Montréal: an igloo in winter becomes a piñata in summer, with the party playlist provided by both the famous and those "playing real good for free" at festivals of African drumming, jazz, electronica, rock.
At the Jazz Festival, we caught The Lost Bayou Ramblers, whose zydeco tunes were on the soundtrack of the film "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and a jawdropping surf guitarist who is at least 75 years old. (Yes, at a 'jazz festival'.)
The city felt like revolving, impromptu cabaret: in a single day, a jazz trio performed on a terasse, a tango club danced in the park, a jug band thumped at the subway, and the musicians, at left, offered an impromptu serenade in a bar.
They obvioulsy aren't a bar band. We wondered, who stops by for a beer with his tuba?
The Grace Kelly exhibit at the McCord Museum displayed her haute couture wardrobe (including a well-used Kelly bag), letters and portraits.
My friend Judy thought Her Serene Highness's dresses traced an arc from elation to depression. The real Grace remained hidden behind the perfection of her image, despite the show's title, "Beyond the Icon".
I took a painting course, in French. My first effort, this rose, was an exercise in form, colour and patience. When our friend Bernard heard about my efforts, he gave me the generous gift of art supplies he'd inherited, including a burled-wood palette so patinaed with paint and wear that I'll display it, in memory of his friend Michel.
I met a gifted "real" artist, Beth Adams, who shares her work on her blog, The Cassandra Pages. She shows her watercolours and sketches, among other marvels. For a time, she completed one drawing every day, and so exquisitely.
Beth sings, gardens, sews, teaches meditation, owns a small press and graphic design business, and paints. She writes eloquently, bringing her eye and nuanced appreciation to The Cassandra Pages.
When Good & Company held a sale, it was time to choose a supple, airy chiffon scarf as my "Hello, 65" gift. Since we live in Little Italy, "Sicilian Specialities" is right at home. Which photo below is the scarf and which an actual display in a store on my street?
The top one! Folded, the print is less evident, but the colours meld beautifully:
|Jules and Etienne cut the communal cake|
What's better than Montréal in summer? Montréal in fall, when every last drop of light, every turning leaf is precious.
"And the sun pours down like honey
On Our Lady of the Harbour..."
sang Leonard Cohen in "Suzanne".
He was writing about this place, and, I like to imagine, this time of year, when we hoard the handful of remaining golden days before the deepening shadows of fall.
I hope you, too, have sunny summer souvenirs. Thank you for returning!