Culture & Conversation

In Sweet Affliction, Moving Day is mandatory in a dystopic Montreal

Montreal flipped on its tête

Anna Leventhal’s Sweet Affliction has Montreal flipped on its tête – one in which Moving Day is mandatory and sanctioned by the province, one in which Hasidic Jews interact socially with their non-Orthodox neighbours, and one in which the Hippodrome is the set of a twisted reality show where illegal immigrants vie for citizenship.

Bard-Fiction2

“English motherfucker! Do you speak it!”

The award winning 1994 Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction had Shakespearean aspects in it that didn’t seem to be noticed at the time. And yet the cross section of characters, the mixture of tragedy and comedy, the poetic musings of underlings, and nearly everyone dying by the end – it’s hard to get more Shakespeareth than that.

Kiss

The hiatus is up

Danette Mackay has found a second wind. Kiss My Cabaret popped up again recently with little fanfare save a notice on Facebook, and quickly filled the 200-seat space.

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Lots of sex, little love

Before she committed suicide herself, Quebec writer Nelly Arcan wrote a book about a protagonist who decides to commit suicide by age 30. Arcan, known for her struggle with depression, has written a book as painful as her life.

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.

The four-generation NYC family dynasty, Russ & Daughters

The house that herring built

For four generations, Russ & Daughters has been the only surviving appetizing store in New York’s Lower East Side selling Jewish deli appetizers. A testimony to the changes of the neighbourhood, the store’s cast of characters include Lobster the strong armed fish salesman, counter staff preaching for Jews for Jesus, and gefilte tofu. A book which is a delicious romp into history.

Reykjavik mayor Jon  Gnarr in pants, not a dress

From clown to mayor

If Rob Ford is politician who strove to be mayor and won, but became an international late-night clown, Jón Gnarr is the anti-thesis, a clown who ran as a joke, but then shockingly won the mayorship of Reykjavik.NDG City Councillor Peter McQueen reviews How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World.

Brigitte-Robinson-as-Mrs.-Robinson_Photo-by-AndrÇe-Lanthier

Mrs Robinson still seduces

Montreal was still reeling from Expo 67, mini-skirts were turning heads, pot was definitely not medicinal, and the world was headed to California when The Graduate hit movie screens. The zeitgeist of the time was change. When the world was moving fast and everything seemed possible, The Graduate manifested all of its conflicts, not to mention scandal, hope and pure exuberance.

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The land that time remembers

There isn’t a hint of social realism or documentary in the collection. Ms. Rutenberg’s travels were clearly motivated by the search for startling images. Nor is there a trace of cliché. Even the much-photographed Percé Rock looks fresh, shot from a distance across textured strips of ice and open water, against a background of a cement-coloured sky and a few lonely clouds.