work work work
avoid getting pulled into meetings that would interfere with planned 3pm departure time
get call from Cris saying he got pulled into a meeting that would interfere with planned 3pm departure time
I was keeping an eye out my window and spotted Forest leaning against the trunk of the car just before 3pm. I called to let him know I'd be downstairs in five minutes, dodged my boss, grabbed my crap, and helped sort out getting his bike on the roof. Called Chris and found out that he was walking from the T stop, so we drove up to meet him, and then I drove through downtown to pick up Cris. Forest called him to warn him we were on Atlantic and we just had a short wait for Cris to come by with his bike. Chris and Forest picked up snacks at Sel de la Terre, Cris got his bike on the roof again, and settled into the passenger seat with his cell phone and lap top to continue working. :/ Luckily he was on mute for most of the conference call he had to take, so I was able to keep the CD playing low. I drove for quite a while, dealing with the traffic leaving Boston for the long weekend, and through a few downpours as we went north through New Hamsphire and Vermont, and through construction detours as well. As soon as we switched over to Cris driving, the rain almost cleared up and traffic was flowing nicely. We were semi rushing to get there before 9:45 for a movie, and luckily the border crossing was quick (they let us through even though Cris said we were going for "fun" - yay sleep deprivation! :) ). We got to Montreal just as the sun was setting and were able to point out a few land marks to Forest. We didn't quite have time to check into the hotel first, so we parked in a lot near the theatre and ran up to the box office to pick up our tickets. The line was pretty long, but a guy was standing there with printed tickets for our movie and let us pick up just those ones, we'd have to go back the next day to get the rest.
I think we had a short wait in line, and then got into the almost full theatre to a welcome of hot humid air. We managed to find four seats together up in the last row and settled in with a sigh of relief for making it on time. The festival program director brought out Gordon Liu for a sneak preview hello, and then we dove into Sukiyaki Western Django. I really liked this movie, except for the bits with Tarantino (he grates on me for some reason), though his steampunk wheelchair was neat. A stranger rides into town that's held in uneasy tension between two gangs, the reds and whites, and he disrupts the balance by his sharp shooting skills. A cowardly and MPD sherrif, a mute boy, a hooker with a heart of gold, and a wise old granny (played by the actress who was Mother in Memoirs of a Geisha, I loved her) try to survive the depredations of the two gangs as they vie for the stranger's gun. One of the actors was also in Archangels and Casshern, another was in Hero, so I kept half recognising people. The final show down when the snow starts falling was just gorgeous. Almost all the western movie tropes were on display, I think we could only come up with them missing a poker game. There were a lot of funny bits as well, one of the gang leaders was determined to become Henry VI and would keep quoting from Shakespeare.
After the movie let out, we moved the car down to the hotel and checked in, getting a fairly small room (two double beds, night table, tiny desk, dresser/tv cabinet with two strips of floor visible, and a tiny bathroom with just a shower (I kept bumping my elbows on everything in there), but for < $100/night within walking distance to the festival, it fit the bill. There was a bit of panic when they couldn't find a second set of keys, but we figured we could just pass it off depending on who had to be back in the room when. Hunger was hitting, so we tried Mad Hatters but the kitchen had closed. Across the street was Brutopia and they were still serving, so we settled in there, in the alcove next to where a small band was playing. A jazz group was playing downstairs, we could feel the vibrations through the floor. Our waitress was nice, and the food was decent, we just snuck in under the kitchen closing time. Forest tried an odd beer that wasn't made from hops, and Cris had his curiosity satisfied by his. Chris wisely stuck with cider, and I stuck with water. We went back across the street to Hatters for another drink, since the band was going to start back up, and walked back to the hotel, getting in around 2am.
We stopped in the village to take a look at the artisan's alley, some neat jewelery and carving but nothing that I wanted to take back with me. In a fit of nostalgia I asked to stop at the ice cream place at the turn off, but they only had soft serve cones and the butterscotch one gave me a bit of a tummy ache. Cris started feeling tired as we headed back south, and pulled off to let me drive the rest of the way.
Traffic forced me off the highway on the way back and we pulled up next to the theatre at just before 5pm. We spotted Tony and Hilary in line with Rachel and co, and joined them. But once we got in, we went up to our regular seats and from there enjoyed the hell out of Machine Girl. I had to work a little to suspend my disbelief that a school girl could lift a steel machine gun attachment once her arm was cut off (by accident, by the yakuza), but the non stop gore was awesome. The movie started off with a revenge scene and then backtracked to show how she got the arm after embarking on a quest to revenge her brother. The women in this film were strong and insane, it was scary to watch certain lights gleaming in their eyes. I think this was my favourite of the festival, and they left it open for a sequel. Chris and Forest were going to see [Rec] after 9pm, but Cris and I were going right into Genius Party. We were both a bit cranky from lack of food, and I was stressing out about the line up, but once we had food and were in the theatre, I calmed down. We missed the first few minutes, but caught enough to sort of know what was going on. The shorts were generally good, I was only underwhelmed by the philosophising over abstractish shapes one (summed up by the silence at it's end broken buy a guy in the audience saying "What???" and everyone applauding him. Shanghai Dragon, I'm pretty sure from the same crew that did Tekkon Kinkreet, was awesome, a little boy using an alien artefact to bring his drawings to life to combat the evil aliens trying to capture him. A guy and a cyborg in a mecha suit try to help him but the 5 year old saves the day. The one about a baby, Happy Machine, was mildly disturbing. Deathtic 4 is about a group of dead monsters trying to save a live frog that drops into their world, mildly creepy but cute. Doorbell and Baby Blue were more reality based, well, the first one was about encountering other versions of yourself and which one is "real", but the second is about two teens who cut a day of school, before one moves away. There was a sense of melancholy that infused it, but it was very sweet.
Cris and I went back to the hotel room, and I asked if they had a second set of keys yet. They did, so I got kitted up to go clubbing while Cris crashed, and I walked back up to the theatre to wait on the guys coming out of [Rec]. I sat at one of the benches in the Hall and heard a girl talking on her cell phone about how she had to leave, she was screaming constantly, and it was the scariest movie she'd ever seen. But when people came out finally, they didn't look all that pale or shaken. Chris confirmed that it was jumpy scary, but not that bad in comparison with other Fantasia offerings. Forest had stayed in the theatre since he had a ticket for a midnight movie, Art of the Devil 3, so I handed over the key to Chris and talked a bit with him, Hilary, and Tony before they headed to the club and I walked back to the hotel to fall over at around midnight. Chris and Forest barely woke me up when they came in after the club, around 3:30 I guess, I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
From there, Forest proposed that we go to the botanical gardens and insectarium, so off we went. The separated bike lanes are pretty neat, but they make it hard to navigate around slower riders. We zigged and zagged across the city, stopping to try and find sun block and water at various places. We had cold juicy fruits at one market that really hit the spot. We finally locked up at the gardens, next to the Olympic stadium, at 2:40. The locks were kinda neat, a two part pincher that went through the wheels and you locked them together through your frame.
Our movie started at 4:30pm, but I convinced the guys that we had time to see the insects, even with a bit of a line at the ticket booth. We tried to take the people mover, but it wasn't taking on passengers at the terminal, and it ended up being a short walk anyway, past the rose garden. Unfortunately we didn't have time to see the toxic nor medicinal gardens, or the Japanese garden, but we had a decent amount of time to browse the insectarium. I saw a huge walking stick eating a leaf, it was fascinating. The huge cockroaches were disturbing, I avoided looking too closely at the bees and ants (though I did sniff the bee's odour messages). There were so many beautiful butterflies, though all pinned the the wall.
We walked back through the rose garden, and headed back downtown. The downhill trend was great for me, though I felt sorry for Cris and Forest on their fixed gear bikes. We locked up outside the theatre at 4:15pm or so, and jumped in line with Tony and Hilary and Brian and the Cornings. Gordon Liu came out and said a few words before they screened Disciples of the 36th Chamber, and then did a Q&A (and tiny kung fu demo) afterward. It was a digitally remastered print of a 70's movie, and the quality was amazing. I wish there'd been more of Gordon Liu, but he was a supporting character, and we stuck mostly with Fong Sai Yuk as he made trouble for everyone due to his irrepressible nature. He and his brothers are sent to the Shaolin Temple to hide them from the governor, but hijinks ensue. We cut out before the questions stopped coming, as they were getting a bit lame, and we wanted to eat before our next movie. We took advantage of the bikes and rode down to Ste Catherine and went to Cafe L'Etranger. We sat in the below ground level patio, under an awning, and had good sandwiches and drinks. Unfortunately, my ice cream cocktail used chardonnay I think for the white wine, and I got a wicked headache. We biked back to the theatre and locked up on the line side this time. Chris peeled off to see Before the Fall in the de Seve theatre, and we joined the line for Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer outside of Hall, finding familiar faces again. This was an homage to 80's horror films, with a slow build up to the monster fight, Robert Englund playing the nice chemistry professor who finds a black heart buried in his yard. Jack Brooks gets to channel his unchecked aggression into slaying monsters. We saw a short before it, Treevenge, where Christmas trees play first the victims and then the avengers in a horror movie. The creators of both films were in the audience and said a few words before and after the screenings.
I'd called Etienne from the line, and he suggested going to Passport that evening. I thought I found the listing in the phone book, it was on St Denis, but once we biked up there, it was a boarded up store. We went a bit further north to Casa Popolo and had a drink and snacks there. Veggie pate is ... odd, and the chocolate chip cookie ingredient lists missed the walnuts, so I ended up with an oatmeal coconut cookie with a dab of chocolate in the middle. From there, since we were so close, we popped over to St. Viatur bakery (first location was shut, the other was still open though). I was able to stuff a dozen bagels in my rack trunk, Cris and Forest put theirs in the former's courier bag, but Chris didn't get any due to them being out of poppyseed bagels.
We got back to the room at around 3am, and Chris was out like a light - we'd been biking around a fair amount all day, not quite realising just how far until we stopped (I think Cris's odo said 14km just for the club/bar/bagel run). I nibbled on a bagel to quiet my rumbly stomach and was the last to get to sleep. I woke up briefly at one point to hear someone snoring, so I dug out my ear plugs and was able to get back to sleep.
I ran to the bathroom and refilled my water bottle from the fountain, Cris moved the car from the lot to the corner neat the theatre, Chris and Forest went off to get a drink, and once everyone was back at the car, we were off. We passed Tony and Hilary as we turned by the theatre to head out of town and waved goodbye. Cris drove us to the border, we had a very short wait and a quick passage, the border guard just warning Chris to sign his new passport. Cris pulled over at the first close service station, I put gas in the car, changed into shorts and got myself some tea and settled in to drive at around 8:45. I lasted about 1.5 hours, as night fell, and I had to avoid deer and coyote(?) carcasses on the road. Luckily it didn't rain, but the number of bugs splatting against the windshield almost made me think it was raining at one point. Everyone was pretty quiet, and Cris was sleeping, so I wasn't able to stay alert as long as I'd hoped, but Cris got enough of a nap to take over at a rest stop near the NH border. I gave in to my heavy eyelids and settled into the back seat, half listening to Cris and Chris talk about gaming. We stopped by Cris's office downtown so he could grab things for his trip the next morning and then dropped off Forest and Chris. I unloaded the car and helped Cris pack up for his trip, and we fell into bed at around 2:30am. I barely woke up enough to kiss Cris goodbye as he got up to get ready for the taxi pick up at 4:45.
Monday morning was rough, I dropped off Forest's helmet on my way to work,
since it was buried in the trunk when we dropped him off the night before,
and powered through the day on vast quantities of tea. Totally worth it
though, it was a great weekend.