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Nocturne’s bedtime story 

Fairytale themes run through this year’s Nocturne festival, creating a supernatural evening.

click to enlarge Knut Braaten’s Cryptozoological Adventures spies a monster. - BRENT BRAATEN
  • Knut Braaten’s Cryptozoological Adventures spies a monster.
  • Brent Braaten

This Nocturne, our city will become the stomping ground for an assortment of unusual fairtytale-like creatures, including a humanoid fish monster and giant ants. From 6pm until the stroke of midnight this Saturday, artists inspired by the paranormal, the animal kingdom and cryptozoological beasts will temporarily transform Halifax into a strange bedtime tale.

And it's going to be pretty strange. I recently found myself in a north end backyard wearing a Swiss maid outfit, pretending to give birth to Coast writer Kathleen Higgins, who was sporting a papier-mâché baby demon outfit coated with Vaseline.

We'd agreed to act in a Nocturne video for artist Brent Braaten, whose Nocturne project, Knut Braaten's Cryptozoological Adventures, is inspired by a quest to prove that his monster-hunting grandfather was not a nut. You'll find Braaten's work at Plan B (2180 Gottingen Street), featuring a film that he says "documents" his grandfather's hunt for the Haligoonie, "a fish monster that haunts the Peninsula, a live creature performance" and other "miscellaneous artifacts" left by the Haligoonie.

You'll get drawn into the supernatural if you climb the historic stairs of the Khyber Centre for the Arts (1588 Barrington Street) to view Marigold Santos' exhibition, Coven Ring. Creating "absurd parallels between witchcraft and boxing," Santos' exhibition makes viewers feel like they've wandered into a site that is both haunted and scared---as though they've become observers of a bizarre ritual.

"It speaks about the essence of a gathering, a coven, a ritual that is about to take place, or one that has already taken place," explains Santos.

While you're in the neighbourhood, you should also check out Nick Brunt and Ed Beals' RETRO ROBOTS ROCKETS AND RAYGUNS SHOPPE at Argyle Fine Art (1559 Barrington), where you'll find Beals' science-fiction inspired found object sculptures and paintings by Brunt.

And don't miss Sherry Lee Hunter's Antic Art / Instar Variation, a performance piece inspired by the social community of ants, featuring giant ants carrying oversized food props across town and at Grand Parade every hour on the hour. "It will be colourful," promises producer Robin Badger, "animated and educationally magic." --Lizzy Hill


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