A stroll in the gardens
by Laura Marchand
This summer, I was one of the thousands who went to see the natural sculptures in the Botanical Gardens. Originally, my friend and I had planned to visit La Ronde, but it was closed for the day. On a whim, we headed north to the Botanical Gardens. It was still early in the day: the sky was clear, the air was cool, and we had the gardens to ourselves. After strolling through the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, we sat down under the cherry blossom trees to enjoy a shared bento lunch I had made (my first attempt).
We ended up staying for hours, strolling around and looking at the sculptures. The artistry it takes to carve and build something is impressive enough; making it out of nature is simply incredible. At the time, many of them were not complete – but watching them grow, step by step, was its own joy.
by Sara Baron-Goodman
While I was studying abroad in Paris this past semester, I had the opportunity to totally saturate myself in art–from the great classics (oh hey Mona Lisa) to some very interesting new wave exhibits. I’m usually not much of a contemporary art fan, but there was one exhibit at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo that left quite an impression.
The Palais de Tokyo is not quite a museum, but rather a sort of modern and contemporary art house / gallery space / nightclub (in the basement) that’s known to showcase some pretty avant-garde and thought provoking exhibits. The one in particular that I’m referring to was entitled “Flamme Eternelle”, by Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn.
The gallery space was completely transformed into a sprawling junkyard: tires piled high became makeshift walls, an interactive Styrofoam sculpture station blew bits of white fluff everywhere, banners and paper with witty, cynical slogans littered the floor. In the center was the “flamme eternelle,” a sort of fire pit surrounded by plastic lawn chairs that invited guests to come and sit and ponder a while. The whole exhibit was completely interactive, and all the arts and crafts encouraged passers-through to leave their mark. Other corners of the junkyard maze revealed poetry readings by philosophers and writers, dilapidated TV-screens showing postmodern films, and at one end, a café-bar where you could buy snacks at very reasonable prices (by Parisian standards at least).
The feeling of the space was very post-apocalyptic, and seemed to be a critique on all the crap that we leave behind and waste, and how “trash” really can be turned into art if you look at it a different way.
One’s “best concert of my life”
by Elsbeth Cossar
What could be better than seeing your favorite band in concert? The thrill of knowing all of their songs, getting the chills when they point to you in a crowd of people… This summer, after my best friend and I heard that our favorite band, The Vocal Few, was doing a living room tour across Canada, we sent them an email desperately hoping that we could be chosen as a venue. Guess what, they said yes. Immediately we cleaned out the barn and turned it into the ideal indie music concert hall simultaneously selling tickets, and advertising to our friends. Finally the day came and the band pulled into the driveway. We casually ate burgers with the band members and their kids, you know, no big deal. Then, we sat in the front row and experienced all the thrills and chills you can imagine bantering with the band between songs. What an experience it was to feel the fan girl come pouring out of me in whoops and laughter. I’ve been to concerts that packed the Metropolis and overwhelmed Echo Beach, but being right in the middle of that rough barn, cheers bouncing off the rafters, and face to face with my favourite voice; was certainly the best concert of my life.
by Laurent Pitre
For me, this summer was the summer of the Fringe! As a theatre student, I live for risk-taking, new, gritty, innovative and revolutionary theatre experiences. When and where can one person in our beautiful bilingual city get that? Every year in June, at the Montreal Saint-Ambroise Fringe Festival. With my new play, This is not a play, I hit the ground running, engaged audiences of all walks of life, met a myriad of amazing artists, and was lucky enough to be a part of this awesome performance arts festival.
As one of the most exotic festivals of the summer, Fringe is an excellent platform for arts students to acquire professional experience and experiment, develop and create new works. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity to see some groundbreaking performances and be part of a wonderfully eclectic community. What should you do next summer? Go and be as Fringe as possible!
A sentimental journey through Final Fantasy
by Jocelyn Beaudet
At this year’s Otakuthon, the organizers brought in conductor Arnie Roth to perform “A New World: intimate music from Final Fantasy,” in front of a live audience. Roth’s previous performance of the previous “Distant World,” was a full-featured orchestral presentation, visiting fan favorites composed by Nobuo Uematsu. For “A New World”, Roth instead chose to strip down the sound to its basics, to the style of chamber music. While the smaller selection of players may seem like it would be detrimental to the roaring complexity of Uematsu’s originals, the concert turned out to be anything but. Each section had its moments, and the finale even had Roth himself play rather than conduct.
No era was spared, from the 25-year-old originals all the way to a modern rendition of “King Mog,” from Final Fantasy XIV, Roth conducted tear-jerking nostalgia in a way that no CD could ever convey. On top of it all, a solo piano rendition of Final Fantasy XI’s “Gustaberg,” provided haunting memories of the countless hours spent mingling with other players in its endless deserts to this editor. A New World will be touring the world in the coming months, coming once more to Canada in December, and if you’re a fan of Chamber music or Final Fantasy, this is a performance that you don’t want to miss! You can find out more information at http://www.ffdistantworlds.com/about