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Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Just For Laughs mascots at the Twins Parade

Every year at Montréal’s Just For Laughs festival, the comedy organization holds the incredible Twins Parade where twins from around the world are invited to march in this surreal event. This means that twins, triplets, and sometimes quintuplets arrive in this city as part of yet another summer festival and march down the streets in a themed, coordinated fashion. This year’s parade theme was “Cowboys and Cowgirls” and took place yesterday, Saturday July 27th.

Unfortunately, my plans to watch the parade and attend one of the many featured shows — this year’s comedians included the likes of Dave Chapelle, Joan Rivers, Godfrey, Jimmy Carr, and others — fell through. However, I did dig up some photos from a Twins Parade a few years back and while these photographs do not bring the event any justice, they do provide a snapshot of some moments in the entertaining event. My best description of this event is that it is like a dive through the rabbit hole — taking in this parade is truly bizarre (everyone looks the same!) — and you may start wondering what substance got tossed into your coffee this morning. Just For Laughs 2013 closes today, so if you did not catch the festival this year come back next year in mid-July to partake in all the fun the festival has to offer. Go to www.hahaha.com for more details.

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Twins walking down rue St. Denis, organized by age group

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Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs

It is an established fact that summer is a season that doesn’t lend itself to serious cooking. Far before the heatwave hit London, I’ve been using summer as an excuse to eat out a lot – burgers and pizza and beer to be more precise. And when I do retreat for some time at home, I’ve put what I call the picnic diet into action — hummus and bread and the occasional tomato. Maybe a rotisserie chicken will make an appearance if I’m putting on the ritz*.  It has worked out well for me. Junky pub food is the perfect complement to drinks on evenings out, and the picnic diet has shaved my time spent in the kitchen down to an all year low, thus maximising my precious time in the sun.

But all good things must come to an end.

I’m all burgered out. I haven’t even made it to Shake Shack and Five Guys and I’m already over this burger fad (for the time being). My wallet is also over it. And I’ve eaten so much hummus that I can’t look at the stuff anymore.

As a result, I’ve been trying to cook a bit more often these days, and I’ve been making use of one particular blog that I feel a strong desire to share with every beginner cook out there: Food52. My friend introduced me to it some time ago, and basically every recipe I have used off the site has been freaking awesome. The secret? Look no further than THE POWER OF THE CROWD.

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Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Atoms for Peace, and Nigel Godrich of Atoms for Peace (and Radiohead’s producer) were in the news recently when they took a stance against Spotify by criticizing the music streaming website’s economic model. The musicians pulled out all albums from Atoms for Peace, Godrich’s band Ultraísta, and Thom Yorke’s solo work from the website and sparked a conversation about the modern difficulties of musicians earning a living.

The topic is elaborated in an article for The New Yorker and one in Pitchfork, and the fact that Yorke and Godrich brought attention to this issue reminds me how much I love these artists in addition to their creative work. I discovered Radiohead as a teen and have been a big fan of their work — including non-Radiohead projects such as Yorke’s solo work and Atoms for Peace, and his collaboration with Burial and Four Tet — but Radiohead will always be my first love. And one of my favourite videos by Radiohead is Street Spirit (Fade Out) from their sophomore album, The Bends (1995). The video was directed by Brit Johnathan Glazer whose work for Radiohead includes Karma Police from 1997’s OK Computer and Rabbit in Headlights for Yorke’s work with U.N.K.L.E., as well as two videos for another favourite, Massive Attack. This video, above, is absolutely perfect for the song and was filmed in the desert outside Los Angeles in black and white. The visuals are moving, breathtaking, and beautiful, and is one of my favourite videos of all time. Click above to watch.

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There are a few cute restaurants in the Plateau neighbourhood here in Montréal that are tucked away on a residential street called rue Gilford. I live in the neighbourhood so I have frequently walked past the five or so restaurants that run on the street between rue St. Denis to the west and rue Papineau to the east. I always wanted to try out the neighbourhood spots and had the opportunity to do so when I had a celebratory dinner at La Raclette a few months back. Since then, I heard La Raclette now serves brunch so we had to pop in to try their morning menu and then we made a point of trying the restaurant’s neighbours along the street. In addition to La Raclette, we dropped by Maison Publique and Le Chien Fumant to try out the different types of brunch offerings from the three unique establishments.

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Just For Laughs Festival at Metropolis

Welcome to the fifth instalment of the Montréal Bachelor(ette) Party Planning Guide. Previous posts on the series outlined the bachelor/bachelorette party scene and hotels here in Montréal, restaurants (parts one and two), and bars and clubs. A listing and links to the previous posts can be found at the end of this post.

Today’s guide focuses on the various activities that your party group can plan for your trip to Montréal. Thankfully, in addition to all the restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and pubs that the city has to offer, we also have a slew of city-planned events happening year round. We love the arts, culture and shamelessly sexy business so Montréal has just about something for everyone. Summers carry the bulk of the major events (and attract most tourists) since, well, Montréal is pretty cold city during most seasons. If you get here for July and August, you are almost guaranteed the hot and sticky weather many Americans and Canadians from the rest of the country experience; May and June can sometimes hold onto the regular programming. That being said, make sure you check the weather forecast for the city prior to launching on your trip, and remember that carrying an umbrella and dressing in layers can thwart the possibility of you walking around the city cold and wet (it happens to us all the time).

So here is a (non-comprehensive) list of major events in Montréal starting from the beginning of the year in January. Note that some of the events listed take place in multiple seasons, especially the festivals that start in spring and end in the fall, so check out the Spring listings if you are planning your visit for the summer or fall months. Additionally, year-round activities that you and your group can pursue regardless of the season are also listed at the end of the post. Make sure to click on the links (in bold) to find out the exact dates and more details of each event.

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Igloofest in the Old Port

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Considering how cold the city can get in the winter (-30°C without windchill anyone? I will go ahead and translate that to -22ºF for American readers), you would think Montréalers would be huddled away at home toasting our baguettes on an open fire. Well, if you have been living here in this city long enough, you know that the winter stinks and you cannot get away from it. So what do you do? Embrace it! Which means we even hold outdoor festivals in the dead of winter in the form of Igloofest. Igloofest — as the name implies — is an outdoor electronic music festival that is scheduled in mid-January to early February. Here you will find bars built with ice blocks, revellers bundled in parkas and snow boots (do not attempt to wear skimpy running shoes!), and DJ’s rocking away in the cold. And pick up some kitschy but cool Igloofest hats as your souvenir and proof that you braved the Montréal winter.

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As an exclusive user of virtual calendars, contact lists, and notes, I have come back to the fold of paper-based agendas. How did this happen?

Two years ago, I went to Indigo Bookstore here in Montréal in search of a proper, physical agenda — paper ones that you can actually write with a pen. A sales associate showed me their current collection which was a measly three or four hard cover books that did not meet my size and content specifications. Since then, I have relied entirely on my Google Calendar, Google Tasks, Google Contacts, and Apple Notes. I used to have both a paper agenda and my virtual organization platforms that I would access with my laptop. But once I got a smartphone, I transitioned entirely to the virtual agenda. I thought to myself, “How on earth did I live without a smartphone?!”

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