Off to the Maritimes, a magical place in Eastern Canada with giant lobsters and friendly faces, to play 6 shows in 5 cities. First, I’ll head to Halifax, to accompany The Bubble Wizard, offer him some moral support and perhaps trash his hotel room while he performs for an international festival.
I boarded the Hogwart’s express (Via Rail) with my instruments in tow.
We sat near a woman with a shrill, nasal voice capable of penetrating every carriage on the mile-long train.
The train was comfortable, the scenery was beautiful and 26 hours later we arrived in Halifax. A thick fog blanketed the port city.
We were picked up and driven to a hotel.
“Is it true that people wearing gorilla masks beat up random people with baseball bats in Halifax?” I asked the driver.
“That did happen a few years ago, but the fad has since died out,” she responded.
“Oh good,” I said, “And is it true that there’s a nude skate-park in Halifax?”
“My room-mate said there’s a skate-park that you’re not allowed to go to unless you’re fully naked,” I explained.
“Nah,” she said, “Your room-mate’s just taking the piss outta you.”
“Oh… seemed a little dangerous to me.”
I jumped on the over-sized bed in our hotel room and looked out the window at our view of roof-tops, a parking lot and a Dollarama. I felt happy.
A Flailing, Dislocated Shoulder
The Busker’s Fest in Halifax takes good care of its performers, giving them a hotel room for a week and personal drivers to take them around town and make them feel like swanky, important persons.
At the opening ceremony, which took place in a fancy-pants hotel, the Bubble Wizard filled the entrance with zillions of bubbles, which resembled multi-coloured streamers bursting into existence out of thin air.
A hotel worker in a large suit to match his large build and large hair, loved the bubbles so much he offered us free pints of fancy-pants beer.
And thus, the rumour that Maritimers are a friendly bunch, was validated.
We watched International buskers take the stage to give brief samples of what was to come during the festival.
A crazy Australian purposefully dislocated his shoulder and squeezed his entire body, nipple-piercings and all, through a child’s squash racket.
An even crazier Australian stretched 70 elastics around his face. I shudder even now as I upload his picture….
A Show in Saint John and a Cat called Molecule
I boarded the bus to Saint John and sat next to a man with a pencil-thin moustache, braided hair in a pony-tail and a thick gold-chain poking under a bright-yellow collared shirt. He filled our 7-hour journey with tales of Caribbean cooking, grilled meats, tequila rice and my stomach growled ferociously. I looked down at my miserable package of Dollarama trail-mix and forced a handful into my mouth.
The taxi-driver in Saint John was pale with graying hair and a faded cap. In fact, his whole appearance seemed faded, like a pasty-coloured poster left in the sun for too long. He drove me through the fog to a house where Jonah waited.
(I met Jonah in Montreal, where we both played at the One Man Band Fest. He told me about a festival he organizes in Maritimes, “The deadline to apply to Messtival is tonight,” he told me back in May. So I ran home, applied and got in.)
Jonah has a kind voice, a firm hug and an asymmetrical red beard. (I’m pretty sure he shaves it that way to make his face look warped.) He led me upstairs to some warm food and introduced me to Van Van: tall, thin and beautiful with tanned skin and blue eyes. Someone later in the evening compared her to the sun; everyone around her becomes a sunflower, turning and following her every move, being drawn to her happy and bright personality.
She pulled out box after box after box of sequenced, feathered, kitschy clothing, super-hero costumes and figure-skater onesies. We both couldn’t help but squeal with delight at the gems she had!
“Pick out any costumes you like and you can wear them during your set tonight,” she said. And I almost cried with joy.
I performed, people danced and between every song Van Van came onstage to help me change into another one of her incredible outfits. It was my first time performing my Xania-project in a new city, so I was thrilled and relieved at the wonderful reaction from a brand-new audience.
Next, Jonah Haché, Stephen Lewis and Marco Logik took the stage as Art>Dance>Party, pumping out some funky-delicious tunes while L made a live-painting.
I slept in a princess room at Van Van’s and the next day we set off for Fredericton.
Stay tuned for Tour Diary Part 2, where I’ll show you my special tour dress made of bubble wrap (designed by Jessilyn Leckie) coming later this week… In the meantime, you can check out my latest music video if you want to: