Culture & Conversation

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.

5 Songs: Suoni Per Il Popolo

The Suoni Per Il Popolo festival gets underway this week—that’s June 5th for anyone reading this after today—and once again, organizers have put together an impressive and eclectic roster of underground acts. Creating a list of five songs from such a wide array of artists was no easy task. I had an internal debate on whether or not to prop up bigger artists (Lee Ronaldo of Sonic Youth for example) and if I had a moral duty to include songs I didn’t particularly enjoy so as to not misrepresent the festival.

Gods of War

The cover of this evocative novel is note-perfect: on one side, a panel of colourful flowered textile that would not look out of place in an American living room or a Japanese inn. On the other, a girl walks past an artistically bare tree and a pagoda-roofed building, her lacquered-paper parasol open above her Western schoolgirl’s plaid skirt. These images beautifully demonstrate the greatest strength of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment: the integration in one complex story of diverse points of view — American, Japanese, and others — of a war of unprecedented destruction.

The commitment was remarkable and the perspiration was copious

Do you remember singing Frere Jacques or Row Your Boat at school, when your teacher would make you sing it in rounds? First one group would start singing, then another group would join in the existing voices but sing the song from the beginning. The end result was a satisfying melange of notes and voices all over the place and yet all performing the same function. Levée des Conflits was the contemporary dance version of that.

Speakers’ Corner

Are you up-to-date with current affairs in Rwanda? Do you wear yoga pants outside of the studio? Circulate online human rights petitions on the regular? Do you, perchance, like to partake in a Tam Tam drumming circle on Sundays? If you answered two or more of these questions in the affirmative, I saw a show last night that I think you’ll like.

5 Songs: Get Yer Freak On

I got my freak on for my birthday this year, Brooklyn-style, in a run-down warehouse studio with my music-man, two cuzzins, one roach, whiskey, earplugs and a psychedelic-new-wave-funk-punk jam that had me bashing drums and dancing until my feet bled. Sing!

Sascha Funke and wife Julienne Dessagne are Saschienne. Photo by Miguel Legault

MUTEK, from Montreal to the world

MUTEK’s 14th edition was opened in high style at the SAT with a tribute to the 20th anniversary of iconic German record label Kompakt, featuring powerhouse performances by some of the label’s – and of electronic and techno music’s – most foundational and influential figures.

Dance This Mess Around

100 years ago this week, the Ballet Russes premiered Rite of Spring in Paris and an instant classic was born. It was fresh and new, edgy and alive. It sparked a riot, so they say. At least one person was challenged to a duel. A duel, for Pete’s sake! That’s badass.

TO’s Inner Bad Boy is Out

It’s hard to think of anything positive to say about Mayor Rob Ford, except that he is single-handedly releasing his city from that deathly stereotype, Toronto the Good. The moniker has hung around for years, comforting the smug, annoying everybody else.

Five Questions for Geeta

In the first of an ongoing series of short’n’sweet interviews, The Rover put five questions to Québecoise singer/composer/poet/musician Geeta, who will perform her new work The Bandit Queen this Friday and Saturday at Eclectik, an “interdisciplinary soapbox” at the MAI.

Flying High

Samoan New Zealander Lemi Ponifasio and his company MAU have just returned to Montreal to perform at Festival Transamerique. The piece, Birds with Skymirrors, appeared in Santiago, Sydney and Ottawa before coming here. Lauded by the international press as “extraordinary” (The Guardian) and “surreal” (The National Business Review), the company is known for beautiful and disquieting work. An ex-pat New Zealander myself, I asked Ponifasio a few questions about politics, the environment, exoticism and the South Pacific.

The Drama of Normality

Saying you’ve got to see this play is a lazy start to a review. But there’s only one more performance of Winners and Losers. You don’t want to be a loser, right? That’s the central question of this riveting piece of hyper-real theatre at FTA. Actors Marcus Youssef and James Long play themselves in a mainly verbal battle over taste, judgement, childhood and capitalism.

Get OFFTA Here!

The row of yellow schoolbuses parked outside the Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui on St-Denis signalled before I got there that this would be no ordinary show. It was…

Yoga for the Masses

When was the last time you went to a festival that included a session on Standing Upside Down? Or Breathing, Bananas and Barnyard Animals? No, it’s not Juste Pour Rire. Welcome to the Yoga Festival Montreal, organized by the dynamic Yocomo, the Yoga Community Montreal.