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Friday, February 28, 2014

Seven things you should do this weekend

Or not. It's your life.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM

The Town Heroes party for a good cause tonight
  • The Town Heroes party for a good cause tonight

First you must apply your face. Lawton's has those Maybelline Baby Lips balms for like $4. I only wish I were getting sponsored to say this, but let me tell you in the realest of talk: that little tube of Grape Vine is the only thing that's saved me from being a cracked and flaky Arctic wind monster all winter. That's enough vanity, time to do things—it would benefit you greatly to go to these benefit shows tonight: Benefit showcase for Angella Parsons organized by Ursula Johnson featuring Amelia Curran, Jenn Grant, Lone Cloud, El Jones and hosted by Candy Palmater (Friday, February 28, 8pm, $20/$25, for more info email at the Company House, and Waye Mason's Birthday Party & Benefit with Willie Stratton and The Boarding Party, The Town Heroes, Alright Already, Gabrielle Papillon, Minus World and Scrapes (Friday, February 28, 9pm, $10 all proceeds going to Parker Street Food Bank).

Donations made and good times had, you'll feel extra entitled to a treat on Saturday morning. Crowbar Real Foods has VEGAN CREAM EGGS (which they call Crowberry Cream Eggs and I call GET IN MY MOUTH, YOU TANTALIZING DEVILS) at the Halifax Seaport Market starting this Saturday. You might also want to get a real breakfast, but maybe not. I don't know your life.

Later, Barbara Bash, Jerry Granelli and Susanne Chui's three-headed hydra of culture Motion - brush/movement/sound was rescheduled from December 15 to this Saturday night (1313 Hollis, 8pm, $10/$20), and that's lucky for you. Read more here.

Nothing says Sunday/cheat day like a large pizza all to yourself. Piez Bistro—a new gourmet pizza place—just opened on 635 Portland Hills Drive and in case you needed that extra push, it's always a smart idea to get the large pizza.

On Sunday night (Rebecca Cohn, 10pm, $88/$98) Bill Burr will engage your core with hilarious comedy. He's really, really, really, really funny. Look here, proof:

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Richard Ford tough

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 3:51 PM


Reading Richard Ford is no small comfort. His writing is a mixture of minute details infused with big ideas, and his characters, particularly Frank Bascombe, who has graced the pages of three of his novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day, exist in readers’ minds as sharply and vividly as any flesh-possessing person. For local lovers of literature, good news is coming in twos: Frank Bascombe is back, and Ford is coming to Halifax to talk about it.

The Cyril Byrne Lecture Series at Saint Mary’s (Friday, February 28, 7:30pm, McNally Theatre, 923 Robie) is an annual event that has hosted such luminaries as Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín and the beloved Alistair MacLeod. On Friday, Richard Ford will be added to the guestbook. He’ll read from his most recent novel, Canada, as well as the latest Bascombe installment.

Although born in Jackson, Mississippi, Ford has easily expanded the definition of Southern writer by setting his stories in such places as Mexico, Montana and the suburbs of New Jersey. Ford’s 2012 novel, Canada, takes place mostly in southern Saskatchewan. The most consistent trait of this roaming writer is his style of language, often described by way of the term “dirty realism”. It is mostly terse and unadorned, but never detached or too far from a certain sort of joy. “I take greatest pleasure as a writer in handling words,” Ford says. “I'm dyslexic, so I read slowly. Therefore I become pleasurably familiar with words' palpable dimensions—their weight as objects, their internal make-ups, their appearances, their relations to their assigned meanings, along with their variances.”

In Frank Bascombe, Ford has managed such a meaningful character partly because his language is so familiar. Frank thinks and talks and free-associates in a way that is acute and keenly observed, but still intuitive. He’s accessible in a way that most real people aren’t. It’s nice to imagine that fictional characters haunt writers in the same way they do readers; that somehow a writer’s creation exists in their mind like an old friend. The truth is that this probably would not make for great literature. “Frank Bascombe never becomes for me other than a fictional character; albeit one I like imagining,” says Ford. “To view him in any other way would be to narrow what I can do with him, as an instrument.”

This makes sense, coming from the man who has, in all likelihood, spent countless solitary days, months, and even years, inducing this character onto the page. As hard as the work is, the payoff seems worth it. “I can say that I've gotten much more from this vocation than I've probably ever been able to provide for others. But life's not fair.”  

And so there is still more to come. “I just concede that I do this now, the best I can, then I go on and don't much look back. It seems healthy, and creates its own vital intensity for the work itself as I do it. I won't come this way again.”

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Halifax Camerata Singers' "Saints and Legends"

Singing the praises of the praise-worthy

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Jeff Joudrey leads a heavenly chorus
  • Nick Rudnicki
  • Jeff Joudrey leads a heavenly chorus

Choral music is not my thing. While this may be an odd way to begin a review of a choral music concert, I don’t think you need to be a choral music connoisseur to sing the praises of Halifax Camerata.

This mixed choir, led by Artistic Director Jeff Joudrey, has been recognized as one of the finest in Canada. It’s a choir that displays musical virtuosity, and exposes Nova Scotian audiences to new and well-known choral pieces.

Their most recent program celebrated “Saints and Legends” with both secular and sacred music. Not every piece touched my heart or my tin ear, but when one did, it was like being serenaded by a chorus of angels. My favourite was U2’s hauntingly beautiful "MLK" with soloist Tristan Cleveland-Thompson, but a close second was “The Ground” which soared to heaven with the help of Blue Engine String Quartet.

And though I started this review by saying choral music isn’t my cup of tea, I will be the first to tell you, Halifax Camerata serves up a delectable brew.

Saints and Legends will be repeated in Lunenburg at Saint John’s Anglican Church on Sunday, March 2 at 4:30 p.m., presented by Musique Royale. Tickets are $20 general seating, and you can reserve by calling (902) 634-9994 or emailing You can also purchase tickets at Shop on the Corner, Lunenburg, or at the door. Tickets at the door are $10 for students.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

MIMI or A Poisoner's Comedy

A sexy confection

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Pleasure in Paris
  • Pleasure in Paris

It’s not often that “feather-light”, “sexy” and “serial killer” belong in one sentence, but for MIMI, a light-hearted musical comedy about a comely, hedonistic 17th century mass murderer, the words go well together. This is a show that’s all romp, from its opening ménage à quatre through Mimi’s discovery of the pleasure and power of poison to her untimely, but surprisingly well-met, end. The music is quite lovely and the lyrics are witty, with much of their cleverness coming from word play in French and from double entendre, but you have to be quick to catch it all. The ensemble cast is outstanding, both comically and musically. Kirsten Howell’s Mimi is delightfully insouciant and saucy. Karen Myatt shines in multiple roles, but especially as an elderly, cranky inmate. Zach Faye does a terrific job as the hayseed turned lover, strutting and rutting with comic flare. Kyle Gillis’s sashaying and preening Louis XIV will make you laugh out loud, and Marty Burt gets even more laughs as the world’s most melancholy detective. But the highlight for me was Garry Williams hysterically funny portrayal of the limbless beggar Torçeaux. MIMI is definitely not heavy fare, but who doesn’t love dessert?

Friday, February 21st - 8PM
Saturday, February 22nd - 2PM & 8PM
Sunday, February 23rd - 2PM & 8PM
At the Neptune Studio Theatre
GENERAL ADMISSION | $25 Adults | $20 Seniors, Arts Workers | $15 Students
Tickets can be purchased through Neptune Theatre -

phone: (902) 429-7070

online: under 'visiting shows'

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Confessions of subtle racism

Tamara Huxtable’s embroidery is a way toCome Clean.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

One of Tamara Huxtable's hankies embroidered with the confession "I heard an aboriginal man talking on the news. I made fun of his accent."
  • Tamara Huxtable embroidered confessions onto vintage hankies to come to terms with her oppressive behaviour.
  • Harleen Randhawa

Anybody who visits Halifax MP Megan Leslie’s office from now until April will encounter the work of textile artist Tamara Huxtable. Much of Huxtable’s art is text-based, with words and phrases embroidered onto unframed pieces of fabric. “This medium just happened to align harmoniously with the ideas about identity and eventually race politics that I was, and am, still exploring,” says Huxtable.

The works are on display throughout the Gottingen Street office, boldly calling attention to issues of latent racism that often goes unnoticed. Come Clean, one of the series in the exhibit, consists of confessions stitched onto vintage hankies. “I used to dress up as an ‘Indian Princess’ but I was a little white privileged girl,” is one example. “The Come Clean series began with my own politicization,” Huxtable says. “As I started to adopt anti-oppressive politics, I inevitably had to come to terms with my own oppressive behaviour. I feel like, in terms of race politics, it's integral to recognize the run-of-the-mill, sort of accepted ways in which we all play a part in the marginalization of others. So I started stitching a few hankies with my own admissions.”

After putting these to needle and thread, Huxtable began asking her friends to submit confessions of their own. “It was more difficult than I thought it would be to get these statements. Partly because a lot of people think that if they are good people, they don't ever do or say anything that is racist, and partly because some of the more subtle behaviours are more difficult to recognize as racist.”

"A lot of people think that if they are good people, they don't ever do or say anything that is racist," says Tamara Huxtable. - HARLEEN RANDHAWA
  • "A lot of people think that if they are good people, they don't ever do or say anything that is racist," says Tamara Huxtable.
  • Harleen Randhawa

Another important part of the show is about reaching out to a local black audience. “I do live in the neighbourhood and was eager to show in a non-traditional space that would be accessible to that community. It's a predominantly black neighbourhood, and as a black artist making work relating to my own experiences, it's important for me to reach black audiences.”

Huxtable also hopes that having her work displayed in an unconventional space will result in more productive conversations about our unchecked behaviour surrounding issues of race and identity. “People seem to really be able to relate to the statements. They seem eager to be a part of the work and want to think about what admissions they could provide to the series.”

Having begun studying textile art in 2006, Huxtable believes there is an alignment between the medium and her exploration of race politics. “There is something comforting in the slow, tactile process of textile art that seems to ease the often-heavy emotions involved with making that sort of work. When I do fine embroidered, text-based pieces it takes hours and often weeks to complete, and I really get to sort of process everything as I work. It's cathartic.”

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crocus Song sings

Much better than supermarket flowers or gas station chocolates

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM


Thomas McCallum and other students of the University of King's College will be performing tonight (8pm, free) at The Carleton Music Bar & Grill to launch McCallum's debut CD, Crocus Song.

The free event called “Pre-My-Valentine”, a play on the question many Haligonians will be asking this Friday, will be emceed by East Coast Music award recipient and former Kings alum Ben Caplan.

Backing McCallum on guitar, drums and bass are Jamie Logan and Nick Halley and John Maize, respectively. Other performers on the bill include Karis Tees, Hunter McLellan, Katharine Harrison and Emmett Watters, Melissa Legeyt and The Woodshed.

The night was orchestrated by Dr. Tom Curran, associate professor of Humanities at University of King's College. “The genesis of this event originated a few years ago when I stopped into the King’s campus common room, the HMCS Wardroom, and heard some amazing performances," says Curran.

In the past Curran has hosted evenings to demonstrate the school's wealth of musical talent at the University, but this year the event is taking a much-needed level of expansion.

“For the past two years I arranged to have these marvelous students perform in a more dedicated listening space on campus for a Valentine’s-style showcase. This year I wanted to help the students reach a broader audience in a space with great acoustics and professional sound engineering,” he says. “Of course, the Carleton with its intimate, convivial space and reputation as Halifax’s premier listening room came to mind.”

One of the musicians' claim to fame is a poll by the CBC where the University of King's College was voted the second best campus for music nation-wide. Be at The Carleton tonight to hear why.

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Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Gaymes

Pro-LGBTQIA+ ads of 2014

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM


In which we compile all of the inclusive, pro-LGBTQIA+, potentially rainbow-washy (but still more positive than Russia's hateful policies) ads and PSAs in one place.

Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion, getting saucy:

And apparently some folks don't like the sauciness?

Chevy made a commercial to run during the Olympics devoting a whole two seconds to acknowledging same-sex marriages exist:

Norway's XXL All Sports United Olympic ad spot objectifies a lady, but then WHOA SHE KISSES ANOTHER CONVENTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE LADY:

Britain's Channel 4 won't be left out either.

We thought the Google doodle and accompanying quote from the Olympic charter was a pretty cool move:


“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

And locally, while there have been no slick commercials that we know of, at least NS provincial legislature and City Hall have raised a flag.

Jury is out on whether or not these are just a chance for businesses to hop on a bandwagon and rainbow-wash their companies cough*CHEVY*cough—who can forget Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein's quote "equality is just good business"?—or a genuine show of support. While North America is most certainly in a glass house throwing stones here, there is something to be said for genuine support and being a good ally, advocate and friend.

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Black Rabbit Indoor Arts Festival's circus acts

Circus of the Revolution is one of a kind

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Poster by Corey Isenor via Circus of the Revolution Facebook page
  • Poster by Corey Isenor via Circus of the Revolution Facebook page

Some people believe that black is all colours at once. The folks behind the Black Rabbit Indoor Arts Festival certainly do, and this week they are hard at work, shedding light on the vibrancy hidden within the darkness of winter.

Founded in 2011 as a fundraising initiative for the White Rabbit Open Air Arts Festival (a weeklong, collaborative arts residency that takes place on 70 acres of sunny oceanfront property in Upper Economy every August), Black Rabbit brings together roughly 50 volunteers to create a week's worth of performance, art installation and barbeque in HRM, with the aim of raising programming funds for its sister organization whilst engaging the public.

The culmination of a week's worth of activity is a spectacle known as the Circus Of The Revolution, a "one of a kind show" that's "unique, gentle, chaotic and entertaining" according to organizer and performer Brian Riley (Saturday, Feb 15, 9pm, Sunday, Feb 16, 4pm, Bus Stop Theatre). Those in attendance can expect a loosely scripted series of performances involving plenty of spinning, dancing, magical animals and a mysterious subterranean art installation called The Labyrinth. Riley explains that each year the circus "aims to articulate our understanding of the world through spectacle and playfulness."

After the high demand for last year's magnum opus, the Circus Of The Normal, the rabbits have kindly doubled your opportunity for enlightenment. "Last year, we had to turn people away at the door. This year, we've added a Sunday afternoon show, which will hopefully make it more accessible to families and kids," says Riley.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mimi helps you pick your poison

Dangerous women unite

Posted By on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Kirstin Howell
  • Kirstin Howell

Mary Lou Martin is not a woman who minces words. If a show is shit, she’ll be the first to tell you. So when she has high praise for something like TheatreSpeak’s production of Allen Cole’s musical farce Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy)—which she is directing—it pays to listen.

“This show is so funny, so energetic and very stylish,” she rhapsodizes. “Plus, it has an incredibly talented group of actors. Just look at the two actresses who star, Kirstin Howell and Karen Myatt. They are very different from one another, but both are amazing actors, singers and comedians.”

When TheatreSpeak learned they had won a week in the studio theatre through Neptune’s Open Spaces program, the original thought was to do another small-cast off-Broadway show like their successful production of [title of show]. But then Allen Cole, who was working with Martin on another project at the time, suggested Mimi. “We thought, ‘Why do off-Broadway when you can do an original Canadian musical?’"

Mimi is based on the true story of the Marquise de Brinvilliers, a spoiled and debauched young noble woman in 17th century France who turns to murder to get her way. It’s billed as a cross between Sweeney Todd and Dangerous Liaisons. “The only way to get her way is to get a few people out of the way,” says Martin with a laugh.

The show premiered at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto in 2009, but this production marks its Atlantic Canadian debut, February 19-23, Neptune Studio Theatre.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

The Coast guide to the 2014 Oscar nominees for Best Picture

How will you win your office Oscar pool without it?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Gravity! Oh yeah.
  • Gravity! Oh yeah.

It's Friday! Come with me on a celluloid journey! Forget about the terrible world and snow piling up and laundry piling up—think about popcorn and glittery dresses and powerful acting and substantially heavy gold statuettes.

In preparation for March 2's Academy Award gala, here is our take on some of the films nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Picture. Note: Apparently some of them were awful.

Click the title for the extended review, or suffice yourself with the choice quotes then go see something. Say you're leaving early because it's winter?

American Hustle
"fails at greatness but lands squarely at good."
"Bale often drags the movie out of whack with his Method bullshit, but Adams really bites into Sydney, subverting her usual honey sweetness with hardscrabble ambition." —Tara Thorne
American Hustle movie times are right here, you sick son-of-a-bitch

Captain Phillips
"Here, [director Paul Greengrass'] workmanlike ability to craft harrowing realism clots any attempts at sermonizing while escalating the suspense to peerless levels. A bit of a missed opportunity, actually, since only a few crumbs of reasoning go to explain the actions of the impoverished, warlord-controlled pirates (led by skeletal newcomer Barkhad Abdi)." —Jacob Boon
Captain Phillips is playing exactly nowhere in the HRM

Dallas Buyers Club
"Jared Leto, as Woodroof's business partner, will deservedly pick up some award nominations for his gut-wrenching waltz to the grave. As should Jennifer Garner, doing some of her best work in years as a troubled doctor watching her friends die due to indifferent legislators." —Jacob Boon
Dallas Buyers Club times are here, and may leave theatres soon, be warned.

"Clooney's mainly along for his charm, but it's Bullock who will rightfully pick up some awards, acting entirely through her eyes (aside from a couple formidably physical scenes) while stuck in a CGI spacesuit." —Jacob Boon, who's really doling out the awards predictions.
Gravity is playing many, many times today at Bayers Lake.

"Named Samantha, she soon begins to exceed her programming (or does she?) and develops feelings, specifically for Theodore (or does she?). As whenever machines become hyper-intelligent, it does not go well (or does it)?" —Tara Thorne, who was really on her game for this review.
Her is playing a lonely matinee through the weekend at Park Lane

"Shot in black and white, Payne nails the authenticity of small, broken towns, with their framed photos and desolate Main Streets, populated by ex-dreamers and lifelong drunks. Nebraska lacks the sourness that permeates the likes of Sideways and The Descendants, trading it in for straight deadpan, to better and more lasting effect. This is a terrific movie." —Tara Thorne
Nebraska: You blinked and missed it. No showtimes!

"And you'd miss a soft-spoken script (co-written by Coogan) which prattles on about the meddlesome bits of living so much that you don't notice the half-dozen emotional gut punches which sneak up and crumple you to the floor. You should go see Philomena, you should go see Philomena and you should go see Philomena." —Jacob Boon
Well? Listen to the man! Philomena plays at Park Lane a lot.

12 Years a Slave
"Quiet scenes of unparalleled anguish play out over several agonizing minutes, testing characters' and viewers' endurance. Not the Derridean deconstruction of Django Unchained, nor the historical wet fart of Spielberg's Lincoln, 12 Years a Slave is a quiet testament, supremely crafted, with all the weight of the ocean." —Jacob Boon
Even though internet commenter Andy Smith seems to think it's not, 12 Years a Slave is indeed screening in Halifax

The Wolf of Wall Street
"Jordan Belfort is a self-made millionaire New York stock guy—you know, the ones who ruined the world recently. He loves sex workers, illegal drugs, throwing money around and having zero inner life or outside interests. The perfect person to play him is someone who has lived like this, so move outta the way, fatass, cause here comes craggy, spray-tanned manchild Leonardo DiCaprio—who turns 40 this year and starts the movie at 22, lol—to dredge up his ’90s-era Pussy Posse heyday for all to see." —Tara Thorne
The Wolf of Wall Street is playing all over, don't bring your five-year-old.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Good Soul of Szechuan

A seriously funny fable

Posted By on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 9:05 PM

Soul-full performers
  • Soul-full performers

Sometimes plays by Bertolt Brecht are described as preachy and overly-didactic, but neither word applies to DalTheatre’s spirited take on The Good Soul of Szechuan. It is a gorgeous and utterly engaging production, filled with both humour and pathos. Marina Gwynne shines as Shen Tei, the soft-hearted prostitute whose goodness is rewarded by three funny, flaky gods. Unfortunately, Shen Tei soon discovers that goodness can’t thrive in a society where people take advantage of it, and she is forced to invent a ruthless alter-ego. Music plays an important role in the show, adding humour and atmosphere, often transforming popular tunes with a Chinese flavour. Brecht’s moral fable asks some big questions about the nature of good and evil, but this exuberant production ensures you are thoroughly entertained as you ponder them.

Thursday, February 6 @ 8:00p
Friday, February 7 @ 8:00p
Saturday, February 8 @ 2:00p
Saturday, February 8 @ 8:00p

at the David MacK. Murray Studio

Purchase tickets through the Dalhousie Arts Centre Box Office, in person, over the phone at 494-3820, or online at All tickets are general admission, $14 regular, $7 students and seniors.

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Chris Locke's talk

Lock(e) up your Reese's products, comedian Chris Locke is rolling in

Posted By on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Chris Locke and his appropriate attire
  • Chris Locke and his appropriate attire

"If my style of comedy was on a T-shirt, it would be one of those 'I Survived a Shark Attack’ shirts that look like you really did just survive a shark attack," says Toronto's Chris Locke. The frequent Comedy Network comedian and actor returns to Halifax for Warm Soda at The Company House on Tuesday February 11 ($7, 8:30pm), joined by locals Cheryl Hann, Paul Doucette, Everardo Ramirez and more.

A member of Laugh Sabbath, Toronto's popular comedy crew that appeared at Halifax Pop Explosion last fall, Locke has been working sketch since 2000 and stand-up since 2007.

"I'm always inspired by the comedians of Laugh Sabbath, they are my best friends." Locke says of the collective's advantages: "It's a group of like-minded comedians that bring something unique to comedy, a very conducive environment for honing your natural performer instincts."  Developing his stage skills with the group has led to his first comedy album, The World is Embarrassing, recorded in December at The Ossington in Toronto and released on February 1. "I did two sold-out shows back to back and it felt like a comedy party," says Locke, "The album is all jokes but it also captured the exact vibe I was looking for, too. That's what I like. I wanted it to sound like the super fun vibe on Richard Pryor's Craps (After Hours) album. That was my favourite growing up."

Even as a young buck, it seems Locke's always been a good time. "I went to Dalhousie for one drunken year in 1998-1999," he says, noting that he didn't come back again until 2008 to work on a project with Nathan Fielder. It was a harsh trip down memory lane. "I saw images of 20-year-old me on mushrooms, drinking beers on Citadel Hill, wearing the biggest, most humiliating Aladdin-like raver pants I've ever owned," he says. Even still, he always jumps at the chance to come here.

"Halifax rules, I love it. There are great comics doing the Yuk's gigs, the indie stuff, Gus' Pub, all of it. I think you guys have a killer scene and I'm excited to do the show," he says.  

Be ready to laugh. Locke's jokes range from the acutely observational to the astutely self-deprecating, touching on topics like balding, farts and some hilarious bits on sweet and salty treats. "If you have a bag of Lay's Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles, I will bother you," he says of his favourite snacks, "Anything Reese makes, I'm like 'YES MASTER,' and now they sell the McDonald's Double Cheeseburger for literally a pittance, so I sneak a couple of those in every now and then."

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Relive the magic of the Pusha T show right here

Is that fur vest real though?

Posted By and on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Happy faces! - SCOTT BLACKBURN
  • Happy faces!
  • Scott Blackburn

If for some reason you missed Pusha T's live show in Halifax last Monday because, oh I don't know, you had a cold that had you so dozy you were napping on the way from the couch to the bed (cough*STEPH*cough PS those coughs are real), then here's a Pusha T treat for you.

Photos from Scott Blackburn, and music from King Push himself. Can you see yourself in the crowd? Oh, you can? I hate you.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Juno nominees you could see at Salim's

Good work locals (and sometimes locals)

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 3:07 PM

  • ;)

The 2014 Juno nominees were announced today and I am not going to list them all here because I'm not made of internet so click here if you are so inclined: CANADIAN MUSICIANS!

Some local (or basically local) folks made the list, click around and get familiar:

Matt Mays (rock album of the year for Coyote)

Henry "Cirkut" Walter (songwriter of the year on Katy Perry's "Roar"; Pitbull's "Timber" and Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball"; Jack Richardson producer of the year award for "Wrecking Ball" and Robin Thicke's "Give it 2 U")

Ryan Hemsworth (electronic album of the year for Guilt Trips. We are still claiming him, goddamnit)

JRDN (still claiming, as above. R&B/soul recording of the year for Can't Choose feat. Kardinal Offishall)

Classified (rap recording of the year for Classified, single of the year for "Inner Ninja" with David Myles)

Dean Brody (country album of the year for Crop Circles. he's sort of local? Maybe you'll see him at the Chester version of Salim's)

Robin Thicke was nominated for a bunch of things, AGAIN. Suggestion: Watch this instead of raging about that fact.

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Emotions, pizza and Crass patches: A Blue Rodeo review

Feel all the feelings

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Overly dangerous photo via
  • Overly dangerous photo via

I always thought I was a Cuddy man. That pristine, emotive voice and those gratifying pop hooks make his songs so satisfying to vibe to. But over time, I have gravitated towards the raw and honest darkness that emerges in Greg Keelor’s devastatingly catchy and well crafted jams. But really, it is like trying to choose between Salvatore’s and Metro Pizza. Both have their unique virtues. Both rule pretty hard in their own right. No matter which one you choose, you’re going to have an amazing pizza experience. That's how I feel about Blue Rodeo (that makes sense, right? I get a little disoriented when I make pizza analogies. I wish I had some pizza).

Blue Rodeo’s January 31 show at the Metro (Pizza) Centre was like the perfect pizza experience; equal parts Cuddy and Keelor, with a nice introduction to the new record and a great selection of hits and deep cuts from their near 30 year career. They broke things up into two sets—with the first featuring only songs from their new record, In Our Nature. But these songs could have easily been plucked from Five Days in July; they show that Blue Rodeo are still crafting great songs and are a force to be reckoned with. The second set was a near perfect (was wishing to hear "Rose Coloured Glasses," for one thing) selection of songs from the Blue Rodeo back catalogue. Cuddy’s crooning, after all these years, still has the effect of a musical security blanket, keeping you safe and warm. And even though Greg Keelor’s role in the band has changed due to his hearing issues (he no longer plays electric guitar—this duty is filled by new member Colin Cripps—and appears to be purposefully isolated on the stage from the drums, bass and other loud elements of the band), his voice still punches you right in the emotions. After that performance, I can’t think of a Canadian band less unfuckwithable than Blue Rodeo.

Random observations:
-From the pink haired, tattooed, canoodling couple in their early 20s sitting next to me to the smelly bearded guy with the Crass back patch on his studded jean vest at the next urinal, the punks were in full force. It proves that punks can have both emotional depth and good taste necessary to jam to Blue Rodeo.

-Greg Keelor, you don’t need to pander to the audience. Don’t have them sing almost half of "It Hasn’t Hit Me Yet." I came to hear you sing it. You sing it the best. Also, you don’t need to make lame references to getting high in order to get a cheer from the crowd. You and I both know the best way to experience the beautiful desolation of this world is with your eyes open and your mind clear. Don’t lower yourself anywhere near the bullshit cultural milieu that getting high is cool. One doesn’t need to mitigate their experience of reality with drugs; they only need to listen to Outskirts front to back.

-My childhood friend referred to Blue Rodeo as “Canada’s House Band.” Is this a thing people say?

-Watching Jim Cuddy hang back and watch Devin Cuddy sing the second verse of “Lost Together” made me very emotional.

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