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Fashion and Art Unite at MAD's Glitter Grunge Disco

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Disco was back in full swing Monday night at Glitter Grunge Disco, the Museum of Arts and Design’s annual Young Patrons Gala. Presented by Coach, the event honored New York–based artist Derrick Adams whose artwork is currently on display at the museum.

Guests arrived wearing all things glitter with a proper dose of ’90s-era plaid thrown in. Among the sparkly group were Aurora James, Zoe Buckman, sisters TK Wonder and Cipriana Quann, and Casey Fremont. Cochairs included Bettina Prentice, Sarah Arison, and Meg Sharpe.

The celebrations started before people even walked through the door: A glitter-covered Cadillac from the Coach Spring 2018 runway show was parked in front of the venue, encouraging photo shoots with its mere presence. Guests mingled as waiters served Champagne Armand De Brignac Rosé and Hendrick’s Gin dirty martinis before a seated dinner, during which remarks were given by MAD trustee Mike De Paola with Andi Potamkin Blackmore. Works by Adams as well as Bob Gruen, Rebecca Dayan, and Lindsey Adelman were part of a silent auction hosted by Paddle8, with all proceeds benefiting the museum.

Adams, outfitted in the classic American brand, said he was approached more than a year ago to present an exhibition at MAD based on a concept of his choosing. Already deep into archival research on The Negro Motorist Green Book, written by Victor Hugo Green, the artist reimagined safe destinations for the black American traveler during the Jim Crow era.

“It was a good challenge,” he told Vogue. “It took a lot of thought and reflection on how to communicate in a space that offers a particular viewpoint. The presentation came about more when I saw the space and really thought about it in the way that people move through the museum.”

“Derrick Adams: Sanctuary” contains 50 mixed-media works on display until August 12. ​

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New sights and sounds at Dalhousie Arts Centre

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The sound of music in the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium is now better than ever thanks in part to the federal government. The auditorium, part of the Dalhousie Arts Centre, has new state-of-the art sound and lighting systems, and on Thursday, May 17, the local Member of Parliament took a first-hand look as part of a tour of local infrastructure investments. 

“I grew up around the corner and the Cohn stage and purple seats were like a second living room,” said Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax — and a former karaoke champ — after trying out the new system by belting out a version of Glen Campbell’s pop-country classic “Rhinestone Cowboy.” 

“Since childhood I’ve watched the symphony, Canadian Brass and other shows, but being up here with these fabulous new systems really has the adrenaline pumping,” said Fillmore.

Last November, Fillmore, also parliamentary secretary to the minister of democratic institutions, announced $391,211 in funding on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. Dalhousie matched the funding through a $1.50 fee charged on tickets to performances.

Much needed modernization

The funding was used to replace the sound system and speaker system and to install energy efficient LED lighting with many more features than the previous setup. The funding also paid for an upgraded electronic exterior marquee.

“In the past, our sound system was underpowered for what many shows today need," says Colin Richardson, the Art Centre’s technical coordinator. "So along with the cost of the venue, travelling performers would have to arrive earlier, rent and install custom lights and sound systems, and then tear it all down when they were finished.

"The new systems makes it easier and more cost-efficient for performers and may attract acts that wouldn’t consider us before.”

The systems will also benefit Dalhousie events, including convocation, regular partners like Symphony Nova Scotia, and those from the community who use the facility for graduations, dance shows and recitals. 

“Community groups make up more than half the bookings here at the Cohn, and the new facilities will give them the opportunity to perform using state-of-the-art equipment,” says Heather Sutherland, Dal’s assistant vice-president, ancillary services. “Many successful Canadian artists have had their start on this stage, and we are so happy to provide a world-class setting.”   

A big improvement

Shirley Third-Genus is the executive director of the Arts Centre and has worked in venues across North America.

“The upgrade is a big improvement over our older system. Patrons and clients alike will be impressed by the versatility and quality of our new sound and lights,” she said. “From community events to symphony and rock, the new system will cover the needs of everyone. We are extremely happy with our choices and look forward to audiences and users returning to showcase the upgrades.”  

In-house technicians who have worked in the theatre for decades installed the equipment. Blair Dykeman (lights), Ian Fraser (sound) and MJ MacLeod (stage carpenter) were on hand to explain the new system to Fillmore during the tour, and even let him take control. 

“I am honoured to be part of giving this gift — it is a gift for Dalhousie, a gift to our students, and a gift to the community," said Fillmore after the tour concluded. "Anyone who comes to a show will be blown away."

The Rebecca Cohn Auditorium is one of Atlantic Canada’s premier venues for the performing arts. The funding is provided by the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, which seeks to improve physical conditions for artistic creativity and innovation. In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada dedicated $168.2 million to the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund over two years. This was followed by an additional $300 million for the fund over 10 years in this year’s budget.


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Khyber building sold to arts society for $1

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Members of the Halifax arts community erupted into cheers and applause Tuesday evening as Halifax regional council voted 14-1 to sell the historic Khyber building for $1.

For four years, the 1588 Barrington Building Preservation Society has been working to purchase and convert the now empty space into a community arts hub.

"I'm feeling really excited. This is a really positive day," said society president Emily Davidson. 

The 130-year-old heritage building has been vacant since 2014 due to asbestos and building code violations.

Emily Davidson, president of the 1588 Barrington Building Preservation Society, said the society is excited for the future of the building. (Emma Davie/CBC)

The society's $3 million renovation plans include adding an elevator and a fourth floor.

The proposal to the city included a one-time grant of up to $250,000 to put towards redevelopment and asbestos abatement.

Ideally, the rest of the money will come from fundraising, corporate sponsorship and government funding.

There is also a buy-back agreement that allows the city to repurchase the building for $1 if the funds can't be raised within two years.

Public hearing

About 20 people came to the public hearing on Tuesday and eight speakers, including Davidson, stood before council to explain what the Khyber means to them and what the building could be.

"The Khyber and what this building as a cultural hub would represent is a significant investment for the city towards supporting marginalized members of its communities," said Julie Hollenbach, co-chair of the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project.

"This space is important and spaces like this are important to the future of queer community in Halifax."

Hollenbach, who also works for NSCAD, added that it could also support students and young artists who study in Halifax and then have to leave because there are no spaces to support their practices.

Julia McMillan, artistic director for Eyelevel, said in 44 years the artist-run centre has moved 12 times.

She said within the next year, they'll have to move again and called the Khyber "essential."

"It takes months and months and time and resources and staff energy… to rebuild our spaces from scratch every few years. Imagine if we had the time and energy to put that into programming," she said.

Deputy Mayor Waye Mason tabled the motion to sell the building, calling the Khyber "a legendary building in this city."

"It's been agony for four years," he said of the work on this project, noting this was the seventh vote on this file.

The only councillor to vote against the motion was Matt Whitman, who raised concerns about the funding and request for tax-exempt status.

"The math doesn't work for me on this particular project," he said, adding he doesn't oppose the ideas for the building itself.

Still lots of work left to do

While the tax relief will be decided at a later date, Davidson said the plan is to ask for the non-profits to be exempt, but have commercial tenants pay taxes, which would guarantee the city some tax revenue.

Davidson said it will take at least three months for the sale to be finalized and there's plenty of work to do in the meantime.

"We're already going to be right along and rolling with our efforts to fundraise this project. We really want to make good on our promise to the community," she said.

The society also needs to make sure nothing in the building has changed since the last architectural assessment in 2015.

"We're not just reopening the building as is, we'll be recreating it as a space that can serve as a home for the arts community."

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Electronic Arts buys GameFly's Israel unit

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Computer gaming giant Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) announced that it has acquired the cloud gaming technology assets and personnel of a subsidiary of GameFly Inc. in Israel. The team based in Caesarea develops streaming technology for cloud games. The acquisition including GameFly’s staff of 50 in Caesarea will become EA’s Israel development center.

Following the acquisition, the Israeli team will retain its current structure and continue working on developing technologies for EA. However, EA has not acquired the gaming streaming technology that GameFly’s Israel unit has developed. EA will develop its own services based on the technology that it has acquired.

GameFly’s Israel unit is based on the 2015 acquisition of Israeli startup Playcast for $30 million. Playcast was turned into GameFly’s Israel development center. The steaming technology developed in Caesarea served GameFly in creating a platform rather like Netflix’s except for streaming computer games.

EA CTO Ken Moss said, “Cloud gaming is an exciting frontier that will help us to give even more players the ability to experience games on any device from anywhere. We’re thrilled to bring this talented team’s expertise into EA as we continue to innovate and expand the future of games and play.”

EA added that with this acquisition, the company is adding to its strategic focus on advanced technologies that will give players more freedom to access the games they want, and enable the delivery of next-generation experiences at scale. The team based in Caesarea, Israel, will join EA’s functional teams, including the central technology organization that is responsible for developing and operating the cutting-edge platform that powers EA’s leading games and services.

The acquisition closed in May 2018. No financial details about the deal were disclosed.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on May 23, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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