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.
BURNING RUBBER AT SAINT MARY'S UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY
Show curator and documentary filmmaker Ariella Pahlke is attuned to the world, the details that tell a bigger story. Around her home in Terence Bay she observed how tire marks—"burnouts"—on the roads reflected rural reality. Considering the wide-open spaces and the lack of public places "people hang out in their cars," she says. "It's a form of expression. I started noticing my favourite marks."
The drivers she spoke to for the documentary she's planning "evaluate the marks." The filmmaker also researched artists to see how they viewed, and took cues from, this expression. Pahlke found plenty and selected the best for this exhibition of rural car culture and contemporary art—from Hans Moonen's photographs of tire marks on the Old Sambro Road; to Lori Hersberger, based in Zurich, Switzerland, who combines paint and burnouts; to Toronto artist Steven Laurie, whose imaginative machines make marks with all the smoke and noise associated with cars. (SF)
To July 29. Saint Mary's University Art Gallery, 5865 Gorsebrook. Sound performance by Lukas Pearse, video and catalogue launch, July 20 at 8pm.
KEITH BENTLEY AT GALLERY DELUXE GALLERY
Toronto-based artist Keith Bentley first contemplated horses in 1995 and he's stuck with his interest ever since. He brings his series of miniatures made of horsehair, entitled Cauda Equina: 24 Reflections in Miniature, to Halifax's favourite home-based space, Gallery Deluxe Gallery. And just in time too: the gallery shuts down in late July.
Cauda Equina, Latin for horsetail, draws on the art of Victorian hair-weaving to explore the equine's form and to mourn the loss of animals to the slaughterhouse. According to Bentley's artist statement, the work exposes how "companies were buying rundown race- and work-horses, shipping them to the factories; many of these shipping trucks open and over-packed, many horses dying on the journey."
Gallery co-director Paul Hammond makes a big statement about the small works: "There's something about forcing your eyes and your senses to scale down and adjust to small proportions that can really create a very engaging dynamic when you're interacting with art." (SF)
To June 29. Sundays 12-5pm, or by appointment. Gallery Deluxe Gallery, 6015 Willow. 425-0600. www.gallerydeluxegallery.com
LUCIE CHAN AND GARRY NEILL KENNEDY AT ART GALLERY OF NOVA SCOTIA
Lucie Chan and Garry Neill Kennedy take drawings and text, respectively, out of the context of daily life, where they're most often haphazardly put on the page, and place both on a bigger scale and into the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Chan's installation between, and in tears has drawings at its heart, but a heart that fills the room. "All of my drawings start very small—I work in a small space—section by section, and then I try to pull several drawings together in order to create a more complex piece, in meaning and visually," she explains about her process of building an installation that includes sculpture, animation and video. "The small three-dimensional drawings are made up of hundreds of profiles of faces. There's always evidence and traces of the small scale, retained as part of the drawing practice."
AGNS curator Ray Cronin admires the way different artists use drawing for their work. "I don't think that drawing has come to mean something bigger so much as that it's being used differently by different artists. In Garry's show, the preparatory drawings are exhibited alongside ephemera such as invitations, posters and brochures, as well as with a new wall painting."
Superstar Shadow traces Garry Neill Kennedy's floor-to-ceiling text creations, a series that started in 1984. Superstar Shadow is also the name of an actual font created by the Esselte-Letraset foundry, and it's through applying that font—the line, form and varying colour—that he examines how power is expressed in culture. (SF)
Lucie Chen runs to September 3. Garry Neill Kennedy, June 29-September 3. Open reception for both, June 27. 1723 Hollis. $3-$12. 424-7542. www.agns.gov.ns.ca
ONE MINUTE FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL AT GINGER'S
Haligonians who attend this screening of the One Minute Film & Video Festival won't be the first festival-goers to take in the 60 scheduled films—the show's an encore presentation of a line-up first shown in Toronto last November. But they will be the first to attend the fest in a bar, so here's to that. The Toronto festival started four years ago as a dare among friends, and now regularly features submissions from around the world. Each year, filmmakers are invited to submit 60-second films reflecting a chosen theme—this batch is about "growth."
"It has to be a concrete idea, but it also has to be open enough so that people can interpret it," says festival director (and Halifax resident) Meredith Dault. Keep your eyes peeled for The Modern Forest, co-directed by Halifax's Kyle Cameron. Then pull out your film gear, and get to work on your own 2007 submission. The theme: "secrets." (LM)
June 17 at 8pm. Ginger's, 1662 Barrington. $5. www.minutefilmfest.com
CANADIAN HOUSE CONCERTS
Canadian House Concerts is bringing new meaning to the colloquial phrase, "Let's tear the roof off this place."
Julian West, owner of acousticroof.ca, maintains a website for artists interested in performing in more intimate venues—such as your living room—than the local, rowdy watering hole. Whether you're interested in hosting an event or attending a concert, the website is an interactive database of upcoming concerts in a variety of domestic venues across Canada.
Instead of reaching out to your community, try inviting them in for tea. This past February, Newfoundland's songstress Sherry Ryan performed in Halifax at the Big Pink House concert series, while Rose Cousins kept a lid on things in St. Margaret's Bay as part of the Lift the Wind concert series.
House concerts promote community involvement, acting as a bridge between the artist and the audience. A captive audience and cozy listening space is much nicer than straining to hear over clanking beer bottles. (SWC)
FLOTSAM SCHOOLHOUSE CONCERT SERIES AT PEGGY'S COVE
Tired of kicking around weathered, historic Halifax? Why not catch a lift out to Peggy's Cove for an evening of entertainment in an old red schoolhouse, minus the academics, of course.
Over the course of the summer, banjo-plucking portent Old Man Luedecke, troubadour David Myles, songbird Jill Barber, our darling flower Rose Cousins and The Fancy Lebanese Country Band are performing at an intimate, acoustic seaside concert series dubbed Flotsam.
"When someone asks you to play an old schoolhouse in Peggy's Cove and you have the night off, you say, "Yes, of course,'" says Myles. "The organizer John Beale was talking to Jill and she suggested I'd be interested in playing."
Transportation is part of the $22 ticket price, which includes a yellow school-bus ride leaving from the north end of Halifax out to the sleepy village of Peggy's Cove (population 40) for an evening of fine musical entertainment plus, as a bonus, The Peggy Show comedy sketch. (SWC)
Old Man Luedecke, June 30. David Myles, July 6. Jill Barber, July 29.
Rose Cousins, August 3. The Fancy Lebanese Country Band, August 11.
Old Red Schoolhouse, Peggy's Cove. Optional bus transportation leaves NSLC, 2559 Agricola, at 6pm. Show at 7pm. $22. 823-2099
If you want to understand '80s culture—or play a new drinking game—look up Dennis DeYoung's video for "Desert Moon" on YouTube. Blue-and-black-checked shirt? Check. Tight jeans and aviator glasses? Check. Manly but sensitive group-hugs and football matches? Yup. Lots of longing looks out various windows, at lakes and through car windshields? Check again. Saxophone solo? Wait for it...yes!
Long before DeYoung took a trip to Desert Moon, he was lead singer of Styx, loving up the pretty girls with "Babe" and "Lady." But that's not why you're interested: I'm sure that on June 13, the screaming, jerky-arm-moving masses hollered "Mr. Roboto" all night at the Cohn until DeYoung finally gave up a few "domo, domos." But with DeYoung, an Elton John cover act, the announcement of Bachman and Cummings at the Metro Centre on July 22, and, sadly, the cancellation of Air Supply's show at the Forum, it's official: If you're wondering where they are now, they're in Halifax. Put that on your map, official tourism people. Now go fetch me some Police. (SCF)
If you missed DeYoung, don't worry, there's still Bachman and Cummings, July 22 at 8pm. Metro Centre. $65.50-$80.50. 451-1221.
STAN ROGERS FOLK FESTIVAL AT CANSO
If he was still around, Stan Roger's rich baritone cackles of joy could be heard all over the festival park on the last weekend of June. Thousands of folks flock to Canso year after year to flood the grassy landscape in celebration of music for the annual Stan Roger's Folk Festival.
This year's line-up won't break any promises. On Friday night, Grammy-winning, Nashville-based folk songstress Nanci Griffith is joined by Juno-winning blues hip-cat Ray Bonneville. Our beloved cabaret chanteuse and four-time ECMA winner Jill Barber and Bruce Guthro close the show.
Saturday brings swing jazz from The Quebe Sisters Band, followed by legendary guitarist JP Cormier and pop-duo Sons of Maxwell. The metaphorical house will be brought down by Cape Breton's ever-expanding 10-piece band Tom Fun Orchestra. Be sure to save some energy for Sunday; highlights include Juno award-winning quartet Nathan, Newfoundland's man of song Ron Hynes, Dave Gunning and country-songster Gordie Sampson.
Prince Edward Island songbird Catherine MacLellan, whose latest album, Church Bell Blues, muses about music, motherhood and matrimony, is stoked about her return to the festival. Daughter of the late Gene MacLellan (an internationally recognized troubadour who passed away in 1995), his legacy lives on through his achingly talented musical offspring.
"Stan Fest is always a blast, this will be my third time there," says MacLellan. "They have a stellar list of artists this year, and that's what I really look forward to. As a musician, it's sometimes hard to find the time to go to shows, so playing at a festival lets you see all the people you've been missing. Above all, I can't wait to see and hear Nanci Griffith. I've been a fan for ages, and was glad to see her name show up on the line-up." (SWC)
June 29-July 1. Canso. $41.04-$97.75. 1-888-554-7826. www.stanfest.com
You think a big north end neighborhood yard sale is something? Think of how many minds will be blown when, in addition to the bitchin' annual yard sale (Gottingen to Bloomfield, and Agricola to North Streets), there's also a jam-packed festival! It all goes down on Saturday, June 16. The festival will be held at the Bloomfield Centre, both in the courtyard and inside the centre, from noon until 10pm. Kim Thompson, one of the organizers, is enthusiastic about the "clothesline art sale, two music stages with acoustic acts, a yurt, natural building workshops and Bike Again! will be there giving repair workshops." There will also be tables full of local goods, produce and international food from the Halifax Farmers' Market, workshops ahoy (from capoeira to swing dancing, plus improv from Irondale Theatre), face painting for the kids and more. Come support a vibrant neighbourhood and give some much-needed attention to an invaluable arts space. (SJ)
June 16 from noon-10pm. Yard sale rain date, June 17. Bloomfield Centre, 2786 Agricola. www.imaginebloomfield.ca
EVENTS & FESTIVALS
THE COAST'S 14TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
Every single year I see almost everyone I know at the Coast party. It might be due to the astonishingly cram-packed loot bags; it might be the drink tickets; it might be the free gifts; or it might even be the tasty trays of snacks that float about the room on the arms of very patient wait-staff, that are bringing the masses out. See your favourite columnists up close and in person (they may or may not be wearing lanyards). An added plus: you can finally get every last Upfront you've carefully clipped and laminated autographed by Bruce Wark or Kyle Shaw, if you ask nicely. This year's party is at the Waterfront Warehouse, where you can enter to win a trip for two to Montreal and tickets to the Osheaga Music Arts Festival to see Smashing Pumpkins, Damien Rice, Interpol, The Arctic Monkeys and more. Do we need to go on? Are we biased for hyping our own party in our own paper? Sure. But we wouldn't lie to you: it's an alright time. And by "alright," I mean "TOTALLY FRESH!" (SJ)
July 22 at 8pm. Waterfront Warehouse, 1549 Lower Water. Free with ticket, download here 422-6278.
The year 1807 is important to many Nova Scotians. It marked the end of the slave trade, and now, 200 years later, Commemoration 2007 is here to remember and to educate all Nova Scotians. It begins with a conference from June 27 to June 30 at Saint Mary's University, where the central theme, "Slavery, Anti-Slavery and the Road to Freedom," will be discussed, debated and studied. The conference will feature a number of academics who will present papers on topics such as slavery and the abolition movements. Community involvement is needed to get the most out of these sessions, and the conference is open to all community members. Commemoration will continue into July on Canada Day with an unveiling ceremony and a concert by the Black Canadian Heritage National, featuring musical performances from AFRICVILLE: The Musical down at the Halifax Waterfront. There will also be tours and events aboard the Freedom Schooner Amistad, as part of the boat's historic 18-month transatlantic voyage, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the UK and the US. (JB)
June 27-July 1. Saint Mary's University and Halifax Waterfront. www.commemoration2007.ca
MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL AT ALDERNEY LANDING
The rows of distinctive, brightly painted houses in Halifax give our city and our province a lot of its charm, but every summer the colourful streets of Halifax are completely out-shone by the display of diversity that takes place at Alderney Landing. This summer is the 23rd anniversary of the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival. It began as a way to showcase and to celebrate all of the different cultures, languages and colours that make Nova Scotia beautiful. The festivities begin June 15 and continue throughout the weekend—each day presenting a range of activities from which to choose—from Tai Chi to flamenco, there's something for just about everyone. Look for food vendors, exhibits, workshops and live music. (JB)
June 15-17. Alderney Landing, Dartmouth Waterfront. $5-$15. 425-4200. www.multifest.ca
Whether you're a canoeing-newbie or a one-person kayak attack, there's sure to be something that piques your interest at the second annual Scotia Paddlefest on the paddle-happy Lake Banook. Check out the wares of local paddling outfitters, try out more than 30 kinds of kayaks and canoes or participate in one—or more—of the skills clinics that will be running all day. If you prefer your boats to have a sail, you'll enjoy learning about the programs offered by Nova Scotia Sea School and Atlantic Winds Adventures. Dry-land adventurers can check out displays of fancy new camping gear or learn about local geocaching and outdoor leadership development programs. Top the day off with a tasty smoky treat from the barbecue, and you will know for sure that there's nowhere you'd rudder be. (AG)
June 17 from 10 am-4pm. Graham's Grove on Lake Banook. www.nsoutdoors.com
PLAY ON! HALIFAX: THE OFFICIAL CANADIAN STREET HOCKEY TOURNAMENT
Grab three friends, a pair of sneakers and a hockey stick, and hit the street for the four-on-four official Canadian road hockey tournament on Cogswell Street, which runs through the Common. The tournament features one-minute intermissions, a mercy rule for teams trailing by more than 10 (ouch!), goals after the halfway point and divisions named for dekers, danglers, enforcers and grinders. There will be separate tournaments for all age categories and both genders; no matter what your skill level, each team is guaranteed at least three 30-minute games. Players in the elite division will vie for the title of Canada's greatest street hockey players—the winners will be awarded the Redwood Cup (housed in the Hockey Hall of Fame). It's just like the road hockey you played when you were a kid, only better—the streets will be closed, so there'll be no cars driving through your game. Game on! (CB)
June 16 (regular season) and 17 (playoffs). Cogswell Street. Team entry fees, $190 to $250. playon.ca.
SKATEBOARDING & SKATEBOARD AUCTION
It's finally happening. The Halifax Common Skatepark opens with a free party, including appearances by pro riders, live music featuring Pride Tiger and local acts, free food (fresh off the barbecue) and the unveiling of a signature mural.
The park's already become a landmark, a hub of activity located in the heart of the city, and Argyle Fine Art's annual skateboard art auction continues to support its success this year. "All of us working here just happen to live in the north end of the city or close by, and have watched being built," says gallery owner Adriana Afford. Like the previous two editions, this auction has attracted first-timers. Sara Caracristi is one of them. Her oil and polyurethane board offers a top-down view of people walking, getting where they need to go in their lives. The figures' shadows contrast with the turquoise ground—brilliant. (SF)
Skateboard Art Auction, Argyle Fine Art, 1869 Upper Water. Live auction, June 22 from 7:30-8pm, with silent auction continuing to June 24. argylefa.com. Common Skatepark launch, June 23 at 5pm. Free. www.halifaxskateparks.com
Nova Scotia and Quebec sometimes feel worlds—or at least a province—apart. But this June 22, the Fleet Club on Barrington Street will host the Halifax St-Jean-Baptiste celebration that's sure to bring out the French-Canadian in all of us. The night of song and dance will kick off at 8pm, and in true French-Canadian fashion, there will be delicious poutine for all. The Conseil Communitaire du Grand-Havre organizes this event and on top of all of the fries, cheese and gravy, the band Orizon will be on hand to entertain the crowds. Last year's festivities drew over 500 people, and with all that free poutine, be sure you get there early. (JB)
June 22 at 8pm. Fleet Club, 2800 Barrington. Free
GET OUT HALIFAX
Sure, Halifax is well known for its summer bar action, but what do you do during the daylight hours? For the LGBT community, there's a new option on the table—or the bike trail, or the softball field, or the Ultimate scene. Inspired by the vibrant recreational LGBT community in Toronto, Get Out, Halifax! is a local initiative to develop recreational activities for the LGBT community in Halifax and Nova Scotia. The fledgling website, getouthalifax.ca, has a mailing list and offers one-stop shopping for recreational teams or aspiring athletes looking to find out what sporting fun is on the go. Creator Jay Walsh says he wanted to offer the LGBT community a place to network and get together to be physically active. Some of the action you've already missed includes group bike rides, the Cabot Trail Relay and a fledgling LGBT Ultimate Frisbee team called Suck My Disc. But don't despair, there's more to come! Walsh says the plan is to offer everyone a chance to get involved and suggest new activities for the community to get together and be a visible part of the city. Not just for the summer, either. Fall and winter plans are already underway, for everything from curling to badminton. Oh, and they're even open to board games, cultural outings and other non-sport stuff. You don't have to sign up or commit to anything, and it's all free and open to everyone. And it's growing: in the past three months, the Get Out, Halifax! mailing list has gone from zero to almost 100. The site also includes tonnes of resources for the LGBT community. (VF)
THE PEOPLE'S PHOTOCOPIER COLLECTIVE
In addition to being a general nightmare, big-box-store copy places can also get expensive. The Halifax Coalition Against Poverty is all about helping Jane Public keep her expenses down, and have provided yet another handy way to do so. The People's Photocopier Collective started in May, and their mandate is to keep the photocopies at cost, while helping people promote their politically and culturally driven alternative events. Let's say you're having a yard sale and donating the proceeds to charity, perhaps your band is having a benefit show or maybe you just feel like it's time for you to make a little zine about postering etiquette in the city. Each 8.5"x11" copy costs three cents if you bring your own paper, four cents if you don't (and the Photocopier Collective uses 100-percent post-consumer recycled paper). Summer is a good time to get off your duff and give something back to your community, and HCAP would like nothing more than to see the photocopier used for good, such as the publication of alternative media and art, zines and the promotion of political and community-based events. (SJ)
HCAP. 2420 Agricola. Sunday 2-4pm. 444-5060. www.hfxcap.ca
In this era of monopolized movie distribution and theatre chains (yes, there is but the one here in Metro), sometimes just being passionate about film makes you a rebel, a fool, an anarchist. And before we get started on the whole anti-Hollywood thing, it's not about that. It's about choice. Sometimes you'd like to choose to sit outside and watch movies in the summer. Drive-ins have gone the way of the eight-track, so aside from the kind folks at the alFresco filmFesto, the only other option is to do it yourself. About a month ago, on a Sunday afternoon, people gathered in the underground parking lot behind the Propeller Brewery on Gottingen Street to participate in a bicycle drive-in/arts fundraiser, with movies ('70s dystopia classics The Omega Man and THX 1138) projected and the sound transmitted into portable radios.
Recent NSCAD media arts MA grad John Mathews, who helped organize that event, is planning a regular outdoor screening at 2480 Gottingen Street—to be known as the Creighton Roxy—on a 20-by-18-foot white rectangle painted onto warehouse opposite the backyard. "People come into the space and they don't really expect it because it's this kind of urban, built-up area," says Mathews. "Then you come in and there's this huge cinema space. People are taken aback by it." Mathews has tested his outdoor screening facility: the digital projector, the DVD player, the reclaimed-from-garbage speakers, they all work. Last summer he had a punk documentary theme night and socialist worker documentary theme night. This year he's planning music videos, noir classics and spaghetti westerns, running on Saturday nights every two weeks or so; pay by donation. And if you can't make it to those, invest in a couple of heavy-duty extension cords and drag the DVD player and TV out onto the deck or backyard. Take back the night. With movies. (CK)
SUMMER READING GUIDE
Reading is as much a part of summer as sand in your pants and mosquito bites, and this summer there are plenty of new titles to chose from—although it's always good to pick up that 700-page classic you've been meaning to read. If you need another pathetic reason to get a book, libraries are air-conditioned, people.
For those who think that short stories aren't filling, or for those who want to start small, to you I say, Bang Crunch. Neil Smith. Nine incredible stories. And Miranda July's collection, No one belongs here more than you. Best known for Me and You and Everyone We Know, July was writing short fiction with sharp observations and sweet humour well before the film made her an indie-household name. Closer to home, the Vagrant Revue of New Fiction promises some of the best new writers this side of Montreal.
If you're looking for a reason to sober up, Joel Hynes's Right Away Monday, about a lost, boozed-up soul, might just do the trick. Energetic and destructive, it's as darkly humourous as it is sad. On the other hand, Michael Ondaaatje's Divisadero is best savoured with a tall drink or two, as is Ian McEwan's Chesil Beach. Spoken-word artist Catherine Kidd's first novel Missing the Ark promises originality, taxidermy and a jealous chimpanzee. And if you really need to be among the first to know whether the young wizard bites it or not, you can preorder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, before it arrives on July 21.
Ecoholic, by Now writer Adria Vasil, is a practical, comprehensive guide to environmentally friendly products that's actually interesting to read. Learn about the best green products, for everything from your kitchen sink to your sex life, with doable tips and even a Halifax eco-guide. But don't read it all in one go or you'll be so depressed you'll want to hang yourself with a hemp rope. (SCF)