Culture  Culture Briefs

The best medicine

Looking for something unique to do on a Wednesday night? Head over to Comedy OFF the Main for some local stand-up. For $5 you’ll see five to seven acts in an evening.

OFF the Main brings in different Montreal comics every week, plus a few regulars and the host. Unlike most comedy shows of the same price range, Comedy OFF the Main isn’t an open mic show – the performers are hand-picked. “[OFF the Main] was the first alternative room in the city, and it remains a great, off-beat place where comedians experiment and play around,” organizer Asaf Gerchak says.

According to Gerchak, Comedy OFF the Main is all about the group experience: “The space we use at Oliveira is very small, and we like it that way. The room’s size and setup provide an intimacy that lets the audience feel comfortable and lets the comedians engage with them in ways not possible in larger rooms.”

Stand-up can depend a lot on how well the audience receives the comedian’s schtick, but Comedy OFF the Main offers the ideal atmosphere for this conversational medium: local performers, and a small venue, run by people who really care for the art of standup. Next Wednesday – coincidentally, OFF the Main’s anniversary show – might be the night to give standup another shot. This could very well become the new Tokyo Thursdays.

– Sophie Busby

Yi Ariel Yu for the McGill Daily

Spontaneity onstage

If you’ve ever seen a dance performance, you probably know that they don’t typically involve a lot of dialogue; occasionally a few words are uttered onstage, but by no means is it a regular occurrence. While dance may be lacking in verbal conversation, though, it does offer a little thing called contact improvisation. Contact improv is the movement-based equivalent of a good chat: it involves two people – sometimes more – is entirely spontaneous, and each dancer’s movement choices originate from a common point of contact between bodies. If you think this sounds interesting, you’re not alone – so do Nita Little and Andrew Harwood, two dancers who are internationally recognized for their involvement in the development of contact improv.

This Friday, Little and Harwood are coming together to present Un peu de vie dans ce monde mourrant, a series of experiments in contact improvisation. What does that entail? Who knows! Part of the fun of contact improvisation is that it’s unplanned. And part of the fun of seeing contact improvisation in performance is that the stage becomes a laboratory where impulsive ideas are tested and new discoveries made, right before your very eyes. Go, if only to see what happens. Un peu de vie dans ce monde mourrant plays at Studio 303 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, November 7. For more information visit

– Amelia Schonbek