Spring invigorates Montreal with new life, with interactive art on the streets and butterflies at the Botanical Gardens, alongside the final few weeks of sugar shack season and an array of theatre, dance, cutting-edge art, and live music from around the world.
(spring things) Swing into spring with interactive public art Les 21 Balançoires, returns on April 8 to the Quartier des Spectacles, outdoors along President Kennedy Avenue: the 21 colourful swings play music as people swing – always a fun, friendly time. One of springtime’s most obvious symbols, the butterfly, comes out in full force at Butterflies Go Free at the Botanical Garden, where thousands of colourful butterflies fill the main exhibition greenhouse until April 27 – while there, learn about the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly and the far corners of the world that butterflies call home. Another marker of spring: maple syrup – and with it comes the sweet-and-savoury sugar shack tradition. Until the end of April, sit down to a meal of sausages, pancakes, meat pie and much, much more at restaurants in the city, such as La Cabane, or a short drive away in the countryside. And get a taste of basketball season, comedy-drama style, with the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, taking on-court entertainment to tricky new heights April 4 at the Bell Centre.
(theatre dance) The extravagant French court life of Marie-Antoinette comes to life as Les Grands Ballets presents the Houston Ballet’s interpretation of the dramatic tale, complete with regal and sparking costumes and sets – April 9-12 at Place des Arts. The sensual, gorgeous style of tango comes direct from Buenos Aires to Montreal as Tango Legends features 12 award-winning dancers accompanied by live music, April 4-5 at Place des Arts. Artist-producers Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon and dancer-choreographer Peter Trosztmer blend film, dance and music in Norman, a tribute to Canadian animated-film pioneer Norman McLaren, to April 12 at Place des Arts. Family-friendly theatre company Geordie Productions Homer’s classic epic The Iliad, not only an engaging mythical journey but a reflection on war and its consequences, at Centaur Theatre April 4-13. More drama – with a comedic undertone – comes to the stage in Theatre 317’s production of The Memory of Water, a story of three sisters brought together for their mother’s funeral and faced with each other’s conflicting childhood memories, April 8-12 at Theatre La Chapelle. Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre’s presents Blind, about the persecution of people with albinism in Tanzania, April 3-13 at the MAI (m-a-i.qc.ca). Francophone performance festival Vue sur la Relève brings theatre, dance and music to multiple venues in the city, including a dance soirée on April 4 at Cabaret du Mile-End and a night of multidisciplinary performance on April 6 at Gesù.
(art the city) The great talents, complexities and controversies of British artists Jake Dinos Chapman are all on display in career-spanning Come and See, a harrowing, sometimes horrific and sometimes humorous exhibition of sculpture, painting, film, music and literature, originally shown at London’s Serpentine Galleries and now at DHC/Art in Old Montreal. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal holds its Max and Iris Stern International Symposium, open to all, April 4-5: titled Remontage/Remixing/Sharing: Technologies, Aesthetics, Politics, the symposium features talks by artists and other art professionals and academics, including a connection to Christian Marclay’s The Clock, currently on display at the museum, and a presentation by multimedia artist DJ Spooky. This week, the inaugural edition of Montreal Digital Spring, ongoing to June 21 at dozens of galleries, includes Polynôme, a compilation of four short, immersive video works playing weekdays April 2 to April 18, 7 pm, in the 360-degree Satosphere dome at the SAT. And the Phi Centre screens photography documentary Finding Vivian Maier, April 7.
(live music) Rock hard and in riot-grrl style on Friday night with Kathleen Hanna’s The Julie Ruin and Screaming Females at Il Motore. Start Saturday night out with the dance-rock sounds of Swedish indie-rockers The Sounds at Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre on April 5, while Buddy Guy plays the blues as only he can at Metropolis and Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Slean captures hearts and minds at the Amphithéâtre du Gesù. On April 6, the amazing, soulful British singer-songwriter Laura Mvula blows minds at La Tulipe while ever-rising rock star Mac DeMarco plays personal, standout songs from a new album, at the SAT. Black Sabbath, with Ozzy Osbourne front and centre as he should be, return to Montreal to rattle eardrums at the Bell Centre on April 7, while Daughter brings swoon-worthy Euro-folk-pop to the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre and mathcore rockers The Dillinger Escape Plan come to Le National. Hear the experimental electronic music of Piotr Kurek, Hobo Cubes and Event Cloak on April 8 at Casa del Popolo or opt for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra playing in the Montreal Symphony’s home at Place des Arts. And Keys n Krates brings high-speed electronic synth-rock to Le Belmont on April 10.
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