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Kurios Preview: Cirque du Soleil's 35th Touring Production Features Electro Swing, Rolla Bolla

Friday April 11, 2014
Kurios cirque du soleil touring show cabinet curiosites montreal evelyn reidKurios is Cirque du Soleil's 35th production in 30 years, a touring show premiering in Montreal this April. Image courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

Kurios , the name of Cirque du Soleil's latest touring show is on the verge of premiering worldwide, this April 24, 2014, under the Big Top in Montreal's Old Port, wrapping up in July. Touring Quebec City and then Toronto throughout the summer, the show will go on throughout the United States come fall.

Proposing a post-industrial, steampunk theme, the makers pen:

"What if you could alter reality at will? Delve into a world of curiosity where seeing is disbelieving: the world of KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities from Cirque du Soleil. The show immerses you in a mysterious and fascinating realm that disorients your senses and challenges your perceptions, leaving you to wonder: "Is it real, or just a figment of my imagination?"

Having had a chance to attend a media preview two weeks prior to Kurios' worldwide debut, it's safe to say that presented acts suggested as much. Here's what I saw.

Kurios cirque du soleil touring show cabinet curiosites montreal evelyn reidImage courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

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Braderie de Mode: 2014 Big Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers Now Through April 13

Thursday April 10, 2014
Braderie de Mode: 2014 Spring Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers Now Through April 13 Photo courtesy of Eve Gravel

The Braderie de Mode Québécoise, aka The Big Fashion Sale by Quebec Designers spring edition kicks off today at Marché Bonsecours and runs through Sunday, April 13, 2014, proposing sale prices 50% to 80% off suggested retail.

While advertised as such, my experience attending the sale suggests that range is more of a guideline than bona fide fact. I've seen more than a few sale prices in the 20% to 40% range which is not exactly what's advertised so just be aware of that. But white lies aside, the Braderie is the best opportunity consumers have of checking out what the bulk of local designers are producing, up close. Fashion shows are nice and all, but not every designer can afford to showcase their work in that manner. So in a way, the Braderie is a democratizing force for local fashion.

And my favorite part of all is that you can inspect fabric composition and quality up close, which in my opinion is THE most important decision-making variable to consider when building a functional wardrobe. I don't care how gorgeous the cut is, if the fabric is cheap and doesn't breathe, or wrinkles in all the wrong places after just a two-second pinch test, I know I'll be miserable wearing the piece. I can't properly gauge a designer collection I can't touch it --no one can-- and I don't have time to go to every boutique in the city to inspect the goods, so the Braderie is all sorts of perfect in those respects.

One last thing. Apart from a handful of exceptions, there were little to no private changing areas at past Braderies, so I'd recommend dressing strategically for the sale. Think leggings and layers (thin camisole underneath for women, wifebeater for men). That way, you can easily try on a top, shirt, skirt or dress on the spot. Or if you're bent on finding women's slacks, throw on a maxi dress. You can then easily try on pants anywhere without flashing the masses.

And travel light. It gets crowded and stuffy in there.

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Eating Local in Montreal: Sign-up Season for CSA Vegetable Baskets Is Now

Wednesday April 9, 2014
Eating Local in Montreal: Sign-up Season for CSA Vegetable Baskets Is NowDon't count on finding oranges in your CSA baskets --you'd have to be slightly insane to try growing oranges in Quebec, the polar opposite of subtropical Florida-- BUT pretty much everything else in the above photo will end up in your locally-grown CSA vegetable basket, depending on the week. Martin Poole / Getty Images

I'm nuts about vegetables. Nuts! Eating ten servings of fruits and veggies in the span of 24 hours is a bare minimum for me. Below five servings a day seems to correlate with my body feeling off, suboptimal, even lethargic. So if I had a few hundred dollars lying around to cover the upfront costs of joining community-supported agriculture coupled with a predictable schedule to allow for specifically-timed weekly pickups, I would sign up to receive homegrown veggie baskets in a heartbeat.

While I'm on the topic, who told you a diet high in fruits and vegetables is a luxury reserved for the elite? Let me guess. Someone who doesn't eat veggies and/or doesn't know how to cook from scratch and/or has it stuck in their head that expensive organic food is the only way to eat healthy.

You do realize that you can eat like a king with the means of a pauper, don't you? It's all strategy, folks.

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2014 Quebec Election Results: Liberal Majority Upsets PQ Minority

Tuesday April 8, 2014
2014 Quebec Election Results: Liberal Majority Upsets PQ MinorityAbove: Quebec's new Premier, Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard. Photo courtesy of the Quebec Liberal Party

Characterized by many political pundits as one of the dirtiest provincial election campaigns in recent history, yesterday's 2014 Quebec election results spelled things out rather clearly: don't divide Quebecers. A Quebecer is a Quebecer is a Quebecer, regardless of religion and what language was first learned as an infant.

The federalist, pro-Canada Liberal Party won a majority government last night, earning 70 of the Quebec National Assembly's 125 seats, with former neurosurgeon and current Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard earning the title of Quebec Prime Minister.

Former minority government party the Parti Québécois earned 30 seats, 24 down from the 2012 election which had granted them 54 seats. The Coalition Avenir Québec scored 22 seats, a three-seat gain compared to their 2012 election results. Polls had predicted much smaller numbers for the Coalition, believed to have ultimately split the Parti Québécois vote. Finally, Québec Solidaire scooped up three seats, a modest though significant increase from its two-seat win in 2012.

For the record, both the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire conspicuously included Quebec's separation from Canada as chief platform goals. Meanwhile, Coalition Avenir Québec, while founded and helmed by former Parti Québécois minister François Legault, insisted it was not interested in pursuing Quebec independence, though some voters ostensibly welcomed that position with caution bordering on skepticism, opting instead for a party with no ties to sovereignty, be they past or present.

In many cases a vote for the Liberal Party wasn't so much a vote of support as it was a vote AGAINST separation and talk of sovereignty. There is a veritable wave of fatigue gripping the province emanating from citizens who have downright had it with language and identity politics insinuating some Quebecers are more equal than others, identity politics that inspire exclusion, hate and mindless scapegoating, with a majority of voting constituents demanding government priorities be directed at rebuilding Quebec's economy, healthcare system and international reputation with zero energy dedicated to hidden or overt agendas set on creating "winning conditions" for separation from Canada.

A common sentiment expressed among political experts was that the 2014 Quebec election was the dirtiest one they recalled, with divisive wedge politics a center stage strategy employed by the Parti Québécois, who've arguably experienced one of the harshest voter backlashes in the party's history. Even Parti Québécois leader and now former Quebec Premier Pauline Marois lost her seat, subsequently stepping down from political life after nearly 35 years in the game.

For those unfamiliar with Quebec politics and what all this religion and language division talk is about, this analysis by CBC's Michelle Gagnon should offer some insight.

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