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Thursday, August 25, 2016

10 ways to have an epic weekend

Beyoncé, DIY-bling, opera, animal rescues and more!

Posted on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 2:51 PM

BAH-NAH-NAH bring the party with world music at The Company House (see 4). - DYLAN CHEW
  • BAH-NAH-NAH bring the party with world music at The Company House (see 4).
  • Dylan Chew

10. The APEX w/TMHM, Engage The Threat, Joy Departed
Sunday, Aug 28, 10pm
Zig-zagging across the East Coast to support their upcoming EP Underbelly, this is your chance to catch Ontario's tech-metal rockers The APEX live at Gus' Pub. Sharing the stage with Saskatchewan's The Man And His Machine, Moncton's Engage The Threat and Hali's own Joy Departed.

9. Five and 10 dollar pop-up
Saturday, Aug 27, 12-5pm
Bauer Street Clothing (2085 Bauer Street) is selling out last season's stock at five and 10 bucks a pop. Call it retail therapy?

8. North End Photographs by Maggie Rahr
To Sept 17
Snapshots exploring Halifax's north end grace the walls of Lion & Bright. Rahr describes her collection via email as streetscapes capturing "the light and colours unique to this mercurial coastal city. Nova Scotians are sure to recognize the soft greys of winter, the stark twilight of autumn nights and the jewel-like blue skies that don't discriminate winter from spring."

7. Hope for Wildlife annual open house
Sunday, Aug 28, 12-4pm
The perfect day for animal lovers, this is a chance to peer into the behind-the-scenes world of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Learn about the programs and processes offered at Hope For Wildlife and see how you can help. With live music, local crafts and food, this promises to be much more than your average afternoon.

6. Beyoncé's Lemonade screening
Thursday, Aug 25, 6:30-9pm
Put some hot sauce in your bag and head to the Art Bar (1873 Granville Street) to watch Bey's latest visual album. This screening is part of South House's Bechdel Test Film Fest, which explores how women are presented in film.

Adorableness in action at Hope For Wildlife (see 7). - HOPE FOR WILDLIFE
  • Adorableness in action at Hope For Wildlife (see 7).
  • Hope For Wildlife
5. Jewellery making workshop
Saturday Aug 27, 2:30-3:30pm
Up your crafting skills (and your bling game!) at this workshop, held at The Center, 2616 Windsor Street. The best part? Telling people you made it when they ask where that amazing necklace is from. Materials included in cost of workshop, and advance tickets are available at

4. BAHNAHNAH's wholetimes goodsomes dance party
Saturday, Aug 27, 10pm-2am
DJ Budi, DJ Fadzwa and DJ Fancy Pants are back at The Company House, and they're bringing big world beats with them. Get ready for a party, everybody.

3. Opera From Scratch gala concert
Sunday, Aug 28, 2:30pm
The grand finale of the Opera From Scratch Festival! This afternoon sees six mini operas that composers and singers have spent the past week crafting come to the stage at St. Matthew's United Church.

2. Millenials
Aug 25-27, 8pm
An original play by Brody Wilkinson-Martin, this story follows university kids getting ready for and going to a major party. All the weed, selfies and awkwardness make the script. And, in a unique twist, prior to the play’s opening, you can follow all the characters on social media—just like a real millennial. Catch it at The Pit, in the Arts and Administration Building at University of King's College.

1. OOPIK writing workshop and book reading
Thursday, Aug 25, 6-8pm
OOPIK is an art collective focussing on telling “current and authentic” stories about Inuit, First Nation and Metis people. Join one of their members, Delilah Saunders, at Radstorm as she shares insights and exercises on writing. Saunders will also read from her forthcoming book, A Princess and A Monkey: My Sister and I. The book tells the story of Delilah and her sibling Loretta, who was murdered in 2014 while writing a thesis at SMU about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It is a celebration of life, words and those the Saunders sisters have fought for.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Down memory lane with The Tragically Hip

26-year-old concert footage shows a hairy Gord Downie in Halifax.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 4:46 PM

Fans in 1990—early to The Tragically Hip, late at the Misty Moon. - STILL FROM VIDEO
  • Fans in 1990—early to The Tragically Hip, late at the Misty Moon.
  • STill from video

Think back. Before The Tragically Hip was an icon. Before Gord Downie’s brain cancer diagnosis became another reminder how hard 2016 has been on legendary musicians. And long, long before The Hip’s farewell concert in Kingston turned into a much-anticipated national live streaming event. Back in 1990, The Hip was just a good rock band fronted by a great poet, relentlessly touring bars to build its name. So it played venues like Halifax’s Misty Moon, from whence a Reddit thread recently brought to light an hour-long Hip concert that Much Music filmed 26 years ago (embedded below).

The Moon was a horrible, wonderful place with the sort of almost-free happy hour drink prices that are now illegal, and a mandate to put on live music in order to justify its open-to-the-wee-hours liquor license. Located where the Discovery Centre is now, just down Barrington Street from Grand Parade where tomorrow’s concert will be shown, it collected a large and diverse crowd as lesser bars closed for the night. In this way, it was a discovery centre of another kind, my illustrative Moon experience involving a friend who left the bar after a consensual encounter and walked straight to the emergency room to get an STI treated.

Certainly the Moon audience for The Hip’s concert seems into the show. “It’s powerful warm in here,” says a sweat-drenched Downie at 36:14, before introducing “a song about a dude who I don’t really know, but I lived close to for a while.” That would be “38 Years Old,” far more familiar to us now than the long hair Downie’s sporting on stage.

I wasn’t at that show. My Hip appreciation came years later, forged during an assignment to cover the band about to embark on yet another tour. The musicians, the roadies, management and media gathered in Saint John for a few days before the tour kicked off at the Harbour Station arena. The first night, the hotel bar closed at its normal time—too early—and I went back to Downie’s room to wind down with some Scrabble. He played the seven-letter “encages” to start the game.

By the second night in Saint John, arrangements had been made. The hotel bar stayed open past its bedtime. Hell, it stayed open past my bedtime. For all I know, it didn’t close. And why would it? For the king of bar bands, the party is never supposed to end.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ten ways to love the weekend

A record release, a fairy tale afternoon, saying goodbye to Gord Downie and more.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 1:02 PM

A Tribe Called Red brings the party to the Marquee Friday  (see number 3). - FALLEN TREE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • A Tribe Called Red brings the party to the Marquee Friday (see number 3).
  • Fallen Tree Photography

10. Zoe Leger
Friday, Aug 19 and Saturday, Aug 20, 7-10pm
Fresh off a show at Jazz Fest and toting a new album release (titled The Girl From Yesterday), Zoe Leger's soulful voice-and-piano combo is a must-see for jazz lovers. Comparisons to Diana Krall wouldn't be completely out-of-place here, so stop by Le Bistro by Liz and take part in discovering the next big thing.

9. Dart Trek
Through Aug 31
Let your inner nerd shine and celebrate Star Trek's 50th anniversary at The Dart Gallery! With lots of art about the final frontier, it's the only place for Trekkies to be.

8. 24hr zine challenge
Saturday, Aug 20, 7pm to Sunday, Aug 21, 7pm
Calling all crafters and '90s nostalgics! Hit the craft tables at Radstorm for the ultimate 'zine challenge: Putting together your very own DIY publication in 24 hours. Materials, food and fellow 'zine lovers will also be on hand for the fun.

7. Born In Flames Screening
Thursday, Aug 18, 6-9pm
This documentary-style sci-fi film follows two New York City feminist groups voicing their views on pirate radio. As a socialist government begins keeping ever-more-watchful tabs on the women, sweeping problems brew. Directed by Lizzie Borden, this film is part of South House's Bechdel Test Film Fest, tackling the way women are presented in film. Head to Art Bar, 1873 Granville Street, to see this cult classic!

6. Tomi Allen's LP Release Party
Thursday, Aug 18, 8:30pm
Halifax-based Tomi Allen is throwing a party to celebrate the release of his first LP, and you're invited for the sonic, soulful ride. Called Abstract Echoes of the Mind and Soul, the album's 10 original tracks swerve from "Brazilian-infused" Beatles-style pop to surfer-rock tunes. The release date, chosen by Allen because it aligns with the August full moon, will prove to be the perfect time to get in touch with your bohemian side.

Zoe Leger gets jazzy at Le Bistro (see 10). - COURTESY OF ARTIST
  • Zoe Leger gets jazzy at Le Bistro (see 10).
  • Courtesy of Artist

5. Once Upon A Fairy Tale
Saturday, Aug 20 and Sunday, Aug 21, 10am-5pm.
Like a Comic-Con for fairy tales, this event invites you to the Halifax Forum dressed up as your favourite bedtime story. Get ready to explore a medieval village, have tea in the fairy court, and witness all sorts of magic, myth and whimsy.

4. Not Since Moses
Sunday, Aug 21, 8:15am
Forget walking on water, this annual summer event encourages you to run on it! Or where it's supposed to be. The Not Since Moses race has been bringing curious runners and walkers to the Bay of Fundy's Sand Point and Soley Cove (near Five Islands) for years, to take on five- and 10-kilometre races against the sublime, record-high tides, slipping and sliding all the way. Aimed at all ages and athletic abilities, Not Since Moses is an unforgettable summer experience more than a race—you versus nature, with a backdrop fit for National Geographic.

3. A Tribe Called Red
Friday, Aug 19, 9pm
Catch A Tribe Called Red at the Marquee and get lost in their signature blend of dance and traditional pow-wow music. Their rich layering of modern beats and ancient aboriginal song creates a unique, immersive experience.

2. 2 Crows Tasting Preview
Thursday, Aug 18, 7-10pm
2 Crows Brewing Company, set to open its doors downtown this fall, asks you to "bring your tastebuds...and feedback" to its 580 Young Ave location. A chance to sample the suds before they hit the market, this event is bound to be a beer lover's dream. The best part? All ticket sales go to Feed Nova Scotia, plus there will be a box onsite for you to share some non-perishable items.

1. The Tragically Hip Live From Kingston
Saturday, July 20, 9:30pm-12am
If you, like the rest of us, wanted to get your hands on tickets to the Hip's final show in Ontario, make your way to Grand Parade for a goodbye party and live screening of the concert that is sure to be totally unforgettable. Other venues screening the show include The Carleton Music Bar & Grill, Good Robot Brewing Co and Resolutes Club.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ten ways to light up your weekend

A communist birthday, views of the night sky, one Hali-famous band's last show and more!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Longtime entertainers The Chess Club call it quits, sing one last show (see number 5). - COURTESY OF BAND
  • Longtime entertainers The Chess Club call it quits, sing one last show (see number 5).
  • Courtesy of Band

We're cutting cake for Castro's 90th, getting our groove on with The Chess Club and squeezing in some late summer stargazing.

10.Halifax Summer Opera Festival. To Aug 14. Back for its third season, the Halifax Summer Opera Festival features the best in Maritime opera talent. This year's festival is very Italian with performances of Handel's Rodelinda, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. For the serious opera lover, you can be there for every cadenza by purchasing a season pass.––Shelby Bona

9. India Fest 2016. Aug 12-14, 11am-8pm. Head to the Halifax Forum and get a henna tattoo, try some curry, and get to know more about Indian culture at this three-day festival.

8. North by Night and Further North Markets. Friday, Aug 12, 7-10pm. Lower Gottingen Street lights up this Friday night as Squiggle Park and Plan B deliver curated collections of oddities and things you never knew you wanted! These doses of pop-up fun are within walking distance of each other, so why not see both?

7. DJ SOULCIAL: DYING2DANCE. Saturday, Aug 13, 10pm. Nova Scotia born DJ Soulcial is bringing his big beats back home for a night of madness on the dace floor. Featuring everything from funk to hip-hop, this is a night out clubbers won't wanna miss.

6. Salvage Book Launch Party. Sunday, Aug 14, 4pm. Author Stephen Maher heads to the Economy Shoe Shop to celebrate the launch of his novel, Salvage, a murder-mystery-thiller set on Nova Scotia's south shore.


5. The Chess Club w/Raegan Boucher. Friday, Aug 12, 10pm. A Hali-famous dance band that's calling it quits after years on the stage, this will be The Chess Club's farewell performance. Call it the end of an era and one more reason to bust out your dancing shoes.

4. RITUAL/VIRTUAL. To Aug 13. Interdisciplinary work focusing on how perpetual internet use can be both frustrating and relaxing, this exhibit explores the gap between virtual and analog art practices. As the gallery puts it, “RITUAL/VIRTUAL is trying to filter internet trash.”

3. Fidel es Fidel Screening. Thursday, Aug 11, 6:30pm. Celebrate the 90th birthday of the larger-than-life Cuban leader Fidel Castro at this biopic screening and panel discussion. For politics nerds or lovers of Cuba's sunny shores, this is the chance to learn more about the often-misrepresented revolutionary.

2. SeaLight SkyLight Festival. Aug 12-13, 7-11:30pm. The Deanery Project’s third annual outdoor festival, held in Ship Harbour (751 West Ship Harbour Road), brings together science, art and nature. See the stars, be amazed by the harbour's bioluminescence (that's glow-in-the-dark plankton), and maybe even spot a mermaid!

1. Clam Harbour Beach Sandcastle Competition. Sunday, Aug 14, 9am. If you've ever dreamed of winning an award for this under-appreciated skill, your time is now. This competition recognizes architects and engineers who are bold enough to dream. Enter for your chance to win cash prizes, enjoy food vendors and groove to live music while spending your day on the beach. There will even be a shuttle service to transport you there. So get your beach pails and bucket hats ready, folks! May the sand be with you.––Ashley Corbett

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

10 ways to make this weekend rule

From classical music to cats to wrestling, it's all goin' on this weekend.

Posted on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 4:40 PM

Maritimer Maureen Batt gives classical music a modern upgrade, singing about everything from mental health to selfies (see five). - TOM BELDING
  • Maritimer Maureen Batt gives classical music a modern upgrade, singing about everything from mental health to selfies (see five).
  • Tom Belding

10. The Uncanny: When Fantasy Is Too Real
Aug 4-7, 8pm, Matinee Aug 7 at 2 pm
Three short plays make one full evening of adult-only fairytales at The Bus Stop Theatre. In The Marriedest One of All, the evil Queen and Snow White are locked in a competition to see who can procure the most husbands. (Hint: Cohabitating with seven dwarves lends a distinct advantage.) In Asleep at the Wheel, the story of Rumplestiltskin is re-imagined to explore the implicit violence of patriarchy in fairy tales. And lastly, Hansel in Lederhosen is a psychological cat-and-mouse set in an eerie theatre in Halifax. —Kate Watson

9. Documentary Double Bill
Thursday, Aug 4, 6-9pm
This double bill features ! WOMEN ART REVOLUTION, a doc that explores how the women's art community came to blossom through the feminist movement of the '60s and '70s. Second up is She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a film that acts as a visual record of people and happenings during the peak of feminism's second wave. Part of South House's Bechdel Test Film Fest, this screening takes place at the Art Bar, 1873 Granville Street.

8. Summer Rumble
Saturday, Aug 6, 7pm
Head to Bedford Lebrun Arena, 36 Holland Avenue, Halifax for your fill of jaw-dropping, gut-wrenching action with this wrestling show.

7. Bachata Dancing Lessons
Saturday, Aug 6, 11am-2pm
Pier 21 and Indhira Castillo of La Zona Dance Company invite you to lace on your dancing shoes and try Bachata, one of the most accessible forms of Latin dance. Requiring no skills or partners, everyone's welcome to learn some spicy new steps at the museum!

6. du al ism By Doug Belding
Aug 5-18
A series of paintings at the Dart Gallery exploring the fizzling tension between opposites, this collection of 10 pieces tells the story of characters facing an array of challenges. Using vivid aqua against a moody, red and black background, Belding creates one more layer of opposites and makes his images pop.

One of Doug Belding's latest pieces uses colour to tell a story (see six). - PROVIDED BY ARTIST
  • One of Doug Belding's latest pieces uses colour to tell a story (see six).
  • Provided By Artist

5. Crossing Borders: Realities Blurred
Saturday, Aug 6, 7:30pm
Classically-trained pianist Cheryl Duvall shares the stage at The Music Room with her friend and soprano, Maureen Batt, at this classical-style concert. But don't dismiss this as your typical classical show. The concert, part of a North American series also featuring shows in Toronto and Philadelphia, tackles modern themes like mental health issues, HIV/AIDS, gender identity, body issues and even selfies. As Batt puts it, "each piece represents a reality that is blurred, a line that is crossed, a time that is both past and present."

4. Halifax Seaport Beerfest Aug 5-6 Don't let the tiny steins fool you, this is a marathon not a sprint. Welcome the 10th anniversary of the summer favourite Seaport Beerfest by swigging back craft brews and ciders from over 100 producers, putting down a good base of tasty snacks and enjoying live music and the city's hottest DJs at the Cunard Centre. Need we say more? Didn't think so.

3. Potluck Picnic 2
Thursday, Aug 4, 6-8pm
The second installation of Eyelevel Gallery's picnic series, this event is all about breaking bread and discussing art. Bring your favourite potluck dish to Common Roots Urban Farm and don't forget a donation to Feed NS. Rain date is TBA.

2. Lakefest
Saturday, Aug 6
This all-afternoon outdoor fest on the beaches of a secret lake has us craving a cold drink and the smell of sunscreen. With tickets available at Lost & Found (2383 Agricola Street) for a paltry $10, it's a great chance to discover some local talent.

1. Cat Fest
Saturday Aug 6, 10am-4pm
Celebrate International Cat Day with the Museum of Natural History. Dress up in your feline best and enjoy events, crafts and more. #CatFest16

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Lakefest is a well-kept secret

The festival, held at a secret lake in HRM, gets ready for its big reveal Saturday.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Bürden by the secret shore - KEITH BÜRDEN
  • Bürden by the secret shore
  • Keith Bürden

When Bijou Bürden and Kayla Stevens began planning Lakefest, a one-day outdoor music festival happening August 6, they were chasing a particular feeling. It was a feeling Bürden still vividly remembers, one that hit when their former band, the Saffrons, had a jam session two years ago on Lawrencetown beach. “I mean, the sun and the water, being so near the ocean. It just feels good. I dunno how to describe it, it just feels really good to be outside,” Bürden recalls by phone. The few indescribable, song-and-sunshine doused hours left such an impression on the pair that they knew it was an experience they wanted to share with others. After lots of discussion and many half-plans, the duo finally fell on a way to make it happen: Their very own outdoor music festival, with a secret twist.

At first blush, Lakefest feels like a small-scale reiteration of every other festival: An outdoor show that’s full of smaller bands you don’t really know, but your cool friends talk about a lot. And while that’s technically true (it is outside, and buzzy local acts like No Problem and Stevens’ Vulva Culture are on the bill) there’s more to it than that.

The roster, which features what Bürden describes as everything from “garage-y to lazy bands” and the Lakefest Facebook page defines as “ perfect popsicle rock in the sun” features an almost-exclusively local lineup (like the acts mentioned above and Bürden’s band, Faw Haja). 

And, that lineup isn’t playing just anywhere. As the festival name hints, the concert happens at a lake. But, the exact location is a tightly-guarded secret, only to be revealed the morning of the show. Ticket buyers receive an email address with their $10 stub, and by messaging it, they will receive a digital map divulging directions to the lake.

“This lake is really special to me. I almost wish it wasn’t a secret so I could tell people more about it,” Bürden says. “When I first moved here [from Ontario] it was to be with my Grandma, who’s a really special lady. I’d walk my dog down near this lake and I just loved it.”

Festival vibes - KEITH BÜRDEN
  • Festival vibes
  • Keith Bürden

Bürden adds that most of the musicians on the bill have an element of psychedelia in their sound, and that the outdoors and psychedelic music are, to her, deeply linked. “The classic kind of hippie, let’s-sit-out-in-the-grass kind of imagery from old photographs: That natural part seems like an important part of psychedelic music,” she says, adding that while she doesn’t count Pink Floyd as a musical influence, their outdoor desert concert DVD was “the first of that sort of thing I’ve ever seen,” and soon became part of her Lakefest vision. She feels that playing her favourite songs in her favourite natural haven will be an almost-otherworldly experience for both her and the audience alike.

Along with those sunny, psychedelic vibes, Lakefest was a chance for Bürden and Stevens to challenge the unwritten rules of festival and concert culture. Lakefest participants are warned on the event’s Facebook page that there is a decorum in place, meaning, as Bürden puts it, fest-goers have to “respect the lake and each other.”

Since moving to Halifax, Bürden became involved in the punk music scene at the local music venue Radstorm, where she says her eyes were opened to a lot of issues surrounding how women and minorities are marginalized within music, particularly at concerts: “I’ve learned a lot from going to Radstorm, like how important the movement is for safer spaces is. And, I’ve seen conversations on Facebook where people are talking about things that happened to them at shows with discrimination and homophobia. And when you have that experience, you have a lasting problem every time you go to a show. It leaves you like ‘Oh my god, am I gonna be harassed or threatened in some way?’ and so that was a very important issue for us.” Lakefest, she adds, is her chance to change that, offering a “chill space” where anyone who feels unsafe will be able to approach event co-ordinators in yellow bandanas for help. 

Echoing this, the Lakefest decorum reads: “Babies are welcome, everyone is welcome. This is an inclusive event.” And Bürden is trying her best to make sure all those at Lakefest feel at home, something she hasn’t always felt before taking the stage: “I’ll sometimes be setting up to play a show and I’ll have questions about somebody’s gear, and they’ll be like ‘oh it’s ok if it’s over your head’. It’s like, ‘so, should I not be here because I didn’t understand how your amp works?’” And while she knows one female-run concert won’t end festival culture’s sexism overnight, it’s a step in the direction Radstorm has pointed her towards.

“Basically we just want everyone to have an awesome time and enjoy the sun,” she says, “you know what I mean?” Though it’s been awhile since her first outdoor jam session, Bürden seems to finally have caught that feeling again, and this time she’s sharing it on a particularly sentimental shore.

PS: Here's a cool video from Vulva Culture, one of the fest's headliners

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