Urban Tales XI at Centaur Theatre

a person on stage

Urban Tales – Patrick Abellard and Harry Standjofski (©Vanessa Rigaux)

The 11th edition of Centaur Theatre’s Urban Tales presents 5 shows until December 16, 2017. Immigrant Song: First Xmas in Montreal is this year’s theme for the storytelling series of rare and unusual holiday yarns, curated and directed by Montreal playwright, actor, director, and educator, Harry Standjofski, who also provides the live music. The Cole Foundation was a major contributor to this year’s event.

Some of Montreal’s best writers with roots in Haiti (Order of Quebec and Order of Canada and member de l’Académie Française novelist Dany Laferrière), the Philippines (Marie Barlizo), Italy (Michaela Di Cesare), Lebanon (Pascale Rafie), Turkey (Harry Standjofski), and rural Quebec (Urban Tales co-founder, Yvan Bienvenue) dip into their memories and imaginations for a behind-the-looking-glass view of Montreal’s holiday season.

a person on stage

Urban Tales – Kenny Wong

Despite living in a country populated by people from around the world, Christmas with all the trimmings is inescapable from the day after Halloween until Santa squeezes down the chimney. For newly arrived immigrants, navigating the onslaught of religious and social customs can be overwhelming as they try to adapt to their new home while clinging to the familiar, comforting traditions and memories of home and family.

a person on stage

Urban Tales – Patrick Abellard

The process of reaching out to local playwrights for material has become less of a necessity over the years as the popularity of the event grows. With Urban Tales entering its second decade, Standjofski now receives unsolicited work from playwrights as well as other theatre professionals working onstage and behind the scenes. Sometimes the scripts coincide with the year’s theme but those that don’t are kept for future Urban Tales, as Standjofski explains. “We usually get more than we can produce in one show anyway but those scripts are by no means wasted efforts. In fact, we’ve built quite a storehouse of outstanding material for future events.”

Eda Holmes, Centaur’s Artistic and Executive Director, said, “We are so fortunate in this city to have such a rich and diverse theatre community. With this year’s Urban Tales, we shine a spotlight on some of these incredibly versatile and talented writers and performers. I’ve heard such fun and intriguing comments about this event; I can’t wait to be initiated into my first Centaur holiday tradition!”

a person on stage

Urban Tales – Kenny Wong

Here is a short teaser…
Unang Pasko Sa Montreal written by Marie Barlizo, told by Kenny Wong
We take the elevator up to the presidential suite; it’s the only room on the floor. When I open the door my jaw drops. The walls look like solid gold in this place. There are topless HOT blonde women in G-strings and high heels surrounding my friend Justin, who’s seated at the head of the dining room table. All eyes are on the Sushi Chef who’s preparing sushi on a naked, big breasted young woman. “Ay Dieus mio!” I pray for strength to fight temptation. A boy screams, “Ay-yia –yia. Did I just die and go to heaven?” Justin gets up from the table. The DJ cuts the music as Justin says, “Maligayang Pasko, Joseph! Tatay … merry Christmas! Join us!”

Centaur Theatre

453 St François Xavier, Montreal

Source: Centaur Theatre

La Pileuse by Sarah Elola

a person dancing

La Pileuse – Sarah Elola (© Stacyann Lee)

La Pileuse is Sarah Elola’s second solo piece presented at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) for 3 days only on November 24, 25 and 26. It draws upon the traditions of Burkina Faso and more specifically those of Oulo and Boromissi villages where the dancer and choreographer spent her childhood. La Pileuse dives deep into the origins of rhythm and dance. This art of entering in communion with the elements instead of resisting them, of neither enduring nor dominating them; this art of renewal that can transcend the laborious. La Pileuse takes stock of all this and represents a mine of movements, sounds and philosophical reflections in what is ultimately an intimate encounter with the African woman.

In Africa, dance is an extension of life and daily activities – a mode of expressing thoughts and feelings through a liberation of the body and an abandonment to rhythm. There are many times when music and dance are born of repeated gestures, whether those of the farmer, the canoeist, or of the women who gather together around a single mortar to grind millet, sorghum or corn. They work together like this for long hours, now striking the pestles against the mortars, now throwing them up into the air and clapping their hands before catching them again, grinding the grain, each one performing more and more elaborate feats, punctuating their movements with shouts, sounds, words or melodies. All of this comes together in a single rhythm to produce a sometimes complex symphony.

a person dancing

La Pileuse – Sarah Elola (© Stacyann Lee)

Here is an art of resilience and renewal so fruitful it gives rise to a whole repertory of rhythms, songs and dances specific to each village. A plethora of movements, sounds and philosophical reflections emerges from which choreographer Sarah Elola draws upon to produce her second solo piece: La Pileuse.

A protean performer originally from Burkina Faso, Sarah Elola coloured her first 15 years with a kaleidoscopic African life both rural and urban, traditional and contemporary. Sarah Elola grew up both in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire and studied drama, choral singing, and dance in many forms. She has danced in particular for Zab Maboungou/Compagnie Nyata Nyata. Her process borrows traditions from several African countries while also becoming a distinctly contemporary
style of dance.

Elola created her first solo, Dans le ventre de l’éléphant, for the 2016 edition of Eclectik at the MAI. She also presented this piece in Montreal at the Forum Social Mondial and as well as at the Festival International de Danse de Ouagadougou (FIDO) presented by the French Institute in Burkina Faso.

Winner of the joint mentorship program in dance CAM + MAI in 2016 for the creation of La Pileuse, Sarah Elola carried out exploratory fieldwork on the ground in Oulo (Burkina Faso) this past spring for her new work.

La Pileuse

November 24 and 25 at 8 pm and November 26 at 2 pm. A discussion led by Marilou Craft will follow the performance on Friday, November 24.

Where?

MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)

3680 Jeanne-Mance, Montreal

Source: MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)

Montreal First Exhibit of Édéenne Fine Jewelry

Jewelry

Édéenne Montreal Exhibit – Birks Automne

Borned in Longueuil, Édéenne is now well established in Paris as a renowned jeweler. Édéenne build her name thanks to her unique talent and ability to immerse herself in her client’s personality to create breathtaking pieces of fine jewelry based on their values and experiences.

For the first time in Canada, more than 150 pieces of fine jewelry of Édéenne collections will be on display at the Wilder Building at the Grands Ballets Canadiens until November 16th. Édéenne exhibit is grandly supported by its clients since half of the fine jewelry pieces have been generously lent by their owners.

glasses of champagne

Édéenne Montreal Exhibit – Opening Night (Photo Credit: Valérie Blum)

Cordially invited at the exhibit opening night on November 1st, we had the opportunity to immerse ourself in this deeply moving environment while discovering each piece’s personal story. The exhibit is organized as a guided tour where you are plunged into darkness and accompanied by a storyteller.

Édéenne is the only Canadian to make fine jewelry in Paris. She has been recognized by the former jewelry director of Christies in Geneva as one of the 4 women who have marked history since 1900, and this, in a universe essentially masculine. Vivienne Becker published in the Financial Times: “Édéenne is one of the 4 gems stars“.

Jewelry

Édéenne Fine Jewelry

To bring a touch of originality, Édéenne choose to partner with the Bank of Montreal to present the exhibit inside a vault. “I believe in the power of jewelry to witness the depth of the beings and I can not wait to finally reveal my works to the public of my motherland, which, I hope, will be inspired and touched” said Édéenne.

Equipped with a flashlight and accompanied by a storyteller, visitors will discover the underlying story of each piece and live a unique immersive experience far beyond the presentation of the object itself.

jewelry

Édéenne Montreal Exhibit – Eden

“As we celebrate the Bank of Montreal’s 200th anniversary this year, our partnership with Édéenne reflects the values that drive us as a company which are the same that inspire her as an artist: meet the expectations of its clients, recognize the uniqueness of each person, believe in the strength of good ideas” said Claude Gagnon, general manager at Bank of Montreal Financial Group Quebec.

jewelry

Édéenne Montreal Exhibit – Excalibur

Since its beginning in 2003, Édéenne has influenced the field of jewelry thanks to her singular approach. She dedicated herself to create unique jewelry sculptures for private clients and well known brands. As a cinema lover, she had the opportunity to design collections for films such as Star Wars and for renowned studios such as Walt Disney.

Internationally recognized for her work, Édéenne had the opportunity to feature her collections in several places: twice at the Museum of The Legion of Honor in Paris, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, at Wako in Tokyo and at TEFAF in Maastricht. Don’t miss your chance to visit this free exhibit in Montreal!

Édéenne Fine Jewelry Exhibit – Wilder Building of Grands Ballets Canadiens

1435 rue de Bleury, Montreal

La Grande Dégustation De Montréal 2017

wine bottles

La Grande Dégustation de Montréal 2017

La Grande Dégustation de Montréal will be held at Place Bonaventure from 3-4 November for the pleasure of your taste buds. This annual event brings together more than 200 wine producers, distillers, and brewers to share their passion for wine, beer, and spirit. La Grande Dégustation de Montréal allows visitors to get up close and personal with producers who come from all around the world while enjoying an outstanding tasting and culinary experience.

This year, La Grande Dégustation de Montréal honours four themes: Champagne, Washington State, Riesling, and cocktails. Those themes fit exactly with the celebrations for the 375th anniversary of Montreal. “Our foremost goal is to offer a highly flavourful experience that promotes closeness, accessibility and pleasure. For this reason, the 2017 programming proposes captivating destinations and encounters with professionals who inspire and exude passion” says Daniel Richard, president of La Grande Dégustation de Montréal.

glass of champagne

Champagne

Did you know that the two co-founders of Montréal, Jeanne Mance and Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, were born in the Champagne region of France? We guess it is not a coincidence if Champagne is honoured this year! Produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region following specific rules and vineyards practices, this sparkling wine offers a mouthful of bubbly and seductive flavour.

This edition of La Grande Dégustation de Montréal is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and sense new pleasures through the tasting of this high-quality beverage.

nature landscape

Washington State

Washington State is the second largest premium wine producer in the United States right behind California who produces around 85% of American wines. Washington State offers a wide range of wines that finely balance old world structure with new world fruit in a variety of wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and, Syrah.

By adapting their vineyards to the climate of the northern State, the winemakers of this region capture the very best of their chosen varieties.

White Grapes

Riesling White Grapes

As the most cultivated wine in Germany, the legendary Riesling is popular in cooler regions of France, Austria, Canada, and United States. A wide range of wines cultivated in those regions have a base of Riesling including smooth, refreshing or sweet dry white wines.

In Ontario, Riesling is commonly used for the production of Ice wine especially in Niagara where the climate is particularly quite warm in the summertime which adds a dose of richness in the wines. Thanks to these attributes, Riesling maintains its position in the top three white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.

Glass of cocktails

Cocktails

Cocktails have never been so popular with their surprising and delicious tastes! Visitors are invited to attend fun demonstrations and tastings designed to demystify the world of mixology.

La Grand Dégustation de Montréal features entertainment with its famous Petites Dégustations allowing visitors to meet experienced wine producers and mixologists in small groups. The conferences include educational tastings who invite visitors to discover various varieties and regions. For more info check out La Grande Dégustation de Montréal website or download the free app designed to enhance your visitor experience.

Place Bonaventure

800, de la Gauchetière W., Montreal

Opening Hours

Admission: 15$ (+ 1$ per tasting coupon)

Montreal Pizza Week – 3 Places To Eat Vegan

Group-of-friends-eating-pizza-and-drinking-wine

La Pizza Week

From October 24th to 31st, be part of Montreal’s 1st Annual La Pizza Week Festivities by voting for your favourites pizza across the city. More than 40 pizzerias will compete for the title of best pizza in Montreal in these 9 categories: thin crust, pan, calzone, dessert, Margherita, 5 ingredients or all dressed, gluten free, vegan, and most original. Two prizes will be awarded in each category, the selection of the People Choice Award determined by your vote and Official Judges Panel composed of Amy Blackmore (Fringe Festival), Alexandre Despatie (athlete and animator), Anne-Lovely Étienne (journalist), Jeremy Filosa (journalist), and Nick Depalma (Restaurant Inferno owner).

Moreover, you are invited to share your pizza pictures on social media with the hashtag #LaPizzaWeek. By voting and liking La Pizza Week Facebook page, you are eligible to win one of the following prizes: a trip for 2 to Roma (Italy), a weekend for 2 to Quebec City, Ottawa, or Toronto, a Totarella & Sons gift package (value of 300$) and much more. Let us introduce the 3 restaurants in competition for the best vegan pizza in  Montreal.

2 person making pizza

Restaurant Pizza Villa

Opened since 1978, Pizza Villa is an Italian restaurant offering an authentic Italian cuisine. In addition to the regular menu, Pizza Villa has a gluten free menu and also offers a pizza dessert made of cheese, bananas, mixed berries, and chocolate.

For this first edition of La Pizza Week, Pizza Villa features a Focaccia with Swiss Chard and Broccoli Rabe pizza. The restaurant is located in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie on Papineau avenue (corner Saint-Zotique).

restaurant menu

Restaurant Chez Ann

Known for serving Ibiza wine and homemade food, Chez Ann Restaurant Café is the second restaurant competing for the vegan pizza category. For the occasion, Dj Jonny Marciano will take care of the music this Thursday for a special pizza techno party.

What about the pizza? Chez Ann presents a NYC style thin crust pizza that is both vegan and gluten free! Featuring a magical yucca crust that you can even fold while you eat, San Marzano tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, fresh basil and love. Chez Ann is located on Ottawa in Griffintown.

pizza restaurant

Vegan Rapide – Credit: Patrick Balyan

As a pioneer in the burgeoning vegan fast food sector in Montreal, Vegan Rapide has a large selection of pizzas, burgers, and sandwichs. Vegan Rapide is well known for offering hand-made pizza all year round. According to co-owner Liza Hatem, the pizzas are not pre-prepared and not frozen but just made using fresh ingredients bought everyday to avoid spoilage and waste.

This week only, Vegan Rapide features the Veggievore pizza made with a bunch of vegetables topped with vegan cheese. Vegan Rapide is located in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce on Sherbrooke West.

vegetarian pizza

La Pizza Week

Reservations are strongly recommended during La Pizza Week to ensure your spot at any participating restaurants. La Pizza Week is produced by Billy Alfonso and Fabio Brocoli from Perennial Events who are passionate in producing quality events for the whole family for several years in Montreal and Toronto. Visit La Pizza Week website for more info. Bon Appetito!