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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Here's everything that's happening at this year's Pride festival

There's no parade but there is a mix of socially distant outdoor events and stuff to stream from July 16-26.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 3:33 PM

The city's most colorful festival returns (at a safe distance) from July 16 to 26. - SUBMITTED
  • The city's most colorful festival returns (at a safe distance) from July 16 to 26.
  • Submitted

Thursday July 16

Noon-Hour Panel Series: Flattening the Curve of Racism for Two-Spirits: Creating Racial, Gender and Sexuality Diverse Allies in and out of the LGTBQ+ community

Panellists include Geordy Marshall (Kepmitelsi), John R. Sylliboy (Wabanaki Two-Spirit Alliance) and El Bergeron Paul (Wolastoqyiyk of St. Mary's First Nation). noon-1pm, halifaxpride.com


Halifax Pride Flag Raising

The official start of the 2020 Halifax Pride Festival is the annual flag raising at Grand Parade Square. This year the flag raising will be streamed live, but if you attend IRL, wear a mask and maintain social distance.
5-5:30pm, Grand Parade Square


Friday July 17

Noon-Hour Panel Series: Love in All the World: Why same-sex acts can lead to death or imprisonment

Pride was a demonstration before it was a party. In many places, 2SLGBTQ+ are still fighting for equal rights and opportunities. This panel explores the issues behind that. Presented in partnership with the Rainbow Refugee Association of Nova Scotia.  noon-1pm, halifaxpride.com


Our Artists Matter: QTBIPOC Showcase

Legendary drag queen Elle Noir—the only out, trans, Black drag queen east of Montréal—hosts this online celebration of queer artists of colour. Search the event on Facebook to follow along. 8-9:30pm, Facebook Live

Saturday, July 18

Gentle Yoga

A gentle, heart-centred practice led by Tim Damon.

11am-noon, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


Halifax Pride Social Site: Bring Your Bubbles

"Although Pride has come to be known for spectacle, dance parties, and huge crowds, we believe the moments shared with friends and chosen family, old and new, are what make the festival special. We also know it's important to go outside, get some fresh air, and be mindful of our mental and social health. We want to encourage folks to join us at the Garrison Grounds for the Halifax Pride Social Site, a space where masks will be worn, hand washing stations and sanitizer will be available, social distancing will be maintained, and sun, grass, music, and friends will be plentiful," Halifax Pride says. "During this first Social Site, we are asking folks to Bring Your Bubbles. Come with your bubble of friends for an afternoon hangout, and bring a bottle of bubbles to help fill the air with beautiful bubbles."

noon-4pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


Untoxicated Queers

Lawn games, snacks, music, and fun with folks who want to be more mindful about their substance use in a sober and safe space.

6:30-8:30pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


DRAG & DROP Online Drag Show

"Drag performers have dropped us their files and we're eager to share their videos with you live online," Halifax Pride promises. July 18, 8pm, halifaxpride.com

Sunday, July 19

Proudprana Yoga
11am-noon, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


Halifax Pride Social Site: Pack a Picnic

Pack your picnic and bring a blanket to lounge on the grass and enjoy lunch at the Social Site with friends all about and music in the air.

noon-4pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


Night Time Meditation
10-10:30pm, halifaxpride.com



Monday, July 20


Morning Meditation

Led by Sara Mader.

9-9:30am, halifaxpride.com


Noon-Hour Panel Series: Black Lives Matter and Pride

The modern Pride parade has its roots in protest led by trans women of colour to end police brutality against the 2SLGBTQ+ community, Pride continues to be a form of activism and protest today. This panel discusses Pride's responsibility to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and Black communities—and the specific obligations that Canadian Prides must fulfill to uplift trans, queer, and other Black people. July 20, noon, halifaxpride.com

March and Candlelight Vigil

Gather to march in support of calls to end systemic racism and police brutality. The march will leave at 8:00 pm from Victoria Park heading towards Cornwallis Park, with a walk past Raymond Taavel Park. A candlelight vigil will be held in remembrance of QTBIPOC lives lost. Wear masks, carry signs and bring a jar for a tealight (provided by Halifax Pride).
Departing from Victoria Park, corner of Spring Garden Road and South Park Street, 8pm-9:30pm


Tuesday July 21

Health & Wellness Panel Series: Safer Sex for AFAB folx (Assigned Female At Birth)

Are you curious about incorporating safer sex into your sex life with other AFAB folx? Do you have questions about the risks, the perks, the gear? Join us online as talk safer sex. Moderated by Kaitrin Doll with panelists include Rachele Mannett, Francesca Ekwuysai, and Abbey Ferguson.
10-11am, halifaxpride.com


Noon-Hour Panel Series: Making a Case for LGBT Senior History

"We are pleased to offer a panel on 'Making a Case for LGBT Seniors History', based on the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors-funded two-year project," says Halifax Pride. "We will review the purpose of the archive, the origins of the project and offer an overview on some of the content in the archive to date, as well as information on our formal launch of the searchable materials in recognition of LGBT History Month in October 2020."
noon-1pm, halifaxpride.com


EXTRA-murals: Beginner Hip Hop Dance Class

Join Carolin Mateus from House of Eights Dance Studio for a high-energy, outdoor beginner hip hop dance class.
Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel, 7-8pm


Night Time Meditation

10-10:30pm, halifaxpride.com


Wednesday, July 22

Morning Meditation

Led by Kirk Furlotte.
9-9:30am, halifaxpride.com


Health & Wellness Panel Series: Undetectable = Untransmittable: Celebrating POZitive Societal Attitudes

Explore the range and depth surrounding HIV, the Blood Ban and keeping POZitive attitudes. Moderated by Garry Dart with panelists Dr. OmiSoore Dryden, Steven MacLeod and Kirk Furlotte. 10-11am, halifaxpride.com


Trans & Non-binary Hangout: Turf Destroyers

This is a closed space for the Trans and Non-Binary community on the Garrison Grounds. Come to hang out, play some lawn games, and be with like-minded folk.
7-9pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel



Thursday, July 23


Health & Wellness Panel Series: Trans & Gender Diverse Health Issues in Healthcare

Coming out and aligning your life with your gender identity can be challenging. Here, you'll learn ways and means to better navigate the healthcare system to ensure you are getting the support you need. Moderated by Kaitrin Doll with panelists Rae O’Neil, Adrian Edgar, and Tye Silver. 10-11am, halifaxpride.com


Noon-Hour Panel Series: Global Queer and Trans Rights in a COVID-19 World

People from 2SLGBTQ+ communities around the world are facing increased challenges today, including attacks on human rights and freedoms. This panel brings together four leading activists from different parts of the world to discuss their common cause.
noon-1pm, halifaxpride.com


QTBIPOC Hangout

This is a closed space hangout on the Garrison Grounds for individuals who self-identify as QTBIPOC.
7-9pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel



Night Time Meditation

Led by Lynn Fraser. 10-10:30pm, halifaxpride.com


Friday, July 24

Morning Meditation

9-9:30am, halifaxpride.com


Health & Wellness Panel Series: Sex and Intimacy in a Virtual World

Technology is pushing human sexuality into uncharted territory. How do apps, porn, and zoom affect our sex and intimacy? Moderator by Frank Heimpel with panelists Aaliyah Paris, Teo Ferguson and Bryde MacLean.

10-11am, halifaxpride.com


Noon-Hour Panel Series: Rural Pride in Nova Scotia

Pride organizing comes with numerous struggles; reflecting the diverse needs of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, being both celebratory and political, having limited financial support and an operational model that relies on volunteer labour, the task of organizing Prides is full of challenges. Hear from a number of Nova Scotian Pride organizers as they discuss their struggles and successes managing rural Prides. noon-1pm, halifaxpride.com



Elder Hangout

Lawn games, nibbles, DJs and dancing await at this elder focused event that's open to all ages.
7-9pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


Stay the Blazes Homo Online Variety Show "No need to go out for entertainment when you can Stay the Blazes Homo," show organizers say. Tune in to this virtual show of drag, singing, comedy and more from some of the best local 2SLGBTQ+ artists.  8pm, halifaxpride.com

Saturday, July 25

Powwow Fusion Aerobics

A mix of high intensity powwow dance steps and bodyweight strengths moves all done at Halifax Pride’s Social Site. Led by Mi'kmaq fitness leader Jesse Benjamin.

11am-noon, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


Halifax Pride Social Site - Games Day

Pride will have a variety of lawn games and over-sized board games on hand for folks to enjoy during our afternoon hangout. And of course they will be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Wear your mask!

noon-4pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


Youth Hangout

A chill, socially distant evening with Halifax Pride and The Youth Project aimed at those 19 and under. 

7-9pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


The Grind DJ House Party

The Garrison Grounds won’t be coming alive with a massive dance party this year, but your house can! Join in on this live virtual dance party featuring local DJs and performers. 8-11pm, halifaxpride.com


Sunday, July 26

Morning Meditation

Led by Kirk Furlotte. 9-9:30am, halifaxpride.com


Gender BendING Yoga

11am-noon, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel


Halifax Pride Social Site - Let’s Go Fly a Kite


"Although Pride has come to be known for spectacle, dance parties, and huge crowds, we believe the moments shared with friends and chosen family are what make the festival special. We also know it's important to get some fresh air, and be mindful of our mental and social health. We want to encourage folks to join us at the Garrison Grounds for the Halifax Pride Social Site, a space where masks will be worn, hand washing stations and sanitizer will be available, social distancing will be maintained, and sun, grass, music, and friends will be plentiful," Halifax Pride says. Show up with a mask and maybe even a kite to take part in the good times. July 26, noon-4pm, Garrison Grounds, Halifax Citadel



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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

What is happening with the Halifax Pop Explosion?

The director resigns as the storied music festival gets called out for systemic racism.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 7:56 PM

The black square post that sparked discussion of Halifax Pop Explosion being performative in its public stand against racism. - HALIFAX POP EXPLOSION INSTAGRAM SCREENSHOT
  • The black square post that sparked discussion of Halifax Pop Explosion being performative in its public stand against racism.
  • Halifax Pop Explosion Instagram screenshot
It started with the posting of a black square. Halifax Pop Explosion—like many other festivals and organizations within the music industry—took to Instagram a month ago to share a message about solidarity with #theshowmustbepaused, an initiative asking the music world to address its own systemic racism.

Then last week, the post started getting renewed attention. Comments underneath the black square expressed concern about HPX being performative in its public stand against racism, or worse: One comment in particular said people of colour in the Halifax music scene had experienced "white supremacist violence organized under [its] festival."

This comment attracted its own attention, in the form of further comments standing in solidarity. And then, comments from the black square post started getting deleted, as if someone with control of the HPX Instagram account was trying to make a growing public relations storm disappear. The fest would later say it was looking into the deletions, posting a follow-up apology that stated, in part, "Our team did not remove the comment and we are actively trying to understand how it was deleted." (For those who aren't giving their thumbs a repetitive strain injury with all the Instagram posting they do, deleting a comment is straightforward if you've got the password to log into an account: You have to swipe right on the comment, then select the trash can icon. In other words it's easy to do, but hard to do accidentally.)

The comments kept pouring in, both from early posters angry their replies were disappearing—and then from members of the Canadian music scene at large. Past fest performers Hua Li and Backxwash both replied to the original post, with the former saying "Accountability needs to be active and ongoing and yet poc members of the Halifax music community consistently report their needs being unheard by this organization." (The latter added on Twitter that artists might be "better off just doing a livestream" if artists of colour can't depend on being treated well or paid enough by HPX.) Haviah Mighty, winner of the 2019 Polaris Prize, chimed in: "Y’all can’t be deleting comments and shit, and pretending the square equates to action..."
Toronto rapper Lex Leosis has been the first artist on the fest's 2020 lineup to drop the fest in solidarity. - LEX LEOSIS TWITTER SCREENSHOT
  • Toronto rapper Lex Leosis has been the first artist on the fest's 2020 lineup to drop the fest in solidarity.
  • Lex Leosis twitter screenshot
Things kicked into a higher gear last Thursday, June 25, with rapper Lex Leosis (former bandmate to Haviah Mighty) releasing a statement that she'd be stepping down from performing at Halifax Pop this year, "after hearing from the community about the blatant racism." Sunday, in the comments of the festival's swipe-through Instagram apology, a comment from HPX's official account said James Boyle, the fest's executive director, has resigned. But the Pop Explosion has not otherwise announced Boyle's departure, and hasn't responded to our interview request.  (On the festival's "contact us" page, Boyle's name isn't listed but there's no announcement of his removal or any mention of the role of executive director. This differs from an internet archive copy of the page from May, where Boyle's name was listed as executive director under a now-missing "staff" section.)

This isn’t the first time the venerable music fest has apologized for how artists of colour have been treated: In 2017, headliner Lido Pimienta’s show was interrupted when a white person refused to cede space to POC in the front row. That person was an HPX volunteer. Pimienta paused her set until the volunteer moved to the back; she had to ask the volunteer to move more than 10 times. Afterwards, Pimienta's Twitter feed filled with hate. Her simple request made her a target for alt-right trolls.
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Friday, June 26, 2020

Joel Plaskett Emergency to play virtual Canada Day concert

The city's big July 1 party moves online, broadcasting live from inside the Halifax Citadel.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 12:26 PM

Hot off the release of his quadruple album 44 this spring, Joel Plaskett reunites with his former Emergency bandmates. - JOELPLASKETT.COM
  • Hot off the release of his quadruple album 44 this spring, Joel Plaskett reunites with his former Emergency bandmates.
  • joelplaskett.com
Joel Plaskett certainly does love this town—and if you were ever looking for proof that the feeling's mutual, how about this: Today, HRM Civic Events announced that the city's annual July 1 show will star none other than the King of Dartmouth, playing alongside his bandmates from The Emergency, streamed live from inside the Halifax Citadel. The coolness factor here is so off the charts, we need a new thermometer,  stat.

Also on deck? Performances by Mo Kenney, Ben Caplan, Reeny Smith, Jah'Mila and Owen O'Sound.

The show will be live streamed on the city's official Youtube channel, starting at 7pm. Let's tide ourselves over till then by watching this promo video:

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Bring Halifax culture home with The Coast's June 23-28 streaming guide

All the local live art you need to see—and a few offline things to attend, too.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 3:24 PM

Zamani—a certified triple-threat R&B singer, songwriter and producer—comes from a family of creatives. On Saturday, EVERYSEEKER Festival is having her whole fam host a Facebook Live on "lessons on how to live and create masterfully" and we are 10000% here for it. - INSTAGRAM SCREENSHOT
  • Zamani—a certified triple-threat R&B singer, songwriter and producer—comes from a family of creatives. On Saturday, EVERYSEEKER Festival is having her whole fam host a Facebook Live on "lessons on how to live and create masterfully" and we are 10000% here for it.
  • Instagram screenshot

Tuesday June 23

Carbon Arc screens The Booksellers (remotely)

While there's no news yet as to when Halifax's indie movie house will re-open, you can get your film fix by streaming its latest pick, The Booksellers. Available through Carbon Arc's website for $9.99 (and available to watch until July 2), the film takes a look into the wild underground of the New York rare book trade.
Peep the trailer here.

Micah Barnes

A virtual album release show shared from The Carleton's stage at 7pm via Facebook Live.

Wednesday June 24

Black Pride BQTLM Vigil and BPH film screening

BQTLM Halifax remind us all how Pride wouldn't exist without the work of legendary activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Stormé Delarverie and Sylvia Rivera.  In that vein, the two organizations host a vigil in honour of Black gay, trans and gender non-conforming people who have died—including those who have been murdered by police. After the vigil, Black Power Hour will be a screening of Our Dance Revolution, a documentary tracing the growth of the Black queer community in Toronto. It all goes down at Grand Parade Square from 8-11pm.

Tyler Messick

The storied singer-songwriter performs a socially distant show from 
The Carleton's stage at 7pm via Facebook Live.

Thursday June 25

Songwriter's Circle w/Sarah McInnis, Kristen Martell and Daniel McFadyen

Three masterful storytellers combine forces—and songbooks—with this show, held at 8pm via Side Door.

The Voices We Need To Hear Part 2: An Online Conversation

Prismatic Arts Festival hosts this roundtable discussion featuring Indigenous artists and artists of colour discussing what's needed for all communities as we re-open the arts sector. Follow along at 3pm via Zoom.

Friday June 26

Andrew Miller w/Nadia Moore

As Halifax Jazz Festival moves the party online, two of the fest's favourite acts heat up the (socially distant) stage. Tune in at 7pm via Facebook Live.

AVOLA

A live show happening at 9pm on Twitch that'll make you bust a move. Part of EVERYSEEKER Festival.

Adam Baldwin

The 15th edition of Baldwin's weekly quarantine concert kicks off on Youtube at 9pm.

Saturday June 27

4 Solitudes, 4 Ideas: A Creativity Masterclass

A Facebook Live screening and Q&A, EVERYSEEKER Festival describes this event as "an intimate view inside the creative landscapes of four individuals who are joined by essence and by blood. Together they have fostered a household of 'ideo-philes,' each with their own quirks and artistic bends. They’ve figured out how to turn their love of lofty ideas into tangible work through the alchemy of creativity, often finding a way to ground this expression in justice for African-descended people." Watch a series of vignettes melding music, dance, writing and cooking as the Millar family share "lessons on how to live and create masterfully." Tune in here at 8pm.
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Monday, June 15, 2020

Here's everyone who made it onto the 2020 Polaris Long List

Halifax's own Aquakultre and Joel Plaskett both made the cut.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 6:11 PM

Aquakultre—the brainchild of Lance Sampson (right)—produced one of 2020's best records with the sumptuous R&B effort Legacy. - CAITLIN CRONENBERG
  • Aquakultre—the brainchild of Lance Sampson (right)—produced one of 2020's best records with the sumptuous R&B effort Legacy.
  • CAITLIN CRONENBERG
This afternoon, the most prestigious award in Canadian music—sorry Junos, we're talking about the Polaris Prize—announced its long list (as in, the list of all the Canadian albums released since last spring that are in the running for the $50,000 prize). These 40 albums will be parsed through by the Polaris's 201-member jury before the short list lands in July. (The best album of the year gets to collect its crown in mid-September.)

While the baffling inclusion of The Weeknd's After Hours has us scratching our heads (the Polaris doesn't really need to be daylighting the global top earner on Spotify, surely), others had us screaming with delight from our home offices—namely: The nods to WHOOP-Szo's Anishinaabe, shoegazed-streaked metal Warrior Down; BACKXWASH's relentless assault on your ears, God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out of It and, of course, the neo-soul feast of a lifetime that is Aquakultre's Legacy.

Rounding out the list was the following:

Allie X: Cape God
Anachnid: Dreamweaver
Aquakultre: Legacy
Marie-Pierre Arthur: Des feux pour voir
Backxwash: God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It
Badge Époque Ensemble: Badge Époque Ensemble
Begonia: Fear
P'tit Belliveau: Greatest Hits Vol. 1
Caribou: Suddenly
Daniel Caesar: CASE STUDY 01
Chocolat: Jazz engagé
Louis-Jean Cormier: Quand la nuit tombe
Corridor: Junior
dvsn: A Muse In Her Feelings
Jacques Greene: Dawn Chorus
Sarah Harmer: Are You Gone
Ice Cream: FED UP
Junia-T: Studio Monk
Kaytranada: Bubba
Flore Laurentienne: Volume 1
Cindy Lee: What's Tonight To Eternity?
Men I Trust: Oncle Jazz
nêhiyawak: nipiy
OBUXUM: Re-Birth
Owen Pallett: Island
Pantayo: Pantayo
Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia
Joel Plaskett: 44
William Prince: Reliever
Jessie Reyez: BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US
Riit: ataataga
Andy Shauf: The Neon Skyline
Super Duty Tough Work: Studies in Grey
U.S. Girls: Heavy Light
Leif Vollebekk: New Ways
Wares: Survival
The Weeknd: After Hours
WHOOP-Szo: Warrior Down
Witch Prophet : DNA Activation
Zen Bamboo: GLU
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Bring Halifax culture home with our June 15-21 streaming guide

From trivia night to learning about microaggressions, here's your plans for the week.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 5:57 PM

Jeremy Dutcher—the Indigenous musicologist turned superstar—chats and performs alongside the National Arts Centre's orchestra music director Thursday. - MATT BARNES
  • Jeremy Dutcher—the Indigenous musicologist turned superstar—chats and performs alongside the National Arts Centre's orchestra music director Thursday.
  • Matt Barnes

Monday June 15

Trivia for Shut-ins

Halifax trivia hosts-about-town Jason Dorey and Andrew Evans have shifted their popular trivia game from pubs like Durty Nelly's, the Lion's Head and The Fickle Frog, to a Facebook livestream. Three 20-question rounds will challenge, amuse and delight, and with no prizes on the line, you won't even mind missing a few answers. The stream opens every Monday at 7pm, first question at 7:30.


Tuesday June 16

Dismantling and addressing microaggressions

Dalhousie Human Rights and Equity Services delivers this online workshop, saying: "As part of the unlearning and relearning that needs to take place, we will be discussing the various forms of microaggressions, the individual and societal impacts, as well as tips and pointers to address and prevent microaggressions from taking place." You can register for the workshop via eventbrite and it takes place over Zoom from 6-7:30pm.

Traditional Tattoo Theatre Tuesdays

Dion Kaszas—a tattoo artist who practices traditional Indigenous techniques—hosts a Facebook watch party " from the voices and perspective of those doing the work." Tune in via Facebook at 7pm.

Self-archiving through sound w/Lindsay Dobbin

EVERYSEEKER Festival sees the curator of Nocturne 2020, sound and performance artist Lindsay Dobbin, hosting a workshop on self-archiving through sound. Remaining workshop spaces are reserved for BIPOC participants, who can register here for the 7pm Zoom.


Wednesday June 17

Christina Martin

Fresh off the release of a new, live version of her award-winning 2018 record Impossible To Hold, Martin keeps reminding us of the magic living in live music. Get enchanted as she performs via Facebook Live at 7pm.

Terra Spencer

The Americana queen delivers a live show from The Carleton stage at 7pm via Facebook Live.

Brian Fallon w/Matt Mays

Yep, you read that right: The actual frontperson of the actual Gaslight Anthem is having Dartmouth's own answer to Tom Petty on his Instagram Live at 9pm for what's sure to be a rip-roaring set.  We love to see it.

Thursday June 18

Musically Speaking: Alexander Shelley and Jeremy Dutcher

A live conversation between the National Arts Centre orchestra music director Alexander Shelley and the Polaris Prize-winning musician and composer Jeremy Dutcher is followed by a performance. Held at 1:30pm via Facebook Live, you can catch up on all the ways Dutcher is changing the music game here.

Terra Spencer

The Americana queen delivers her second live show of the week at 7pm via Facebook Live

Charmaine Lee

EVERYSEEKER Festival's Instagram gets a takeover from the New York vocalist at 9pm. Follow along here.


Friday June 19

Christina Martin

She performs for the second time this week via Facebook Live at 4pm.

Adam Baldwin

A quarantine tradition continues as Baldwin kicks off his weekly Thursday show at 9pm on Youtube, all while helping you get your RDI of Americana.

Zoom dance party w/Bembona, DJ Lil Arepa, Analuisaaaaaa

EVERYSEEKER Festival brings the good times to you with a trio of DJs spinning hot hits. It all kicks off at 10pm via Zoom.


Saturday June 20

Alan Syliboy & The Thundermakers

The culturally-rich, immersive rock of Syliboy and his Thundermakers will take you to a higher plane. Let it. The show goes on at 8pm here.

Kwento

An Instagram Live session at 8pm with Bria Miller and the Jill Scott-meets-Lauryn Hill singer Kwento wraps this week's EVERYSEEKER Festival programming.

Sunday June 21

Full Circle Festival

The self-described "newfangled stringband hootenanny" returns to mark the summer solstice, bringing the party online through Side Door. Imagine a more indie, wholesome spin on Woodstock and that's what you can anticipate at this family-friendly fest that features the stylings of Jennah Barry and Thomas Stajcer, amongst others. It all kicks off at 11am.

Gabrielle Papillon w/Raine Hamilton

Side Door delivers an intimate singer-songwriter double hitter, starring Halifax's own art-pop queen, Papillon. Get to know her last record, the excellent Shout, here before the 5pm show.


Throwing a virtual art event or hosting an online concert? Email it to The Coast so we can add it to the Halifax streaming guide.
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Monday, June 8, 2020

Bring Halifax culture home with your June 8-14 streaming guide

All the local live art you need to see.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 6:01 PM

Reeny Smith appears on David Myles's not-so-late-night talk show via a live Youtube sesh Thursday. - MNEODESIGNS
  • Reeny Smith appears on David Myles's not-so-late-night talk show via a live Youtube sesh Thursday.
  • MNEODESIGNS


Monday June 8

A conversation on unity w/Tyler Simmonds & Verena Rizg

Simmonds, an award-winning filmmaker and public speaker from North Preston, hosts this chat with singer-poet Verena Rizing at 5:30pm via Instagram Live.

Made In Bangladesh screening

Since we still can't go to Carbon Arc and see an indie flick IRL, the small theatre is bringing the experience to you, screening this drama about a 23-year-old woman who decides to start a union at the Bangladeshi clothing factory where she works. It's $10 to rent the movie, which is available until June 18. More info here.  

Jazz Codrington

The performer—who'll be taking over EVERYSEEKER Festival's Instagram Live at 8:30pm—bills their sound as "the shape of jazz to come" and tbh we can't think of a better way to put it. Tune in here.

Tuesday June 9

Understanding Black Stories

Cineplex has compiled a list of 41 free films centering Black stories on its website. From the biopic of Malcolm X to Jordan Peele's haute-horror offerings Us and Get Out, see 'em here.

Wednesday June 1o

Emerging Lens Film Fest: Day One

An opening performance by certified triple-threat Zamani Folade kicks off the cultural film fest's 10th year, before showing the 2019 flick Our Dance Revolution, which tells the history of Toronto's Black queer community. It all kicks off at 6:30pm and you can watch along here.

Christina Martin

Fresh off the release of a new, live version of her award-winning 2018 record Impossible To Hold, Martin keeps reminding us of the magic living in live music. Get enchanted as she performs via Facebook Live at 4pm.

Thursday June 11

Emerging Lens Film Fest: Day Two

Day two of the cultural film fest begins with a performance by Charity Stairs before a screening of a collection of local short films. Tune in at 6:30pm here.

Music as Healing: A panel feat. Kwento, NAT Chantel, Lindsay Dobbin, Rebecca Fairless and Bianca Palmer

EVERYSEEKER Festival hosts this panel discussion at 7pm via zoom, featuring the neo-soul/R&B artist Kwento and celebrated performance artists NAT Chantel and Lindsay Dobbin. Register to attend here.

Zoe Toliver w/Harvi Millar

The African Nova Scotian Music Association's weekly bop-sesh returns, this time with Zoe Toliver taking the virtual stage at 7pm before Harvi Millar's set at 8pm. Groove along via Facebook Live.

Terra Spencer

The singer-songwriter's weekly show from a blanket fort never fails to bring a smile. Tune in via Facebook Live at 8pm.

Taggart & Torrens at Dine Alone Records

Celebrating the drop of a new album that's steeped in the comedic tradition of Bob and Doug McKenzie, this laugh-bringing duo is performing at 8pm via side door.

David Myles w/Reeny Smith
Myles's new, not-so-late-night talk show sees the easy-listening king chat with R&B royalty Reeny Smith. Tune in at 8pm via Youtube

Friday June 12

Emerging Lens Film Fest: Day Three

Mariah Pelly-Smith performs before a collection of local music videos and animated shorts are screened. The evening wraps with two short films,
In Loving Memory and Glory Goals. Tune in from 6:30 onwards here.

Rich Aucoin

The nicest guy in rock 'n' roll—and the guy who's a welcome reminder that music can change the world—at 6pm. Follow along here for a mix of Aucoin classics and previews from his upcoming album.

Christina Martin

She performs for the second time this week via Facebook Live at 7pm.

Adam Baldwin

A quarantine tradition lives on as the denim-clad rocker plays his 13th weekly socially distant show at 9pm via Youtube.


Saturday June 13

Emerging Lens Film Fest: Day Four

Mark Flowerdew performs before eight short films are shown. Follow along from 6:30pm on here.

Songwriter Circle feat. Terra Spencer, Kristen Martell and Norma MacDonald

A trio of our fave singer-songwriters come together for this 8pm showcase held through side door. Get tix here and, if you know what's good for you, get listening to the recent records by alt-country queen MacDonald and the chill-vibe-bringing Martell already.

Matt Steele

The power pop-rocker gives a mini-concert from The Carleton stage at 7pm via Facebook Live that'll boost your mood and help you remember summer's almost here.

Matt Mays

If you wanna drink up the fresh air feeling while not being able to get out all that much, Mays is your man—he's the only one besides Tom Petty who can make you feel like you're driving with the top down, full-blast when you're actually just sitting still. Catch the vibes on Youtube at 9pm.

Sunday June 14

Emerging Lens Film Fest: Day Five

The cultural film fest rolls the credits on its tenth year with another smattering of local shorts and a performance by Maggie Burton and Chris McGee. Tune in here at 6:30pm.


Throwing a virtual art event or hosting an online concert? Email it to The Coast so we can add it to the Halifax streaming guide.
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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Quarantining with Like A Motorcycle

The Halifax punk mainstay has been dealing with the times by doing what it does best: Shredding ears and breaking hearts.

Posted By on Sun, May 31, 2020 at 2:09 AM

Like A Motorcycle isn't letting COVID-19 slow down its music release schedule: The band dropped two new singles while we've all been stuck inside. - KT LAMOND PHOTO
  • Like A Motorcycle isn't letting COVID-19 slow down its music release schedule: The band dropped two new singles while we've all been stuck inside.
  • KT Lamond photo

Like a Motorcycle is supposed to be on tour right now. But, with physical distancing making it impossible to throw a punk show, the group is finding new ways to stay present as it gears up to release its sophomore album, Dead Broke.

The Halifax based four-piece has a full schedule in lock down. It released the first single from Dead Broke, “Idols”, last month and the second, “Wide Awake”, on May 15, with an accompanying music video.

“Wide Awake” may sound like a product of quarantine, but it was written three years ago when the band sat at a crossroads, battling internal struggles with addiction. Even though the lyrics are as intense as they are sincere, bassist Kim Carson sees how they could be helpful for those struggling in quarantine.

“It’s ringing true, it’s hitting home so let’s put it out and have it in this moment, where a lot of those lyrics are literally what people are going through,” says Carson. “You want people to take it and apply it to their own life and hopefully they feel connected because they’re not alone.”

Guitarist KT Lamond filmed the video for “Wide Awake” at home. It shows a protagonist—played by her roommate—adjusting to life in lockdown and is a surreal, yet uplifting, look at the new normal.

“I feel like our videos are always oddly quirky and anti-climactic in a charming way,” says Lamond, “It was mostly meant to be something funny and cute, and hopefully it cheers some people up.”

While both Carson and Lamond have been doing what they can to stay busy and keep their spirits up during quarantine, sometimes all it takes is one song to wear a person down: “My partner and my roommate have become obsessed with 'Picture' by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock. They play it ten times a day, and they made me learn it on guitar,” says Lamond holding back laughter, “I am living in Hell.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the band, fans of The Distillers, The Pixies, Idles, Bully or Dilly Dally will find a new favourite in Like a Motorcycle.

Dead Broke is scheduled for release in September, and the group is currently working on an online version of its gameshow, the Like a Motorcycle Rock & Roll Round up, which will be out in the next couple weeks.

In the meantime, the band is handling quarantine just fine—provided no more Sheryl Crow/Kid Rock covers are unearthed.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Review: Kristen Martell's Coming Home will heal you

The Mahone Bay singer-songwriter's debut album brings the mellow.

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2020 at 6:51 PM

Kristen Martell is helping you through COVID-19 by playing a regular Tuesday night livestream at 10pm on Facebook and Instagram live. Tonight, she plays her 10th quarentine performance. - KRISTENMARTELL.COM PHOTO
  • Kristen Martell is helping you through COVID-19 by playing a regular Tuesday night livestream at 10pm on Facebook and Instagram live. Tonight, she plays her 10th quarentine performance.
  • kristenmartell.com photo
Kristen Martell wants you to breathe. And you will, after listening to her latest EP, Coming Home.


It’s an album with all the warmth of a summer sun which shines through acoustic pop that’s bright and hopeful — without sacrificing meaningful, insightful lyrics.

The Mahone bay songwriter crafts her tunes in a reflective, introspective style—much like Gabrielle Papillon and Rose Cousins: Peaceful reflections of the way things are, the ways things have changed. Her songs explore the self, and the way we walk through life.

Tracks “We Learn” and “Ain’t No Obstacle” reflect on the lessons learned — “We Bleed, we burn, We live we learn,” sings Martell with a soft voice that brims with depth (and will make a fan out of any Alanis Morissette-lovin' ears on contact). “Fade away” and “Breathe” are almost meditative in the way she encourages finding peace in the present — in what we can control.

There’s ample comfort to be found here, amidst songs that rarely challenge us with in-depth or personal anecdotes, but rather flow with encouragement and earnest care. “Where’s your voice? Where’s your heart?” Martell asks, above guitar—acoustic and electric—and resonant drums that underscore her songwriting, rather than propel it forward.

She flirts with blues and americana in “Ain’t No Obstacle,” and pulls it off: The song is a declaration of power over her past and present, delivered in a strong and resonant voice.

But above all, this is a talented and insightful songwriter that cares—and cares deeply—for those she sings to, inviting us to consider how we view ourselves: “Can we share the space,” she asks, “and take a deep breath. And look straight ahead at the sun while it sets.”

Breathe out, pull up a chair and listen. Martell has lots to share.

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Bring Halifax culture home with our May 25-31 streaming guide

Binge the best in local live art.

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2020 at 5:14 PM

Cyndi Cain brings sweet-as-honey soul music to a Thursday night showcase. - KAY PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Cyndi Cain brings sweet-as-honey soul music to a Thursday night showcase.
  • KAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Tuesday May 26

Vista

Zuppa Theatre continues to push your mental boundaries of what a play can be—this time, taking you on a virtual walking tour that can be done anywhere (yes, even in your apartment) while asking big questions about what health means and how communities can stay healthy. An app-guided audio tour that was created at a social distance and is made to be experienced that way, the play is part of the 2020 Mayworks Festival. Get the full details here and enjoy the show any time until May 31.

Pineo & Loeb

The DJ duo isn't gonna let COVID-19 stop the party, so it's teaming up with NSCC's Revival Initiative web series to show how a song "can go from ballad to banger." Follow along here at 7pm.

Off The Leash w/Jeremy Webb

Neptune Theatre's artistic director helps fill the hole in our hearts and calendars  with a livestream talk show that pulls back the curtain on local live theatre. Catch it Tuesdays-Fridays at 8:30pm on Facebook or Youtube.

Kristen Martell

The singer-songwriter who's work is the aural answer to liquid sunshine keeps up her house show streak with another Tuesday night tune-fest. Hit up Facebook or Instagram at 10pm to follow along and bliss out—and check out our review of Martell's debut EP here.

Wednesday May 27

Troll Dolly w/Nat Chantel

Drummer and sound artist Troll Dolly, in the words of EVERYSEEKER Festival, "explores the fluctuation between the body, impairment, and sonic ecologies" by performing with found rhythms. Here, she finds her sonic match with Halifax performing artist Nat Chantel, who created a piece called Silence and The Sound After to release the sound of erasure and inter-generational trauma for BIPOC folks. Watch their collaborative video on EVERYSEEKER's site.

Thursday May 28

Cyndi Cain w/Casual cries for HELP

Halifax's honey bee of soul, Cain has opened for the likes of Lauryn Hill. Now, she's headlining this African Nova Scotian Music Association show to sweeten up your Thursday night. It all goes down on Facebook Live at 7pm.

Come Closer: A workshop w/Francesca Ekwuyasi

An online workshop created by artist Francesca Ekwuyasi (one of the creative forces highlighted in The Coast's 2020 New Art issue) helps you learn how to self-archive through language. Part of the EVERYSEEKER Festival, you can register to take part in the 7pm workshop here.

Ria Mae

A Thursday night party-starter thanks to the pop princess Mae. It all goes down at 7pm via Instagram Live.

Terra Spencer

An indie singer-songwriter showcase happening inside a blanket fort. We don't know how else to sell you on this if you're not already for it because baby this is it! Happening at 8pm via Facebook Live.

The Princess Show by HEIST

HEIST's breakthrough hit from the 2016 Halifax Fringe Fest tells the story of gender-fucking royalty, blending video game references with drag and packing it all up in a musical. The indie production was so successful it spawned its own sequel and now, well, you can hop on twitch and feel like you're watching local theatre history-in-the-making (because you are). It all goes down at 10pm; more details here.

Friday May 29

Gaga night online

A drag night full of original choreography to tunes by the monster queen herself, this showcase was meant to happen at Menz before the pandemic. At 8:30pm, raise a glass to the now-gone gay bar, remember you were born this way, and check here for more info.

Tim Baker

The former helm of Hey Rosetta! celebrates a new single with this livestream, happening at 8pm via Side Door.

LXVNDR

Charlottetown's rap queen herself arrives in town (virtually) thanks to EVERYSEEKER Festival. Wear your dancey pants because you'll need 'em. It all goes down at 8pm via Instagram Live.

Walking Gottingen: Sounds and stories from Halifax's North end

While Mayworks 2020 is almost ready to call it a wrap, this soundwalk production—available to download as of May 29—is just getting started, taking the listener for a walk through the history of one of Halifax's most famous streets.  "By experiencing this soundwalk, listeners will hear intimate, moving descriptions of an area that has been home to African Nova Scotians, LGBTQ+ folk, and members of Mi’kmaq communities for generations," creators add. Get it here.

Adam Baldwin

A quarantine tradition continues as Baldwin kicks off his weekly Thursday show at 9pm on Youtube, all while helping you get your RDI of Americana.

Saturday May 30

Moscow Apartment

The folk-rock duo takes to Side Door to announce a new single with a live show. Catch it on the site at 8:30pm.

Matt Mays

If you wanna drink up the fresh air feeling while not being able to get out all that much, Mays is your man—he's the only one besides Tom Petty who can make you feel like you're driving with the top down, full-blast when you're actually just sitting still. Catch the vibes on Youtube at 9pm.

Jennah Barry

The Mahone Bay maven roared back into our playlists earlier this year with her excellent album Holiday and now, thank goodness, we're getting to see Barry live as she takes to the internet for a streamed show. While details are still TBA, you can watch this space or check her Instagram for more.

Drone Day: Drone from home

EVERYSEEKER's usual hat-tip to drone music isn't gonna be quite the same this year, but don't let that make you think it won't be awesome: Instead of gathering IRL to make the longest drone noise possible, people will be connecting virtually, maybe even to sit on their stoops like that viral Italian video, while they make sweet noise. Register here or hit up EVERYSEEKER's Instagram to watch along.
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Remembering Menz & Mollyz

One of the hardest-hitting casualties of COVID-19 is the city's most legendary gay bar.

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2020 at 5:54 AM

Aside from having possibly the sweatiest dance floor in town, Menz also hosted open mics, comedy nights, theatre shows, live music and the lion's share of drag shows in Halifax. - INSTAGRAM SCREENSHOT
  • Aside from having possibly the sweatiest dance floor in town, Menz also hosted open mics, comedy nights, theatre shows, live music and the lion's share of drag shows in Halifax.
  • Instagram screenshot
Tonight at Menz & Mollyz, it would've been Thirsty Thursdays with DJ Dandersen—back in a world where such things could exist. Writing that sentence today, nine weeks (ish) into a global pandemic, feels like saying "this was a walking trail favoured by long-neck dinosaurs." Writing that sentence today, five weeks after a Facebook post said that the city's most notable gay bar—and the nucleus of Halifax drag culture—was closing for good, feels like saying "here's how long the nights were before electricity."

But how long will the nights be without Menz & Mollyz? Without the live music labyrinth that routinely had a punk show happening in a room full of dilapidated couches, next to a room that was a noise-proofed rave, next to a room that felt like a grittier Studio 54, sweaty dance floor and all? Where will the city's drag royalty twerk to Britney Spears? Where will so many newly out 2SLGBTQ+ people get a sense of offline community—and maybe even get a first kiss?

Where will the king and queen of Pride get their crowns from now on?

Of course gay culture doesn't die when a place closes, and of course there's lots to the 2sLGBTQ+ community that exists outside the gay bar ecosystem. But losing Menz does mean losing a key part of both Halifax's nightlife scene and an important gathering space for diverse communities. After all, Menz was one of the first bars in town to have genderless washrooms, and also hosted more Pride programming than anywhere else in the city.

From the bands that played a debut gig in the Rainbow Room, to the queens who held court, to the regulars who loved Menz like a second home, we want to know: What made Menz more than just another bar? Tell us your favourite memories—or, in true Drake style, about the best nights you'll never remember with friends you'll never forget. Fill out our anonymous web form now.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Bring Halifax culture home with our May 18-24 social distance streaming guide

All the live theatre and couch concerts to see this week.

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 5:32 PM

Jenn Grant's first-ever ticketed COVID concert is happening this Sunday. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Jenn Grant's first-ever ticketed COVID concert is happening this Sunday.
  • Submitted photo

Monday May 18

Marisa Anderson

A photo essay, video premiere and playlist courtesy of the guitarist who's worked with the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Beth Ditto is Monday's contribution from EVERYSEEKER Festival. The fest describes Anderson's sound as mixing "elements of minimalism, electronic music, drone and 20th century classical music" to "re-imagining the landscape of American music" with offerings that mix jazz, blues, gospel and country. Check it all out on here.

Trivia for Shut-ins

Halifax trivia hosts-about-town Jason Dorey and Andrew Evans have shifted their popular triv game from pubs like Durty Nelly's, the Lion's Head and The Fickle Frog, to a Facebook livestream. Three 20-question rounds will challenge, amuse and delight, and with no prizes on the line, you won't even mind missing a few answers. The stream opens every Monday at 7pm, first question at 7:30.



Vista

Zuppa Theatre continues to push your mental boundaries of what a play can be—this time, taking you on a virtual walking tour that can be done anywhere (yes, even in your apartment) while asking big questions about what health means and how communities can stay healthy. An app-guided audio tour that was created at a social distance and is made to be experienced that way, the play is part of the 2020 Mayworks Festival. Get the full details here and enjoy the show any time until May 31.

Tuesday May 19

Jesi Jordan

The traditional artist and animator from Ontario brings an animation about COVID-19 to EVERYSEEKER Festival. Check it out on EVERYSEEKER's site.

Off The Leash w/Jeremy Webb

Neptune Theatre's artistic director helps fill the hole in our hearts and calendars  with a livestream talk show that pulls back the curtain on local live theatre. Catch it Tuesdays-Fridays at 8:30pm on Facebook or Youtube.

Kristen Martell

The singer-songwriter who's work is the aural answer to liquid sunshine keeps up her house show streak with another Tuesday night tune-fest. Hit up Facebook or Instagram at 10pm to follow along and bliss out.

Wednesday May 20

Arsoniste

A sonic palette that blends colours of The National and Lana Del Rey together brings you the rainbow that is Arsoniste. Hear her piano-driven tunes at 7pm via Facebook Live.

Thursday May 21

Adam Baldwin

A quarantine tradition continues as Baldwin kicks off his weekly Thursday show at 9pm on Youtube, all while helping you get your RDI of Americana.

Friday May 22

Behind the Queens: From the creators of Broadway BoyZ

The creators stars of the 2019 Fringe musical revue Broadway BoyZ take us backstage for a glimpse into their worlds. Part of the 2020 Mayworks Festival, it all goes down at 7pm via Facebook livestream.

R. Flex

"R&B-pop that celebrates queer, black creativity" is how EVERYSEEKER Festival describes the work of R. Flex. Their Instagram live showcase—held at 8pm—promises to be the sort of thing that gets you up off the couch and if that doesn't convince you, what will?

Witch Prophet

The hip hop/R&B alchemist Witch Prophet creates the kind of music that helps you manifest your destiny and makes you shake your butt. Get to both at 7pm thanks to her Facebook Livestream.

Saturday May 23

Matt Mays

If you wanna drink up the fresh air feeling while not being able to get out all that much, Mays is your man—he's the only one besides Tom Petty who can make you feel like you're driving with the top down, full-blast when you're actually just sitting still. Catch the vibes on Youtube at 9pm.

Mabe Fratti w/OSDAY

A collaborative video art piece showcased as part of the EVERYSEEKER Festival.

Sunday May 24

Jenn Grant

The honey-throated singer-songwriter has been wooing ears for years—but her latest, Love, Inevitable, will be the final push to make anyone unconvinced (however unlikely) fall for her sweet sound. See for yourself here and get tix for  Grant's 6pm live show (rescheduled from last week) here
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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Century Egg’s new record is a sunny-side-up return

Halifax's Mandopop saviour drops a five-track EP to help you have a "fairyland kind of view" of life.

Posted By on Sun, May 17, 2020 at 6:14 AM

Century Egg was the cover star of our 2016 New Music issue and tbh we're really digging the pre-pandemic levels of closeness shown in this pic from that photoshoot. - DYLAN CHEW PHOTO
  • Century Egg was the cover star of our 2016 New Music issue and tbh we're really digging the pre-pandemic levels of closeness shown in this pic from that photoshoot.
  • Dylan Chew photo

Century Egg, the Halifax-based Mandopop group, dropped its latest EP on Animal Crossing: New Horizons.


Well, not really. But it did announce We Can Play, an exuberant collection of undeniably fun songs, via an Instagram post with a screen-shot of an Animal Crossing character sporting a custom-designed Century Egg t-shirt.

After all, band members and partners Robert Drisdelle and Shane Keyu Song were playing a ton of the insanely addictive island life simulator.

You know, because of the pandemic and all.

“It’s our favourite game,” laughs Song via phone. “It’s a big part of our life.” And the album suits the game's colourful, peaceful aesthetic, Drisdelle says.

Century Egg’s vibe is definitely that — Song sings upbeat, modern East Asian-inspired pop, weaving catchy melodies with the energetic bass work of Nick Dourado (of Aquakultre and Eddy) and toe-tapping drums of Tri Le. Drisdelle plays guitar, but also writes and sets up much of the instrumentation.

Begins Drisdelle: “We Can Play, you know, it's very much about escapism —" Song chimes in: “maybe escape isn’t the right word,” she responds, “ but I think that fairyland kind of view should exist in everybody’s life.”

“Everybody who listens to our music says ‘this makes me happy,”’ she says.

It’s music made with a love of collaboration, too: “This EP, in particular, has all different types of methods to create music,” says Song. “There’s songs created solely by Robert, solely by me and ones we write together."

It all makes for a wonderfully unique soundscape, sung in Mandarin and English, which is refreshingly light: You can hear the fun plunking from Risdelle’s guitar and shimmering through Song’s warm voice.

But soon the subject circles back to Animal Crossing — and a singing dog adored by players of the game worldwide. “KK. Slider,” says Song with a laugh, “the biggest musician in the Animal Crossing universe is like, 'if you play the game you have to join the cult'.” (On player’s custom islands, the canine superstar comes to play concerts, wooing villagers with oh-so-sweet eyes and a gently strummed guitar.)

“In general, what he does in music is something we are really into too. He has all different types of style and he has like one single for each of the styles in the world.”

Yeah, Slider’s a musician who does it all.  Century Egg is too, nodding to American pop conventions as often as it winks with East Asian ones.

The Key? Having fun—and spreading a little optimism. “We have so many problems in our lives just like anyone else,” says Song, “and the way we try to deal with it is to create something that makes you feel like you can have different solutions.”

Drisdelle agrees: “We can be happy and confident—if that’s something that resonates with people then perhaps we’re doing someone a service.”


Correction: An earlier version of this article said Nick Dourado played guitar and Drisdelle played bass while the opposite is the case; As well, Tri Le's name was misspelled. The Coast sincerely apologizes for the errors.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Are online shows live music's new lifeline?

Halifax's Side Door is "hoping to be a life raft for artists" during the pandemic.

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2020 at 5:59 PM

The "crowd" at one of Dan Mangan's virtual Side Door concerts. - MARK BUSSE PHOTO
  • The "crowd" at one of Dan Mangan's virtual Side Door concerts.
  • Mark Busse photo
Open Instagram these days and chances are that you’ll see performers broadcasting live into the online world from their homes. Those shows are usually free. For many, live music online has been a light during these tough days. But, at the same time, they can be read as a sign of longstanding rot in the music industry: Shows cancelled, tours called off and 2020 festival merch all but vintage adds up to thousands in lost revenue for artists. It also signals that touring—one of the last way for musicians to make money in the streaming age—isn't enough to build a business model off of.

But don't break out into a sweat just yet: a Halifax-based concert venue matching company is here to help. Side Door is an online platform that started out matching musicians with hosts for intimate concerts (imagine AirBnB but, instead of vacationers renting room, it's connecting musicians with alternative venue owners). Now that the whole concert idea is off the table, the company has pivoted online, putting a new spin on e-concert experiences and offering a platform that could help musicians and concert promoters stay afloat in these wild times.

In February, Side Door’s co-founders, Laura Simpson and Dan Mangan (yes, the OG house show king), had been looking down the barrel of a summer stuffed with concert dates for musicians who booked shows in barns, warehouses and living rooms across the country using the site. In early March, of course, that all changed. As news about the pandemic took over, Simpson and her team spent days on the phone with artists —23 had shows planned at around 750 venues—helping them cancel performances and effectively flush projected revenue down the drain.

A new project linking Canadian musicians to gigs at Austin’s SXSW festival was also canned. “It was a lot of work and a lot of money that we put into it,” says Simpson, who’s been a heavyweight in Nova Scotia’s music curation scene for years, “and it just kind of like…. died.”

On that same, now infamous, date—March 13th— Mangan and his band rolled up to the second night of a two-day show at Toronto’s Danforth Music hall. The first night, the 12th, was electric, Mangan says: “It was magic, it felt like the last night on earth.” And it kind of was, in a sense. The last night on an earth where you could watch live music next to friends at crowded bars—at least for the time being.

On the second night, the crowd didn’t come. And no wonder too, as the concert was cancelled and Canada’s rolling shutdown began in earnest. But Mangan and his band played on. “It was more rewarding than I could have hoped for,” he recalls. He put the concert online. Watching it, you feel his voice echo through the empty hall as his band plays with verve and energy you’d expect seeing in a packed festival.

About a week later,  Mangan hosted a second online show on Zoom—just him this time—with the proceeds of online tickets going to COVID relief. He’s since dubbed these weekly performances #quarantunes. “Everyone turned on their videos, they were all singing along, sitting there with their families and their dogs,” says Simpson. “I was in tears.” The ticket-for-Zoom-password access that Dan tried just...Worked. And worked well. So, Side Door leaned in, hard.

 Almost a month later, Cindy Thomas spent Saturday afternoon in Dan Mangan’s living room. She was there along with hundreds of others—from across Canada and beyond—without having to leave her couch or disregard physical distancing safety measures. “Seeing the live streams has been great, but Side Door definitely elevated the experience,” says Thomas, who lives in London, Ontario. “Using Zoom was kind of fun, you can see other people in the 'audience'.”

And those audiences have shown up, says Simpson. The take home for Side Door artists has more than doubled compared to the pre-COVID, physical home concert system the company had in place. Most shows, she adds, earn the performer an average of $1159 (as of early April). “What is really promising is that people are buying tickets, and they're coming back,” says Simpson.

Side Door shows are selling quickly. Simpson says a ticket cap ensures they still feel special. A recent set by Sarah Slean, for instance, sold out—leaving one Instagram commenter wondering how a virtual show could run out of seats.

But that's the formula Simpson says is working so well: Creating shows where the audience “shows up” to intimate performances. “There’s something when you buy a ticket. You’re saying there’s going to be value here,” she says. “It’s not a passive engagement.”

“We’re hoping this is a life-raft for artists and the industry at large,” adds Mangan.

But it’s still online. Through a screen. Does that distance damper the live experience? Mangan doesn’t think so: “In some ways it’s weirdly more intimate, in that you have 700, 800 people and they all have front row tickets.”

He says the performances don’t feel like he’s playing music into the internet abyss. He’s playing to people right there, in front of him. Families, kids playing with robot toys, dogs wagging their shaggy tails from coast to coast and beyond in a whole new concert dimension.

Laura Simpson adds she tries to watch every concert on the platform, in between days spent on Zoom with other side door staff and artists—and getting “hundreds” of notes about how Side Door performances have impacted people.

“It’s more than a distraction,” Simpson says. “It’s so meaningful for people to find solace in art.” 
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Hello Delaware's Dana Beeler knows how you feel

The Halifax rocker started a podcast to help us all feel a little less alone.

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2020 at 5:29 PM

Dana Beeler, second from left, with her Hello Delaware bandmates. - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON PHOTO
  • Dana Beeler, second from left, with her Hello Delaware bandmates.
  • MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON PHOTO
Dana Beeler was all set to go on tour. Her band Hello Delaware—which carries the same indie rock swagger of No Doubt and lyrics as sharp as a Lorelai Gilmore comeback—was about to play 10 dates across the UK, the band’s biggest international outing to date. Newly released material (the first since a five-track EP, Anticipation, made comparisons to early Alanis Morissette feel inevitable last fall) was to follow, built on the tour’s momentum.

But then, of course, everything changed. So, she did what she had to do and started a podcast instead.

“I felt pretty sucker-punched in the whole first two days I had to work from home. I was getting a flood of text messages from my friend’s group chat and I was reading the news and then case numbers and all of that stuff just wasn’t sinking into my brain. So it was kinda difficult to process all of that,” says Beeler, explaining that a podcast felt like the perfect way to cope and foster some community connection.

And while hitting pause on such a sizeable tour certainly is a loss to Beeler and her bandmates, listeners of This Is Fine get to sip the situation’s sweet lemonade with the podcast, which acts as an incidental who’s who in Canadian indie music. (Past guests on the show have included Appalachian banjo queen/Rolling Stone darling Kaia Kater, Halifax indie scene vet Leanne Hoffman and pop-punk up-and-comer Skye Wallace.)

“It would be very easy to feel like all of the work that we’ve done over the last three years as a band—like touring and playing and money we spent, and making this record—could go to absolutely nothing if there’s nothing to promote it, I guess,” adds Beeler, who says more music from Hello Delaware will be on its way this spring. (So far, the band dropped a new single, “Over”, that rips in the way Avril Lavigne always wanted to.)

With live performance—one of the last revenue sources for musicians—drying up, (and venues face overbooking into 2021, leaving little room for small acts) This Is Fine feels like Beeler doubling down on her devotion to music. As she puts it: “This is a podcast by a musician, about musicians who are struggling the same as everybody else—but it’s not just for musicians; I think anybody will be able to relate to what we’re talking about.”

Get caught up on the first six episodes now:

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In Print This Week

Vol 28, No 2
October 15, 2020

Cover Gallery »


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