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July 2012 Archives

Dinner in White: mystery meals in Quebec City & Montreal

diner en blanc international.jpgThe deadline is coming up fast for the guest list for the chic annual picnic known as the Diner en Blanc.

But we still don't know the location of these 'dinners in white' in Quebec City and Montreal.

That's the mystery! You only find out just before, on the day of the event: August 16th.

And that's true for Dinners in White in cities around the world, including -for the first time - Kigali, Brisbane, Singapore and Abidjan. (Photo, above, of event in Paris: courtesy of Diner en blanc international)

Sandy Safi and Aymeric Pasquier are the Montreallers behind this global fête. They joined Elizabeth Robertson in studio this morning.

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Classics on the beach

pail and shovel on the beach.jpgFor many of us, summer is the perfect time for brain candy. We want to read something quick, light, thrilling or fun.

But our books columnist is taking a different route this summer.

Erin Balser from CBC Books has decided to take on the classics.  And she tries to convince us to do the same.

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Sunshine, a farm, and free time

ferme d'andré.jpgLa ferme d'André (André's farm) is a summer camp in Ormstown, Quebec. That's about an hour south-west of Montreal. The camp was founded in 1969, and it's built around the idea of fostering independence.

It has everything-- except a schedule. So if you're a kid who likes to spend the whole day riding horses, you can do that. Or you can take one of the llamas for a walk, go swimming, or help out in the garden.
Or if you just want to lie in the grass and stare at the clouds, then you can do that too.

There's even a spot called "la grange à Tarzan" -- Tarzan's barn. And it's filled with ladders to climb, ropes to swing from, and mats to catch your fall.

Elizabeth Robertson's children spent some time there earlier this month. While visiting the farm, she met with the  founder and director of the camp - André Giguère.
They sat down together for a chat on the farmhouse's screened-in porch.

(Photo courtesy of Ferme d'André)

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Tourism Quebec: Sunday update

Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec is back with more suggestions for things to do this weekend:

Festival de la Rouge (Lac Nominingue, Laurentides) : through August 4th

Festi-Beach de Shawinigan (Mauricie) : today and tomorrow

Le Granby International de voitures anciennes (Eastern townships) : today and tomorrow

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The Dears: Never Destroy Us

The Dears.jpgNever Destroy Us is the name of a new documentary about the Montreal indie band, The Dears. It airs on CBC television at 7pm tonight (and will be posted at as of Monday).

Before Montreal became known around the world for its indie rock scene, The Dears were already carving out a place for themselves. The film follows the band from its beginnings in the early 90s, through the many changes in band members, all the way to a sold-out concert series in Mexico.

Natalia Yanchak is The Dears keyboardist and singer. She also produced the film.
Murray Lightburn is band's lead vocalist, and he directed Never Destroy Us.

They talked with Elizabeth Robertson about reliving their 17-year journey in the band in making the documentary.

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Cross-Canada train trip for Montreal food bloggers

Jasper tourists from VIA's Canadian train (Val Howes).jpgTwo Quebec food bloggers recently got back from the culinary adventure of a lifetime.

They were invited by VIA Rail to come aboard for that cross-Canada train trip that some of us dream about. The train is called The Canadian. And it has a new menu to match the name.

Mayssam Samaha and Dustin Gilman  got to see how the new head chef managed to cook brunches and dinners in a tiny, shifting kitchen as the prairies and mountains rolled by.

They joined Elizabeth Robertson in studio.

(Photo,left, of tourist on VIA's train The Canadian; courtesy of Val Howes)

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Kitchen cravings: new exhibit at Stewart Museum

Musee Stewart Toaster.jpgIn the 21st century, the kitchen has become the focus of the home - at the very least for renovations! Kitchen renos give you the best return on your investment in the home.

But the meaning of the kitchen and the way we design that space has evolved over time.

A new exhibition at the Stewart Museum on Ile Ste Hélène takes a look at that change from the 18th century onwards. And it tells us a lot about how our society has changed too.

The exhibition is called Craving for Design.

Elizabeth Robertson headed over to the island earlier this week to have a look. She met up with Guy Vadeboncoeur, who's the chief curator of the museum, and he gave her a tour...

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Tourism Quebec: Saturday update

Here are this weekend's suggestions from Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec:

Échofête - Festival éco-culturel (Trois-Pistoles, Bas-St-Laurent) : today and tomorrow

Festival rétro de Joly (Chaudière-Appalaches) : today and tomorrow

Festival Opéra de Québec (Quebec City) : through August 5th

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Robert Lepage premieres Tempest opera in Quebec City

The Tempest.jpgThe Festival d'Opéra will begin this week in Quebec City.

It's only the second edition of the festival, but it already has an impressive line-up.

This Thursday, there's a world premiere of a new production that heads to the Metropolitan Opera this fall.  It's an opera based on The Tempest, Shakespeare's most magical and intriguing play. And it's directed by Robert Lepage.

The Tempest starts with a bang. A cruel storm rages on the sea. A ship is torn apart, marooning passengers and crew on an island. The island is ruled by a strange and mysterious man who seems to have some kind of power over the elements...

Much like Robert Lepage!

Robert Lepage speaks with Elizabeth Robertson from our Quebec City studio.                      (A conversation in two parts...)

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Richard Purdy: mirror art

nicolet cathedral by Olivier Croteau.jpgFor the past two years, an artist living in the Mauricie has invited visitors to splash about in his work.

It started in Shawinigan - where Richard Purdy's art installation used water to create a mirror floor ... and one big wide wet canvas that reflected the entire room.

Then, the Montreal Biodôme commissioned a similar project this summer. And made Richard Purdy their very first artist-in-residence.

He's now adapted his mirror floor for another installation - this time in Nicolet. It's called "Pleasant instruction" (or in French, "La groSSe plaisanterie").

The CBC's Rachelle Solomon was at the Museum of World Religions to visit the installation with Richard Purdy.  It's set up in a building across the street from the museum... and it's not at all what Rachelle was expecting...

(Photo above courtesy of Olivier Croteau)

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Tourism Quebec: Sunday update

Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec brings us some fantasy films and a teddy bears' picnic for today's activities:

">Festival international de films Fantasia (Montreal) : runs through August 7th

La Fête des Mascottes (Granby, Eastern Townships) 

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Tourism Quebec - Saturday update

Here are today's suggestions from Micheline Lachance of Tourism Quebec:

Festival International Nuits d'Afrique  (Montréal) : on today and tomorrow

Festival Beauport en blues (Québec Region) : on today

Festival d'été international de Québec à New Richmond (Gaspésie): today and tomorrow

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Mark Hamill a.k.a Luke Skywalker in the role of villain

James Duvall, Elizabeth Robertson, Mark Hamill.JPGFor many of us, Mark Hamill will always be associated with the archetypal hero: Luke Skywalker from the original Star Wars trilogy.

But in actual fact, he only spent a few years playing the saviour of the universe. Since then, he's specialized in playing bad guys - in the theatre, and in cartoons. He's been the Hobgoblin in Spiderman, The Trickster in Flash, and The Joker, in the animated Batman tv series and video game.

Now Mark Hamill is starring in a new movie called Sushi Girl. It's premiering at the Fantasia Film Festival tonight in Montreal (and in cinemas January 2013). And in it, Mark Hamill plays a villain who's creepy, sadistic, and... funny.

One of Mark Hamill's co-stars in the ensemble cast is James Duval. He plays another bad guy in the band of thieves who planned a diamond heist - but never got the diamonds. (You may also know him from the blockbuster "Independence Day.") 

Mark Hamill and James Duval join Elizabeth Robertson in studio for a rollicking two-part conversation!

(Above, from l-r: James Duvall, Elizabeth, Mark Hamill; Photo by Jason Boychuk)

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The growing field of positive psychology

The Canadian Positive Psychology Association is holding its very first conference in Toronto.

Positive psychology is a new branch of psychology that investigates what makes people happy - and how we can lead more satisfying lives.

Yesterday morning, Robert Vallerand gave the keynote address at the conference.

He's a leading expert in the field. He's also president of the International Positive Psychology Association.

Robert Vallerand is based here at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Elizabeth spoke to him on the line from Toronto.

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Hockey Migrations doc on CBC TV tonight!

Hockey in Ungava.JPGAbsolutely Quebec is a new summer series on CBC television. It's a series of documentaries written for, by and about Quebeckers.

The series starts tonight with "Hockey Migrations".

In his documentary, filmmaker Tony Girardin tells a story about the central place of hockey in the village of Tasiujak in Quebec's North. He follows the village team -- the Tasiujak Eagles -- as they gear up to face off in the Ungava Cup.

Elizabeth Robertson spoke with Tony Girardin about his experience in making the film.

(Photo of Tony's workspace, above, courtesy of Tony Girardin.)


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Horror films that could have been

Later this week the Fantasia International Film festival comes to Montreal.

And alongside the fantasy films from Asia, Europe and the Americas - there's a special Canadian event.  It's an art show called  If They Came From Within: An Alternative History of Canadian Horror Movies.

It features posters for Canadian horror movies that didn't get made - or could never get made - but movies we might still love to see.

Dave Alexander assembled the talent for the show. He's the editor-in-chief for the Canadian magazine Rue Morgue ,a magazine dedicated to horror in culture and entertainment.

He told Elizabeth about his alternative reality event.

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The Darling of Kandahar

Maclean's cover.jpgA few years ago, MacLeans magazine - the Student Edition - featured a lovely young woman on the cover - and it caught the attention of a soldier in Afghanistan.

He wrote to MacLean's to thank them for the cover, and she became a sort of "pin-up" for the soldier and his fellow-soldiers in Kandahar. The Canadian media nicknamed her The Darling of Kandahar.

They never met. The young soldier died shortly afterward. So that's where the story ended - until Felicia Mihali re-imagined it.

darling of kandahar.jpgFelicia is a Romanian novelist who's lived in Montreal since 2000. Her new novel - her first in English - is titled The Darling of Kandahar. She'll be presenting it at the Knowlton WordFest next Saturday.


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Climbing the via ferrata in Mont Tremblant park

Like our fill-in host, Elizabeth Robertson, you too can go mountain climbing in Mont Tremblant provincial park without any kind of training to speak of.

You move horizontally across the mountain on the "via ferrata" - or "iron road." Climbers 8 and older can give it a try.

Alexandre Lavoie tells us more about how it works. He's the coordinator for Mont Tremblant park, Diable sector. Alexandre also helped build the 'via ferrata' trail when it was created 5 years ago.

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Tourism Quebec: Sunday update

Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec brings us more ideas for things to do this weekend:

1001 Pots (Val David, Laurentians): through August 12th

Tour des arts (Eastern Townships): through July 22nd

Rendez-vous des coureurs des bois (Pointe-du-Lac section of Trois-Rivières, Mauricie): today

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Repercussion Theatre's Shakespeare in the Park

Taming of the Shrew has just started its summer tour in and around Montreal as part of Repercussion Theatre's Shakespeare-in-the-Park.

The play is one of Shakespeare's classic comedies and it's a lot of fun. But it's also a challenge to stage it today. The idea of taming one's wife is not as palatable as it was in the early 17th century.

Kirsten Rasmussen plays the feisty Katherina, or Kate. Alex McCooeye plays the fortune-hunter Petruchio. Paul Hopkins co-directed the show and he's also the artistic director of Repercussion Theatre. All three met with Elizabeth Robertson to talk about the play.

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Bavarian pretzels and black breads in Thetford bakery

The stores are full of ripe Quebec berries right now. But in Thetford Mines, it's also pretzel season - and people line up for them at the local marketplace.

Theda Weber-Lucks is the person who creates these addictive Bavarian pretzels. She runs a bakery in Thetford  - the Boulangérie Bretzel - which is also known for its German black breads and other artisanal goodies.

Thetford is about an hour south of Quebec City, and it's now home for Theda, who's originally from Germany. She tells Elizabeth Robertson how an avant-garde musicologist from Berlin ended up baking bread in Quebec.

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Pasha Malla: People Park

51UogR32YIL__SL500_AA300_.jpgPasha Malla's debut collection of short stories The Withdrawal Method was a huge success.
Praised as "weird and wild and wonderful," it became a Book of the Year in both the Globe and Mail and the National Post. It also won Ontario's Trillium Book award and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize.

Now Pasha Malla has published his first novel.
It's called People Park. And it's set on a fictional island in the middle of which is a large public park.

Pasha Malla was born on an island too - in St-John's Newfoundland - and now lives in Toronto.
But he also has a Montreal Island connection: he lived here while studying at Concordia University.

This morning, he spoke with Elizabeth Robertson about his latest book.

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Tourism Quebec : Saturday

Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec brings us this weekend's list of things to do:

Festival d'été de Québec (Quebec City): ends tomorrow
Tonight on the Plains of Abraham: The Offspring

Festival de Lanaudière (Joliette, Lanaudière) : through August 5th
Tonight: pianist Alain Lefebvre

Festival Western Dolbeau-Mistassini (Saguenay Lac St-Jean): ends tomorrow


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Just for Laughs preview

Thumbnail image for Derek Seguin.JPG Thumbnail image for Amman Performing Headshot.JPG

Who better to give us the Just For Laughs rundown than a couple of festival veterans?

Canadian comics, and Just for Laughs alumni,  Derek Seguin and Ali Hassan yuk it up with Sona about their picks for this year's festival: what shows you need to see at least once in your lifetime and those you can live without.

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Back in '59

BackIn59_600.jpgIf your own high school reunion ended up being about as fun as getting your wisdom teeth out, you might want to head out to the Hudson Village Theatre this week for a "redo".

They're staging a high school reunion. It's a musical revue called "Back in '59." The show is set in a small town in 1973, at a 10 year high school reunion.  The partygoers end up singing the songs from their high school years; classics from the 50s and 60s.

Sonali Karnick spoke with Thom Currie, the man who wrote the play and had the difficult task of selecting the music. The cast is also along for the ride and sings a couple of songs from the play.
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Tourism update (Sunday)

Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec gives us our Sunday to-do list...

Village en Arts   (Old St-Nicolas, Chaudière-Appalaches)
The 15th edition features a classical music picnic, over 70 artists presenting their work, and a walking tour of Old St-Nicolas.
Mondial des Cultures de Drummondville  (Centre-du-Québec)
A global village in Drummondville, with markets from all over the world, a parade, and a butterfly flight (runs through July).
Montréal Complètement Cirque (Montréal)
Outdoor and indoor shows at venues throughout the city; family picnic today at the Tohu site (until July 15th).

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Kids' summer reading with CBC Books

No-Ordinary-Day-Ellis-Deborah-9781554981342.jpgLooking to get the kids' noses in a book up at the cottage? Sonali gets CBC Books producer Erin Balser's top picks for kids and young-adult summer fiction. (Oh, and they also wax poetic about Archie comics.) 


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BBQ Pork with Bartek Komorowski

Bartek 004.jpgMontreal food writer and all-around pork expert Bartek Komorowski is serving up "street meat" on Saturday night at Montreal's Place de la Paix in the Quartier des Spectacles. And his meat of choice, as always, is pork. Sonali is on the scene getting the skinny on barbecuing pork: what cuts to use, how to cook it and how to keep yourself from drooling uncontrollably as you listen to this segment. (Well, maybe not that last part.)

**Click on 'Read More' (below) to try Bartek's BBQ recipe! 


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Lanaudière Festival stages "Chorus Call for All"

Ever wanted to sing in a choir? Well, here's your chance. On Saturday morning, learn the ropes of choir-singing at the "Chorus Call for All" event at the Lanaudière Classical Music Festival... and put those skills to use in a concert next Saturday the 15th.

Sonali gets the rundown from artistic director Alex Benjamin.

**If you'd like to participate in the choral event on Saturday July 7, please call Solange Callejon at 450-459-7637, ext. 31. or **

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Saturday Tourism Update

Micheline Lachance from Tourism Quebec offers up your to-do list for Saturday...

Festival du conte et de la légende de l'Innucadie (Natashquan, Duplessis)
This festival brings back the Innu spoken word and traditions such as the knowledge of medicinal plants -- and making fish nets! (Runs today and tomorrow)

Festival de la gibelotte de Sorel-Tracy (Montérégie)
Sample delicious stewed fish, shows, and bingo with a $5,000 jackpot. That's big money, people! (Runs through July 14th)

Festirame  (Alma, Saguenay Lac St-Jean)
Water sports competitions, a 42 km rowing marathon on Lac-St-Jean, and great shows.
(Runs through July 15th)

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