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via The Gazette :

 

German magazine shines spotlight on Montreal’s Bernard St.

 

BY JESSE FEITH,

THE GAZETTE

JULY 30, 2014

 

10073103.jpg

The biannual Flaneur Magazine dissects and features one street per issue.

Photograph by: Flaneur Magazine , .

 

Two years ago when Berlin-born Ricarda Messner moved back to her hometown after having lived in New York City, everything seemed a little different as she walked around, wandering from block to block and trying to get a feel for the once-familiar streets.

She started thinking about those streets, about how they’re the fabric of any city: each one representing a different aspect of its neighbourhood. Wanting to put that idea into print, she founded the biannual Flaneur Magazine, which dissects and features one street per issue.

 

Manfred Stoffl, director at Montreal’s Goethe Institut, which promotes German culture in Montreal, happened to be in Berlin when he read about Flaneur in Germany’s national daily newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine.

 

He contacted Messner to find out where he could get a copy of the first issue. The two met over a coffee and Stoffl left her with the idea of the magazine featuring a street in Montreal.

 

In October of last year, Messner found herself wandering around again, but this time in Montreal. She hopped on a Bixi bike and followed her gut, ending up on Bernard St.

 

“Bernard is one of those streets which might not seem so obvious at first, but it made sense for us,” she said in an email. “Still to this day, there was no other street which gave us the same feeling — representing Montreal in a hyper local microcosm.”

 

Messner says she was aware of what she called the special role Montreal’s bilingualism plays in Canada, but didn’t have a real picture of it until spending time on Bernard.

 

She was intrigued by the stark contrast between the street’s Outremont and Mile End sides, as well as the francophone, anglophone and Jewish communities that populate its sidewalks, restaurants and shops.

 

Messner and two editors moved into an apartment on Hutchison St. for two months, and together with local talent, got to work talking with shop owners, approaching people on the street and turning as many stones as possible.

 

The result, published earlier this month, is a 136-page issue of Flaneur, written in English, that “embraces the street’s complexity, its layers and fragmented nature with a literary approach.”

 

There’s a spread profiling Tammy Lau, of Dragon Flowers, who’s had different shops open on the street for the last 25 years, selling handmade sweaters, Chinese porcelains and eventually settling on flowers.

 

Another two pages feature Dominic Franco Kawmi, who owns a shoe shop on the street. And yet another section speaks of Peter Hondros of Loft 9, an antique boutique in the Mile End.

 

“Outsiders who come in and stay briefly are bound to see things differently than those who live here,” said Hondros after seeing the magazine. “So it was interesting to read their take.”

 

 

When Flaneur worked on its second issue, featuring Georg-Schwarz-Strasse in Leipzig, the team faced a lot of skeptical people who wished the magazine would pick a different street.

 

 

In Montreal, said Messner, the opposite happened.

 

 

“The people we came across didn’t react like that at all. People were enthusiastic, debated with us if Bernard was the best choice or not, and at our launch party, those present seemed genuinely interested and excited about the magazine,” she said.

 

 

“I can’t believe how quickly the team clicked with Montreal,” Stoffl added. “The issue gives a real authentic view of the city. They were here in the cold of the winter, but the issue is still very lively.”For the 52-year-old Hondros, Bernard is a street that’s in a state of flux, becoming younger, trendier and a little less “laid back” than it used to be — changes the magazine couldn’t necessarily pick up on during its two month stay.

 

“To us, it was a compliment to have someone come here and like what they see,” he said. “But now we’ve moved on, and we’re just back to our daily routines.”

 

The magazine’s Montreal issue was financed in part by the Goethe Institut and is on sale at Drawn & Quarterly on Bernard St. It can also be ordered online at flaneur-magazine.com. The Flaneur team is now setting up shop in Rome to work on its next issue.

 

[email protected]

 

Twitter: jessefeith

 

© Copyright © The Montreal Gazette

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Sur le sujet : dans le journal Métro au début du mois :

 

09/07/2014 Mise à jour : 9 juillet 2014 | 22:47

 

 

L’électrique et éclectique avenue Bernard vue par le magazine Flaneur

 

Par Natalia Wysocka

Métro

 

art-flaneur-yves-provencher.jpg?w=618&h=408&crop=1

Fabian Saul, Grashina Gabelmann et Ricarda Messner, trois journalistes allemands tombés amoureux de Montréal. À tel point qu’ils ont dédié la troisième édition de leur magazine anglophone Flaneur - Fragments of a Street à l’avenue Bernard.

Photo : Yves Provencher/Métro

 

Créé par de jeunes Allemands amoureux de l’imprimé, le magazine-œuvre d’art Flaneur consacre chacun de ses numéros à une rue en particulier dans le monde. Pour sa troisième édition, l’équipe a exploré la montréalaise avenue Bernard. Découverte.

 

Assis à une table du Nouveau Palais, la spontanée fondatrice Ricarda Messner, le poétique journaliste Fabian Saul et la discrète rédactrice Grashina Gabelmann dévorent des frites en se souvenant du temps qu’ils ont passé, l’hiver dernier, à découvrir l’avenue Bernard.

 

Pendant deux mois, ces jeunes Berlinois ont fouillé les recoins des lieux cultes du Mile-End, prenant le pouls de l’ambiance et interviewant des habitants clés du quartier (Tammy-la-fleuriste, Yves-le-barbier). Aujourd’hui, ils s’émerveillent de l’été qui s’est installé. «Il y a des feuilles et des trucs verts! Quand on réalisait nos reportages, c’était… C’était comme ça! Comme cette image! s’exclame Ricarda en feuilletant dans le magazine et en tombant sur une photo de voiture ensevelie sous des montagnes de neige. Vous vous en souvenez?»

 

Oui! Sur la couverture de votre magazine, aux couleurs très vives, vous mentionnez d’ailleurs le froid, la météo, le blanc (de la neige), le gris (de la sloche). Vous souhaitiez d’emblée instaurer ce contraste?

Fabian Saul: On a fait de notre mieux pour que ce soit aussi une édition d’été. Pour capturer les deux côtés de Montréal.

 

En introduction à un des articles, qui traite des «identités hybrides» des habitants montréalais, vous écrivez: «La seule façon d’être réellement Canadien, c’est de ne pas être Canadien.» À quel point vous sentez-vous Canadiens, vous qui ne l’êtes pas?

Ricarda Messner: On se sent un peu comme à la maison. C’est vrai! Quand on n’est pas d’ici, on se sent d’ici.

F.S.: C’était intéressant pour nous de réfléchir à nos propres identités à travers toutes celles qui cohabitent sur la rue Bernard. Je crois que c’est la raison pour laquelle c’est devenu un thème aussi fort à travers le magazine. C’est une chose à laquelle tous les collaborateurs avec lesquels nous avons travaillé ont réfléchi. Josip Novakovich, David Homel… ils se sont tous penchés là-dessus.

 

Vous aviez dédié le numéro d’hiver, paru avant celui-ci, à la rue Georg-Schwartz-Strasse, à Leipzig. Vous ouvriez l’édition par une pensée: «On s’intéresse uniquement aux endroits qui risquent de disparaître.» Suivant cette idée, êtes-vous inquiets pour l’avenir de l’avenue Bernard?

F.S. : Je pense qu’on commence toujours à s’intéresser à une chose quand il y a un risque de la voir se dissoudre. Sa valeur est liée au risque de disparition, non?

R. M. : C’est comme si, en regardant la vie sur cette rue, on regardait notre propre vie. On était ici l’hiver dernier et, déjà, l’avenue a changé. Notre vie était différente. Aujourd’hui, on regarde notre passé.

 

Vous prévenez le lecteur que le portrait que vous offrez de l’avenue en est un subjectif. Vous écrivez: «Ceci pourrait être la rue Bernard». Est-ce aussi la rue Bernard telle que vous aimeriez qu’elle soit?

F.S.: Je ne pense pas que l’on impose quoi que ce soit à la rue. Notre portrait est subjectif parce qu’il est né d’une approche fragmentée. Vous pourriez vous rendre sur Bernard n’importe quand et raconter une histoire complètement différente de la nôtre. Et elle serait aussi vraie (ou aussi fausse) que notre version!

 

***

Danse de rue

On trouve de tout dans Flaneur: des portraits, des éditos, des récits de fiction, une bédé sur le roller derby… Le magazine, rédigé en anglais, est à la fois tendre, romancé, politique, rigolo, design.

 

Pour le troisième numéro, dédié à l’avenue Bernard, l’équipe allemande a travaillé avec plusieurs collaborateurs locaux, dont le chorégraphe montréalais Fred Gravel.

 

Dans une série de photos prises par Stéphane Najman, on voit les danseurs de la compagnie Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup captés dans divers lieux du Mile-End. Est-ce parce que, pour les créateurs de Flaneur, la vie sur une rue est similaire à une danse? Peut-être. «La plupart du temps, les choses fonctionnent magnifiquement bien. Et puis, il y a les imprévus et les trucs qui n’ont aucun sens, observe le journaliste Fabian Saul. C’est d’ailleurs en ça que consiste la danse, non? Trouver ce moment où tout fonctionne parfaitement bien.»

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via OurWindsor :

 

Jul 11, 2014

Why a German magazine devoted an entire issue to Montreal’s Rue Bernard

 

The writers and editors of Flaneur spent two months in Montreal, finding universal stories in the lives of the street

 

OurWindsor.Ca

By Allan Woods

 

MONTREAL - It must have seemed at one point like a ridiculous notion: a Berlin magazine devoting an entire 123-page issue to one street 6,000 kilometres away in Montreal.

 

But Flaneur, a startup literary magazine, went ahead with it, dispatched a team to scour a 1.9-kilometre strip known as Rue Bernard, discover its habits, haunts and its humanity and take from it inspiration for a collection of stories, comics, poems, essays, profiles and photos.

 

Making money from the slick finished product, which was released last week, may be another matter. But it has mined a few nuggets of truth about life in Canada’s second-largest city.

 

Bernard stretches from the wealthy francophone enclave of Outremont in the west (where it is officially an “avenue”) to the back alleys that hum with black-hatted Hasidic Jews. It ends up in the east as a plain old rue, or street, in the rundown or reclaimed industrial area known as the Mile End. This in the neighbourhood put on the map a few years ago as Arcade Fire’s home base.

 

Rue Bernard has existed on city maps since 1912 in a city historically divided by Saint Laurent Bl., the city’s main north-south artery, between east-end francophones and western beachheads of Westmount and Cote-des-Neiges where English rules.

 

The magazine’s third issue (the first two gave the treatment to the German cities of Berlin and Leipzig) makes a case that Bernard could now be the artery best defining modern Montreal — one that speaks French and English, that new immigrants and old-stock Quebecers call home and where artists and shift workers live side-by-side. It’s a celebration of the bustling masses of minorities busily going about their lives.

 

“I think I can see the Canadian social contract from up here,” Andrew Zadel, a native Montrealer, writes from his third-floor apartment, after years spent in war zones and refugee camps. “Right there, where the working-class immigrant holds the door for the tattooed hipster, right where the Hasidic Jew walks serenely by the Royal Phoenix, known for its deep-fried Mars bars and frenetic queer dance parties.”

 

The inspiration for the Montreal project came simply enough. Flaneur’s editor-in-chief Ricarda Messner was urged to consider the city. Last October, she took a detour during a trip to the United States, checked out a Bixi bicycle rental and set off on her search.

 

“I put on my helmet and I drove around for eight hours without ever having been to Canada, without any kind of research beforehand and just drove based on my intuition,” she told the website cultmontreal.com. “I drove down Bernard and it was such a powerful street because after Parc (Avenue) it changes completely. It was just my gut telling me it was the right street. Then I came back to Berlin and we started doing the research.”

 

A team from the magazine arrived in Montreal in late winter and basically moved into the street. They spent two months interviewing residents, business owners and the local fixtures that would become the source material or plant the seed of inspiration.

 

The anchor tenants — of the street, as well as the issue — are Yves, the old barber of Outremont, whose spacious shop is adorned with the celebrity covers of Paris Match and sees himself as much a therapist as a cutter of hair. At the other end there is Tammy the flower lady, whose greenery spills out onto the street and hangs from the balcony of an apartment where she has raised her 14 children while running various businesses over the last quarter century.

 

Yves grumbles about the stinginess of his rich customers and the generosity of the poor. Tammy throws in an extra stem for her customers as a thank you to the donations that helped rebuild her business after it caught fire last year. They are recurring characters who pop up every dozen or so pages.

 

“I bring Yves the barber flowers from Tammy the flower lady,” writes Flaneur editor Grashina Gabelmann in a segment, written as if from the subconscious, titled Fragments. “I think they should fall in love. He would cut hair during the day while she sold flowers, then they would meet in the evening to exchange stories of all the people’s lives they had touched that day. They would listen to each other until they fell asleep.”

 

Along with the poems, historical essays, profiles and photos there is a 15-page comic book serving as a double homage both to Montreal’s graphic novel scene, centred around Rue Bernard’s Drawn & Quarterly bookstore, and the ladies’ Roller Derby league whose teams play at an arena at the east end of the strip.

 

Flaneur has demonstrated there is literary merit in the simple exercise of drilling down into the personalities lurking in the shop windows and alleys of a single street. But the magazine’s aim is to find something universal in the various storefronts and stoop dwellers.

 

In Montreal, editor Fabian Saul finds a place that is at once a “no man’s land” and an “every man’s land” — where the francophone Outremont neighbourhood is separated by one main road from a Mile End settled by immigrant textile workers who fled when business flopped. The students and artists have taken their place more recently.

 

But so too have the orthodox Jews, whose insular community and large broods attract gawkers and complaints, despite being just a generation or two removed from the large-looming Catholic church in Quebec and the clergy’s insistence on procreation.

 

Tying those together is the tale of “two extravagantly dressed-up boys” the magazine’s photographer discovers in the street, which turns into the tale of Aaron and Vincent, a young gay couple from the unlikeliest of origins.

 

Vincent is a student from the suburbs. Aaron, a recovering addict, has been shunned by his Hasidic family.

 

“On Sabbath we sometimes cruise through the Jewish community on our wheels,” Vincent says. “Aaron likes to yell in Yiddish and give everyone the finger.”

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Ah, la rue Bernard, tranquille et classe! Le quartier de mon enfance. L'église Saint-Viateur, superbe et immense. J'y allais à la messe de minuit à Noel. Magique. J'allais souvent au Laurier BBQ, où le soir, on pouvait croiser un Trudeau, un Serge Fiori, Bourassa, Parizeau, Serge Garneau, Péladeau, Rozon... J'ai entendu dire que ce restaurant n'est plus, est-ce vrai?

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Ah, la rue Bernard, tranquille et classe! Le quartier de mon enfance. L'église Saint-Viateur, superbe et immense. J'y allais à la messe de minuit à Noel. Magique. J'allais souvent au Laurier BBQ, où le soir, on pouvait croiser un Trudeau, un Serge Fiori, Bourassa, Parizeau, Serge Garneau, Péladeau, Rozon... J'ai entendu dire que ce restaurant n'est plus, est-ce vrai?

 

Le Laurier BBQ? Il a fermé en 2013 après l'histoire avec Gordon Ramsay.

 

L'emplacement est maintenant séparé en deux restos : Laurea (laurier en latin) et Lorbeer (laurier en allemand)

 

http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/05/30/la-restaurant-laurier-reouvre-ses-portes-a-montreal-sous-le-nom-laurea_n_5412849.html

Edited by ScarletCoral
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Cet article est un magnifique clin d'oeil à une particularité de Montréal et un compliment pour son originalité. On aurait probablement pu écrire le même genre de billet sur d'autres rues montréalaises. Ce que je retiens cependant, c'est l'intention de son auteur qui souligne avec talent le côté humain qui se retrouve dans le microcosme d'une grande ville, qui est grandie par ses petits détails de nature anecdotique.

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