Culture & Conversation

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.


Making sense of nonsense

Born in Pennsylvania, Michael Nardone has called Berlin, the Northwest Territories and Montreal home. His writing has appeared in such places as n+1, Poetry Is Dead, Lemon Hound, The Coming Envelope, La Merle and The Conversant.

Ghostly Boy

While I was reading Shyam Selvadurai’s third novel, The Hungry Ghosts, I was reminded of the dictum of American novelist John Hawkes when he said that plot, theme, and character were enemies. Once they were gone, all that mattered was overall vision and structure. Hawke’s statements may be dated, but they still hold true.

This is Just to Say…

Dear Dana Michel, This is just to say that I have no idea how to review your work, Yellow Towel, that I saw last night as part of the FTA — a dilemma as I am a dance critic and one who, as you will appreciate, must produce something and in a timely fashion.

Invitation to a Storm

Gone are the days when a theatre-goer could get a ticket, stand in line, sit in the dark watching a play, then go out for drinks and talk about what it all meant. At least at Festival Transamériques. Nella Tempesta greets you and the door and follows you home.

Keep Your Shirt On

Last night, South-African choreographer Robin Orlin and the Moving into Dance Mophatong company presented Beauty remained for just a moment then returned gently to her starting position… Despite Orlin’s international reputation as a creator of powerful and provocative works, Beauty failed to pack a serious punch, giving a disappointing start to the FTA festival for dance.

Byron’s Top Picks –Sight Unseen!

June is busting out ahead of schedule and all theatre eyes are on the annual Montreal St. Ambrose Fringe. Surely the 23rd coming is at hand..and what rough beast, its hour come round at last, now slouches toward the Plateau to be born? (Apologies to the late great W. B. Yeats.)

Hitting the Note Divine

A recent TED talk, The Surprising Need for Strangeness, emphasized the need for us to connect with people who are different from ourselves. Doing so helps us discover new ideas and avoid sameness. This notion can also be applied to music.

Dr Feelgood

I’m going to die. It’ll happen one day whether I like it or not, I won’t have a choice. Neither will you, your best friend, or your worst enemy. If we could invest in the inevitability, we’d all be rich. The problem is; dying isn’t sexy and it doesn’t sell, while fear, denial and escapism is the defining hustle of our time. Di(e)-agnosis? Death needs a makeover, a re-brand, stat!

5 Songs: Madonna

Madonna aka Madge — where do I begin? I mean, she is royalty in the music world. She sang about her virginity, burned crosses, kissed Britney Spears on national television, made Jean Paul Gauthier’s cones erect, wrote a children’s book…the list is endless and so is her playlist. You either love her or hate her, or even love to hate her. But since her debut in 1984, the woman has had an album or at least a song (I’m sure more than one) that you absolutely adored.

Intimate Soirée

I went into this not knowing quite what to expect. Aside from the fact that all the publicity material was in French (and my comprehension is – erf – on the patchy side), it was also fairly cryptic. “Prenez un verre et faites vos choix de tête-à-tête,” the e-flyer proclaimed. Okay, like one-on-one performances? Sure, I can get into that.

He Who Must (Not) Be Named

Foreign policy tends to get short shrift at key moments — like during election campaigns — in spite of having a profound effect on us in ways we are not even aware. I looked forward to this book by Montreal writer and political activist Yves Engler, who has earned a reputation as an intrepid researcher. The Ugly Canadian could not have come at a better time. Stephen Harper must be taken to task for tarnishing Canada’s international reputation.