Just For Laughs launches a new angle to the fest, and pretends to know what it's doing
My excitement was palpable as I ran to the press conference a couple months ago about BD Montréal, a promising – on paper – new angle to the Just For Laughs fest that would honour one of Monteal’s richest resources: comix.
But then, I got there and listened to what they were organizing.
Since July 14, on the corner of De Maisonneuve and Sanguinet, exists a humongous tent covering 8,000 square feet and grouping together 40 stands where people are peddling, talking about, celebrating and promoting bédés. If you’re from Montreal, and at all familiar with the vibrant scene that exists, you’d undoubtedly expect to see names like Rick Trembles, Hélène Brosseau, Henriette Vallium, Siris, Caro Caron, Simon Bossé, Bernie Mireault and Billy Mavreas participating. At the very least Rupert Bottenburg, the city’s premier motivator on the comix promotion front, who has his fingers planted firmly in the pies of both Blue Metropolis and Fantasia’s comix-related programming.
Instead, a fraction of the local wealth of talent was mined. The event is quasi exclusively francophone – a demonstration of true provincial myopia on the part of co-organizers Just For Laughs and Le Salon du Livre de Montréal – and firmly focused on the European talent that’s been shipped in (at great expense) for the occasion. It is one of the blindest, most blatant wastes of a good idea I’ve seen in recent times in the city’s art scene, and, truly, and embarrassing demonstration of just how little the brains behind this actually know about the art form on whose bandwagon they’re trying to jump.
No offence to the artists who did make it in the selection, obviously – the more exposure, the better. But to the organizers: Better luck next year.
BD Montréal continues to July 24, at the corner of De Maisonneuve and Sanguinet. Go to www.hahaha.com for more info.