Low-Cost Highbrow in Montreal

Oh, the urbanity! One’s wallet cannot always support one’s highbrow tastes. This need not be problematic in Montreal, where cultural affordability is often a function of timing. Most museums, theatres and festivals offer decent-to-deep discounts, making art accessible to even the shallowest of pockets. The island is ever bustling with reasonably priced original events in dance, poetry, film, theatre and art. This spring, impress the sophisticated lady in your life without ordering Cristal — or at least by taking her to places where the champagne is complimentary.

Vue sur la Relève
This renowned art festival showcases emerging talent in the categories of theatre, music and dance from Montreal and Quebec predominantly, but also other international urban centres including Paris and London. Among this year’s most original acts are Musicograffiti? ($10), a theatrical trip into outer space infusing music, dance and paintings; and Random Sex ($10), an uncensored theatrical exploration into gritty subjects surrounding everyone’s favourite performance art. Tickets start at $7/event; $50, 13-event passes can be deployed with Machiavellian efficiency to take six different girls to six different events. April 5 – 23. 7378 Lajeunesse St., 514-278-3941.

Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival

In contrast to its snooze-worthy name, Montreal’s bilingual Literary Festival (no one calls it Blue Metropolis) brings a world of imaginative history, drama, romance, and comedy to our backyard. Nothing screams sophistication like public readings and cocktail fundraisers! International attendee authors this year include Kate Pullinger (a Governor General’s Award recipient), Bernhard Schlink, best known for his novel-turned-blockbuster film, The Reader, and political author and journalist Linda Polman. (free – $50/event) April 2 – May 1. Holiday Inn Select Montreal Downtown Hotel, 99 Viger Ave. W., 514-878-9888.

SNAP! Magazine Launch Parties
Mingle with fashionistas, artists and art lovers at one of SNAP!’s quarterly launch parties. Held at a mix of upscale private lofts with free admission and cheap drinks, SNAP! parties are a great place to soak up style and mesh with busloads of beautiful people. Attendees get free copies of the award-winning art-and-fashion publication — well worth the non-price of admission right there. 4064 St. Laurent Blvd., 514-576-7867.

Le Cinéma du Parc
Tuesday night at Le Cinéma du Parc is perhaps one of Montreal’s cheapest and most popular cultural outings. The cinema showcases many rare and award-winning films, and the repertoire is decidedly art-house, favouring foreign, indie and art films in both French and English. Located on the bottom floor of Les Galeries du Parc, the twin-theatre venue boasts an exclusive stylish atmosphere amplified by its red carpets, retro snack bar, and in-the-know film-buff clientele. Recent festival favorites currently screening include The King’s Speech, Biutiful and Outside the Law3575 Parc Ave., 514-281-1900.

Le Théâtre Rialto
Last year, former movie palace Le Théâtre Rialto reopened its doors, boarded-up since 1990, to reveal a newly converted facility for theatrical and musical events. The building has aged gracefully: Recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada, Le Théâtre Rialto merits a visit solely for the historic Parisian architecture. This spring, the theatre showcases a variety of performances, including the well-reviewed John Paul George Ringo ($20), which recreates Beatlemania with convincing live musical performances and projections of super-rare Beatles footage. Ticket prices vary per event (from $10 – 50, with student discounts). 5723 Parc Ave., 514-770-7773.

Museum of Contemporary Art: Friday Nocturnes
Music and mixology meet art on the first Friday of every month, when the Museum of Contemporary Art holds “Friday Nocturnes.” Intimate tours of the exhibition galleries are enhanced by live music and bar service. Must-see exhibitions include Albanian artist Anri Sala’s harmonizing collection of photographs, sculptures, film and music, and the politically charged collection of consumer products-turned-sculptures in the Young and Giroux exhibit. Regular admission ticket is beyond-reasonable at $10 ($6 for students under 30). The museum also offers free admission every Wednesday between 5 and 9 p.m. 185 Sainte-Catherine St. W., 514-847-6226.

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Image courtesy of hansol k.

Comments

4 thoughts on “Low-Cost Highbrow in Montreal

  1. Hi, I’m the Communications Director for Blue Met. You, the “literary festival” (not be confused with any of the other numerous literary festivals held annually). I just wanted to add that a better phone number to call would be our Info line: 514-932-BLEU (2538). I think the other one is the hotel’s number.
    Oh yeah, and there is no $50. The most expensive ticket is for the Scotiabank Giller Prize event at $30. Most events are free or $7.

  2. The Blue Met’s gala dinners and master classes are upwards of $30. That is probably what they are referring to.

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