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Autumn activities to illuminate your semester


The glorious Comiccon will soon grace Montreal with a huge two-day indoor festival of pop culture, sci-fi, anime, and French bandes-dessinées. Like other such events in the United States, the Montreal Comiccon allows fans – obsessive or otherwise – to meet famous personalities from their favourite series.

The big-name guests will be Star Trek actors Patrick Steward and William Shatner. Also present will be Matthew McDowell from A Clockwork Orange, Adam Baldwin of Firefly and The X-Files, and Quebec BD luminary Michel Rabagliati. But actors will not be the only recognizable stars of the convention – vehicles at the show include the 1989 Batmobile and Scooby-doo’s Mystery Machine.

On top of all that, gaming developers Ubisoft, Eidos, and Bioware will be holding conferences within the event. Comiccon will be hosting dozens of exhibitions and over 100 artists over its three days.

Comiccon will be held from September 14 to 16 at Palais des congrès. Individual day tickets vary in price from $20 to $28 in advance; tickets for the whole weekend are $50. Shatner and Stewart, as well as some other events are sold separately.


Montreal International Black Film Festival

The Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) aims to promote and support films that deal with the social, political, and economic issues faced by black people around the world and gives an engaged audience to films that struggle to make it onto the big screen. The films offered vary from documentaries such as Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza’s Dear Mandela, which follows three young South Africans after the apartheid era; animated shorts, like Lucius Dechausay’s The Mark, which uses the symbol of a mask to discuss issues of prejudice; and feature films such as Darrell Roodt’s Winnie, which examines the life and struggles of Winnie Mandela through powerhouse performances from Terrence Howard and Jennifer Hudson.

The Central Park Five, the final film showing at the festival, promises to be a gritty documentary experience, touching on racism and injustice in the legal system as well as media sensationalism.

With numerous offerings and reasonably -priced tickets, the MIBFF has made these exceptional films accessible, when they otherwise may have been lost in the pantheon of tired Hollywood tropes and sequels.

The Montreal International Black Film Festival will run from September 19 to 30 at several venues, including Cinéma du Parc. Tickets for each film are $10.


Pop Montreal

Pop is the big autumn music festival, and possibly the most fun you’ll be having until the spring thaw. This huge festival has spawned numerous offshoot festivals, including Puces Pop, a huge design showcase; Film Pop, for music-related movies; Art Pop, for visuals; and Kids Pop, a bunch of art workshops for the little’uns.

Although Pop is more about discovery than putting on big names, the lineup does include some well-known talent. David Byrne, former Talking Heads chief, will appear in concert with art-rocker St. Vincent.

Also featured is bizarre rapper Lil’ B, whose incredibly prolific output and internet following have garnered a fanatically loyal fan base. Last year, Lil’ B released an album entitled I’m Gay, which was not so much a coming-out as it was a challenge to the conventions of the rap world.

And have you heard of Grimes? She was expelled from McGill not long ago for failing to attend class and then became 2012’s favourite alt-pop star, getting millions of views on YouTube and making “one of the most impressive albums of the year,” according to the New York Times. She produces her otherworldly music on Garageband, but her videos display a lavish and playfully gothic aesthetic. Her story should be an inspiration to all the closet bedroom-pop artists in our student body: leave the life of academic drudgery for money, fame, and a mention in the Times.

Pop Montreal goes down all over town from September 19 to 23. Over 300 bands will play. Passes are $300 (which is why you should write for Culture – free tickets!). Individual concert tickets vary in price from free to $35. Grimes will be playing at Pop on September 20.