September arts & culture festival masterlist

Don’t get too cozy yet! The weather was strangely warm this week and it appears it’ll stay that way for another… so get off the couch! Take a study break and go check out these festivals happening all over Montreal this fall! Oh, and if you haven’t seen any part of the Momenta Biennale, do that too!



Returning for its fifth year, LadyFest is a comedy festival celebrating femme and non-binary talents. I had the opportunity to go last year and had such a great time! Did I mention that I went back to watch a show alone… and sat in the front row? I didn’t even anxiety-hurl! LadyFest is truly soul food. Anyway, this magnificent happening ends Saturday, Sept. 21, so get your tickets here or at Théatre St-Catherine. For more information visit


Feminist Film Festival
No one will be turned away for lack of funds at this intersectional film festival! With local and international film shorts, FFF promises to challenge gender norms and feature strong female leads.

The schedule is as follows:

Sept. 21 at Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ), 5154 St-Hubert St.
4:30 p.m. – The Different Faces of Maternity

Sept. 22 at Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ), 5154 St-Hubert
St. 6:30 p.m. – Racialized Points of View


Stop Motion Festival
A fabulous contributor covered the Stop Motion Festival last year and completely overwhelmed me with the number of cool workshops that took place. Largely based on Concordia’s campus, this festival screens at the J.A. de Sève Cinema in the Hall building, in the EV building’s main auditorium, the LB atrium, and at Mckibbin’s Pub on Bishop St. Grab a beer and freak out about some sick animation until Sept. 22. View the full schedule here.



Sept. 24-29: Montreal International Black Film Festival
I’ve attended the MIBFF since I started writing for The Concordian. Each year, my eyes are opened wider than the last. I was particularly fascinated by last year’s documentary on the reclamation of Dutch wax fabric, one of the most popular textiles in Africa.

With programs for youth, discussions, markets, and screenings, of course, this festival – opening with a tribute to Harriet Tubman – isn’t one to miss. For more information and tickets, visit

Sept. 25-28: VIVA! Art Action
Taking place in the industrial heart of St-Henri, the VIVA! Biennial will feature over 20 artists from all over the world, including a handful from Montreal and a couple from Concordia! Performances, workshops, conferences, and other participatory experiences take the forefront at this festival, where lines between the artist and the viewer are blurred. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.


Sept. 25-29: POP Montreal
Hello fall festival queen, are you a person who likes to spend all day at art shows and all night at concerts and movies at the same time? Yes? Me too. Last year’s POP Montreal drained my soul in the best possible way. I have fond memories of walking to and from venues with POP’s specialty drink in my hand.

Committing to the festival means discovering new spaces and experiences you wouldn’t typically find yourself in. Queer visibility and sexuality, the underlying theme of Art POP, connects various satellite exhibitions across Montreal. Partnerships include UQAM, artist-run center Articule, and Elephant gallery – where Concordia-based creator Skawennati has developed a virtual portrait project with youth from Montreal North and Kahnawake.

It doesn’t stop there. In addition to art and music, POP Montreal includes a segment of symposium talks (which cross disciplines between art, music, queer theory, etc.) and film screenings at the glorious Cinema Moderne in the Mile End.


There is ALWAYS something happening in Montreal. No matter the weather. The end of September just so happens to be the sleepiest and busiest time ever. Yeah, yeah Green Day, I’ll wake you up when September ends, (that’s a lie I will wake you up now so you can festival hop.) Happy fall! Stay hydrated! Wash your hands!


All are welcome at LadyFest’s annual comedy extravaganza

“One love, no jerks”

Comedy is an art, one that LadyFest has been highlighting through the performances of female, femme-identifying and non-binary comedians for four years.

Co-producers Emma Wilkie, Sara Meleika, Lar Simms and Deirdre Trudeau created the festival to give comedians like Stacy Gagnidze  the platform they need to share their funniest selves with the world. The festival includes a wide range of talent, from stand-up and storytelling, to improv and sketch comedy.

Gagnidze is a Concordia alumna from the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) and has been a comedian since she was a teenager. Today, she performs with Mess Hall and Colour Outside the Lines. Mess Hall, an impov-based comedy club, is dedicated to performing the Harold structure known for its specific and difficult format. The Harold structure consists of three unrelated, yet overlapping scenes and typically lasts between 25 and 40 minutes. Colour Outside the Lines is an improv team that’s all about diversity and uplifting voices from different racial, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds. Gagnidze has also performed at Just For Laughs, and she identified the difference between the two festivals in their creative mission. LadyFest was created with a social mission, to uplift women’s voices in comedy, while Just for Laughs is just what the name suggests.

“Today, Just For Laughs is playing catch-up in this space,” she said. “LadyFest audiences who attend have made a conscious decision to come out and support female and female-identifying performers. As a performer, this offers me a safe space onstage where I can take risks and explore boundaries.”

LadyFest co-producer, Lar Simms also broke into comedy as a teenager in Winnipeg, taking improv classes and performing in plays. “When I moved to Montreal, taking improv classes at Montreal Improv in 2012 really helped me to build confidence and trust my comedic sensibilities, as well as develop a sense of group mind when collaborating with the imaginations of others,” Simms said.

Since then, she has added stand-up, sketch, clown, and other character performances to her theatre background.

“Performing, speaking your truth onstage or just being absurdly silly and having that resonate with a large crowd can be an empowering experience,”

she said, for both the audience and the performer. According to Simms, collective laughter can be cathartic and healing, making it important to strive for the space to do so, especially in an industry where comics have long been underrepresented in local and mainstream comedy.

That being so, attending comedy shows that are increasingly accessible to these kinds of audiences encourages funding for the creation and development of such spaces. A personal blog post by award winning stand-up comic, actor and writer,  Sandra Battaglini,  criticizes Canada for hosting Just For Laughs, the world’s largest comedy festival, when the Canadian Council for the Arts still refuses to fund stand-up because it is recognized as entertainment, rather than art.

“We create art by stringing together words in such a way that culminates in laughter,” Battaglini writes. “It releases so many endorphins, you could say it saves lives. It certainly saved mine.”

Gagnidze will be performing with Colour Outside the Lines at Théâtre Ste-Catherine on Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. The troupe will be sharing the stage with Yas Kween, an ensemble of women of colour brought together by Nelu Handa, who stars on CBC’s Workin’ Moms.

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