It’s That Old Familiar Feeling, Montreal
Posted by Jessica Young

The dregs of a Montreal March are long, lightless, beige days punctuated by Daylight Savings Time, which forces us to exchange a precious extra hour of weekend sleep for the promise of brighter mornings and longer evenings, every year. The last few weeks of the month confuse our bodies and our wardrobes as glimpses of warmer weather quickly turn over and revert to blasting winds and a week’s worth of sub-zero temperatures. March in this city can be dull, demanding, and dreary enough to replace our spring smiles with those all-to-familiar winter woes.

Despite all the tedium, we trudge on with fingers crossed, waiting for la belle île to slip out of its winter wraps into something greener, brighter, and more vibrant. At some point, we might even find ourselves glancing over in the metro to smile at someone else who we recognize feels as antagonized and exhausted by the tease of snow flurries and sunshine and we do.

There is, as they say, a feeling in the air.

Edgy Women performer anti-cool might just be the answer for the strain of tax season and end of semester. Performing as part of TANGENTE X 3 on March 24, 25, 26 and 27, the interdisciplinary Japanese artist promises to shed some light on the gap we so often maintain between how we feel and how we act. Role Model for a Store Clerk takes the confused, muddied, and fatigued winter malaise of Montreal and translates it into a piece that centers on the decorous relationship of Japanese store clerks and their clients.

Bound by custom and expectation, the ‘ideal’ Japanese store clerk will push back their own feelings and ignore the strain of the job, all in the name of superior customer service. anti-cool wants us to explore the gap—the process—between affect and etiquette, and I can’t think of a better time or place to stress the boundaries of inside/out than Montreal in late-March; at this time of year, I think we all feel a little bit like the store clerk, smiling and laughing despite having been on our feet for eight hours, trying to make a sale.

As though anti-cool’s performance weren’t enough, she is extending her work with communication, relationships, and emotion at the Festival with a workshop, Feel Invisible Things. The workshop urges participants to “experience unexpected feelings and ways of thinking,” using a variety of interactive forms. Again, anti-cool is asking us to consider how we relate, to one another, to our surroundings, and maybe, like the Japanese store clerk, how we survive by denying ourselves these opportunities for expression. March 25 is the final day of the workshop, but I look forward to hearing from those lucky enough to have a snagged a spot about the experience.

So, if you find yourself worn down by winter’s refusal to move over for spring and a terrassed 5-à-7, don’t bottle that up. Bring yourself and that desire down to 840 Cherrier East this weekend and show anti-cool how you’re really feeling.

If you can’t wait that long, here is a little release in the form of collaboration anti-cool did with Montreal musicians Duchess Says titled: Lone Orchestra (select link).

Performing at this year’s Edgy Women Festival alongside Narcissister and Leslie Baker as part of TANGENTE X 3, anti-cool can be seen performing Role Model for a Store Clerk March 24, 25, and 26th at 19:30 and March 27 at 16:00.  For more information, check out the Edgy Women website.

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