Archive for June, 2012


We saw part of the Rufus Wainwright concert on Thursday night. There were probably 20,000 pople there on the street to see him play live, and for free. Few too many people for me, but I stuck it out for a little while. We saw portions of a couple of other free shows as we wandered through the venues, reaccquainting ourselves with the festival.

Last night we saw Melody Gardot in the Plas des Arts. She had a nice mix of bossa nova with just a hint of gospel blues thrown in. If I were any good at gushing over stuff, I would now gush all over about how her voice soared over the high notes with passion and intensity and sank with the anguish of the forlorn on the bass line of each song. The reed player followed each change in mood as he moved from sax to clarinet to flute and back to alto sax. She sang for two solid hours, singing her own compositions. She`s been featured in Jazziz as well as some other publications devoted to music.

Tonight we see Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten at Theatre Jean-Duceppe and tomorrow (Canada Day) we`ll be taking a river cruise also with live music, and I`m sure an awesome view of the fireworks.

Observations:

The guy who plopped down on the grass next to us, whipped out his stash and proceeded to mix and match his tobaccos, then roll his own before wandering off into the heart of the festival.  Sweeeet.

 
The two ladies sitting in the concert hall who took out their little perfume atomizer, stuck it down the front of their shirts and squirted their armpits.  Niiiiiice.

 

The young lady who weighed maybe 100 pounds, with breasts the size of two perfectly ripe over-sized cantaloupe.  Wowsers!

 

 

An Interview:

Some of us, however, are only interested in a place to sleep, shower and check the weather before heading out for another day doing things and seeing stuff.  We are actually staying the same room we stayed in last year.  (I hope to have pictures soon.)  Last year the closet consisted of a corner of the room marked off by a curtain with a small hotel luggage stand to hold your clothes.  This year the luggage stand is behind a door in the opposite corner of the room, where an iron and ironing board hide also.  There`s a continental breakfast delivered to the door every morning in a quaint wicker basket.  (Yogurt, muffins, croissants, fruit, very nice…and a coffee maker.  Real silverware and real cups and glasses.)

I`m sure other rooms in the hotel are larger and accommodate a more relaxed type of guest.  If you come and stay you might get lucky and have the room next to the honeymooners. Oooh-la-la.

NOTE:  I have to replace a cable, and I will post pictures later. For now I am going to go ahead and keep you up to date.

Road Trip III: Montreal

Coming to Montreal is like visiting a foreign country.  (Yes, I am fully aware that Canada IS a foreign country, but it happens to be an English speaking foreign country, whereas Quebec is not an English speaking foreign country.)  French is the official language of Quebec Province and there is no requirement to put English on any type of public notice.  Like street signs or menus.  Like the European French, some French Canadians believe that the English speaker is beneath the contempt of dogs.  Of course, sometimes they will be very polite and speak to you in English, but that is only determined by their desire to have your business.

If you ever get to Montreal , you should stay at the Auberge Pomerol.  A small, clean and well-priced hotel it’s within walking distance of the Old Port and Jazz Festival venues, and near public transportation for easy access to other cultural sites.  Just around the block there is also an artist’s quarter filled with the works of various artists and craftsmen, interspersed with small patio bistros providing the perfect opportunity for people watching.

This may not be the best family hotel, however. People watching will include street hustlers and panhandlers.  While it is within walking distance of all sorts of cool touristy shit, you have to walk through some seedier looking areas to get there.  There is a significant homeless population and a small red-light district but the neighborhood is safe enough.  As is always the case, if you’re here for the experience, and you remain aware of your surroundings this is a great spot to start out from.

It’s fun, though, you feel like you’re in Europe, without all the hassle of flying and time zones.  Even better, you can find a good lager or ale just as easily as a nice white or red.  Plus, there is a wide range of culinary cultures, much of it in the form of neighborhood eateries that are not marketed solely to the tourist. There is an Italian restaurant on one side of the hotel and  Thai take out on the other.  A little further away are a couple of noodle shops and a McDonalds (just to keep you honest, it’s menu is in French only, and you’d better be able to say,  “Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq.. combinaison” or “melange.” Dunno, don’t eat there myself).

The festival is well underway today, and I’ll be telling you more about that later.