Queer Tango Festival Montreal
This May, head to the Queer Tango Festival to perform the only dance that’s hotter than Montreal in the summer. According to the festival organizers, tango traditionally represents “patriarchal views on sexuality and gender relations, where the man is the decision-maker while the woman responds.” Queer Tango challenges this standard by “encouraging a fluid exchange of the leader and follower roles.” In practice, this means you will be free to switch between the roles of leader and follower as you and your partner desire.
This beautiful Argentine dance may take some practice, but don’t worry, workshops and classes are open to all levels. As for the pros out there, day one is improvisation, so get to the evening session and show us how it’s done. Featuring international and local teachers, dancers, and performers, the Festival claims to be a unique combination of Montreal’s “effervescent queer community” and its renowned tango scene. Prices for events start at $10. Locations vary. Check out the Montreal Queer Tango site at queertangomontreal.com for more details.
While many of us have already heard of (if not actually been to) Marché Jean Talon and Atwater market, there are a variety of smaller markets where you can show your support for local growers. Montreal boasts over ten of these smaller markets, scattered across the city, often popping up next to a metro station. You can start by checking out the two local markets closest to McGill.
Santropol Roulant’s market, at the corner of Roy and Coloniale, sells vegetables from its farm and two urban gardens, along with produce from local and organic growers. Low-income market goers can buy a $10 punch card that will get them $20 worth of fruits and vegetables. The Santropol Roulant market runs every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., beginning July 1.
Marché Solidaire Frontenac, a Carrefour alimentaire Centre-Sud (CACS) project situated at 2349 Rouen, brings together members of the community and builds awareness about food justice, environmental politics, and social justice issues. Shop for local fruits and vegetables at this market from July to September.
—Nathalie O’Neill, with files from Reba Wilson
The Plant Summer Workshop series
As young millennials increasingly devote their time and energy to environmental initiatives, projects such as the Plant Summer Workshop series emerge in order to meet the new demand. This year’s workshop series, which seeks to support self-expression in the area of urban agriculture, is bound to draw seasoned urban agriculturalists and newbies alike.
Defined by its quirky, accepting atmosphere, the workshop series’ self-professed goal is “to provide non-judgemental space where people can share skills and learn together.” While specific information on this year’s festival has yet to be released, last year’s festival boasted activities such as a kimchi fermentation workshop and classes on how to make bread and beer. Many non-culinary activities were also offered, such as workshops on zine-making, and perfecting one’s CV in French. Another sub-group of the workshop on the “guerilla gardens” of the Plateau is dedicated to greening the urban spaces of the hip Montreal neighborhood. For unconventional, environmentally-conscious individuals in the city, this workshop series could become your go-to community this summer.
Shakespeare in the Park
The organizers of the Shakespeare in the Park festival decided to get their creative juices flowing this year, with their new production Harry the King: The Famous Victories of Henry V. Whereas productions in the past have mostly consisted of a Shakespeare play performed in its entirety, this year’s is a hybrid of the Bard’s historical plays Henry IV, parts one and two, and Henry V. A tale of “fighting for what you believe in, despite impossible odds,” according to the festival’s website, the production is the mastermind of Repercussion Theatre, a non-profit organization that has been hosting the festival in parks around the greater Montreal area for 25 years. Like many summer theatre festivals of its kind, the tickets for shows are completely free, but must be obtained in advance. Harry the King runs in parks all over the city from July 4 to August 2.
This isn’t your Bubbie’s summer festival! From August 18 to 24, lovers of Eastern European Jewish music, or Klezmer music, will gather at Camp B’nai Brith in the Laurentians for the 18th edition of the annual KlezKanada Laurentian Retreat, a week of music, dancing, and learning. With a huge number of classes in all aspects of Klezmer and Yiddish music offered, as well as theatre, dance, song, and poetry, the seven days of the festival are an invaluable opportunity to learn from the world-renowned experts in the field. The evenings are comprised of performances from some of the world’s preeminent Klezmer musicians, and dance sessions and cabarets which last late into the night.
The festival’s extensive scholarship program ensures that at least half of the participants at the festival are young adults. McGill students can receive credit through the Jewish Studies department by participating in the festival (by registering for JWST 354, the McGill/KlezKanada Course). The fun continues after the week is over with the Montreal Jewish Music Festival, which is sponsored by KlezKanada.
Suoni Per Il Popolo
If your music taste tends toward the eclectic and experimental, be sure to check out the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival. The Montreal-based non-profit Société des Arts Libres et Actuels (SALA) has organized this three-week concert series to promote experimental and avant-garde music from Canadian and international artists. SALA’s mandate as a non-profit features goals such as introducing “new music to new audiences,” building “links between Montreal artists and the public,” and showcasing “the relationship between music […] and political movements,” all of which is nicely summarized by the English translation of the festival’s name: “sounds for the people.”
Accordingly, Suoni Per Il Popolo will feature musicians from around the world, both newcomers and veterans, in a wide variety of genres and styles. The festival runs from June 4 to 22, beginning at Casa del Popolo with a concert by Americana musicians Richard Bruckner and James Irwin. Other featured concerts include the free jazz group Die Like a Dog Trio (Peter Brötzmann, William Parker, and Hamid Drake); psychedelic, droning electronic duo Fuck Buttons; indietronica band Notwist; ambient pop musician d’Eon; and Syrian dance-pop star Omar Souleyman. Many more acts will be announced as the festival approaches. Tickets, which range from $10 to $28, can be purchased on the festival’s website, or at Atom Heart, Aux 33 tours, Cheap Thrills, L’Oblique, and Phonopolis. For more information, go to suoniperilpopolo.org.
Festival of Anarchy
Montreal’s Festival of Anarchy, a month-long coming-together of politics, art, music, protest, and entertainment, is the largest anarchist event in North America. Organized around the Anarchist Bookfair, which runs from May 25 to 26, the Festival features a huge range of activities, from dance party demonstrations to Montreal bike tours. The events are as cultural as they are political, situating anarchism within Montreal’s art, literature, and music scenes through anarchist art exhibitions, theatre festivals, and cabarets. The politics also tackle a wide range of issues, including decolonization, gentrification, and the Quebec student strike.
For those less familiar with anarchism, the workshop Anarchy 101 will provide basic history and modern movements. The diversity of artistic and political topics also provides many accessible entry-points into the world of anarchism. But if all you want to do is dance, events like Glamarchist Lookfest Queer Dance Party have got you covered. With over 25 events located around Montreal throughout the month of May, the Festival of Anarchy is the perfect way to shake off the school year and the status quo.
—Rosie Long Decter