If you’re passing on the Spice Girls at the Bell Centre tonight, run, don’t walk, to the nearest computer and email firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can get into a fantastic free gig at National (1220 Ste-Catherine E.) ce soir, starring none other than Montreal’s wickedest MC Maître J and headliner Ghislain Poirier. Email your full name; max of two tickets per person, info: 514-845-2014. Otherwise, head to the vernissage at Galerie Quartier Libre (4289 Notre-Dame W.) of A Goat for Charlotte, an exhibition of paintings by Veronika Szkudlarek aimed at raising awareness of present-day Darfur. Runs till Feb. 24.
The ambitious, extraordinary, fabulous Festival Voix d’Amériques spoken word fest kicks off tonight with a grand evening of poetry with guest of honour and Hour cover man John Giorno. One of the leading figures in performance poetry with a career spanning more than 50 years, NYC’s Giorno helped establish spoken word as an art form in its own right. Hear him read in the intimacy of the Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent), at 8:30 ($12), accompanied by violinist Malcolm Goldstein, and by singer/songwriter/musician Thomas Hellman and Olaf Gundel, who will put some Giorno texts to music (www.fva.ca).
Opéra de Montréal brings you Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, opening tonight (www.operademontreal.com for dates and tix). Figaro the barber must help Count Almaviva win the heart of the beautiful Rosina, but… operatic shenanigans ensue! Rossini at his finest: sparkling, hilarious, ebullient! A counterpoint of humour and subtlety that is brought back to life in this Opéra de Montréal production. Starring Aaron St. Clair Nicholson as Figaro, with Julie Boulianne, Donato di Stefano, Frédéric Antoun and Stephen Morscheck. 8 p.m.
Till Feb. 7, Hannah Montana fans will have a chance to see their favourite singer, songwriter and actress, Miley Cyrus, perform her sold-out concert tour on the big screen in digital 3D in Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, presented in only five cinemas in the country, including the Cinéma Banque Scotia Montréal (977 Ste-Catherine W.). Tix on sale at www.cineplex.com or in person. But hurry! This shit is crack cocaine to tweens.
After Paris, Strasbourg, various places in India and, yes, Toronto, larger-than-life commercial artist-du-jour Carlito returns home to Montreal for an exhibition at the W Hotel (901 Square Victoria) titled The Anatomy of the Invisible. Starting tonight at 5:30 and running till May 4, the show features the Splendours of Existence series – large colourful celebrations of Carlito’s fruitful year.
Head to Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent) tonight for Baby Dee! The transgendered superstar who sells out shows in New York and all over Europe appears as part of Festival Voix d’Amériques’s Body and Soul night tonight, with Giselle Numba One and Donzelle. Her sounds will take you from the heights of beauty to the downright vulgar, which is the range we all like to play, right? Tix are $15, 7:30 p.m.
Head to the Drawn & Quarterly shop (211 Bernard W., 7 p.m.) for the launch for Michel Rabagliati‘s Paul Goes Fishing. Rabagliati is a renowned Montreal author – in November he was a guest of honour at Montreal’s Salon du Livre – but for many years, only those versed in French could appreciate his sweet, funny, semi-autobiographical stories. Now, in full translation, they’re accessible to all! Meet the cartoonist and get your copy signed.