Time to sound the alarm!
Montreal’s public bike system, Bixi is going through some serious growing pains. I signed up two weeks ago and at first things were great. The bikes are heavy, but adequate. The frequency of docking stations (every 300 metres they say) is generous. But in just two weeks, things have taken a rather ominous turn. Between 10-20% of docking stations are currently broken. The same problem is reoccurring across the city: the part on the docking station that clamps onto the bike gets shattered. I think this is caused by people returning bikes–you have to give them a good shove to click in–rather than vandals forcing bikes out. This means that it’s increasingly difficult to find an open station downtown in the morning when everyone bikes in. A lesser issue but still one of concern is that the bicycles themselves are starting to fall apart too–slipping gears, jammed brakes, flat tires, broken baskets, etc. Either people are riding them like they’re rentals or they have a few design issues.
To make matters worse, their website is not always properly updated in real time. You can’t trust where it tells you there are free stations.
Using Bixi at non-peak times is still fantastic, but I’m worried that if they don’t find a quick fix, the entire network will be compromised.
It’s the best thing to EVER happen to Wednesday nights: NO VAMPIRES.
NO VAMPIRES is the new *weekly* show by WITHOUT ANNETTE. Enjoy an hour of gobsmacking and marvellous improv every Wednesday night, for just $5.
THIS WEEK’S SPECIAL PROGRAMME:
A Night Without… NEIL YOUNG
Tonight, We will think about Neil Young and then do things both related and un-, inspired and thrown by his doings and having-dones.These will be longform scenes that branch out in every crisscross way — scraps of funny and yay, whimsy and nonsense, the ridiculous and the sublime.
Every Wednesday, 8pm
264 Ste-Catherine est (Berri-UQAM metro)
Check out the June 21, 2008 entry in Michael Black’s 2008 fringe diary for a very cute story told in pictures about a Dolphin looking to see a show at the Fringe.
Who did this? Thank you!
Greg Landucci delivers multiple great performances in Dishpig, a one-man show about a terrible dish-washing job.
I hope outlandish and emotionally-charged things happen to this guy, because I look forward to seeing more of his shows. If he can do this with a banal topic like a bad job, imagine what he could do with the search for his birth parents across the Steppes?
This show gets a: Recommended
Three Old Bags was a delightful surprise. After noticing that it was 90 minutes long, and reading Pat Donelly’s description that it was not yet a fully functioning script and 15 minutes too long, I almost skipped it. Three Old Bags turned out to be one my favourites among the 10-or-so shows that I saw this year.
The Three Old Bags each had wonderfully rich and funny characters. The script was delicious and the acting fantastic. Too bad these ladies are hiding out in Lac Brome.
And the audience! I can’t think of another show that was enhanced by audience members talking to each other during the show: “What did she just say?” “She said Depens.” “What’s that?” “It’s a diaper, Harry!”
The show opened with some clowning that didn’t quite work, but once the story began, those 90 minutes flew by.
This gets a: Highly Recommended
From Pat Donnely’s Montreal Gazette blog (emphasis mine):
Fringe producer Jeremy Hechtman told me yesterday that many Fringe shows, like SHOSHINZ and Cherry Typhoon, are getting sold out. The show selling the largest number of tickets, he said, is Blastback Babyzap. It’s sketch comedy by a local group called Uncalled For. The final show is at 5:15 p.m. today (Sunday June 22).
An improv comedy show, Argument with a Dolphin, is said to be doing well, too.
And many people are recommending The Sputniks.
I thought our numbers were pretty good this year, maybe middle of the pack, but getting mentioned among the top-sellers makes me feel kind of giddy. From what I can tell, turnout has been good this year. The official numbers will come out soon, no doubt.
Having a small venue in and of itself can help generate buzz. Since it’s easier to sell out a smaller venue, you’re more likely to do so. Selling out shows is great publicity because word gets around, even all the way back to Pat Donnely.
Viva Venue 4, damned obstructing column and all!
I don’t really know Barry Smith, but seeing his show every year gives me insight into the person. He’s so homey and familiar, it almost feels like visiting a friend. While you may not identify with his specific neurosis–documenting his life by saving every marginally relevant photograph, bill or piece of paper–you may identify with his passion and obsession in general terms. I mean, I can tell you if I had Pepsi on any given day over the past 1.5 years. To me, Barry Smith is inspiration. I’m going to start saving those Pepsi cans.
This show gets a: Recommended
Balls! is a 2-man play about the stages of loss, the strain on friendships, and the utter despair experienced when being diagnosed with testicular cancer. The show attempts to convey these serious messages in a candy-coating of comedy to make the whole thing more easy to swallow. While I appreciate the intent and the effort that went into this show, the script and delivery were not funny. Lame masturbation, pornography, ball and yo-momma jokes abounded. I mean, really.
This show gets a: skip it.
Given that everyone of a certain age has nostalgic reminiscences of the original Degrassi, this show was bound to be a huge hit right out of the blocks. From Start Wars to Cobra to Napoleon Dynamite, there is a long tradition of using pop culture as inspiration for a Fringe Show. I’m just waiting for Jem Rolls and the Holograms.
The show programme states “It’s an homage, people!” That’s exactly what this show was, no more, no less.
It consisted largely of name-dropping infamous name and events in Degrassi history, while making little attempt to tie everything together. Despite great costuming, some nice moments when Yick and Heather were introduced, and the hilarious portrayal of Wheels, the show, script and musical numbers didn’t aim as high as I would have liked. (Couldn’t the Zit Remedy have played their own instruments, for instance?)
Next year, I hope they re-assemble the cast and focus on telling one classic Degrassi story, not 3 seasons stuffed into 32 minutes.
This show gets a: What did you expect? It’s an homage, people!
The Musée des Beaux Arts exposition on a Cuban art ends tomorrow. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Cuba Colectiva, a mural painted by a bunch of revolution-lovin’ Europeans and Cubans back in 1967. The mural was divided into a 100 sections; each section was drawn by lots, save for #26 reserved for Fidel himself. (July 26 was a significant date for Fidel.)
Fidel never got around to painting his portion, so there’s a blank spot where #26 should be.
Part of ave. du Mont-Royal is now blocked off for Grand Prix weekend. Over the past two nights, artists painted the street, filling in block after block of pre-drawn rectangles. Each rectangle is numbered, starting at 1, going eastward. #26 was blank. Cute.
The Cuban exhibition is worth a look-see. Don’t bother with the sluggish audio guide; there’s enough writing on the walls. Taking in the Revolution-era painting evoked a bit of sadness in me. The Cuban Revolution seems to have inspired so much hope and joy throughout the artistic world, yet now it all seems so naïve and folkloric.
Surprisingly, I didn’t see any Che t-shirts in the gift shop.
I checked out the Montreal Anarchist Theatre Festival tonight. The last night of the Festival is tonight (Wednesday) at 7:30pm at Concordia.
I highly recommend this show because of the participation of the Bread and Puppet collective from Vermont. The same nagging voices of political dissent whose messages seem so trite coming from most corners of the arts world come alive in the puppetry, music and choreography of this fantastic show. It’s funny, clever, and appropriately raucous. The other acts on Wednesday will be different than those I saw tonight, so I cannot comment on those, but the hour-or-so of Bread and Puppet is well worth the $10 price of admission. Do see this show if you can. Follow the first link for further details.
… high-fiving a stripper in front of Calèche du Sexe on your way home from a huge Habs win.
(um, and washing your hands when you get home.)