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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sense of Belonging

The Art of Belonging celebrates new and established female artists in honour of International Women's Day

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Inae Kim's "Birch Tree in Summer"
  • Inae Kim's "Birch Tree in Summer"

Making art is hard. Artists often work in solitude, trying to create something meaningful, second guessing themselves like it’s their job. Imagine trying to do that in a new country, where language barriers and isolation can seem like insurmountable hurdles.

Huwaida Medani, Sohelia Hashemi and Youmei Chen who work for Immigrant Services for the Halifax Public Libraries, understand this struggle and are trying to do something about it. Together they came up with The Art of Belonging: An Art Exhibition by Immigrant Women of Halifax. Opening March 1 at 3:30pm at the Keshen Goodman Library and running until March 25, the event is in commemoration of International Women’s Day and is inspired by themes of community, friendship and inclusiveness. Local female artists from immigrant communities have been encouraged to share their artwork, creating a group show that is inspiring and fresh.

New and established artists have come together in this show, which features glasswork, beadwork, painting, photographs and needlecraft from artists Tae Hea Kim, Golumba Kim, Fatima Eisa, Mitra Sharifi, Inae KIm, Asna Adhami, Achan Niyago, Yurianna Lee and Mahnaz Subhani (with more artists TBA).

“There is a large number of immigrant women in Halifax, but they often aren’t connected to the greater community,” says Medani. “We thought this was a great opportunity, we wanted them to have a sense of ownership, to feel like this is our community, we belong here and this is our art.”

Though the artists have emigrated from China, Korea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Iran or Egypt, Medani says most of the work is made in Nova Scotia, about Nova Scotia, noting that for some of the artists involved this is their first time showing their work. “Some of the artists are shy about their work or they don’t think it is important,” says Medani. “We want to acknowledge them as artists, most of their English is limited, but we want people to recognize that they highly talented no matter what their religion, background or language.”

There will be a rotating display throughout the month featuring different artists, and the opening will feature live harp music, a poetry reading by Asna Adhami, and immigrant women artists' speech given by Mahnaz Subhani. For the exhibit closing event, Medani says that other established artists from the community have expressed interest in participating. “The artists themselves are very enthusiastic about this opportunity,” says Medhani. “They’re very happy to show their work here, most of them live in this area, which is a very multicultural area.

“It’s all very inspiring and beautiful work.”

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Mad about Eyelevel Gallery

The Eyelevel's March Madness fundraiser is packed with community events for a good cause

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Eyelevel Gallery director Michael McCormack gears up for March Madness
  • Eyelevel Gallery director Michael McCormack gears up for March Madness

Hey, Macklemore! Can we go thrift shopping at the Sally-Eye Thrift Shop? 

For three weeks in March, Eyelevel Gallery (2159 Gottingen) will have a mega blowout sale at Halifax’s newest and hottest thrift store (opening March 2, 11am-6pm). They will have everything to suit your thrift shopping needs; from furniture, $5 bags of clothing, vinyl and everything else in between. 

Eyelevel Gallery is the oldest artist-run gallery in Atlantic Canada. Director Michael McCormack likes to have fundraisers that offer a service to the community, he says. “It’s inspired by the idea of thrift stores being a community resource and having affordable interesting things [available] to the public while having a fundraiser for the gallery.” 

Besides the Sally-Eye Thrift Shop, throughout the month there also will be film nights, a games day, a live auction, karaoke, flea market and a lecture series. And if you have a burning desire to share an embarrassing, funny or awkward diary entry, check out the March 15 Dear Diary event at Fred. Special guests will read aloud from their private journals and McCormack says there’s an open mic portion of the night where the floor will be open to others who want to share their secret entries.

The Eyelevel Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that has been in Halifax for 38 years. “We offer a platform for the discussion of contemporary art and artists in the community,” says McCormack. Like other businesses and gallery in Halifax, Eyelevel Gallery has faced a rent increase. “We’re coming at the end of our fiscal year and we are just crawling by as a non-for-profit organization,” he says. All the money that will come from March Madness will go towards the operational costs and maintaining of Eyelevel “At the end we will be donating any extra stuff to the Salvation Army,” says McCormack. For full details on the events in March Madness, stop by the gallery at 2159 Gottingen or check out Eyelevel’s website

McCormack has been the director of the Eyelevel Gallery since the spring of 2009 and has been a volunteer and board member for nearly a decade. “I also grew up in Halifax alongside Eyelevel for 16 years before I knew it even existed,” says McCormack. “So it feels like a long lost older sibling to me.” Supported by the “most multi-talented and hard working board of directors,” McCormack says, “I feel extremely fortunate to be in this position.”

If you’re an emerging artist who would also like to get involved in the gallery, the Eyelevel’s annual Y-Level Exhibition is seeking participants in their annual group exhibition. The show centres around the concept of isolation within domestic and social spaces. Deadline for submissions is March 8. See for more information.

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Watch Heaven For Real perform "Owner" live in The Coast lobby

Hear Nathan's phone going off constantly

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 10:34 AM


And why not read more about this charming band here?

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The San Family

Strong performances and an uplifting story

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 9:14 AM


There’s a lot to like about Juanita Peter’s new play The San Family. It packs a lot of history into 90 minutes and touches on important issues. It’s an interesting story that educators will love for shining a light on the shameful segregation of the past while offering an ultimately hopeful message. It contains some really fine performance including ones by local actor Lesley Smith as a plucky, chatty nurse and six-year-old O’Lajah Simmonds in a scene-stealing role. But for a play about the power of music, it is strangely lacking in powerful music. The songs that are scattered throughout do not show star Jordan Francis’ well-known musicality (though his charisma is evident), and it’s hard to believe that radio host Stewart McKinnon (beautifully played by Frank MacKay) recognizes the young boy’s talent with the few tunes he strums on the guitar. The last song, which is accompanied by the Preston Los Primos, goes a long way to showing the power of music, and hints at what could be added to make this an even more satisfying show.

February 27 - March 1, 2013
Alderney Landing Theatre, 2 Ochterloney Street Dartmouth, NS
Ticket Prices: General $25, Students/Seniors $20

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Mighty Northumberland "Old Ways" live at The Coast

Nigel Chapman sings us a tune

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 4:45 PM


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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Old is new again for Billie Dre and the Poor Boys

Check it out Saturday, February 23 at Gus' Pub

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Billie Dre and the Poor Boys - ALYSON HARDWICK
  • Billie Dre and the Poor Boys
  • Alyson Hardwick

Billie Dre and the Poor Boys (William Dray, Dylan Ryan and Corey Henderson) put their noses to the grindstone Saturday, February 23 at Gus' Pub (2605 Agricola, $5, 10pm w/Merrick Slip, Eric Ringuette & The Other) playing nostalgic sounding rock ‘n’ roll. But the band are quick to acknowledge that classic rock ‘n’ roll themes of sex, drugs and booze aren’t always the most progressive.

“A lot of us listen to all types of music and modern music, a lot of rap,” says Dray. “You know times have changed, sex, drugs and rock and roll isn’t always a good thing. Like addiction and womanizing? None of us like that.” “What modernizes it is that we’re living in the now, we love that old music but we also are doing it from our standpoint in history,” says Ryan.

Their upcoming album, titled Garlic Fingers, is a full-length due in June, with appropriately summer-themed songs about tacos, beaches and booze.

“The only theme I think runs the whole way through is energy,” says Ryan. But that wasn’t always the case.

For the band’s first year, the music was slow and folky (“More Leonard Cohen than MC5,” says Ryan). Around June things switched. The band wrote a brand new set and became the band they are today. In all their shirtless glory.

“A lot of our early music we played was a bit more sombre, that’s the music we were into,” says Henderson. “I like to say we all had mental breakdowns at the same time and we were like, ‘we don’t want to play sad music anymore.’”

“Yeah, why were we dwelling on being sad?” asks Ryan.

“Why don’t we just have fun all the time?” says Henderson. “Turns out there’s no problem with that.”

Since the sea change, having fun playing live comes easy. “I was much less confident when we first started cause I’d never played in a rock band before,” says Henderson. “I’d been in orchestras and brass bands so I wouldn’t know how to react. Then when we started playing louder music I just started to—”

“Take off your shirt,” says Dray, laughing.

“The first time it happened was because I was very, very hot,” Henderson says.

“It’s a necessity thing,” adds Ryan.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Smooth Friday grooves with The Extremities and Kaleb Simmonds

New video for "Look My Way" features all the style inspiration you'll ever need for the weekend

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 5:36 PM


The Extremities' beautiful 1970s-era club is a place I would like to be going tonight, but since it doesn't exist, I'll have to go in my mind. So glad this video exists so I can put on some big sunglasses and do the Casper slide* while drinking a Singapore sling** and pretend I'm somewhere else than my office. Join me, won't you?

"Look My Way", featuring Kaleb Simmonds, from The Extremities' The Mint Condition album. Directed by the obviously super cool Jon Eagan.

*I realize this dance is not from the decade depicted in the video

**flat Diet Coke

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Sublime indeed.

Flamenco-fusion show that sets the pulse racing

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 3:51 PM


The written program for Sublime-Flamenco Valentine talks about pushing boundaries and fusing genres in dance and music, and the show itself certainly delivered. It offers 90 minutes of flamenco married with blues and opera and Spanish guitar and voice. Each piece is a marvel of choreography, both in the dances themselves and in how the other types of performers are woven in around them. Singer Reeny Smith brought the house to stillness with her amazing version of “Love me or Leave me”. Guitarist Jose Vega had hearts and feet pounding with his solo “Bulerias” and the whole company had the audience on their feet with the soul-stirring “Raices”. The costumes are a gorgeous riot of colour and sensuous fabrics. The dresses become an intricate part of some dances: fabric is wound and unwound around the dancers’ feet in a daring display of coordination or manipulated to become a giant gyrating flower. Sublime indeed!

Maria Osende Flamenco Company’s Sublime

Show Times: Feb. 14, 15, 16 at 8pm, doors open at 7pm, cash wine bar.

Location: Alderney Landing Theatre, 2 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth (Waterfront) NS.

Tickets: $28/$25

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Excellent Tumblr alert: Somewhere in Nova Scotia

Relevant to all of our interests

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 2:07 PM


It's Friday, treat yourself to a supremely enjoyable 10 minutes watching all of the videos posted on Because what was I JUST saying?

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sissydude: A Dandy Rock Musical

Good fun gets even better

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 1:25 PM


You may have missed Trrrash Production’s Sissydude at last year’s Queer Acts Festival, but the campy rock musical is being offered again in a new and improved version. This incarnation features a more substantial set (sans collapsing walls), a more cohesive plot line and some great new songs. Ian Mullan struts his stuff as Jamie, a stylish and mysterious North-end tenant seeking sub-letters. Conor Purdy plays the bearish Frank, the object of Jamie’s desire. Michelle Skelding is Laurie a bad-ass soft-heart who must compete with Frank for the apartment lease. The music is catchy (especially the version of Piggy’s “Gottingen Street” that had the girl in from of me declaring “I’m a sucker for the cow bell”), and the energy is electric. This is great example of a good little play that’s matured into something better, still fun but even more fabulous.

Thursday, February 14 to Sunday, February 17 at 8pm

The Bus Stop Theatre, Gottingen St.

$15 + fees
student/senior/underwaged use the code "darling" to take $3 off your ticket.

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Hear me Roar

Vile Passéist Theatre's The Roaring Girl features a feminist character for the ages

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 11:28 AM

The Roaring Girl sounds like a roaring good time - TIM CARPENTER
  • The Roaring Girl sounds like a roaring good time
  • Tim Carpenter

There’s something to be said about trying new things. In the Jacobean comedic play The Roaring Girl (Feb 20-24, Neptune Studio Theatre), the titular “girl” in question is Moll Cutpurse, who is roped into a scheme to play Cupid, a role that goes against her brash, hard-nosed nature. Like Cutpurse, Vile Passéist Theatre is trying something new with their adaptation of Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker’s The Roaring Girl.

”We decided to turn this play into a musical because the joyful, bustling feel of early-modern London lends itself so well to the musical format. Vile Passéist Theatre has never done a musical before, and we were looking for new challenge—we also felt that it would be an exciting way to expose a new audience to early modern theatre,” says director Dan Bray. “The Roaring Girl is, at its essence, a dynamic story, and transforming it into a musical also allows us to focus on and enhance the lyricism and playfulness of the original text.”

Set to an original score by Jenny Trites, the cast, featuring Kristi Anderson, Francesca Barnett-Cowan, Clara Bullock, Mike Chandler, Pasha Ebrahimi and more, sing their way through the subversive work, which bucked the trend of a headstrong woman trading in her “difficult” ways for the love of a man (coughThe Taming of the Shrewcough)

“Moll Cutpurse is definitely one of a kind. While Shakespeare, for example, has his share of cross-dressing heroines, they generally pine over a man they are unable to woo because of their disguise. Moll, on the other hand, spends her entire play brawling, singing, smoking and generally terrifying the city of London,” says Bray. “And while other Jacobean characters are more than happy to shed their breeches at the end of their respective plays, Moll doesn’t feel the need to adopt any other persona than the one she feels best enables her to live the way she sees fit.”

For a play that was originally published in 1611, some of the more misogynistic aspects might hit uncomfortably close to home for modern audiences. “This play, in its adapted form, really puts the spotlight on Moll and her proto-feminist attitudes. Jenny Trites’ original score emphasizes the hypocrisies of early-modern London—whose government’s unrelenting attempts to control its women was not always too different from our own,” says Bray. “There are a lot of women in the public sphere—actresses and singers, mostly—who are demonized for their sexual activity and their raucous personal lives. This of course coincides with their male counterparts who are not scrutinized nearly as much. This double standard is at the core of The Roaring Girl, and the story is carried by Moll’s drive to end it.” Roar on, Moll.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sweet Nova Scotian references on Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries

Thank god for our wonderful marine centre/desolate rocks

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 3:27 PM

The Liars in question
  • The Liars in question

I can't help myself, I love mentions of Halifax or Nova Scotia in US pop culture. It's my number one favourite thing next to how Americans pronounce "Montreal". Also, you and I both know that a typical Pennsylvanian teen's response to "Spain, maybe... Halifax" is not "Halifax! Why there?" but "Halifax? Is that in Europe?". I suspend my disbelief mostly because I like the way he tries he cram that box of Cocoa Spheres into a backpack before giving up.

Thanks to Jacob Boon for the tip.

And here's another one from last Thursday's Vampire Diaries! My cup runneth over. "Obscure, desolate island"? We've got those. And do they mean Sable Island? Won't the vampire kill the ponies? Continuity, people.

And you can thank Lindsay Raining Bird for this one.

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What to do tonight? Duncan Ferguson Spotlight at Seeds!

Experimental paintings to refresh your mind

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Duncan Ferguson's "Pearly Gates"
  • Duncan Ferguson's "Pearly Gates"

Opening this evening (Wednesday, February 13) at 5:30pm at Seeds Gallery (1099 Marginal Road) is Duncan Ferguson Spotlight. Running until March 17, this solo painting show is "an assortment of unexhibited experimental paintings and research from the past year. The work will include minor abstractions of his wheel of fortune set, various experiments with eye charts in paint and small mirrored charts based off the work in his graduation show Ringing True." Small mirrored charts? Wheel of fortune set? What have you to lose?

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Video of the day: The Holy Snappers, "Straight to Hell"

Was there a band trip to Tennessee? Cool shirts, dudes

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 4:00 AM


The Holy Snappers attempt to snap you out of your post-pancake carb haze with their new video for "Straight to Hell". It's a little bit ecclesiastical, shot by Anthony Cooper and edited by Holy Snappers bassist Brent Geikie. Have a look and read more about them Snappers here.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Check out Jason Eisener's RiFF RAFF video right here

Whirlwind video shoot features taxidermy, trophies

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 1:44 PM


Director Jason Eisener cooked up a cool RiFF RAFF video last month, went to Sundance with S-VHS, then released this puppy for your eyeballs. Having done nothing even remotely as productive as that I am currently feeling shame.

Other than that, the video has made me a) contemplate shaving my head b) change my current definition for goin' hamilton from "my cat chasing the heck out of her tail" to "RiFF RAFF at Plan B" c) consider collecting taxidermy. Tell me, what has it done for you?

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