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Nocturne by sight 

Mountain Man
Elinor Whidden
Khyber ICA, 1588 Barrington Street, and around town

Elinor Whidden's studio practice "consists of dismembering and reconfiguring cars into sculptural assemblages that I can carry on my back." Working off Henry Ford's maxim of "a car in every driveway," Whidden uses the car as a metaphor for progress. She brings her project Mountain Man to the Khyber, a series of photographs and sculptural assemblages from a performance done in the Rockies last year. Whidden's car-part assemblages reference hiking and survival gear. Find Whidden trekking Halifax's streets with a backpack full of windshield wipers, which she'll later build into a windshield-wiper tent in the gallery.

Baby Blue
Lisa Lipton
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia courtyard, 1723 Hollis Street, 7:30pm

Lisa Lipton has little reason to feel blue, with exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Khyber ICA last year, plus residencies at Sackville's Struts Gallery this summer and the AGNS this fall, but blue is the colour of her latest work. Her video "Baby Blue," created during the Struts residency, will be projected in the AGNS courtyard during Nocturne. With similar themes of fantasy and love as her video installation High on a Hill shown at the Khyber last year, "Baby Blue" features a woman singing of lost love on a suburban front lawn.

Lipton, who is also a musician (formerly with i see rowboats, and new band Library), rewrote the classic "Blue Moon," reversing the lines musically and rewriting the lyrics. She enlisted singer Victoria Parker as the blue-clad songstress and filmed the video on her parents' lawn. Mom and Dad also join in the action: "My parents stand behind her and support her search---maybe they fill in that loneliness a bit," she says. Lipton sees her parents as representations of long-lasting love and calls them "a pleasure to work with." The voice of Parker as a professionally trained singer contrasts with her parents' older, untrained vocals---"something really real and human," Lipton says.

Part of a larger baseball project, that she worked on during her residency in Sackville, the project as a whole dealt with themes of loss and loneliness---"putting hope and energy in something and having it fall away." Lipton knitted baseball gear (in baby blue, of course), and created a second video using community members in Sackville wearing the equipment.

Knowing nothing about baseball, Lipton learned by watching games on TV and joining Eyelevel Gallery’s summer baseball team. She learned a lot about "being a beginner" and "sports anxiety." The sporting theme runs into her project for the AGNS residency, which began in September and continues until December. Titled You can take my bicycle, the project will consist of a video with an elderly man on an exercise bike, wearing a knitted three-piece suit. Looking again at themes of loss, as well as aging and grief, Lipton has been considering these while watching her grandfather decline in a hospital this year. During Nocturne, "Baby Blue" will be performed live by the singer, and Lipton's band Library (with two other former members of i see rowboats) will also play in the AGNS courtyard.

Also at AGNS: Dweebo and Puma Marauder

Painter and musician Mitchell Wiebe's alter-ego Dweebo teams up with Graeme Patterson's persona Puma Marauder, a character from Patterson's "Grudge Match" installation (on view downstairs at the Sobey Art Award exhibition). Patterson will be joining Wiebe's band Pastoralia (with artists Ray Fenwick and Rebecca Young), which debuted at Go North!, in the courtyard. Wiebe writes, "With all these characters, and all the excitement, things might very well erupt into a wrestling match or something!" Expect more in the way of animal costumes, bizarre makeup and glam rock than serious anger, but either way, the fur is sure to fly.

Anne Pickard
Anna Leonowens Gallery, 1891 Granville Street

Anne Pickard, also known as HandyGirl, has several projects in store. Her exhibition at Anna Leonowens will consist of two new sculptural textile pieces, a giant mermaid and doll, but she is also participating in the food-themed Edible Show there, where she'll be collecting donations of healthy food and earth-friendly household products. She'll use the donations to make sandwiches for "anybody who's hungry," which will be ongoing during the week; it's an extension of her HandyGirl work where she collects unsold sandwiches and baked goods from a cafe to deliver among NSCAD students.

Stephanie McNair
Central Common, 9-10pm

Want a big-ticket experience on the Common without the prices for KISS or Paul McCartney? McNair's performance will give it to you. As in her pose for this week's Coast cover, she'll be setting up with a guitar, amps and rock-star attire---though she doesn't know how to play guitar. With an open-ended performance of distorted sound, McNair figures playing noise that "may be a bit obnoxious" will elicit mixed responses from neighbours and other locals, much like the regular concerts do. "It's cool to watch [concerts] build up the week before they happen, but I also see the other side, having my park taken away," she says.

The Haunted Gallery
UAG Art Collective
The Rock Garden, 2304 Hunter Street

Local collective the Upstairs Apartment Gallery got booted from said apartment this summer due to construction, but they're keeping the dream alive at varying locations: this time at practice space The Rock Garden. Combining everyone's favourite holidays, Nocturne and Halloween, the show will feature the dark arts contributed from dozens of local artists, filling up multiple rooms, and a belly dancing performance. Artists include Chr!s Sm!th, Peter Diamond, Lydia K. Stalingrad, Laura Dawe, Chris Lockerbie, Geordan Moore and many others. Curator Stoo Metz suggests you "reach into your black heart and give in to your dark side."

Somewhere Along the Line
MSVU Art Gallery, 166 Bedford Highway

This group drawing show started off with three drawings from MSVU's permanent collection, portraits where the ink-wash process determined the outcome. Curators Ingrid Jenkner and Katie Belcher sought out other process-based work by artists from across Canada---the most recent of which "was finished five minutes ago," Belcher says. Both had seen a room-size installation at the National Gallery by Montreal artist Massimo Guerrera, who made books of drawings of viewers' reactions to the piece, which will be on display at the show. Other artists include locals Lucie Chan, Anne MacMillan and David Dahms, plus Ed Pien and more.

NocTOUR podcasts

For another route, download the NocTOUR podcast (free at Complete with sounds of birds and street noise thanks to production help from radio geniuses at CKDU, the 15-minute track is a guide to events outside the city core, from Dartmouth to the Marginal Road area. "We want to make very clear that Nocturne is much more than just a downtown Halifax event," says tour guide and podcast co-writer Jenny Johnson. "We wanted to provide people with as many ways as possible to experience the festival." -Mike Landry

Nocturne buses
Running north and south from Barrington Street, until midnight Contemporary art is the business of cool. Take the least cool, most mundane thing you can think of---say, riding on a Metro Transit bus---and contemporary art will fill those dirty seats. At least that's what happened last year when Nocturne offered free transit between venues featuring on-board live music. And the buses are back and even better this year. Featuring again a variety of musical styles, and even some musical comedy, the bus route has been revised into two shorter north and south routes. Because art might help make the bus tolerable, but it can't work miracles. -ML The Coast's Nocturne Photopool

Photos by Aaron McKenzie Fraser and The Coast's Shutterbug Society.

Join our Flickr Photopool or send us a twitpic, include a location (just in case your phoone does not automatically include geographic data) and we'll post them up for you!

View Nocturne Photo Pool 2009 in a larger map

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