Category: The Arts

A great addition to Nova Scotia’s craft beer offerings


My granddaughter Kate’s first birthday provided an opportunity to sample the newest addition to Nova Scotia’s craft beer landscape. Big Spruce Beer, brewed on the Yankee Line in Nyanza, is perishable, and must be refrigerated. It is sold only at the brewery, and only in these 1.89 l. (2 US quart) jugs (which ensures its status as a sociable drink).

It has a mild, hoppy edge, and compares favourably with the best offerings from Propeller or the Granite Brewery. Well done!

UPDATE: Big Spruce will have launch parties at Governors Pub in Sydney on April 12th, and The Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth on April 20th. (What, no Bearly’s?)

A different view of PM Stephen Harper

From Halifax artist Shawna Mac:



[Click here for the full-sized image.]

“I’m not very good with ‘art talk,’ ” Shawna replied when I asked her what she was going for in this picture. “It just seems there is a lack of contemporary historical Canadian art. Most of the pictures being made these days are either derogatory, abstract, or pretty flowers and landscapes.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but someone should fill in the blanks.  I’m just glad I live in a country where I don’t go to jail for it.”

To my undiscerning eye, the image imparts a schoolboy geekiness to the Prime Minister, to which Shawna replies, “Geeks are cool right now, and I do have a fondness for geeks.”

Find more work by Shawna Mac (who guards her full name online) here and here.


If you like Pope Benedict… you’ll love Charlie Sheen

A Contrarian reader recently added Pope Benedict XVI’s new Twitter account to his Twitter feed. Whenever a user follows someone new, Twitter responds by suggesting a similar person they might also like to follow.

Who is similar to His Holiness? Why Charlie Sheen, of course.



Ah the wonders of social technology. Twitter doesn’t say exactly which qualities the pontiff and the thespian share. Surely not substance abuse or cohabitation with porn stars. Problems with anger management could be a possibility, but our money is on having children removed from your care for their own protection.


ProletariART in Sydney

If you happen to be in Cape Breton Friday, the Cape Breton University Art Gallery will be hosting a public reception from 6 to 8 p.m. to kick off what promises to be intriguing art exhibit. In place of the gallery’s traditional annual student-faculty show, ProlitariART is open to submissions from all comers.

Here are two preview samples. First, a detail from a work by peripatetic Coxheath photographer Ashley Harding, called Doors of Rome:


Second, a pen-and-ink drawing by l’Arche Cape Breton resident Gordon Mills, whose infectiously quirky art work has attracted a legion of fans in Inverness County:

Gordon Farmer2


The following death notice appeared in Cape Breton yesterday.

Joseph Peter MacLean

342980-joseph-peter-macleanHello, if you are reading this I am gone from the earth. I am here with my parents Charlie and Katie (Campbell) MacLean, also my baby sister Mary Margaret is here too. I never had a chance to know her on earth as she died when she was one and a half years old.

I lived for 67 years, it was a good life. I enjoyed playing music and speaking my beloved Gaelic — my native tongue. I played with the Boisdale Trio, the Cape Breton Fiddlers Association, made a CD, “Back to Boisdale” and had several trips to Scotland. It is great here, lots of Gaelic music too.

I leave behind my cousins and many wonderful friends. To those who are working on keeping the Gaelic alive, I say keep at it. I loved helping people learn the Gaelic and helping people with playing music, especially the children. I had no children, but really loved children, they are so open and free.

I want to thank everyone who helped or tried to help me, the nurses and doctors, those who got me out of the apartment. I especially want to thank my dear friends Paul and Jane and my cousin Dougie. Dougie , thank you so much for all the hospital visits. Thank you to Flora, even though she could be difficult, she loved me and came through when the chips were down. Janet, thank you for putting up with me, also Sandra and Stephanie for being nice to me.

To everyone, enjoy life, don’t sweat the small stuff and be good to each other — Joe P.


Joe Peter died last Friday. In a remarkable coincidence, his friend and fellow tradition bearer, the Gaelic singer Peter Jack MacLean, died the same day. Both were raised along the Christmas Island-Boisdale shore of the Bras d’Or Lake. CBC Cape Breton’s Wendy Bergfeldt interviewed Rodney Chiasson, manager of the Highland Village in Iona, about them.

Want to see him pick your pocket? Want to see it again?

Adam Green has a wonderful profile of Las Vegas pickpocket Apollo Robbins in the current issue. The magazine also produced a companion video:

H/T Silas

Thank you


Home sweet stable

Joan MacDonald (in red pajamas at left) starred as an increasingly cranky Bethlehem innkeeper deprived of sleep by the continuous nocturnal arrival of pregnant guests, angels, shepherds, kings, and ultimately a baby in l’Arche Cape Breton’s annual Christmas pageant, this year titled, “One Night at the Inn.” The musical troop played to an appreciative crowd at the Strait Area Education and Recreation Centre in Port Hawkesbury Sunday afternoon. Coralee MacDougall (seated, centre) played Mary.

The world sends us garbage; We send back music

Meet Juan Manuel “Bebi” Chavez, 19-year-old cellist with the Lanfillharmonic Orchestra, Cateura, Paraguay:

This cello was made from an oil can, and wood that was thrown away in the garbage. The pegs are made out of an old tool used to tenderize beef. This was used to make gnocchi.

Like the Facebook group here. A longer version is here. H/T: Jenn Power.

The atheist who built churches

Architect Oscar Niemeyer, who gave the planned city of Brasília its flair, died yesterday at 104. In tribute to him, filmmaker Gary Hustwit (Helvetica) just posted this excerpt from his 2011 film on urban design, Urbanized:


Newer Posts »« Older Posts