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Montgolfiere Weekly

An exploration of culture in its many forms

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Unmissable Chagall

By Patricia Lightfoot

When I think of Marc Chagall, I think of paintings I have seen in museums in Europe and North America that have a dream-like quality, featuring floating characters, washed in a rich and luminous blue. The superb exhibition “Chagall: Colour and music” at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts offers a whole other perspective on Chagall, the complete artist, who designed theatre sets, costumes for ballets and operas, tapestries and ceramics, and whose stained-glass windows illuminate many places of worship. Continue reading “Unmissable Chagall”

A conversation with Sarah Goodey

Please could you tell us a bit about yourself and your photography?

I have always taken pictures. I consider myself an artist who uses photography in her work. I mainly use analogue or film cameras, though I do have a high-quality digital camera on my phone. I also make cyanotypes, which involves placing objects like leaves or buttons directly onto using sun-sensitive paper and exposing them to light to make a contact print. Continue reading “A conversation with Sarah Goodey”

Welcome to Montgolfiere Weekly!

This blog exists because I wanted to do a different kind of writing than I do in my day job, and I even managed to persuade some of my friends to contribute their thoughts on culture in its many forms, from the visual arts, letters and music to human health, habits and customs, with occasional references to hot air ballooning. There is a whole world out there, and this is a small way of exploring it.

If you like what you find here, please visit us again. And if you would like to join the conversation by either commenting or sending me a contribution, just let me know. It would be great to hear from you — Patricia

 

A split life

By Patricia Lightfoot

This week my family celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of our arrival in Canada as visitors, though our landed-immigrant papers arrived a week after us. As we were driven down the Décarie Expressway in Montreal with our babies on our knees in May 1992, we looked at the cement all around and the trees without leaves and we wondered what we had done. The following day, walking around Montreal in the sunshine, perplexed by the mixture of what we knew of as early and late spring and summer flowers in the gardens, we realized that this might work. Continue reading “A split life”

A conversation about The Museum of Possibilities with Barbara Sibbald

Patricia Lightfoot

Barbara Sibbald’s collection of short stories, The Museum of Possibilities, was recently published by The Porcupine’s Quill Press

First, I should declare that Barbara Sibbald is a friend, a colleague and a contributor to this blog. Second, like one of her characters who is reading a short story in “Things We Hold Dear,” “I usually don’t read short stories. I like a longer relationship with my fictional company.” In spite of my usual preference for a more lengthy narrative, I found the stories in The Museum of Possibilities highly entertaining, being tightly constructed and inventive, and featuring unsparing observation of the human condition in its mundane failures, though these are recounted with a dark and witty relish. Continue reading “A conversation about The Museum of Possibilities with Barbara Sibbald”

Moomin magic

By Patricia Lightfoot

As a small group of long-time fans of the Moomin books, we were inexorably drawn to “Adventures in Moominland,” which was advertised as an “immersive, interactive exhibition” hosted by the Southbank Centre as part of “Nordic Matters” – a year-long celebration of Nordic art and culture. After an agonizing last-minute search for the venue, having approached the Southbank Centre for our timed tour by the Millennium Bridge, that is, essentially from the wrong side, we positioned ourselves with only a few minutes to spare in front of the “book cover” that would be the entrance to the exhibition. At the appropriate moment, our guide opened the book, then turned a cloth “page” and led our group of about a dozen adults out of central London and into a darkened forest. Continue reading “Moomin magic”

The list

My take on travel planning has always been impulsive, so I was intrigued to learn about a friend’s more methodical approach. This friend prefers not to leave a digital footprint, so her name is not included here. PL

 Please tell us about your list

As far back as I can remember, I have had what some people call a “bucket list.” It comes from my childhood, when my parents impressed upon us that we shouldn’t take life for granted and then regret missed opportunities. Embracing the next travel opportunity, both near and far, was a common topic of conversation and, arguably, the glue that connects us as a family. Some travel adventure stories make for great dinner conversation, like my father recounting his unorthodox journey to find the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or my sibling’s first trek to Machu Picchu. While other stories, often the most meaningful experiences in my view, are best shared only with those we love. I remember what the sun felt like while exploring the Cinque Terre or how the air smelled like citrus in Capri, which doesn’t exactly make for tantalizing dinner conversation, but these are some of my favourite memories nonetheless. Continue reading “The list”

My Little Free Library

by Marnie Wellar

A few years ago in Montreal, I saw a charming little wooden cupboard set up on a post outside a coffee shop. A notice on the little door offered free books, and the cabinet had a variety of books inside. What a beautiful idea, full of goodness! I decided I would make one someday.

Last year I was deep into a major DIY project: a minimal-waste, salvaged-materials sustainable kitchen renovation. It’s a rewarding approach, but also painstaking and protracted. Taking a week off to make a Little Free Library would be the perfect side project, one I could enjoy accomplishing quickly. Continue reading “My Little Free Library”

A pint of plain and #dotMED16

by Pat Rich

It was probably inevitable that what was intended to be a sincere post about a unique conference in Dublin that combines the humanities and medicine (#dotMED16) would ramble a tad unsteadily into ruminations about Flann O’Brien and the Platonic theory of forms as it relates to Irish pubs.

Frankly, it was Samuel Shem, the keynote speaker at the dotMED conference, who brought the disparate elements together when he explicitly referenced O’Brien’s The Third Policeman and how Shem had incorporated the two large (both in size and importance) policemen from that book into his own novel, The House of God. Continue reading “A pint of plain and #dotMED16”

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