Read An E-Book Week

Looking for something new to read? Want to try a new genre? This is your week!

Smashwords.com is offering e-books at either deep discounts or for free all week during Read An E-Book Week. This is your chance to discover new authors and new books. Click here to browse the catalogue.

You will also find my short story collection on sale at 50% off. Use the coupon code RAE50 at checkout.

Hurry, the sale ends Saturday!

Pagoda Large Yellow

 

21 Swings Montreal

Montreal Swings into Spring

If you happen to be near Place des Arts between now and May 31st, you may want to take a few minutes to play. The installation 21 Swings is back on De Maisonneuve Street.

Montreal Swings

The motion of each swings triggers the musical notes of one of four instruments: piano, guitar, harp and vibraphone. When multiple swings are in motion, they create a melody. The notes change the higher you go. At night, the swings are illuminated. Yes, that’s me in the photo above making music and feeling like a kid again.

The installation is removed for the summer festival season, but will be back from August 6th to October 18th.

21 Swings ad

We Love You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

There’s one thing that David Chang, the main character in my book, Guitar Hero, and I have in common: it’s a love of Beatles music. I twisted and shouted to their songs as I grew up. My Chinese immigrant parents shook their heads in wonder when my brother, sister and I spent our allowance buying Beatles albums at the local Woolworth store. With my friends, Kim (blogger Tranquil Dreams; read her post about the exhibit here) and Jennifer, I got a chance to relive those times at the exhibit The Beatles in Montreal at Pointe-à-Callière museum.

Starting from the beginning as The Quarrymen, the exhibit tells their story through photos, memorabilia, posters, newspaper clippings and video clips which of course include their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The museum also recreated the famous rooftop session at Apple Studio in London. By hanging the screen from the ceiling, it feels as if you’re on the street with the crowd that day on January 30, 1969. You also have the chance to be the 5th Beatle, that is, if you have the courage to sing karaoke in a museum so quiet you can hear a pin drop. (We faked it.) Equally fascinating is the video on how the museum installed John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce.

The details surrounding their performance at the Montreal Forum on September 8, 1964 are the stuff of entertainment talk shows, like how the fab four rested inside the Forum while a fake limousine with four police officers wearing wigs distracted two thousand screaming fans outside.

The exhibit is a real blast from the past and runs until March 30, 2014.

There’s Music in the Air

I happened to be walking along Notre Dame Street West when I heard someone playing a pretty tune on a piano.  Following the music, I came upon a small park with a piano set in the middle. It seems that Montreal has designated some areas for public pianos and Montreal’s own jazz great, Oliver Jones, donated this particular piano in Parc Sainte-Cunegonde. The public, from beginners to accomplished pianists, are invited to play from 10 a.m. to 8p.m. every day. What a lovely idea!

The portrait of Oliver Jones was painted by Arly Padan.

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A Festival of Cultures

 

This past Saturday I went to the annual Festin Culturel held by the City of Brossard to celebrate the diverse nationalities and culture of its citizens. There were food stands representing 16 countries and not a hamburger or hot dog in sight! I ate samosas from India, crepes stuffed with meat and cheese, and honey cake from Russia, and a Colombian dish of fried plantain topped with meat. Delicious!

Considering Montreal had been pounded with either rain or hot, humid weather for most of the summer, the weather was perfect for enjoying the variety of outdoor entertainment and displays by local artists. One of the attractions of the evening was Lorraine Klaasen, a South African singer. The 2013 Juno award winner for World Music Album of the Year won the approval of the crowd with her dynamic performance.