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downtown Halifax

Hot Dates: Happy Anniversary

Petrie’s Halifax Feast Dinner Theatre in the Maritime Centre on Salter Street marks its 25th anniversary this month. It celebrates with the lively musical farce The Real Housewives of Cape Breton.

Hot Dates: The New Hot Spot

Christina Martin. Photo: Mat Dunlap

Splash at the Spatz on May 11 marks the opening of the spiffy new Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School. The lineup features top local talent, including members of Symphony Nova Scotia, Bruce Guthro, Raylene Rankin, Christina Martin, Dutch Robinson, Rhapsody, Johnathon Kirby, David Myles, Chalmers and Melanie Doane and more.

Hot Dates: 5 Sure Things

Boyz II Men perform at Casino Nova Scotia on May 24 and 25.

•    Continuing through May: Art 1274 Hollis showcases works by gallery members, spotlighting Pat Shattuck and Marilyn Hatfield this month.
•    May 5 to 7: Live Art Dance Productions presents Vancouver’s 605 Collective, which explores “the erosion of intimacy in the age of social media” at Dalhousie Arts Centre.
•    May 7: Symphony Nova Scotia’s season-ending Beer and Beethoven concert features classical, big band and Maritime music (and yes, beer) at the World Trade and Convention Centre on Argyle Street.
•    May 7: Canadian rocker Burton Cummings performs an intimate concert at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.
•    May 24 and 25: Boyz II Men play two sets at Casino Nova Scotia.

Hot Dates: Curtain Call

The Broadway classic West Side Story continues until May 29 at Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street. In a
contemporary (sort of) update of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, rival New York gangs sing, dance and find love.

Hot Dates: Editor’s Choice

Left to Right: Kim Deal (bass); Joey Santiago (guitar); Frank Black (vocals, guitar); David Lovering (drums).

Alt-rock purists have been salivating for months: alternative godfathers The Pixies are finally coming to Halifax. The Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street hosts the most hotly anticipated concert of the season on April 9.

Ha ha Halifax

Bob Marley headlines the Halifax Comedy Fest. Photo: Chris Smith

Top comics from across the country descend on the city for a side-splitting month

By Trevor J. Adams

Spring is always a laughing matter in Halifax. Every April, comedians from across the country (and further afield) take over the city’s stages for the Halifax Comedy Fest.

The festival kicks off on April 13 with the Opening Gala at Casino Nova Scotia. Comedian Bob Marley (not to be confused with a certain reggae singer) headlines the lineup. A darling of the 2009 festival, Marley is a local favourite. Lately, Marley has been winnning fans stateside with a successful nightshow circuit, performing on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Craig Kilborn. Joining him are John Wing, Andrew Grose, Derek Edwards, Doug Funk, Elvira Kurt, Mike Wilmot and Pete Zedlacher.

On April 14, the show goes back to the Casino for Comedy All Stars. One of the highlights of that show is sure to be the insanely funny Sean Cullen, most famous for his raucous parody songs (such as the Meatloaf send-up “Never Too Fat to Rock and Roll”). The lineup also includes comedian Trevor Boris, the acerbic pop-culture commentator from Much Music’s Video on Trial. On the same day, the Seahorse Tavern on Argyle Street hosts Dylan Mandlsohn, Graham Clark, Jon Steinberg, Jonny Harris, Ted Morris and Lachlan Patterson.

The party moves to the Dalhousie Arts Centre on University Avenue on April 15. Newfoundlander Mark Critch, famous for his portrayal of firebrand Danny Williams on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, headlines The Gala of Laughs. Marley, Edwards and Kurt also return for encore performances.

The Lower Deck pub in the Historic Properties hosts a comedy matinee on April 16. With two live shows in the afternoon, the cozy pub
welcomes Dylan Mandlshon, Graham Clark, Heidi Foss, Jon Steinberg, Peter Anthony, Sunee Dhaliwal, Debra DiGiovanni, Graham Clark, Jen Grant, Lachlan Patterson and Nile Seguin. DiGiovanni, another Video on Trial alumnus, is one of Canada’s top unappreciated comics and at her best in a small venue like this—it’s sure to be a memorable show.

The festival concludes on the evening of April 16 with the Gala Finale at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Several festival favourites return for one last laugh. Mark Critch hosts; the roster includes DiGiovanni, Jonny Harris, Jen Grant, Wing, Nile Seguin, Scott Falconbridge, Cullen, Stewart Francis and Greg Hahn.

A MONTH OF COMEDY
In addition to the Halifax Comedy Fest, the city hosts great live comedy events throughout the month.

•    Joker’s Comedy Club on Spring Garden Road and Yuk Yuk’s on Hollis Street host regular shows, with new comics weekly.
•    The Newfoundland comedy group Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers bring their warm-hearted take on East Coast life to the Dalhousie Arts Centre on April 8 and 9.
•    Montreal’s fabled Just For Laughs comedy festival presents Irish hot shot Tommy Tiernan at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on April 29.

Hot Shopping: Lookin’ Smart

In Halifax, discerning gentlemen find their fashions at Dugger’s Men’s Wear. Located on Spring Garden Road, the popular shop offers the latest styles from Canali, Hugo Boss, Diesel and many others.

Hot Dining: Around the World

Pipa Restaurant & Bar has offered many Haligonians their first encounter with the rich flavours of Portuguese cuisine. Chef Luis Gaspar specializes in Old World and Brazilian dishes such as Moqueca (fish stew) and Feijoada (a stew of meats and black beans). Seafood dishes abound, including fresh grilled sardines. On Thursdays, it hosts Latin jazz.

Hot Shopping: A Touch of Class

Tucked away just around the corner from Spring Garden Road on Doyle Street, Zwicker’s Gallery is Halifax’s oldest commercial art gallery. It’s noted for its historic maps and nautical charts (which will enchant history buffs) but it also features a selection of contemporary creations, such as unique Inuit carvings.

Hot Shopping: Editor’s Choice

All but lost in the Old World, the art of mouth-blowing fine hand-cut crystal is alive and well in Halifax. In the NovaScotian Crystal workshop on George Street, expert craftsmen transform molten sand into striking works of functional art. Visit the showroom to see the selection of wine glasses, vases, ornaments and more.

Hot Dining: And He’s Back…

Chef Maurizio Bertossi—the culinary talent behind Il Mercato and Ristorante a Mano—recently launched his newest restaurant. The Bicycle Thief, at Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street, offers comfort food “with an Italian soul” as the acclaimed chef shares some of his favourite creations. The dining room has a commanding view of Halifax Harbour.

Hot Shopping: Fashion Forward

Unicorn

•    Renaissance, Barrington Street: Casual clothing and footwear for men and women; lines like Converse, Chuck Taylor, Mexx, Dept and Matinique.

•    Unicorn, Lower Water Street: Fashionable boutique for women offering the latest European and North American ready-to-wear collections; also boasts footwear and jewellery by Canadian designers.

•    Big Apple, Barrington Street: Women’s fashions for varied lifestyles; career and casual collections from Montreal and New York.