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Film Fest Fantasia

28 Sep

The DisapperedThe film fest has come and gone;  like a gust of wind that you’re not sure you’ll survive, and then all of a sudden it is gone, and you realize that you miss its cold breeze already.

The 32nd Atlantic Film Fest was  a smashing success. I felt lucky to be involved this year, as a film that Rose and I had been Unit Publicists on opened the Atlantic Film Fest on Friday night for the Atlantic Choice, followed by the Atlantic Gala at Taboo.

The first showing of The Disappeared sold out so quickly that they added a second showing on Saturday afternoon. Which, by all accounts, is amazing! The Disappeared is an amazing character study of six men lost at sea in Nova Scotia. It was really well received by both crowds and seemed to really leave people thinking. We were thrilled to see media coverage in newspapers, online, on TV and on the radio.

One of the producers and I talked about how the film has been described as a “thinking person’s movie.” We disagreed with this point, in a way. It is not really a thinking persons movie. Anyone can watch the film and understand what is happening. But it is a “pondering person’s movie.” This film  STAYS WITH YOU. You will think about it days later, and reflect on your own fragile being. You will think about relationships, what really matters and back to how six men clung to hope when no hope was left.

Since premiering at the Atlantic Film Fest, the film has gone on to fests in Sudbury and Calgary, to great success, and will be at the Edmonton and Vancouver film fests soon. If you did not get a chance to see this wonderful film yet, I sure hope you do in the future, or you’ll be waiting for its 2013 theatrical release.

The rest of the film fest was great. The city comes alive every year with AFF, with more people buzzing around, lots of happenings and lots of meeting of like-minded people. I felt very fortunate to attend the Village Sound Gala complete with a full dapper dressed swing band and sushi for everyone.

I also attended the CBC Atlantic Choice Shorts and experienced every emotion possible in one night. I was laughing my head off at Mike Clattenburg’s newest  project , the short Cracking Down Hard. Then, I almost cried when I watched Andrew MacCormack’s Here and Away. MacCormack’s short was an amazingly poetic look at the differences between life in the city and the country. It was a great mix of films, with so many different themes and emotions.

One thing I came away from AFF thinking, is gosh, darn, damn, this region of the world has a lot of talent. We have a lot of people creating, working hard and making amazing things happen. It was a huge thrill to be a part of the festival, to feel so proud of something you had a small part in. And it’s another chance to walk away, feeling inspired. Feeling like you certainly can do anything, it is just a matter of making it happen.

L

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Halifax Urban Folk Festival, Tapping my Toes

5 Sep

This city can be known to  grab you and pull you into all sort of events. That’s why I like it. You never know what is going to come next, or what sort of wonderful thing is going to be going on.

I recently got to put my left leg in the circle of the  Halifax Urban Folk Festival (http://www.thecarleton.ca/huff-festival). This was the 3rd year for the festival, created by Mike Campbell, owner of the Carelton, as a way to bring some folk music and great artists into the downtown area.

I was lucky enough to get to volunteer the first night, when Bry Webb and Daniel Romano and The Trilliums played. Jesus, I love these two men. Their voices cut chills right through my neck, into my heart. I have probably listened to the new Daniel Romano record 700 times, because the lyrics are so approachable, and he sounded just as wonderful and heart wrenching in person.

One thing that struck me about all of this was that everyone was so damn nice. Bry Webb was nice, Daniel Romano and his whole band were nice, the staff were nice, Mike Campbell was nice. It was just all so damn nice!

I got to go back on Tuesday to work the door for the Ana Egge and  Breagh MacKinnon show. Damn! Oh ! How these ladies can sing. I did not know much about Breagh before arriving, other than she was a Cape Breton singer songwriter who came highly acclaimed. The acclaims held up.  Her voice is striking, and I was not the  only one who thought so. Numerous people coming in remarked to me, “what a voice” “she reminds me of Norah Jones” and she sold out of CDs at the merch table by the end of the night.

Ana Egge was also amazing. Her voice kind of breaks your heart a little bit. She has lots of friends in Nova Scotia, so it was a nice treat to hear some of her favourite friends on stage with her, Rose Cousins and Joel Plaskett. The other thing about Ana, is she is really sweet. She was super appreciative of our help, and even gave me a copy of her new album, produced by Steve Earle, “Bad Blood”.  It’s amazing.
I leave you with love for HUFF, for this city, for people coming together for the love of music, and with Ana Egge’s new song, “Hole in your Halo”.
xo,

L

LoRoPr like a super digital intelligent carrier pigeon with lasers

16 Aug

While Laurie was off enjoying Sappy on the long weekend, I was dog sitting and enjoying what Halifax had to offer. That included the sweet Natal Day concert at Alderney Landing on Saturday. Sweet free good times are the best – especially when it’s ridiculously talented locals like Rich Aucoin, Wintersleep, Alert the Medic & the Stogies. I enjoyed everyone, but man, I flipping loved Rich Aucoin, per usual. Your body just moves to his music – you can’t help it. His shows are so much fun – he gives so much to the crowd and wants us all to have a magical time. He brought out a surfboard at one point and literally surfed the crowd! So much fun. I was pretty pumped to see in his intro that he shouted out LoRoPR in a way only Rich Aucoin could. LB & I get pretty excited at stuff like this – so to lil’ ol’ us this is awesome. Such nerds. Thanks for the love, Rich! Here is the intro from his show that night, it’s grand.

“LoRoPr like a super digital intelligent carrier pigeon with lasers”

watch?v=pLJ_7yQE3T0

RA

I am sappy for Sappy

10 Aug

As someone who grew up in New Brunswick, and who is crazy as coco pops for local music, it surprised even myself that I have never been to Sappy Fest, Sackville, N.B’s annual long weekend in August, 3 day music love fest.
Needless to say, I went this year and I enjoyed every damn minute of that thing. It was the music festival I have been searching for.

I am someone who loves music, but I also get anxious in big crowds, pee often and am always thirsty. This sometimes makes going to big music festival a bit of a catch 22 for me. Oh but Sappy was like a cool breath of fresh air on a hot day. Just what I needed! There is plenty of grass to chill on, and plenty of positive vibes everywhere.

photo: Pam Crouse

The whole town of Sackville is pretty lovely, and seeing as how it is so small, everyone can walk everywhere they want to go. You can skip from the main tent to the other venues easily and carefree, and really you did not have to worry too much about lineups.

And the music! Oh the music! It is so nice to find all kinds of new bands you did not know before. On Friday night I was blown away by Metz http://metz.bandcamp.com/ who are friggen tight man!
They make me want to be in a hardcore fun rock band. They have excellent showmanship and just look like they are having an amazing time.

On Saturday we went to this cute little picnic at the President of Mount A’s house, and saw Cold Warps and Endless Summer and that was wonderful. I was also super impressed later by Bruce Penisula, who with their four female vocalist made peeling your eyes away from the stage impossible. http://www.bruce-peninsula.com/

Later on in the evening at the main stage I was given shivers (even though it was hot as sin) by both Timber Timbre and Silver Mt. Zion.

Photo by Pam Crouse

Photo: Pam Crouse

Sunday brought sweet little church shows, highlight being the soulful voices of Fred Squire, his partner Kate Maki and their little baby boy. Sunday evening I was suprised by Lights Fire, a drag Queen from Toronto who had me coveting her sweet dance moves.

All in all, Sappy was the best. And you can damn well believe that I will be back next year.

L

http://sappyfest.com/SappyFest_12/

Hot, Hot, Halifax

31 Jul

It’s been a busy month. A glorious month! Perfect summer weather brings backyard patios, lake and ocean adventures, bbqs with friends, and a bustling city to enjoy – hence our serious neglect. Fleeting summer, where nights are never long enough, and tomorrow’s early morning doesn’t matter. You have to get out and enjoy it while you can, strike the hammer while the iron is hot. Oh! and Halifax, there are just so many irons to hammer. No matter what you are into, there is something for everyone – arts, music, history or just plain old beautiful Nova Scotia nature.

Let’s take a look back on the past few blurry sunshine filled weeks of fun…Jazz Festival (special shout outs to Garrett Mason, Gypsophilia, Maestro Fresh Wes & Deltron 3030) and Tall Ships (Hey Rosetta!). Concerts and shows seemingly every night, not to mention Evolve. Queer Acts Theatre Festival and Pride! (Just have to take a moment to shout out to Sissydude: a dandy rock musical, which debuted at Queer Acts earlier this month. Local, campy, delightful and clever, sharply written, with ALL original rock music…we had a blast.)  It’s been a time where Halifax smacks you in the face and reminds you why she is so amazing to live in. Upcoming we have Natal Day (and a sweet free concert too – super pumped for Rich Aucoin & Wintersleep!), Buskers, Summer Sonic…and in our backyard there is Bruce Springsteen, Sappy Fest, Dutch Mason Blues Festival, Fred Rock, and much more. How do you choose where to spend your money when so much is happening?

If you don’t want to spend any money, but still want to support local music, there are some sweet options for you – relax on a soft piece of grass with the sun in your face, hearing amazing local artists! This is the 5th year for Tunes at Noon, free one-hour concerts at Grand Parade Square. The lineup is stellar and it really has a friendly, great community feel, adding a touch of whimsy to your work day. The full summer schedule can be seen here: http://www.musicnovascotia.ca/Events/TunesAtNoon2012/ and concerts run Thursday and Friday from 12- 1, until September 6th. Another free music event can be found in the Hydrostone on August 25, Music in the Park. It’s a free afternoon of sweet local artists, brought to us by the ECMAs!  http://www.assantehydrostone.com/music-in-the-park/

As for some client news, SheMachine played an amazing gig with Burnt Sugar and AQuestrya on July 20 at the Company House. The pre-pride party was an amazing night of dancing and celebrations! SheMachine’s new songs are SO good. We couldn’t help but start the dance party! We’re super excited for the debut of their EP and short film/music video in the Fall.

The Xara Youth Ensemble is busy auditioning 14-18 years olds for their pre-professional choral theatre group, launching in September. Eighteen young ladies are ready to go, and the group is looking for a few more girls wishing to develop their skills and artistry. Should you know any talented young ladies looking for an amazing opportunity with two unreal artists at the helm…XYE is it! http://murraymusic.ca/studio/xye/

A show that is coming up, that you really should try your darndest to catch is Willie Stratton and Sean Burns on August 15th at Gus’ Pub. Willie Stratton is a powerful local performer, who puts on a howling good show! In our opinion, he is one of the best up and comers Halifax has seen in a long ass time. Lashing together three part harmonies, thundering war drums, and a whole lot of soul, Willie Stratton and his band are slightly less likely to make you feel OK than they are to kill your boredom absolutely stone cold dead. He will be sharing the slot with Sean Burns, based out of Ontario, who is a longtime friend of Rose. While constantly performing live and writing music in the tradition of the traveling singer/songwriter, Sean Burns is a real weapon on the stage, delivering a unique brand of humour with an extensive repertoire. Check out their respective tunes at http://www.seanburns.ca/ & http://williestratton.bandcamp.com/. We promise a grand night of storytelling and music. Check out more information about the event at https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/346965408715479/

We leave you, on this humid July night, with this, our favourite summer song.

Picnic Tables and Trees, Music Sounds Better Outside

10 Jul

As I have emphasized before, one of the greatest things about Halifax is all the wonderful talent that comes out of this damn place. Sometimes it doesn’t seem possible that all the talent can live within these city limits. But, laser beam mind trick, they can.

I felt like I had hit the musical jackpot when I was invited to a backyard show in Halifax’s North End last Friday night. The sun was shining, the breeze was just right, the grass was green and it all just seemed really perfect. Everything just fit right. The suggested donation of 5 bucks for the lineup was mind-blowing

Backyard Show
Photo: Scott Munn

and I think an amazing time was had by all.

We started the night with Mike O’Neill which was a super treat. He is the nicest guy ever, and his lyrics obviously get to everyone, as you could see from everyone around me (and me) mouthing the words along with him.

Next up was the wonderful Ruth  Minnikin , who blows me away every time I see her. Between a mix of her own songs and some classic folk songs we all swayed.

The surprise of the night was Levon, who I had never seen live before. He was touching and moving and the sun was starting to go down as his voice scratched over the night air. He played the piano and pierced my soul with his, “love dies folks” ending line.

Finally we rounded the night out with Jon McKiel , who is always a dreamboat. Jon’s voice, lyrics, and shining eyes get to me every time. I have been a fan of this guy for like 10 years, and I will never stop.

This kind of event makes you feel like you live in a place where community and magic come together to create a special evening. I just felt so privileged to be there and to be surrounded by so much talent.

Love might die folks, (I am still on the fence about that one) but music always lives.

LB

First World Problems or The Path is Smooth

4 Jul

Our last post clocked in 24 days ago – we’re a little ashamed. We encourage our clients to stay current on their social media and blog posts, so it’s time to take our own advice, no doubt about it. This post is a little different, as we’re in the need of a little self help, so here we go…

There has been much discussion amongst our friends lately about jealousy, our place in the world, frustration at how our society is structured, the need for more honesty…we’ve been bitching and debating and it has made us realize that we all need to remember a) that we’re not alone, and b) we need to get over ourselves! Many of us are struggling – where do we fit in this world?, too many bills, piles of debt, personal relations, struggles at work, not enough time, no one loves us, societal pressures – our problems are everyone’s problems. It may not make our personal struggles any easier to overcome, but isn’t it comforting knowing that we’re not special? We pressure ourselves so much – to fit in, to say the right things, to meet others expectations, to have people like us – in the end, we need to be able to live with ourselves, so maybe it’s time to stop trying to please others and just make focus on our own happiness. We need to succeed and fail on our own terms.

Rose’s Mother Diane is a bit of a Pollyanna, she is full of positivity and hope, despite the fact that she is ill and has been on disability for over 20 years. She has shared two sayings that have stuck with us. The Cherokee parable feed the right wolf is always a good reminder, knowing that it is us who controls our thoughts, beliefs, actions, and we can choose the positive path over the negative one. The second is “the path is smooth,” which means we have a clear path ahead of us – and it is us who place obstacles in our own way. So much of our daily stress is the stress that we create and manifest, and it’s tiring. We have decided it’s much easier to be happy than it is to be upset or frustrated. (Not an earth shattering revelation, but one that we do need to remember.)

We have been fortunate enough to travel around the world and the happiest people we have met are not in North America, or even Europe. They are those in Asia or South America – who have nothing by our standards. They are the ones who have their homes, their families and work to support those homes and families. Not work like our work – work like working in the fields to grow their food, and walk to the pasture to check on their animals and building a new mud hut. It is a humbling experience to see what those lives are like, and a good reminder that all of our stress is a #firstworldproblem. Our path is smooth, we just need to stop sometimes and move that rock.