Arts and Style
By Louise V. Labrecque on March 12, 2012
En littérature, l’œuvre se crée lentement : on bâtit mot à mot. Le lecteur va de même, qui appréhende le monument, dans le détail, à tout moment. Le cinéma se poursuit dans ce continuum, avec, en prime, un autre niveau de lecture; l’histoire trouve une autre incarnation, et se fixe visuellement au monde, comme pour ajouter à notre compréhension, et bien sûr à notre plaisir. Ainsi, j’étais joyeusement impatiente d’aller voir ce film : « Monsieur Lazhar », et je me souviens de la toute première fois que je l’ai vu, lui, ce professeur débarqué tout droit d’Algérie; je me suis dit : « quelle belle chose que le talent d’enseigner.»
By Alan Hustak on March 12, 2012
Irving Layton wrote more than 50 books of poetry during his lifetime. When he died seven years ago Leonard Cohen eulogised him as “our greatest poet and our greatest champion of poetry.” Had Layton lived, he would be 100 on March 12. To mark the centennial of his birth in Tirgu Neamt, Romania there will be poetry readings from his work in 20 cities across Canada, including Montreal. “This is the first time that Canada will be connected through poetry,” said Elias Letelier, co-founder of the online magazine, Poetry Quebec, which is sponsoring the event.
By Robert K. Stephen on March 12, 2012
Local wine is the rule in almost all wine producing Euro countries unlike Ontario and Quebec where the LCBO and SAQ favours “international wines” which only hampers the development of a local wine movement in Ontario and Quebec. Seen any British Columbia wines at an SAQ or more than a sad bottle or two of Ontario wine? If there are few Canadian wines available in the distribution market it’s logical that there will be little Canadian wines in Canadian restaurants. And of course there are those restaurants who think too much Canadian wine shows a lack of “sophistication”. Let’s take a look at Lake Erie North Shore which is a small appellation in Ontario just south of Windsor which has just over 13 wineries.
By Robert Frank on March 12, 2012
Judie Benjamin hopes that her late father Milton Cohen’s newfound fame as a Canadian war bard will help her to find sisters whom she has never met.
The St. Laurent resident said that she was so unnerved when the Globe and Mailunexpectedly published some of her father’s poems in November, that she “cried off-and-on for days.”
By Alidor Aucoin on March 12, 2012
The Game of Love and Chance at the Centaur Theatre until April 1st is a deliciously theatrical, interpretation of Pierre Carlet de Chamberlain de Marivaux’s 18th century piece Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard.
Adapted and translated from the French into English by Nicolas Billon and directed with overheated passion by Matthew Jocelyn, the artistic director of Toronto’s Canadian Stage Theatre, the co-production is a contemporary reworking of the classic.
By Alidor Aucoin on February 8, 2012
As befits a play called In Absentia, a dull sadness pervades the piece at the Centaur until March 4. The world premiere of a minor work by major award-winning Canadian playwright Morris Panych - it is an introspective, overwrought mediation on love, grief and mortality.
By Alan Hustak on December 16, 2011
In the spring of 1842 Charles Dickens took a steamboat from Kingston, Ont. and sailed down the St. Lawrence intoMontreal with his wife, Catherine, and found the town “full of life and bustle.” Dickens was 30 and had already written six books, including Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. No other novelist has had such a spectacular success. Two hundred years after he was born in 1812, Dickens remains as immortal as Shakespeare. It is probably fair to say more people know of Oliver Twist, the artful dodger, Syndey Carton, Miss Havisham, Micawber, Scrooge and Tiny Tim from the endless television mini-series, movies and Broadway musicals based on his novels than they do from reading his books.
By Robert K. Stephen on December 16, 2011
You may have had organic wine. You may have had biodynamic wine. You may have had wine produced by sustainable agricultural methods. But have you had "pizzo" free wine? “Pizzo” in Italian means protection money paid to you know who. Fed up after assassinations and murders of members of the judiciary leading investigations into organized crime, a spontaneous movement erupted in 2004 in Palermo bearing the slogan “Addio Pizzo” meaning good-bye to protection money and let’s support those in the economy that are Pizzo free. Their slogan reads, “Un Intero Popolo Che Paga Il Pizzo É Un Popolo Senza Dignità” translated as such, “A Whole People Who Pays the Pizzo is a People Without Dignity”.
By Alidor Aucoin on December 16, 2011
God of Carnage, at the Centaur until December 4th, (and probably longer) is a clever and brutally funny farce that’s the hottest ticket in town. A perfect ensemble cast under Roy Surette’s disciplined and brilliant direction unleashes 90 minutes of domestic mayhem on an unsuspecting audience. The play explores that razor thin line between civility and savagery, love and hate. What we have here is reminiscent of Who is Afraid of Virgina Woolf without Albee’s bite.
By Alidor Aucoin on November 8, 2011
The Play’s the Thing at the Segal Centre until Nov. 20 is a delightful revival of Ferenc Molnar’s 1920’s period piece, Play at The Castle, (Jatek a Kastelyban), a silly farce adapted by P.G. Wodehouse in which sexual hi-jinks inspire a word play-within- a-play. Set in a Mediterranean villa, the parlour comedy is based on a real life incident in which the Hungarian playwright arrived in his hotel suite with one of his friends and overheard his wife in the next room, apparently in the throes of passion, exclaiming, “I love you, I love you, I shall die of love for you!”
By Byron Toben on October 26, 2011
On September 22, 1927, the most famous battle in boxing history took place in Chicago. Gene Tunney, the quiet, literary heavyweight, defended the world championship he had won one year before from Jack Dempsey, the “Manassa Mauler,” who had held it for 10 years. This was the fight with the famous “long count” controversy played over many times today on YouTube. It was the first over $2 million dollar gate in entertainment history ($22 million in today’s money), seen live by 125,000 people (no TV in those days).
By Alidor Aucoin on October 26, 2011
Colleen Curran’s True Nature, which opened the Centaur ‘s Theatre season, is really an academic lecture about Mary Anning, the obscure 19th century fossil hunter, disguised as a play.
It is also a sophomoric variation on an increasingly familiar theme involving neurotic baby-boomers torn between romantic commitment and a career. True Nature appears to have grown out of a series of focus groups that came up with a cross-section of characters designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.
By Louise V. Labrecque on August 26, 2011
Justement, je souhaite, par la rédaction de cet article, vous entretenir d’un livre intimement et entièrement associé à cette attitude philosophique : « PENSÉES pour vivre au quotidien», deuxième recueil de la très éclairée auteure et philosophe: Danièle Geoffrion, publié aux Éditions du CRAM. De toute évidence, ce livre s’inscrit dans le continuum de la publication du premier recueil « Philosopher pour vivre au quotidien - du sens et des mots -, tout en suggérant une ouverture pour aller plus loin en soi, plus profondément, afin de susciter l’envol de tout ce que l’on porte enfouis, et qui ne demande, souvent, qu’à se laisser happer par la lumière de la réalité.
By Robert K. Stephen on August 26, 2011
Returning to New York from the peaceful environs of slow paced Greenport, North Fork of Long Island, which is some 80 miles from New York City, leads one to think of contrasts as New York City’s massive silhouette assaults the senses on approach. New York City is New York City but as all cities do has its own distinct neighbourhoods and character. It is not just a big city but a collection of neighbourhoods and experiences both surreal and serene in the midst of its bustling exterior.
By Alan Hustak on August 26, 2011
The National Gallery in Ottawa has scored a coup with its blockbuster Caraviggo exhibition that runs until Sept. 11.
Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome features ten paintings never before seen in North America, two that have, and another 50 paintings by artists who were influenced by his work. In view of the fact that only 70 of the artists works known to exist, and many of them are altar pieces that cannot be moved, it’s an extraordinary collection.
By Alan Hustak on June 16, 2011
Claude Léveillée, who died June 9th at the age of 78, was one of Quebec`s most alluring singers and a poet in the tradition of Felix Leclerc and Gilles Vigneault. Léveillée worked with and wrote 25 songs for the legendary French singer Edith Piaf and another 30 with Gilles Vigneault. Among his best known melodies are Fréderic, Elle Tournera la Terre, Quelques arpents de neiges, Piano Méchanique. His best known hit, perhaps, was Roger Williams recording of Leveillee’s Pour les Amants as Only for Lovers. Léveillée was also an actor seen in Denys Arcand`s Jésus de Montréal and played the character of Émile Rosseau in the 1990 French-language television series Scoop.
By Alan Hustak on June 10, 2011
From the natural light that floods the fourth floor Inuit sculpture gallery to the luminous glow of the Tiffany stained glass windows in its concert hall, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts newest pavilion is as calm and as uplifting as ….. well, a church. Which it once was. The old Erskine American Church, a brownstone Sherbrooke St. landmark since 1894, has been converted into a $40-million temple of art and music known as the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavillion.
By P.A. Sévigny on June 10, 2011
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Montreal artist Keira Parnell. As the curator of the new Mail-Art exhibition hanging in NDG’s popular Connexions Language School, Parnell said she had a great time putting together the eclectic mix of original postcards that makes up the show. “Once you get involved in the mail-art community, using the mail to send your work is just as important as getting one back.”
By Robert K. Stephen on June 10, 2011
VIA’s slogan currently reads, “A More Human Way to Travel”. Is this true? I decided to test this a bit further on a recent Toronto to Montreal VIA 1 round trip. A human way to travel means to be treated like a human as opposed to, well let’s say to be innovative, cattle…..you know serve those human needs with comfort, a smile, amenities, food and drink which by the way is the glue that keeps humans talking and interacting with each other wherever they may be!
By Alidor Aucoin on April 21, 2011
No matter how thin you slice it, Schwartz’s the Musical at the Centaur Theatre until April 24 is as appetizing and as satisfying as a smoked meat sandwich. It is as effervescent as a Cott’s black cherry coke chaser. (Burp). It’s a ludicrous treat, even though bits of it might be hard to digest. The daffy burlesque of a show was inspired by Bill Brownstein’s history of the landmark Montreal deli on The Main published five years ago by Véhicule Press, but the script which went through dozens of rewrites, alters some of the detail in the book, and takes on a life of Its own.
By Father John Walsh on April 21, 2011
In Polly Of Bridgewater Farm -- An Unknown Irish Story (Cabbagetown Press Limited. Toronto. Ontario. 2009) Catherine Fleming McKenty offers a refreshing look at her own family’s life in Ireland and their eventual coming to Montreal and settling in Toronto.
By Robert K. Stephen on April 21, 2011
As a Montrealer transplanted to Toronto since 1984 I had long given up the illusory search for a decent bagel or a smoked meat sandwich in Hogtown. Strangely enough and in somewhat of an unpatriotic fashion (from a Montreal perspective) I have developed a fondness for peameal bacon sandwiches on a bun.Fairmont and St. Viateur have the Montreal-Toronto bagel contest locked up. Try as I may there are no comparable bagels in Toronto with that wonderful, smokiness and dense sweetness Fairmont and St. Viateur can deliver. But hold on Montrealers...
By Alan Hustak on November 4, 2010
“I never give any information about me in writing because you can tell at a glance my paintings contain the most accurate information about me. I have no intention of revealing to the astonished bourgeois and contemporaries the depths and abyss within my soul,” the German artist Otto Dix once wrote to a friend. That may explain why the engrossing exhibition running until January at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Rouge Cabaret, A terrifying and Beautiful World, is both an immersive experience and a revelation. Not only do the 220 works on display examine the career of Otto Dix but follow a chronology that emphasizes the peculiar mix of decadence and despair which not only represents “the abyss within” his soul, but the dehumanizing times through which he lived.
By Fanny La Croix on November 4, 2010
As we pass the 40th anniversary of the October Crisis, my thoughts turn not to the lessons learned, if any, from this not-so-quiet revolution, or to questions surrounding the state of Quebec’s ongoing war between the two solitudes.
No, my thoughts turn to that spring day when I, a young, eager Canadian actress was cast as FLQ terrorist Louise Lanctôt in a big-budget (by Canadian standards) CBC series recounting the events. A particularly vivid memory of the panic-attack that ensued comes to mind: How would I be credible in a role that would have me violently fight for the break-up of this beautiful country?
By Alan Hustak on September 9, 2010
During the First World War Otto Joachim was still a boy taking music lessons at the Buths-Neitzel conservatory. In Dusseldorf each day he passed a house that once belonged to Johannes Brahms. That, he said, gave him an inspiration, if he needed any, to think, “Hey, are you going to be a composer some day?”
By Robert K. Stephen on September 9, 2010
Do not assume New York City is “a city”. It is a collection of villages within a city. In fact why bother calling it New York City. It’s really Manhattan divided by 22 or so. As geographical and ethnic boundaries go so do a couple of wine bars. Drop in for a glass of wine at two distinct villages in Manhattan and see two different worlds of wine.
By Louise V. Labrecque on September 9, 2010
Enfin! Éva Circé-Côté est sortie des oubliettes pour entrer de plein fouet dans nos esprits, en même temps que sur les tablettes de nos librairies ! Il était temps, en effet, de dépoussiérer l’œuvre extraordinaire de cette grande dame, libre-penseuse, poète, dramaturge, journaliste, musicienne, et j’en passe ! Dans cent ans, ceux qui voudront comprendre le prix des combats contre l’ignorance et l’intolérance dans le Québec des années 1900, s’épargneront de longues et austères recherches, s’ils consentent à passer au peigne fin le livre d’Andrée Lévesque “Éva Circé-Côté libre-penseuse 1871-1949. »
By Sharman Yarnell on July 22, 2010
NEW YORK, NY - Although the past few months have seen some closures of those “sure-fire hits,” Broadway is alive, well and high-kicking through the summer and into the fall. However, the Bard’s claim, "the play’s the thing,” should probably read “the revival’s the thing.”
Most of the draws at the box office, except for a couple, are all tried and true productions from the past. Where are the writers, the lyricists, the great librettists of yore?
By Alan Hustak on July 22, 2010
The $14-million redesign of Place d’Armes in Old Montreal gives new meaning to the expression tearing up the city. Ongoing construction for more than a year has turned the historic ground in front of Notre Dame basilica into a no man’s land. Tourists expecting to see the statue of Montreal’s founder, Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve, are greeted instead by bulldozers. Making your way up Beaver Hall hill into Notre Dame or into any of the office buildings around the square means running an obstacle course around the massive excavation.
By Alan Hustak on July 22, 2010
The plans to bulldoze the Bonaventure expressway and replace it with a ground level boulevard, for example, have gone back to the drawing board. The Office de consultation publique de montréal was right to doubt the wisdom of the entire $260-million redevelopment scheme initially proposed by the Societe du Havre de Montreal, and to recommend a second look at the whole idea.
The people at City Hall responsible for the ambitious project might learn a thing or two from Boston’s experience.
By Jessica Murphy on June 10, 2010
“Film is a vision, a point of view,” said Quebec director Michel Brault in 2003.
Brault and his peers - Quebec cultural giants the lot - were at the forefront in helping the province establish a national cinema distinct from the rest of Canada. They told stories from the viewpoint of les Quebecois. They gave a nation a voice in its own language on screens big and small.
By Louise V. Labrecque on June 10, 2010
Ce n’est même pas une question. Plus que jamais il faut repenser le féminisme afin de mieux comprendre la condition féminine actuelle. Diane Guilbault, l’auteure de cet extraordinaire petit livre : « Démocratie et égalité des sexes », interroge les liens complexes unissant le corps, la société, les religions, les cultes, les systèmes et les politiques, notamment les accommodements dit raisonnables. L’éducation des filles, depuis toujours, englobe le corps et cerne tout particulièrement le sexe, organe de procréation. Ce faux pouvoir, les femmes l’ont appris par cœur, au travers des siècles de silence, de mimétisme, de séduction.
By Alidor Aucoin on May 12, 2010
Keep a diary long enough, no matter how inconsequential, and it might end up keeping you.
Brooke Johnson met Pierre Trudeau at a dance at the National Theatre School in 1985 when she was a 23-year- old aspiring actress. He danced with her, took her out for a drinks a few times, invited her for a walk in the country...
By Alan Hustak on April 23, 2010
Too little thought has been given to Canada’s national pavilion at the World Exposition in Shanghai, opening May 1. Whatever one may think about the previous Canadian government’s decision to take part in the Shanghai World’s Fair which just opened as yet another showcase for the totalitarian Communist regime, once a sovereign nation has signed onto to an agreement it is customary that it is an obligation on future administrations of whatever party. It is not like the Olympics. This is a state commitment to put Canada’s best foot forward.
By Alidor Aucoin on April 23, 2010
The Madonna Painter, The Birth of Painting at the Centaur, is a richly imagined, sacrilegiously macabre, exercise in which playwright Michel-Marc Bouchard delves into long-discarded French-Canadian Catholic ritual and rural ignorance, “the way a flea market hawker displays sacred objects that have been stolen and disguised for resale.”