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A very busy lobby performance where PANOS serenades building caretakers, lingering overtimers and, of course, you.
Kris Booth, Frances Leary and Andrea McCullough are the team of three who are representing Nova Scotia in the first annual CineCoup film competition as one of the top 10 finalist teams with their film Red Horizon.
In its first year, the CineCoup competition has selected 10 feature film projects, piloted by Canadian directors, which are currently being packaged and promoted in hopes of winning the final prize of a $1,000,000 production budget and a financed Cineplex release. CineCoup is hopeful they will be able to help find funding for all nine projects, but there can only be one winner.
The competition is currently in its tenth week and for their film,Red Horizon, the Nova Scotian trio have already completed nine of the “missions” necessary for the competition, including a trailer.
Red Horizon, described as being an “actor-driven piece” with Hitchcock-like elements, will be a psychological thriller set in a spaceship while six best friends begin to turn on each other. As part of the CineCoup competition, whether Red Horizon wins will be dictated by the audiences’ reaction.
Aiming to get people participating in Canadian film, the competition watches how the audience engages with the videos from the film projects, particularly through social media as they also monitor conversations outside of the competition website to help narrow down the competition.
An online vote will be opening on the CineCoup website on May 30th and will be open until June 3rd to cut out five of the current competing film projects.
You may be asking, why is their only one Nova Scotia team representing?
Despite having had 50 RSVPs, when the CineCoup cross-country tour came to The Hart & Thistle Gastropub back in February, according to Booth, the writer and director of Red Horizon, the turnout for the event was not great and led to Red Horizon being one of the few submissions from the east coast.
Both Booth and Leary, who is the marketing strategist for the team, say being one of the few Nova Scotian teams to enter the contest has been an advantage, but they hope next year more teams will enter.
“It’s been fun building a relationship with the film community,” says Leary. They’re quick to confirm if they win, their film will be made in Nova Scotia, completely under the one million dollar budget.
Both are intent on emphasizing the fact that as much as they want to win, for them, the competition is about making people more aware of the Canadian film industry.
“I have this shirt that says ‘Canadian is not a genre’,” says Booth, and adds that for him, it’s more then just a t-shirt. He clarifies, “To me, a Canadian film is a film made by a Canadian”.
Thinking about submitting something next year? Booth’s advice to filmmakers thinking of entering the competition for next year is as follows, “Believe in the process and go in being truthful to who you are and have enthusiasm for the movie you want to make”.
Leary adds in, “Be willing to take risks and have fun. You can’t take yourself too seriously”. The winning film project will be screened in January 2014
Watch the Red Horizon trailer below
Say Domino returns to Halifax on May 27 and this year, they’re hoping to have the chance to actually play for their Halifax fans. Scheduled to play at Reflections Cabaret (5184 Sackville Street) on May 27 and Gus’ Pub (2605 Agricola Street) on May 28, their drummer is thankfully now of age, so getting in to the bar shouldn’t be a problem.
“Last year, we were scheduled to play at Michael’s [Bar & Grill] and our drummer didn’t have any ID, so we didn’t play but the band we were on tour with, Whoop-szo, got paid,” explains guitarist Matt Trocchi, laughing. The band has a good sense of humour about it, despite having traveled all the way from their hometown London, Ontario to play.
At the time, their drummer, Eric Lourenco, wasn’t legal yet, so Trocchi and Lourenco’s brother, Steve, didn’t get the opportunity to go on stage, but this year, nothing will keep them from blowing out eardrums twice in Halifax. At Gus’ Pub, Say Domino will be performing with I Smell Blood (who Eric also drums for), Shadowfolk and Yellow Teeth.
The band has been together for 7 years and it’s wise beyond its years (the oldest member is 21 years old). Trocchi says none of them are “classically trained” and though this translates to a rougher sound, their harsh guitar sounds and drum beats fit perfectly with the howling lead vocals.
“Mostly we’re just friends first and really enjoy music,” says Trocchi. He says he’s known Steve since they were in elementary school together and one day they just decided to form a band. After a few musical Christmas gifts courtesy of their parents, the three boys had everything they needed to start getting weird.
With an individual garage-inspired sound, Trocchi cites his influences as “obscure Canadian music”, their musical compatriots in London, Ontario and weirdcanada.com.
“I’ve booked Halifax bands here in London, so it will be nice to see them,” says Trocchi. “Last year they showed us a pretty good time, we went down to Truro and played a show there.”
Once the tour is over, Say Domino hopes to start re-tweaking some of their vocals and mastering more of their songs, in hopes of creating an EP to shop around to labels in Toronto. “We want to do a ten-inch EP and put it on vinyl,” says Trocchi.
In case you don’t know, the original Reefer Madness was a 1936 propaganda film that preached the evils of marijuana. Its melodramatic story of mayhem, murder and madness—all sparked of course by that dreadful hallucinogenic plant from “the garden of Satan”—spawned a musical satire and a tongue-in-cheek 2005 movie version as well as this original adaptation by Keith Morrison of Halifax’s Lions Den Theatre.
The play opens with a lecture by Doctor Carroll (Jesse Robb, who adopts the perfect and hysterically- funny patronizing tone), local principal and anti-marijuana crusader. Carroll relates the cautionary tale of Bill and Mary (Dan Bray and Heather Beresford), an oh-so-square teenage couple led astray by low-life pushers.
A play as tongue-and-cheek as this one allows for some pretty broad acting, and this cast has a lot of fun with that—particularly Eric Fitzpatrick as Mary’s gosh-golly innocent younger brother Jimmy. The fumbling get-to-know-you scene between Jimmy and the shy-gal Agnes (Kaleigh Flemming) is both truly funny and delightfully charming.
The play itself is framed by projections that set up both the era and satirical tone of the show really nicely.
This production of Reefer Madness is campy fun, well-done, and sure to be a high point of your week.
Running from May 15-May 19, 8 PM nightly with special matinee on the 18th at 2 PM! Tickets are $15 artist/student/senior/unwaged; $20 regular! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your seat!
John Devlin’s dreams have come true. The Halifax artist’s sketches will be displayed at la Galerie Christian Berst in Paris, France until May 25th.
Devlin’s collection, titled Nova Cantabrigiensis, consists of some 300 sketches of his ideal utopian city. He says that if you spliced all the best parts of Nova Scotia and Cambridge University, the result would be Nova Cantabrigiensis.
Devlin went to Cambridge in 1979 to study theology and become a priest because he felt he had a calling. He had studied theology and architecture at T.U.N.S., arts and social sciences at Dalhousie and worked as a stock broker for two years but felt he was flailing in different directions. This was when he became interested in Christianity. He changed his religion to Catholicism and “flew off to Cambridge.”
While at Cambridge, Devlin immersed himself in his studies. Many of his days were spent reading books and essays in his room or at the library. He believes working too hard is what let him to have a nervous breakdown in the spring of 1980.
“I kinda snapped and flipped out I guess,” says Devlin. “I didn’t realize that was the end, the kibosh of my career as a student at Cambridge.” Devlin returned home to Halifax and spent time in and out of psychiatric hospitals until he was discharged in 1982. Later that year he began to write stories and eventually, he began to sketch.
Devlin sketched Nova Cantabrigiensis as a way to have Cambridge in his own backyard. All the best things about Cambridge without the pressure and the stress, he says.
Nova Cantabrigiensis is located in the middle of the Minas Basin not far from his parent’s summer home in Walton, on the Hants shore.
“I love it out there, but it’s so desolate, so lonely in a way, but it’s beautiful,” says Devlin.
Part of Devlin’s psychosis involved trying to find the essence of Cambridge. Though his search died a natural death as he gradually got better, the images that are currently being showcased at la Galerie Christian Berst in Paris are what have been left behind. Devlin says he feels his life can move forward in a more productive and happy way knowing that his art is being showcased.
La Galerie Christian Berst specializes exclusively in Art Brut, a form of art created by people who have suffered from mental illness and through art therapy found their way back to health. Devlin hopes his display in Paris can show people the silver lining behind mental illness.
“Just putting pen to paper and exorcising those demons, that sounds like an extreme way of putting it, but it helps immeasurably in calming the psyche,” says Devlin. He says art along with proper medication, exercise and diet is great therapy.
“By no stretch of the imagination is it a dead end to be mentally ill in Nova Scotia because there are great resources, great doctors and great people to help you get better, stay better, realize your potential and contribute to society,” says Devlin. He believes in the mental health care system in Nova Scotia.
Spend a day at the movies this weekend, why don't you? Director Jason Buxton's Blackbird is thankfully still showing at Empire Theatre Park Lane, and after the Saturday, May 18 evening showing (6:20pm), Buxton will be hosting a Q&A so you can get right down to the business of picking a director's brain. Film buffs, unite.
Ease into the long weekend with a new track from local hip-hop legend J-Bru. Featuring Classified and Choclair, "Daily Operation" is off J-Bru's sixth studio album, Stranger in my Hometown.
"License and registration please."
A mountie with a hard beer gut is sauntering towards our car, pen and ticket book in hand. I can tell by the height of his fur beaver hat and purposeful stride that arguing this one is useless—I didn't even know they gave speeding tickets for $400. That's like... rent. This wasn't how we imagined starting our trip from Halifax to Massachusetts to catch MASS MoCA's largest exhibition of contemporary art, Oh, Canada (May 26-April 8). We haven't even left Halifax and group divisions are starting to rear their heads.
"Ah, it sucks we got a ticket," I tell our unhappy driver.
"Yeah, it sucks you got a ticket," echo other voices from the back seat, with the emphasis on the "you."
"It could have happened to anyone," I say—by which I mean it could have happened to me and I'll probably be next. "Don't worry—we'll all chip in."
"It couldn't have happened to anyone," mutters my little sister Sally, a fine arts student at Mount Allision University in New Brunswick, who religiously stays within 9% of the speed limit. I've just abducted my sister to come on this trip—her class just happened to be on a field trip to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and I pressured her into squeezing into a tiny little Ford Fiesta with us for the next 10 or so hours. Our group includes myself, exhibiting artist Mitchell Wiebe, local artist Aaron Weldon and the notorious dot com entrepreneur Anton E. Self who surprised us by jumping in at the last minute.
"You need to get out of Sackville. See some of these artists you're studying in school," I had said to Sally patronizingly. Perhaps I was projecting a bit—I needed to get out of Halifax and to see art by Canadian artists who I'd read about on the Internet, but whose work I haven't actually had the opportunity to lay eyes in real life. The fact that I have to travel to the US to see Canadian art is kind of weird, but a welcome change of scenery. And gauging by our outfits, it looks like we all need a vacation. Despite the fact that Massachusetts is not exactly warm in the spring, we're all dressed for California—we've got bare legs, sunglasses and gross pale Halifax toes peeking hopefully out of open-toed shoes.
Several hours and utterances of the word "recalculating" by Self's GPS robot—a British female voice we've deliriously started calling Fiona—later, we arrive at our destination, North Adams, Massachusetts, a former American mill town named, like the famous American beer, after the patriot Samuel Adams. Like many small American towns with a population of less than 14,000, North Adams was economically hit hard when abandoned by its industries in the 20th century, but unlike many small towns, an art gallery swept in to revitalize the economy. And in that part of the US, where the rich live like eccentric recluses in faux castles along the Hudson river, those words are not oxymorons.
MASS MoCA moved into the former site of an electrical research company in 1986, Sprague Electric, and since then, a smattering of restaurants and local businesses followed suit to feed tourists and art lovers from the nearby Williams College scene. It's hard to separate the Oh, Canada experience from the MASS MoCA experience itself. Situated on a sprawling complex of factory buildings and surrounded by a river that feels more like a castle moat, the gallery has transformed the eerily quiet town into a Neverland of sorts for artists.
The kind of Neverland where you find yourself sitting in a hotel hot tub with New Brunswick artist Graeme Patterson, Mitchell Wiebe and Aaron Weldon, as they make kooky noises into a tape recorder to prepare in a freestyle manner for the newest musical project that they'll perform at Toronto's Luminato Festival. The kind of Neverland that on the surface could resemble the Jersey shore—drunk girls in their undies drape themselves over broad chested men in the hot tub while shrieking. But instead of demanding pickles and other unmentionable things, the shrieking girl is shouting "The old masters! I fucking LOVE the old masters—I mean GOYA! Goya! How can you not love Goya?" And all the drunks are either art collectors or important curators.
And it was the kind of Neverland where you get kudos for being from the east coast. A man from "Upper Canada" in a suit comes up to you—as the east coast artists with you are engaged in an almost horizontal, thigh-destroying dance-off on the floor, while King Khan shouts that he doesn't know half the songs the crowd's requesting, as he gets mauled by little children with insistent musical requests whose parents are hippies who encourage that sort of thing in their five year old—and asks "You guys are from Atlantic Canada?" When you ask him how he knows, he says simply, "You guys always bring the party." A cliche statement of course, but in the moment it makes you feel incredibly proud to be Atlantic Canadian.
If you could say one thing of Oh Canada, the spirit of collaboration was in the air—the exhibition enabled creative connections to take shape in a haphazard organic way. These creative conversations weren't always intentional. In Daniel Barrow's dreamy exhibition, The Thief of Mirrors, while you pore over Barrow's surreal projections that tell the story of a bandit who steals from the rich, you can hear the strange mingling of pan flutes from Winnipeg artist Noam Gonick's nearby installation and heavy metal from Canadian expats Hadley + Maxwell's neighbouring video piece. Some have muttered that the show was too crowded, but as a viewer, I found the proximity of the works to one another dizzying and exhilarating.
Whether I was staring through holes in the walls at the fluorescent animal-human hybrids that leapt off of my friend Mitchell Wiebe's canvases or peering into the dollhouse-sized world Graeme Patterson created in his exhibition, The Mountain, entering the exhibition felt like stumbling through the looking glass; new worlds unfolded around ever turn, without chance for a breath or palate cleanse in between, leaving me feeling saturated in the best possible way.
As the party drew to a close, many were whispering in the hot tub about the fact that galleries across Canada are tentatively considering whether or not they're able and willing to cough up the funds to host this massive exhibition next year. As I find myself reminiscing about running through abandoned buildings with gallery interns and sitting on the porch of the artists' housing watching locals yell at their dogs as a gentle breeze rustles my notes, I get nostalgic pangs—I really hope the works do cross back into our borders. Canadians ought to have a chance to see the exhibition on their own soil, and to have the Oh, Canada experience, but of course a new exhibition would have to take on a drastically different character. Unless of course the local bartenders want to start free pouring, hotels want to turn a blind eye to drunk artists and journalists crashing over their fences into their pools and local restaurants want to start selling taco platters and pitchers of margaritas, which is of course all completely fine by me.
Prospective and current arts students rejoice! Dalhousie University announced the inception of a School of Performing Arts today.
“The School of Performing Arts will truly revolutionize the way Dalhousie delivers music and theatre programs through initiatives in teaching and research in the student experience. It will solidify Halifax’s and Dalhousie’s position as a national leader in performing arts and education. This school, which will be the biggest of its kind in eastern Canada, will help foster and promote outreach partnerships with other educational institutions and professional performing arts organizations,” said Dalhousie president Tom Traves.
This new school would not be possible without a $10 million donation from philanthropists and arts-enthusiasts, Elizabeth and Fred Fountain. The gift is the largest ever received by the faculty of the arts and social sciences and one of the largest in Dalhousie’s history. It will go directly to enhance the program of performing arts and to “spruce up” the Dalhousie Arts Centre.
“We wanted to do something that will impact the wider community and we wanted to do something to enhance the centres of excellence that exist here already,” says Fred Fountain.
The couple was inspired to make their donation after the "Bold Ambitions" fundraising campaign in 2011 saw an increase in funding in seemingly every program at Dalhousie besides the arts. The Fountains saw this and decided to make a difference.
“To neglect the arts is to deprive part of our soul,” says Fred Fountain.
The Fountains have proved their mutual adoration for the arts in the past with donations to Symphony Nova Scotia and Neptune Theatre in the past. This investment in the new school creates a cycle as graduates from this new program might go on to perform at Neptune or with the symphony.
Elizabeth Fountain—who Fred pointed out had a lovely singing voice—states, “I have the understanding of the desire to perform and an appreciation for the joy and beauty the performing arts bring to our lives for the performers and the audience. I do believe that our world would indeed be a very bleak place without art both performing and visual.”
The Dalhousie School of Performing Arts will officially open July 1, 2014.
As Laura Baker-Roberts prepares to hang her artwork for her show monotypes in Lost & Found (2383 Agricola Street), her shadowy, delicately beautiful prints are scattered on the floor of the vintage clothing store. Baker-Roberts explains these monotypes—made through a form of printmaking which uses only one sheet—are actually full of spiritual and cultural significance.
While Baker-Roberts begins to set up for the exhibit, she mentions multiple times that she is prone to get tongue-tied. “Don’t leave me,” she says to Kate Walchuk, the show curator, as Walchuk walks back to the counter.
After a careful explanation about the work though, the monotypes speak for her.
The collection of thirty prints, which Baker-Roberts’ created for a final project at NSCAD University, are meant as a starting point to get her audience thinking about issues like Canadian cultural identity, spiritual identity and colonization, something Baker-Roberts feels more comfortable articulating through her artwork.
Her influences combine of her upbringing practicing Hinduism as well as her family’s loyalist Fredericton, NB history. Baker-Roberts achieves this combination through her use of photographs of Fredericton residents in the 1990s as the foundation for her prints and using gold spraypaint in a few of the prints specifically to pay homage to “Indian spiritual deities”. “I cut up and used vintage doilies that I found. I felt weird using them because they’re overused but I also used seaweed and other found objects,” says Baker-Roberts, as she sits on the floor with the prints, spreading them out. She also uses clashing colour palettes and textures, to bring out specifics of her religious and cultural background.
Despite her embarrassment at using doilies, any uptight feeling you would associate with a doily is played down by her use of striking gold paint. In one monotype specifically they work together to symbolize a Hindu god. “I wanted to approach colonialism from a spiritual point of view,” says Baker-Roberts. Even though the monotypes began as a school project, she says it grew into something else.
By bringing together the imagery of her colonial New Brunswick heritage with the imagery of her eastern religious upbringing, Baker-Roberts attempts to challenge ideas of what defines Canadian cultural identity. She shows how specifically for her, both her heritage and her religion work in conjunction to define her own identity, which she then actively expresses through her artwork.
She says it’s a debate that she always has with her friends, and Baker-Roberts seems to be seeking an answer for these issues not only through her art, but through interacting with her audience.
monotypes runs to June 5.
Steve Moore’s show If These Walls Could Talk is so personal to Moore, the audience doesn’t even need him there to explain his artwork. A series of postcard-sized quick sketches line the wall portraying different faces and bodies, all taken from Moore’s own experiences.
The cozy space of Parentheses Gallery (2180 Gottingen Street), where the exhibit is displayed, fits in perfectly with the intimate feeling of Moore’s work. The feeling is very autobiographical and the sketches act as a visual version of a diary.
The most striking painting, in the middle of the gallery, is the massive family portrait called “Collection of the Artist”. Moore depicts members of his family at different points in time (he is a small boy in the portrait himself and his mother is even younger then him), contrasts black and white figures with people depicted in colour.
Moore’s focus is on people and his sketches are imperfect—in a realistic way. He leaves faces unfinished and excessively shades to bring attention to specific features. Moore's paintings tend to jump out more than his sketches. Specifically, “Donkey” and “Doo”, as these more vibrant paintings balance out the series of sketches.
"No art or people were harmed in the making of this situation," says the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's marketing and communications representative Donna Wellard, laughing. It's been an understandingly long day for the gallery after last night's announcement that a flaw in the sprinkler system will have the gallery's north building, including the permanent and temporary exhibits, closed for at least a week.
"Routine sprinkler preventative maintenance showed when the system changed from wet to dry some pipes were left half full of sediment," says Wellard. The fire marshall closed the gallery until everything is tickety boo again. We repeat, no art was damaged, or even slightly dampened.
"There will be a a full walkthrough with the engineers and construction crew tomorrow morning," says Wellard. "We won't have full picture of repairs until midweek, next week."
Until then, the Maud Lewis Gallery, the gallery shop and Untitled Eats restaurant in the south building will be open and the AGNS will be participating in Open City on Saturday and Telus Family Sunday this weekend. Admission is free to the Maud Lewis Gallery until the repairs are complete. Until then, "we'll keep smiling, it's spring and it's sunny," says Wellard.
The ever-prolific Scribbler stopped by, grabbed a coffee and eased us all into a lazy Sunday. Thanks, gang!
Steve Patterson is probably best known for his role as the host of the CBC show The Debaters. Or possibly as Canada’s best male stand-up comedian (as chosen in the Canadian Comedy Awards in 2011).
“On The Debaters I’m essentially a referee for the other comics. I don’t want to step on their material so I kind of have to hold back,” says Patterson. “With this show, they’re not there so I get to talk about what I want to say.” And Patterson is a seasoned performer, after touring across the English-speaking world, he hosted the 2011 Just For Laughs comedy tour. Patterson is looking forward to having a live audience again.
“There’s really no comparison for those who have seen TV and coming to a live show,” says Patterson. “It allows me to get a better relationship with the audience instead of a one-night stand.”
The show features all new original material along with a few musical moments—when Patterson breaks into song. Patterson also promises a handful of letters to inanimate objects who deserve a talking to. “I’m looking forward to really getting to talk about what I actually care about and I want to make it funny,” says Patterson.
Steve Patterson performs Friday, May 10 at the Rebecca Cohn, 6101 University Avenue, 7:30pm, $42.50
Hal-Con, Halifax’s sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention, may not be until November (Nov 8-10 see hal-con.com for more info, but it’s not too early to get excited about the impressive line-up for this fall. The announcements have already started streaming in and will have fans of Doctor Who, Star Wars and Star Trek alike pining through the whole summer.
Fans of the cult classic TV show, Doctor Who, will have an opportunity to visit with the Doctor himself. Peter Davison, the fifth actor to take on the famous character, will be making an appearance. Up until 2009, Davison was the youngest person to take on the role and claims that he is still a fan today.
Star Wars Day (May 4th—cue corny “May the fourth be with you” joke here) may be over but Hal-Con is keeping the force alive. Billy Dee Williams, of General Lando Calrissian fame, will be making an appearance on Saturday and Sunday. As Williams portrayed Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s Batman, he has even more fan-geekdom potential. And if that Batman-Star Wars combination wasn’t enough, he also wrote a sci-fi thriller called Psi Net, which could be a useful addition to your summer reading list.
Other exciting announcements include appearances by actors Jewel Staite (Serenity, Firefly), Garrett Wang (Star Trek Voyager), J. August Richards (Angel), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica) and illustrators Christopher Jones (Young Justice) and Robert Bailey (more Star Wars!)
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Don't know why it is called a Jazz Festival.
Reggae and hip-hop ain't jazz.