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Canada, Montreal: “Birthmark” Play Reveals Cultural Baggage of Montreal Jewish vs Palestinian Kids

Let’s start with the aim of the Teersi Duniya Theatre group itself, which is to highlight theater focusing on social justice. Different cultures get to take the stage, whether they be Indigenous, Palestinian, Israeli, Armenian, Rwandan, Iranian, Turkish or whatever. The theatre’s goal, as mentioned by their artistic director Rahul Varma, is that we are all one people and it takes stories of everyone else to see ourselves.  Varma says, “the only way to tell stories in a new way is to get new storytellers into the room”.

So Stephen Orlov’s story Birthmark is about families. In writing this, he was asking himself why Jews who founded Israel to end their centuries of oppression were now dispossessing another people that had lived there for centuries. Michelle Soifer, the director, says we have in this play, “two young adults filled with passion and drive…  and the chutzpah to do something about it”.

Canada as a nation is made up of many communities of people who may have been displaced by war and conflicts. Living here in Montreal we have Jewish and Palestinian cross currents. Though families  may have immigrated here and now raise their families in this safe haven, the memories of their living history or those of their parents will always shape them. The children get stuck between the two solitudes: perhaps the need to avenge their families’ past or to just ride along safely here for their future.

Though this is a story of the Israeli vs. Palestinian conflict, it raises the universal problem of parents or caregivers who live with a family member who thinks differently, or even perhaps might be mentally challenged or elderly, and the parent must learn to live with the pain of not being able to fix things (which they might have caused), or even change them.

Natalie Tannous gives a strong performance as a mother conflicted by secrets in the past and fears for her child ‘s future.  Howard Rosenstein is her gentler counterpart, with his own untold secrets and the consequences of not listening to a child. Stephen Spreekmester creates two very different characters, and does them well – one of an observant Rabbi and one of a tough RCMP officer.  Patrick Keeler  as Nelson, the Jewish child finding solace in religion, and Dalia Charafeddine as Karima secretly planning revenge for her parent’s death, give us two very realistic diametric opposites on both sides of this divide.

The simplicity of Sabrina Miller’s set design, using floor squares and wall hangings to identify rooms, walls and doorways was very effective.

We learn that words matter: why do we refer to the Israelis as extremists but the Palestinians as terrorists?

Location: Mai Centre, 3680 Jeanne-Mance
corner: Milton
Dates: Nov 3-18, 2018
Price: $17 – $25
Tel: 514-982-3386
www.m-a-i.qc.ca

 

Canada – Montreal – Go to the Nasty Show while it’s here – Just for Laughs 2017

I have not seen a nasty show since the days of Bobby Slayton, so I wondered how I would find it. I was actually very pleasantly surprised to find that the show was not so nasty,

Ari Shaffer

Ari Shaffer

but WAS so funny. Don’t get me wrong – there was plenty of swearing and 4-letter words, especially f___ heard incessantly, but we found ourselves laughing out loud more than we had at the galas recently.

Ari Shaffir as host was definitely qualified and funny, with some great lines about Orthodox Jews and their clothing, and about New York City.

Robert Kelly was the first performer, and his description of potty-training a toddler brought me all the way back in time, when my toddler(s) resisted sitting down and doing their thing, preferring to sit in a dirty diaper instead. He discussed how he was taken aback when he realized that he probably has only 30 summers left in his life.

Robert Kelly

Robert Kelly

Yamaneika Saunders, herself a large person, joked about being fat and black, and had the audience in tears, especially when discussing black-boy weed.

Jimmy Carr was next, and he came out with a list of one-liners in a notebook, roasting Montreal, Donald Trump (when Donald Trump took office, little did he know), a takeoff on the word “cunt”, and pedophiles.

Godfrey followed with his comparisons of Trump and Trudeau, a diatribe about vegetarians, and his amazement about vaginas (“people actually come out of there, whole groups of people”).

The show was closed by Big Jay Oakerson covering the topic of buttf__king in prison.

Yamaneika Saunders

Yamaneika Saunders

Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr

Godfrey

Godfrey

Big Jay Oakerson

Big Jay Oakerson

Happily, there was no serious heckling as happened the day before. If anything, the audience was standing up to urge the comedians on and to show their glee over the performances.

The show continues until Saturday night the 29th at the Metropolis, 59 Ste-Catherine St. E. Prices range from $45 to $60.

http://www.hahaha.com/en/show/nasty-show-0

 

 

Canada – Winter Break Idea: See Wildlife Up Close in Canadian Safari at Parc Omega

If  you’re in the Montreal or Ottawa area,  you are only 1 1/2 hours away from an exciting safari adventure. Parc Omega is the perfect day outing for kids (and folks) of all ages. It’s an 800 hectare park where the animals roam free and you are “caged” in your car. It’s such an easy drive to be able to come face to face with Canadian wildlife: reindeer, elk, arctic wolf and fox, bison, musk ox, turkey, boar, coyote, black bear, and many kinds of deer.IMG_0362

Along a 12-kilometere safari nature route which takes you past lakes, meadows, small valleys, forests and rocky hills, you meander at your own pace. You can pick up bag of carrots at the visitor center (or bring your own), and as you slowly make your way through, you are allowed to open the windows to feed the wildlife. Kids are thrilled that they do not have to be in their car seats here and can flit from side to side of the vehicle to say hello to the animals.

You tune your radio to a station which fills you in on all sorts of information about the species you will be seeing.

  • We learned which males are good daddies and stay around to raise the youngsters and which ones only show up for mating season.
  • I never knew that the musk oxen’s heads are strong as hammers and they butt and knock everything down. Their quarters are specially built to withstand their strength.IMG_5699
  •  You pass by low slung “condos” for boars designed to keep the big predators out.
  • Coming here in winter gives you the opportunity to see how the arctic fox blends into the snowscape.

About 2/3 through, there’s a place to stop,  get out to stretch legs and visit some wooden buildings for bathrooms, gifts, food and hot cocoa. Friendly deer are in the parking area to get a snack too – those carrots – buy lots.

This is one experience that all Canadian families should take advantage of. It’s not only educational and fun, but will bring lasting memories for the whole family.IMG_0369

Location: Parc Omega is a safari park in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, Quebec, Canada
Address: 399 Route 323 North, Montebello, QC J0V 1L0 Click for map Google Map

Phone: (819) 423-5487
www.parcomega.ca

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Canada – Ontario Weekend Getaway: Low Fat Donuts, Fair Trade Coffee, Chainsaws and Friendly Alpacas

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Why not get away with your family to Almonte, ON, just west of Ottawa . The very first reason is that Ed Atwell of Healthy Food Technologies (hft) has figured out how to make low-fat donuts that are scrumptious. He “tricks” the donuts by frying them (in zero trans fat oil) for 1/2 the time and then baking them at the same temperature. Watch the video to see him explain the process he invented.

Now take a walk around the corner and pick up your to-go-with coffee at fair trade high quality Equator Coffee Roasters. They roast the beans right there, having bought them from small-scale farming communities and paid the farmers well. Do not  miss the Oh-so-Canadian maple-flavored latte. It’s worth driving there just for that! Kids can enjoy the hot chocolate.coffee


Next you can pick up snacks for the car or yummies to take home at Dandelion Foods co-op before a 45 min. drive to Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp. D
andelion Foods co-op sells whole, local and organic foods and some for specialty diets. Here you can buy the famous Hummingbird chocolate bars favored by Prime Minister Trudeau. Note the PB & Joy (with peanut butter) and the spicy Mayan.  Please bring back the Empire Cheese caramelized onion cheddar cheese for me.
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For lunch and fun, at Wheelers Pancake House you can visit the Maple Museum and the Chainsaw & Logging museum and the kids can have fun in the playground. Handy men and women will be mesmerized by Mark Wheeler’s dad Vernon’s collection of hundreds of chainsaws. Everyone will enjoy his “largest collection of pure maple syrup artifacts” which help explain the history of the maple sugar industry. From First Nations wooden spigots to the plastic lines of today, syrup pour-ers, molds, pails, and everything else related to this sweet topic, it’s all here at this 38-year family business. Don’t forget to leave room for the freshly made pancakes and delicious syrup right from their trees.
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For the grand finale, we visited Keith and Elizabeth Adam’s alpacas and llamas at their  Serendipity Farm. For retirement they decided to raise alpacas for the fun of it. The couple exudes their enjoyment of spending their golden years with these elegant, fluffy friends. They’ll chatter about the little quirks of each of the animals as well as the work associated with raising them.

Alpacas produce fiber that is as fine as cashmere, soft, silky and much warmer than sheep’s wool, while also wicking moisture away from the body.alpacas
In their little shop you can buy scarves, gloves, purses, as well as fiber felted sheets, alpaca and fiber rovings and handspun yarn.

Leave some time too for the local shops which wind their way along the downtown streets. Yes there’s plenty to do in Lanark County for a low-key interesting getaway weekend. We are not sure how this area attracted so many hippie/free trade/entrepreneurial types who seem to care for the planet. You can feel virtuous spending time and money in this town.

Equator Coffee Roasters, 451-A Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0, Tel: 613-256-5960
www.equator.ca

Dandelion Foods, 541 Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0,  Tel: 1-613-256-4545
www.dandelionfoods.ca

Healthy Food Technologies, 25 Industrial Rd., Almonte ON  Tel: 613-256-9900
(HFT) https://www.facebook.com/HFTinc

Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp, 1001 Highland Line, McDonalds Corners(Lanark Highlands), ON K0G 1M0 Tel: 613-278-2090
www.wheelersmaple.com

Serendipity Farm Alpacas & Llamas,  929 South Lavant Rd, Lanark, ON K0G1K0  Tel: 613-259-3304 or 613-222-6303
www.serendipityalpacas.ca

www.lanarkcounty.ca

 

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – Voiles en Voiles Pirate Ship

Voiles en Voiles is a family-oriented park in the Old Port of Montreal, based on a pirate ship and consisting of aerial climbing, zipping, wall climbing and inflatable bouncing games. Voiles en Voiles Pirate ShipThis is an idea of what you are up against at Voiles en voiles.

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – Old Montreal’s Voiles de voiles

View of the Voiles de voiles Pirate Ship adventure from the SOS Labyrinthe in Old Montreal. The Voiles consists of games, aerial courses and bouncy castles that can keep you occupied for hours.

voiles

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – SOS Labyrinth at Vieux-Port de Montréal

The SOS Labyrinth is one of the great family attractions at Montreal’s Old Port. Essentially, you have to make your way through this huge complex maze and find 4 items: the Captain’s hook, a pair of Dutch wooden shoes, a travel wallet and a Cuban pitchfork. The stories behind these items can be found on the wall as you enter the labyrinth, and they are also on their web site. Plan to spend about an hour here.  labrinth

 

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – CJAD’s Ken Connors

Here’s Sandra with Dave Fisher’s successor on CJAD, Ken Connors.

Ken Connors

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – CJAD’S Dan Laxer and Dave Fisher

Stan and Sandra with Dan Laxer and Dave Fisher during his retirement party at CJAD.

Dan Laxer & Dave Fisher

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – Dave Fisher’s Retirement Celebration

This weekend we celebrated the retirement of Dave Fisher after 32 years of hosting radio programs at CJAD. Seated from left to right are Dan Laxer, Dave Fisher. Tommy Schnurmaker, Barry Morgan and Aaron Rand. The usual Sunday morning Trivia Show took place in front of a live audience of CJAD staff, broadcasters and former on-air guests, who participated in answering the questions along with the radio audience.

Dave Fisher's Retirement Party