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Thespians, Icky Thumps and Tall Ships head to town in July. Book your appointment for that Alexisonfire tattoo and then screenprint your pain on a t-shirt.

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Written by Caley Baker, Jodie Barnaby, Sue Carter Flinn, Sean Flinn, Victoria Foley, Austen Gilliland, Stephanie Johns, Carsten Knox, Lindsay McCarney, Kate Watson and Shannon Webb-Campbell.



Now this is a book collection to envy. The exhibition of winners in the 2006 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design travels across Canada and makes a stop in Halifax this summer. According to Leah Gordon, chair of the awards committee, book design is at a "pivotal moment. There's a renewed emphasis on making books that we want to hold, touch and own. And design of the whole book, not just the cover, is what makes us want to do all that."

This is the 25th annual competition from the Vancouver-based volunteer-run association. Publishers submitted roughly 250 titles for eight categories, including children's books, pictorial, prose fiction and non-fiction. (Kentville-based Gaspereau Press won the non-fiction prize for Robert Bringhurst's Tree of Meaning.)

"If the book is well designed, the joy of handling it and reading it is hugely enhanced," says Gordon. (SF)

July 3-14. Anna Leonowens Gallery, 1891 Granville.


After the success of last year's smash hit Noises Off, which garnered four Merritt Awards, it's no wonder that the Atlantic Theatre Festival has enough financial support to mount three productions this season. As to the choice of those three plays, ATF's artistic director Nigel Bennett says, "My own policy is to try and present one play from the classic repertoire, one Canadian play and one more modern piece from the world repertoire. Hence, we have Shirley Valentine, The Drawer Boy and A Midsummer Night's Dream." Expect to see a lot of familiar faces on stage—Bennett is also a strong believer in using local actors. (KW)

July 17-September 30. Festival Theatre, 504 Main Street, Wolfville. 1-800-337-6661.


The Summer Theatre Festival at Chester Playhouse is billed as a unique festival that offers concerts, dance and stand-up comedy, in addition to traditional theatre. It kicks off on July 11 with the musical Once Upon a Mattress, an adaptation of The Princess and the Pea for adults. Then, Halifax's own Metamorphic Theatre performs Ann-Marie MacDonald's hit comedy Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet. Next is the Summer Theatre School's performance of Bye Bye Birdie, followed by a one-week engagement of the provincially touring God's Middle Name. The festival ends on a with the music of Leonard Cohen performed by Cliff LeJeune and the Blue String Quartet. (KW)

July 11-September 1. 22 Pleasant Street, Chester. 1-800-363-7529.


This summer, Halifax artist Eryn Foster is taking a long walk, the first in a series of searches for new "sacred places" across Canada. And she's inviting anyone and everyone to join her.

The roughly 250-kilometre trek to Sackville, New Brunswick (to coincide with the OK. Quoi?! and Sappy Music festivals), will wind along highways, hiking trails, side roads and farmland. Pilgrims will spend some days legging it for six to eight hours, carrying their own camping gear and provisions, and other days hanging out, swimming and meeting good folk along the way.

"I love walking. when I do my best thinking," Foster says. "The walk will function as research." She'll gather GPS data, map the route, document sites and gather stories, raw material for drawings, installations, animations and a guidebook for others who want to follow in her footsteps. (SF)

July 15, arriving July 30 (projected).


Come hell or high water, the show must go on. So, this summer there will be 23 performances of Taming of the Shrew, 10 performances of All's Well That Ends Well and 29 performances of Pinocchio by Shakespeare by the Sea. Although the shows will be staged as usual in Point Pleasant Park's beautiful Cambridge Battery, they will be moved indoors to the SBTS headquarters in the case of stormy weather. But as the website warns, seating is limited, so patrons should check for updates and arrive early. For a Canada Day treat, consider attending the special 4pm showing of Pinocchio and you'll still have time to get home, eat and watch the fireworks. (KW)

July1-Sept 2. Cambridge Battery, Point Pleasant Park. $10 suggested donation. 422-0295.


Survival is the theme of the 23rd season of Parrsboro's Ship's Company Theatre. On July 4, Nova Scotian playwright Carol Sinclair's Share has its world premiere. Share is a comedy set in the Parrsboro area, about two clashing couples that end up trapped together in a cabin during a hurricane. Next up is the Atlantic premiere of MacGregor's Ice Cream & Gas, a humourous play about a family trying to get through winter in a dying rural Saskatchewan community. The last main stage play is the touring production of God's Middle Name, about surviving and embracing the birth of an autistic child. Check the website for more plays on the second and kids' stages and for the Monday Night Concert Series. (KW)

July 4-September 30. Ship's Company Theatre, 18 Lower Main Street, Parrsboro. $25. 1-800-565-7469.



If I had a nickel for every night I spent up in bed wondering if it's Alex Is On Fire or Alexis On Fire, I'd probably be able to afford this show. If your Mom won't let you pile on the black eyeliner tonight, I hate to say it, but you're sort of fucked. At the very least, you could improvise some witty knuckle tats on the bus or something. Radio-friendly melodic punk music is basically a guilty pleasure for almost everyone on the planet, so imagine what seeing them live will do! The show is on June 20, with Cancer Bats and Attack in Black, at the Halifax Forum, and it's all-ages. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, but entrance is free if you have an Alexisonfire tattoo. (FYI: The rules of this extreme contest are posted on the band's website,, you can't just show up at the show and roll up your sleeve, buddy.) (SJ)

June 20 at 8pm. Halifax Forum, 2901 Windsor. $25-$30. 1-888-311-9090.


Among his many skills, Adam Fine, artistic director of the Atlantic Jazz Festival, has to listen—and listen closely. There are two kinds of listening at play here. Among the artists he selects for each year's festival there are those that come "on a strong recommendation from someone or if I heard them myself."

As for the tips, they come from reliable and close sources. Take, for example, the inclusion of Max Tundra, a DJ from the UK who's coming to the festival on his first-ever trip to Canada. "My little brother told me about him and then sent me the record, Mastered by Guy at the Exchange."

Fine's sibling lives in Toronto, the city that the artistic director and member of Gypsophilia—who is playing the festival's closing night—left six years ago to come to Halifax. Besides his astute younger bro, Fine's network of sources includes other festival programmers. They meet a few times a year in various locales—New York and Montreal included—to attend shows and to discuss who's touring the upcoming festival circuit. But ultimately Fine has to listen to each, then make the call as to whether it'll work in Halifax or not.

According to Fine, Slavic Soul Party, a 10-piece brass band from the Bronx, will work well in this town. So will Beyond the Pale, the Toronto-based Klezmer act. Early on, Fine says, "Klezmer took from jazz and gave to it too." At a gig by Mr. Something Something, an AfroBeat band from Toronto, Fine says, "I found myself dancing and I don't usually dance." The dance factor underpins the complement of Latin-based jazz acts too, says Fine, including Afro-Cuban groove trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. Other highlights include the return of Bill Frisell, plus People Project, The Hylozoists and Vancouver's Language-Arts. (SF)

July 13-21. Various locations and prices. Full details in The Coast's Jazz Fest issue on July 12.



A reminder to everyone who's ever wanted to see a former American Idol contestant in the flesh—this July 1, Chris Daughtry (and his band, Daughtry) will be rocking it, Halifax-style. The city continues its Canada Day tradition of gathering together a bunch of concert-goers near a historic site, as the "concert on the hill" returns. Joining Daughtry are Nickelback, Hedley, Staind, Finger Eleven, Default and State of Shock.

While Sunday's not a night that offers much alternate musical refuge for Nickelback detractors, more-thrifty music fans might want to check out the free family variety shows down at Halifax Waterfront's Summerfest (line-up to be announced) or the free outdoor concerts starting mid-afternoon at Alderney Landing (acts include Andrew Gillis and The Jump Blues All-Stars, The Eli Band, Big Fish and the show's headliners, 1971 Juno award-winners, the Stampeders.) Still not convinced this show's the one for you? People, the Stampeders sang "Sweet City Woman." (LM)

All shows July 1. Nickelback et. al. at 2pm., Citadel Hill, $54.50. Summerfest, noon-5pm, Halifax Waterfront, free. Alderney Landing concerts, 2 Ochterloney, starts at 2:40pm, free (beer garden $2).


I think it's fairly obvious that Joel Plaskett, Dartmouth's golden boy, is smitten with his hometown. If his records are any indication, he's full to the brim with love for this place, and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. There are some folks, however (and you may be one of them), who would like to see him play every weekend, but you and I both know that's just not possible. It's true that Plaskett has kept relatively quiet since his usual NYE blowout; you might say that he's just been gearing up to shake Dartmouth to its very foundations. He will do this on July 20 at Alderney Landing with buddy Peter Elkas. I promise you that. His new record, Ashtray Rock, has been in heavy rotation everywhere, and a hearty all-ages show, in his favourite place to be, is just what Doctor Goodtimes ordered for everybody. (SJ)

July 20 at 8pm. Alderney Landing. $15-$20. 1-888-311-9090.


Roll on over to Rollo Bay on Prince Edward Island for the annual Shoreline Music and Arts Festival, from July 13 to 15. This year's highly anticipated line-up is still under wraps, as festival director, founder and music programmer Dave Christensen hardly breaks a sweat when I fill his inbox with queries, but a little MySpace investigation, reveals Cadence Weapon, Joel Plaskett Emergency, The Hylozoists, Jill Barber and Ron Sexsmith as unconfirmed performers.

Last year's festival included multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd, Peterborough's veteran rockers The Sadies, Broken Social Scene's Jason Collett, Halifax-based frequent flyers In-Flight Safety, Newfoundland's road warriors The Novaks and Matt Mays & El Torpedo. In addition to Green Gables' own Jenn Grant, there were performances by Tanya Davis, Catherine MacLellan, Two Hours Traffic and Charlottetown's Smothered In Hugs.

Established in 2004, Shoreline has quickly gained the reputation of being top-drawer in the ranks of Maritime indie-rock music festivals. Combine breathtaking surroundings, the hearty good island spirit with some of Canada's top acts, what more could you ask for? Well, perhaps this year's line-up. (SWC)

July 13-15. Rollo Bay, PEI.


What button do you think is the hardest to button? I'd say it's a tie between the cuff, on account of it being so awkward, or the collar button, on account of it being so small. Here's another question for you: What exactly did Jack and Meg White promise to the devil on the crossroads that allows them to so perfectly filter classic bluesy riffs into a hard crunchy sound that refuses to leave your head? Whatever it was, they have my thanks. And with heavenly videos directed by Michel Gondry, you're really a goner. Yes, it's a sold-out show, but you can drive to Nunavut if you really feel like it, as they are touring every last province and territory in Canada, pleasing obsessive-compulsive purists everywhere. Tickets are $80 on eBay, or you can just cross your fingers and hang out by the crossroads. You'd be in good company. (SJ)

July 13 at 8pm. Cunard Centre, 961 Marginal.


On July 1, Canada turns 240 years old! Show this big old country how much you love it by running 10 kilometres, eating a giant stack of pancakes topped with oh-so-Canadian maple syrup and cheering really loudly as you watch fireworks light up the harbour. Start the day at the HBC Run for Canada, which raises money to support athletes who compete at an international level. Then head over to the Grand Parade for a pancake breakfast and flag-raising ceremony. Admission to the Citadel is free for the official Canada Day celebration, featuring the Nova Scotia International Tattoo choir, a 21-gun salute and, yum!, cake. There's a free big-band concert in the Public Gardens during the afternoon and a family picnic on the Common, with face painting, music and vendors. If you're not too tuckered out after all that, fireworks over Halifax Harbour start at 10pm. (CB)

July 1. 490-4729/490-4092.


Dragon boat racing began over 2,400 year ago, as part of a Chinese ritual performed to avert misfortune and encourage the rain needed for prosperous crops. Surely the organizers of the 11th annual Dragon Boat Festival are hoping only the first half of this will come true on July 7—sunshine would be a welcome sight for the 1,500 participants and 10,000 spectators that are expected at the one-day event. Races will pit six teams of 20 paddlers, plus a drummer, against each other as they make their way down a 200- metre course. The event is a fundraiser for the Nova Scotia Amateur Sport Fund, which aims to increase participation by supporting athletes, coaches, officials and community-based programs. Back on the shore, there will be Chinese dance demonstrations, performances by Atlantic Cirque, face painting and magic for the kids, and vendors selling all sorts of delicious food. (CB)

July 7. Lake Banook, Dartmouth.


Are you brave enough to get up in front of a crowd of complete strangers and shake it? The Saint Antonio's Lebanese Festival is a perfect opportunity to do just that. With a group of belly dance performances, you can ensure everyone in the crowd will be burning to join in with their own wiggles and shakes.

Belly dancing not your thing? That's OK, because the festival is hosting a number of different dances, such as folk and the national Lebanese Dabkee dance. The fun kicks off July 6 at 8pm and runs through the weekend until July 8. And after you've danced yourself out, treat your taste buds to a number of delicious Lebanese dishes, including tabouli, hummus, falafel and sweet, sweet baklava. (JB)

July 6-8. Olympic Community Centre, 2304 Hunter. Free. 422-5056.


Book the week off work now: Pride co-chair Michael Davies Cole promises this year's festival will be even "bigger and better" than last year's event. The 2007 Pride theme is "diversity"—a theme reflected in the sheer range of the events taking place throughout the city during the weeklong celebration. "It's not directed at any one sexuality, or any one gender or non-gender. It's such a good, wide variety," says Davies Cole.

The week's offerings (some put on by the volunteer Pride committee, and others organized by local groups and businesses) include public readings of GLBT literature, fun but informative workshops at Venus Envy, an interfaith church service, a concert on the Common, and a harbour cruise (a tie-in with the Tall Ships festival, scheduled the week before Pride begins).

And yes, sports and theatre fans—the beloved Dykes vs. Divas baseball game will be back, with both men and women suiting up in drag to play ball and put on a show. "It's probably one of the best comedy shows I've ever seen," says Davies Cole. "It's basically our version of the Harlem Globetrotters."

The diversity theme nicely complements last year's, "community," as both reflect the festival's main goals—encouraging people to embrace who they are, and rallying crowds together in support and celebration. For the second year in a row, awesome filmmaker/Halifax celeb Thom Fitzgerald (3 Needles) will be on hand to help the city celebrate these goals at the movies, as he presents his Reel Out Film festival, which screens a line-up of queer films handpicked by Fitzgerald. This year's films haven't been announced, but last year's picks included documentary Keep Not Silent and teen sex romp Another Gay Movie.

Don't forget to come brave the heat and wish the Pride parade a happy birthday as it treks by—especially when mayor Peter Kelly makes his long-awaited debut—for 2007 marks its 20th consecutive year. (LM)

July 15-22.


Big boats from around the globe will be parking their sterns in the Halifax Harbour this summer. From July 13 to 16, Haligonians will have another reason to flood the busy waterfront for the ever-popular Tall Ships Festival. The ships will then make their way to selected ports in Nova Scotia until July 23.

This is the fifth time Halifax will serve as the host city for the festival. It began right here in 1984, and has since spawned an onslaught of similar world-class festivals over the globe. In fact, the festival is anticipated to bring more 600,000 people down to the waterfront area—almost double Halifax's population—so leave the car at home. Cajun singer Hunter Hayes will perform, and Squid, John Gracie and Lennie Gallant will also serve up some maritime hospitality throughout the week. You might even catch a pirate or two.

With the harbour packed with all these beautiful vessels, a walk across a gangway is all you need to get a closer look. And even if your stomach is starting to churn from just the mention of walking onto a boat, don't worry—the harbourfront will have its share of festivities for all of you landlubbers. Tall Ships organizer David Jones is looking forward to all of the excitement and would "love to see as many people as possible down on the waterfront." (JB)

July 13-16 in Halifax, around Nova Scotia to July 23. $9-$35. 405-7700.



Screenprinting is a ton of fun. It can also be messy, confusing and expensive. That's why it makes the most sense to go in with some knowledgeable people on the supplies and skill sharing. That's exactly what the Ink Storm Sceenprinting Collective did. Located in the Anchor Archive Zine Library house on Roberts Street, some of Halifax's most charming DIY advocates (Sarah Evans, Sonia Edworthy, Capp Larsen, Lucas Dambergs, Rebecca Singer and Keeley McLean) are offering a chance for you to make shirts, patches, posters and what have you, and be economical about it. Before becoming a member (there are both monthly and hourly memberships), you must attend a tutorial to familiarize yourself with Ink Storm's light table, dark box and wash-out booth, and learn all about fun things like emulsion, inks and screens. Workshops will be held regularly throughout the summer, where you can learn the basics of one-colour printing, and how to screenprint on cakes(!), ceramics, fabric and more. (SJ)

5684 Roberts. Tuesday 5-9pm, Sunday 2-6pm. 446-1788.


Summer time is no time to be buying your fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. At this time of year—and for the next four months—your best bet is a weekly trip to the Halifax Farmers' Market on Lower Water Street or the Alderney Landing market in Dartmouth, where you'll be able to see the best of the season unfold on tables groaning under the weight of just-picked fruit and veggies. At the beginning of June, watch for rhubarb, fiddleheads and asparagus. Fresh, baby lettuces are next, then, towards the end of June and early July, strawberries. Towards the end of July look for raspberries, accompanied by early peas and beans. The harvest hits full-stride in August, with tomatoes, zucchini, peaches and blueberries arriving, followed shortly after by root vegetables, and then, towards Labour Day weekend, apples, pears, pumpkin and squash. Rather sleep in on Saturday mornings? Investigate home delivery from Home Grown Organic Foods (—they'll bring the good, local stuff right to your door. (AG)


Imagine, if you can, a summer trail ride—the heat of the sun on your face, the deep, warm smell of horse, and the rhythmic squeak of saddle leather beneath you. Imagine trotting through fields of whispering grass and through cool, dark glens. See in your mind's eye a family of deer grazing in the distance by a glittering blue lake. If this sounds to you like the perfect way to spend a summer (or spring, or fall) afternoon, then Hatfield Farm in Hammonds Plains is the place to go.

"Time spent at Hatfield Farm does give our visitors a connection to nature," says farm manager Paul Wheadon. "They get a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and a glimpse at how the original settlers travelled by horse and wagon and on horseback."

An average of 40,000 visitors a year have visited the farm since it opened as a cowboy adventure business in 1992. The most popular events and attractions are the wagon and sleigh rides for corporate parties, cowpoke birthday parties and family groups. These include a wagon or sleigh ride to Fort Clayton, which houses restaurant and bunkhouse facilities and fun attractions like a mechanical bull, gladiator and boxing games and mini-golf.

"Our events proceed rain or shine, sleet or snow. Just like the mail, we always go!" Wheadon says. "But Hatfield Farm has covered chuck wagons and we have rain ponchos for trail riders." Though customers are required to book in advance for any of the group wagon or sleigh ride adventures, you don't have to book ahead for the trail rides which are available seven days a week. "Just drop by and we'll get your butts in the saddle," says Wheadon. (KW)

Hatfield Farm, 1840 Hammonds Plains Road. 835-5676.


If you're feeling a bit nostalgic for Camp LiLoLa but want something a bit more advanced than weaving bracelets and singing around campfires, have no fear: Nova Scotia has lots of options for your adult sleep-away-camp experience. If you want to work on your writing, try the Great Blue Heron Writing Workshop, at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, where you can hone your wordsmithing skills in workshops with the likes of Alistair MacLeod and Lisa Moore (July 3-7, $550 residence and meals included, If you'd rather do something sporty, the Nova Scotia Sea School is offering a water-based professional enrichment course (July 7-12, $850, and Awareness Golf offers half-, one- and two-day golf schools in Halifax and Shubenacadie ($100-$375, And if you're looking for a harmonious blend of arts and physical activity, check the program schedules for the Tatamagouche Centre (, offering a range of programs that include yoga, paddling, writing, visual arts, spiritual development...and even banjo camp. O-eye-oh! (AG)



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