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Performing arts

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Meet the dazzling stars of Hali-Wood Squares

Eastern Front Theatre's annual live game show full of ooo's and xxx's

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 9:00 AM


From the 1960s until the early 2000s, NBC's Hollywood Squares was one of the most popular game shows on television. Every-day contestants could win cash and prizes by playing question-and-answer Tic-Tac-Toe with well-known celebrities. Part of the show's allure was the candid look at the personalities of stars usually only known via script. It was a good old-fashioned hoot. 

Now in its fourth episode, Eastern Front Theatre will present Hali-Wood Squares this Friday at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (1675 Lower Water Street, 8pm, $20) as a fundraiser for the Halifax theatre company. With returning 'squares' and new first-timers, EFT's director Jeremy Webb has planned a very special night of live comedy and music for this hilarious live game show. To make it extra fun, audience members can volunteer as contestants.

Your Host: JC Douglas
How you know him: Former station manager, Q104FM
Local actor, current host of the C100FM Morning Show

Andy Fillmore 
How you know him: Former Dean, Dalhousie School of Planning
Manager at "HRM By Design," and current Liberal MP for Halifax

Mayor Mike Savage
How you know him: Former Liberal MP for Cole Harbour, 
current Mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality since 2012

Mary Lou Martin
How you know her: Arts educator, instructor at Halifax Dance
Artistic director of the Chester Playhouse, Chester, Nova Scotia

Fat Apollo 
How you know him: Voted Best Local Character, Sexiest Person
and Most Hali-Famous by Coast readers, and a Hal-Con mainstay 

Centre Square: Cathy Jones 
How you know her: Creator and star of This Hour Has 22 Minutes
since 1992, former star of CODCO, 18-time Gemini Award winner

Cyril Lunney
How you know him: The star of CTV Atlantic's Morning Live show
since 2003, as well as a local minor football and hockey coach

Louise Renault
How you know her: co-host of CBC's Information Morning and host
of CBC Radio One's Daybreak, bilingual voice actor and performer

Heather Rankin 
How you know her: Juno-award winning singer in The Rankin Family
and The Rankin Sisters, soon releasing solo album, film & TV actor

Lisa Drader Murphy
How you know her: Canadian fashion designer with label Turbine 
since 1997 and her store LDM, Progress Club Woman of Excellence 

Your Musical Guest: Ian Sherwood
How you know him: A multiple Canadian folk music award winner
and ECMA nominee with his 2014 album, Everywhere To Go 

Host: JC Douglas (C100FM)
  • Host: JC Douglas (C100FM)

(Lib) MP Andy Fillmore
  • (Lib) MP Andy Fillmore
Mayor Mike Savage
  • Mayor Mike Savage
Mary Lou Martin
  • Mary Lou Martin

Fat Apollo
  • Fat Apollo
Cathy Jones
  • Cathy Jones
Cyril Lunney (CTV)
  • Cyril Lunney (CTV)

Louise Renault (CBC)
  • Louise Renault (CBC)
Heather Rankin
  • Heather Rankin
Lisa Drader-Murphy
  • Lisa Drader-Murphy

click image Ian Sherwood
  • Ian Sherwood

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Playoffs happen live tonight: Bayside Jaguars VS Deep Chaos

Sobey Art Award nominee Lisa Lipton hosts the final game of HOOP DREAMS

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:45 PM

  • Hoop Dreams

Tonight at the Halifax Grammar School's Atlantic Street Campus (5750 Atlantic Street, 8pm sharp), you can take part in the conclusion of one of the most legendary basketball games to ever hit Halifax. The East Coast's Sobey Art Award nominee Lisa Lipton invites you to the Hoop Dreams Playoffs between the Bayside Jaguars and Deep Chaos, two rival teams that have been feuding in Lipton's multidisciplinary art performance project since last May.

If you passed through the Citadel High School gym on Nocturne, you would have seen some of the region's top ballers compete on the court while six drummers accompanied the rhymes of local hip-hop artists. Lipton says, "The game being played revolves around the rhythm of rivalries, each player contributing to both the reality and fiction of a localized championship, a heated moment within the project’s narrative, a time and place where tensions run high, while perceptions for taking the win become disrupted through the display of unconventional musicality."  

Tonight's season closer will feature the drumming of Nancy Urich, Bianca Palmer, Hannah McGrath, Scott Grundy, Nick Dourado and Lipton with musical contributions by Real Eyez, Jody Upshaw, Josh Salter and Andrew Neville. Bayside Jaguars captain, Paul Doucette, will call the game, and Garnet Estabrooks acts as co-captain and recruiter. There is also a troupe of dancers at half-time, mascots, lights and sounds. It's going to be a night to rival all nights and the union of the most beautiful things in the world: basketball, music and art. 

  • Krista Comeau (@kristacomeau)

The series of games are elements of Lipton's incredibly complex film and art installations that correspond to her episodic feature-length film The Impossible Blue Rose, which obscures concepts like identity, anonymity, fiction and non-fiction, all shrouded in allusions to landmark 90s-teen hit, Saved By The Bell. Spectators are asked to flood their social media channels (Instagram/Facebook) using the hashtag #greysville to further confuse our sense of reality. 

Lipton's Sobey Art Award exhibition is on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until January; the $50,000 award winner will be announced tomorrow night at the Sobey Art Award Gala. Three cheers for Lipton. She is truly one of the most intricate and innovative contemporary artists working in Canada (and Hawaii) today. I'm rooting for Chaos. 

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Anne Macmillan's Little Lakes public swim

Wednesday, August 7 is supposed to be sunny, so...

Posted By on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Anne Macmillan, documentation from LIttle Lakes, 2013. - KATIE MCKAY
  • Anne Macmillan, documentation from LIttle Lakes, 2013.
  • Katie McKay

Anne Macmillan has been swimming her heart out (read up here) for her Fieldwork residency, Little Lakes, and you can reap the benefits this Wednesday, August 7 at 3pm by going on a super special lake excursion with the artist.

Little Lake 44.496667,-63.721667 is the destination. It's got to be a magic lake, Macmillan's been scouting lakes as intimately as one can for a full month. Meet at 2660 Agricola Street for carpool purposes (it's the Army Navy parking lot). RSVP first at or call 494-2195.

They say:
"The public swim is open to all. Participants are invited to swim the perimeter of Little Lake 44.496667, -63.721667, near 502-532 River Rd, Terence Bay, NS. Address is approximate—RSVP for details. Participation in swim is not necessary—observers are welcome!"

But really, if you don't actually get in, someone (cough*me*cough) might give you the side eye*. So wear a cute suit.

*just kidding I will be at work. So you better swim for two.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Norma McKnight: Two people at once

Ventriloquist Norma McKnight on humour, hardship and talking with herself

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 3:01 PM

McKnight and friend
  • McKnight and friend

“I started ventriloquism when I was 11,” says Norma McKnight. “I was in the hospital and my mom bought me a dummy out of the Sears catalogue.” Soon, the other kids in the ward started gathering around her bed, and a ventriloquist was born.

“It wasn't something I aspired to be; you'd have to be a little weird,” says McKnight, laughing. But Pete’s Place—a CTV Vancouver kids series featuring ventriloquist Peter Rolston—was a childhood favourite, and McKnight met him at Disneyland soon after.

“He was my first example of an adult making a living at it; that put the bug in my head,” she says.

On the same trip, McKnight’s mother bought her a second dummy—Sir Bradley—at a magic shop. In a bank at Disneyland, McKnight started playing with her new dummy and a crowd gathered. “I ended up doing a little show,” she says. “That was the first indication that I could actually handle a crowd.”

After high school, McKnight started doing birthday parties and over the years, has worked her way up to corporate shows and cruise ships. She has material for a “squeaky-clean” act, but that doesn’t mean she can’t get dirty. “I do more adult material if the venue fits,” McKnight says. “I’m not a conservative person.”

McKnight’s ascent was deserved; her complete lack of lip movement and ability to maintain facial expressions that contrast with her tone of voice put her a cut above. She now has three main dummies: Cecil, a young edgy guy; Norbert, a deep-voiced frog; and Grandma Lucy, fashioned partially after her own grandmother.

She also has two new characters in development, including a Scotsman fashioned after her own father.

As with a lot of comedians, McKnight’s humour started from adversity. Between the illness and passing of her parents and the neurological problems of her sister, illness has played a large role in her life. Humour, she says, helped them keep going: “we were always getting kicked out of hospital waiting rooms because we were laughing,” says McKnight. Like many female comedians, McKnight has faced other difficulties. “When competing for a gig, if you're up against a male ventriloquist, you know they're going to try to get the male. Then they'll take you if he can't make it.”

She says the climate of sexism has been improving, however, and she keeps it out of her act. “Of course, it is fun to take a male out of the audience and use him as a dummy,” says McKnight, laughing.

For her upcoming Halifax show (Casino Nova Scotia Harbourfront Lounge, April 20, 8pm, $20/$15) she’ll pick two human dummies from the audience for the first time. “They're random people,” she says. “So you never know what's going to happen.”

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