one get entirely transported by a piece of theatre. IF We Were Birds did just that to the fortunate audience at the Centaur last night. This is terrifically difficult tale to tell; Erin Shields challenged herself to dramatize the essence of the stories of the abuse and rape of women in war time. These stories are woven around the myth of Philomela an Athenian princess who was raped by her brother in law and had her tongue cut out.

Liberation or assimilation?

When the Quebec provincial government unveiled its anti-homophobia campaign in March, it received some expected criticism. The series of ads, which run on TV and the web, features images of same-sex couples embracing, followed by questions about comfort levels. Some Quebecers wrote to the government, complaining that they didn’t want their tax dollars going to such projects. The price tag for the five-year campaign is $7.1 million.

Ain’t complainin’

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a Tony award winning show and so you pretty much know that the structure and substance will be terrific. But many people do not know the repertoire of Fats Waller and it is astonishing how many great songs he wrote. The lead song, one of my personal favourites was especially enticing when the whole company sang it as a curtain raiser, and entered from the back as the house as well as the wings, giving the public a multi phonic rendition of this great song.

Homework invasion

Starting out like yet another of those triumphant tales about a maverick teacher shepherding some troubled but gifted student towards the sunny uplands of enlightenment, Francoise Ozon’s sprightly and engaging new film, In the House, develops into something altogether more worrying.

Heavy meta

The distinction between form and content has wiggled its way into the literary discourse of almost every country. It is an interesting launching pad for ideas because it relies on a neat dichotomy. Form, as it goes, is the shape a piece of writing takes. A neat analogy would be a bottle. The bottle is the form. Whatever you pour into the bottle is content.

Delectable theatre

My mother used to say that all literature was like food, some books are like appetizers, some meat and potatoes, and some dessert. The St. Leonard Chronicles were like a great antipasto in a family run restaurant in Little Italy. There was laughter and plenty of it as the young yuppie couple in the play tries to announce that they wish to leave the enclaves of Italian life in St. Leonard and to move to (gasp!) Beaconsfield. There was scandal for spice and finally a few tears to leaven the mix.


Reality vs perception

Reality is often different than perception. We all have preconceived ideas of just about everything. We’re influenced by our families, social circles, backgrounds and cultures. And then of course there’s the media. Sometimes it can be hard to track where our ideas come from.


Marci Babineau

For three years, Marci Babineau’s backyard chickens made her the poster girl for the urban chicken movement in Montreal. Media outlets big and small covered the story all the way to Toronto.

Fat chance

According to Steve Larkin, the secret to his success is oxygen. Plenty of it – rushing around other people’s blood. His theory goes like this: If you want people to enjoy themselves they need oxygen. That means opening their mouths a lot, laughing, singing along, moving a bit if you like. At one of his gigs in Winnipeg this summer there was someone dancing naked in the audience by the end of it -“thats probably a bit too much oxygen” he admits.

Take the plunge into deep theatre

We are blessed to be living in a city where companies like Table D’Hôte take enormous risks and allow artists to dream in multi- dimensional technicolour. This is not a review. There are people for whom the myths and stories of the Inuit people are irritating or tedious. I am not one of these. Set in a beautifully constructed environment two remarkable performers gave extraordinary performances and I could not help but be deeply moved.

Rover Turns Five

In the early hours of the morning five years ago today, Rover’s first post appeared in cyberspace under Mélanie Grondin’s byline (see image). In the meantime, more than 300 writers have contributed 1968 posts. Are you sitting down? That’s just over a million words.

Such a dream

Radio play without radio play sounds like an impossible contradiction, but it may be Terius Youngdell Nash’s dilemma. Working under the moniker The-Dream, Nash has both…

Diana Pop montreal

Pop went the surprises

if Pop Montréal’s objective is to expose viewers to never-before-heard bands, then they did their job this year. I was fortunate enough to catch some lovely surprises on my pinball experience at the fest, in those moments when I finally let go, didn’t plan, and allowed the music keep me in one place for a spell.