Tuesday, March 24, 2020

James Mullinger tells us a joke

The arena-sellout, critically adored comic cracks a good one and releases a free special as COVID-19 continues.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 5:57 PM

James Mullinger's resume boasts that he's sold out Saint John's Harbour Station theatre, meaning his city loves him more than Jeff Dunham and Def Leppard. - DENIS DUQUETTE PHOTO
  • James Mullinger's resume boasts that he's sold out Saint John's Harbour Station theatre, meaning his city loves him more than Jeff Dunham and Def Leppard.
  • Denis Duquette photo
If home is what you make it, James Mullinger is building a paradise—an oasis the likes of which Frances Hodgson Burnett would dream of—right here in Atlantic Canada. The British comedian loves his new digs (and the culture and community that've come along with them) in southern New Brunswick so much he even named his now-postponed 2020 tour "Embrace Where You Live."

Now, as COVID-19 keeps him from hitting up more corners in his favourite part of the world (including Halifax, where he would've performed at Spatz Theatre this past weekend), the laugh-getter is determined to help his new neighbours near and far crack a smile, sharing a joke—and free link to his new one-hour comedy special—below:

"I’m almost a Canadian. But I’m still applying to become a Maritimer.
But I know what I need to do to make it happen:
I should drive a four-wheeler on the highway, the wrong way;
I must see how my truck handles on the hiking trails;
Talk incessantly about the weather and buy all my designer clothes at Frenchys;
I have to want to wear head to toe camouflage just to go to Tim Hortons—
then sneak into Costco with my Blockbuster Card.

And, I can’t buy my fish from Sobey’s. I must buy it out of a pick up truck, in a parking lot of where Zeller’s used to be.

My name is James Mullinger and I am a Maritimer."

Love it? Click here to catch Mullinger's full one-hour comedy special, titled Almost Canadian, and catch him at Spatz Theatre on October 24
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Monday, March 23, 2020

Six ways to broaden your mind wider than social distance requirements

Your body might be atrophying on the couch but your brain doesn't have to.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 4:50 PM

Roxanne Smith's The Mirror is one of many local artworks you can get up close and e-personal with by viewing Teichert Gallery's new, online-only showcase. - ROXANNE SMITH PHOTO
  • Roxanne Smith's The Mirror is one of many local artworks you can get up close and e-personal with by viewing Teichert Gallery's new, online-only showcase.
  • Roxanne Smith photo
So here you are, googling work-from-home hacks; making your own sourdough starter; generally trying to figure out what our new normal looks like as the province enters a state of emergency and COVID-19 continues to shake our world. You're bored or busy with remote work or maybe both. Time has never felt more like a construct.

How do you stop the days bleeding into each other as you self-isolate? How do you fill the time as your social calendar is scrubbed clean? What is left to do when you've swum so far into the depths of Netflix you need to come up for air?

You feed your brain. You engage with culture, even if it's through a screen because that's what life right now demands. You breathe deep, open a new browser tab, and enrich your self-quarantined life. Here are some ideas from 
learning to sing, to virtually  visiting a gallery  to get you started:

Learn to sing with Arsoniste
The Halifax-based alt-pop singer-songwriter has the sort of floaty voice that feels like gossamer on your eardrums. Now, she's helping you work your pipes, too, teaching online voice and piano lessons during COVID-19. Email arsonistemusic@gmail.com or DM her on Instagram to start your own musical journey. Rates start at $45.

See the world thanks to the Google Arts & Culture app
A free way to see thousands of iconic artworks and landmarks from around the world, up close and personal thanks to the detail-enriching zoom feature. Swipe through New York's best street art, take a virtual tour of the Eiffel Tower, project famous paintings onto your wall to recreate the gallery experience and much more. Download it through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Connect with local art thanks to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Teichert Gallery
To give you a daily dose of creative excellence, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is treating COVID-19 as a chance to acquaint its social media following with works from its permanent collections. Follow the gallery on Facebook so you can see vital works ranging from Maud Lewis' country scenes to Leonard Paul's landscapes.

Teichert Gallery, meanwhile, has taken its most recent exhibit, Halifax Art Map: Art OFF The Map completely online so you can see piece by artists living in the city.

Check out something new from the library
As we reported Friday, Halifax Public Libraries has made it possible for you to apply for a library card electronically. This means a whole world of books, magazines and more has just opened up for you to download to your device of choice. There are also options to learn another language or pick up a new skill like photography or coding. Read more here.

Dive into the deeps with The Ocean School
The Ocean School has launched a free crop of daily online activities aimed at the Grade 7 to 9 set but, tbh, we think this e-learning course will help adult ocean lovers feel satiated with tidbits like a 360 degree video about why sharks are awesome and more. Get started here.

Learn a new language with Duolingo
The lil' green owl is back to help you learn French, Spanish or one of 30 other languages through a mix of quizzes, questions and the new stories feature, where you read and listen along to slice-of-life situations in your soon-to-be second language. The app reported last week a record-breaking uptick in users as COVID-19 continues, adding more new features are on the way. Download it for free through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

And, as always: Keep washing your hands. Wipe commonly used surfaces. Stay home if you feel sick. Check 811 to see if you qualify for testing—if you're sick but don't qualify, stay home anyways. If you feel sick, don't go to work—and be kind to those who have to. 
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Friday, March 13, 2020

Rich Aucoin made a playlist to help you ride out COVID-19

Lots of Pink Floyd and a little Lizzo helps make a worried state more manageable.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 5:41 PM

The nicest guy in rock 'n' roll just made a playlist on Spotify, saying via Facebook "A friend was asking me for recs for these anxious times, so I made a playlist today."

Rich, we appreciate you. Get some headphones in your ears or make your living room the hottest disco around.

Continue reading »

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An update from Ticket Halifax about COVID cancellations

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 5:33 PM

Please note that due to the current (and evolving) situation with COVID-19 and the provincial government's recommendation to limit mass gatherings over 150 people, many of the events we ticket for on Ticket Halifax have been postponed or cancelled. We are working with our partnering organizers and venues to execute accurate messaging to our ticket holders regarding cancelled or postponed events. Due to this, we have had larger than usual customer service requests coming in and greatly appreciate your patience. We are getting back to everyone as quickly as possible.

Of course, if you are healthy and have not travelled internationally, we encourage you to continue to purchase tickets and go to the events you are excited about! There are so many of them on TicketHalifax.com and they still need your washed hands clapping.
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Neptune Theatre and Symphony Nova Scotia cancel events over COVID-19 concerns

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 5:08 PM

Symphony Nova Scotia announced today the rest of its 2019-2020 season will be cancelled. If you already had tickets to a cancelled event, the cost of them can be donated to the Symphony, as the loss of shows means revenue loss for the organization. Or, you can contact the box office to have your ticket exchanged for a voucher for a future performance. Read more here. Neptune Theatre, meanwhile, has also shuttered performances of current shows, and similar options for ticket holders exist. Read more from Neptune here.
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Going out this weekend? Read this first

Many events are being cancelled and postponed in the wake of COVID-19 concerns.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2020 at 2:28 PM

Hours ago, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer Robert Strang said at a press conference that while there's no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province yet, he expects the virus will arrive here eventually.

In the meantime, he urges that public gatherings must be kept to a maximum of 150 people. That means many  concerts, plays and events are going to be cancelled, including this weekend's St. Patrick's Day parade. We're doing our best to keep our event listings—the city's best resource of things to do and see around town—up-to-date with event cancellations as they happen but, it's best to contact event organizers directly before you leave the house to avoid disappointment.


Come back here or check with NS public health for the latest reliable updates. In the meantime, wash your hands, cover your cough, wipe commonly used surfaces and stay home if you feel sick.
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Friday, January 24, 2020

See Paul Hannon's Halifax

The lauded artist shares a trove of works reflecting the city he loves.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 2:42 PM

"In a Dark Four Door", a 2019 work by Hannon that's an A-1 example of his "hand-hewn" style. - PAUL HANNON
  • "In a Dark Four Door", a 2019 work by Hannon that's an A-1 example of his "hand-hewn" style.
  • Paul Hannon
Since moving to Halifax in 1989, Paul Hannon has been primarily recognized for his paintings of urban and coastal scenes in Atlantic Canada. But in his new show at Chase Gallery, Selected Drawings & Watercolours (co-curated with Coast art critic Mollie Cronin), Hannon’s drawings take centre stage. Dating back to 1994, the show includes swimmers in Chocolate Lake, harlequins, hurricane aftermath and his own imagined ancestors. Hannon cites influences like Robert Crumb and Edward Hopper to make images he calls “hand-hewn.”

“I want the edge to be recognizable as being handmade,” Hannon says. “I’m using a style of drawing that I’ve developed myself based on using a pen and pencil and watercolour, and I kind of isolate the image as if it’s a print.”

Hannon’s images land somewhere between comics and lithography.

“The closer you look, the more handmade they look,” he explains. “And a little bit further away, they can actually start looking like a photograph.”

Hannon created sixteen new works for the show, including a watercolour of the dearly beloved (and recently departing) Newfoundland Grocery Store. He didn’t know the store was on the verge of closing when he decided to draw it.

“I’m like the death knell of buildings,” Hannon laughs, a little sadly. “I have this habit of picking buildings that are about to close and painting them.”

Hannon’s drawings of Hurricane Juan’s aftermath also document a fleeting, volatile moment in time. After the 2003 storm, Hannon drew many streetscapes of uprooted trees, fences and strewn debris—sights now made newly familiar after Hurricane Dorian. Juan was “one of the first times in Halifax we directly experienced climate change,” Hannon points out. Looking at Hannon’s drawings, it’s easy to see, as Hannon says, “this is part of a pattern now.”

Selected Drawings & Watercolours is free and open to the public every day except Sundays until January 30 at the Chase Gallery (6016 University Avenue).
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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hannah Thomson celebrates a star Nova Scotian photographer

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2019 at 12:19 PM

  • Hannah Thomson
Hannah Thomson shot her first Coast cover in 1995. She was fresh out of art school at Mount Allison University, back in her Halifax hometown and wondering what to do, exactly, with her photography education. But it was The Coast’s lucky break. Thomson brought a rare combination of talent, work ethic, artist’s eye and captivating personality to every assignment, through dozens of Coast covers to working with some of the biggest names in the world after she made the inevitable move to New York City.

In the part of her practice that involved photographing famous people (Beyoncé, Robert De Niro) in famous places (the Met Gala, the Oscars) for famous publications (Vogue, Vanity Fair) over 20 years, Hannah remained resolutely down to earth, treating her assistants with the same respect she showed the one percent. Blame her Nova Scotian roots for that capacity to not be star-struck.

Those same roots provided support when she was diagnosed with cancer nearly a decade ago, and she fought it while moving strongly forward with her career. It was a shock when she passed away this year in Nova Scotia at the end of August, just a couple weeks after BuzzFeed News published her photo essay about twins. She was only 48, and left behind beloved family, loyal friends and a photographic archive of at least a million images. Hannah Thomson brings a compelling sample of that work to the Anna Leonowens Gallery, a tribute to one of the finest photographers to ever come from here.

Hannah Thomson, Anna Leonowens Gallery, November 13-16
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Friday, November 8, 2019

The Bus Stop wins big at the Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala

It's "one step closer to owning our space," the theatre co-op says.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2019 at 4:00 AM

The Bus Stop Theatre Co-operative's executive director, Sébastien Labelle, hopes the prize isn't "a send-off award." - IAN SELIG PHOTO
  • The Bus Stop Theatre Co-operative's executive director, Sébastien Labelle, hopes the prize isn't "a send-off award."
  • Ian Selig photo
This past Saturday (November 2), the bright, wide-open spaces of the Halifax Central Library took on a new level of glitz for the 14th annual Creative Nova Scotia Awards Gala.

Artists, creators and their supporters poured through the doors. Purple light washed over dynamic art installations as music streamed from the speakers.

The scene could have been something from an exclusive function, but the warmth of the gathering told a different story: This was a celebration of community.

For the Bus Stop Theatre, the winner of the inaugural Creative Community Impact Award, there couldn’t have been a more fitting crowd to celebrate with.

Sébastien Labelle, executive director of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-operative, took to the stage with other members of the co-op to accept the $10,000 purse.

Labelle called on the crowd to raise their hands if they had performed, worked, visited, volunteered, or supported the theatre over the years. Almost 300 hands shot up.

“Look around you! It is you that makes the Bus Stop what it is and this award is for all of us!” Labelle beamed. “The Bus Stop Theatre has always been and continues to be a community effort, born of the community and for the community.”

“There’s also, of course, an obvious bitter-sweetness to this award as we receive it in the midst of a campaign to save our space,” he added. “It would be a true shame if this were to be a send-off award.”

Lara Lewis, vice-chair of the Bus Stop’s board, echoed the importance of this win for the theatre’s ongoing campaign to buy 2203 Gottingen Street.

“Hopefully it can help in continuing the momentum of support that we’ve been getting through the year and bring us one step closer to owning our space,” said Lewis.

Each year, the gala, hosted by Arts Nova Scotia and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, recognizes the achievements of Nova Scotia’s artistic community with “the province’s top arts and culture prizes”. This year, a diverse group of talented creators—including poet Arielle Twist and multi-disciplinary artist Raven Davis—took home a total of $95,000's worth of awards.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Ursula Johnson rewrites the book

The lauded artist—along with translator Diane Mitchell and curator Robin Metcalfe—tells the story of her work in an ambitious, trilingual catalogue.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 7:25 PM

Johnson says the catalogue has “raised the bar” in how people engage with Indigenous languages. - RITA TAYLOR PHOTO
  • Johnson says the catalogue has “raised the bar” in how people engage with Indigenous languages.
Award-winning artist Ursula Johnson gathered with Diane Mitchell and Robin Metcalfe last Wednesday night under dimmed lights—laughing, teasing and talking like old friends.

They sat in front of a full audience at St. Mary’s University Art Gallery for the catalogue launch of Johnson’s ongoing exhibit Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember).

The 160-page publication tells the story of the exhibit, weaving together Johnson’s voice with other contributors through essays and photos. “It’s a culmination of the project,” but also a project itself, Metcalfe, director and curator of the gallery, explained.

The catalogue contains translations in Mi’kmaw, French and English, presented in the order that the languages were first spoken in Mi’kma’ki.

Mitchell, a Mi’kmaw speaker, translator and self-described “guerilla linguist”, interpreted the entirety of the text, alongside Johnson, over about a 5-year period.

Mitchell talked about the complexity of the Mi’kmaw language and its differences from French and English: “Any sentence in Mi’kmaw, all of the words generally will indicate the relationship to each other in every way, in every conceivable way,” she explained.

“This is the first text to translate contemporary art discourse into Mi’kmaw,” Johnson, the first artist in Atlantic Canada to win the prestigious Sobey Art Award, said—an enormous task, considering that interpreting a text in Mi’kmaw takes about 30 times longer than translating from English to French, she added.

As for the legacy of Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember), Johnson said the exhibit and catalogue have “raised the bar” in how people engage with Indigenous languages across the country.

“This project started prior to the TRC recommendations,” Johnson explained. “It marks time with regards to where we were historically in trying to engage with Indigenous peoples through art. And I think that carries a lot of weight with it.”

In the acknowledgements of the catalogue, Metcalfe wrote, “I think all of us who have worked on this project have been translated: moved in our understanding, not only of Indigeneity, but of ourselves.”

Seeing Johnson, Mitchell and Metcalfe together on Wednesday night, it was evident that Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember?) will live on as an example of art re-imagining and re-building relationships of mutual understanding.
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Plan your night moves with our Nocturne 2019 guide

The can't-miss projects to see on Saturday, Oct 19 are all here.

Posted By , , , , and on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 11:21 AM

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Get ready to binge on Fringe

The indie theatre fest makes some suggestions of what additional plays to add to your schedule with its opening day awards.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 5:48 PM

Gillian English returns to Nova Scotia with a mash-up of Shakespeare and Y2K coming-of-age movies in 10 Things I Hate About Taming The Shrew, a Hot Ticket Award winner. - DAHLIA KATZ PHOTO
  • Gillian English returns to Nova Scotia with a mash-up of Shakespeare and Y2K coming-of-age movies in 10 Things I Hate About Taming The Shrew, a Hot Ticket Award winner.
  • Dahlia KAtz photo
Today marks the starting gun of the 29th annual Halifax Fringe Festival, with venues large and small all over town being taken over by indie theatre of all stripes. While you probably already have your plan of attack marked on your Fringe guide (see our listings if not), a case for different plays is made with the fest's opening-day awards: three acknowledgements slash points-of-interest surrounding different shows, selected by the fest itself.

Drumroll, please:

For this year's Slow Burn Award, Fringe highlights a set of hidden gems waiting to be discovered:
- Gifted Youth Cabaret at Neptune Theatre
-Building 17: A Conspiracy in One Act at The Bus Stop Theatre
-Lungs at 2202 Gottingen Street (which is the old Company House, FYI)
-Your Thoughts & Prayers at Neptune Theatre
-Midnight Storm Presents: An Improv Experience at Neptune Theatre
-Don't Tell Me What To Do, OG Fringe vet Bud Hunter's latest offering, at Neptune
-Worry Duck at Neptune
-Mike Malloy and the Mystery of the Missing Milk at Glitter Bean Cafe

For this year's Hot Ticket Award, Fringe share a list of shows that are selling out quick:
-Robotricks at Neptune Theatre
-10 Things I Hate About Taming of the Shrew at Neptune Theatre
-Giant Killer Shark: The Musical at The Bus Stop Theatre
-Monster at The Bus Stop Theatre
-Safe at 2202 Gottingen Street
-Great Kettle for the People at 2202 Gottingen Street
-Fish Tank at Neptune Theatre
-Some Guy From The Internet at Neptune Theatre
-Stick or Wizard? at Neptune Theatre
-Penny at Neptune Theatre
-Rogue: Contemporary Circus at the Halifax Music Co-op
-DIY Surgery at Sawmill Playhouse

For this year's Original Script Award, meanwhile, the winner is Lily Falk with her play Crypthand.

Whew! The most wonderful time of the year for theatre, indeed. Drop a comment below to tell us which shows you're most excited for.
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Halifax artist Séamus Gallagher wins national 1st Art! competition

The recent NSCAD grad is the first to snag the provincial title a virtual reality-based work.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 16, 2019 at 3:21 PM

A still from haus of haraway, Gallagher's winning, virtual-reality based work. - SÉAMUS GALLAGHER
  • A still from haus of haraway, Gallagher's winning, virtual-reality based work.
  • Séamus Gallagher

With a practice that encompasses photography, performance and building virtual reality realms, Séamus Gallagher is on the experimental edge of art in both form and content. (Their work is informed by their generation's climate anxiety and the need to “create personal spaces” as a non-binary person).

Weeks after gracing the cover of The Coast for a celebration of the mini-wave of personal-and-political art being made in Halifax, Gallagher has been selected as the Nova Scotian winner of the 1st Art! competition, a 17-year-old award that sees one artist from each province and territory walk away with a prize of over $7,000.

Gallagher believes they are the first person to win with a virtual-reality based work, as 2019 was “the first time they accepted time-based media—like video or virtual reality. It’s interesting it’s taken them this long,” they state, speaking by phone.

“I knew I was nominated but my phone broke so I assumed I didn’t win and was like ‘It’s fine, I didn’t want it anyway,’” they say with a laugh. “But then they contact me and I’m over the moon! It’s one more push post-grad.”

Along with the cash prize—which Gallagher is debating using to pay down student debt or use to invest in a new camera or computer to further their practice—the win will see them showcasing their work in Toronto this November alongside the other 1st Art! winners.

Gallagher describes their winning piece, haus of haraway, as “an architectural space I created, a house which I made in an Oculus Rift.” As they told The Coast last month, “One of my professors used to say 'pay attention to what you pay attention to,' and I always thought that was really interesting. I've always been interested in digital culture and computer programs, and I've liked finding a way of threading my interests in that realm with my queer identity as well.”

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Elizabeth Gilbert is coming to Halifax

The Big Magic author is the headliner of a personal development weekend in town this October.

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2019 at 5:15 PM

  • Screenshot via instagram.com

A two-day event in October, Soul Tribe Live promises to be (according to its website) an "immersive program of workshops and seminars" that'll help you sort out your life and get closer to your dreams. Held at the Halifax Convention Centre Oct 11 and 12, the biggest draw is star speaker Elizabeth Gilbert, who'll be leading a Saturday workshop and giving a Friday evening keynote. Tickets are steep—starting at $65 and climbing to $490—but for the chance to see the Eat, Pray, Love author clear our skin, fix our credit and help us find our ultimate purpose we're considering breaking the ol' piggy bank. Get more details at soultribelive.ca.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Nocturne wants your project pitches

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2019 at 2:13 PM


, Halifax's annual nighttime art extravaganza, dropping a week earlier than usual this year on October 19, is looking for project pitches. The year's theme, as set by curator Tori Fleming, is SCAFFOLD, which aims to "explore how temporary structures can be used to make a larger commentary on the social, physical, and political structures that shape our lives. Who decides the purpose, form, and design of our physical spaces? Who dictates the rules of how we behave within those spaces?"

Artists and collectives with Beacon Project ideas have a June 9 deadline coming up fast. Community groups and galleries have until July 31. Apply via Nocturne's website.

(Disclosure: The Coast's events and promotions director, Lindsay Ann Cory, is Nocturne's executive director.)
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In Print This Week

Vol 28, No 3
November 12, 2020

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