It’s Alive: Fantasia’s first days

The city’s craziest film festival launches tonight, plunging the city into a month-long carnival of chaos. With 160 films and several special events, the programming can be overwhelming to sort through, but the discriminating minds at Cult MTL are dedicated to steering you in the right direction.

As Nasty as They Wanna Be. Just Not Always as Funny

A friend of mine once argued that going out on New Year’s Eve is too sincere an attempt at a good time. It’s as though you’re admitting that the rest of the year will suck, so you’re going to party now. The Nasty Show — a gala featuring comedians rifling off racy, edgy, offensive material — is similarly earnest. But attending the show is, more than anything, a statement: you unabashedly favour crass, vulgar humour, and, good taste be damned, you’re going to see it performed.

Quickie flicks: M60 celebrates five years of short shorts

In a town awash with film festivals, it can be hard to stand out. But only one fest has no admission fee, no jury, and a strict length requirement of one minute. The Montreal 60 Second Film Festival (M60), currently celebrating its fifth year of existence, is throwing a party tonight, Thursday July 18, at which prospective filmmakers can sign up to participate, and are given one month to create their minute- long masterwork.

Girls just wanna rock

Judging solely by the blip-bloop and flim-flammery kids these days listen to, you’d be hard pressed to be hopeful for the future of rock ’n’ roll. Luckily, today’s teenage girls will be tomorrow’s rock stars — uh, well, make that in four years’ time (and with parental permission). Montreal’s Rock Camp for Girls takes in girls aged 10–17, many of whom have never touched a guitar or a pair of drumsticks, and churns out newly formed rockers who go on to perform an original song composed and written with only one intensive week’s worth of practice.

Just for Laughs and Zoofest

So, there’s a small, virtually unknown comedy festival in town right now called Just for Laughs, and its pervy little brother Zoofest is along for the ride. Here’s an offering of some of the anglo highlights. Tonight, Thursday July 19th is opening night for Australian comic and Super Mario lookalike Sam Simmons, in town for ten straight nights of absurdity in “About the Weather,” at Underworld. His set’s at 7 p.m. every night, and it’ll cost you $18.50.

Shrinking Woody: To Rome With Love

I can’t be the only person who, despite having been a pretty huge fan back in the day, gave up completely on Woody Allen after the atrocity of Celebrity, only to be reluctantly roped back in around Match Point or so, when critics and fans alike declared that he was back in form. There’s a funny thing about Allen, and I don’t mean his jokes: rather uniquely among artists in any medium, he gets a free pass from certain critics, like some kind of spoiled, entitled child, just for creating work that’s not terrible. Once again, he’s back with another not-terrible film. The latest in his European travelogue series, To Rome With Love is loose even by Allen’s ever-diminishing standards.

Grinding for cash

Skateboarders, fixed-gear cyclists, slackliners and more are set to show off their skills at the inaugural edition of Jackalope Fest, which invades the Olympic Park this weekend. The contest “came from the idea [of] bringing an action-sports event for everyone just to enjoy, and also recognize some new sports,” says Micah Desforges, Jackalope’s founder and producer.

Thursday, July 19

See what people had to say about the closing of the Mirror in a new edition of the Rant Line.

See Sam Simmons deliver his show “About the Weather” at 7 p.m. at Théâtre Ste-Catherine.

Stare at the stars through a powerful telescope and learn a thing or two about them from astrophysicist Vicky Kaspi at this month’s Public Astro Night at McGill. Rutherford Physics Building (3600 University, room 112), 8 p.m., free

Jan Svankmajer retrospective wraps up with Alice. Cinémathèque Québécoise (335 Maisonneuve E.),  6:30 p.m., $8/$7

See the MEG/ Indie Montreal hip hop showcase featuring Santiago’s Ana Tijoux and locally based Mexican bros Alquimia Verbal. Divan Orange (4234 St-Laurent), 9:30 p.m., $15

Hookers and homos join forces at POMPe to raise money for sex workers group Stella, which was recently stripped of its funding. DJs Plastik Patrik, JNNBNNRCK, Mess Mess and Like the Wolf will spin and burlesque group Sublimes Rondeurs will strut. Katacombes,  11 p.m., $5

Conundrum Press brings Quebec’s Michel Rabagliati and Halifax’s Claire Seringhaus to Drawn & Quarterly. Hear Rabagliati chat with Rupert Bottenberg about The Song of Roland, and Seringhaus present The Blaring House. , 7 p.m., free

M60, the festival of one-minute movies, throws a launch/registration party with performances by Catherine Kidd, Tom Mennier and Confabulation. Casa del Popolo (4873 St-Laurent), 8:30 p.m., free

The Fantasia film festival launches with DJs Cristobal Urbina, Mini and Mitz, with a live set by Sibian & Faun. Club 1234 (1234 de la Montagne), 9 p.m., free

Today’s Sounds

Our hip hop columnist asked me just last night, “What’s with all the girls wearing Nirvana shirts lately?” I could’ve responded with a question: “What’s with all the Expos hats, man?” It’s cyclical. I was a toddler in the early ‘80s, and developed a stack of ‘80s obsessions as a young adult. Likewise, a lot of the kids in these shirts and hats are sporting nostalgia for a time they barely remember — before Kurt Cobain put a shotgun in his mouth and before George W. Bush threw out the first ball for the Washington Nationals.