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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dartmouth rapper Jay Mayne gets US distribution deal

He'll be represented by Blingnot Media, an affiliate of The Fugees, Rick Ross and more

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Still #ChopTrees
  • Still #ChopTrees

"If you know me, you know I don't get excited about things until they're actually moving," says Dartmouth rapper and #ChopTrees founder Jay Mayne. "I'm hyped to make some steps in the right direction, but I still gotta' secure the bag." Last week, the rapper announced an American deal with Blingnot Media, a US-based firm led by Kevon Glickman, who has facilitated the careers of The Fugees, Flo Rida, Kriss KrossRick Ross and more. It's dope, as they say. 

For almost a decade, the WESC-advocate and skateboarder has been grinding non-stop, releasing mixtape after mixtape of underground rap, influnced by his love of west coast hip hop, while releasing videos directed by Jason Eisener or animated by Jon Eisener and grabbing nominations and awards from the East Coast Music Association and Music Nova Scotia. He's performed all over, including at the Halifax Pop Explosion, and last October, he represented the city at AC3 in Atlanta, one of the largest hip-hop conferences in North America. 

Under his management, Grey Sea, Mayne has earned this new continental distribution deal, no doubt. Few local hip-hop artists have a catalogue as consistent as Mayne, and his gravelly voice and recurring themes (rapping, trapping and skateboarding) are now characteristic staples of his work. With his crew, rappers like Cam Smith and Thrillah, Mayne's finally on the rise. And the US deal brings with it a bunch of opportunities to perform for new audiences in new places. 

In June, Mayne will perform in Salt Lake City, before heading to LA "to make music and skate," and then he'll hit up London and Atlanta, the hub of hip hop. For some of those dates, he'll bring along his rap-doggie Thrillah, with whom he often performs. Their shows sometimes feature back-and-forths and the two are like Halifax's Redman and Method Man, although they're not a band: "I'm definitely stoked to have Thrillah's energy onstage whenever I can," says Mayne.

Until then, he'll be working on new releases and taking the chance to skateboard when he can: "Nate (Oliver) told me yesterday we have to try to backside nose blunt the picnic table at the park,  so I'm tryna prepare mentally for that," he says. Like all his efforts, this one is for his G's.


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Friday, April 15, 2016

Josh O'Kane talks his new Joel Plaskett book Nowhere With You

The Globe and Mail reporter launches the non-fiction work at The Carleton on Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 2:18 PM

Josh O'Kane interviewing the king of New Scotland - FRED LUM
  • Josh O'Kane interviewing the king of New Scotland
  • Fred Lum
If there was ever a local musician worthy of his own book, you already know it's Dartmouth's Joel Plaskett. Published on April 1 by ECW Press, and written by Globe and Mail reporter Josh O'Kane, the 200-page non-fiction narrative Nowhere With You traces Plaskett's Maritime success against all social and cultural odds, from his early days in Thrush Hermit and all-out Canadian rock stardom to his current throne as the king of New Scotland Yard. In just two weeks, the book is already reported to be on this weekend's Globe and Mail's bestseller list.

Rich in anecdotes, interviews and photos, Nowhere With You is as much a heartfelt biography as it is a work of cultural sociology. O'Kane took the title of the book from Plaskett's 2006 single of the same name, one of Plaskett's best-known songs, that auspiciously served as O'Kane's thesis.

"Joel is a success that I wanted to highlight," says O'Kane on the phone from Toronto. In the book, O'Kane carefully but not pedantically shows how Plaskett has 'gone nowhere' by staying here, unlike many of his peers. Over the last 20 years, Plaskett has forged a sustainable, practical and national career in music, despite trends in economics and the arts, and high rates of outmigration. 

"I was interested in how Joel was able to stay and do this himself," says O'Kane. "His success means that anyone can be a success. It doesn't mean everyone will, but it means that it's possible. I think for Joel, it has a lot to do with thoughtful entrepreneurship and constantly trying, and constantly working. For me, as a music nerd, it was a musical story that hadn't been told before." 

Initially, O'Kane's access point into Plaskett's music was the result of his own leaving.  "I was someone who had to move away to find a fulfilling and creative career," O'Kane explains, who is originally from New Brunswick. In 2009, as he was moving from the Maritimes for Toronto, O'Kane fell in love with the Joel Plaskett Emergency. "You know how you hear an album that you slept on, and then all of a sudden, you're obsessed with it, like, two years after it came out. For me, that was Ashtray Rock. It felt like this document of the east coast, like someone sweeps in and there's all this partying, then real life hits and someone moves away. And then I had moved away. I related to the theme so much." That year, Plaskett released his triple-disc Three. O'Kane became even more endeared to the rocker, noticing the recurrent theme on all his albums of people leaving home. "All my friends, where did they go? / To Montreal, Toronto," Plaskett sings. 

"I had been interested in music journalism, and I thought there was a real opportunity for more long-form. And this aspect of leaving was a theme I had been personally living out," says O'Kane, on the book's genesis. "Then in November 2013, I went to see Joel play a show in Toronto, and I turned to my friend and I said, 'This is it, this is what I want to write about.' It went from there." 

Over the next two years, O'Kane exhausted musical archives, media clippings and Have Not Been The Same while spending six months living in Halifax interviewing people in Plaskett's orbit—Plaskett's drummer Dave Marsh, his dad Bill, his friend Charles Austin, Plaskett's wife and Plaskett himself— to get a comprehensive picture of the rocker's career timeline and personality. 

"I'm a music nerd who is lucky enough to be a reporter, so the interviews were half the fun for me. I wanted to dig up facts behind the stories that already existed in the community and create a bigger picture of what happened. It's what I do here at the Globe, and it worked for the book." Speaking with the people around Plaskett, as well as Plaskett himself, gives O'Kane's book a conversational quality. As a notoriously private person, the biographical elements of Plaskett's life are important to the point of showing how he had the support and determination to keep it going.

"Dave Marsh was a treat, he was really interesting and straightforward," says O'Kane on his favourite interviews during his research. "Dave's been a key player in Joel's growth since 2000. He keeps him on his toes, not only in terms of the beat, but his ambition. Sloan's Chris Murphy was great, too, he's got this wonderful sense of humour and he told stories with an enthusiasm that was equally sarcastic and romanticizing, as well. And Joel's dad, Bill, was just a total natural storyteller. You can see how that influenced Joel's approach to songwriting." 

While the theme of leaving home is a Maritime phenomenon if not a cliché, O'Kane says the book is regionally and nationally relevant: "It's a generational thing to move from a small town to a big city," he explains. "The numbers make it even more difficult to stay in the Maritimes, but it's relatable everywhere. And I was also struck by how many people love Joel. His songwriting is not just good songwriting for the east coast, it's impeccable songwriting that is loved across Canada."

On Saturday afternoon at The Carleton (1685 Argyle Street, 2pm), O'Kane will host a Q&A with Plaskett for the official east coast ECW Press launch of the book. Copies will be available to buy

"There are a lot of thanks in the back of the book," says O'Kane, "Especially the Maritime Mafia, who are the Maritime friends I made here in Toronto. We all really miss home. But we can't go back home right now, so that's shitty and sad. But there's a celebratory part of coming home, too."


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Monday, January 11, 2016

The Coast staff picks their favourite David Bowie songs

The man who changed the world, the legendary Starman, passed away last night

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 12:04 PM

click image David Bowie (1947-2016)
  • David Bowie (1947-2016)

This morning it was announced that the world has lost David Bowie to cancer after an 18-month illness. He had just turned 69. Without question, he was one of the most influential artists, actors and performers in this history of music, one of the most unique in his approach to challenging social conventions and one of the most beloved in the whole cosmic universe. 

Born near London, Bowie began playing guitar at age 15; he told his mother he would be a rock star. He released his first self-titled record in 1967, a second in 1969 and then The Man Who Sold The World in 1970, which established Bowie as a force in rock and roll. He was compared to Zeppelin, Sabbath and Lou Reed, American soul, disco. Later bands and artists would be invariably compared to him. Over the decade, with album releases almost every year, Bowie embodied the 1970s glam, gender-bending, high-fashion, high-concept, historical and social commentary, amazing riffs, amazing piano, an artist and a visionary in all senses.

Through the 1980s, Bowie collaborated with other formative artists and his sound would adapt and inflect various styles in music while maintaining an edge that, in retrospect, belongs entirely to his own invention. His performance in Jim Henson's 1986 fantasy, Labyrinth, will be eternally iconic. From funk to new-wave to classical, Bowie was always the trendsetter. There never was and never will be a person like David Bowie. In 2013, he released The Next Day before re-releasing "Let's Dance." On his birthday this year, January 8, he released Blackstar, just two days before his death. Defacing the idea of his legacy, in some ways, Blackstar is an album on which, as Michael Rancic says, Bowie is "waiting for everyone else to catch up," as always. Someday, we will.  

In his memory, The Coast staff picks their favourite Bowie songs, for our hero, David Bowie. 

Christine Oreskovich, Publisher

"I have always been a huge Bowie fan. I remember hearing 'China Girl' in 1983, when I was 11. He was so sexy. My favourites? 'Ashes to Ashes,' 'Diamond Dogs,' 'Suffragette City,' 'Let's Dance,' 'Heroes,' the most romantic song ever. I can't list them all. I'm in a David Bowie Cover Choir, eight of us sing David Bowie songs, we're actually meeting tonight. The songs are all still so great." 

Kyle Shaw, Editor

"'The Jean Genie.'  I never got into Bowie, but I really liked that video. His songs, like 'Queen Bitch,' were in Wes Anderson films, and that revitalized my fandom. Christine's a big fan."

Adria Young, Staff Writer/Arts

"I think 'Rebel, Rebel' was the first song that allowed me to understand gender dynamics — for me, it was the first song to articulate that gender is a performance and a construct, and sexuality is fluid. As a tomboy and as a rule-breaker, this was my anthem. It also shaped my understanding of British rock, and got me into the Stones. Over the years, I related to different eras of Bowie's personality as I began to understand myself. But 'Rebel, Rebel' was different. Fuck the rules." 

Grant Faulkner, Account Executive

"'Heroes,' because I really liked Brian Eno, and they wrote it together, and it's just good."

Matthew Bustin, Production Assistant

"I think 'Golden Years,' because it makes me happy, it makes me want to dance. Bowie was clearly an incredibly unique musician. Not just musically, but he had a huge impact on fashion, too." 

Rochelle Locke, Senior Account Executive

"I think 'Under Pressure.' It always reminds me of my dad because he was a big Queen fan and he introduced me to both Bowie and Queen. But every song. Every song that comes up."

The Guardian's obituary for Bowie is gorgeous. A true legend. David Bowie forever. 

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Local doc Myrtle Beach headed to Slamdance Film Fest

Michael Fuller and Neil Rough take their beautiful portrait to Park City, Utah

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 4:45 PM

  • Myrtle Beach
  • Michael Fuller/Neil Rough

In January, locally produced documentary Myrtle Beach premieres at the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, an independent complement to the Sundance Film Festival that same week. Produced, directed and shot by Atlantic photographers Michael Fuller and Neil Rough, the film follows a few Myrtle Beach denizens to create interesting and dynamic portraits of the human condition. Set against the gorgeous natural and artificial landscapes of the South Carolina vacation town, Myrtle Beach is stunning and emotional, desperate yet compassionate.

"The movie was an attempt, for me at least, to use a slightly different medium to explore the types of things I'd been exploring in my photographs," says Neil Rough, with 20 years of experience shooting all across North America.  In 2011, explains Fuller, "We drove towards Miami with a video camera and a loose idea for a film we wanted to make. The idea morphed, as it usually does, and the landscape of Myrtle Beach and the people there became our focus." Over the next few years, they returned to Myrtle Beach several times and shot the last rolls of footage this spring. 

The film follows several real men in documentary vignettes of unusual characters telling their stories, like Wayne the self-appointed security guard, a veteran named Alvin, the cockatoo keeper, the homeless man and an old man named George, among others. "It's an observation of Myrtle Beach and the people therein, an attempt at finding the 'unfamiliar in the familiar.' It brings to the forefront select individuals who might otherwise go unnoticed," says Fuller. 

  • Michael Fuller/Neil Rough

"The images of the town exist as a way to give a setting to the place where the characters exist," Rough elaborates, "But the characters are the important part. I see a lot of humanity." With Fuller's production, Rough's experience as a photographer becomes apparent in the cinematography, balancing focus and light to show what's revealed through movement, and sometimes silence. Rough says he tapped into a feeling of mystery and hoped to capture it. 

With funding through Arts Nova Scotia and private contributions, the film was completed with a minimal budget and edited by Grant Stewart in New York. All three will head to Utah in January for the premiere, and hope to enter the film in other festivals, while working on new projects. 

Myrtle Beach - First Teaser Trailer from Off Season on Vimeo.

* * * * * * * * * 

For other new docs on America's south-east, check out Sean Dunne's short doc Black Bike Week about Myrtle Beach's annual African-American biker rally and his 2014 doc Florida Man about some of central Florida's strange street characters, as well. God bless the USA. 

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Playoffs happen live tonight: Bayside Jaguars VS Deep Chaos

Sobey Art Award nominee Lisa Lipton hosts the final game of HOOP DREAMS

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:45 PM

  • Hoop Dreams

Tonight at the Halifax Grammar School's Atlantic Street Campus (5750 Atlantic Street, 8pm sharp), you can take part in the conclusion of one of the most legendary basketball games to ever hit Halifax. The East Coast's Sobey Art Award nominee Lisa Lipton invites you to the Hoop Dreams Playoffs between the Bayside Jaguars and Deep Chaos, two rival teams that have been feuding in Lipton's multidisciplinary art performance project since last May.

If you passed through the Citadel High School gym on Nocturne, you would have seen some of the region's top ballers compete on the court while six drummers accompanied the rhymes of local hip-hop artists. Lipton says, "The game being played revolves around the rhythm of rivalries, each player contributing to both the reality and fiction of a localized championship, a heated moment within the project’s narrative, a time and place where tensions run high, while perceptions for taking the win become disrupted through the display of unconventional musicality."  

Tonight's season closer will feature the drumming of Nancy Urich, Bianca Palmer, Hannah McGrath, Scott Grundy, Nick Dourado and Lipton with musical contributions by Real Eyez, Jody Upshaw, Josh Salter and Andrew Neville. Bayside Jaguars captain, Paul Doucette, will call the game, and Garnet Estabrooks acts as co-captain and recruiter. There is also a troupe of dancers at half-time, mascots, lights and sounds. It's going to be a night to rival all nights and the union of the most beautiful things in the world: basketball, music and art. 

  • Krista Comeau (@kristacomeau)

The series of games are elements of Lipton's incredibly complex film and art installations that correspond to her episodic feature-length film The Impossible Blue Rose, which obscures concepts like identity, anonymity, fiction and non-fiction, all shrouded in allusions to landmark 90s-teen hit, Saved By The Bell. Spectators are asked to flood their social media channels (Instagram/Facebook) using the hashtag #greysville to further confuse our sense of reality. 

Lipton's Sobey Art Award exhibition is on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until January; the $50,000 award winner will be announced tomorrow night at the Sobey Art Award Gala. Three cheers for Lipton. She is truly one of the most intricate and innovative contemporary artists working in Canada (and Hawaii) today. I'm rooting for Chaos. 

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Squad up: volunteers needed to make hip hop history

Confiscated Records, RAW Cypher and Alter Egos need MCs and more for video project

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 3:45 PM

Woozy Blanks, organizer of RAW Cypher - RANA ENCOL
  • Woozy Blanks, organizer of RAW Cypher
  • Rana Encol

I'm calling in a favour, my dogs. The peeps behind Confiscated Records, the RAW Cyphers and Creative Action are looking for male and female emcees, beats, extras and helpers for the All Souls Cypher Video Project, which will be filmed at Alteregos Coffee House (2193 Gottingen) on Saturday, October 10 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. With the videography support of Kim Smith (Creative Action), and badass duo Real Eyez and Kayla Borden, the team has put out a casting call: "Volunteer to be part of hip hop history. Come have fun and make art together." If you're down, you can get more information from Woozy Blanks (Martez Wiggins,, or 

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

String Things: German artist Helmut Lemke performs tonight

A collaborative improv sound performance, plus a poem by Andrew Patterson

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 1:25 PM

Helmut Lemke performs tonight - HTTP://WWW.SOUND-ART.DE/
  • Helmut Lemke performs tonight

Tonight, UK-based, German sound and performance artist Helmut Lemke presents "Long Strings 'n' Short Encounters" at The Bus Stop Theatre (8pm), a collaborative, improvisational concert experience with Paul Cram (sax/ clarinet), Brandon Auger (modular synth), Lukas Pearse (bass) and Andrew Patterson (reading). It will be his only performance in Halifax. 

As one of the the Ballast artists at the White Rabbit Arts Festival last weekend, Lemke performed stringed sound experiences solo, and with drummer/artist Lindsay Dobbin (Gift from God), the culmination of his three-week residency. There, he also met Halifax poet Patterson, who will read excerpts from modern language poet Ron Silliman's Sunset Debris. 

Patterson attempts to describe Lemke's installations and performances during White Rabbit: "Helmut is really into installation work, building contraptions out of drum kits and fishing rods, with little motors to make them run," he says, "At White Rabbit, he did a performance with Lindsay where they were in the ocean, with contact mics, and Helmut was playing a reel of fishing line that was out in the water. There was a guy with a solar panel on his back powering the amps, which were in a wheelbarrow, and moved as the tide went out. It was essentially a mobile performance of playing the tide line. Hard to describe. He also put fishing line across a pond and played the strings. I think tonight he's playing the room. It's pretty out-there stuff."

Lemke also hosted workshops at White Rabbit, which entailed listening as shared experience: "We'd get up early in the morning and all draw what we heard," explains Patterson, "Helmut is really interested in the interactions of language." Naturally, as a poet, Patterson shares these interests. "I stopped seeing a boundary between composition and improv. Any performance has a set of parameters, but they're different for improv, which is something I'm learning."

In the wake of White Rabbit, Patterson has been writing semi-collaborative poetry with Chicago-based artist Anna Wolfe-Pauly, in the spirit of Shiomi Mieko's "Spatial Poem No. 2" circa 1966. The project is a simultaneous listening and writing experience. For the last four days, at 5:00pm in Halifax (3:00pm in Chicago), both Patterson and Wolfe-Pauly write about exactly what they're hearing at that time. They then have 24 hours to send the poems to each other. Below, Patterson shares one of his poems from this series, written during Saturday's power outage. 

Check out the Facebook event for more information about tonight's performance. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Nova Scotia ... 5:00pm // August 22nd . 2015


swishing of pants
and moisture parting

in step

Ever a siren
barely, off somewhere.

It's suddenly after-work-or-before-work-ending
and everyone has keys
or small bits of change

and children
announce the days to come.

What the crosswalk
does to the sound
cars in motion

(and one, two, three) gear
sets freely
strung along the close

- Did the power go out everywhere?
- Oh . . . I didn't notice. It hardly made a sound.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Showing Resistance

Explore new zines at the Sovereign Nation: Paths of Resistance and Decolonization exhibit

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Walls of zines at B Side Gallery - LAURA GRIER
  • Walls of zines at B Side Gallery
  • Laura Grier

The Anchor Archive Zine Library is a pillar of the Halifax DIY and politically active community. An wellspring of inspiring, healing and challenging material, it’s a resource we are lucky to have such free access to.

Laura Grier, summer communications and events coordinator for the Anchor Archive, is an Indigenous artist and activist from Alberta. Laura Baker-Roberts is an artist, arts organizer and environmental activist living in Halifax. Both Grier and Baker-Roberts are student leaders on the Student Union of NSCAD University.

Together, the artists have reframed the library’s collection with fresh eyes to put together this month’s exhibit, Sovereign Nation: Paths of Resistance and Decolonization, running to Sunday, July 27 at the Anchor Archive Zine Library and B Side Gallery (2180 Gottingen Street), you can pop in during the Halifax Art Walk on Thursday, July 17 (5-8pm), organized by Argyle Fine Art’s Adriana Afford.

Curating zines on the theme of sovereignty and decolonization, Grier and Baker-Roberts have put together an exhibit that hopes to enlighten and inspire. “Laura and I spent hours and hours going through every box in every category,” says Baker-Roberts. “We found a written piece in a NSCAD Feminist Collective zine from 2011 by Kaley Kennedy that summed up many of our feeling on Indigenous representation in media.”

“Having just started my position at the library I am very new to the whole zine community and have just really begun digging into the library,” says Grier. “There are amazing collectives and groups who are behind a lot of the zines such as The Warrior Productions, an Indigenous zine, to Elizabeth Marie Egan who created a beautiful illustrative zine on the history of the Minnehaha and the Four Oaks Spiritual Encampment.”

Grier and Baker-Roberts say zines are an incredible resource for sharing ideas and information from a wide variety of perspectives and authors—from comics about personal experiences, critical essays or wild foraging, issues like Indigenous rights, perspectives on prisons and queer and trans activism in our local community, and they hope they can both start a dialog and encourage others to make their own zines.

“I wanted to have something that had more Indigenous representation since I found that we live in a highly colonial city and rarely have representation and space. I wanted to try and see if there were zines that could not only explain more on the effects of colonization but the types of ways we can decolonize our world to everyday actions,” says Grier. “We are living in a very white settler world and it is about time to take up some space and to create knowledge and understanding we can start with educating ourselves. These zines are great stepping stones to open up our perspectives and start acting on challenging our world and create change.”

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2014 Sobey Art Award shortlist announced

Go Graeme Patterson!

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 3:17 PM

The Mountain (part of Secret Citadel), 2013, mixed media sculpture/video installation, 244 x 304 x 182cm. - GRAEME PATTERSON
  • The Mountain (part of Secret Citadel), 2013, mixed media sculpture/video installation, 244 x 304 x 182cm.
  • Graeme Patterson

Going on vacation is pretty great, guys. But you know what's not so great? Going on vacation and missing the opportunity to post about the Sobey Art Award shortlist as soon as it's announced.

Better late than never! Here's the short list of contemporary artists under age 40 from across Canada who are up for this year's prize—$50,000 and a whole lot of applause. Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery opening on November 1, with the winner being announced at a gala event on November 19.

West Coast and the Yukon: Evan Lee
Prairies and the North: Neil Farber and Michael Dumontier
Ontario: Chris Curreri
Quebec: Nadia Myre
Atlantic: Graeme Patterson

Read more about Patterson here, about his most recent AGNS show, Secret Citadel and here, about Patterson's first Sobey nomination.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mayworks Festival starts today

Festival opens with tribute to Aboriginal activism

Posted By on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Still from Martha Stiegman's “Seeking Netukulimk”
  • Still from Martha Stiegman's “Seeking Netukulimk”

The Mayworks Festival is back and organizer Sébastien Labelle says this will be the most diverse festival in the five years the festival’s been running.

“We really are building a festival frame around the events, we want to recognize first where the festival is happening, on Mi’gmaq territory, but also recognize that when we are talking about social justice…what’s really been at the forefront of minds and activists and really an inspiring beacon has been the struggles that have been led by First Nations.”

Including African Nova Scotian, Mi’kmaq and other Aboriginal cultures and different levels of ability focused programming, Labelle hopes this year will cover a very wide spectrum.

The event connects the realms of workers’ rights and activism with the art world and will present everything from short films to a book launch. Artist movements and labour movements have a lot in common and it is readily forgotten that artists are workers themselves.

“This festival is about fostering those kinds of relationships and giving us space for artists to have support and venues for work that is political and that challenges norms,” says Labelle.

Another goal of the festival is to break the stereotypes involved in labour movements and unions says Labelle, since there are many misconceptions about the role of unions, especially in recent months with the nurses' strike and the media’s involvement.

“The media depict[ed] labour leaders as union bosses but this is a complete distortion of what unions actually are, which are very democratic organization composed of the workers themselves and those who speak on behalf of unions are elected by the membership of union to be in those positions.”

Max Haiven, who will be launching his book Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power: Capitalism, Creativity and the Commons as a part of Mayworks, sees the parallel between unions and artists, saying "there is a sense that the ideas of creativity that artists try to embody and cultivate is akin to some of the struggles that labour and unions have had which is to free work from the boss.”

Haiven will be discussing the first couple chapters of his book and considers Mayworks a great opportunity to open up this discussion.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring together the arts community and people struggling in labour and social justice communities,” says Haiven. The dialogue has been strong in Halifax as groups continue to make it happen but there is always more to be done, according to Haiven.

Zach Faye with DaPoPo Theatre want to continue this dialogue with people who come to Café DaPoPo’s politically charged performances.

“Performance is good as a tool to voice those thoughts and ideas in more formed ways…it’s important for people to step outside the box and experience a new way of approaching the topic.”

When artists enter the discussion of workers' issues with other industries, Faye sees that artists have the same issues as anyone else. “It’s not surprising when we have a lot of things in common, a lot of the same grievances, a lot of the same worries about funding, about representation in the union and those sorts of things.”

Faye wants people to see themselves represented in the Café and to walk away with a new perspective on issues of social justice and workers’ rights.

Note: Organizers have secured a location for the photo exhibition "Aftermath: Consequences of a Workplace Injury". It will be at Pier 21, from 1pm-4pm following the Day of Mourning commemoration at Province House on Monday, April 28.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ballet Jörgen`s Romeo and Juliet

Pure magic

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Hiroto Saito and Saniya Abilmajineva as Shakespeare`s star-crossed lovers
  • Hiroto Saito and Saniya Abilmajineva as Shakespeare`s star-crossed lovers

With Romeo and Juliet, Ballet Jörgen and Symphony Nova Scotia bring the story of Shakespeare’s immortal, star-crossed lovers marvellously to life through dance and music. Joy, sorrow and passion are expressed in movement, subtle as the disdainful pointing of a finger and grand as a joyful pirouette. This show is a sensual delight, from the sumptuous costumes to Prokofiev’s powerfully evocative score. Saniya Abilmajineva’s portrayal of Juliet is pure delight. Her transformation from an innocent and mischievous girl to a young woman impassioned and emboldened by her first love is a marvel to watch. Hiroto Saito as Romeo beautifully portrays his own transformation from careless youth through mooning lover to burdened young man. Daniel Da Silva is a standout as the terminally playful Mercutio, as is Hannah Mae Cruddas as the forbidding and imperious Lady Capulet. Such a magical evening!

April 17 at 8pm at The Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
Tickets are now on sale at the Box Office, Dalhousie Arts Centre. You can purchase online (, in person or by calling (902) 494-3820. There are discounts for students and seniors and groups of ten or more.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Artceleration tonight!

Young Haligonians let hip-hop tell their stories at Artceleration

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Photo from the November 26 ArtsSpace event at JL Ilsley High School - PAIGE CAMERON
  • Photo from the November 26 ArtsSpace event at JL Ilsley High School
  • Paige Cameron

Art has the power to change lives, and that's what Haligonians are going to see at Youth Art Connection's Artceleration concert tonight at BridgeCAT in Dartmouth.

The event will showcase the numerous young adults in Halifax that have worked with YAC founders Ryan Veltmeyer and Ann Denny on building and marketing their passions.

“What we do is look for youth who have that talent, that drive, that passion but not necessary the networks, or the specific knowledge of how to engage with their passions,” says Veltmeyer. “Sometimes they're lacking the resources, money, that kind of thing to turn their serious passion, talents and activity into action.”

With the upcoming Growing a Creative Economy conference in Sydney April 14-16, Veltmeyer and Denny wanted to have a preliminary event to discuss community economy and young people in Halifax. Gavin Sheppard, TED fellow and co-founder of ReMix in Toronto, is coming to talk about the power of art on urban communities and wanted to join Veltmeyer and Denny's event.

“Hopefully, this conference and Gavin's visit here is a prelude to bigger things to come down the road,” says Veltmeyer. “Collecting some momentum, empowering and meeting youth artists and creatives across the province, seeing what we can do by working together.”

With Sheppard in town, Veltmeyer says it's the perfect opportunity to have an event focused on hip-hop music since “so many of the young people we work with love hip-hop. Hip-hop is really around self expression and it can be revolutionary. It talks about social problems, it's a good way to express [emotion].”

One of the speakers from YAC's own ArtPreneurs program will be Konyon Cash, a 19-year-old rapper, dancer and motivational speaker who is now looking to tour schools in the province.

On a test tour to Amherst last spring, Cash “talked about life back in Africa, I talked about how you can do anything you want, and I talk about how I started my music. Then I also rap and dance and just chill with them.” All of the money he makes on his tour will go towards funding his other dream of becoming an RCMP officer.

Other young people speaking at the event became ArtPreneurs through the YAC program, just like Cash. Through learning to create their own opportunities, they've gone on to pursue interests like dancing, motivational speaking and business. All have one main goal: to make money at their passion.

“What we hear now and again from all of the youth, by the time they get to Grade 10, 11, 12, 'this is fun, Ryan, I'm getting skills and meeting people, this is exciting. Now I need to make money. I'm about to graduate, I got bills, college, I want to travel', all those things when people who graduate high school have to deal with.”

This is when Veltmeyer and Denny help guide the participants to follow their dreams, either by helping with school applications, grants or helping them start their own small business.

“What we have to do then is give youth a reality check and say, OK, these passions are really good but they have to have a specific plan on how they can make money now and down the road for it that is's all about the achievable goals.” Veltmeyer said.

The world of employment is changing, with job security disappearing and the youth employment rate on the rise. Veltmeyer and Denny see the youth changing with it. Denny sees the value of the program every time they teach one of the youth to create their own path.

“We're being creative about creating new income sources that wouldn't have existed before, so that's why it's so valuable in this economy.”

To RSVP to ARTCELERATION: Hip-Hop for Social Change & Economic Development in NS, please email: (subject: ArtCeleration).

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Good Mourning Week

A week of art events around the city to grieve whatever you like

Posted By on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 4:00 AM

  • Beck Gilmer-Osborne

In light of the changing landscape of Halifax’s art space scene (see Jade Nauss' feature, Halifax's Art Problem for more on this topic), artist Laura Baker-Roberts and the artists behind Mourning Week, decided to address the recent closures/reconfigurations/relocations of our city’s art hubs with a week of events. Mourning Week isn't curated, and it's open to the public. It's a week of spontaneous events where Halifax’s art community can grieve closing galleries, loved ones, missing objects and become at one with the idea of letting go.

Featuring (among many other wonderful events) a participatory performance by Wheelwright this Friday at the Old Burying Ground (1-3pm), an opening that night at apARTment (6:30pm, 5562 North Street), an ongoing performance at One Block Barbershop on Saturday, a mourning station at Anna Leonowens, a quiet and reflective walk along the harbour Tuesday afternoon, a Wednesday afternoon lunchtime gathering facilitated by Laurel Rennie (12:30-3, Scotia Square Food Court) fittingly titled Eating our feelings // A repast, Mourning Week wraps up on the first day of spring with a 2pm performance by Sam Moss at the NSCAD Port Campus, where Moss will collect her tears in a jar. Later that night Beck Gilmer-Osborne hosts a funeral themed party and fundraiser for Gilmer-Osborne’s legal name change (8pm, Thursday, March 20, Plan B).

“We're living in a time and place where we're continually having to restructure how we engage with art and community spaces. I think that at some point we need to extend these issues into our practice rather then attend protest after protest. Hopefully, Mourning Week has allowed for this to happen," says Baker-Roberts. "Maybe as we transition into a new season our community can be a little bit stronger as we grieve together, and find ways to move forward."

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Schema for a Letter to Mayor and City Council Officials

Inspired by Dan Graham's Schema For A Poem published in 1966 in Art & Language

Posted By , and on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 11:19 AM

(Courtesy of Thoughtfest)

(number of) addressees
(spacing) of characters
(name of) typeface
(size of) typeface
(number of) lines
(number of) pages
(number of) adjectives
(number of) verbs
(number of) nouns
(percentage of) area not occupied by type
(percentage of) area occupied by type
(size of) paper
(type of) paper stock
(number of) adverbs
(number of) polite requests
(number of) examples showing the institute's community value
(number of) civil and eloquent indictments of addressee's professional character
(number of) questions
(number of) words italicized
(number of) first-person pronouns
(number of) second-person pronouns
(number of) third-person pronouns
(number of) rhetorical questions
(tone of) letter
(number of) urgent pleas
(type of) mail delivery
(number of) city officials to receive electronic CC of e-mail or copy of physical letter
(number of) reiterations
(number of) financial figures illustrating the loss the Khyber faces during the estimated time of inactivity
(number of) financial figures illustrating the financial gain Khyber-facilitated artists have received over
previous fiscal year
(weight of) paper stock
(size of) envelope
(number of) supportive arguments

-R. Allen, H. Guinan, T. Parks and Thoughtfest

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Black Rabbit Indoor Arts Festival's circus acts

Circus of the Revolution is one of a kind

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Poster by Corey Isenor via Circus of the Revolution Facebook page
  • Poster by Corey Isenor via Circus of the Revolution Facebook page

Some people believe that black is all colours at once. The folks behind the Black Rabbit Indoor Arts Festival certainly do, and this week they are hard at work, shedding light on the vibrancy hidden within the darkness of winter.

Founded in 2011 as a fundraising initiative for the White Rabbit Open Air Arts Festival (a weeklong, collaborative arts residency that takes place on 70 acres of sunny oceanfront property in Upper Economy every August), Black Rabbit brings together roughly 50 volunteers to create a week's worth of performance, art installation and barbeque in HRM, with the aim of raising programming funds for its sister organization whilst engaging the public.

The culmination of a week's worth of activity is a spectacle known as the Circus Of The Revolution, a "one of a kind show" that's "unique, gentle, chaotic and entertaining" according to organizer and performer Brian Riley (Saturday, Feb 15, 9pm, Sunday, Feb 16, 4pm, Bus Stop Theatre). Those in attendance can expect a loosely scripted series of performances involving plenty of spinning, dancing, magical animals and a mysterious subterranean art installation called The Labyrinth. Riley explains that each year the circus "aims to articulate our understanding of the world through spectacle and playfulness."

After the high demand for last year's magnum opus, the Circus Of The Normal, the rabbits have kindly doubled your opportunity for enlightenment. "Last year, we had to turn people away at the door. This year, we've added a Sunday afternoon show, which will hopefully make it more accessible to families and kids," says Riley.

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