The Montreal Pride celebrations are currently happening in Montreal, leading up to the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parade, which will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday and run on René-Lévesque Boulevard from Guy to Sanguinet.
Under the theme "Share the Pride," this year’s festivities aim to shine a light on the rights violations LGBT communities still have to contend with in too many parts of the world, where the simple act of marching openly with one’s peers is practically unimaginable. As such, Alice Nkom, an activist lawyer who’s been campaigning in Cameroon to decriminalize homosexuality, has been granted the title of Grand Marshal of Montreal Pride 2011. Particular attention should also be paid to the organizations, businesses and groups that will take part in Community Day, unfolding Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sainte-Catherine East between Saint-Hubert and Papineau.
As usual, the arts play a central part in Pride week. Thursday night and all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Place Émilie-Gamelin, the Café des Arts exhibit curated by Jean-Pierre Pérusse will showcase the works of seven artists (Bastien, Michel Bazinet, Yunus Chkirate, Vincent Cyr, Charlotte Greenwood, Olivier Lefebvre, Gus Mainville, César Ochoa) who have all contributed to making a difference for LGBT people.
Also at Place Émilie-Gamelin, many live music shows are on the schedule, often featuring performers who convey a high level of camp, intentionally or not. On Thursday, Dream and some 15 other drag queens will take us "on a magical journey through the most important musical eras of the last 30 years." Later the same night, the Decades pop, rock and disco musical revue will follow in the same vein.
Last year at Pride, 80s pop chanteuse Martine St-Clair was one of the special guests at the nostalgia-heavy gig by Les B.B. and she nearly stole the show from them. She’ll be back this Friday, this time as the headliner of a show that will include a homage to Quebec songwriter Luc Plamondon, perhaps best known for having penned the lyrics of the Starmania rock opera, as well as a set by "DJ Martine" in which St-Clair will remix her own hits.
On Saturday night, another famous local drag queen will take the stage, namely Michel Dorion. She’ll act as the host of C’est la fête!, a multidisciplinary event featuring musicians, dancers and various other artists from the LGBT community, plus Céline Dion’s older sister Claudette and dance-pop singers Jacynthe and Jessy Gauthier. And if you still have energy left on Sunday, the Mega T-Dance party will start at 2 p.m. and keep going until 11, as Stephan Grondin, Erez Bi and Charles Poulin take turns in the DJ booth.
For more info: www.fiertemontrealpride.com.
FESTI JAZZ MONT-TREMBLANT
If you’re looking to get out of the city this weekend but would still like to get a groove on, the fourth edition of Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant might be the answer for you. Two stages are set up on Rue de Saint-Jovite, in front of the church, where music lovers can catch free outdoor concerts by acts like the Yoel Diaz Trio, Sonia Johnson Quartet and Dave Turner Quintet, as well as Normand Guilbeault’s jazz-meets-Native-music project Kawandak, the funk-jazz-salsa fusion of Up a Notch and famed pianist and composer (and festival spokesperson) Vic Vogel. You can also catch live jazz performances in more than 15 bars, cafés and restaurants around the old village and downtown sectors of Mont-Tremblant. www.jazzmttremblant.com