By: Stuart Nulman
It was a full house at the Imperial Theatre last Wednesday night (Sept. 18), as the ninth edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival kicked off in grand style with the Canadian premiere of the film “Chasing Shakespeare” and a tribute to one of the film’s stars, veteran actor Danny Glover.
Glover, who is best known for his performances in such films as “The Color Purple” and the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, was honoured with the 2013 Humanitarian Award for his work championing civil rights, fighting apartheid in South Africa and racial profiling by taxi drivers in New York, and serving as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador focusing on poverty, disease and economic development in the Third World, and his current role as a UNICEF Ambassador.
After he was given the award by festival founder Fabienne Colas and program director Emile Castonguay, the 67-year-old Glover humbly accepted the honour by stating how he was born at a time when such social justice causes as equality for women, civil rights, and rights for farm workers were beginning to flourish.
“These days, with poverty, starvation and exploitation around, it’s up to the young people to step up to the table as artists, professionals and mothers and fathers to realize the importance of their moment of history is right now,” he said. “If these problems are not reversed, the potential of humankind is in jeopardy. The work that we do now will hopefully allows us to celebrate a better world for all, and a planet that will work for all of us, for all of humanity and for all of the species.”
The tribute was followed by the premiere screening of Norry Niven’s magical, spiritual drama “Chasing Shakespeare”, which tells the story of how a 40-year romance between a Black man and a Native American women developed in Arkansas during the early 1970s, and how the young woman’s passion for the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare becomes the link that brings the pair together. The very emotional film is well complemented by strong performances by Glover and Chelsea Ricketts, who portrays the young Venus Red Hawk, whom Glover’s character eventually falls in love with and marries.
Along with the 100 films that are going to be showcased at the Black Film Festival until September 29, other festival highlights include a special tribute event marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s monumental “I Have a Dream Speech” hosted by the Rev. Darryl Gray (September 24); a film talk with Fabienne Colas on the topic “Are the Screens Too White in Quebec’s Mixed Society?” (September 28); a special Haitian Movie and Show Night (September 21); and the screening of the festival’s closing film “Denis”, which also includes the awarding of the 2013 Vanguard Prize to Quebec filmmaker/producer Kim Nguyen for his efforts in raising awareness about Black realities through his films.
For more information about the 9th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival, go to www.montrealblackfilm.com.
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Local comic Walter J. Lyng is about to put a new twist to the late night talk show genre with “Night Fight”, a late night talk and variety show that will performed live onstage every month at the Mainline Theatre, 3997 St. Laurent Blvd., starting September 27 at 11 p.m. Lyng will be your host, along with musical director Leighland Beckman, as he welcomes pro wrestlers Giant Tiger and Twiggy from Battlewar, and musical guest Nick Raz. And add to that an opening monologue by Lyng and regular segments such as “The Top 38 List” and “Stupid Knife Tricks”, then you get an entertaining late night talk show that you don’t need a TV set to experience.
Tickets for the inaugural edition of “Night Fight” are $8 and $6 for students. The next edition will take place on October 25. For more information, call 514-559-5964.
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As a lead up to the latest edition of “Disney on Ice”, which will play at the Bell Centre from October 9 to 14 under this year’s theme “100 Years of Magic”, four Montreal media personalities will perform special readings from their favorite books from the world of Disney at three separate Loblaws locations (in their respective private party rooms).
It begins today (September 21) from 10 a.m. to noon, as CTV News entertainment reporter Christine Long reads from her favorite Disney book at the Loblaws in Kirkland (16,900 Trans-Canada Highway). Tomorrow (September 22), NRJ radio show host Phil Branch does a live reading at the Loblaws Angus store (2925 Rachel Street East) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. And on September 28, Virgin Radio morning show co-host Natasha Gargiulo and entertainment reporter Isabelle Lacasse from Rouge FM will do a Disney reading at the Loblaws Cavendish location (6600 St. Jacques Street) from 10 a.m. to noon. There will also be food to eat, colouring activities and a chance to win tickets to Disney On Ice.
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This weekend, the Friends of Mount Royal Cemetery invite everyone to enjoy the nature, history and art that this historical sight has to offer. First, there’s an Autumn Tree Tours that will be lead by Gerry Bull starting at 10 a.m. in French this Saturday and in English this Sunday. For history buffs, a tour of the graves of some of Mount Royal Cemetery’s most notorious Montrealers will be conducted by the cemetery’s heritage programs director Myriam Cloutier under the theme “Controversial Figures and Their Tumultuous Journeys” at 1 p.m. in French this Saturday and in French this Sunday; the tour begins at the main gate, located at 1296 Chemin de la Foret. Finally, the cemetery will hold its 7th annual photography exhibition entitled “Imagination” at the Funeral Complex from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday) and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday).
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