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Showing posts from March, 2012

Scrappy Happiness!

For CBC’s 2009 Song Quest, Joel Plaskett wrote, recorded and mastered a song about the Cabot Trail, “On the Rail”, in just ten days. The thrill of this whirlwind experience inspired Plaskett’s most recent album, Scrappy Happiness, recorded in only ten weeks. “Why do we always have to wait six months for things to come out?” asks Plaskett. “I think that pointed me towards this project – that idea of having things not take a long time to go from the studio to the public”. Leading up to Scrappy’s March 27th release, he and The Emergency recorded and produced a new song each week to be played on CBC Radio 2 and 3 every Tuesday.
Happiness should be Scrappy…
The name “Scrappy Happiness” relates to the rapid song-a-week manner in which the album was produced. “The idea is that if you let go of it, it might be scrappy, but as long as there’s some happiness involved, it’ll be good,” Plaskett muses. He explains that one of the record’s overarching themes is valuing the imperfections in things th…

The Sensuality of the Maturing Woman

Aging is a challenge and an opportunity for us all. “Women age differently than do men,” says Newfoundland artist Tina Dolter. There is the obvious – the waggle women tend to get under their upper arms compared to the “beer bellies” that men tend to grow. There is also the more subtle. Dolter points out that women tend to grow into their roles together like a sisterhood. “They grow to be centres of their families and their communities, by the commonalities they share as women”, she says. “Men tend to experience aging in a more solitary manner.”
For the past decade, Tina Dolter has been exploring the topic of women’s sensuality as they age. It is not exclusively about sex appeal. It is about how a maturing woman often becomes more confident and secure in herself. Dolter, crowned Miss Newfoundland and Labrador in 1978, is now a radiant 52-year-old. Dolter explains, “The energy, intelligence and experience of older women is a great resource. Our society could benefit greatly from tapping …

A Certain Grace

Binnie Brennan’s short stories have appeared in a number of Canadian and American literary journals. Her best-selling novella, Harbour View, was shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, long-listed for the ReLit Award, and was co-winner of the 2009 Ken Klonsky Novella Contest. Recently AE spoke with the Halifax-based author (and musician!) about her most recent effort, a selection of short-stories called A Certain Grace.
What inspired/motivated you to put this collection together? I wrote my first short story, “Duncan’s Lament,” in 2005, and I’ve been exploring the short story form ever since. A number of my closely linked stories became a novella, Harbour View (Quattro Books, 2009). I kept on writing new stories and rewriting old ones until I realized I had enough to fill a collection, so I checked in with John Calabro, my editor at Quattro. He hadn’t published short stories prior to this one – at that time Quattro published novellas and poetry books – but he was interested to see them …

Lady Windermere's Fan!

A catastrophe strikes the marriage of young Lady Windermere. How could her husband have an affair? Can he really be so cruel as to invite her rival to their house? Or might an unexpected kind of enduring love explai...n everything? Oscar Wilde's first stage hit combines the dazzling wit of his latest comedies with the emotional rollercoaster ride of a classic melodrama.
The Dalhousie Theatre Society production of “Lady Windemere’s Fan” should do two things: one, entertain an audience of paying theatre patrons, and two, provide students in the theatre department with an experience that will advance their skills and understanding of their craft.
Whether the play does the first is for the patron to decide. But the choice of play, despite being set in the 18th century, is still relevant for today’s audiences.
As for the second, director Marti Maraden (who wasn’t involved in the choice of the play to be performed, and therefore is somewhat objective) says that the team at Dalhousie made …

Whirl Away with Russell Wangersky

St. John’s scribe Russell Wangersky is never short on words. Along with his day job as editor at Newfoundland-Labrador’s flagship newspaper The Telegram, the prolific penman has been busy plying his trade as the award-winning author of The Hour of Bad Decisions and Burning Down the House. Recently he spoke with AE about his latest effort, an eclectic anthology of short-stories called Whirl Away.
What inspired you to put this collection together? I've had a number of short stories simmering away for a while – some ideas just work so much better in short story form that I do them up that way. Or else I start, thinking they're going to be longer then they actually turn out being. I like reading short story collections, because I think the people working in the form in Canada – and some abroad as well – are some of the most disciplined, in-control writers we have.
What dictated which stories would appear? I wanted a central theme that was available in all the stories, but that was dis…

Hey Rosetta!

Hey Rosetta!
March 24, 2012
Boyce's Farmers Market
Fredericton, NB

The emotional highs and lows of Hey Rosetta!’s live show provide an almost cathartic experience. The band enthralled the crowd from the moment they took the stage, until their final exit.

Unfortunately, opening band Heavy Meadows didn’t have the same impact - a forgettable performance, with only the spastic movements of guitarist Seth Timothy and the killer bass grooves of Chris Pennell worth noting.

But Hey Rosetta! didn’t disappoint. Some bands seem like they’re just going through the motions but this group isn’t one of them. They played with a genuine enthusiasm, flashing appreciative smiles at the crowd.

Watching Romesh Thavanathan switch from cello, to guitar and various other instruments is an impressive sight - even more-so when they take place within the same song.

Hey Rosetta!’s sound as almost as powerful as an orchestra’s, despite only having six members. All band members, with the exception of the drumm…

Kinetic Energy...

Kinetic Studio fosters contemporary dance through providing professional development, workshops and resources to choreographers and dancers and producing performances throughout the year. This season’s last studio series takes place this Saturday and Sunday (March 24 & 25, 8PM). Artistic Director of Kinetic Studio, Sheilagh Hunt, shares her passion for dance and hints at the diverse delights audience members will see at Halifax’s DANSpace this weekend.
AE: How did you first become involved with Kinetic Studio? SH: I have been dancing in Halifax for 30+ years. In the early days there were few outlets for choreographers to show their independent work. A group of professional dance artists was formed as part of Dance Nova Scotia, (the dance umbrella organization in NS), and we operated a small series of performances for a number of years. In 2003, with assistance from the Canada Council, a new series was created to continue the work, but with more stability than previously. We have bee…


Halifax septet Gypsophilia bring their unique style of old-school swing home tonight for a sonic soiree with Symphony Nova Scotia. AE spoke with the band’s bassist Adam Fine about the gig, the group and the state of music today.
What has the group been up to over the past while?
Well, last year was a really big year with the release of our latest record, Constellation. Lots of touring both west and east in Canada. Since the new year, we've mostly been preparing for this upcoming Symphony Nova Scotia show - we've been rehearsing lots ourselves as we only get a brief time to work with the orchestra. We want to be really

How do you explain the group's popularity?
I think it offers an alternative to what's out there - but has some of what gets people excited in other styles of music. I like to think it has some serious dance-ability, but it's got a lot more surprise than most dance music has. It's also got some of the edge and noise that rock has, with none of…

Sexy, Saucy, Sassy

More Amore March 21, 2011 The Company House, Halifax
By way of songs that are both “sentimental and semi-mental”, the dynamic-duo of Stuart Hiseler and Karen Myatt leave no side of love unscathed in More Amore, a two-hour, two-set comical cabaret that covers the chronological gamut of romance.
From the trying teen-years to the awkward amblings of old age – and from the profound to the profane - the work succeeds at exploring themes of longing, belonging and identity in a light and lyrical manner.
Opening with a mixed medley of modern and mid-century popular chansons, Hiseler and Myatt soon set into a series of sexy, saucy and sassy duets and solo pieces.
Highlights of the performance included the clever two-piece Moving Right Along, and the upbeat, quick-witted Cubicle of Love, which showcased the couple’s sure on-stage chemistry. The brilliant (and gut-busting) We’re Breaking up and Lady Part are worth the price of admission alone.
The in-between bantering worked well also, particularly Mya…

More Amore!

On March 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, Wild Abandon Productions present the next installment of their cabaret series; More Amore. Vocalists Stuart Hiseler and Karen Myatt explore the meaning and mystery of love and relationships from their usual irreverent and sometimes shocking perspectives! From online dating to life-long marriage; the actors’ true, moving, and shameless love-life stories will be interwoven with old, new, and unheard songs. AE spoke with the sultry songsters.
When did you start Wild Abandon Productions and what inspired you to bring this form of musical theatre to Halifax? We formed Wild Abandon Productions in July of last year and officially incorporated as a Not-for-Profit Co-operative in December of 2011. After both of us living in New York, we decided to create a show about our experiences as Canadian actors in the Big Apple. Cabaret is such a prominent feature in NYC that it seemed like the perfect vehicle for our story and a style of performance rarely seen in Halifax.

Ms.Botha & Mr.Proust!

Danila Botha was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to Toronto in her teens. She studied Creative Writing at York University and at Humber College for Writers. Her first book, an acclaimed collection of short stories, called Got No Secrets, was published in May 2010 by Tightrope Books Her fiction has appeared on, The Fix, Trailer Park Quarterly and Numero Cinq Magazine. Her articles have appeared in the National Post and Broken Pencil, among others. Her second book, a novel called Too Much on the Inside, will be published in September 2012. She recently completed her third book, a collection of short stories and poetry called For All the Men and Some of the Women I've Known, and is currently working on her first graphic novel.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Personal unhappiness, and the inability to see one’s way out of it. I think back to the times that have been hardest for me, and I think that it was in part at least, a problem of percepti…