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As those who pray the Rosary are aware, God has made a world overflowing with Glorious, Sorrowful, and Joyful Mysteries. Still, much of the Lord’s handiwork remains inscrutable to the feeble minds of men. For example, one might wonder at the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, or unimaginable breadth the Sargasso Sea. Why these mountains? one might wonder. Why this sea? I pose a less mystical question: What’s the deal with Montreal?
Montreal flaunts its own obscurity. Many of its citizens remain contemptuous of warmongering Americans, and are proudly Canadian. Still, a decade ago, Quebec almost seceded from Canada! Of course, this secession movement was partly grounded in the Francophone debate—-that is, Montreal’s precious “Frenchness.” Yet, the denizens of Montreal, with their bizarre accents and questionable condiment preferences, are spurned by Parisians! A speck of transplanted European culture languishing in a frozen hinterland, Montreal is left to its own peripheral devices. These include bilingual street signs and would include David Cronenberg, were he not from Toronto.
I was struck with “Montreal confusion” while watching Les Momie de Palerme, who opened my show at La Casa del Populo. In 2007, I have not seen a better avant-quartet who performs performs better electrochamber-cum-minimalist works whilst making shaving cream sculptures. I even had a chance to regard the texture and smell of their shaving cream.
“Let’s set up the bass drum here,” said my bandmate. “Wait—-what is this white stuff on my bass drum?”
“That, sir,” I responded, “is the shaving cream of Les Momie de Palerme.”
“What?” My bandmate looked around. “Why is this shaving cream here?”
“I cannot evaluate the aesthetics of Les Momie de Palerme’s shaving cream sculptures,” I said. “However, I suspect they patronize the Gilette brand.” Later, I did some internet research into Les Momie de Palerme. What are these Quebecois up to? I wondered. Alas, I could not ascertain their artistic motivation. The Les Momie de Palerme Wikipedia page is in French and I, alas, am not Francophone.