Montreal is historically a Catholic town, so Christmas is a big deal. Curious at just how Catholic, I took a peek at the archdiocese of Montreal’s 2010 statistics. So sayeth their website, Montreal’s population of 2,323,846 has 1,590,150 Catholics. That’s 68% of Montreal’s population. Last time I wandered into a church, there were about ten people inside, so I’m not entirely convinced and the archdiocese of Montreal probably has a reason to inflate its numbers. But still, even we’re 68% Catholic, it means 32% of the population identifies itself the category of “other religion” whether that means Christian, atheist, agnostic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Pagan, Satanist, Raelian, or other.
For a large number of these “other religion” types, the Christmas Holiday largely are just a few days-off followed by some amazing sales. Unfortunately, there seems to be almost nothing going on during those few days.
To help those of us floundering around for things going on in the city on Christmas Eve and Christmas evening, or for those who are done hanging out with extended family members and sneaking a little extra rum into the eggnog, here are a few suggestions to get through these few days.
Go See Some Art!
Don’t take my word for it (though you should), the exhibit at the Musée des Beaux-Arts is well worth the price of admission. The are two super exhibits on right now: Van Gogh to Kandinsky and Warhol Mania. Turns out the museum is open through the holidays and even is pulling an early opening at 10 a.m. on the 24, closing only on December 25 (and January 1 if you think ahead). So, if you’re mucking around on Christmas Eve day, go fill your eyeballs with some colour and inspiration, and check the museum out. 1380 Sherbrooke St. W, ticket prices vary. Holiday schedule HERE..
I’m also fond of Pointe à Callière. Ignore the first level or two of the first building and head straight for the special exhibitions. Recently opened is a topic of personal interest: The Greeks — Agamemnon to Alexander the Great. The museum is open for it usual hours on Christmas Eve (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and, planning ahead, New Year’s Eve day as well! Pointe à Callière is at 165 Place D’Youville. See holiday hours HERE.
For many years, I was among those film snobs who thought the best part of Christmas was seeing the big holiday release at a Cineplex. ‘Tis the season for the films primping themselves for Oscar nominations. What can you expect to open on December 24th? Tim Burton’s Big Eyes is in the genre of Ed Wood. This film looks at Walter Keane, a maverick painter who rockets to fame for his waifs with gigantic eyes. Enjoy some Broadway on the screen with Into the Woods. Ever ready to take a critical look at society, Mike Leigh brings us Mr. Turner about landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, who apparently had a very dishy life. The Coen Brothers wrote an epic drama directed by Anglina Jolie: Unbroken. The words “epic” and “drama” tend to translate to “epic bore,” but the film’s subject lived through some exciting times. He is an Olympian and a war hero who survives 47 days on a raft after a plane crash, only to be put in a prisoner of war camp. White Bird in a Blizzard is playing/Quebec-premiering at the Dollar Cinema. And if you prefer your films subtitled, the Mandarin film, Love on the Cloud is at the AMC Forum. Of course, for films already released, my parents oohed and aahed at the Theory of Everything, my brother gave a slight thumbs up to Whiplash, and I’d give my vote to anything with Benedict Cumberbatch. There are two to choose from: The Imitation Game or The Hobbit:The Battle of the Five Armies.
After the Chinese food, the comedy. Creating a tradition in just two years (ba-dum-bum), McLean’s pub is hosting a second round of the Matzo Ball Coup Comedy show with Rachel Ganz as host and Robby Hoffman as the headliner. Coats and offerings of kosher food get you in for free and you can catch Geoffrey Applebaum, Alon Azimov, Daniel Carin, Lawrence Corber, Jeremy Dobski, Stephanie Ein, Devid Heti, Jon Selig, and Dan Laxer. McLean’s Pub (1210 Peel). December 24. 8 p.m.
A choice activity for any dreary night is going out to hear live music. Blind with Colin Perry and Peter Mika play at Barfly on December 24, offering up swing, ragtime, and blues.
Time Supper Club is keeping things moving with Oy to the World. Methinks they’re catering to a Jewish audience with that title. At any rate, on December 24 from 10:30 p.m. until 3 a.m., DJ Meir and Jason Mamane will be spinning tunes. $25.
On Christmas, you can pop out to Circus Afterhours. Egocentrix and Barolet are there if you need them. 917 St Catherine E. December 25 midnight until 8 a.m. $10.
Feeling orphaned? Well, Bar Passeport is providing a fine night of DJ action of DJ Draris and DJ Kommandandt spinning industrial, gothic, alternative, synthpop for all those with nowhere to go on December 24 from 10 p.m. onwards. 2037 St. Denis.
Blizzarts also has your ass covered on December 25 with Blizzmas. DJs Sexnobe, Promise, Drop Shadow, and more will be there from 9 p.m. on keeping the Plateau alive. 3956 ST. Laurent.
Know something else going on for all those who want to go out on Christmas Eve or Christmas night (Dec 24 and Dec 25)? Give us a shout at [email protected]