Montreal Hit List: Fête St-Jean Festivities (including free outdoor Rufus and Martha Wainwright concerts!), Art Exhibits Galore, Handsome Furs Album Launch & Prince!

La Fête Nationale aka la Saint Jean, Fête St Jean Baptiste, marks the birthday and/or beheading of Quebec’s ill-fated patron saint, St John the Baptist. According to tradition, the first North American St-Jean celebrations occurred on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River on the evening of June 23, 1636 with a bonfire and five cannon shots. Revellers across the province will attempt to recapture some of that zany Jesuit fun with a slew of St-Jean parties.

THURSDAY JUNE 23

10pm Fete St-Jean Baptiste: Fred Everything and Patriotes @ Espace Griffintown, 1314 Rue Olier. Performances by Fred Everything, Max Herbert, Seb Fauteux  & Phil Larochelle and others. Funds will be raised for flood victims in the Montérégie region. Tickets $20, for more info, see the facebook events page.

FRIDAY JUNE 24

1pm St Jean La Fête nationale du Québec à Montréal: Le Grand Défilé des Géants @ Sherbrooke Street. In this parade, the giants of Quebecois history (like Jeanne Mance, Maurice Richard & René Lévesque) will be featured alongside musicians, dancers, and circus performers. Starts at Sherbrooke + Fullum, moving east along Sherbrooke until Pie-Xi. Free.

3pm St Jean La Fête nationale du Québec à Montréal: Le Grand Spectacle @ Parc Maisonneuve, corner Sherbrooke & Pie IX. Hometown heroes Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, Éric Lapointe and Robert Charlebois and more perform at this year’s St Jean Grand Spectacle. Free. Musical Performances start at 9pm, St Jean festivities in the park run from 3pm-midnight.

8:30pm Slapshot –Version québécoise! @ Blue Sunshine Psychotronic Film Centre, 3660 St-Laurent, 3rd floor. Blue Sunshine marks St Jean with a screening of the Quebecois version of 1977 hockey flick Slapshot. Brush up on your La Belle Province slang while taking in a cult classic.

In other hit list event news, WEDNESDAY JUNE 22 features a trio of art exhibition openings:

6pm Summertime in Paris – Kindling Vernissage @ Parisian Laundry, 3550 St. Antoine O. This year’s edition of Summertime in Paris features five artists – Jaime Angelopoulos, Chloe Desjardins, Luc Paradis, Rachel Shaw & William Villalongo – inspired by the theme of “kindling.” Show runs until July 30th.

6pm Concordia Fine Arts Ninth Annual Graduating Students Exhibition Vernissage @ VAV Gallery, 1395 René Levesque O. Featuring artwork from Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts graduates and undergraduates, such as Lise Latreille, Florence Gagnon, Mathieu Ball and many more. Vernissage 6-8pm, show runs until June 30.

7pm Data: Salon IX: Adam Basanta + Emily Gan @ Eastern Bloc, 7240 Clark. The ninth and final instalment of the Data: Salon series for the 2010 – 2011 season. Adam Basanta will present an audiovisual installation, entitled “object / field” while artist and resident documenter Emily Gan will present a retrospective of her photo and video documentation of past editions of Data: Salon. Till 10pm.

FRIDAY JUNE 24 & SATURDAY JUNE 25

11:30pm Prince @ Metropolis, 9 Ste. Catherine St. E. Oh, and BTW, did we mention His Royal Purpleness is coming to town? Yes, none other than Prince will playing two sexy night time shows as part of the Montreal Jazz Fest. Tickets $155-175 admission.com. Likely the best hundred-and-seventy-five bucks you’ll spend all year.

SATURDAY JUNE 25

8pm Handsome Furs Album Launch, with guests USA Out of Vietnam + Tops @ Cabaret du Mile-End, 5240 Parc. On the off chance you’re not all sexied-out, Montreal favourite the Handsome Furs launch their new record, “Sound Kapital” out soon on Subpop. With USA Out of Vietnam and Tops. Tickets $20.  

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