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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Your humble servant presents: HUSBAND & KNIFE cassettes

Your Friday evening plans, Madame. Divorce Records releases a limited edition of 100 cassettes, on sale at Gus' Pub!

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 6:43 PM

Husband & Knife in the kitchen. Cooking up those hits.

Ohboyohboyohboy. Husband & Knife have made a limited edition run (only 100!) of new release More Of Them (Than Us), and are presenting it to you this Friday April 3 at Gus' Pub with The Ether, Story and The Friendly Dimension. The cassette will be available through Divorce Records, if they haven't sold out on Friday that is. Are you willing to take that chance? Choose wisely.

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Paragon Theatre opens Friday

The Phoenix of Gottingen Street kicks off with a party featuring Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees, Rich Aucoin, Ghettosocks and The Darcys.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 5:59 PM


Rich Aucoin helps cut the ribbon at the Paragon. Photo: Matt Atkins Photography

The Paragon Theatre, the self-proclaimed “phoenix of Gottingen Street,” is due to open for realsies this Friday April 3 with a big ol’ party featuring Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees, Rich Aucoin, Ghettosocks, The Darcys, live painting by co-owner Peter Farmer (just so you know, Farmer will be painting a 12x12 foot canvas throughout the course of the evening depicting a phoenix rising out of the ashes) and an exhibition by Yo Rodeo. They will also have appetizers and giveaways. This may be the perfect time for you to scope it out and start booking amazing things there. Also, if you get a chance, I really really want to know what they did with all those mannequin legs.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Atlantic Fashion Week: Saturday night recap

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 12:03 AM

Last night's show was a much more lively event—energy was high and the crowd seemed more diverse than Friday (although I felt bad for the make-up and hair artists who did demos on stage between designer showcases—those were some valiant attempts to keep the audience engaged. And I didn't know that you could "jam hair.")

First up, Katrina Tuttle, who for someone so young is so strong in her vision. Tuttle showed a small selection from her fall collection; the rest will debut (including a couple of gowns) in a couple of weeks.

Tuttle showed several flirty little dresses, skinny, sexy pants and wee bubble skirts (there they are again!), in dusky blues, deep grey and orange (my new favourite combo). She combines tweeds with shimmer, which gives daywear a fun little twist, like a superstar librarian. I love that Tuttle's clothes are an expression of her youthfulness, but aren't alienating to everyone over 18.






Next up was Veronica MacIsaac. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to think from the bio; her parents own a successful custom-kilt company in Cape Breton, and her work is marketed as being a combination of Celtic traditions and contemporary design. I just kept thinking about the Celtic Woman, and my '90s obsession with Ireland (Cranberries, anyone?). I'm still not sure about her pieces with the screenprinted Celtic knots on them—including a brilliant-blue evening gown with a subtle peek of a white knot along the hem—but MacIsaac's tartans are a great interpretation of tradition and pride, and she has a good sense of what is flattering on a woman's body.





Lisa Drader-Murphy, designer for Turbine, is the most experienced of any of the designers. Turbine's been around since 1997, and her cosmetics line (available at the new Bishop's Landing Boutique) just turned 10. Drader-Murphy also designs all her own jewellery and handbags too. Phew. Again, there was a mix of textures, with knee-grazing tulip skirts, and a series of velvet and ribbon wide belts that could dress up the old standby black dress that you can't afford to replace because we're in a recession, or whatever.





Finally, there was Deux FM. Designer/founder Anna Gilkerson should also start designing maternity clothes—I didn't get a chance to ask her if the short-shorts-jumper she was wearing is her own design, but it was such a far cry from the 1970s bow-at-neck muumuu, I could imagine Gwen Stefani wearing it during her next pregnancy.

Anyway, Deux fm didn't disappoint, with her eco chic line (or music choices...DJ Loukas Stilldrunk). I really wanted to touch those alpaca-wool sweaters, created for Deux fm by a Peruvian knitters collective, which looked cozy but cute over a bikini or tights. Again, beautifully draped bubble skirted dresses, silky sheathes and loungewear, with plenty of solid colours, screenprinted details and flattering necklines.







Even though this AFW show was happening smack in the middle of Earth Hour, it was refreshing, over the past two nights, to see how many designers are incorporating environmental concerns into their overall philosophy. Afterwards I was speaking to Laura Chenoweth, and she was telling me about this organization, Fashion Takes Action, which launches on Earth Day, April 22, dedicated to making the industry more sustainable. Chenoweth herself is planning on taking the next year to focus on education: she's passionate about cotton production, after seeing first-hand the toll it takes on the environment and on workers. She's getting involved in a few projects that I'll be reporting on, over the next bit.

That's it, until October. Congratulations to all the designers and AFW organizers. I'm going to tear apart my closet now.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

DD/MM/YYYY come home(-ish)

Warm welcomes all around

Posted By on Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 8:58 PM

Toronto's DD/MM/YYYY are making a triumphant return to Halifax Saturday April 4 (an early show at 2627 Connolly Street with Bloodhouse and Pig, $5, all ages. Later show at Gus’ Pub with Tomcat Combat and Glory Glory Man United. $6). Their shows last summer (with Baltimore’s Video Hippos) were explosive and engaging. Their new album, Black Square, was released March 17 (digitally on February 17), and marks a bit of a shift for the band, as it may be their most mature album to date. They describe it as having “an inherent seriousness that may have evaded previous releases.” Moshe Rozenberg explains, “It’s not intentionally more mature, it's just less ADD. We're more comfortable playing and recording in places that aren't our practice space, and we were choosier this time, pickier with the songs. We took the time to choose which songs were good enough. Also we're not the cleanest guys so it took us a while to feel comfortable in a space that was so clean" (referencing their recording studio). Hygiene aside, DD/MM/YYYY are also known for their extensive tour schedules, pairing them recently with METZ and Don Caballero. Rozenberg says of this particular two-month jaunt, "It’s been the most tiring tour so far, because we've been playing two shows a day sometimes. And it was based around SXSW which was also tiring. We played 11 shows (at SXSW), and we were actually aiming higher, for 13, but 11 is sufficient, I guess" Despite their obvious wanderlust, the group is pleased to be returning to the great white north. "We have a strong attachment to Canada and it feels like we've drifted away from that a bit because there are so many cities in the States and we've been playing in the States a lot, so playing Halifax feels like a bit of a homecoming, even though we’re from Toronto." Awww.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Atlantic Fashion Week: Friday night recap

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 11:48 AM

So far, the second Atlantic Fashion Week (OK, weekend) is much more subdued and focused than the first event, held last October. Gone are all the parties, and the blending of retailers and national designers—instead we have two nights highlighting local fashion designers. Perfect.

Still, it was a strange crowd gathered in the almost-full Olympic Centre last night. Attendees seem to be divided between NSCAD fashion students and faculty, friends and supporters of the designers and a rather vocal group of model pals—at times it was hard to tell if clapping was for the clothes or the walk (also, thank you to the armchair model critiquer sitting behind me. It took me back to walking in my first fashion show, for Sears, when I was about eight.) I wonder how long it will take before more of the city's stylish start coming to these events... Is the $20 ticket? Not sure, but I am confident, especially given the talent teaching/graduating from NSCAD's fashion program, that it's just a matter of time before word gets out, and people begin to support local fashion designers the same way they do musicians or food producers.

That's why it was refreshing to hear NSCAD student Jere Brooks—one of five presenting last night—declare that she's planning on working in Halifax after she graduates. I don't have a good photo of her pieces sadly, but they showed maturity and wearability (but still sexy, amen), with predominantly flirty black dresses, pants and a lovely green on a sleeveless top that somehow bridged the gap between summer sunshine and the moss green of fall.

Most of the NSCAD students showing—Alison Seary, Pam Onecia, Danica Olders and Robyn Stephens—are studying/have a background in textiles, which results in experimentation with interesting patterns, colours and shapes. The other clear trend among these savvy students is their ecological awareness and dedication to reuse, e.g. Stephens' coat reconstructed from a second-hand one, then over-dyed and redesigned.


Onecia's knickers created from old suit jackets and felted sweaters. I love the little red peek-a-boo on the knickers.


Onecia's hand-dyed and printed aprons are not meant for the kitchen. Too cute.

Olders' recycled-material pieces would fit right in a 1920s speakeasy.



This dress, made out of recycled beer-bottle caps, was a crowd-pleaser. Considering the material and how much it must weigh, it had really nice movement and the model is gorgeous in it.

The first of the professional designers to show was Maxwell-John. Monica Nauss generally focuses on custom clothing, so I'll check about availability of this collection.



I love this little versatile dress with the belt. That fabric has a sweet vintage look—it reminds me of old silk dressing gowns.


Bubble skirts will be making several appearances this week. Deux fm will be showing them tonight too. I love the BS—I know some people think they're unflattering and give you a giant bubble thigh, but it's all about how you wear them. Don't go too short and keep the top simple.


She used a lot of zebra print—it's nice to see zebras getting props over the leopard. I love that sleek little black line running down the back of it.

Next up: Laura Chenoweth. Chenoweth designs her line here, right on Agricola, but works closely with suppliers and a collective in India to make the clothing, which is all certified organic cotton and non-toxic dyes. Any of the prints are created with woodblocks. Chenoweth's clothing really is a reflection of her personally;many of the pieces that she showed in October were relaxed and flowing;but this time around we saw a different side. More tailoring, more body-conscious fits.


This lovely teal, which reminded me of the lovely sari shops in Toronto, appears throughout the collection.



I have been seeing the bold orange-grey combo around in fashion mags, and it's so sleek together. For some reason it reminds me of private jets.


This vest is my favourite. Proving that ethical can be sexy but not trashy. Take that PETA. Chenoweth told me that she wanted to start working with corduroy, so it looks like she's had some luck.

Lycheelime is NSCAD grad Brittany Naugler's baby. She does one-of-a-kind pieces, all of which have some darling embellishments and there are some nicely draped and exposed backs. Like this knitted dress—obviously not for the faint of heart or bulging stomach. It's sweet on the model, but unfortunately when she turned around, you could see the thong through the knit. Not great on a runway, but on the street? Oh no.


I had heard about Sunsets on the Eastside from Charlottetown before, so I was anxious to see their show. Three designers, without formal training (Katryna Crabbe, Kirsten Sweet and Jackie Skinner), debuted their first line at PEI Fashion Week when they were still in high school. Their youthful energy really shines, and they seem to have found a successful collaborative working style—although the pieces, mostly dresses, are quite different, there's a freshness that connects them all.



This was a dress I forgot about until this morning, but I think it's summer and it's darling.



One of my favourite pieces from the night. It moves like a breeze, and that little gold peeking through really makes it special.


The back.

Orphanage headlined the night. After speaking to Kim Munson last week, I was so excited to see her recycled leather spats and sleeves. Set to music mixed by our own DJ Loukas Stilldrunk (NOTE: I was wrong, maybe I was still drunk--Loukas is doing music for deux FM), it was clear that the models loved wearing her clothes, and they poured on the 'tude.

I think Munson is at her best when she does sexy glamazon. There's something really retro B-movie about these clothes (in a great way). Her women are strong and they take no shit. They probably rule another planet.





Munson also did a series using reused suit jackets. Given the current state of the economy and big business crumbling, I love the idea of taking biz wear and transforming it into feminine clothing.





It's not too late to get a ticket to see collections from Katrina Tuttle, Veronica MacIsaac, Turbine and deux FM, tonight at 8pm. And if you couldn't make it last night, this afternoon Spring Garden is transforming into a runway—check out the schedule here.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Did you know? 90s Halifax music explosion tonight

Spot them all

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 5:56 PM

I saw Sloan at the airport this week. Jealous?

Skillfully pointed out by Orange Glass/The Memories Attack's Ron Bates (the latter are, as we speak, number two on the CBC Radio 3 top ten. And number one in my heart). Members (and in Sloan's case, all of them) of Haligonian greats Super Friendz, The Inbreds, Thrush Hermit, and Sloan are all playing tonight: The Lodge, Bloodsport, Kestrels and Bloodhouse at Gus' Pub, Sloan, True Love Rules at the Grawood.

More facts! The Memories Attack cover a stellar Super Friendz song on the upcoming Rescued From Boredom tribute album on Gooseberry Records and also have a fantastic record of their own on ex-Inbreds Dave Ullrich's Zunior label.

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Be an angel: be an extra for Halo

Josh MacDonald's film looking for extras.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 5:12 PM

A homegrown film is also looking for bodies. Halo, Josh MacDonald’s film about a “vision” which appears on the side of a Cape Breton coffee shop, is shooting in Spryfield from March 31-April 7. To sweeten the deal, there will be snacks and donations to community organizations that bring out groups of people. Contact Halo Background Casting at 229-7702 or, if you can help.

Here are the dates:
Tuesday, March 31 — 20 volunteers (subject to increase) Location is the old Ultramar gas station on the Herring Cove Rd, just past the Spryfield Mall, approx 8:30am

Wednesday, April 1 - 10 volunteers (subject to increase) donut shop, approx 9am

Thursday, April 2 - 100 volunteers (subject to increase) — donut shop, approx 8am

Friday, April 3 - 250 volunteers - donut shop, approx 5PM, through the night.

Monday, April 06 - 50 volunteers (subject to increase) donut shop, approx 8am

Tuesday, April 07 - Spryfield Lions hockey rink, 125 volunteers, approx 8am

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Be an extra on Ice Castles

Be in a movie! Prizes! Raffles! Hot dogs! Michelle Kwan!

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 4:33 PM


If you’ve never seen the 1978 film Ice Castles, I suggest you dig up a videotape—-perhaps there’s one hiding in the “be still my melting heart” pile in Value Village. A remake of the romance-on-ice is being shot here in Halifax, and Filmworks Casting Agency is looking for volunteers to sit in the stands at the Metro Centre on April 6, from 9am-3pm, for a skating competition. You don’t need special skills—-plus there will be prizes, raffles, free hot dogs, skating superstar Michelle Kwan and some local celebs, like the Mooseheads, too. If you have some time, email with the subject line: FREE METRO CENTRE. If you can’t make it on April 6, there are a couple of other days that needs bums in seats too.

Here are the details:

This first event is on April 1st and it is in East Hantz. It is scripted as a skating competition, and will feature many talented skaters - famous as well as local. Interested people can email us at and put FREE - EAST HANTZ

The second event is scripted as a National skating competition, and it will be at the Halifax Metro Centre on April 6 (see above). Interested people can email us at with the subject line: FREE METRO CENTRE

The third event is Thursday, April 9 at the Halifax Forum. It is scripted as a regional skating competition, and will feature many talented skaters - famous as well as local. Interested people can email us at with the subject line: FREE HALIFAX FORUM

The last event is on Monday, April 20 and it's at the Dartmouth Sportsplex.  It is scripted as a Sectional skating competition, and will feature many talented skaters - famous as well as local.
Interested people can email us at with the subject line: FREE - SPORTSPLEX

People can feel free to respond as a group, so if there is a figure skating club that is interested in attending, we just need one email from a spokeperson for the club. 

join the group Movie Madness on facebook

and attend the event:

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Paper Beat Scissors' lovely stop-motion video makes Friday even better

Chill out after all those Moolattes

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Thrill to this beautifully calming video for Paper Beat Scissors' "Flicker" (off their 2008 EP, Be Patient). Created by Coraline and Corpse Bride animator Chris Tootell. That's star power.

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Grand Theft Bus understands your love of online voting.

Click, click, clickin' away.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Play "Freebird"!

Grand Theft Bus would like to have a little fan input during the arduous set list creation process. For the band's "By Request" east coast tour, the group has opened up "a request line for people to vote for old songs that they would like the band to dig out of the vault" (according to a recent press release).
Fans can email their song request to Voting is open now and closes on April 1, 2009. Fans may vote only once. At each show, Grand Theft Bus will play the five most voted for songs. Winning songs will not be announced beforehand. Mystery! See if your pick made the cut April 11 at the Seahorse (with Snailhouse).

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Add another sleep to your D12 countdown calendar

Saturday night's all right for "Fight Music"

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 3:12 PM

D12 may not appear exactly as shown.

D12's Halifax appearance (scheduled Friday, May 1 at the Palace) has been postponed for the very next night, Saturday, May 2 (still at the Palace). I tell you, that group's drama is better than any soap opera. Also worth noting is that global cutbacks have even reached D12, as they are now (unfortunately) technically D5. Still, as their biography points out, "D12 create surreal universes of wild times and unruly rhymes" and that sounds like a party to me. Keep up with the boys via their tour blog. NSFW, as if you couldn't have guessed.

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Live Gig: The Constantines

Friday, March 20, 9:35pm, at The Palace.

Posted on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 12:28 PM

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John Greer wins the Governor General's Award

AGNS-nominated sculptor wins prestigious prize.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 11:49 AM

Sculptor John Greer has won the 2009 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. According to a press release from the AGNS, who nominated the artist for the award, Greer "was the catalyst behind Halifax Sculpture, a 1990s movement, rooted in minimalism and conceptualism. He taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for over 25 years, was a founding member of one of Canada's first artist-run centres (Eyelevel Gallery, Halifax), and is a long-term supporter of CARFAC (Canadian Artists' Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens). Over the past 30 years,
Greer's work has been included in some 60 group and 50 solo exhibitions, and in over 20 collections at home and abroad."

You probably recognize Greer's sculpture, Origins, from the AGNS' courtyard:

Origins, 1995. Bronze, 384 x 272 x 104 cm.

My own personal favourite of Greer's work is his Single Grain of Rice, from 1991. It's so quiet and contemplative, but somehow still majestic.


Single Grain of Rice, 1991. Marble, 173 x 50 x 30 cm

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Veni Vidi O yeah!

Video-based art and performances at the Khyber ICA

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 6:25 PM

This Saturday, 8pm at the Khyber ICA, you’re in for a real treat as the fourth Veni Vidi O, a free night of video-based art and performance, comes to Halifax. A creative project of artists Stewart Innes and Alison Kobayashi, the first three nights were hosted at Toronto’s Lennox Contemporary. Innes tells me that there will be one formal room that will show a loop of narrative-based work, plus installations and more experimental videos in the Ballroom, and a musical performance by electro-demon Snow Picnic, featuring projections by Noah Logan. (There’s a secret late-night performance too. I know what it is, but can’t tell you. Sorry.) There’s a nice blend of Toronto and Halifax artists, and Innes is excited for local artists to see the work of Ryerson grad Eva Michon and the first episode of the awesomely named Hamburger Sandwich Show (Tim and Eric fans will approve), among others.

Here's the trailer:

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Running with River Water

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 9:34 AM


"At the very beginning of the month," says Josh Dean of this February, "I was waiting to pick up my fiancée. She got off in a couple hours, and in the meantime I wrote three songs and threw them on the internet. I didn't post them under my name, and no one knew who it was, and it got a great response."

And so, quite unexpectedly, began Long Lake, the album Dean made and released in 28 days under the name River Water. The story he tells on the phone is the one that kicks off the record: "Just to pass the time I said I'd write a song or two until I drive her home," he sings under scratchy vocals and sloppy electric guitar. Those who caught any of Dean's handful of solo performances over the past year—at In the Dead of Winter, opening a Sunday matinee for Tanya Davis and Don Brownrigg—will notice a marked difference in the music, which has flipped from earnest, delicately sung folk to scuzzy, ethereal sonic experimentation.

"It's not as clean, it's a lot dirtier sounding," says Dean of the LP's 11 songs. "It's poorly recorded using pretty bad equipment, all on my computer, that's basically it. I did all the instruments myself, all the drums and the sounds."

He chose the name River Water for "two reasons. One of my friends, a lot of times he's just said, 'When I listen to your music, it reminds me of a river flowing.' And that's the aesthetic of it, I wanted it to flow. There's a lot of mistakes on the CD, it just kinda flows."

Dean has no plans to officially launch Long Lake (you can buy it from him here and he'll mail it, or deliver it to you "depending on distance and the weather"), or to tour behind it; he's busy and happy to see where his DIY sales plan takes him. And don't expect a new one soon.

"I've since sat down with a guitar and I don't care to write any songs. I'm emptied of all the songs," he says. "Four of the first of five songs were recorded in one night. It was very fast, I don't know why. It was just in between hanging out with people, meals and work. I wouldn't be able to do it in April. I'm just gonna wait for the next good month."

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