Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sickboy seeks applicants for the Sickboy Wish Fund

Podcasters invite adults to make-a-wish.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 5:06 PM

  • Scott Munn
“The whole idea came from a running joke on the podcast that I had wasted my Children’s Wish,” says Jeremie Saunders.

In 2002, when Saunders was given the opportunity to make one wish, he chose a shopping spree. Many teens would do the same. Now he deeply regrets the decision, and that remorse has motivated him to start the Sickboy Wish Fund.

Saunders has Cystic Fibrosis. His illness and the stigmas around living with an illness inspired him to start the popular Sickboy podcast along with his friends Taylor Macgillivary and Brian Stever. It features people with all different forms of illness, from mental to terminal, openly discussing life.

Sixteen years have passed since the loathsome Halifax Shopping Centre spree and for his 30th birthday, Saunders wants to help one lucky adult to make a wish of their own.

Since we all make bad decisions when we’re young, the winner will get to make one well-devised wish. “Carte blanche,” says Saunders, as long as you’re a “sicko”, have never had a Children’s Wish and are 19 years or older.

You can nominate yourself or someone else by filling out an application or making a video.

“To raise the funds for this wish we are throwing a huge fundraiser called SickWish Gala. The theme of this party is Bucket List,” says Saunders. With the help of VR, "people can fulfil bucket list goals, like a fly in space or swim to the bottom of the ocean."

The gala will be held at the Museum of Natural History on January 13, partnering with its new and timely Bodyworlds exhibit.

 Applications will be closing in the early new year, you can find the form here.

Oh, and no shopping sprees allowed for wishes.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

City nails new Halifax Explosion memorial

Video tour: No boring plaques among Needham park 100th anniversary additions.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 5:14 PM

Designer John deWolf at Fort Needham Memorial Park. - NOAH WIDMEYER
  • Designer John deWolf at Fort Needham Memorial Park.
  • Noah Widmeyer
When Haligonians gather December 6 at Fort Needham Memorial Park to remember the blast that devastated the city 100 years ago, they will find some informative architecture has been added to the grounds around the old bell tower monument. The new commemorative elements don’t take the form of strenuous plaques droning on about the Imo, the Mont Blanc and the snow storm that exacerbated the damage, but instead feature brief, thoughtful designs. This is memorial as graceful public art.

Among the recent HX 100 installations are a staircase that reads “Richmond’—the name of the community the explosion destroyed—when you’re facing up it from the bottom, and Vince Coleman’s last Morse code message cut into corten steel (reminiscent of a ship’s hull). Details are intricately placed throughout the park, a nice alternative to a tribute bench. Although there are some new benches, complete with hidden facts related to the explosion itself.

The HRM invested $2.7 million to revitalize the site, hiring Ekistics Planning & Design to develop the look. John deWolf, a designer and Halifax native who has worked on signage projects for Disney, Chicago Park District, Yale University and Parks Canada, was part of the creative team. In this video he gives a guided tour of some of Needham’s changes.
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Memoriam: Dunsworth and Downie

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 12:19 PM

John Dunsworth on the set of Nichols And Dimez. - CALEY MACLENNAN
  • John Dunsworth on the set of Nichols And Dimez.
  • Caley MacLennan

This has been a horrible week in Canadian culture. On Monday, local actor John Dunsworth passed away at 71, after a short and unexpected illness. Then 53-year-old Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip followed him, succumbing on Wednesday to a brain cancer that was widely discussed from the moment he announced its existence more than a year ago.

Dunsworth was an early believer in the idea of a Nova Scotia film industry, a passion that risked him earning the backhanded compliment of being “a man ahead of his time.” But through some combination of Dunsworth’s tenacity behind the scenes and the whims of cross-continental economics, he is better remembered as a founding father of the local film economy.

He was a large presence in front of the camera, too, both as an actor and, through his Filmworks Casting agency, as an advocate for actors. Of course he worked with Ellen Page and played Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, but he also committed to scores of smaller roles. Whether working of just being himself, he was a star, and he unselfishly shared that energy. At a Best of Halifax party, he sensed the room was a bit flat, so he did a headstand. Popped up right there on the floor of the AGNS, with no equipment or crowd-gathering preamble—although the crowd magically found him—and when he came down the party was better.

Like Dunsworth, Gord Downie had incredible charisma as a personality, while retaining humility as a person. The first time I met Downie, after he’d done a long day of interviews and rehearsals on the road before yet another giant Tragically Hip tour, we ended up hanging out in his hotel room, playing Scrabble. His opening play was the seven-letter “encages” for a Bingo, revealing the word nerd lurking beneath a rock-star exterior.

Dunsworth was apparently a voracious Scrabble player in him own right. So it’s comforting to imagine him and Downie meeting over a board somewhere in the great beyond, just a couple Canadian guys playing Scrabble, while the rest of us are trying to find the words.

Send me your Dunsworth and Downie memories at

  • Lenny Mullins

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Monday, October 16, 2017

A Nocturne 2017 round-up

Did you miss this year's event? Check out some of the highlights.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 10:52 AM

Keeping with this year's "vanish" theme, the art from Saturday night has left the city streets. Thankfully, we have Instagram to keep the memories alive. Check out highlights from Nocturne's 10th anniversary below.

A post shared by Laura Selenzi (@lauraselenzi) on

A post shared by Emma Richter (@emmajrichter) on

A post shared by Rochelle Locke (@r_locke) on

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Bodies in Translation: Age and Creativity at the MSVU Art Gallery

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 2:47 PM

George Steeves, Sublime Camoflage (2006) detail - Cecil Day, Winter Goldenrod (2017) detail - VIA MSVU ART GALLERY
  • George Steeves, Sublime Camoflage (2006) detailCecil Day, Winter Goldenrod (2017) detail
  • via MSVU Art Gallery

Bodies in Translation: Age and Creativity
Through November 12
Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, 166 Bedford Highway

One of two current shows at MSVU Art Gallery, Bodies in Translation: Age and Creativity features work by eight senior artists who explore aging through art.

Several of the artists address the physicality of aging, as in M.J. Sakura’s "Vintage Plumbing and Wiring," where the artist explores “vintage sexuality” in the form of an informational video. Michael Fernandes tackles the mental effects–beginning to forget–while George Steeves' portraits seek to remember, to commemorate aged and departed friends.

“Has one grown old without growing up?” asks Onni Nordman in his piece "Scarecrow Amongst the Chancellors", a Terry Gilliam-esque scarecrow made of burrs against a wall of neon portraits. The artists in Bodies in Translation approach the delicate issue of mortality with humour. "Day by day life finds me less critical, more playful,” writes Fernandes, accompanying his salty audio and installation piece "Michael, Michael, Michael," featuring glittered sneakers placed to be worn on the wrong feet.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Zachari Logan's Topiary at Anna Leonowens Gallery

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 11:15 AM

Zachari Logan - MOLLIE CRONIN
  • Zachari Logan
  • Mollie Cronin

Zachari Logan, Topiary
Anna Leonowens Gallery, Granville Square, 1891 Granville Street
To September 23

While the word “topiary” may conjure up images of shrubs in the shapes of elephants and swans, Zachari Logan’s latest exhibition by the same name delivers an entirely different articulation of this, but just as luxurious and with just the right amount of camp.

Topiary, now showing at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, is an exhibition of high-realism drawings ranging from large colour pastel botanicals on black paper, to life-size (if not larger) nude self-portraits, and miniature vanitas of human-plant hybrids done in architect’s soft blue pencil.

For Logan, “topiary” refers to “the human manipulation of plants into desired shapes for ornamentation;” an idea he explores in his intricately detailed drawings, with nods historical motifs and art forms, including paper cutting, wreaths, flower painting, wallpaper, and tapestries.

The human figures in these drawings interact with plant life in a way that blurs the line between the self and the landscape. In "Green Man" Logan composes a self-portrait out of plant matter, with green grass growing from his bowed back and halved cabbages forming buttocks, while in the "Eunuch Tapestries" series, male figures become tangled in, partially obscured by, and melt into walls of thick foliage. These plants, like the tall, phallic thistles caressing the naked legs and back of one of the figures, are plants commonly found in the ditches in Saskatchewan, some of the last untouched spaces in the cultivated farm-land of Logan’s home province. Logan identifies queer spaces as ditch-like: liminal and resilient, and through composition he positions the viewer alongside the figure in these ditches.

These Nocturnes (meaning night landscapes) are lit artificially from the bottom of the drawing, as though by car headlights or a flashlight. The result flattens the work, pulls all the detail close to the front, like a medieval tapestry or wallpaper. According to Logan curators and viewers often make a connection to gay cruising in these images–the sometimes semi-nude male figures seeming to hide in the bushes and illuminated by an unnatural light–but Logan says this connection was not intentional. He is, however, quite pleased that that unexpected element is found in these pieces–a queer history at work along with the histories of the decorative arts.
Logan’s use of history is far from stuffy, even though he heavily references some of the most traditional and historically gendered forms of visual and decorative art (both in the masculine and feminine sense): high realism, landscape, self-portraiture, textiles and flower painting. His drawings feel fresh; skillfully and meticulously rendered, rich and luxurious with detail and colour, with even the simple detail of black pastel on black paper creating luminosity.

Part of a generation of artists who value drawing as a medium unto itself (no longer simply a preliminary practice to later works), Logan’s drawings are wedded to their materials–the buttery pastels and tiny notches of graphite feel as tactile as the flowers and flesh that they render.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review: New works by Shane Keyu Song at Lost & Found

Posted By on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 4:11 PM

  • via
  • Shane Keyu Song

New works by Shane Song
Through September 20
Lost & Found, 2383 Agricola Street

Fans of Century Egg will be familiar with the visual talents of the band’s frontwoman Shane Keyu Song, whose illustrations grace their album covers and merch, and will recognize her distinctive style in the latest show at Lost & Found.

For her first ever exhibition Song has created a series of paintings (and several drawings) exploring a recurring character: a girl with black hair and thick, round eyebrows who wears nothing but a T-shirt. Vulva to the wind and accompanied by a motley crew of cats, furniture and food, Song’s character interacts with domestic spaces and objects in a way that oscillates between consuming and being consumed: cuddled inside of a giant dumpling, growing bok choy for breasts and falling head first into a vat of red stew.

Song’s clever paintings can be both goofy and dark, and her video-game influenced style of illustration lends itself well to this new medium. The untitled exhibition runs for the rest of September.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Deep-dive into Halifax’s stories

Tickets for The Deep magazine launch are still available.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 12:08 PM


The Deep
Magazine Launch Party

Tuesday Sept. 12, 7-10pm
Lot Six, 1685 Argyle Street
$14.29 w/ fees and taxes

Thank you, Halifax, for your love and patience—The Deep has launched. ICYMI, you can find its first story right here.

Tickets for the launch party are going fast, but there are still a few left if you want in on the action. Our very own Kyle Shaw will be there, as well as freelancers Maggie Rahr, Vaughn Stafford Gray, Raja Salim and CBC’s Michael Gorman. We’d love to see you there.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review: Prime Suspects: Canada's Prime Ministers in Caricature by Bruce MacKinnon at AGNS

Posted By on Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 9:51 AM

  • Bruce MacKinnon's Trudeaus
  • via

Prime Suspects: Canada's Prime Ministers in Caricature by Bruce MacKinnon
Through April 1
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1723 Hollis Street

With only a swooping hairline needed to bring him to mind, there has perhaps never been a POTUS more easily caricatured than Donald Trump, and few Prime Ministers that have looked better in comparison than Justin Trudeau.

But it is Bruce MacKinnon’s job to knock Trudeau and other important Canadian figures down a few notches, as he has done for over 30 years as an editorial cartoonist for the Chronicle Herald. In Prime Suspects MacKinnon has turned his keen eye for caricature on Canada’s 23 Prime Ministers with cheeky, bobble-headed portraits of current and past PMs, from the somewhat whimsical painting of Sir Wilfred Laurier as Spock to cartoons of a bulbous-nosed Harper.
If you are not a history buff, never fear: a cheat sheet has been provided to explain any John J.C. Abbott jokes that may be missed. Other jokes, like Trudeau as a Bieber-esque popstar, will land easily.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Jeremy Webb named Neptune Theatre's new artistic director

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 11:34 AM

Webb at the Neptune announcement. - ISABELLE CHEVRIER
  • Webb at the Neptune announcement.
  • Isabelle Chevrier

After a nationwide search, Jeremy Webb (Off the Leash Creative, WillPower Theatre) has been named Neptune Theatre's new artistic director, following George Pothitos' eight-year run.

Currently the artistic producer of Eastern Front Theatre, Webb has performed in over 20 Neptune productions, most recently as Cogsworth the Clock in the theatre’s production of Beauty & The Beast.

"Now I know what they mean when they say your social media exploded,” says Webb. “I thought having a birthday on Facebook was exciting enough, but this is crazy—my phone started buzzing in my pocket seconds after my name was mentioned at the announcement."

“The reaction has been humbling. I didn’t know the extent to which people would be excited by this. I’m in awe of the fact that Neptune chose to hire someone that lives here, who knows this community, who knows and trusts the people,” says Webb. “I want to see my colleagues working, creating and getting energized along with Neptune.”

No stranger to the organization, Webb says he began working with Neptune the day after he got off the plane from England 19 years ago. He’s looking forward to continuing his commitment to highlighting emerging and diverse voices.

“The work I’ve been doing at Eastern Front—we have a different mandate: Atlantic Canadian stories by Atlantic Canadians. I’m really into that. We focus on diverse stories, shows at Eastern Front don’t normally get to be on the main stage at Neptune, there's lots of emerging artists, that’s something I’m going to carry on whilst helming Neptune,” says Webb. “That’s not to say that you won’t see the big musicals—it’s those big shows that make the edgier, more financially risky shows viable. I also want to expand the support base for other theatre organizations, I know a lot of the community members here and I’m excited by what they do in the trenches.”

“There are ways that Neptune can put dollars and love behind those writers—and not just writers, the directors of tomorrow and the designers of tomorrow, be it light, sound, costume, whatever. There’s a great team of professionals at Neptune who want to see that happen too.”

Citing Eastern Front’s Stages Theatre Festival, which centres emerging playwrights and gives a chance for new plays to be workshopped and read for the first time, Webb acknowledges that one of the most important things he can do in his new role is continue his commitment to those fresh voices. “Let’s face it, there’s only so much freshness a 49-year-old white dude can bring,” he says. “But I do what I can and I listen to other artists. Eventually us older actors will disappear and become extinct. But we have to keep the next generation coming. I think change is possible.”

Webb's five-year term will begin January 1, 2018 and he will program his first complete season with Neptune beginning in the fall of 2018.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Discover tarot at Art Bar +Projects

It's in the cards.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 12:12 PM

  • via istock

Tarot: The Road To The Self
Thursday August 31, 7-8:30pm
Art Bar +Projects
1873 Granville Street

Jonathan Stewart says most people associate tarot cards with fortune telling, but there’s much more to learn about them.

“I still don’t actually know if I believe in fortune telling,” says Stewart, having first come across tarot as a teenager, “but I picked up a deck and I taught myself how to read tarot and then I sort of found out about this deeper history.”

Stewart—who’s currently based out of Montreal—is in Halifax for the summer and is bringing his "Tarot: The Road To The Self" workshop to town. The workshop starts of with a lecture, during which Stewart explains the history of tarot as well as symbolism and theories. He then goes through the different systems and uses for the cards.

“I can’t go into depth with each method or each use, but maybe this will spark an interest in people who come to the workshop,” says Stewart. “Then, they can explore deeper by themselves.”

Stewart will be presenting a wide range of perspectives on tarot, “from party trick to powerful and psychological spiritual tool,” he says.

Attendees who have a tarot deck are invited to bring it along, or to download a free tarot app here. The workshop is free, although folks are invited to donate to help cover the costs if they're able.

“I would say it’s for anybody who wants to know themselves better, and for anyone who’s looking for a toolbox to help them with—again—spirituality, creativity or psychological progress,” says Stewart. 

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Review: Centuries of Silence: The Discovery of the Salzinnes Antiphonal at the AGNS

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 9:54 AM

  • via

<i>Centuries of Silence: The Discovery of the Salzinnes Antiphonal</i>
Curator: Judith Dietz
Through October 29
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1723 Hollis Street

It’s not uncommon for art galleries and museums to be compared to churches, but the rooms filled with choir songs and religious portraits in Centuries of Silence: The discovery of the Salzinnes Antiphonal really do seem to transform the AGNS’ third floor into a religious space.

The focus of the exhibition is the Salzinnes Antiphonal, an enormous illuminated choir book from 16th century Belgium. The Antiphonal sits in the centre of a dark room lit by a spotlight, the pages of the giant book turned to a beautiful gilded illustration of the Three Magi. Visitors can peruse the entire book with the help of a tablet, and can even hear the songs as they would have originally been performed.
Recounting the history of the Antiphonal and its journey to Halifax, the exhibition is dense with information but the overall effect is very peaceful—a welcome and air-conditioned refuge on the last steamy days of summer.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Investigative journalist and author Amy Goodman to give talk in Halifax

Posted By on Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 12:34 PM

  • via Facebook

Amy Goodman in Halifax
Saturday, September 30, 8-10pm (doors open at 7pm)
Ondaatje Theatre, Dalhousie University

Adding to the list of much-loved journalists heading to Halifax this fall (Scaachi Koul and Peter Mansbridge among them), longtime Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman is slated to appear in town this September.

Democracy Now! is an independent global news program, broadcast daily on radio, satellite television and online. In addition to her work with the outlet, Goodman is the author of six books. Her latest work is Democracy Now!: 20 Years Covering the Movements Changing America, which she published alongside brother David Goodman and Democracy Now! co-founder Denis Moynihan.

Goodman’s talk, titled “Stories of Democracy, Resistance and Hope” will focus on her experiences as a reporter as well as a grassroots organizer.

Tickets are available online and physical tickets are available at CKDU Radio Society, Bookmark booksellers and Humani-T Cafe (Young Street).

A limited number of reduced price tickets are available for those who may find cost a barrier. Contact Fenwood Publishing at 902-857-1388 for availability.

In anticipation, you can check out Goodman's talk at The New School below.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FIN announces full film festival program

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 2:02 PM

click image Jeremie Saunders in Sickboy. - VIA FINFESTIVAL.CA
  • Jeremie Saunders in Sickboy.
  • via

FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival (formerly known as The Atlantic Film Festival) has announced its eight-day lineup for this year’s fest, featuring homegrown and international talent. 

“If you’ve never been to the Atlantic International Film Festival, this is the year to take the plunge,” says program director Jason Beaudry.

Things kick off at opening night with Long Time Running, a screening in conjunction with Movie Nights Across Canada. The film is a documentary telling the story of The Tragically Hip’s final tour as the band made its way across the country last year.

Locally-made films include Corey Bowles’ Black Cop, Jackie Torrens’ Free Reins, Seth A. Smith's horror movie The Crescent and Andrew MacCormack’s Sickboy: a documentary following Brian Stever, Taylor MacGillivary and Jeremie Saunders, the creators of the popular, Halifax-based podcast of the same name. This is the first time Sickboy will be screened publicly, two months before it is slated to air on CBC.

 “They kind of captivated the hearts of the city when they first began,” MacCormack says of the podcast hosts. The movie focuses on “getting behind the scenes and getting to the essence of why Jeremie’s doing what he’s doing, and how he goes about his life knowing that it’s gonna be a lot shorter than everyone else’s.”

FIN is screening of two films with accessibility specifically in mind. The Halifax Explosion: The Deaf Experience is told through Maritime Sign Language and English subtitles. A different documentary on the Halifax Explosion by Jennifer Adcock was created in consideration for audience members who are blind or have low vision. With the help of Autism Nova Scotia, there will also be a series of “relaxed screenings” providing adjusted sound, lighting and a designated quiet area.

Much-anticipated movies such as Breathe (starring Andrew Garfield), Angelina Jolie’s The Breadwinner and the first fully painted feature film, Loving Vincent, are also on the schedule. Call Me By Your Name, a romantic story set on on the Italian Riviera in 1983, will bring the festival to a close.

FIN runs from September 14-21. The online box office is now open and the walk-in box office at Cineplex Park Lane will open on September 5. All films are now listed at

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Review: Gina Stick's Ritual Objects of Everyday Life at Mary E. Black Gallery

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 9:35 AM

Vase with Flower Medallion, Porcelain, Press-mould with original icon, Porcelain, 24k Roman Gold, 22k German gold, Chinese over-glaze enamels (gucai) - JOHN SHERLOCK
  • Vase with Flower Medallion, Porcelain, Press-mould with original icon, Porcelain, 24k Roman Gold, 22k German gold, Chinese over-glaze enamels (gucai)
  • John Sherlock

Gina Etra Stick, Ritual Objects of Everyday Life
Through August 27
Mary E. Black Gallery, 1061 Marginal Road

While many locals may steer away from the waterfront this time of year, there is one event that should pull them towards the boardwalk.

Mary E. Black Gallery, nestled between NSCAD’s port campus and Pier 21, boasts a stunning current exhibition of work by emerging artist Gina Etra Stick of hand-painted porcelain: Ritual Objects of Everyday Life. After a 40 year career as a designer and architect, Stick trained in Jingdezhen, the porcelain center of China and an area with more than a thousand years of porcelain production.
From 24k gilded lotus petals to carved celadon, Stick’s hand enameling is masterful and the resulting works are truly spectacular.

While Stick may employ some creative liberties, the works in Ritual Objects demonstrate a deep respect for and understanding of these continuing ancient traditions, reminding us that—when done right—craft has the potential to be a fruitful site for cultural exchange.

“Luminosity” Porcelain Vase, 17.5” x 7”, 24k Roman Gold, 22k German Gold, and Chinese media (overglaze enamel, painted on top of the fired glaze) - MARVIN MOORE
  • “Luminosity” Porcelain Vase, 17.5” x 7”, 24k Roman Gold, 22k German Gold, and Chinese media (overglaze enamel, painted on top of the fired glaze)
  • Marvin Moore

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Vol 27, No 40
February 27, 2020

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