Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rainworks is only happy when it rains

Temporary stencils only visible in the rain dot sidewalks downtown thanks to Argyle Fine Art

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 4:16 PM

Argyle Fine Art's rainy day crew
  • Argyle Fine Art's rainy day crew

Walking in the rain has always been a very cinematic and contemplative activity, provided you aren’t getting dumped on by the heavens, I guess. Now in downtown Halifax, while you’re shuffling to and from in the drizzles, you might find a little Instagram-worthy surprise at your galoshes.

Argyle Fine Art was approached by Tim Hayman and Ashley Murray, who were looking for a way to honour the memory of their friend Regent Rosinski. “He loved art and living life to the fullest. His friends were tuned into art with his help to see it’s fun and not pretentious,” says Argyle Fine Art’s Adriana Afford. “They wanted to something in his honour, playful and artful.”

With this task, and the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s Gritty to Pretty grant, Argyle Fine Art went to artist Nick Brunt, who created inspirational, funny and temporary stencils for high traffic pedestrian locations. The only catch is that the messages are only visible when the sidewalk is damp with rain. Called Rainworks and well, rain!, the messages might just be the pick-me-up you need when you’ve forgotten your umbrella (get a peek right now near the law courts). Brunt will be working on a new stencil September 21 in front of Argyle Fine Art, from 12-2:30pm, and view blogger Dave Culligan's document of the project here.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Daniel Walker is telling stories

Owen Meany's Batting Stance releases its first EP.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 4:00 AM


The first time Daniel Walker caught the performance bug was at the Open Mic House on Agricola in 2013. On a whim, he took a flight from Guelph, Ont. to Halifax over his university reading week. It was a dream-like seven days that led Walker to a naive conclusion. He decided that if he moved here, of course he’d become a musician. Why wouldn’t he?

Life has a way of stalling these kinds of dreams. Even still, Walker spent the past two years writing a small crop of tunes, which he kept in his back pocket until recently.

This Friday, Walker is debuting Owen Meany’s Batting Stance's first EP. It's a sound that's part folk, part pop, with a heavy focus on lyricism. The event at The Company House kicks off a week long tour, with stops in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Walker says the band is mainly a vessel for his musical endeavours —he’s the group’s songwriter, singer and guitarist. Remaining members are in flux, but aplenty, thanks to Walker’s wide revolving door of friends who lend their talents to play with him.

When Walker first took the spontaneous plunge to move here, his Dad gave him a copy of his favourite book, A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. Something about the story, and the pivotal time at which he read it, really stuck with Walker, eventually inspiring his band's name. In a scene near the end of the story, the main character (Owen) finally hits his first home run during the last game of baseball season. Unfortunately, the ball hits his best friend’s mom on the head, killing her. Walker says it’s a dark metaphor for taking a chance on music, and not knowing what will happen in the long run.

Lyrically, Walker likes storytelling. “I think it gives it a bit of a purpose… if you can have a song that stands as something that you can read, like a poem, that has meaning all the way through,” he says. For this reason, his tunes don’t typically have a repetitive chorus. He prefers a narrative approach.

Take the song Pop Odyssey: The First Person Narrative of The Bottle of Cola. It’s the story of a pop bottle’s feelings about being at a house party. Have a listen here to get a sneak peak of what Walker has to say.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Halifax stop-motion heading to TIFF

Tim Tracey's animated film is a "reflection of digital existence."

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 4:00 AM

Film trailer screenshot. - TIM TRACEY
  • Film trailer screenshot.
  • Tim Tracey

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is just around the corner, and local filmmaker Tim Tracey is gearing up to premiere his second stop-motion movie, DataMine, in the 6ix on September 14.

The animated film is about privacy and surveillance in the digital age, striking a chord with Big Brother in George Orwell's novel 1984. The movie's imagery is surreal, and was made without the use of computer generated images; DataMine was animated by hand with light painting.

Tracey's first 2013 stop-motion, Kreb, won numerous awards, including the Atlantic Film Festival's Best Animation, Screen Nova Scotia's Best Short Film, Houston Worldfest's Best Animated Short, and the Helen Hill Animated Joy Award.

Tracey is one of three NS filmmakers to secure a screening at this year's TIFF, along side Ashley McKenzie's Werewolf and Daniel MacIvor's Weirdos.

The three films will debut on the East Coast at the Atlantic Film Festival (September 15-22) in just a few weeks. DataMine is also screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October.

Check out the trailer below for a sneak peek of this stop-motion thriller.

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