Updates from June, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:00 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Kent Nagano plans to leave the MSO in 2020. TVA link plays video.

    • Matt G 23:40 on 2017/06/29 Permalink


      He’s done great things for the MSO. Plus, he’s a really well-respected figure in his world. I named my cat after him.

    • EmilyG 08:36 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      I’ll be sad to see him go. He’s so well-liked here.

    • carswell 16:43 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      Nagano has been, on the whole, good for the OSM, but 16 years is a long enough run for any conductor. I view his decision to leave as acknowledging that. And given the conservatism and predictability of the OSM’s programming in recent years, I can’t say I’m sorry to see him go. There’s not a single concert in the 2017-2018 season that I and friends I attend concerts with are interested in. It hasn’t always been the case, even under Nagano’s reign, but these days orchestras in places like Pittsburgh, Miami (New Word Symphony) and Seattle, let alone Los Angeles, are far more wide-ranging and adventurous.

      The OSM is a world-class ensemble and now has a beautiful hall to play in. We deserve more than yet another Beethoven symphony cycle. Last season’s Sibelius sesquicentennial went by virtually uncelebrated. About the only Stravinsky played these days are chestnuts. Ditto more contemporary — and popular! — composers like John Adams. Performances of works by “safe” 20th century composers like Lutoslawski and Ligeti are rare birds. Nagano worked with Messiaen but the only work of his we hear these days is the Turangalîla Symphony (which, if I’m not mistaken, has now been programmed three times in the new hall). Montrealers can only read about — not experience — contemporary works like John Luther Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean. Etcetera.

      Here’s hoping Nagano’s replacement is more energetic and daring, more of an explorer. Having had “choeur” seats (the bleachers behind the stage, which afford a close-up view of the musicians and a face-forward view of the conductor) at a couple of stupendous concerts conducted by Vasily Petrenko, I’ve got to wonder whether he’s on the short list. He appears to have a strong connection the musicians, is popular with audiences and, if I’m not mistaken, has been invited back every season since his first appearance here (is that true for any other foreign conductor?).

    • ant6n 17:29 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      He moved from Berlin to Montreal the same year I did. I used to see him a lot back in Berlin because I was able to get cheap concert tickets via my high school; classical music is much less affordable here in Montreal.

    • EmilyG 21:44 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      When I was in university, I could get inexpensive tickets to many OSM shows. I don’t know if that’s the case any longer. I usually got them on the same day as the concert (it helped that it was near McGill and I could go down to the Place des Arts box office in a break between classes to get tickets for that night’s show.)

    • EmilyG 21:46 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      carswell, I agree it would be nice to have more adventurous programming.

    • js 09:48 on 2017/07/01 Permalink

      I got to see him conduct something by Pierre Boulez a few years ago. Unusually for classical music shows, he tried to head off the bewildered hostility of the audience beforehand with an odd explanation of the music as having something to do with Roy Orbison’s slurred pronunciation of the chorus of the song “Pretty Woman.” Nobody was convinced.

      Another time at the MSO during the past few years I saw a performance of Ligeti’s Poem Symphonique for 100 Metronomes and the seething enmity among the lumpen bourgeoisie in the hall was palpable. It quickly became evident that a Rite of Spring-style riot was in the offing should they dared to have presented a longer version, like the 20-minute one I have. That night also featured a lengthy boring introduction. Typical sentiment summed up by a comment overheard by my then-gf in the ladies’ room during intermission: “I didn’t like the talking and I didn’t like the tick-tocking.” Steve Reich’s Clapping Music was also on the program that night, and it went over about as well as you would imagine.

    • js 09:59 on 2017/07/01 Permalink

      Interestingly, his commitment to modern music is prominently featured on his bio page at the MSO site: http://kentnagano.com/osm

  • Kate 21:01 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    An arrest has been made in the 2014 shooting death of Steven Célestin in a bar on Park Avenue. Daniel Renaud goes into some detail about the background of the incident, the blue and red gangs and the revenge killing of another young man a couple of months later.

  • Kate 19:17 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The woman who chased an alleged thief in her car and rode him down on his bike will not be charged.

    • steph 22:00 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      It’s curious how she won’t be charged because the victim didn’t want to press charges. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and it’s not usually up to civilians if criminal charges are laid.

    • Kate 23:19 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      I agree. It seems odd to me too.

    • Raymond Lutz 13:57 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      If she had a gun, she simply would have shot him… Much safer for EVERYBODY than chasing him around in a SUV! Guns make us safer. And anyone saw the latest NRA ad? Guns will protect us from Anarcopanda!

    • Kevin 22:54 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      Summer is when a bunch of know-nothings write articles and start believing everything police say, and interpreting it via what they’ve seen on American television.
      The victim may have refused to make a statement, and so police may not wish to recommend charges, but it is almost always up to the DPCP to lay charges

  • Kate 19:11 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Some roads will be closed for Canada Day festivities. Also possibly useful lists of what’s open and closed in general, events planned to celebrate the day, more traffic notes.

  • Kate 09:39 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The previously classy Chateau apartment building on Sherbrooke will be wrapped in a six‑storey advertising banner for Jaguar in order to help pay for repairs to the building’s masonry.

    (But see update below.)

    • Taylor C. Noakes 12:57 on 2017/06/29 Permalink


    • Ian 16:08 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      Jeez, and people call graffiti an eyesore.

    • Tim 19:34 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      Good on the board of directors for coming up with a clever plan. Construction work in the multiple millions of dollars split across 126 units would make for a very large assessment. The advertising is only up until the end of September. So long as it’s legal, what’s the big deal?

      With the number of older buildings in need of repairs in this town, expect to see this more often.

    • SteveQ 00:00 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      Great idea. I love it, as long as the advertising is ”classy” and ”decent”. Many ugly buildings should be covered with similar advertising all year long !

    • ste.ph 14:02 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

    • Kate 14:36 on 2017/06/30 Permalink

      Thank you for the update, ste.ph.

  • Kate 09:37 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Two women fighting after bar-closing time downtown crashed through a second-storey window and landed on the ground. Injuries were minor, charges may be pending.

    • Blork 09:43 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      This is one of those stories that should provide an “OMG!” reaction, but for some reason I find it kind of hilarious. (It would be different if the injuries were not minor.) There’s something about fighting people crashing through a window that just seems so “Wild West.” In this case, it’s particularly weird because I just ate at that A&W on Tuesday, and I sat at the window next to the one these women went through.

      (Confession: I don’t eat fast food burgers but for some reason I make an exception for A&W.)

    • Viviane 11:07 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      Seems like a typical scene from an action movie. Perhaps we’re becoming desensitized to the idea that it can happen for real.

  • Kate 09:29 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Open Door centre, displaced from St. Stephen’s Anglican because the church is being sold off, may move to a different church in Little Burgundy. While the headline emphasizes that some residents are concerned about the blow to their property values the article also quotes another neighbour who’s fine with it, so the presentation is unnecessarily negative.

  • Kate 03:15 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Had a chance tonight to observe the city’s new LED street lighting. Workers have been excavating Jarry on and off for months, but new sidewalks and road paving are finally emerging from the chaos around the metro.

    The environs of the station had been unlit for weeks. It was tricky to negotiate the ever-changing construction geography, including piles of gravel serving as sidewalk ramps, in the dark. But now the new lighting is up, and on, at least on the south side. The north side still has the older lighting, allowing a comparison of the yellower, dimmer sodium lighting to the bluer and presumably more daylight-like spectrum.

    I couldn’t tell whether these are the 4000K lights the city initially invested in (as mentioned in this item from January) or whether they’re the warmer, 3000K versions the mayor kinda sorta promised to switch to, after doubts were sown about the effects the brighter and colder (but cheaper) lights could have on people and other living beings.

    • Blork 09:29 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      What are your impressions? Was the color difference drastic? Did you feel discombobulated under the LED lights? Was it harsh on the eyes when you looked up? Or did it feel only slightly different?

    • carswell 09:36 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      More importantly, were you able to fall asleep after exposure to all that bluer light? The time stamp on your post could indicate otherwise…

    • Kate 09:57 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      Blork, it felt a little unnatural because it really is closer to daylight. The lamps themselves are tiny so it’s a weird effect, all this light from a tiny little dot way up on a pole. But the street looked very odd, half blue LED light and half yellowy sodium – I haven’t seen a whole street bathed in the LED stuff yet.

      I would not want to be living in one of the upstairs flats along there, especially if my bedroom window were in front.

      I think it’s better to have less lighting and let our eyes adapt. We don’t need daylight levels of light for 24 hours.

      Workers were still doing things to the road surface after midnight and my first thought when I popped out of the metro was they’d put up work floodlights for them, then I was like, good grief, is it always going to be like this? But the light was definitely coming from the new poles they’d been installing.

      carswell, I usually get to sleep before 3:30, but I’d had some good news and was feeling too chirpy to sack out. I don’t think I was exposed to the lights long enough to mess with my circadian rhythms. Yet.

    • Chris 10:02 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      But if we had less lighting, it’d be scary and not safe. Sigh.

    • Blork 11:47 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      I agree that less light is better at night (not to the point of being scary, but like you say, it doesn’t have to feel like daytime). I’m also not a fan of the bright pin-point effect you get with LEDs. It can be harsh and a strain on the eyes.

      I’m not an expert on lighting or sound design, but I have an interest in them, and it kills me how we let companies who don’t seem to have any interest in it at all design and implement lighting and sound solutions. (I’ll save the sound rant for another day…)

      I suspect the people behind these LED street lights are tech people, not lighting people. Hence the too-cold light with no concern about the effects. Also, the pinpoints. BTW, both of these problems can be solved by putting a diffuser over the LED points. The diffuser could have a yellowish tint to shift the spectrum, and the diffuser would, well, diffuse the light so it is softer and less harsh.

      BUT NO! Because that would cost an extra few bucks per lamp. And more importantly, people who talk about lighting quality are dismissible “flakes” like the people who talk about climate change and other fake news. Sad!

    • mare 13:55 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      If these look like daylight as Kate noted, they might be 4000K. There are cities in the US that got successfully sued by their citizens and they now have to replace all their LED streetlights. Let’s hope that won’t happen in Montreal.


    • JaneyB 16:56 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      Very interesting. I’m gonna have to make a field trip up there to see the difference. The ‘work floodlight’ impression is worrisome. The excess blue-light is really a huge problem for our bodies whether it’s screen time or public lighting. @Blork, now you have me dreaming of a city where the public lighting is done by lighting designers. They are magicians… if only!

  • Kate 01:46 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Au Pied-du-Courant, to be vacated by the SAQ next year, has been bought by Télé-Québec and SODEC.

    • carswell 08:39 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      I wonder what will happen to the ancillary facilities that the SAQ has set up in the building. For example, there’s a wine museum (built not that long ago at considerable expense), a large complex of wine cellars that individuals can rent, the SAQ’s own huge wine cellar (another showcase facility), the historic Maison des Gouverneurs, which is set up as a meeting/dining/catering facility, etc.

      The location of the SAQ’s future head office, out in a hard-to-reach (especially by public transit) industrial wasteland north of Notre Dame and between CFB Longue-Pointe and the Lafontaine tunnel, must be one of the most soulless urban landscapes in Montreal. Ugly, metal-clad, largely windowless, warehouse-style buildings set behind parking lots; no cafes, deps, shops or other gathering places; buzzing overhead high-voltage power lines; a constant flow of semi-trailer trucks; deserted sidewalks in bad repair and exposed to splashes from speeding vehicles; virtually no trees or shade; a few barren expanses of poorly maintained lawn; chain-link fencing everywhere you look… Except for a few who live nearby and whose commute will be reduced, all the head office employees I’ve spoken with are dreading the move.

    • Kate 09:21 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      The final paragraph says the SAQ is keeping its cellar at Au Pied-du-Courant but makes no mention of a museum or of the Maison des Gouverneurs.

    • carswell 09:40 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      @Kate Missed that in my quick, pre-caffeinated read-through. In any case, glad to hear the cellar renters aren’t being kicked out. That would have created all kinds of problems for them (a surprising number of whom aren’t particularly affluent).

    • SteveQ 09:51 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      That move from the SAQ is hard to understand, even though financially speaking is probably better for them. But in terms of human/employees life quality and in terms of revitalizing a neighborhood, it would have been better if the SAQ remained in that same area and the other two entities moved across the street (or the other way around) in a new project to be built soon. It would have created some sort of small goverment hub while at the same time participating in the revitalisation of this run down area. The SQ head office is nearby as well as an Hydro-Québec office building.

    • carswell 11:22 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      Cost cutting is undoubtedly the prime motivating factor. The company has just slashed about 20% of its head office workforce, and budgets for just about everything else (donations, sponsorships, outsourcing, professional services, catering, etc.) have been severely reined in.

      The next focus will likely be on reducing the square footage of SAQ stores, all of nearly all of which are rented (smaller stores = less rent), and turning them into pickup points for online purchases. The Inspire points card program lets the SAQ track what each member-customer buys, and the monopoly will use the data to precisely target a smaller in-store offer to the customers that frequent the store.

      The stated reason for the changes is to lower retail prices, which have been cut by $1.40 on many hundreds of core products since the fall of 2016 (and another round of cuts may be coming). Theories as to the real reason abound: to alleviate pressure to privatize; to make the company more privatizable; to polish the image of the executives; to curry favour with the shareholder (the provincial government); to turn the company into a lean and mean sales force equipped to deal with the challenges of a changing marketplace; etc. Only time will tell which, if any, are accurate.

  • Kate 01:29 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The new public square planned to take form above the Ville-Marie by 2022 will be called La Place des Montréalaises.

  • Kate 00:56 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Mark Lafleur, whose tribulations are news only because of whose son he is, has been sentenced to two years in prison on a string of charges enumerated in the item. He’s bound to spend only a fraction of that time behind bars.

  • Kate 00:40 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Jean-Talon market plans to formalize its donation of fruit and vegetables unsold at the end of the day. Apparently 200 tons of edible food have been chucked out yearly.

  • Kate 00:28 on 2017/06/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Supposed vegetarians vandalized a butcher shop in Griffintown overnight Tuesday to Wednesday with bricks wrapped in anti-meat messages.

    • Ephraim 07:58 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      To what end? It did nothing!

    • Chris 09:59 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      It got media coverage. The perpetrators may find that a win.

    • Kevin 10:16 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      That reminds me: tine to visit 3734

    • Ephraim 12:24 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      Actually, negative media coverage. Who do you sympathize with the business or the people who are now vandalizing and essentially terrorizing a businessman.

    • Chris 18:53 on 2017/06/29 Permalink

      One might argue “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”.

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