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Freaks and geeks: How to find your peeps 

Halifax is big enough to have shadowy cabals, associations, communities and subcultures, though they’re not always easy to find. Here are the keys to your personal kingdom.

Skaters

According to knowledgeable Pro Skateboards sales associate Nick Hanlon, skaters hang out at the skate park (the Halifax Common). It's a concrete jungle gym for those who associate their feet with rolling and their elbows, knees and faces with bloody gashes. When casts and scabs call for some local anesthetic, suggest to your new buds that you rally at Tribeca (1588 Granville Street, 492-4036), a well-known hangout for Hanlon's crowd: "It's been like that for years," he says. Since ProSkates--- 6070 Quinpool Road, 406-4006, 5222 Blowers Street, 429-6788 and ProGirl, 5240 Blowers Street, 405-3535, all soon moving to Quinpool across from the Oxford Theatre---is the only retailer of its kind on the peninsula, it's the place to find new decks and new friends under the same roof.

Goths

The only place eastern goths gather en masse is a monthly event known as MasQ. At Club 1668 (1668 Lower Water Street) patrons don black velvet, pleather, lace and leather while dancing to Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Lords of Acid and The Cure, among others. It's "a night of pure goth/industrial decadence," the August Facebook event declares. "Dress code is mandatory and strictly enforced." MasQ takes place on the third or fourth Saturday of every month. Check the Facebook group later in September for details.

Feminists

Aside from walking the streets at night with their heads held high, you'll find these admirable women---and men---at the welcoming Dalhousie Women's Centre (6286 South Street, 494-2432). Ask

Hayley Gray to induct you into the group. The Saint Mary's University Women's Centre (Student Centre, 923 Robie Street, fifth floor, 496-8722) is another welcome space for feminists. Caitlin Blennerhassett would be honoured to connect you with like-minded people.

LGBTQ

Similar to other cities, the LGBTQ crowd congregates mainly at night at a variety of queer-friendly bars and clubs including Reflections (5184 Sackville Street, 422-2957), with a dance-heavy, all-are-welcome vibe; The Company House (2022 Gottingen Street, 404-3050), where you'll find a femme-centric, younger crowd with lots of live music and a lounge-like atmosphere; and Menz Bar(2182 Gottingen Street, 446-6969), a karaoke and dance spot where you'll mostly find men. During the day, look for Dal Allies stickers on windows around campus---each rainbow indicates a queer-friendly space. Browse for books, toys and sex-positive peers at Venus Envy (1598 Barrington Street, 422-0004). For an activist approach to LGBTQ, contact the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (nsrap@nsrap.ca) and offer to volunteer.

Music geeks

This scene seems cliquey at first, but striking up a conversation with any band geek screaming his friends' lyrics while fist- pumping will nine times out of 10 reveal a warm intelligent peer with whom you can pogo. Find him and his friends---your future posse---at The Seahorse (1665 Argyle Street, 423-7200) one of the city's oldest bars with a great vibe and regular rock acts shaking the rafters or Gus' Pub (2605 Agricola Street, 423-7786), a grungy punk bar featuring local bands and most of the north end scene.

Activists and anarchists

Drifters, vagabonds, radicals---whatever you call them, they're a tossed salad of righteous individuals and they're spotted at Food Not Bombs (North Branch Library at 1pm on Sundays; Spring Garden Road Library at 5pm on Wednesdays; Victoria Park at 12:30pm on Thursdays), one of more than 175 chapters in North America that shares veggie and vegan food with hungry people to protest war and poverty. Rather than a "type," you'll find individuals at FNB with overlapping ideals and lifestyles united by a common goal.

Also look for posters around town advertising house shows---another place to find local music geeks, too, or drop by the Roberts Street Social Centre (5684 Roberts Street, 446-1788) to check out their zine library and you'll be sure to meet artsy activists. The Ecology Action Centre (2705 Fern Lane, 429-2202) is another great place to meet like-minded people and get involved with local causes.

Artists

During the day you're likely to find Halifax artists either imbibing caffeine or serving it. Rather than hanging around cafes, drink free tea at The Khyber (1588 Barrington Street, 422-9668) on Tuesdays from 6pm to 9pm during Felt Up Craft Club, "a glitter and macaroni set up" according to their Facebook group.

Next, expand your campus social circle by visiting NSCAD's Anna Leonowens Gallery (1891 Granville Street, 494-8223), a large bright white space filled with ever-changing exhibits. In the south end you can check out the Dalhousie Art Gallery (6101 University Avenue, 494-2403), the oldest public gallery in Halifax. Housed below the feet of theatre and music students in the Dalhousie Arts Centre, the Dallery presents the language and visual art exhibition Words on Walls starting September 23.

Cyclists

If you want to travel the same direction, attend Critical Mass (Victoria Park, Spring Garden Road and South Park Streets, the last Friday of every month at 6pm) where cyclists flood the streets to peacefully protest the lack of bike infrastructure in the city, though more recently you might find a few helmet heads nodding their approval at new bike racks popping up on city sidewalks. Bikers mingle while getting tune-ups at IdealBikes (1678 Barrington Street, 444-7433) and Jack Nauss Bicycle Shop (2533 Agricola Street, 429-0024). If you're in need of a bike, try Bike Again (Bloomfield Center, 2786 Agricola, 429-0924)---they collect old bikes and tune them up. You can go in, find a bike that matches you, fix it up and take it for free.

Comic freaks

Lucky you: Two of Halifax's best comic sources are downtown and within walking distance of each other: Strange Adventures (5262 Sackville Street, 425-2140) and the Spring Garden Road Memorial Library (5381 Spring Garden Road, 490-5700). Want a comic crew from the north end? Check out Monster Comic Lounge (2091 Gottingen Street, 429-2398) for games and comics, as well as Quantum Frontier (3087 Robie Street, 446-8233).

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