R&B 200’s success story

Apt. 200’s R&B nights are drawing hundreds of people to the club—on a Wednesday.

There is an element of unpredictability that comes with getting people to go out on a Wednesday night. With its latest series of R&B nights titled “R&B 200,” Apt. 200 Montreal has accomplished exactly that, offering a unique setting that draws hundreds to the club in the middle of the week. 

Lou Celestino, a local artist and bartender at the club, first came up with the idea as a solution to existing problems: “Wednesdays were very inconsistent, without branding. People were simply trying to mosh and we’d get noise complaints.” He noted the overall lack of a strict R&B focus in other clubs on St. Laurent Boulevard, which made way for R&B 200’s differentiation. Starting from simply hosting and bartending, he now manages the event.

The format has essentially turned Apt. 200’s usual hip-hop banger formula on its head. It opts instead for a relaxed, lounge-like environment that focuses on mellow, emotional cuts and classic 2000’s R&B. With a DJ roster composed of Miggy, Nino, Arsy, and Spinelli, clubbers are treated to a seamless mix of modern R&B, vintage classics, and incorporations of adjacent styles like late ‘90s-2000s pop and hip-hop.

The event is powered by Diff Minds, a local content-creation trio. Diff Minds includes two Concordia alumni, Kyle “Dolla” Martel and Karim “Dream” Fall. Celestino called upon them personally, given his genuine friendship with Dream and positive experiences with having the duo host at Apt. 200. Through their video recaps, Diff Minds showcase a different side to clubbing, one that is atypical to the scene’s usual portrayal. Their visual style is simultaneously professional, stunning, and intimate, between Dolla’s warm, vivid photography and Dream’s crystal-clear videography. The inclusion of retro technology (polaroids and camcorder) gives their clips a homey feel, one that perfectly suits R&B 200’s throwback essence.

Above all, the intent behind R&B 200 is to bring people together, be it the team or the crowd. “We want to bring a vibe to the club that allows people to have fun, enjoy themselves, and be safe while doing it. We encourage creatives, entrepreneurs, artists, and more to come together and network while vibing to some good, nostalgic music,” Dolla explained.  

“It allows people to have a conversation. Most importantly, the vibes are immaculate; barely any fights or trouble, that’s what separates us from other places,” Celestino added.

This is exactly what you get from a Wednesday at Apt. 200: the bar fully lined up with people talking, a crowded dance floor before midnight, dance circles, attendees singing along to ballads in unison while waving their flashlights; be it a social gathering or a collective celebration of music, the heartwarming feeling of community truly fills the room and defines each Wednesday night. DJ Spinelli notes that it has become a sanctum for creative expression. “We’ve transformed R&B Wednesdays into a space where everybody can express themselves fully, through outlets like fashion & dance. Everyone is there to support each other and have a ball! It gives you the confidence to fully lean into your passion,” she explains.

Celestino prides himself on gathering a team built upon diversity. “When you look at the lineup of hosts and DJs it’s multicultural; I am absolutely proud of representation,” he said. “One thing that motivates me is opening doors for the next wave of talent. With every name on the flyer, I see the qualities that are important for hospitality and that make people feel welcomed. I’m proud that I got a group of hosts to become friends.”

R&B 200 continues to see increasing popularity and a steady turnout, both of which are impressive given the unlikely circumstances. Fall is glad to bear witness to this success and remains surprised by it. “I’m a very observant guy. I catch myself looking around the club and being like, ‘Wow, why are so many people showing up on a Wednesday?’ It’s a hard sell. Overall, I see the same familiar faces coming through and making the appointment to come every Wednesday.”

The success of R&B 200 is now driven by the name it has made for itself. “People know that Wednesdays are for R&B nights at Apartment,” Dolla said. “It’s something you have to see for yourself.”


Three Concordia-affiliated wrestlers move a step closer to the 2024 Summer Olympics

Wrestlers from the Montreal Wrestling Club will be competing at the Pan-American games on the last weekend of February.

The team Canada wrestling trials leading to the 2024 Olympic games were held in Edmonton on the weekend of Dec. 15–17. The winners will compete at the Pan-American qualifiers on Feb. 29–March 2 in Acapulco, Mexico. The performances will determine who gets to go to Paris to compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Five members of the Montreal Wrestling Club (MWC) of the National Training Centre, managed by Concordia Stingers wrestling coaches— father-son duo, David Zilberman and Victor Zilberman—had very successful performances. Three wrestlers earned tickets to Mexico, including Linda Morais (68 kg) in women’s freestyle, Alex Moore (86 kg), and Stone Lewis (74 kg) in men’s freestyle.

On Dec. 15, the first day of the competition, matches were held for the pool component, to determine winners who would face other competitors on the ladder. Montreal’s Fred Choquette won the pool decisively at 97 kg by defeating Brampton, Ontario’s Sarabnoor Lally 10-0. He was beaten by his MWC colleague, Riley Otto, in the ladder portion. Otto lost to Abbotsford, B.C.’s Nishan Randhawa in the final ladder matchup. Randhawa will be heading to Mexico, representing Canada in the 97 kg division.

Stingers prodigy and alumnus Alex Moore, the two-time Pan-American junior gold medalist who was elected as the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament in the USports National Championships last February, was able to qualify for Mexico by beating the Saskatoon Wrestling Club member and Flin Flon, Manitoba native, Hunter Lee

Moore is more focused on himself and improving bit by bit every day, consistently evolving his game. Rather than worrying about Lee and wrestlers within the country, the young athlete’s sights are set on potential Pan-American opponents. “I’m not preparing for the Canadian guys. I’m preparing for the international guys,” said Moore.

For now, Moore’s main concerns are directed towards preparing to face Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta, Cuba’s 86 kg Pan-American repeat champion as of last November in Santiago, Chile. Moore lost to the Cuban veteran in the Pan-American championship finals last year in Bueno Aires, Argentina. “The big challenge is definitely [Torreblanca]. He’s pretty jacked. You never know with the draw… but I don’t want to leave with the chance that I qualify or not. I want to prepare in a way that I’m able to beat everyone in the [division],” Moore said.

After Edmonton, Moore was able to take a break for about a week when he returned home, a rarity for wrestlers, who usually train for about six hours a day, six days a week. “Getting back into the groove of things is so hard, because you have such a strict schedule and you’re pushing really hard and it’s almost easier to just keep going and then to stop,” he said. “But I think it’s necessary to get a mental break from it. I got to see some friends and stuff, so it was nice.” 

Moore will be participating in the Brock Open, Guelph Open, and Western Open to stay in shape for Acapulco. The events take place on Jan. 14, 21, and 28, respectively.

The three qualified athletes are back in training, and are devising new plans with coach Zilberman to win at the highest level on this side of the Atlantic.

Community Student Life

Hit the slopes with Concordia’s Ski and Snowboarding Club

See what the club has in store for winter 2023.

With the winter break all on our minds, it is a given that everyone is looking for things to do during the chilly season. The Concordia Ski and Snowboard Club is ready to welcome another event-filled winter.

The Concordian had the chance to sit down with four executives from the club: Michelle Fraser, Sebastian Adam, Ajay Weinstein, and Antoine Denis.

Adam, the VP internal on the team, recalled his earliest memories as a kid snowboarding for the first time.

“My dad put me on a board before I could walk so he’s always been a super big ‘boarder’. As soon as I could fit on a snowboard I was riding. I never started with skiing, I went with the better of the two,” Adam said. 

While every executive on the team has a different relationship with skiing and snowboarding, they all shared the same excitement for the upcoming season.

Fraser, the VP of social media for the club, explained the upcoming events for this winter.

“We just posted our trip schedule for the upcoming ski season. We have all the dates on our Instagram page. We are going to a variety of different locations around Quebec like Mont Orford and Mont Tremblant,” Fraser explained. 

“Our two most exciting events are our ‘weekender’ events. We’re having one in Quebec city and we are having one in Vermont at Jay Peak,” Fraser added. 

The “weekender” events have been done in the past, but they had to be put on hold for the past couple of years due to COVID restrictions. During these events, participants of the ski and snowboard club go away for one weekend, stay at a hotel, ski, and party. 

For beginners who want to try out the club but feel apprehensive due to their skill level, the club’s executives assure you that the club is for everyone. 

Weinstein, the president of the club, explained that the team is there to help answer any questions that you may have while going down the slopes.

“One of the things that we try to do with the club is that we try to get new people to come out. Obviously, in terms of liability, we can’t teach beginners how to ride but we try to make it as accessible as possible,” he said. “We make sure that it’s accessible because we know how difficult it is as a beginner because every element of skiing is super expensive.”

With accessibility on the forefront, the club hopes to recruit as many participants as they can for their most anticipated events for winter 2023. 

So get out there! You can find out more about this club on their website. 



The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) makes it way to Concordia

The first of its kind in Canada, the club will bring a whole new industry to the university

This year, a new club is arriving at Concordia. The first of its kind in Canada, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) will allow the immersive story-telling industry to make ties with our university.

Mitchell Stein, the President and founder of Concordia’s TEA club, has been a passionate member of the TEA for a while now. As the main association relating to the immersive storytelling industry, it was high time we set up a TEA club in Canada.

“Things that you’ll see in Orlando, Florida or in California, at the Disney or Universal parks, a lot of them have been created in Montreal themselves. So we’re hoping to partner with a lot of those companies to bridge the gap between students and the industry,” said Stein.

Themed entertainment touches any subversive and interactive storytelling experience. An example that most will be familiar with is a Disney theme park, where guests — the audience — are transported into an entirely different universe.

Stein goes on to explain that Concordia is the perfect setting for this club to make its debut to Canadian students.

“What we were hoping to do is tap into the creative and technical side at Concordia because there are so many great [creative and technical] programs. [Many] people don’t know about this really incredible industry,” said Stein.

However, Stein is well aware of the challenges that are associated with this year. A pandemic makes it difficult to get the word around.

“We’re still really new, so I’m still learning the ropes of marketing a club, especially digitally … But so far, everybody we’ve told about it has been very passionate.”

The club will expose students to an industry that isn’t well-known to many.

“We had a lot of interest with the creation of the club, and I think that so many programs and clubs are interested in these types of things — understanding technology, creativity and immersive storytelling is always something people are interested in,” said Stein.

Although the themed entertainment industry seems far away, Stein ensures that the creation of this club will open the door for students.

He said, “Something that people always told me was to get involved in the themed entertainment association. Because it is the biggest organization that represents the industry, and everyone who works in the industry.”

The TEA club at Concordia will bridge the gap between companies and students by building relationships. Stein explained that he has already reached out to companies based in Montreal, and is looking forward to working with them.

“A lot of students don’t even know this industry exists, they might know of Disney or Universal, but they don’t know of these jobs that are right in our backyards.”


Graphic by @the.beta.lab

Student Life

Let’s talk about trash baby!

“One day, I was browsing Reddit and I saw a lot of posts that were tagged #TrashTag; it was a picture of before and after of a trash cleanup,” said Lucas Hygate. “I saw that and was like ‘hey, I can do that.’ Then I thought I’ll do it way bigger and now it’s TrashTalk.”

Hygate, a 21-year-old philosophy student at Concordia, began TrashTalk Montreal, or TrashTalk for short, earlier this year. The idea started in February and has massively evolved from the stages that began in Hygate’s basement.

“Now, we’ve grown and evolved into a much larger, official organization that really tries to cater towards hosting these cleanups and inviting people to an event that is really something that we do, rather than just for helping the earth, the motivation is really to try to have some fun with it,” said Hygate.

Photo via @trashtalkmtl

The project came into fruition in April after floods devastated many communities in the West Island. Hygate recalls the intersection of Pierrefonds and Saint-John Boulevards was so flooded that it resembled a lake more than a street.

The organization is a non-profit that aims to pick up trash in public areas that’s been discarded and collecting for years – but why call it TrashTalk?

“One night I was telling my friend Sam about this idea, he was driving me home,” said Hygate. “Suddenly, he looks at me and goes ‘Lucas! I have the perfect name for you: TrashTalk’ and then it was TrashTalk.”

“We want to make sure it’s not just superficial talk, we actually want to turn that talk into action,” said Kayleigh Tooke. Tooke is the VP of communications for the Concordia club of the same name that was started on Oct. 7 to facilitate the non-profit’s activities, according to Hygate. She also works with the nonprofit by trying to connect to people to get involved with the organization. Also members of the nonprofit are Malcolm Adamson, Nicholas Tsibanolis and Nicolas Vyncke.

“Half of the name is Talk: more than just cleaning it up, it’s preventing it for the future,” said Angad Malhotra, a computer engineering student at Concordia. Malhotra is one of TrashTalk’s members, taking care of the visual design and marketing aspect. He and Hygate know each other from John Abbott College, where Concordia has a sister club, but it wasn’t until TrashTalk that the two became closer.

“I didn’t talk to Angad three years prior but I still had his number in my phone,” said  Hygate with a laugh. “We don’t remember why. And now we’re friends.”

Diego Rivera, the VP External in charge of event planning for TrashTalk Concordia, is also a philosophy student, which is how he met Hygate and decided to join the club. He spent time in Cambodia over the summer and heard about Tijmen Sissing, the Trashpacker who backpacked across Asia picking up trash.

“Out of that, I really wanted to start some kind of movement that, when I met Lucas, I was like ‘holy shit, this is perfect’,” said Rivera.

Photo via @trashtalkmtl

On the note of international trash cleanup, 18-year-old Joseph Poulin, who recently joined the club after meeting Tooke, was also inspired. During his trip to Kigali, Rwanda over the summer, townspeople would congregate every week or so and clean the community. Not only has the movement inspired him to join TrashTalk to pick up trash, it has also inspired him and those around him to create less trash.

Native to a small town near Quebec City, Poulin’s family owns a sugar shack. “We started a garden right next to it so that reduces our amount of trash,” said Poulin. “Instead of going to the grocery store and buying packages, we produce our own stuff, like fruits and vegetables.”

“On the first cleanup, it was me and my friend Nick,” said Hygate. “We were going out and we went to this place right next to this very popular commercial area. We looked at it and we started picking up. We cleaned for a solid half an hour or so, not too long, and we found a $10 bill – our first piece of good karma came out of the very first cleanup.”

Since its founding, TrashTalk has conducted approximately 15 cleanups in various areas throughout the West Island. Each cleanup takes approximately four to six hours and can yield massive amounts of trash. To plan a cleanup, they usually scout a few areas that potentially have lots of trash, choose one, then tell city councillors  they plan on conducting a cleanup. They’re well supported by the community in this respect: most of the cleanups attract local politicians, city district members, large groups of volunteers.

One of the places that they’ve worked on is Angell Woods in Beaconsfield. Their most successful cleanup at this location resulted in 1,275 pounds of trash collected – in a space no larger than a couple of hundred square feet. After the trash is picked up and sorted and divided, it’s usually brought to the edge of the location and sectioned off until city workers pick it up and properly dispose of the various types of trash. The boroughs also often offer gloves and garbage bags to facilitate cleanups which, as Hygate explains, is already a solid blueprint for successful trash removal.

“At all of our cleanups, we’re able to find some very interesting things,” said Hygate. With the interesting trash they find – tractor parts, decomposing cars and 50-year-old 7-Up cans with branding that no one recognizes anymore – they plan to create art pieces such as sculptures. The aim is giving passerbys an incentive to keep the space clean and to not litter in the first place.

“There’s a lot of layers that add up to why TrashTalk is a fun thing to do and a purposeful thing to do as well,” explained Hygate. “People need the opportunity to come out and engage with the environment in a whole, very productive manner where the impact is direct and you see it right in front of you. When you’re done a trash cleanup, what will happen is you’re going to turn around and the place you’ve just been slaving at for three or four hours, and you took out a thousand pounds with another 20 people, you look back and that place really does look cleaner and it really does have a great difference to it.”

For more information about TrashTalk, how you can participate or to donate, visit

Feature photo by Laurence B.D.


Making theatre accessible for all

Autodidactic Concordia Theatre challenges typical structures of theatre through total inclusivity

How can the arts become more accessible? The Autodidacts Concordia Theatre (ACT) club works to remove hierarchy in theatre and prove that it is truly for everyone.

ACT was started in 2016, when a group of students arrived at Concordia, and couldn’t find anything doing what the club hoped to do—provide theatre for all, no experience needed. The founders, Alexander Luiz Cruz, Dexter John Lavery-Callender, Matias Rittatore, and Zoë Bujold, met at Dawson College, where they participated in a project similar to ACT. This provided a safe, comfortable and inclusive space for those who were interested in theatre, but not studying it.

The club provides a space for community and connection, promoting shared passions for theatre, regardless of background or experience. ACT provides an alternative space for people to be creative and perform theatrically, unlike more intensive, hierarchical performance environments. Here, the competitive nature sometimes found in the arts is removed, and everyone is given an equal opportunity to perform and participate.

ACT holds performance workshops the fall semester, and works on a production during winter semester. The group funds itself through CSU grants and by holding events like bake sales, to cover costs of location and materials. Participants, however, are not required to pay to take part in ACT—it is truly open to all. As for ticket sales during the run of the annual show, all proceeds go to the Theresa Foundation, a charity based in Montreal, that supports families of AIDS victims in Mnjale, Malawi.

In the workshops, participants practice a variety of styles and techniques, including improv, scene studies and monologues. In the winter production, auditions are open to the public, and not only for acting roles—the club also auditions for writers, directors and people working behind the scenes.

The club is currently working on their annual winter semester production, Only Human. This is ACT’s biggest production yet. Only Human centers around the character of a former child star, now grown up and hosting a talk show. The show is focused on demonic possession, with three guests sharing their respective, alleged experiences with possession. At its core, as Cruz and Rittatore shared, the play navigates themes of desire and how far one would go to get what they want. This production is more within the genre of horror, rather than the comedies and dramas that the club has presented in the past.

As the founding members and executive team graduate from Concordia in coming years, and move on from ACT, they have hopes for the future of the club. “Essentially, our goal is to create a space for people who don’t necessarily have any experience to try theatre. The club provides some sense of community and some experience,” explained Cruz and Rittatore. The founders want this to remain the core of the club, but also hope that in coming years, ACT will continue to grow, through innovating, pushing and challenging itself within the realm of theatre.

Only Human will be showing from May 1 to 4 at the Mainline Theatre, located at 3997 St. Laurent Blvd. The club is open to the public, and will be hosting workshops in fall 2019. Find out more about the club on their Facebook  group, The ACT Club.


Grab a pint and a paint brush

Concordi’ART hosts an evening of artistic exploration in collaboration with Paint Nite Montreal

Rather than spend a typical night out at a bar, a group of 20 Concordia students participated in an evening of drinking and painting hosted by Concordi’ART, in collaboration with Paint Nite Montreal, at Peel Pub on March 7.

According to Nathalie Sjarova, the vice-president external of Concordi’ART, the aim of the club is to create a community of people who enjoy both art and business. Concordi’ART’s motto is “building bridges between business and art.”

Alizé Honen-Delmar, the club’s president who is currently on exchange in Australia, created Concordi’ART in February 2017. Sjarova, a marketing student, jumped at the opportunity to be part of the executive team when she saw a post on Facebook seeking candidates.

Concordi’ART aims to encourage and help connect two typically dichotomous worlds. “Art students can learn a lot from business students, but also business students can learn a lot from art students,” Sjarova said. “It’s a very huge asset to be creative in [the business] environment, and at the end of the day, artists are entrepreneurs.”

Concordi’ART executives from left: Céline Salibi, Diana Jane Tran, Yonathan Chu, Sarah Morstad, Vincent Letarte and Nathalie Sjarova. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Last week’s Paint Nite was an opportunity to bring people together to make art. Jessica Di Giacomo and Daniel Torchinsky, the co-producers of Paint Nite Montreal, led the painting tutorial.

A plate with large drops of paint in the primary colours—blue, yellow, red—as well as black and white, four paint brushes and a nicely rolled up apron were set up next to each white canvas sitting on a mini easel.

The goal for everyone was to recreate a painting that illustrated a close-up of an owl’s face. The first step was to outline the eyes with bright yellow and orange, and outline the beak with intimidating and unforgiving black.

Slowly but surely, the canvases went from white to covered in different self-made shades of green and blue.

With “drink-and-dry breaks” between each of the three layers of paint, participants were able to socialize, encourage one another and take a look at all the owls being created.

Paint Nites combine art and drinks for an evening of creativity and socializing. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

The final layer of paint required short brush strokes dipped in shades of blue, green and white to create a feather-like texture.

Despite all participants following the same steps and recreating the same painting, there was still room to express creativity. Some participants preferred to blend out the feathers, while others had a distinct ombré effect, going from light green to dark blue. Each eye varied in size from canvas to canvas, and one participant, Nathan Marrache, decided to paint Angry Bird-like eyes.

“It’s amazing how everyone’s painting looks so different even though it’s supposed to be the same,” said Marrache after he looked at everyone’s final paintings.

Paint Nite hosts events almost every day at various venues. More information can be found on their website: Further information about Concordi’ART and any upcoming events can be found on its Facebook page.

Photos by Alex Hutchins

Student Life

The name behind your Montreal nights out

Zach Macklovitch talks Saintwoods and his rise up the nightlife ladder

If you live in Montreal and enjoy all the city’s nightlife scene has to offer, the name Zach Macklovitch undoubtedly rings a bell. At 27, he and his partner, Nathan Gannage, have successfully made St-Laurent Street the go-to place for the best parties.

Their promotional brand, Saintwoods, takes on an array of roles including event curation, artist management, design and branding for bars and clubs around the city.

The duo also co-owns Suwu, Apt. 200 and École Privée, all hot-spot bars in the Plateau.

Walking into the interview, I expected to meet a young, successful guy with a big ego and the words “big shot” written across his forehead. To the contrary, I was faced with an extremely gracious entrepreneur.

“I’m blessed,” Macklovitch said. “I don’t think about my failures or successes very often because until you’re at your peak, it doesn’t make a difference.” This humble tone carried throughout the interview, perhaps one of the crucial reasons for his rapid success.

Photo by Philip Tabah

“I started working in clubs at around 16 years old. Montreal was different back then—it was easy to get into trouble and I did,” he said.  Despite his “bad boy” side, Macklovitch is also a self-proclaimed nerd—a participant of Model UN— an academic competition where students learn about diplomacy and international relations—and a graduate from Concordia University on the honour roll with a BA in political science and philosophy.

“I got to university thinking I didn’t want to be a club promoter forever. Fast-forward, and I have ended up in the same industry. But I like to think I took the critical thinking I learned and applied it to what I do,” Macklovitch said.

By 21, the entrepreneur held the title of marketing director at TIME nightclub, and had just met Gannage, who started the Saintwoods brand straight out of McGill University.

Over the next few years, the venues grew and evolved.  “We [organized] deep house shows at Velvet, and rap concerts at TELUS Theatre and Belmont,” Macklovitch said.

Their names were now on club promoters’ radars. The popular dance club New City Gas approached the team with the following task: to get Anglophones under 27 excited about the venue. Thanks to their promotional abilities and entrepreneurial mindset, they succeeded.

By 23, Macklovitch had already opened Suwu, and was onto his next venture: Apt. 200.

Today, both bars are known for their unique atmosphere. Macklovitch said he pulls inspiration from the places he’s travelled, such as New York, parts of Europe and Toronto, for the look and vibe of his bars.

Macklovitch said Suwu aims to create a friendly neighbourhood vibe for the lower Plateau. Apt. 200, on the other hand, focuses on a house party vibe.

“People wanted a higher-energy place but they didn’t want to be at a nightclub,” Macklovitch said.

Success often comes with challenges. But for Macklovitch, these challenges only fuel him. Initially, École Privée drew inspiration from the underground scene Macklovitch experienced in Berlin and Paris. He wanted to bring this scene’s vibe to the mainstream.

“I think we understood our level of success when we started getting international attention,” he said. Macklovitch attributes a great deal of his accomplishments to his tight-knit team. Part of that circle includes Alex Mactavish, Saintwoods’ director of operations. Mactavish attributes Macklovitch’s rise to success to both his work ethic and personality.

“He’s always working, even when it looks like he’s not. That kind of hustle always pays off in the long-run,” Mactavish said.

But the nightlife industry isn’t easy.  While a club might be all the rage one day, it is likely to be beaten out the next. Trends change and people follow—begging the question: will the brand Zach has created be able to survive?

Mactavish said it’s all about “staying ahead of the curve.” He believes Saintwoods’ “ability to identify and react to cultural trends is crucial.”

Macklovitch confirmed Saintwoods is always looking to expand. With a lifestyle merchandise brand recently released and an upcoming branded vodka, it is clear Macklovitch is planning for the future.

Perhaps he has found the key to longevity in this fast-moving industry—going against traditional business structures and reinventing Montreal nightlife.


New drinking rules are missing sober thought

Breathalyzing club-goers targets the wrong customers

As university students on a budget, I think most of us are familiar with the concept of pre-drinking. Maybe too familiar. If you drink, you’ve likely sat on a friend’s couch with a glass of cheap booze, chasing after that little buzz that will get you rolling for the night. After all, who wants to spend $12 on a drink at the bar, when you can split a bottle with some friends at home?

Looks like the tradition is going down the drain—in London, at least.

According to the London Evening Standard, a new practice is being tested in some of London’s clubs: a breathalyzer on entry. The practice will “enable doormen to breath test revellers they suspect are intoxicated so they can bar them from entry.”

Ideally, this would cut down on violent crimes that are suspected of being the product of inebriation.

On one hand, my heart rallies against anything that can be seen as discriminating against people trying to save a quick buck. Even pre-drinkers aside—what of those who are bar-hopping? Pub crawls practically live in London—what of that time-old tradition? According to the article, officers even acknowledge pre-drinking, and target it specifically with this new procedure, hoping it “will cut down on binge drinking and ‘pre-loading’ where young people get drunk on cheap drinks before going out.”

The focus here is on “cheap drinks.” Why should it matter if people are getting drunk on cheap drinks before? A part of me can’t shake the feeling that there is an economic side to this debate. Is this really a question of cutting down on violence, or cutting down on people coming into your establishment without buying alcohol?

At the same time, I feel like if the violent crimes have reached the point where such a measure is required, this one simply does not measure up. The breathalyser would only trigger a positive (meaning a refusal of entry) if you are double the blood alcohol driving limit.

I can’t help but think that that’s really high. Yes, that will stop entry from people who should not be having any more drinks. But wouldn’t the rowdy bar-goers, the ones presumably causing mischief, be below that limit? In my experience, the people who have caused the most trouble have always been too drunk to drive, of course. But I imagine that by the time you are double that, you won’t be looking for a fight—just a toilet bowl, and maybe some aspirin for the morning.

I’m sure that this measure had good intentions, but all the good intentions in the world will not compensate for bad implementation. I doubt that this will have any effect on violent crime inside of London’s pubs and clubs—all it will do is alienate those who are trying to have fun on a budget, and maybe cut off some people that the bartender would have cut off anyway.

London’s officers could perhaps benefit from some nice, sober thought—maybe over a drink at my place.


New direction for the Montreal Canadiens fan base

Club 1909 is a campaign that aims to promote the Habs organization as a global entity

Comedic actor and local star Jay Baruchel is all over the place these days, particularly in situations that would normally warrant him a restraining order. Whether he’s staring at a fast-asleep Carey Price, or hiding in Max Pacioretty’s duffle bag, this behavior seems a little strange…but it is all part of the Montreal Canadiens’ re-branding campaign, Club 1909.
Officially launched on Oct.15, the promotion is a rewards program that fans can sign up for. It is the first attempt at creating an identity that extends far beyond the borders of Quebec, reaching out to Habs fans all over the world. The campaign is promoted through an online program which fans can join for free or, for those who wish to earn more benefits, can pay $29.99 for a premium membership.
Fans can earn points for virtually anything. Whether it’s by simply watching a game on television, or following the team on various social media outlets, an accumulation of points can give fans rewards that are not usually sold to the public. Rewards include game-used pucks, jerseys and even the chance to watch a game from the Owner’s Suite.
For an organization with such rich tradition and history, owner Geoff Molson is not afraid of breaking boundaries and pushing the organization into unchartered territories. Molson hired creative director Justin Kingsley, a Concordia journalism graduate from 1996, to promote the campaign’s main goal: including fans from all over the world, by creating a united, interconnected community that identifies with the Montreal Canadiens.
Kingsley has worked as an advertising executive for Montreal UFC icon George St-Pierre, Adidas and the Olympics.
“We realized if Man U could do it, why couldn’t the Montreal Canadiens?” said Kingsley, in a recent interview with the Montreal Gazette. “We are hockey’s team so we’re going for it.”
The Montreal Canadiens are attempting to become the first hockey team to reach worldwide recognition, similar to that of famous soccer club Manchester United. However, this ambitious initiative poses some concern. Hockey is a sport that is mainly played in North America and Europe, whereas soccer is a relatively inexpensive sport that is played all over the world.
Will the nature of the sport pose any difficulty for its establishment in different markets? Concordia marketing Professor Bryan Barbieri doesn’t think so.
“It is not only soccer clubs that have built strong global brands,” said Barbieri. “The New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys also are successful in that regard. Each is an iconic brand in its own sport and each is now ranked in the top five of the world’s Most Valuable Brands … by Forbes magazine. Football, like hockey, is an expensive sport to play … so that particular barrier is not insurmountable.”
Moreover, it is important to note that hockey has grown in popularity in markets that, over a decade ago, wouldn’t have invested in hockey. Concordia alumnus and senior manager of Customs Logistic at Avon Canada Stan Czebruk points out that the game is stronger than ever, from a business standpoint.
“The fact that hockey is not played around the world will change. There are some leagues developing in Australia and South Africa. Just as soccer has gained recognition here in North America, hockey will grow more on a global scale,” said Czerbruk.

Thus, it seems like the Montreal Canadiens have the perfect recipe for success in international waters: a winning legacy and strategic marketing techniques, such as social media to engage fans worldwide.
“There is a particularly strong emotional dimension to a sports fan … There is no better way to tap into the emotions of millions of fans as individuals than via social media,” said Barbieri.
Uniting fans across seas through social media will bring the club to a level that will set them apart from their NHL rivals, and closer to the likes of teams like the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, and Manchester United. With a glorious past and a promising future, Habs fans all over the world will now be able to live all the highs and lows with their beloved team.

Student Life

Montreal’s Randolph Pub offers an alternative night out

The pub sets up a game of Looping Louis. Photo by Leah Balass.

On the crowded St. Denis street filled with students and young party-goers, a unique pub that feels more like your childhood living room has made its mark amongst the busy bars, clubs and coffee shops of the area. And it’s the first of its kind in the city of Montreal.

At Randolph Pub Ludique customers are invited to enjoy an entertaining evening of board gaming, with professional staff known as gaming animators, who act as counselors to help customers select, learn and play one of the 1,000 games available.

“Nothing has been made like this before [in Montreal],” said Justin Bazoge, one of the four passionate co-owners of the pub,“There were establishments that had board games or board game libraries – in restaurants, in bars, [and] in bistros – but there was never animation.”

The pub, which opened its doors last July, caters to all demographics and group sizes – from couples, to friends and families, and even solo players looking to be paired up with others.  Bazoge says he has met customers as old as 70, though his client base is generally a student crowd, as it is situated close to universities and CEGEPs.

Among the pub’s diverse customer base, board game enthusiasts Jake Alper and Sandy Ruffin from Boston, chose to visit Montreal for their honeymoon after hearing about Randolph from some friends.

“We love board games so much that [Randolph] was the inspiration for coming to Montreal,” said Alper.

Staff teaches a group the rules of the game. Photo by Leah Balass.

Prior to opening the pub, co-owner Joël Gagnon hosted frequent gaming nights for Montreal’s vibrant board gaming community. Over the years, he has established a following of over 300 people, many of whom became Randolph’s most loyal customers.

“We’ve been animating, entertaining people with board games for over four, five years now, so it just made sense to open a place of our own,” said Bazoge.

For experienced gamers like Jean-Francois Beauchemin, Randolph is a great place to meet new people and get to know other passionate players in the city.

“It allows me to play with a lot of people that I haven’t played with before,” said Beauchemin.

Though none of the owners had prior experience in opening a pub or a bar, their combined passion for board gaming was strong enough to overcome the challenges involved in setting up their new business.

With over 850 board games of their own, the four owners had only a few more purchases to make in order to reach their goal of having 1,000 games to fill the shelves of their pub.

Bazoge and his three co-owners say they are glad to see customers enjoying the atmosphere and the concept of Randolph.

“People are happy, so we become happy,” said Bazoge. “I like the environment here because people don’t come to drink and get drunk, they come here to play games and have fun.”

Randolph Pub Ludique is located at 2041 Saint-Denis. It’s open everyday from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., and until 2:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.


The Leopard King is ready to pounce!

Shorte Lisika Lemy, also known as Lemy Leopard, has been promoting his new album for weeks, but not in the way you would expect. The Deep House artist has been wearing a leopard-print scarf or leopard tail everywhere he goes to promote S.A.F.A.R.I., which hit digital stores on Jan. 24.
“Who are you going to see on the streets wearing that?” he asked with a big smile.
Of course, people ask what the tail and scarf are about and it gives Lemy a chance to tell them about his album.
The leopard is the 27-year-old Parisian-born musician’s inspiration. With a French accent, killer afro and hip eyeglasses, Lemy is quintessentially cool. But it’s his African roots that first inspired him to create his name.
“I was watching a documentary about Mobutu, the dictator from Zaire [present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo]. I don’t like dictators, but I heard the guy say ‘Mobutu, the leopard king!’ and I thought ‘Wow!’”
He immersed himself, watching documentaries, to better understand the spotted jungle animal and realized that he and the predatory cat were very similar.
“In my dad’s country, Zaire, the leopard is comme une divinité: a cool animal. A little bit wild, but always smooth. And my music is like that,” he explained.
Since the release of his debut album Visualizm in 2009, Lemy has perfected and fine-tuned his sound. The EP was inspired by his month-long trip to Japan, where he discovered an energy and creativity different from Paris’ relaxed café culture. As a result, the album had more of a hip-hop/lounge vibe than his current tracks.
It also got him noticed by the French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, who used Lemy’s song “Friday Morning” in commercials for its new men’s shoe line.
That exposure motivated him to take his craft a step further and he started going to clubs to find music that hadn’t been discovered yet. At The June, a club in Paris, he discovered the power of house and in the days that followed, he created 300 house tracks through trial and error.
With a little convincing, he eventually played some for Chris Thomas, owner of Qalomoto Records, but Thomas told him there was just too much.
“Too many instruments, too many arrangements,” Lemy explained. “I told him, ‘okay, I’ll call you in four days.’”
Four days later, Thomas heard the new tracks and agreed to what would later become Lemy’s second album, From the Jungle. The album debuted worldwide in December, 2010 and it hit no. 4 on iTunes two weeks later.
In the meantime, Lemy moved to Quebec where he found even more inspiration in Montreal. The Deep House culture here is almost non-existent compared to Europe or Asia, but familiarizing people with Deep House, eliminating preconceived notions, and hoping they enjoy the sound is the driving force behind S.A.F.A.R.I. Contrary to the Deep House stereotype, Lemy isn’t a party-goer; if he isn’t making music, he’s either at home or working.
“People think you can only listen to house music when you’re in a club, but that doesn’t have to be true,” he said. “It’s music you can feel, music you can really dance to. Deep House is all about hope, love, struggle. It has a lot of cheesy messages.”
The album is a continuation of Lemy’s jungle-themed concept, but it’s also a yin and yang. He was upset by the challenges he faced in the industry, and at the same time, happy about being in Montreal. As a result, the album has an aggressive yet loving feel.
“Making a living with music today is kind of hard,” said Lemy. “But I want to make a living with creative stuff. I think I need to be stimulated. I need to feel it. I need to travel. If I’m not creating something I feel sad, I get sick. I think ideas help me to live.”
Leopard said fans will discover S.A.F.A.R.I.’s message when they listen. His goal is to take them on an African excursion where the final destination is unique, harmonious and dance-floor-worthy.
S.A.F.A.R.I. is now available on iTunes and Amazon.

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