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Thursday, August 25, 2016

10 ways to have an epic weekend

Beyoncé, DIY-bling, opera, animal rescues and more!

Posted on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 2:51 PM

BAH-NAH-NAH bring the party with world music at The Company House (see 4). - DYLAN CHEW
  • BAH-NAH-NAH bring the party with world music at The Company House (see 4).
  • Dylan Chew

10. The APEX w/TMHM, Engage The Threat, Joy Departed
Sunday, Aug 28, 10pm
Zig-zagging across the East Coast to support their upcoming EP Underbelly, this is your chance to catch Ontario's tech-metal rockers The APEX live at Gus' Pub. Sharing the stage with Saskatchewan's The Man And His Machine, Moncton's Engage The Threat and Hali's own Joy Departed.

9. Five and 10 dollar pop-up
Saturday, Aug 27, 12-5pm
Bauer Street Clothing (2085 Bauer Street) is selling out last season's stock at five and 10 bucks a pop. Call it retail therapy?

8. North End Photographs by Maggie Rahr
To Sept 17
Snapshots exploring Halifax's north end grace the walls of Lion & Bright. Rahr describes her collection via email as streetscapes capturing "the light and colours unique to this mercurial coastal city. Nova Scotians are sure to recognize the soft greys of winter, the stark twilight of autumn nights and the jewel-like blue skies that don't discriminate winter from spring."

7. Hope for Wildlife annual open house
Sunday, Aug 28, 12-4pm
The perfect day for animal lovers, this is a chance to peer into the behind-the-scenes world of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Learn about the programs and processes offered at Hope For Wildlife and see how you can help. With live music, local crafts and food, this promises to be much more than your average afternoon.

6. Beyoncé's Lemonade screening
Thursday, Aug 25, 6:30-9pm
Put some hot sauce in your bag and head to the Art Bar (1873 Granville Street) to watch Bey's latest visual album. This screening is part of South House's Bechdel Test Film Fest, which explores how women are presented in film.

Adorableness in action at Hope For Wildlife (see 7). - HOPE FOR WILDLIFE
  • Adorableness in action at Hope For Wildlife (see 7).
  • Hope For Wildlife
5. Jewellery making workshop
Saturday Aug 27, 2:30-3:30pm
Up your crafting skills (and your bling game!) at this workshop, held at The Center, 2616 Windsor Street. The best part? Telling people you made it when they ask where that amazing necklace is from. Materials included in cost of workshop, and advance tickets are available at

4. BAHNAHNAH's wholetimes goodsomes dance party
Saturday, Aug 27, 10pm-2am
DJ Budi, DJ Fadzwa and DJ Fancy Pants are back at The Company House, and they're bringing big world beats with them. Get ready for a party, everybody.

3. Opera From Scratch gala concert
Sunday, Aug 28, 2:30pm
The grand finale of the Opera From Scratch Festival! This afternoon sees six mini operas that composers and singers have spent the past week crafting come to the stage at St. Matthew's United Church.

2. Millenials
Aug 25-27, 8pm
An original play by Brody Wilkinson-Martin, this story follows university kids getting ready for and going to a major party. All the weed, selfies and awkwardness make the script. And, in a unique twist, prior to the play’s opening, you can follow all the characters on social media—just like a real millennial. Catch it at The Pit, in the Arts and Administration Building at University of King's College.

1. OOPIK writing workshop and book reading
Thursday, Aug 25, 6-8pm
OOPIK is an art collective focussing on telling “current and authentic” stories about Inuit, First Nation and Metis people. Join one of their members, Delilah Saunders, at Radstorm as she shares insights and exercises on writing. Saunders will also read from her forthcoming book, A Princess and A Monkey: My Sister and I. The book tells the story of Delilah and her sibling Loretta, who was murdered in 2014 while writing a thesis at SMU about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It is a celebration of life, words and those the Saunders sisters have fought for.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Down memory lane with The Tragically Hip

26-year-old concert footage shows a hairy Gord Downie in Halifax.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 4:46 PM

Fans in 1990—early to The Tragically Hip, late at the Misty Moon. - STILL FROM VIDEO
  • Fans in 1990—early to The Tragically Hip, late at the Misty Moon.
  • STill from video

Think back. Before The Tragically Hip was an icon. Before Gord Downie’s brain cancer diagnosis became another reminder how hard 2016 has been on legendary musicians. And long, long before The Hip’s farewell concert in Kingston turned into a much-anticipated national live streaming event. Back in 1990, The Hip was just a good rock band fronted by a great poet, relentlessly touring bars to build its name. So it played venues like Halifax’s Misty Moon, from whence a Reddit thread recently brought to light an hour-long Hip concert that Much Music filmed 26 years ago (embedded below).

The Moon was a horrible, wonderful place with the sort of almost-free happy hour drink prices that are now illegal, and a mandate to put on live music in order to justify its open-to-the-wee-hours liquor license. Located where the Discovery Centre is now, just down Barrington Street from Grand Parade where tomorrow’s concert will be shown, it collected a large and diverse crowd as lesser bars closed for the night. In this way, it was a discovery centre of another kind, my illustrative Moon experience involving a friend who left the bar after a consensual encounter and walked straight to the emergency room to get an STI treated.

Certainly the Moon audience for The Hip’s concert seems into the show. “It’s powerful warm in here,” says a sweat-drenched Downie at 36:14, before introducing “a song about a dude who I don’t really know, but I lived close to for a while.” That would be “38 Years Old,” far more familiar to us now than the long hair Downie’s sporting on stage.

I wasn’t at that show. My Hip appreciation came years later, forged during an assignment to cover the band about to embark on yet another tour. The musicians, the roadies, management and media gathered in Saint John for a few days before the tour kicked off at the Harbour Station arena. The first night, the hotel bar closed at its normal time—too early—and I went back to Downie’s room to wind down with some Scrabble. He played the seven-letter “encages” to start the game.

By the second night in Saint John, arrangements had been made. The hotel bar stayed open past its bedtime. Hell, it stayed open past my bedtime. For all I know, it didn’t close. And why would it? For the king of bar bands, the party is never supposed to end.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

10 ways to love the weekend

A record release, a fairy tale afternoon, saying goodbye to Gord Downie and more.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 1:02 PM

A Tribe Called Red brings the party to the Marquee Friday  (see number 3). - FALLEN TREE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • A Tribe Called Red brings the party to the Marquee Friday (see number 3).
  • Fallen Tree Photography

10. Zoe Leger
Friday, Aug 19 and Saturday, Aug 20, 7-10pm
Fresh off a show at Jazz Fest and toting a new album release (titled The Girl From Yesterday), Zoe Leger's soulful voice-and-piano combo is a must-see for jazz lovers. Comparisons to Diana Krall wouldn't be completely out-of-place here, so stop by Le Bistro by Liz and take part in discovering the next big thing.

9. Dart Trek
Through Aug 31
Let your inner nerd shine and celebrate Star Trek's 50th anniversary at The Dart Gallery! With lots of art about the final frontier, it's the only place for Trekkies to be.

8. 24hr zine challenge
Saturday, Aug 20, 7pm to Sunday, Aug 21, 7pm
Calling all crafters and '90s nostalgics! Hit the craft tables at Radstorm for the ultimate 'zine challenge: Putting together your very own DIY publication in 24 hours. Materials, food and fellow 'zine lovers will also be on hand for the fun.

7. Born In Flames Screening
Thursday, Aug 18, 6-9pm
This documentary-style sci-fi film follows two New York City feminist groups voicing their views on pirate radio. As a socialist government begins keeping ever-more-watchful tabs on the women, sweeping problems brew. Directed by Lizzie Borden, this film is part of South House's Bechdel Test Film Fest, tackling the way women are presented in film. Head to Art Bar, 1873 Granville Street, to see this cult classic!

6. Tomi Allen's LP Release Party
Thursday, Aug 18, 8:30pm
Halifax-based Tomi Allen is throwing a party to celebrate the release of his first LP, and you're invited for the sonic, soulful ride. Called Abstract Echoes of the Mind and Soul, the album's 10 original tracks swerve from "Brazilian-infused" Beatles-style pop to surfer-rock tunes. The release date, chosen by Allen because it aligns with the August full moon, will prove to be the perfect time to get in touch with your bohemian side.

Zoe Leger gets jazzy at Le Bistro (see 10). - COURTESY OF ARTIST
  • Zoe Leger gets jazzy at Le Bistro (see 10).
  • Courtesy of Artist

5. Once Upon A Fairy Tale
Saturday, Aug 20 and Sunday, Aug 21, 10am-5pm.
Like a Comic-Con for fairy tales, this event invites you to the Halifax Forum dressed up as your favourite bedtime story. Get ready to explore a medieval village, have tea in the fairy court, and witness all sorts of magic, myth and whimsy.

4. Not Since Moses
Sunday, Aug 21, 8:15am
Forget walking on water, this annual summer event encourages you to run on it! Or where it's supposed to be. The Not Since Moses race has been bringing curious runners and walkers to the Bay of Fundy's Sand Point and Soley Cove (near Five Islands) for years, to take on five- and 10-kilometre races against the sublime, record-high tides, slipping and sliding all the way. Aimed at all ages and athletic abilities, Not Since Moses is an unforgettable summer experience more than a race—you versus nature, with a backdrop fit for National Geographic.

3. A Tribe Called Red
Friday, Aug 19, 9pm
Catch A Tribe Called Red at the Marquee and get lost in their signature blend of dance and traditional pow-wow music. Their rich layering of modern beats and ancient aboriginal song creates a unique, immersive experience.

2. 2 Crows Tasting Preview
Thursday, Aug 18, 7-10pm
2 Crows Brewing Company, set to open its doors downtown this fall, asks you to "bring your tastebuds...and feedback" to its 580 Young Ave location. A chance to sample the suds before they hit the market, this event is bound to be a beer lover's dream. The best part? All ticket sales go to Feed Nova Scotia, plus there will be a box onsite for you to share some non-perishable items.

1. The Tragically Hip Live From Kingston
Saturday, July 20, 9:30pm-12am
If you, like the rest of us, wanted to get your hands on tickets to the Hip's final show in Ontario, make your way to Grand Parade for a goodbye party and live screening of the concert that is sure to be totally unforgettable. Other venues screening the show include The Carleton Music Bar & Grill, Good Robot Brewing Co and Resolutes Club.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

10 ways to light up your weekend

A communist birthday, views of the night sky, one Hali-famous band's last show and more!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Longtime entertainers The Chess Club call it quits, sing one last show (see number 5). - COURTESY OF BAND
  • Longtime entertainers The Chess Club call it quits, sing one last show (see number 5).
  • Courtesy of Band

We're cutting cake for Castro's 90th, getting our groove on with The Chess Club and squeezing in some late summer stargazing.

10.Halifax Summer Opera Festival. To Aug 14. Back for its third season, the Halifax Summer Opera Festival features the best in Maritime opera talent. This year's festival is very Italian with performances of Handel's Rodelinda, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. For the serious opera lover, you can be there for every cadenza by purchasing a season pass.––Shelby Bona

9. India Fest 2016. Aug 12-14, 11am-8pm. Head to the Halifax Forum and get a henna tattoo, try some curry, and get to know more about Indian culture at this three-day festival.

8. North by Night and Further North Markets. Friday, Aug 12, 7-10pm. Lower Gottingen Street lights up this Friday night as Squiggle Park and Plan B deliver curated collections of oddities and things you never knew you wanted! These doses of pop-up fun are within walking distance of each other, so why not see both?

7. DJ SOULCIAL: DYING2DANCE. Saturday, Aug 13, 10pm. Nova Scotia born DJ Soulcial is bringing his big beats back home for a night of madness on the dace floor. Featuring everything from funk to hip-hop, this is a night out clubbers won't wanna miss.

6. Salvage Book Launch Party. Sunday, Aug 14, 4pm. Author Stephen Maher heads to the Economy Shoe Shop to celebrate the launch of his novel, Salvage, a murder-mystery-thiller set on Nova Scotia's south shore.


5. The Chess Club w/Raegan Boucher. Friday, Aug 12, 10pm. A Hali-famous dance band that's calling it quits after years on the stage, this will be The Chess Club's farewell performance. Call it the end of an era and one more reason to bust out your dancing shoes.

4. RITUAL/VIRTUAL. To Aug 13. Interdisciplinary work focusing on how perpetual internet use can be both frustrating and relaxing, this exhibit explores the gap between virtual and analog art practices. As the gallery puts it, “RITUAL/VIRTUAL is trying to filter internet trash.”

3. Fidel es Fidel Screening. Thursday, Aug 11, 6:30pm. Celebrate the 90th birthday of the larger-than-life Cuban leader Fidel Castro at this biopic screening and panel discussion. For politics nerds or lovers of Cuba's sunny shores, this is the chance to learn more about the often-misrepresented revolutionary.

2. SeaLight SkyLight Festival. Aug 12-13, 7-11:30pm. The Deanery Project’s third annual outdoor festival, held in Ship Harbour (751 West Ship Harbour Road), brings together science, art and nature. See the stars, be amazed by the harbour's bioluminescence (that's glow-in-the-dark plankton), and maybe even spot a mermaid!

1. Clam Harbour Beach Sandcastle Competition. Sunday, Aug 14, 9am. If you've ever dreamed of winning an award for this under-appreciated skill, your time is now. This competition recognizes architects and engineers who are bold enough to dream. Enter for your chance to win cash prizes, enjoy food vendors and groove to live music while spending your day on the beach. There will even be a shuttle service to transport you there. So get your beach pails and bucket hats ready, folks! May the sand be with you.––Ashley Corbett

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

10 ways to make this weekend rule

From classical music to cats to wrestling, it's all goin' on this weekend.

Posted on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 4:40 PM

Maritimer Maureen Batt gives classical music a modern upgrade, singing about everything from mental health to selfies (see five). - TOM BELDING
  • Maritimer Maureen Batt gives classical music a modern upgrade, singing about everything from mental health to selfies (see five).
  • Tom Belding

10. The Uncanny: When Fantasy Is Too Real
Aug 4-7, 8pm, Matinee Aug 7 at 2 pm
Three short plays make one full evening of adult-only fairytales at The Bus Stop Theatre. In The Marriedest One of All, the evil Queen and Snow White are locked in a competition to see who can procure the most husbands. (Hint: Cohabitating with seven dwarves lends a distinct advantage.) In Asleep at the Wheel, the story of Rumplestiltskin is re-imagined to explore the implicit violence of patriarchy in fairy tales. And lastly, Hansel in Lederhosen is a psychological cat-and-mouse set in an eerie theatre in Halifax. —Kate Watson

9. Documentary Double Bill
Thursday, Aug 4, 6-9pm
This double bill features ! WOMEN ART REVOLUTION, a doc that explores how the women's art community came to blossom through the feminist movement of the '60s and '70s. Second up is She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a film that acts as a visual record of people and happenings during the peak of feminism's second wave. Part of South House's Bechdel Test Film Fest, this screening takes place at the Art Bar, 1873 Granville Street.

8. Summer Rumble
Saturday, Aug 6, 7pm
Head to Bedford Lebrun Arena, 36 Holland Avenue, Halifax for your fill of jaw-dropping, gut-wrenching action with this wrestling show.

7. Bachata Dancing Lessons
Saturday, Aug 6, 11am-2pm
Pier 21 and Indhira Castillo of La Zona Dance Company invite you to lace on your dancing shoes and try Bachata, one of the most accessible forms of Latin dance. Requiring no skills or partners, everyone's welcome to learn some spicy new steps at the museum!

6. du al ism By Doug Belding
Aug 5-18
A series of paintings at the Dart Gallery exploring the fizzling tension between opposites, this collection of 10 pieces tells the story of characters facing an array of challenges. Using vivid aqua against a moody, red and black background, Belding creates one more layer of opposites and makes his images pop.

One of Doug Belding's latest pieces uses colour to tell a story (see six). - PROVIDED BY ARTIST
  • One of Doug Belding's latest pieces uses colour to tell a story (see six).
  • Provided By Artist

5. Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred
Saturday, Aug 6, 7:30pm
Classically-trained pianist Cheryl Duvall shares the stage at The Music Room with her friend and soprano, Maureen Batt, at this classical-style concert. But don't dismiss this as your typical classical show. The concert, part of a North American series also featuring shows in Toronto and Philadelphia, tackles modern themes like mental health issues, HIV/AIDS, gender identity, body issues and even selfies. As Batt puts it, "each piece represents a reality that is blurred, a line that is crossed, a time that is both past and present."

4. Halifax Seaport Beerfest Aug 5-6 Don't let the tiny steins fool you, this is a marathon not a sprint. Welcome the 10th anniversary of the summer favourite Seaport Beerfest by swigging back craft brews and ciders from over 100 producers, putting down a good base of tasty snacks and enjoying live music and the city's hottest DJs at the Cunard Centre. Need we say more? Didn't think so.

3. Potluck Picnic 2
Thursday, Aug 4, 6-8pm
The second installation of Eyelevel Gallery's picnic series, this event is all about breaking bread and discussing art. Bring your favourite potluck dish to Common Roots Urban Farm and don't forget a donation to Feed NS. Rain date is TBA.

2. Lakefest
Saturday, Aug 6
This all-afternoon outdoor fest on the beaches of a secret lake has us craving a cold drink and the smell of sunscreen. With tickets available at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola Street) for a paltry $10, it's a great chance to discover some local talent.

1. Cat Fest
Saturday Aug 6, 10am-4pm
Celebrate International Cat Day with the Museum of Natural History. Dress up in your feline best and enjoy events, crafts and more. #CatFest16

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Lakefest is a well-kept secret

The festival, held at a secret lake in HRM, gets ready for its big reveal Saturday.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Bürden by the secret shore - KEITH BÜRDEN
  • Bürden by the secret shore
  • Keith Bürden

When Bijou Bürden and Kayla Stevens began planning Lakefest, a one-day outdoor music festival happening August 6, they were chasing a particular feeling. It was a feeling Bürden still vividly remembers, one that hit when their former band, the Saffrons, had a jam session two years ago on Lawrencetown beach. “I mean, the sun and the water, being so near the ocean. It just feels good. I dunno how to describe it, it just feels really good to be outside,” Bürden recalls by phone. The few indescribable, song-and-sunshine doused hours left such an impression on the pair that they knew it was an experience they wanted to share with others. After lots of discussion and many half-plans, the duo finally fell on a way to make it happen: Their very own outdoor music festival, with a secret twist.

At first blush, Lakefest feels like a small-scale reiteration of every other festival: An outdoor show that’s full of smaller bands you don’t really know, but your cool friends talk about a lot. And while that’s technically true (it is outside, and buzzy local acts like No Problem and Stevens’ Vulva Culture are on the bill) there’s more to it than that.

The roster, which features what Bürden describes as everything from “garage-y to lazy bands” and the Lakefest Facebook page defines as “ perfect popsicle rock in the sun” features an almost-exclusively local lineup (like the acts mentioned above and Bürden’s band, Faw Haja). 

And, that lineup isn’t playing just anywhere. As the festival name hints, the concert happens at a lake. But, the exact location is a tightly-guarded secret, only to be revealed the morning of the show. Ticket buyers receive an email address with their $10 stub, and by messaging it, they will receive a digital map divulging directions to the lake.

“This lake is really special to me. I almost wish it wasn’t a secret so I could tell people more about it,” Bürden says. “When I first moved here [from Ontario] it was to be with my Grandma, who’s a really special lady. I’d walk my dog down near this lake and I just loved it.”

Festival vibes - KEITH BÜRDEN
  • Festival vibes
  • Keith Bürden

Bürden adds that most of the musicians on the bill have an element of psychedelia in their sound, and that the outdoors and psychedelic music are, to her, deeply linked. “The classic kind of hippie, let’s-sit-out-in-the-grass kind of imagery from old photographs: That natural part seems like an important part of psychedelic music,” she says, adding that while she doesn’t count Pink Floyd as a musical influence, their outdoor desert concert DVD was “the first of that sort of thing I’ve ever seen,” and soon became part of her Lakefest vision. She feels that playing her favourite songs in her favourite natural haven will be an almost-otherworldly experience for both her and the audience alike.

Along with those sunny, psychedelic vibes, Lakefest was a chance for Bürden and Stevens to challenge the unwritten rules of festival and concert culture. Lakefest participants are warned on the event’s Facebook page that there is a decorum in place, meaning, as Bürden puts it, fest-goers have to “respect the lake and each other.”

Since moving to Halifax, Bürden became involved in the punk music scene at the local music venue Radstorm, where she says her eyes were opened to a lot of issues surrounding how women and minorities are marginalized within music, particularly at concerts: “I’ve learned a lot from going to Radstorm, like how important the movement is for safer spaces is. And, I’ve seen conversations on Facebook where people are talking about things that happened to them at shows with discrimination and homophobia. And when you have that experience, you have a lasting problem every time you go to a show. It leaves you like ‘Oh my god, am I gonna be harassed or threatened in some way?’ and so that was a very important issue for us.” Lakefest, she adds, is her chance to change that, offering a “chill space” where anyone who feels unsafe will be able to approach event co-ordinators in yellow bandanas for help. 

Echoing this, the Lakefest decorum reads: “Babies are welcome, everyone is welcome. This is an inclusive event.” And Bürden is trying her best to make sure all those at Lakefest feel at home, something she hasn’t always felt before taking the stage: “I’ll sometimes be setting up to play a show and I’ll have questions about somebody’s gear, and they’ll be like ‘oh it’s ok if it’s over your head’. It’s like, ‘so, should I not be here because I didn’t understand how your amp works?’” And while she knows one female-run concert won’t end festival culture’s sexism overnight, it’s a step in the direction Radstorm has pointed her towards.

“Basically we just want everyone to have an awesome time and enjoy the sun,” she says, “you know what I mean?” Though it’s been awhile since her first outdoor jam session, Bürden seems to finally have caught that feeling again, and this time she’s sharing it on a particularly sentimental shore.

PS: Here's a cool video from Vulva Culture, one of the fest's headliners

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Top 12 ways to have a winning long weekend

Here's how we'll be spending the Natal Day holiday.

Posted on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 7:34 PM

Busker Kate Mior (acting as Marie Antionette) will have her cake and eat it too at the Westin's Busker brunch (see five). - IMAGE COURTESY OF BUSKERS FESTIVAL
  • Busker Kate Mior (acting as Marie Antionette) will have her cake and eat it too at the Westin's Busker brunch (see five).
  • Image courtesy of Buskers Festival

12. Queering Islam: Starting Conversations. Thursday, July 28, 7-9pm. A panel discussion followed by a Q&A, this meeting at Saint Patrick's church aims to discuss queer identities in Islam. Organizers say the event is an open space "to encourage learning about the complexities of Muslim negotiations of sexuality."

11. Nitro Circus Live. Saturday, July 30, 6pm. This travelling show of adrenaline-fuelled performances is touching down in Dartmouth at the Scotia Speedway. Watch some of the world's best BMX and freestyle motocross athletes perform, and witness the Nitro Daredevils fly through the air on what they call "a host of ridiculous contraptions." The perfect Natal weekend event for the adrenaline junkies in your life, tickets range from $40-$100 and are available at

10. Don Russell: A Metaphor for the Subconscious. To Sept 3. Newfoundland's Don Russell shares a mini exhibition of his black-and-white drawings and prints at Studio 21, tackling themes about the mind and subconscious. The artist adds his works are inspired by his rich Acadian and Mi'kmaq heritage.

9. Liberation Days. Saturday, July 30 at 6pm and Sunday, July 31, at 2pm. Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, with 10 of those years spent performing outdoor "theatre off the grid" at the Ross Creek Arts Centre. So you won't be surprised to hear the mainstage production of Liberation Days is fantastic, absolutely worth making a trip to the Valley for. The story is a wartime romance set in Europe, where a chipper Canadian soldier meets a sad Dutch woman who has lost the men in her life to the war. Coast critic Kate Watson writes that “the props are intentionally sparse—a war office is evoked by a typewriter and chair, the parson’s home by a desk, doorsteps by a simple flagstone—but the natural setting is so evocative and immersive that the mind paints the appropriate set. It is pure magic.”

8. Jimmy Swift Band Reunion Tour. Friday, July 29, 10pm. The semi-retired JSB gathers fellow jammers Scientists of Sound and Dub Kartel (and other guests) for a night of riffs, reggae and flailing limbs at the Marquee.

7. BioDrag Show. Friday, July 29, 9-11pm. What is a Bio Queen? How do you do it? If you've been looking for an introduction to drag (either as a participant or viewer), Menz says this show, the city's first ever BioDrag performance, is the place to start.

Sam Cash and The Romantic Dogs rock the Carleton this weekend with their new record (see three). - IMAGE COURTESY OF BAND
  • Sam Cash and The Romantic Dogs rock the Carleton this weekend with their new record (see three).
  • Image courtesy of band

6. Natal Day Comedy Night. Friday, July 29, 8-10pm. For its seventh annual comedy night, Casino Nova Scotia is upping the laughter ante. This year's bill boasts John Crist (who's shared the stage with Dave Chappelle!), DeAnne Smith (winner of Best Female Stand-up at the Canadian Comedy Awards) and Andrew Seamless (called one of Montreal's top 10 comedians for four years running). Bottom line? Get ready for belly laughs—and lots of 'em.

5. Brunch With Buskers. Sunday, July 31, 11am. Halifax's International Busker Festival is turning 30 this year, and the Westin is celebrating with this festive meal. Offering fans the chance for an intimate performance with several buskers over all your brunch favourites, this is an unforgettable experience for those left in awe by sword-juggling, fire-eating adventurers.

4. Nova Scotian Artists Studio Rally. Jul 30-31. Feeling like a road trip this weekend? Consider this: Now in its 24th year, the Nova Scotian Artists Studio Rally is opening the doors to private studio spaces across the province, allowing art lovers the chance to glimpse into various creative spaces. From weavers to painters and blacksmiths to potters, meet the many talented makers this province has to offer from the hills of Cape Breton to the coast of Yarmouth. With over 40 artist's workshops in total, there's a lot of opportunities to learn more about art and even discover some treasure.Get complete studio listings and directions on their website.

3. Sam Cash and The Romantic Dogs. Saturday, April 23, 10pm. One of Toronto's buzziest rock bands hits the Carleton stage, touring their new record Tongue in Cheek Vows. Plus, from the Carleton stage they'll be giving their spin on some Joel Plaskett favourites from his album Truthfully, Truthfully.

2. 3rd Annual Jamaican Independence Day Celebration. Monday, August 1, 1-9pm. The Jamaican Cultural Association of Nova Scotia invites you to join this celebration of Jamaica's Independence Day. The third year they've thrown this party, they'll be on the Halifax Common with lots of Jamaican food and music to help you celebrate and learn about their dynamic culture. Plus, North Preston up-and-comer Keonté Beals will be playing a show there, too!

1. Natal Day Fireworks. Saturday, July 30, 10-10:15pm. The perfect nightcap to a day full of adventures, head to Alderney Landing in time for 10pm for the best view of this fireworks show. The city says the fireworks are being set off of a barge, promising a beautiful display of light. Looking for more info or want to check on weather? Call the 311 hotline or check out The rain date for the fireworks is July 31.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jimmy Swift Band's brief break from retirement

After calling it quits two years ago, the band launches a "re-reunion tour."

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 5:34 PM

The Jimmy Swift Band around 2010.
  • The Jimmy Swift Band around 2010.

The Jimmy Swift Band walked the line between rock and electronica (or, as they often call it, “rocktronica”) from the late ‘90s until their official breakup in 2011. When they announced their last hurrah tour in 2014 (crowned with a prime slot at Evolve festival), fans figured they’d seen the last of the Halifax-based musicians.

But now the JSB crew is proving to be the Can-rock retirement equivalent of Jay-Z, coming out of the shadows for what they're calling a "re-reunion tour" just two years after calling it quits for good. With a stop at The Marquee on July 29 at 10pm, they’re gathering with Scientists of Sound and Dub Kartel to throw a hometown party complete with riffs, reggae and slow-burn jams.

In case that two-year hiatus was long enough to make you forget why you should be excited about the re-reunion, here's is one of the band's few music videos, for their song Two Hands On The Wheel:

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Halifax Pop Explosion announces second round of its lineup

Featuring acts like Hey Rosetta!, Charles Bradley, and Keys N Krates.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 11:59 AM

Hey Rosetta! is this year's headliner. - SCOTT BLACKBURN
  • Hey Rosetta! is this year's headliner.
  • Scott Blackburn

In just a few short months, when the humidity has broken, the fall wind will ring with the sound of rowdy concert goers: leaves will crunch beneath their Converse as they prance to the next show, revelling in the joy that is Halifax Pop Explosion.

The beloved fest just announced its second round of 2016 acts this morning—fans, hold onto your fanny packs, and get ready.

Over 50 new acts are slated to grace our stages in October, including Hey Rosetta!, Keys N Krates, Charles Bradley, Grandtheft, PUP, Basia Bulat, Holy Fuck, TUNS and Voivod.

You won’t be starved for local talent, either, with acts like Reeny Smith, Century Egg, Old and Weird, Crossed Wires, Beauts, Mo Kenny with Symphony NS and Nap Eyes lined up.

Early bird passes are on sale now for $89—get ‘em while they last. Prices will jump to $109, and eventually reach $129 over the coming months.

The festival runs from October 19-22, at various city-wide locations.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

10 ways to make your weekend amazing

Beyonce-themed eats, Australian live music and obviously, the PARADE!

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 3:29 PM

Pride Week only has a few days left, so let's make 'em count with Pride festivities, diva-themed brunches, outdoor exploration and, of course, THE PARADE.

The Mae Trio travelled all the way from Australia to bring their sweet, folky sound to The Carleton Music Bar & Grill this Saturday (see 4). - KATE ATKINSON
  • The Mae Trio travelled all the way from Australia to bring their sweet, folky sound to The Carleton Music Bar & Grill this Saturday (see 4).
  • Kate Atkinson

10. Queer Contra Dance. Saturday, July 23, 5-9pm Not your typical dance, this event eschews traditional gender roles, offering a binary-free, queer-friendly atmosphere. Bring something to the 5pm potluck and then lace on your dancing shoes for an old-fashioned good time, no experience or partner required.

9. Little Spoon Pop-Up Stand. Saturday, July 23, 11am-2pm The entrepreneurial spirit runs in the Doherty family. Ten-year-old Aidan Doherty, nephew of Middle Spoon owners Ciaran and Lacey Doherty, is passionate about small business and is working on one of his own. Just in time for the Halifax Pride Parade, Aidan will debut The Little Spoon—a pop-up shop that'll sell a variety of fresh-squeezed lemonades and sweet treats, like whoopie pies, fudge pops and other portable desserts. Aidan promises most of his goods will run you under $5—and that he'll be back in action on most sunny Saturdays, 11am-2pm. —Allison Saunders

8. McNabs Island Summer Tour. Sunday, July 24, 9:30am-3pm Learn all about iconic isle, from hearing tales of the ancient Mi'kmaq peoples to exploring the historic forts and homes that dot the island's hills. Event organizers suggest wearing comfortable shoes and bringing water and a lunch. Arrive at the boat's departure point 15 minutes before the 9:30 start time to ensure your seat.

7. An Evening with Jim Carroll: Readings from an American poet. Thursday, July 21, 7pm Gather to hear hosts Jerry Ropson and Dr. Bart Vautour, along with others, share their favourite passages by the late Carroll. Probably most famous for his autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries (which became a ‘90s film starring Leonardo DiCaprio), Carroll worked with many famous artists, including Andy Warhol.

6. Dark for Dark in concert. Friday, July 22 Catch Nova Scotia's own Dark for Dark as they tour Eastern Canada on the heels of their new album, All Dressed. The record is a haunting, folky offering that stays true to their sound. With this as the only Halifax date on the tour, fans won't want to miss it! —Lewis Rendell

5. LES AMOURS IMAGINAIRES Screening. Friday, July 22, 7pm Quebec's famed director Xavier Dolan released LES AMOURS IMAGINARIES (literally "the imagined loves"), a story about two friends who fall for the same guy, in 2010 to rave reviews at the Cannes Film festival. Now, Alliance Francaise is giving you the chance to catch the flick, complete with English subtitles.

Get ready for Pride Parade! (see 1). - DYLAN WHITE
  • Get ready for Pride Parade! (see 1).
  • Dylan White

4. The Mae Trio in Concert. Saturday, July 23, 2pm All the way from Australia, these musicians offer a contemporary take on folk, playing original songs across many instruments, including cello, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and ukulele.

3. The Grind. Friday, July 22, 10pm-2am This outdoor party promises to be a steamy summer night. With drag star Adore Delano (Of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame) on the mic and Montreal’s DJ Alain Jackinsky spinning beats, partiers will wanna dance for hours.

2. Beyonce Brunch. Sunday, July 24, 9am-4pm All hail Queen Bey!! Get in formation and head over to Black Sheep Restaurant, 1569 Dresden Row, for a meal filled with your favourite 'yonce anthems and brunch eats. Drink specials include Boozy Lemonade (made with vodka and Proseco) and the Queen Bey cocktail (a mix of gin, honey, ginger, mint and ginger beer). Feeling like a queen yourself? Spring for the $290 bottles of Cristal, complete with a Black Sheep hat included.

1. HALIFAX PRIDE PARADE. Saturday, July 23, 1-3pm The height of Halifax Pride’s festival, the Pride Parade is a celebration of all things LGBTQIA. Join the party on the streets of downtown Halifax, and don’t forget to bring your rainbow flag! Looking for accessible viewing? A platform will be available at the Halifax Central Library from noon onwards. The parade route travels from Upper Water Street to Barrington Street to Spring Garden Road to South Park Street.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Final Tragically Hip concert to be screened at Grand Parade

Gord Downie says "Hey man, thanks!" as he takes the stage one last time.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 4:04 PM

click image Downie and the band onstage in Kelowna in 2015. - AVEN HOFFARTH
  • Downie and the band onstage in Kelowna in 2015.
  • Aven Hoffarth

When The Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie announced his terminal brain cancer last December, Canada's musical consciousness exploded.

News headlines wailed about our impending loss of a national treasure. All of a sudden, Hip hits like Ahead By A Century seemed to be playing on the radio a lot more—or maybe we were finally registering the song’s lyrics, particularly Downie's croon "No dress rehearsal /This is our life.”

Like every other maple-syrup-eating, over-apologizing Canadian, I had grand plans with friends to make the pilgrimage to Ontario this August and see the Hip make their magic one last time at their final concert in their hometown of Kingston.

And, just like every other maple-syrup-eating, over-apologizing Canadian, I was outraged when the tickets sold out in seconds to online bots, soon to be resold for thousands.

Now, Halifax’s Downtown Business Commission and the CBC are offering a solution. Today,it was announced there will be a screening of CBC’s broadcast of the Hip’s final concert live on August 20. As the CBC are turning the Grand Parade into a giant, communal living room, the buisness commission is promising a full day of events “that may include live, daytime, musical performances throughout downtown; Hip-themed programming by many downtown businesses, and the closure of Argyle Street for a day-long street party.” Culminating with the CBC's concert screening around 9pm, it might be just as good as going to the actual concert.

At the very least, it will be wonderful to see so many people come together and say goodbye to a great talent, and celebrate some of the most popular homegrown music of our time. As Downie sang in In View, “Yeah, it’s perfect/ Well it isn’t and it is.”

Keep up-to-date on the day’s events on the Business Commission's website. Fundraisers will be held throughout the day to support the Canadian Cancer Society.

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Hats off: a Jazz Fest fashion guide

Whether you’re counting them in the crowd or trying to plan your outfit, this weekend you’ve got to know your jazz hats.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 12:23 PM

  • illustrations by Matt Bustin

The Pork Pie
If jazz is your highway, the pork pie is your Cadillac. This eccentric lid belongs to a true jazz nerd, who’s happily holed up, syncopated snapping at the Village Vanguard, or ripping sax solos of their own in a hotel bar. Lester Young made this look legendarily cool, hence why this style should be reserved for true players.


The Fedora
If done right, a fedora-topped outfit is classy—think sexy Sinatra, or badass bandleader Count Basie. Given its prevalence at Jazz Fest, we assume the large brim is a tool in aural enhancement for mega fans—but the carpet has to match the drapes. Unless you’re some kind of Indiana Jones, don’t attempt pulling this one off with flip flops, board shorts or a sleeveless top.


The Trilby
Often confused for a fedora, this smaller-brimmed hybrid hat (the porkdora?) can be used as a cover-up for bald spots , lack of jazz knowledge and total untrendiness. T-shirt and vest wearing Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears have visited trilby territory, as have many “down south” beachgoers, but only the truly cool cats manage to pull it off.


The Beret and Page Boy
A gateway jazz hats, call it fedora rising. Malleable enough to roll up and shove in your pocket, but jaunty enough to make a statement if the mood—or drum solo—permits. Equal parts art, pomp and chill.


The Wild Card
Miles Davis said, “Don’t fear mistakes, there are none” which is fitting for the “you do you” of the jazz hat spectrum. The wild cards are usually a modern or “funky” take on the old school—think Slash’s towering top hat, Pharrell’s oversized Arby’s logo or Jamiroquai’s fuzzy Cat In The Hat getup. Just improvise, man.

h/t to Jennifer MacDonald & Mike Ritchie

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Top 10 ways to heat up your weekend

It's getting hot out there, and we have the sizzling concerts, film screenings and art to prove it. Yow!

Posted on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Nigerian musician Kunle brings his traditional tunes to Halifax (see number 4). - VANESSA DESTRA
  • Nigerian musician Kunle brings his traditional tunes to Halifax (see number 4).
  • Vanessa Destra

10. Visual Arts › Murder at the Dart. Until Jul 28. Painter and mixed-media artist Lee Cripps and ceramics artist Susan Paczek unveil their newest works at the Dart Gallery, all centred around a crow theme. The misunderstood creatures (called a murder when they're in a group) are actually said to be seen as multicoloured birds to other animals who have better vision than humans. See Cripps' and Paczek's colourful take on them until July 28.

9. Film Screening › Animated City screens The Lord Of The Rings. Friday, July 15, 8pm. Gather near dusk at Tall Ships Quay on the Halifax waterfront for a chance to see another vision of Tolkien's beloved universe. This 1978 animated version tells the story of the ring in a way you've never seen before! Part of the Animated City Outdoor Film Fest.

8. Health & Wellness › Party at The Pond for Feed NS. Saturday, July 16, 6-7:30pm. Get your groove on for a good cause at Sullivan's Pond. A blend of high and low intensity dance steps taught by an instructor, this workout promises to torch calories while you enjoy songs ranging Salsa to Top 40.
Bring your sneakers and a donation to FeedNS, who recently reported their pantry shelves to be critically bare.

7. Visual Arts › Summer Group Exhibition. To Sept 3. A rotating exhibition featuring works from many of the gallery's artists in dozens of mediums, this exhibit offers something for every art lover.
Highlights include a small selection of paintings by Belgian-born New Brunswick artist Francis Coutellier , who's back on the art scene after a four-year hiatus with this show.

6. On Stage › Queer Acts Festival. July 13-17. Come celebrate our queer community, artists and stories. Seven productions take place over five days during Halifax’s Pride Festival. Highlights include Theatre Outré’s drag rock opera Castrati and “Friend” “Like” #Me by comedian Gavin Crawford (of This Hour has 22 Minutes fame), as well as a variety of shows from emerging and established artists. —Kate Watson

Murder at the Dart brings a thoughtful eye to crows (see number 10). - LEE CRIPPS
  • Murder at the Dart brings a thoughtful eye to crows (see number 10).
  • Lee Cripps

5. Dance › Swing OUT! w/ Dalhousie University Dance Society. Friday, July 15, 8:30-11pm. Wish you were a better dancer? Envy the smooth moves of others on the dance floor? Well the Dal Swing Dance Society is here to help you up your game! Just in time for Pride Week, they're throwing an LGBTQ+ swing party. Learn new moves between 8:30 and 9:30pm, and show them off until 11pm. No partner required. Located at 1531 Grafton Street.

4. Live Music › Kunle. Sunday, July 17, 3-4:30pm.Nigerian singer/songwriter Kunle will be sharing African rhythms and stories at this free concert. The perfect way for world music lovers to add some texture to their afternoon!.

3. Halifax Jazz Festival › Verbal Warnin'. Friday, July 15, 11:15pm. Keep dancing till dawn with Halifax's own reggae-roots rockers Verbal Warnin'! This Jazz Fest event is an opportunity to catch the group (who rarely perform) in all it's spontaneous, dance-able glory, so snag some tickets while you can.

2. On Stage › As You Like It. To Sept 1. Shakespeare by the Sea takes on the 317-year-old classic, telling the upside-down story of Rosalind, Frederick and Orlando, love, exile and honesty. The show schedule alternates over the summer with SBTS's Pinocchio and King Lear, and Mondays are dark, so check the website before you go.

1. Halifax Jazz Festival › Thundercat w/River Tiber. Saturday, July 16, 8:30pm. Thudercat brings big sound—just as his name promises—with a mix of laid-back neo-soul and dance music elements. A Pitchfork magazine fave (and Kendrick Lamar collaborator!), catching his Jazz Fest performance gives you insane amounts of hipster cred—and the songs are so good, you can enjoy them un-ironically. Toronto producer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist River Tiber opens the show with a blend of Justin Timberlake-style vocals and heavy beats.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lauryn Hill goes electric

Concert review: Halifax Jazz Fest’s kickoff was pure jazz.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 11:24 AM

Lauryn Hill got three songs into her Halifax Jazz Festival set before a lightning storm took over the show. - ASHLEY CORBETT
  • Lauryn Hill got three songs into her Halifax Jazz Festival set before a lightning storm took over the show.
  • Ashley Corbett

Tuesday night at the 30th Halifax Jazz Fest’s big opening show, a thunder and lightning storm erupted over Ms. Lauryn Hill and her band. As the musicians were ushered off the stage, the light show over the harbour kicked up in dreamy purples and hazy greys, then the skies opened up and rain fell like it would swallow us whole. It rained and rained and rained. Slowly, nearly imperceptibly, it began to fall more evenly, its fury dulling, ending in a kind of gentle salt woven mist. People were drenched and radiant.

When Hill returned to the stage it was as if she had conducted all that electricity, intensity, and fed it back out into our breastbones and rib cages through the bass of her unstoppable words. Her voice is unlike any other instrument. She conducted her band as an army general—wildly, prophetically, madly—and in the process redefined live improvisation. The Jazz Fest was a perfect vessel: As Hill drew on the strengths of her mothers, Ruth Brown, Etta James and Nina Simone, she remained inherently herself. This, in a sweeping electric shock of a night, couldn't have been MORE jazz.

Hill crouched in blue light and it felt as if she were drawing us in, around her fire. She popped out like a bullet with “Fu-Gee-La.” She invited us to sing along to “Killing me Softly” like we've done unabashedly, but perhaps, before tonight, only alone.

She nurtured us with three original takes on Bob Marley classics we were nursed and bred on. For “Feeling Good,” the way she sang "it's a new dawn it's a new day it's a new life" made Simone’s song as gritty, crackling and fearless as it's ever been.

A mighty queen has met Nova Scotia. The Maritime weather threw everything it had at her, and she threw it back in an orchestral explosion of dominating poetry, passion and sheer life force. The woman is made of fire.

You electrified us with your spirit, Lauryn Hill. Thank you for making us feel alive.

ICYMI: last night was dynamite
ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite

ICYMI: last night was dynamite

Scenes from the opening night at Halifax Jazz Festival 2016, with performances from Cyndi Cain and Ms. Lauryn Hill.

By Ashley Corbett

Click to View 9 slides

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Tunes at Noon free concerts are back

Dig into the 9th annual lunchtime Grand Parade music series.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:33 PM

Looking to liven up your lunch hour? The annual Tunes at Noon concert series is back for its 9th year, lighting up Grand Parade with sounds from a variety of genres. We're especially excited for Zoe Leger's spot on the stage, as her so-new-it-hurts album just dropped today so her audience is bound to be treated to a new song or two (scroll on for a video)!

Here's the full, newly released lineup:

July 13 – Willie Stratton
July 14 – Donna & Andy
July 15 – Zoe Leger Duo
July 20 – The Hupman Brothers
July 21 – Razzmatazz
July 22 – Chelsea Amber
July 27 – Dusty Keleher
July 28 – Alycia Putnam
July 29 – Urban Surf Kings
Aug 3 – Arsoniste
Aug 4 – Christine Campbell
Aug 5 – Jamie Junger
Aug 10 – Jen Miller
Aug 11 – Jason Price
Aug 17 – Terry Kelleher
Aug 24 – Natalie Lynn
Aug 25 – Ced, Marty and Dave
Aug 26 – Celtic Rant
Aug 31 – 36th Halifax Pipes & Drums
Aug 12 and 18 as well as Sept 1 and 2 are yet to be announced.

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Sure Thing Events

  • Willie Stratton Album Release w/ Disher and Betts @ Gus' Pub & Grill

    • Fri., Sept. 2
  • East Coast Country Night: Samantha Power W/ Lisa Richard @ Halifax Waterfront

    • Fri., Sept. 2, 9 p.m. free
  • Back To Class Patio Bash @ Argyle Bar & Grill

    • Sat., Sept. 3, 9:30-2 a.m. $10/$5

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Vol 24, No 13
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