Friday, January 23, 2015

"Steamy Week" ......It used to be all

Montreal Diary: the steamé gets its due


Finally, the steamé gets its due.

Poutine got its own week, so did the burger. And now that unsung Montreal fast-food icon, the steamed hot dog, will have its chance to shine. The first-ever Steamy Week got underway Jan. 23 and continues until Jan. 29.
The hot dog itself might be an American invention. But lay a Lester’s weiner in a flat white bun steamed to moist and fluffy perfection, squirt on a squiggly line of mustard and a sprinkling of chopped onion and/or cabbage and suddenly you’re talking about a local culinary icon: a Montreal hot dog, also known as a steamy or a steamé, or in colloquial Québécois French, a roteux (which derives from the verb roter: to burp.)
“Montrealers love steamés. They are a humble food that brings us together. Just saying the word brings to mind the experience of biting into something warm, hot and delicious,” says Cléa Desjardins, one of Steamy Week’s co-founders.
Desjardins, a senior communications adviser at Concordia University, and two web-designer friends, Josh Davidson and Andy Murdoch, had the idea of paying tribute to the steamy over beers before the holidays. They created the hashtags #SemaineSteamé and #SteamyWeek on Twitter and created the steamyweek.cawebsite where they list their favourite spots around town.
Participants are encouraged to head over to the more than 40 suggested locations and taste, photograph, then post pictures and share reviews. Steamé hot spots are plotted on a map, and users are invited to add their favourites.
Desjardins says Steamy Week doesn’t have corporate sponsors, and there won’t be any specialty hotdogs to try. Theirs is more of a grassroots movement meant as a “mid-winter distraction” and a chance for lovers of salty dogs on steamed white buns to come together.
The steamé, they sayhas lived too long in the shadow of that other Québécois fast-food icon, poutine, which has become an international phenomenon. There are now poutine restaurants in major cities across North America, and a dish of gravy-soaked french fries and curd cheese is the first thing tourists look for when they arrive in Montreal. Chefs have even elevated poutine to gastronomic status by adding foie gras, wild mushrooms, or red-wine sauce.
By contrast, the lowly steamé has remained a local dish, a niche snack impervious to so-called improvements.

Québécois classic: Steamed hotdog with mustard, relish and onions at Paul Patates in the Point-St-Charles.
Québécois classic: Steamed hotdog with mustard, relish and onions at Paul Patates in the Point-St-Charles.
John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette

“Ask for a steamy in Vancouver or pretty much anywhere else, and they won’t know what you are talking about,” said Desjardins. “But here the steamé is a humble food that brings people together. It crosses age and social boundaries. It’s good any time of day, whether for lunch or for a 3 a.m. drunk meal. And anyone can afford it.
At Chez Luma on Wellington St. in Verdun, for instance, Desjardins can pop in any day between noon and 1 p.m. and grab two steamies for a dollar.
All the major steamé players in town appear on the Steamy Week map. There’s Montreal Pool Room on The Main, and Lafleur and La Belle Province with their franchises all over town, but also Orange Julep on Decarie Blvd., Paul Patates in Point-St-Charles and Green Spot in St-Henri.
Steamy Week’s organizers insist they are not trying to muscle in on that other Montreal fast-food lovefest, La Poutine Week, which takes place from Feb 1 through 7.
“Just think of us as an appetizer to whet your appetite for the poutine to come, ” Desjardins quips. “Besides, it’s freezing out and we all need a little steaminess in our lives to get us over the first hump of winter and into February.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

International Pop Festival @ the Autostade

July 17, 1968

The Who
at Autostade, Montreal

Other headlining acts: The Troggs
DateJuly 17, 1968
BandThe Who
CityVictoriatown, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Many months ago, radio station CFOX teamed up with East\West Productions to plan the First International Pop Festival for last Wednesday at the Autostade. 
When arrangements were completed, contracts had been signed with The Procol Harum, The Who, The Troggs, Mitch Ryder, The Ohio Express, The People, and at least six local groups. The CFOX disc-jockeys would emcee the show, scheduled to run non-stop from 2 p.m. to midnight. 
Up until 2 p.m. that is how the promoters thought the festival, believed to be the largest international pop show to come to Canada, would work out. 
And ultimately, the show proved to be a success, but it may have taken years off the potential life span of both promoters and emcees. 

How it worked 

In part, this is how it actually worked: 
2:30 p.m.: The stage still requires a little work. The electronic equipment is dying of peculiar electrical diseases. A couple of groups are missing. The Autostade is hotter than the hinges of hell. The fans are restive. 
Deejay Charles P. Rodney Chandler, one of the (C) FOX masters of ceremonies, stimulates the audience with a critical lecture on what is wrong with the Montreal pop scene: "The problem is there’s no love in Montreal; I’ve been here for an hour and the only couple I’ve seen holding hands are those two guys up in Row 44." 
2:50: The Montreal-based quintet, "The Our Generation," begin their segment, including their single, "I’m A Man." The microphones give out one by one. 
They are immediately followed by the frenetic local group, "The Haunted." 
4:05: (C) FOX deejays admire each other, introduce Andy "Shoot ‘Em Up, Baby" Kim. 
4:10: The Ohio Express have arrived and play a set, featuring their rendition of the most vulgar song on the current Hit Parade: "Yummy Yummy Yummy." 

Worse and worse 

4:40: The Mozart Group from Saskatchewan perform a wide variety of songs. They may have the best lead vocalist so far, but it is hard to tell; the sound is getting worse and worse. 
5:30: Mitch Ryder performs, accompanied by two guitars, drums, organ, trumpet, trombone, and tenor and baritone saxophone. He does things with his voice that shouldn’t happen to a calliope; his infectious enthusiasm in "C.C. Rider," "Devil With the Blue Dress On," and "Sock It To Me, Baby," in particular, and the rhythmic dancing of his band bring the audience back into the spirit of the festival. 
6:15: Missing groups are anxiously awaited. 
The Troggs rouse the audience with their characteristic, wide-legged pump and grind. They sing "Wild Thing," 
"With a Girl Like You", and similar frankly erotic songs that have made them one of the world’s best-paid groups. 
8:05: The Who put on a real show, combining everything that has made them perhaps England’s third most popular group, especially the microphone spinning of lead singer Roger Daltrey, the pinwheel action on the guitar by Pete Townshend, and toward the end, the destruction of the drums by Keith Moon. 
Daltrey gives another explanation for one of the missing groups: "Too bad about the Procol Harum — they got busted." This is a humorous remark under the circumstances. 
8:35: End of the first half. 
8:45: Grapevine ‘has it that The People have not been allowed across the border; grapevine also supplies predictable reasons. The Ohio Express are missing. The Troggs are asked if they will open the second show; they are still dripping from the first performance and are not keen. 
8:50: A new set of backstage problems. They say some Autostade officials are claiming the show has to end at 10:30 rather than at midnight. Someone feels that it is too dangerous to continue the show with an estimated 6,000 spectators and no lights. 
9:05: Emcee George Ferguson keeps the audience awake, like a camp counsellor, leading bronx cheers for "the fuzz" as they insert themselves between the stage and the audience. 
9:10: The Haunted are called back into action; on the better amplification provided by’ The Who, they sound much more impressive. 
9:30: The Troggs return. On the stands behind them is an audience-participation Dance of the Seven Veils. 
10:20: Mitch Ryder does a second set. His group sounds more like Glenn Miller’s orchestra in parts this time. 
10:55: The Ohio Express return. It becomes popular to practise hitting the stage with some of the innumerable projectiles to be found on the stadium floor. Some of the shots are better than others. 

‘Pictures of Lily’ 

11:10: The Who make the scene. They play "Pictures of Lily." Someone has told Roger Daltrey that their section of the show should be kept to half an hour; he announces to the audience in so many words what they can do with that idea. The audience cheers. They play "Happy Jack." The drum- sticks start flying. They perform their "mini-operetta," a good satire and a vehicle for some belly dancing by Roger Daltrey in his silver pants. 
11:35: For some reason, the main lights go on. The Who work themselves up into a frenzy and begin their ritual of destruction, smashing their guitars, tearing up the stage and dumping the sections onto the drums. But suddenly the impetus seems to die and the show is over. 
11:50: The Autostade turf looks like a horticultural centre dedicated to growing new, exotic kinds of paper. The people have been herded out. 
The promoters announce that the Autostade has charged them $1,000 for care and grooming of the trampled field plus $500 an hour I or the time after 10:30 plus $200 for the use of lights at the end. Next year, they say, the Second International Pop Festival will be much bigger and better. But it will be held somewhere else in Montreal.

People who were at this concert

Stories from this concert

surfinsam 2010 Feb 2

The Who headlined. An astonoshing performance 
Other bands 
The Troggs 
Andy Kim 
The Haunted 
Ohio Express 
I was 14 years old and didnt keep any info on this event. 
Would love to communicate with someone that was there as well.
Les_F 2010 May 27
All Day Rock Concert
This concert at the Autostade in Montreal,(victoriatown-goose village property)... It was billed as the longest continous pop-festival, One of the MCees was a local DJ named Dean Hagopian from CFOX (at the time CFOX was a pop/rock station,later changed to talk/sports,but then disappeared. 
I remember being right behind the stage which was in the playing field ,when the Who arrived ( a very young Who at that time) 
Remember this concert / pop-festival ,as it was billed, was before Monterey & a year before Woodstock at was great, and it was a blast Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels were playing too.( I got a drumstick from one that went flying backwards)..blah blah blah.... and to cap it off Myself & a friend of mine sat on the trunk lid of the black caddy limo that ushered the Who out of the stadium,through the onfield exit tunnel at the far end of the Autostade.girls were chasing the car of course, & it was all a big laugh,when the last I heard of one gal saying "Oh Keith" as they tried to push girls away from the car (this gal they pulled inside the car ,to allow them to drive through the narrow exit...I imagine they tossed her out on the other side of the exit,(she would be neat to run across nowadays to hear her story) As for myself we just casually stood up as the car was nearing the exit,and walked back across the field, 
This all day party was about 12 hours long I think...all sorts of different bands. 
It's hard to find any info on the old Autostade,& so I was happy to come across this site, with 'surfinsam's story about it... 
Cheers ,it sparked my old memory banks for sure..... 
I was the same age, I really could not remember exactly what year it was ,until surfinsam said '68 ...and that's about right I guess... 
I will keep trying to find a line-up for this concert,...and I will post it here if I find more info.. 
I used to live in Verdun,& saw many concerts in the suroounding venues from the Montreal Forum to smaller bars etc etc as well as the typical teenage dances held in various schools/churches Y's .the Haunted were a great Montreal band Btw: 
best Regards from Canada's Westcoast ( Les & Teresa, Victoria BC)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

J.A.Binette Verdun's Last Friendly Hardware Store Closing

According to the owners of J.A.Binette they are the 2nd oldest business in Verdun, & they have now decided to close their doors for good. Listen to their story in this youtube video, Also the story appears in today's online Montreal Gazette: Oh the oldest store in Verdun "Grover's Men's Wear" we all know that one & probably no doubt have bought something from there more than once.

  I sometimes wonder if a visit to Montreal is really worth it to me anymore, the nostalgia factor is there & I use to visit fairly regularly, but knowing of all the different (& inevitable) changes that have transpired over the 40 or so years I've been gone, make me think that I'd rather remember the place as it was. Sure I know they have done wonders making the waterfront look fantastic, & they have turned a million rat infested factories into overpriced condos . Few if any of our favourite haunts or restaurants are even there anymore. A walk on the Mountain would still be good, a walk on the boardwalk would still be good,seeing the Natatorium,& the old Auditorium (even though that tin facade looks like shit compared to the old Aud. but that type of stuff would still spark a memory bank full of all kinds of memories.  I think maybe it is age that says to me there is really nothing there for me anymore (some old friends & family being the exceptions) no I think I will choose to remember the place and allow my memories to stay relativel,y intact................Afterall once a Montrealer/Verdunite, you are always a Montrealer (Verdunite or er , your choice) Anyway Have Fun & Remember Verdun  Cheers ! LesF
   The Following is the story as it appears in the Montreal Gazette:

Verdun hardware store pulls the plug after 58 years


For almost 60 years, Quincaillerie J.A. Binette fought the good fight.

But now, it’s lights out for the neighbourhood hardware store in Verdun, among the last of a near-extinct breed killed off by the big-box chains and changing consumer habits.
By March, and possibly earlier, it will have become another retail ghost. The building on Verdun Ave. already has been sold, and the store is in liquidation mode now, offering savings of up to 30 per cent this week, and up to 50 per cent next week, to clear the shelves.
“We resisted for a long time, but that’s over now. We’re getting up in age and starting to get pretty tired,” said Pierre Binette, 66, co-owner of the 1,600-square-foot store with brother Guy, 70.
Sons of Joseph-Adrien Binette, a former paint contractor who founded the business in 1956 and reported for work daily until his death 10 years ago at age 89, the brothers are the only full-time employees, trying to compensate with service for what they cannot offer in selection and price. It’s been a losing battle.
“That’s not what customers care about anymore,” Pierre said. “It’s not about personal contact anymore, it’s strictly business, and there’s no fidelity. Young people have the big-box habit. It’s what they know. We offer free delivery, and yet few people bothered to use it. They’re used to cash-and-carry. In the old days, we’d be delivering all day. Now, it’s once or twice a day, if you’re lucky.”
Commercial painter Simon Favreau, a client for 35 years, said he understands the decision to close, but he’ll miss the camaraderie and the service. Especially the service.
“They have a key to my house,” said Favreau. “Sometimes, if I’m working late, I’d call in an order and they’d deliver right into my basement, so I’d be ready to go first thing the next morning. There were also times when Pierre would open for me on a Saturday night so I could get something for the next day. You’ll never see that with Réno-Dépot.”
The business had a number of other distinctions. It still sold individual screws, and nails by the pound. On the walls were photos of the founder, but also clients, now deceased. “We remember them all,” Pierre said.
The store also maintained its 40-year tradition of setting up a large crèche in the front window every Christmas, augmented in recent years by a separate model-railroad display. If you missed them this year, you missed them forever.
The Binette brothers grew up in the business, working alongside their father, and have seen it evolve.
“My dad said that when he opened, there were 25 hardware stores in Verdun alone,” Guy said. “Now we’re two, soon to be one.
“Retail has just grown more and more difficult, especially in the last five years, and not just in the hardware sector. It’s a very different game. Even if our kids had wanted to carry on the business, I wouldn’t have recommended it. It takes up a lot of your life and it’s not as profitable as it should be.”