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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Art imitating life

Tara Thorne goes for a relaxing drive through the local arts news.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2006 at 3:20 PM

When life gives you hell, you make a film with it. Or at least that’s what Andrew Hines, best known as half of Halifax production team Urban Peace Divison, is doing with Silent Night, a 10-minute drama about his summer carjacking on Blowers Street.

“It happened at the end of July,” says Hines over his cell. “I was waiting for a friend to get off work, and I was parked in the parking lot behind Utility. And a guy got in the car with a stocking on his face, and told me we were “gonna go for a fucking drive.” So we did. It was quite a traumatizing experience. So now I’m going to therapeutically make a film about it, though I’m changing the end completely. The bulk of it is verbatim.”

Hines was forced to drive his captor around for about half an hour, and ultimately dropped him off in his own neighbourhood—“ he’d been drinking, and he was trying to figure out if he could sober up to steal the car or not”—and headed back into downtown, where “the first car I came across was a cop car.” He led the police back to the guy’s neighbourhood where they quickly came across him. “You remember that iconic photo of Bigfoot in California in mid-stride?” Hines asks. “It was like that. We looked up and there he was looking at us, mid-stride, in the middle of the street.”

The film will end differently than Hines’s experience, which was peacefully (in theory—the filmmaker has dealt with “severe sleeping issues” since the incident). “When it happened to me, we got to that point where you were going to etiher opened door A or door B, and we opened door A,” he says cryptically. So I’m opening door B with this film. Door A was the one that luckily enabled me to still be around to make this film. So I’m just examining what could’ve happened with door B.

“The point for me for the film is not just to retell it—it was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had in my life—but what I’m trying examine is that he and I come from such completely different socio-economic circles. We really had no way to relate to each other, so I spent the time trying to get to know this guy. I would take something and he would take something. Nothing was given. I’m trying to examine the psychological background of two people put into a situation like this would react to each other.”

Silent Night, starring Robert Bockstale as the victim and Anthony Black as the carjacker, will film this weekend literally at the scene of the crime—Hines will shoot the carjack itself on Sunday in the same parking lot (two days after he faces his attacker in court). “That’s really exciting for me because we actually shut the street down and film it like a real production,” he says. “It’s great not to have to steal shots anymore.”

This and that

Colin Angus and Julie Wafaei spent two years rowing across oceans and getting across three continents on foot, ski and bike—AKA a human-powered circumnavigation—arriving in Vancouver in May of this year. On Thursday, November 30, they will be on hand at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (1675 Lower Water) for a screening of the documentary about their trip, Beyond the Horizon. Halifax is the last stop on a national tour for the film. Tickets are $14 or $12 at the Trail Shop (6210 Quinpool) and the film screens at 7:30pm.

The final deadline to submit to Vagrant Publishing—an offshoot of Nimbus—and its inaugural new fiction collection is Friday, December 1. Send your 2,000 to 10,000 words in any genre to Sandra McIntyre at PO Box 9166 Halifax, NS B3K 2E8 or give them a ring at 454-7404.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s director Jeffery Spalding is one of the artists currently featured in a video exhibition called Analogue: Pioneering Artists’ Video from the UK, Canada and Poland (1968–88) at the famed Tate Modern in London. Nineteen seventy-three’s “Video Wash” “was an impish tape featuring a certain un-expectorated provocative act,” Spalding emails. The exhibition closes out in London this week and moves to New York at the first of next year.

Corner Gas fans, of which we are not one, may be interested to know Janet Wright (Emma) and Gabrielle Miller (Leacy) will accompany Michele Sponagle, author of the new CG tome Tales from Dog River, to a signing at Chapters at Mic Mac Mall. The actors will also be in town for an appearance on Christmas Daddies.

Who’s your christmas daddy? email: tarat@thecoast.ca

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Film

Tara Thorne brings you an all-video/film/TV dopey.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 23, 2006 at 3:25 PM

We’ve talked about Thom Fitzgerald’s 3 Needles a few times over the past year—when it screened at TIFF in 2005, when it screened at the Atlantic Film Festival in 2005, when co-star Lucy Liu had that art show here, when it had an expensive charity screening a couple months back—and yet the film still has not gotten a theatrical release in Halifax. (Unbelievably, it drops in the US first, on December 1.)

And this week will not change that. But there will be a one-night opportunity to check out Fitzgerald’s “international edition” of the film—its three stories are told one after the other instead of intercut, the way we saw it in Toronto lo those many months ago—at Park Lane on November 28. The screening, in recognition of World AIDS Awareness Day on December 1, starts at 7pm, tickets are $8 at the door.

TV

All of you with your Alicia Silverstone stories can sit in front of your TVs this week and re-tell them again and again when CBS shows the Halifax-shot Candles on Bay Street. Silverstone stars as a woman returning to small-town “Maine” with her son to find that her long-lost love (Eion Bailey) has married Annabeth Gish (whose dope Showtime drama Brotherhood was just released on DVD, go rent it).

This Hallmark Hall of Fame extravaganza—TV movies for the sap in all of us—was directed by John Erman, who says, “I think the really important theme of this story is that we all have an ability to change. Every one of our characters goes through a metamorphosis and comes out the other end a richer, fuller human being. I think change is one of the most important and difficult aspects of living. When things are good, we all want things to stay as they are. But when we face big challenges, sometimes we have no choice but to change.”

“It’s a simple, sweet story that everyone can relate to,” says Silverstone. “It’s a story of love lost, and love rekindled, of lives affected in a wonderful, unexpected way.”

Stock up on tissues and tune in to CBS (channel 32 in Metro) at 10pm on Sunday, November 26.

Video

On Friday, November 24 at 7pm the Centre for Art Tapes will screen two films by French video artist Sandy Amerio.

Hear Me, Children-yet-to-be-born is a 45-minute “experimental fiction” about the prinicple of business storytelling, “which works on the principle of metaphors and analogies” and “has multiple applications: management of conflicts, factory relocations, downsizings, layoffs or increases in production.” Surfing on (our) History is a half-hour production partially written and performed by Amerio’s parents in a film about “the degree to which we our actors in our own lives.”

The screening will be held at the Windsor Theatre in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, George at Bedford.

And more film

The holiday season brings with it a lot of traditions in the form of office parties, eggnog poisoning, the Parade of Lights, Christmas carols blasting from City Hall and angering downtown workers, the Urban Surf Kings’ annual show and Woody the Talking Christmas Tree at Mic Mac Mall.

But our favourite is perhaps the Atlantic Filmmakers’ Co-operative’s Super Duper Super 8 Christmas Party, a screening of holiday-themed super-8 films. This year’s event drops December 19, but the reason we’re telling you about it now is because you could be one of the filmmakers.

If you head to AFCOOP right now—in the CBC Radio building at Sackville and South Park—and bring $45 ($40 if you’re a member) you’ll get one roll of Super-8 film (you get to choose between colour and black and white), one day’s rental of a camera, shipping and processing. The rub is that you have to edit in-camera, so think about something you can shoot in sequence.

As far as the holiday theme—“It doesn’t even have to be a Christmas film, just film a guy in a Santa hat and put the word Christmas in the title and you can shoot whatever you want,” notes AFCOOP, which also notes “no porn.”

Finished films must be in AFCOOP’s hands by December 4, so get hopping. It’s first-come, first-served.

Been there? Screened that? email: tarat@thecoast.ca

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Hit me with your best SHOT

Chris McCluskey plays a song for you.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 23, 2006 at 3:14 PM

What fans of local synth rockers HOTSHOTROBOT will never hear is the initial direction of the band’s first EP, Everyone Die. The project, initially titled Eat My Heart, was born of a different genre altogether.

Everyone Die was decided upon when all of our songs were power-metal originally,” says vocalist and keyboardist Jen Clarke. “But then we had a stylistic change of heart so we wrote all new songs. About boys.”

The group—also including bassist Andrew Gormley and guitarist Brad Luknowsky—experienced a line-up change when drummer Sean MacGillivray left to focus on other projects.

“MacGillivray is involved in several projects, and although was a good robot team member,we never relied on him as our only drummer,” Clarke says. “Jon Epworth, who filled in a number of timeswhile Sean was on tour with other bands, recommended Lance Purcell,” formerly of The Plan. “He’s incredibly talented and we’re very happy to have him.”

With a full roster intact, HOTSHOTROBOT will begin promotion of its record on November 24 at Stage Nine in celebration of its release.

Clarke says her inspiration as the sole lyrical voice in the band is something that will be unique to Everyone Die.

“This record was an end of an era for us in many ways, in that it focused on the prominent theme of my early songwriting: botched relationships and riot grrl inspired, boy-related anger in general,” says Clarke. “In other words, Eat My Heart, man…it’s over! We’ve now shifted away from this focus to matters that promote the band’s ideas as a group, rather than my diary-ish secrets!”

They see the sky as the limit for their debut EP.

“We’re hoping to go on tour after applying for some grants. We’re considering a few different areas including Japan and Europe,” says Clarke. “We have a long mailout list of glossies and campus stations across North America and, of course, a few dream labels that we hope may consider us. We are an enthusiastic, tireless robot—we’re not afraid to aim high!”

Danny the man

It’s never an easy task writing about a talented songwriter you’ve never met, without any juicy scraps of news to report since their last local appearance. That said, Danny Michel has been on the road since last June promoting his fifth album Valhalla from Fernie to, well, Halifax—and has certainly logged enough mileage since July 29 to merit special consideration in your concert-going itinerary this weekend.

“It seems like I have been out a lot, yeah,” says Michel from his hotel room after the long jaunt from the Halifax airport. “When I did the west coast I did like, 22 nights in a row.”

The folk/pop artist, who finished second in Best New Artist balloting to Michael Bublé at the 2004 Junos, made the east coast a priority for promotion of his latest release.

Michel will be bringing his material to The Seahorse on November 24 as a solo effort, but promises to bring what he describes as an “all-star line-up” as soon as it’s logically feasible.

“I’ll be doing some producing on some other records,” says Michel. “And probably sitting down and thinking about a new record soon. That takes a long time, because I have to write the tunes and all that. So hopefully I’ll have something out for fall (2007).”

Sit down and email: scene@thecoast.ca

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Film students unite

Tara Thorne takes a picture of the local arts scene.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2006 at 3:35 PM

The second annual Halifax Student Film Festival drops on November 23 at Saint Mary’s University. Organized and hosted by SMU’s film society, the one-night event offers up as many films made by Halifax students as it can get, probably.

“It was really long last year because we didn’t want to turn down any films,” says organizer and society presedent Nelson MacDonald. “But this year it depends on the submissions. It’ll probably end up being as long as last year—two, two-and-a-half hours.”

The inaugural fest was put together in about two months in 2005. “We had about 30 short films, running from one minute to 15 minutes,” says MacDonald. “We had a really good response from schools like NSCC and the Centre for Art and Technology. And we got a surprising number of submissions from Saint Mary’s, a school that people wouldn’t think has many filmmakers. Saint Mary’s isn’t recognized for much other than football. A lot of people were surprised from the other schools.”

The submissions ran the gamut of genres, says MacDonald. “We got a lot of mockumentaries, and I think they’re kind of easier to make. We got a few serious movies, but a lot of mockumentaries, documentaries, a few experimental things. We were happy that it was very varied. This year we have a few documentaries, a couple of comedies. I think a lot of young people are into making quirky films.”

This year’s contest will be judged by SMU film studies faculty, with prizes going to the top three entries. “The organizers all just really like to watch film,” says MacDonald of the festival’s existence, “and it’s really fun doing the school year to put energy into something other than just reading your books. We like the idea that we can spur some people on into making films to put into the festival. It’s just fun.”

The Halifax Student Film Festival starts at 7pm on November 23 in the newly renovated McNally Theatre in the main building on SMU’s campus, near the end of Robie Street. Two bucks gets you in and the first 50 people get a free rental from Video Difference.

Sweet photos

A pair of Coast-affiliated artists are having very good weeks.

First, Halifax photographer Francesca Tallone has been chosen by New York magazine Surface as one of eight photographers in its ninth annual Avant Guardian Project, which “seeks out and celebrates the next wave of rising stateside stars who are poised to push the boundaries of commercial photography…searching for and supporting emerging American talents whose distinctive visual sensibilities are sure to redefine the aesthetic standards of the indsutry.” (Tallone is American, if you’re wondering.)

The magazine chose four photos from Tallone’s series Giving Up the Ghost which just ended a run in the windows of Sherry Lynn Jollymore and Jayson Melanson’s store Lost & Found at 2383 Agricola. The photos can be seen on the magazine’s website at surfacemag.com/agp/.

Rebecca Kraatz, author of the beloved House of Sugar (and beloved of Joel Plaskett), which used to occupy this very page, will release a real live book of the comic on November 16.

“I always wanted to be a writer or poet,” she says. “But I also like drawing. A lot of my childhood and teenage-hood drawings had words. Comics combine these two quite nicely.” The book will be the inagaural release of Tulip Tree Press, the publishing company of local comic star Hope Larson. The launch of House of Sugar is from 8-10pm at Argyle Fine Art, 1869 Upper Water. Books will be $10 and Kraatz will be on hand to sign them up.

Dance dance

It’s been a hot month for dance and the hits keep coming on November 18 with Gala Rouge, a fundraiser for Mocean Dance. The company—Carolle Crooks, Sarah Di Quinzio, Sara Harrigan, Alicia Orr MacDonald and Lisa Phinney—will perform, of course, and the show will also features guest performances by Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson, Henry Jackson, Barry Leonard, Elise Vanderborght, Lulu LaRude—who just turned 25, ahem—and Big Fish.

The show begins at 7:30pm in the McInnes Room in the Dalhousie SUB. Tickets are $40 and available by calling Halifax Dance at 422-2006.

Do-si-do to your computer and email: tarat@thecoast.ca

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Less is more

Chris McCluskey drums up the music news.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2006 at 2:09 PM

Fans of local act Mardeen are starting to hear some new material trickle out onto the group’s MySpace page. Making the song “Kids” available is the first step in the band’s movement towards releasing their first full-length record in spring 2007.

“It’s called Read Less Minds and it will have 10 to 12 tracks on it,” says frontman Travis Ellis. “We are also releasing a four-song EP in December that will feature some tracks that will appear on our full-length. It will be available digitally through zunior.com, and EPs will be available at any of our upcoming shows.”

Mardeen has been recruited for Pop Montreal and Halifax Pop Explosion creator Peter Rowan’s management roster, and has also seemingly put an end to its recurring searches for a drummer.

“Yeah...we can never keep a drummer,” he says. “Jon”—Pearo, regularly the group’s vocalist/guitarist—“was our drummer for the record and we wouldn’t have done it any other way. He’s an extremely creative drummer, and it really helped to define the record. However, we have Gary Staple” —from Tomcat Combat—“playing with us now, and it’s working out great.”

Travis Ellis, bassist Matt Ellis, Pearo and Staple will road-test their live dynamic on dates around the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario before a release date for Read Less Minds is set and promotion hits high gear in April.

NB blues

Once New Brunswick bluesman Ross Neilsen decided to make music a full-time job, he did the smart thing—he set goals for himself. By the end of 2005, he’d met aims to release an album (the ECMA- nominated Where I’m From) and tour regionally. This year Neilsen mapped out a new set of objectives.

“The goal was to broaden and play festivals and stuff, which I did,” says Neilsen, who performed at the Salty Jam, Harvest Blues and Dutch Mason music festivals this past summer. “And I wanted to start writing again for a new project, which will hopefully happen in January or February.”

As 2006 quickly comes to a close, he’s busy deciding upon new steps for 2007—which Neilsen assumes will include branching into Ontario.

“I treat it like a business—if I were running a shoe shop I would probably want to set goals for my shoe shop. It has paid off for me,” he says. “I want to get into Ontario, which I’ve just fallen short of this year. I also have some soft seaters lined up.”

Neilsen’s travels take him to Bearly’s for back-to-back nights this weekend on November 17 and 18.

NSMW: the wrap-up

The envelopes have been opened, and In-Flight Safety was a big winner at the 2006 Nova Scotia Music Awards. The group is currently on tour in western Canada and will come home to accept Group, Album and Alternative Recording of the Year honours. A pair of distinctions went to both Jenn Grant (Female Artist and New Artist) and Joel Plaskett (Songwriter and Entertainer of the Year). Other local notables to walk away with awards include Wintersleep (Video for “Fog”), Urban Surf Kings (Aboriginal Recording), IV (DJ), The Contact (Inspirational Recording), Little Derek & the Haemo Blues Band (Jazz/Blues), Mir (Pop/Rock Recording), Dammien Alexander (Urban Recording) and—ironically—Classified for Boy-Cott in the Industry in the Hip-Hop Recording category. Congrats go out to Coast friend Chris Smith for snagging Visual Artist of the Year.

Nominate yourself: scene@thecoast.ca

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Curry’s flavour

Chris McCluskey has the nominations du jour.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2006 at 2:55 PM

Curry’s flavourEarlier this year, singer/songwriter Andrea Curry received three nominations at the East Coast Music Awards—Female Artist of the Year, Pop Recording of the Year and CBC Galaxie Rising Star of the Year. Although she didn’t walk away with the pewter, she has two more opportunities to win an award in 2006, vying for Nova Scotia Music Awards in the Female Recording of the Year and Songwriter of the Year categories.

“It’s stiff competition and it’s really just kind of neat to be placed up there with them,” she says. “It’s exciting, I’m still flabbergasted that people listen to my music at all. Just because it’s from me. I’m still like a little girl in a candy shop.”

Curry says she hasn’t given the awards much thought beyond the thrill of her nominations. But the Songwriter nod brings her into uncharted territory.

“Seriously, being nominated for Songwriter of the Year is pretty cool. Being one of five people chosen to be in that category is really neat,” she says. “But I don’t feel I am up against them, I just feel part of it.”

Look for new material from Curry sometime in 2007, and an update on how she fared at the Nova Scotia Music Week Awards next week.

Old Man nominee

There certainly isn’t a deep pool of solo banjo artists in Nova Scotia, but as Chris “Old Man” Luedecke found out, an appreciation exists for his originality. The uprooted Toronto ex-pat is nominated twice at the Nova Scotia Music Awards.

“I guess I was surprised, pleasantly. I guess it’s nice. The nomination was really the nicest part,” says Luedecke, whose 2006 Hinterland is nominated for Male Recording of the Year and Folk/Roots Recording of the Year. “Like you said, there really aren’t a whole lot of solo banjo players out there, and I deliberately set out to make music I didn’t think was all that common. So it’s nice to know that people appreciate it.”

Luedecke recently finished a tour of Ontario, with the highlight being a support slot for the Be Good Tanyas at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall.

“It was crazy, it was cool,” he says, laughing. “It was just me on this enormous stage, playing my tunes for a thousand people. It was really pretty fun.”

Luedecke lives in Chester, close to Liverpool, where Nova Scotia Music Week is being held. He can be considered the hometown favourite.

“I am not from the South Shore,” says Luedecke, “but we have quite a number of friends out this way. Over the years I’ve made quite a few friends out here, so hopefully they aren’t cheering for anyone else.”

ECMA first look

Looking ahead to this coming February 15-18, the East Coast Music Awards will once again descend upon Halifax, and announcements have begun to trickle in. Legendary Canadian producer Bob Ezrin is confirmed to visit the city with a keynote address to kick off the four-day festival. Those unfamiliar with his work will know Ezrin from his production work on Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

Substance will also meet style at this year’s ECMAs with the introduction of FashionEASTa, an initiative aimed towards connecting the dots between music, fashion (provided by NSCAD U designers) and theatre—all undeniably vital for commercial success. The event will take place on February 15 with bands TBC. Tickets are $125 and go on sale, along with tix for the gala awards show at the Metro Centre, on December 1.

Send your gala announcements: scene@thecoast.ca

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Farm’s almanac

Tara Thorne rounds up the local arts scene.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2006 at 2:48 PM

The King’s Theatrical Society’s 2006 season kicks off with a bold choice in 20-year-old playwright Daniel Rosen’s Butterfly Farm, about two teens with mental illness, aided through it by their shared nurse. Herald has been “alienated by a corrupt, evil world,” while Melanie is the product of crappy parenting. Rosen’s been working on the play for over a year, finding a story in the mental instability of himself and his friends.

“I think what drives this story is that it deals with feelings that teenagers, and people in general, everywhere can relate to,” says the writer, who is also directing the show. “And I think, rather than merely expressing despair and frustration, the play will give the audience something positive that they can come away with after seeing the show. We’re even working on getting a sociologist to give a guest lecture on the issues the story addresses.”

“We are all very proud of Dan,” says KTS’s Yolana Wassersug. “He has such a huge heart, and the ideas in this play come from his sincere and caring personality.”

Butterfly Farm, starring Sidra Martin, Sam Neale, Mike Jang and Graham Bowditch, runs from November 9 to 11 in the Pit at King’s College.

Lie with D’Oliveria

If you caught the latest edition of Monday Night Movies—Clement Virgo’s controversial 2005 film Lie with Me, starring Lauren Lee Smith as a sexually adventurous Toronto woman—and wondered how they managed to get something so racy funded, shot and released, then this is your weekend.

On November 11, the Atlantic Filmmakers’ Co-operative will host Virgo’s longtime producer Damon D’Oliveira for a Producer’s Intensive Seminar, which has a $175 price tag attached ($150 for members). But on Sunday from 1 to 3pm in the CBC building’s Radio Room, D’Oliveira—who also produced Virgo’s Nova Scotia-shot Poor Boy’s Game, co-written by local Chaz Thorne (no relation)—will give a free artist’s talk using Lie with Me as a particularly interesting example of how to get features made in this country. The free session will be moderated by Halifax producer Rick Warden (Ice Men), who will also host a Q & A.

Gemini wrap-up

Last weekend’s Gemini Awards revealed a depressing state in national entertainment. There was the completely unnecessary ET Canada pre-show, featuring Rick “You’ll Always Be the Temp” Campanelli and Cheryl Hickey asking ET America-type questions like “Who are you wearing?” of people we didn’t even recognize, let alone hear of. There was the appearance of Kid Koala, scratching records on the way to commercial breaks, a blatant ripoff of the one thing (Buck 65) the Juno telecast did well. There was the embarrassing brouhaha over Lost’s Evangeline Lilly, promoed on every break, and of course she didn’t show up until the very end and then fucked up her lines (we should note her only contribution to Canadian television is Judgment Day, a video game review show of some kind, and she is credited as “JD Girl ”). There were the unfunny psychiatric sketches with that nerd from Red Green (although we do give them props for Jeff Douglas’s I Am Canadian parody, which was quite good). And there was the running time—it took just one hour to honour a year of Canadian TV. Mortifying!

But it’s not all bad—This Hour Has 22 Minutes picked up the Best Ensemble Performance (only half the cast, Shaun Majumder and Mark Critch, was in Vancouver representing), and Mary Walsh and Ed MacDonald grabbed the writing nod for Hatching, Matching and Dispatching. So kudos to local talent for keeping this country laughing, because otherwise, well, you know.

Putting the dead in deadlines

A couple arts deadlines are looming: the provincial government is looking for applications for the Nova Scotia Art Bank, which has been buying works for its permanent collection for over 30 years. The deadline is November 15 and you can download an application at gov.ns.ca/dtc. And November 10 is the last call for submitting works to the Centre for Art Tapes’ Traumatic Landscape project, which deals with “the landscape of disaster.” Email cfat.programming@ns.sympatico.ca for info.

If you’ve got info to share, send it. email: tarat@thecoast.ca

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

Pot shots

Pot talk. Sex talk. Readers respond.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2006 at 2:23 PM

I loved your advice to PROP. I am a 25-year-old woman with a healthy sex life, thanks to pot. I have a hard time relaxing and being comfortable with my naked body (although I’m attractive), but smoking weed alleviates my anxiety so I can get down. I don’t smoke every time I have sex, but it’s usually better when I do (for example, I come every time when I smoke, and usually do not come when I don’t). If someone thinks this could cause me harm, I’d like him or her to consider the harm that living life without sexual gratification can do.

—I’m in Love with Mary Jane

Did you forget about the risks of smoking in general? Remember it IS linked with mouth, throat, and lung cancer. Yeah, yeah, yeah. A little bit isn’t going to kill anyone…but who wants to risk cancer at 70, having had to smoke five times a week so they could get it on? Why not give better advice to consume THC in a less destructive way…like eating it! There are tons of recipes online and the effects are WAY better.

—The Hungry Chica

I was reading the PROP question to my girlfriend, and we simultaneously said to each other, “She’s a dyke.” In our opinion (due to our own experiences and observations) women who need to be high and/or drunk to enjoy sex with men may very well be lesbians.

Now, if PROP had said that his girlfriend got a special thrill out of stoned sex every once in a while, that would be a different matter. But, EVERY time? Hmmm. All I know is that before I accepted my cunt-loving ways, I needed drugs/alcohol EVERY time too, and so did my girlfriend. Just a thought.

—Pussy over Toking

Dan, good advice to PROP. A lot of people with lower-body nerve damage report increased sensation and function during sex after smoking pot. I’ve had a spinal-cord injury since I was a child, and the first time I had sex after smoking pot it was a revelation. I now have a medical cannabis prescription and wouldn’t fuck without it.

—Banging on Nature’s Groove

Just a heads up to PROP, and you also, Dan: I know for a fact that his girlfriend is not the only woman out there who finds that pot is more effective than any other sexual aid—physical, chemical or psychological.

As is general knowledge, most women need specific mental stimuli to be come aroused to the point of orgasm, above and beyond the physical (which for many men is sufficient). Stress, distractions or whatever can make it really hard for a woman to climax. Pot, by allowing her to tune into her own body and that of her lover, provides an ability to focus on and enjoy the physical stimuli, without the constant mental static (“Did I remember to take my pill today?” “Did he hear that I just farted?” “I have to pick up the kids at 8:00.”).

For several “friends” of mine, sex without pot is good, sometimes great. With pot, it is almost always mind-blowing (in any position, I might add, and occasionally even without clitoral stimulation). PROP should relax. While it would be good to try to work with his GF on helping her relax and tune into sex more, in the meantime he should be glad we have pot, just as I am sure she would be glad we have Viagra, if that issue ever came up (or failed to) for him.

—Personally, Orgasms Terrific

I wanted to weigh in on the pot-and-sex topic. My husband was kind of nervous about my use of substances prior to marriage, but we fucked so fast and furious that I was pregnant with twins way before our planned wedding date. I was clean through pregnancy and nursing, but always planned to smoke again after completing those joyful duties. My sweet and juicy husband was dubious and fearful, but after a year and a half of nursing, I went back to a couple of hits before sex, and lo and behold, the BEST orgasms (for both of us, I might add) occurred. My husband’s doubts and insecurities about the harmful effects of a little weed here and there went out the window! Whatever works, works.

—EM

I thought I would share my experience of being married to a pot addict. My husband cannot quit on his own. He has to smoke it every day, or he becomes grumpy and irritable. Not wicked or abusive, but unhappy. He compares his need for it to hunger or thirst.

Is this like being married to an alcoholic? No! My stepdad was an alcoholic, and I know the difference! My sweetie is a fantastic guy stoned or sober, or I wouldn’t have married him. But PROP should know that it does affect our marriage. He was sober when I met him, and I miss that man sometimes. His sex drive is lower now. He’s stoned most evenings and I am not, which makes for weird conversations.

He is more fortunate than most of the other (self-described) potheads I know. Pot hasn’t killed his ambition as it seems to have in many of my friends. He has a job that it doesn’t interfere with. Also, at his request, I hide it each morning so that he can’t smoke until the evening. (Several of our friends have wished out loud that I could do the same for them.) These are things I can deal with. In fact, I am happy with him. In our third year together, I love him more each day, and he recently said the same to me. But PROP needs to know these things up front, so he can make an informed choice. It’s not the life for everyone, and it sounds like it’s bothering him.

—Anonymous

I usually think your advice to readers is pretty well thought out, but your attitude about pot smoking and sex really was too cavalier. Did you even bother to consider that PROP and his girlfriend may have sex twice a day? Smoking pot twice a day may be great for their sex life, and may help prevent a number of ailments, but how are these people going to support themselves if they are stoned all the time? Even if they “only” have sex once or twice a week, do you really think getting stoned every time they screw is the best answer for them? Ever think of giving them advice that improves the psychology behind toe-curling sex, instead of turning the situation solely into a pro-pot forum?

Lastly, though pot is not the worst of any legal or nonlegal intoxicants, ever think PROP’s girl just might have an addictive personality and/or a substance-abuse problem? Having to fake an orgasm seems to be the least of the couple’s problems then. I can understand your point but I just feel you got lazy with this one.

—Ellen

Amen to your advice to PROP, whose girlfriend needs to smoke pot to achieve orgasm. While it is perhaps a bit unfortunate that she NEEDS that crutch, if it works, then hey, why not? My girlfriend of four years and I use pot before (and sometimes during) sex reasonably regularly. Her sober orgasms are present and satisfying, but her high orgasms are mind- blowingly long and intense.

And as a side note, it drives me nuts that marijuana is illegal, but tobacco and alcohol are perfectly fine. God forbid we use a substance that isn’t chemically addictive and can’t kill you from one night of overuse. And remember those commercials that would have two stoned kids playing with a gun, and the gun goes off? COME ON, PEOPLE. No stoners out there would even think about going near a gun: They’d have to get off the couch to do so. Why weren’t there also commercials depicting a couple of guys at a bar getting wasted, driving home, running over a couple of churchgoers, and then beating their wives? That’s a more likely occurrence.

—Why is Alcohol Legal When Pot isn’t?

I have been with my partner for 13 years. We have always had a decent sex life, but with the addition of marijuana, we have an amazing sex life. It’s the difference between a 4 (out of 10) experience without and a 10-plus experience with. It seems totally obvious to me that weed works wonders for the intimacy and satisfaction of my long-term relationship. Its aphrodisiac properties are advocated by renowned sexpert Betty Dodson.

I would suggest that any skeptics do their own research before dismissing the value of this relationship-enhancing practice.

—Hot for Pot

Just so you know: Back in the days when I was nonorgasmic I did a lot of research on the subject and found many references to marijuana as a potential treatment. No, I can’t cite them offhand but, trust me, they’re out there. It seems that pot has helped a lot more than “at least one woman out there” achieve orgasm.

—Liz D.

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The beat goes on

Tara Thorne drums up more arts news for your perusal.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2006 at 8:08 AM

The local arts scene was dealt a sizable blow in October with the passing of Matthieu Keisjer, the guiding force of DrumFest, about to throw down beats for its eighth year. This year’s event, which is being produced by Keisjer’s son Jonathan, has been turned into a tribute to its late founder.

The line-up includes Mark Currie, Glenn Coolen, Ken Shorley, Mark Adam, Samba Nova, Brian Knockwood and Fola. The evening will be hosted by Olga Milosevich and begins at 8pm on November 4 at Saint Matt’s, 1479 Barrington. Tickets cost $20 ($15 for students, kids under 12 free) and are available at the door, or by calling Halifax Dance at 422-2006.

Oui, nun

Dartmouth Players’ 2006 season kicks off this week with the Geoff Ball-directed comedy Nunsense, which runs from November 8 to 25.

“These five lovably wacky nuns will rise to the occasion producing a benefit musical show. Five live-wire characters bring real life to the stage through song, dance and comical dialogue, endearing themselves to you as very varied individuals,” the Players promise.

Tickets, available online at dartmouthplayers.ns.ca or by phone at 465-PLAY, cost $12, or $10 for students. The first two nights of the run are already sold out, so use divine intervention or whatever else you need to get there.

Totally television

Tune into the Gemini Awards this weekend and you might see some local faces pick up statues. Cathy Jones—who has 14 Geminis already, for Codco and This Hour Has 22 Minutes—is up again with her 22 Minutes mates Gavin Crawford, Mark Critch and Shaun Majumder for Best Ensemble Performance. 22 Minutes’ huge writing staff is also up for a writing nod (against old castmate Mary Walsh’s Hatching, Matching and Dispatching). Much-missed Halifax writer Mark Farrell is up for a couple of comedy nods with Corner Gas and Norma Lee MacLeod of CBC local is up against Mansbridge and Global’s Kevin Newman for Best News Anchor.

The Geminis air on Global on Saturday November 4, at the coveted timeslot of 10:30pm. If you’re wondering why Canadian television is such a hard sell to Canadians, there’s clue one. Look up the winners on Sunday at www.geminiawards.ca

Dance, dance

As we mentioned briefly last week, this Sunday features lots of tights, much twirling and total awe (from the audience) as the action-packed Dance Gala ’06 kicks off at the Rebecca Cohn.

Or should we say the kicking begins outside the Rebecca Cohn. On your way in, stop and check out Kinetic’s Three on the Court, three performances in the sculpture court, natch. The Vertigo Awareness Up/Down Players—that’d be Ruth Minnikin, Craig Buckley and Ali Gratian—perform An Ode to Lucille, followed by Susan Cook and Rob Estey-Willik’s Dance Soup. Then, Veronique MacKenzie leads a troupe around the garden’s bust of Norman in an aptly titled piece, Uncle Norman.

Once inside, you’ll be treated to a mad display of skills—including modern, flamenco and breakdance—from the likes of Mocean, Jacinte Armstrong of Verve Mwendo, Maria Osende, Fusion Dance, La Baie En Joie, Step Bruthaz and Kym Butler.

Tickets are $25—$15 for students—and are available at the Cohn box office (494-3820 or www.artscentre.dal.ca ). The show starts at 7pm.

Dollars for dancers

In other dance news, Live Art is taking applications for the inaugural Diane Moore Creation Scholarship until November 15. Named after Live Art’s late founder, who died in 2003, the award will be given to a dancer for “a creation or a workshop towards a creation.”

“Diane Moore was fiercely committed to Atlantic Canada’s dance community, and particularly towards making resources available for working artists,” says Live Art’s artistic director Paul Caskey. “It is to honour Diane’s dedication to the creative spirit that Live Art has created this new award.”

To apply, visit www.liveartproductions.ca/diane_moore.html to download an application. You can also send an email to Live Art at liveart@eastlink.ca or call them at 420-0003.

Email us, twinkletoes: tarat@thecoast.ca

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In the Red1

Chris McCluskey mixes it up and lays it down.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2006 at 7:50 AM

It’s been four years since The Rascalz released an album and eight since they pushed Canadian hip-hop toward commercial viability by refusing a Juno to protest being excluded from the televised portion of the awards. Now releasing material independently, Vancouver MC Red1 is coming to Halifax with a purpose. The Red1 Love Tour’s national campaign aims to raise awareness of youth violence and eradicate it.

“If you increase the violence you have to increase the love, because it has to be dealt with,” he says. “These kids are at the age where the peer pressure and the friends are like ‘go break into that car,’ those are the kids we’re trying to reach. They can use that energy they have and focus it on something positive, and that they love doing.”

Red1 is inspired to clear up the difference between reality and pop culture, by performing and speaking at various secondary schools across Canada. “I’m not talking about the album in stores and the other stuff because it makes it kind of cheesy,” says Red1. “It’s not really to promote my album.”

Red1 can be caught solo on November 6 at Highland Park Junior High and St. Patrick’s Alexandra, and November 7 at Oxford School.

Wide awake

Local faves Wintersleep are supporting Sam Roberts at the Cunard Centre on November 4, and with this show comes some news. The quartet—comprised of vocalist/guitarist Paul Murphy, bassist Jud Haynes, guitarist Tim D’Eon and drummer Loel Campbell—has attracted the interest of Canada’s newest label, Labwork Music, which is distributed across the nation by Sonic Unyon and EMI. Labwork re-released Wintersleep’s first two records on October 31.

“It basically means that we’re gonna be able to get our records out in the United States,” says Haynes from the I-95, headed into New York City for the CMJ Festival. “It’s not that drastically different than what we were doing anyway. The biggest thing for us is that we’ve been a band for four years and we’ve never had a release out in the United States; and now we will. We’ll start touring hard in the US the way we’ve toured hard in Canada, so we’re excited about that.”

The band will head into the studio to make its third record—those Steve Albini rumours are just that, so far, and Dependent remains intact—between American dates, but will have to refocus energy on its older material for the new towns. “Even though it’s a year-and-a-half old,” Haynes says of Untitled, “we’re gonna have to go play some of those songs like we just wrote them.”

Saturday’s show is all-ages, starts at 9pm and is $25. Tickets are available at the Rebecca Cohn box office at 494-3820.

In with the Eventide

When there isn’t a niche that interests you, create your own. Such is the approach local musician and television documentary filmmaker Andrew Killawee has taken in creating Eventide—an 11-member choir he’s assembled to fill what he sees to be a musical gap in the city. They will perform their inaugural concert, focusing on Palestrina’s “Missa Pro Defunctis” and a selection of other choral works, on November 2 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, in Grand Parade, where Killawee is the choir director. The show has an early 7:30pm start time.

Chris McCluskey mixes it up and lays it down.

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Sure Thing Events

  • Genius Child: Portia White at Town Hall feat. Harolyn Blackwell @ St. George's Round Church

    • Sat., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. $37.50
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