Arts and Culture

Spooky, scary, strange short films at SPASM Festival

Viewers enjoy a bizarre cinematic experience at Plaza Theatre.

SPASM Festival is back for its 22nd edition, and it is freakier than ever! This one-of-a-kind annual event offers viewers a unique cinematic experience right in time for Halloween. On the program this year, from Oct. 18 to 31, are equally bizarre short films of all genres. These short films have been divided into themes, and the themes have been attributed to each evening of the festival. So far this year, SPASM has presented the “Sex” evening, the “WTF” evening, and the “Cabaret Trash” evening. All short films are haunting in their unique way, and are (most importantly) destined to an informed audience of 18 and above.

Still from short film “Wendigo” broadcasted during SPASM Festival.

The short films come in all shapes and forms: some of them are live action, some are animation. They last between one and 15 minutes, averaging about five minutes long. A few recurrent themes are nudity, sexual content, gore, and violence. The level of peculiarity varies greatly from one short film to another: they range from head-scratchers to mind-bending. Most movies are in French, others are in English or don’t include speech at all. Nevertheless, almost all films are easy to understand regardless of language. Some movies are very scary, others are not at all scary—some are even moving. There is a little bit of everything for everyone, except for the faint-hearted! 

Besides the content it broadcasts, another unusual aspect of SPASM Festival is that it offers viewers the option to watch the short films from the comfort of their home. Though there are live projections of the movies at the Plaza Theatre, SPASM’s website also offers the option to rent the short films online. Viewers can either buy a pass for the live projections, which gives them access to every evening of the festival in person, or they can buy an online pass, which unlocks every short film on the website. Otherwise, one-time tickets are also available for live projections and online movies. With those one-time tickets, viewers can pick and choose which thematic evenings interest them the most. All short films are available on SPASM’s website until Nov. 1. 

Projection night at Plaza Theatre. Photo by Julie Hey Lee.

SPASM also hosted a few spooky activities this year: a Halloween party on Oct. 28, Mega Horror Ciné-Quizz on Oct. 26, and its closing night on Oct. 31 will be a horror themed evening. For those who like to spend Halloween watching scary movies, it might be worth checking out SPASM’s lineup on Oct. 31!

Concert Reviews Festival Review Music

KAYTRAMINÉ extends the Summer with a heated Performance at OfF Piknic 

The high-energy rapper-producer duo composed of Aminé and KAYTRANADA kicked off their joint tour in Montreal on September 7.

On Sept. 7, famed producer KAYTRANADA and Aminé—known together as KAYTRAMINÉ—kicked off their sold-out joint tour for their album of the same name in KAYTRANADA’s hometown of Montreal. The performance was held in open air at Parc Jean-Drapeau as part of OfF Piknic, a series of concerts that follows the summer-long Piknic Électronik festival. The duo played joint and then individual sets for a crowd of 8,000 people, cycling through the entirety of their collaborative album as well as songs from their respective solo catalogues.

The show included three openers. Montreal hip-hop trio Planet Giza kicked things off with a DJ set consisting mostly of vintage hip-hop, with Aminé’s tour DJ Madison LST following up with a mix of current hip-hop hits such as Ice Spice’s “Deli” and Sexyy Red’s “SkeeYee,” which lit up the crowd. Lou Phelps’ set was the perfect tone-setter for KAYTRAMINÉ: his style is a perfect blend of laid-back, chill hip-hop akin to Aminé and occasional smooth bouncy production courtesy of KAYTRANADA himself—who happens to be Lou Phelps’ blood brother. 

Just off their first track “Who He Iz?,” it became immediately clear that KAYTRAMINÉ is a captivating duo. Aminé’s rapping style is filled with confidence and conviction, and his occasional shouting of his punchlines makes boastful lines like “we make heat shit, y’all make weak shit” resonate even stronger with the crowd. KAYTRANADA matched the Portland rapper’s energy with ease, bouncing along behind the ones and twos and ad-libbing in between Aminé’s lines. 

The duo not only fed off each other, but also the crowd: Aminé’s frequent use of call-and-response had the audience namely chanting the hooks of “letstalkaboutit,” “UGH UGH” and “Master P”  back to him, as well as getting hands to bounce and people to jump throughout the crowd. Chiara Strollo, a second-year TESL student who was in attendance, commends the duo for their lively and inviting stage presence: “I love when an artist makes you feel like their friend and like you’re all there to have a good time together.”

After a brief break, Aminé would re-emerge and start performing other hits from his catalogue. He performed cuts from his 2022 and 2020 projects TWOPOINTFIVE and Limbo like “Charmander” and “Shimmy,” even going as far back as his 2017 debut album to perform “Spice Girl.” The chorus to his 2018 hit “REEL IT IN” spread through the crowd like wildfire after being suddenly dropped and the slow-burning live version of “Caroline”—his biggest solo hit—proved effective. Fans sang along before the drums finally kicked in, releasing the crowd’s bubbling hype into jumps.

KAYTRANADA followed suit with an infectious DJ set that no concertgoer could resist dancing along to. His medley of songs included his remixes of Sam Gellaitry’s “Assumptions” and Teedra Moses’ “Be Your Girl,” “LITE SPOTS,” and a yet-unreleased remix of Beyoncé’s “CUFF IT.” 

Aminé joined him once again to perform their 2015 collaboration “LA DANSE,” after giving a shout out to the Montreal producer for reaching out and gifting him with free beats during that period. The pair closed the show with some of the biggest hits on KAYTRAMINÉ such as “Rebuke” and “Sossaup,” with the Pharrell Williams-assisted lead single “4EVA” rounding out the entire performance.

Before the crowd could fully spill out amid chants of “olé olé olé,” the swarm of fans that had begun leaving ran back towards the stage as the lights dimmed down again and KAYTRANADA’s hit single “Intimidated” began playing. Fans were treated to an encore and a second serving of “4EVA,” which upped the energy and wrapped up the show on an even more lively note. 

With both artists toting the flag of their respective ethnic background (Ethiopia and Haiti), the show truly felt like a celebration commemorating their heritage, their joining of forces and the pride KAYTRANADA has brought to his home city.

Parc Jean-Drapeau proved to be an ideal venue as the outdoor area perfectly complemented the bright, bouncy and summery instrumentals on their album. Given the club-ready and danceable qualities of KAYTRANADA’s production, the space augmented the party concept to a larger extent. With volleyball courts, ping-pong tables and an entire area dedicated to food and drink trucks and merchandise, the site entertained, served, and accommodated the crowd with ease, while also leaving enough room to keep everything spread out. “It wasn’t too crowded and the overall vibe of the people was great,” Strollo explains.

KAYTRAMINÉ showed and received overwhelming love to and from the people of Montreal, successfully starting off their tour with a bang. Attendee and fourth-year human relations student Alfred Umasao describes the abundance of local artists as “Seeing Montreal artists do what they do best.” Umasao has no regrets from attending the show: “I got my money’s worth for sure.”

Festival Review Music

My first experience at a Music Festival in Europe

After booking my escapade in Europe this summer to mainly visit family, I stumbled upon the lineup for the twentieth edition of Primavera Sound (PS) taking place in Barcelona, Spain. The music festival’s main weekend took place from June 1 until June 3 which perfectly fit at the start of my trip. 

I try to attend at least one big music event each year, especially during the summertime, hence I felt no hesitation before booking the three-day-long festival, being fully aware that I’d be going solo to an event starting only two days after landing in a country I had never stepped foot in. 

One of the decisive factors for me was the lineup. It included artists I had been listening to for years, and even the artists had become very fond of quite recently. The festival started at 4 p.m. and the last sets finished at 6 a.m., following the same schedule every day.  Being relatively sleep deprived is one thing, but standing up for the majority of those 14 hours while constantly hearing music through humongous speakers is another— and it’s not for the faint of heart. 

My most memorable performance was by NxWorries, the duo made out of record producer Knxwledge and recording artist Anderson .Paak.  I was near the barricades and got the chance to get on the stage during one of my favourite songs off their 2016 album Yes Lawd! titled “Link Up.” 

It was pretty surreal but for some reason I wasn’t nervous at all. I had an absolute blast dancing with everyone and singing whilst interacting with the crowd. The most unexpected interaction happened when I was in the food court at 3 a.m. on the third day, and a stranger came up to me because she had recognized me from the show. She then airdropped me footage from the performance… the world is too small sometimes. 

Definitive highlights from other performances I attended started with the musical duo Jockstrap’s energetic and experimental set. Georgia Ellery pulling out a violin to play on top of the track “Concrete Over Water” was too awesome of a sight before Taylor Skye pulled out a water blaster to the crowd. Moments after, a remix of the theme song from the show Succession played. Despite the song having nothing to do with the band, the crowd got ecstatic due to its extreme popularity. 

Kendrick Lamar — also a headliner at Osheaga — had everyone shouting his name and lyrics even before the large-scaled canvas unveiled behind him. This impressive painted backdrop accompanied Lamar throughout the coverage of his music catalogue from Section.80 up until Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. His cousin Baby Keem also hopped on stage to perform their infamous “Family Ties” and other tracks, making the energy even hotter than the actual fire rising up by the stage.

Singer and rapper Channel Tres’ performance was overflowing with grooviness, made even better with witty and calculated dance moves. Listening to his song “6am” almost at 6 a.m. was so much fun to say the least, and he couldn’t believe people were still out and about for his set at that time. JPEGMAFIA, an American artist that’s collaborated with Tres, made a similar comment about how ridiculous and awesome it was to play at 4 a.m. the next day. 

It isn’t surprising that American artists aren’t used to PS’s different schedule. Osheaga, for instance, ended around 10:30 p.m. — just about the time some folks at PS Barcelona would start showing up. The earlier curfew of cities in North America completely shifts the magnitude that a music festival could ever become, counting less artists to begin with. 

Seeing Rosalía perform her album Motomami in her hometown was also very special. She rallied a wide variety of fans (the Spanish ones being more than passionate and not letting anyone squeeze their way in any closer).

Talking about the audience, it seemed like the entirety of Europe came to Barcelona for this weekend. Locals as well as Canadians and Americans were in attendance so I heard an extensive range of languages when passing by foreigners. 

The Concordian’s Assistant Music Editor and fellow student, Stefano Rebuli, attended this year’s sixteenth edition of Osheaga and recalls there being a lot of traffic from stage to stage. Getting around between the two main stages was tricky due to clashing crowds entering and exiting between two consecutive performances. 

“It left everyone packed and nearly caused a crowd crush between Kim Petras and Kendrick Lamar’s sets on Sunday. Everyone tried to get forward, but nobody was allowed in for a good 30+ minutes,” Rebuli said. As for PS, the crowds seemed to always be mobile which made getting in and exiting smooth. Getting home after the shows is another story— whether it be Montréal or Barcelona, the metro is a hot spot for waiting and waiting behind a stagnant crowd.

The security at Osheaga could have been “much more rigorous” according to Rebuli. His friend had a glasses case which was left unchecked, which means he probably could’ve snuck anything inside. PS’s security also let me in quite easily, with a filled water bottle in my pocket which they didn’t check. 

Moving on to some numbers, PS in Barcelona held 16 stages whereas Osheaga counts 5 across its site. Both are near the water, but PS is impressive with its clear views of the sea. In terms of prices, however, it’s expected that the food or beverages aren’t affordable at any festival.

I brought some granola bars to keep my food purchases low but on my second night I had to have actual food so I ended up spending about $15 for a burger. Osheaga charged $13.75 for a poutine, tax included (taxes not being something to consider in Spain was pleasant at least). For beer however, I spent about $7 for a regular sized cup at PS, whereas Osheaga charged around $10.  

From an artist cancelling their set last minute to discovering a new favourite song at a random show you decided to check out, music festivals are a chance to fully immerse yourself with passionate people all day— or all night. Whether in my own city or overseas, music in a festival setting has proved itself to be a driving force for a boisterous time.

Interview Music

DJ PØPTRT is taking over

Meet the Concordia student playing Quebec’s biggest festivals.

Hailing from Kahnawà:ke, DJ PØPTRT (real name Kiana Cross) is an Indigenous DJ and second-year communications studies student. She is coming off a loaded summer which included performances at Montreal’s Club Unity and some of Quebec’s biggest festivals such as the Festival d’été du Québec, the International Balloon Festival, and Piknic Électronik. 

One of the festivals that the DJ performed in was Festival d’été du Québec (FEQ), and she looks back at the experience with nothing but admiration. She also played at the International Balloon Festival and PIknic Électronik, the latter being the biggest crowd she has ever gathered. “I was so focused on transitions and playing music that when I finally looked up to see thousands of people it was surreal,” she recalled.

DJ PØPTRT describes her style as “nostalgic sounds from the classic ‘90s rave scene in a more contemporary vibe.” She incorporates aspects of her Indigenous culture into her music and hopes to “see the world, to tour,; to connect with people and share an insight on who I [Cross] am and my culture.”

The rising artist also got candid about the sacrifices involved in balancing a DJ career with being a full-time student: “It was hard. I remember having a job during the day, a class in the afternoon, and I would DJ until 3 a.m. […]I’m trying to add the human aspect of being kind to myself and healthy, combining both so I can have longevity with this lifestyle.”

A Mohawk artist, Cross shared her feelings about receiving support from Quebec festivals and organizations, given Canada’s negative history with its Indigenous populations.

 “It’s interesting to be in this time, especially as a female Indigenous artist. When people reach out, it’s hard to decipher if they’re simply trying to appease by making it seem like they’re supporting an Indigenous person,” she said.  While she is grateful for the environment she’s in, DJ PØPTRT finds that “there is a lot of work to be done,” and aims to address Indigenous issues and decolonize the music scene.

As an artist who manages all aspects of her career by herself, including graphic designing and business management, Cross has also played gigs in Ottawa and New Brunswick. She now plans to make a breakthrough in Europe following her increasing popularity in Canada. “I’m already making connections and seeing where I want to go,” she told The Concordian.

Be sure to catch DJ PØPTRT’s upcoming show at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa this September, which she describes as having “original music and visuals— a sample of what’s next.”

Arts Festival

Art Souterrain: an atypical contemporary art festival that redesigns Montreal’s underground pathways

An exhibit with no borders, spread across five Montreal locations

Festival Art Souterrain returns this year for its 15th edition. From March 18 to April 9, thousands of spectators can see a variety of artworks and performances throughout Montreal’s large underground network.

This non-profit organization was founded in 2009. Every year, they exhibit international contemporary art institutions, artists, and the architectural and cultural legacy of downtown Montreal’s underground city.

Exclusive to North America, Art Souterrain leads artworks out of artistic institutions and merges them into the daily lives of citizens. The organization aims to create a unique and distinctive concept in the realm of performing arts by facilitating exchange, diverse tools, and cultural mediation.

For this edition, the organization has commissioned Quebecois artists Eddy Firmin, Jean-François Prost, and Brazilian artist Ayrson Heráclito to oversee 30 artistic projects on this year’s theme “The Party.”

“From all the night and the city offer to our capacity for exploration, the party rises up and asserts itself, occasioning fortuitous encounters,” described Prost.

This year, the festival takes place in five different buildings in downtown Montreal. 

Entry points are situated at Place Ville Marie, Montréal World Trade Centre, the Jacques Parizeau Building, Palais des Congrès de Montréal, and Place de la cité international.

To make your journey easy, festival organizers have placed signs at the entrance of the buildings. They also provide a map on their website.


Montreal en Lumière’s 2023 festival plans

Are you going to go out and visit?

This year’s edition of the Montreal en Lumière festival is back bigger than ever. The festival is on from Feb. 16 until March 5.

The Concordian had the chance to sit down with Julie Martel, the director of the gastronomic programming of the festival. Martel has been organizing the festival’s food for the last five years.

“It’s an important edition of the festival, because it marks the full return of the program outside of the pandemic context,” Martel said. Due to previous restrictions that were in effect at last year’s festival, the organizers were limited in programming. Most had to get a little creative with how they put it together.

“This means we are welcoming back international chefs. We have 40 international guests — not only chefs but winemakers from all over the world.”

Martel emphasized that one of the highlights of the gastronomy part of the festival was Indigenous cooking, which was introduced for the first time in last year’s edition of the festival. 

“We have planned for a full day of for the Indigenous cooking on Feb. 25 at Quartier Gourmand. This year also marks the return of the Quartier Gourmand, which is a free space that people can visit in Place des Arts,” Martel said.

The free space is very important to the festival because it is a way to democratize local food. Another interesting aspect of the Quartier Gourmand is that on specific days, there will be different themes. For example, one of the themes that will be covered is sustainable food. Martel wants to make that information available to all the guests of the festival.

“At Quartier Gourmand, it’s always free tastings and visitors can meet with the local chefs and producers,” Martel said.

Quartier Gourmand at Montreal en Lumière near Place des Arts. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

Martel is very proud of the fact that the Quartier Gourmand is free for visitors. She recognizes that even though the festival has 40 participating restaurants, it might not be affordable for everyone.

If the food part of the festival doesn’t pique your interest, Maurin Auxéméry, the director of the musical programming of the festival, promises some surprises for this year. 

“Music is back this year, and last year due to COVID we didn’t have any special shows,” Auxéméry explained.

He emphasized that in this year’s edition of the festival there will be two types of programming, the outdoor sites and the indoor shows.

The outdoor sites around Place des Festivals and Quartier des Spectacles will have DJs every night that play a different kind of music. The first nights will debut Latin music while towards the end of the festival there will be more French music.

The highlight of the musical programming is the indoor shows which includes all the live performances.

“I can’t remember the amount of indoor shows that we have right off of the top of my head but I do know that we have three nights at the Wilfrid-Pelletier concert hall with a symphony show,” Auxéméry said. 

There is absolutely no excuse for boredom for this upcoming March break. Montreal en Lumière packs a punch in terms of programming this year. For more information please click on this link.

Outdoor site at Montreal en Lumière near Place des Arts. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN


15 things to do in December

End the year off with one (or more!) of these fun events.


What: The thirteenth edition of an interactive installation designed to get you moving and enjoying the fresh air through its use of lights and sound.  

When: Dec. 1 – March 5

Where: Quartier des Spectacles 

Montreal Brazilian Film Festival 

What: A film festival showcasing some of the best work from Brazil. The event features movies of all genres. 

When: Dec 2 – 8 

Where: Cinema du Parc

Noël dans le parc 

What: A festival that features up-and-coming artists from all art forms. They also offer a chance to buy cultivated Christmas trees and wreaths.

When: Dec. 3 – 31

Where: Various places around downtown Montreal 

Place Émilie-Gamelin 1500 Rue Berri, Montreal, Quebec

Parc des Compagnons-de-Saint-Laurent, 1W5, 4365-4375 R. Cartier, Montreal, Quebec

Parc Lahaie, Montreal,Quebec H2T 1R7

The world’s smallest comedy night 

What: Head on down to Hurley’s Irish Pub for an open mic stand-up comedy show, featuring new and established comedians. 

When: Dec. 5 

Where: 1225 Crescent St, Montreal, H3G 2B1

Indigenous Holiday Market 

What: A chance to pick up some early Holiday presents and support Indigenous communities. 

When: Dec. 6

Where: Hall building, Concordia  

Riverside Bar 

What: Riverside bar gets turned into an igloo for the holiday season, with themed drinks and a chilly vibe. 

When: Wednesday – Sunday, starting Dec. 8

Where: 5020 rue St-Ambroise, Montréal, QC H4C 2G1 

COVEN Drag Show 

What: A bilingual show hosted by some of Montreal’s prominent drag figures.

When: Dec. 16 

Where: The Diving Bell Social Club / Club Social Le Scaphandre, 3956 St Laurent Blvd Étage 3, Montreal, Quebec H2W 1Y3

Dupatta & Voile 

What: An immersive dance show that takes a look at Bollywood and different aspects of Indian culture.

When: Dec. 17

Where: Hindu Mandir, 50 Kesmark St, Dollard-Des Ormeaux, Quebec H9B 3K4 

New Years Eve party – Aurora Halal + softcoresoft + Maara

What: With the help of DJ’s, bring your partying spirit under a 360-degree dome of visuals. 

When: Dec. 31

Where: Société des arts technologiques [SAT], 1201, Boul. Saint-Laurent Montreal, QC, Canada H2X 2S6

Montreal Christmas Markets 

What: Multiple markets situated in prime locations around the city. Activities range from food tastings to shopping to arts and crafts. There’s something for everyone! 

When: All of December 

Where: Atwater Market, Jean Talon, and Quartier des Spectacles.

Ogilvy’s window displays 

What: Oglivy’s has displayed magical winter scenes through their storefronts for over the past 70 years. Though recently coming to an end, the window displays were donated to the McCord Stewart museum where they will continue presenting the spirit of the holidays!

When: All of December 

Where: The McCord Stewart Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E9

Soundbox by Hennessy 

What: A pop-up cocktail bar that explores the connection between Hennessy and hip hop. A small group can enjoy the themed room while listening to a record of some classic hip-hop. 

When: Running until March 31

Where: W Montreal, 901 Rue du Square-Victoria, Montréal, QC H2Z 1R1

Visit Mount Royal 

What: Get some fresh air and partake in one of Mount Royal’s many outdoor activities, from skating on beaver lake to cross-country skiing and sledding

When: Any day

Where: Mont Royal Park 

Museum of Jewish Montreal virtual exhibit

What: The Museum of Jewish Montreal offers lots of exhibits you can see from your own home. 

When: Any day 

Where: On their website ( see title) 

Drink and draw 

What: Pack up your art supplies and head over for a live drawing session

When: Every Wednesday 

Where: Bar le Cocktail, 1669 St Catherine St E, Montreal, Quebec H2L 2J5


The Arab World Festival of Montreal: experiencing intercultural exchanges through art

Don’t miss out on this festival of encounters and fusions between Eastern and Western worlds

The 23rd edition of The Arab World Festival of Montreal (FMA) is currently underway in the city until Nov. 13.

All are welcome to join this eclectic festival, which offers both free and ticketed events — from performing arts spectacles to cultural forums/conferences and cinematic experiences.

The Concordian had the pleasure of discussing the importance of this unique Montreal festival with the FMA’s communications and programming assistant Céline Camus.

Camus explained that the FMA “aims to be a meeting place, where many artists point out the similarities between Arab cultures but also the cultures of the rest of the world, whether in the East or in the West.”

This dynamic festival, where such dialogues are artistically facilitated and celebrated, is important in “a city like Montreal where diversity is the very essence of life,” added Camus.

The theme of this year’s edition is Corporeal: When the Flesh Dictates the Story! It is all about acknowledging the physical abilities and limitations of the body, while honouring the self in connection with the world.

During the FMA, visitors can expect to see local and international artists/intellectuals explore the corporeal theme through artworks, dances, and films in relation to their distinct and varied Arab cultures.

The Art of Skin: Body Painting Workshop and Live Painting were two events that took place on Nov. 1 at the Kawalees Cultural Cabaret as part of the festival. This low-key bar located in the Mile End neighbourhood had a quaint café-like vibe, which offered a vibrant yet relaxed setting for artist Zoya Tavangar’s intimate painting show.

During the Body Painting Workshop, Tavangar painted on a model’s face. Rather than using the model as a visual muse, Tavangar used the model’s face as a canvas itself. Drawing inspiration from the artistic and symbolic expression of tattoos, Tavangar colourfully re-painted a face on the model’s face, which — as she explained to the audience — “is in the art style of Cubism.”

Tavangar then proceeded onto the Live Painting event, where she painted a blue, realism-style portrait of a young woman. While Tavangar was focused on her painting, festival-goers were able to view her work up-close, or observe from their tables while having drinks or even ordering hummus and pita to snack on.

One such festival-goer that The Concordian was able to chat with was Redouane Ali who was experiencing the FMA for the first time.

“When I heard about this festival, it definitely interested me,” he said. Ali added that he specifically chose to visit The Art of Skin events because “after a busy day at work, watching an artist paint live while being able to have dinner seemed cool and therapeutic.”  

The FMA is a Montreal gem and should not be overlooked. For those still interested in partaking in the festival, here is a list of shows and events that are still available!


Making the editorial world accessible

OK Stamp Press proposes to bridge the gap between what is seen as publishable while raising queer voices

Volume MTL is an annual Montreal festival showcasing publishing and editing groups. This year, its fifth edition took place from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.

OK Stamp press is “an experimental project press” that organizes different projects, such as book projects, social tactics-oriented events, and activism/solidarity work with local organizations and community members. 

It was OK Stamp’s first time at this festival. They started making books in 2020, but only formed a collective this year.  

Dr. Maya Rae Oppenheimer, assistant professor in the Studio Arts department at Concordia University and co-founder of OK Stamp Press, discussed her editing group and their presence at the festival with The Concordian

Oppenheimer explained that the project was born “from [my] personal experience [as] a student in fine arts at the University of Manitoba in the 1990s; I was keen to publish my work but didn’t know where.” 

Oppenheimer explained that the collective’s primary goals are “to center mutual aid,” meaning the printing organization does not make money from the book sales. “We give books to mobilize mutual aid within reader communities.”

She discussed the liberty of zines as mediums of expression. “The DIY nature of zines permits authenticity, in the expression of ideas, the choice of how to put words, to feelings, to ideas.” She added, “with zines and small presses, there’s more agency in the editorial process. Zines are more direct, unfiltered, affordable.” 

Oppenheimer discussed the importance of centering queer and underrepresented folks. She noted “publishing is a community-oriented project. We’re always trying to grow and showcase other people’s work.” 

This is possible through people buying the proposed books through donations. Their books are available at the Concordia Fine Arts Reading Room.

The purpose of the collective is to work with emerging queer artists “so they get experience going through the editorial book design process, and so they can get a CV line which opens up different grant access applications.” 

Oppenheimer emphasized that certain grant applications require people to have already been published, and this collective helps people do precisely that. 

Oppenheimer noted the importance of paying authors for their work. Some of their financing is made possible through grants. 

The idea is to “represent folks and spaces where they might not otherwise feel comfortable or welcome or afford to table books.”

“As a writer and bookmaker, there’s such potential for books to be powerful dissemination tools and sometimes we put a lot of pressure on exhibits, and the method to measure success, but books, zines, and pamphlets are such rich cultural objects that do just that.”

There is indeed a table fee at Volume MTL 5. Oppenheimer added that because of this financial tax, their table shared space with other organizations, who wouldn’t have the financial ability to hold a table of their own. 

On their table at the event, they held titles around carceral justice. She showed The Concordian a book, Open Letters, which focuses on the false accusation of Ricky Cummings as he faces Death Row in Texas. 

“It’s a way of getting Ricky’s thoughts and ideas and situation on paper to disseminate, to advocate for his cause and the cause of carceral justice in general.” 

The editorial collective seeks to use its access to publishing as a ground for social justice advocacy. 

“Books and letter writing is an important way of connecting communities that are either separated by prisons or political borders,” said Oppenheimer.

“In editing, with the authors, it’s always an exchange,” she continued. “We have a collaboration agreement rather than a contract. Folks can withdraw writing at any time, it’s always a dialogue about how we edit to support their work, not to alter their work in any way, and they always have the right to refuse edits.” 

“We always accept submissions. It’s very much collaborative,” she added. 

A new project the collective is working on is called Epistolary Webs — epistolary meaning letters, and webs meaning the connections between people. The project serves to connect individuals by creating a book made of a collection of letters. It will ultimately raise funds for carceral justice organizations. 

“The letters can be anything and everything from a love letter, a breakup letter you want to share, an invoice, a bill, something you find on the sidewalk, a crunchy text; it’s taking correspondence in an expanded sense, but then using it to raise money for carceral justice.” 

To get involved, people can visit OK Stamp on their website. Furthermore, letter donations for the Epistolary Webs project are welcome. 


Montreal vegan festival 2022 review

Hundreds of Montrealers got their veg on at the festival.

After two years, the Montreal vegan festival returned to the Palais des congrès on Oct. 8 and 9.

At this year’s edition of the festival, self-taught cook Loounie (a.k.a. Caroline Huard), the creator of “magic tofu,” was the spokesperson for the event. 

Loounie, along with other creators during the weekend, were giving cooking demonstrations. There were also many different vendors on-site, including kiosks that were promoting the vegan Babybel, Cookie Conscious Bakery, PB & Me, and Montreal’s own Aux Vivres restaurant.

The Concordian had the opportunity to speak to the spokesperson herself and find out more about what exactly her creation is. 

“My magic tofu is a recipe that I developed like four years ago. I developed it because I was never a big fan of tofu myself. I always thought that it was really high maintenance, you need to press it, marinate it and think about it a few days in advance. So this recipe makes tofu bites that taste like chicken. You can use this tofu in recipes like curries and sandwiches. You can also eat it cold or hot,” Loounie said.

Loounie explained that she sold her “magic tofu” in grocery stores and due to its popularity, as of last year it is no longer available in Metro grocery stores around the province. 

If you are interested in trying “magic tofu,” Loounie explained that you can buy it ready-made and ready to eat.

Loounie told The Concordian that she hasn’t been a vegan all her life, and that she doesn’t even come from a vegetarian household. 

“I changed my diet 11 years ago because I was a runner back then. I really wanted to eat, I would say a cleaner diet,” Loonie explained, emphasizing “cleaner diet” with air quotes. “The term clean diet is not a term that I relate to anymore. I am very aware of diet culture.”

As Loounie became a plant-based eater, she started to do more research on animal ethics. She was shocked at the results of her findings and wanted to do her part in protecting animals.

Being knowledgeable and doing your homework about veganism and a plant-based lifestyle was a common thread at the festival.

The festival also debunked a lot of myths about the vegan diet itself, one of those myths being that the vegan diet is restrictive.

Walking through the various kiosks, there was a huge selection of different food that attendees could taste. 

One kiosk in particular put vegan smoked salmon on display. The smoked salmon was made out of carrots. 

The star of the show was the vegan Babybel kiosk. The Concordian spoke with Tess Bouvain, the employee working the kiosk during the weekend, to find out what the Babybel is actually made out of. 

“Vegan Babybel is made out of coconut, and then we also have a 100 per cent recyclable packaging,” Bouvain explained.

Alongside the different food items one could try at the festival was the wide array of healthy beverages. 

The Concordian was able to speak with Pierrich Picard, the co-founder of Gutsy Kombucha, about the health benefits of kombucha. 

“Kombucha is fermented tea, we take tea and mix it with sugar and then we add SCOBY leaves [symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast]. There’s this good bacteria in these leaves and it creates this drink that is fizzy. The taste is a bit vinegary and we add some flavours to it, ” Picard explained. 

Picard also made a point in addressing that kombucha is a way healthier alternative than the regular energy drink that most students would reach for. 

“You are putting a lot of good bacterias in your gut. It’s like sending some soldiers to war to fight against the bad bacterias. It’s full of organic enzymes. You get more out of your food,” Picard said.

The festival as a whole was just a great resource for learning more about plant-based diets and getting to know more about health in general.


Osheaga 2022: Artists to watch

This fifteenth edition of Osheaga is bound to be exciting

With Osheaga finally returning to its total capacity after two years, one of the world’s best music festivals is welcoming artists from different corners of the music industry to perform over a three day span.Since it’s physically impossible to divide myself across six stages with over 100 artists set to perform, who should I watch? My name is Guillaume and I’ll be your guide, helping you experience the best possible shows to have an amazing weekend.


Friday starts off the festival on a pretty strong note with a string of interesting names, especially in the pop and indie fields. Artists such as Pink Pantheress, Ashe, and Charli XCX all put their own unique spin on today’s pop music and are a must-see if you’re into pop. As for indie, Gus Dapperton, Dominic Fike, and French Canadian band, Les Louanges could all satisfy indie lovers on Friday. Coming off the release of their latest record WE, Montreal’s legendary alternative rock band Arcade Fire is in town headlining on Friday,  making it definitely a show not to miss. Sleeper sets of the day include trap producer and singer Pi’erre Bourne and Punk band Turnstile.


Saturday is looking to be the most promising day, with heavy names in hip hop and a profusion of other cool artists. Fans of the genre are going to get spoiled with artists such as Slowthai, Freddie Gibbs, BIA, and Saturday’s headliner, Future. Saturday is also another strong day in the indie field with performers such as Toronto’s Luna Li, Montreal’s Men I Trust, and none other than Mitski. Other must-sees include Hyperpop duo 100 Gecs and Nigerian superstar Burna Boy. The sleeper pick of the day is U.K rapper, Slowthai.


Sunday might not have the most stacked lineup, but you will definitely be able to find quality performances. Sunday’s headliner include pop star Dua Lipa, who is solely worth the cost alone, and is almost guaranteed to deliver an incredible show. Sunday also has a couple of popular names in the music industry, such as Machine Gun Kelly, Glass Animals, and Alan Walker. Rapper Cordae, singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus and punk-rock band IDLES are amongst other talented musicians performing on Sunday. The Sleeper show of the day is the Australian Genesis Owusu who is a must-watch.

Now that Osheaga has returned back to its full form , it’s safe to say that everyone is as excited as ever to see a plethora of  talented artists hit the stage in Montreal. With perfect weather announced over the weekend, these next three days are going to be incredible for music lovers.


MURAL Festival became an “Estival” during COVID-19

Even in the midst of a pandemic, art prevails

Montreal’s MURAL Festival was founded in 2012, beginning as “a love letter from Montreal to the world” with a goal to democratize street art. It is known for its celebration of the arts, with renowned artists from all around the world contributing and showcasing their live art, music, and exhibitions.

“We are the meeting place of creative minds and we represent the festive and innovating soul of a booming artistic scene,” its website states.

Whether you’re a tourist or a Montreal native, this annual 11-day event is an excellent way for people to discover great art and artists. During a normal summer, these festivities would consist of huge crowds attending music shows, talks, performance art and more. However, this isn’t a normal summer, and the MURAL Festival adapted accordingly.

Although the usual festival was cancelled, the Estival, derived from the French word for summertime, was created in its place. The MURAL Festival believed that even with this past summer’s conditions, it was important that people still had the freedom to express themselves and for others to take time to relax and appreciate the art. Only this time, safe distances were mandatory.

So, instead of an 11-day festival, the Estival would take place during the three months of summer, without gatherings of any kind. There would still be physical street work going on, but many of the music performances and conferences were streamed online so that citizens could watch their shows safely. Guided tours of the artworks were available as well.

Towards the end of August, I picked up my camera and explored the streets of downtown Montreal in search of large, beautiful murals. As a Video Editor for The Concordian, I decided to check out murals from MURAL Festivals of years’ past to make a video, but I also went to satisfy my own curiosity. I started on St-Laurent Boulevard .

Most of the art I encountered was in great shape; they were huge, bright, and beautiful. Some artworks, like Daniel Joseph Bombardier’s Denial, just off of Prince Arthur Street, had powerful messages embedded in them. Other artworks, likely because of their age, were damaged or covered up with graffiti in some way. Zilon, which was named after the artist, created in 2014 and located at the corner of St-Dominique Street and Marie-Anne Street, was covered in white and black spray paint, leaving only small parts of the image visible.

One thing I realized while documenting all of these pieces of art was the importance of street art. The MURAL Festival itself is a celebration of art in all its forms, but the murals that remained served as a subtle reminder to appreciate the art that we’re surrounded by. Street art is a way for people to enjoy cities and neighbourhoods, whether foreign or local to them, and, especially now, admire artwork safely outside.

Murals fill city streets with colour and life, and as someone who hasn’t lived in Montreal for long, murals help me see the beauty in the ordinary; a normal walk to work can turn into a walk through culture and art. Even amid a pandemic, the MURAL Festival was able to maintain its yearly tradition and add more art to the city. So, even though the Estival is over, and past Festivals are long gone, their stamps on the city remain, and it makes the world a slightly brighter place.


Photos by Christine Beaudoin

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