Culture - February 14 to 20, 2020

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

From theatre to dance to music, Montréal's cultural scene is on fire this week.


On stage

Marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal present Dancing Beethoven, two choreographic creations set to Symphony No 5 and Symphony No 7 by the great composer, at Place des Arts from February 19 to 23. Choreographer-dancer José Navas performs his solo work Winterreise, embodying the essence of composer Schubert's journey, from February 11 to 22 at Place des Arts. At Agora de la danse from February 12 to 15 see Pour sortir au jour, Olivier Dubois's intimate solo show focused on memory and the body. A celebration of circus in all its forms, the annual Coups de coeur show astounds with its cabaret-like atmosphere and talented circus artists from around the world, from February 18 to 29 at La TOHU.

Music, narrative and visuals meet in Please Thrill Me by musician Sean Nicholas Savage, also featuring musicians Jane Penny of TOPS, Adam Byczkowski, Lulu Hughes and Cadence Weapon, from February 17 to March 1 at Théâtre La Chapelle. A musical voyage celebrating the strength and resilience of Black women in the 20th century, Edinburgh Fringe hit Century Song comes to Centaur Theatre until February 16, part of Black History Month. Six wanderers meet at a silent retreat in Bess Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds, at the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts until March 1. The TD Saturday Morning Children’s Series features Les Créactifs's What is Living? puppetry and storytelling show on Saturday morning. Also for kids, Splash’N Boots perform on February 16 at Place des Arts. In comedy, Just for Laughs presents Lebanese-American comedian NEMR on his The Future is Now tour February 15 at Club Soda. Laugh it up at the Tinder Tales comedy show, where comedians share their own dating experiences, at L’Astral on February 14. Or catch the infamous and hilarious Montréal STRIP Spelling BEE on February 14 at MainLine Theatre. And in the Gay Village, stages light up with world-class drag shows in Montréal.

On screen

The immersive screen-and-sound creations of SAT Fest wow in the Society for Arts and Technology's 360° dome until February 28 with seven creations by artists from around the world. See the world shift at the Phi Centre's new virtual reality exhibition Mirages & miracles by French company Adrien M & Claire B, with four series of works exploring the relationship between poetry, technology, the human body and art – opening February 18. Meanwhile, the Phi Centre's VR Cinema features program Black Narratives, four films with African viewpoints.

Explore the universe at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, featuring science-meets-multimedia shows Planet Nine, Secrets of Gravity, EXO, POLARIS, Continuum and Aurōrae as well as Mice and the Moon for younger kids. The Montréal Science Centre presents IMAX film Great Bear Rainforest 3D and hands-on science exhibitions for kids including the new Journey to space, exploring the life of astronauts. Among Montréal's great indie cinemas, see art-house, documentaries, Québécois, cult films and more at Mile End's Cinéma Moderne, the Cinémathèque québécoise (currently showing Will Prosper's Haiti-set film Kenbe la, Until We Win as part of Black History Month), Cinéma du Musée at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and long-running Cinéma du Parc.


Art for everyone

At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, see “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” as well as About Face and more. At the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, see Painting Nature with a Mirror, a portrait of 1980s painting in Canada, Points of Light, 40 years of moving image art, and Arthur Jafa's cinematic montage Love is the Message, the Message is Death. The Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain features music-oriented installations and video by British artist Phil Collins, and Eva & Franco Mattes’s Internet-focused video and sculptural works. Arsenal Contemporary Art hosts Imagine Van Gogh, an immersive, technologically-enhanced experience of the artist's paintings.

See film art exhibition Quand nous sommes / When we are, inspired by the third cinema of Patricio Guzman, at SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art. At La Guilde see Nunavut artist Jessie Oonark's Artworks - Still Very Much Alive and Love-Struck Souls by jeweler Aurelie Guillaume. The Museum of Jewish Montreal presents large-scale photography exhibition Snapshots from the Garden of Eden by Canadian contemporary artist Dina Goldstein, opening on February 20. The Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery presents multi-artist exhibition In the No Longer Not Yet, operating on the premise that the apocalypse is not to come but ongoing. Galerie de l’UQAM presents climate-change focused These Rooms of Earth and Stones by Michel Boulanger and Katja Davar and Heidi Barkun's in vitro fertilization exhibition Let's Get You Pregnant! Galerie D’Este presents reflective duo exhibition Pause Papier : Les mondes de Karine Demers et Megan Herwig. Stop by Mile-Ex gallery and cultural space Never Apart to see new painting, photography and installation art as part of its winter exhibitions. And there's more art to discover while gallery hopping and antiquing in the city.


History near and far

History buffs can witness the ancient past and local stories at Montréal museums. At the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, see Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives, one of this season's major exhibitions in Montréal, reconstructing the lives of six Egyptians from about 900 BC to AD 180. At Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex discover the origins and legacy of the Inca Empire in The Incas, Treasures of Peru, plus multimedia show Generations MTL and other activities. History meets architecture in the Canadian Centre for Architecture's current exhibitions Building a new New WorldAmerikanizm in Russian Architecture and Detour: Alternative Readings of Travel. At the McCord Museum see retrospective exhibition Jean-Claude Poitras: Fashion and inspiration, new exhibition Griffintown by photographer Robert Walker, interactive toy exhibition It’s Your Move! Board Games: Larger Than Life and more – and February 19 watch Montréal-based documentary Horse Palace.

The Stewart Museum's Nights lets visitors explore the fiction-meets-reality of four worlds created by Québec writers Heather O’Neill, Simon Boulerice, Dominique Demers and Éric Dupont – on Valentine’s Day, attend special event Lovely Night at the Museum or play intriguing historic escape game Phantoms of the Island on Saturday, February 15. At the nearby Biosphère, Environment Museum see several exhibitions on marine environments, weather and current environmental issues. Among the city's other family-friendly museums, Exporail / The Canadian Railway Museum invites train enthusiasts of all ages to Iron and Ice: Snow Trains until February 23, the Musée de Lachine illuminates 350 years of history, wax museum Grévin MONTRÉAL features Québécois and international celebrities, and the free Barbie Expo shows off Barbie's fashion transformations through the decades. And pick up some historic and present-day facts about Montréal that even some locals might not know.

Live music

On Friday, dance to a Keys n Krates DJ set at Newspeak, Cheat Codes with Young Bombs and Ricky Retro at New City Gas or dance and sing along at the Céline Dion dance party at Ritz P.D.B. On Saturday night, catch Swedish pop singer-songwriter Tove Lo and opener Alma at MTELUS, go dancing with electronic producers Jason Ross and Sunny Lax at the Society for Arts and Technology or at the Dômesicle party in the SAT's 360° dome with DJs Absurde, Softcoresoft and S. Chioini, while New City Gas hosts rapper-singer-songwriter Swae Lee and Dzeko and the Sans Merci party featuring French electronic producers Tony Romera, Bellecour and Keeld, while at Newspeak Com Truise serves up a high-energy DJ set. Bring your valentine to Le Balcon's Jazz, Love & Soul show with crooner Danny Blanco on February 14 and 15. The Casino de Montréal's Pop casino event hosts Poptastic ‘80s and ‘90s music nights on Friday and Saturday, themed food and drinks and more.

On Sunday, February 16, see rapper-singer-songwriter Post Malone at the Bell Centre. On Monday, Japanese doom metal band Church of Misery rumbles at Ritz P.D.B., while Polish death metal band Vader shakes Foufounes Électriques. There's more metal on Tuesday night as Opeth brings its heaviness to MTELUS, though L.A. indie-pop band Slow Hollows brings it down several notches at Casa del Popolo. The one and only Céline Dion performs on February 18 and 19 at the Bell Centre. And on Thursday, see alt-rockers The Beaches and Goodbye Honolulu at Corona Theatre and bedroom-pop artist Jordann at the Phi Centre, while Le Balcon hosts Flamenca Night With Mirada Flamenco on February 20.

For more music throughout the week, check out our picks on how to get your nightlife on in Montréal, where to hear live music in Montréal, 10 great places to see indie bands, Montréal's best jazz and blues clubs and our guide to electronic music in Montréal. Or stand up and sing yourself at Montréal's best karaoke bars! And if you want to bring the music home with you, go record shopping at Montréal's excellent vinyl stores.

Things to do in Montréal – February 14 to 20, 2020

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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