Performances

A group of actors on stage

Young Frankenstein At The Guild

Young Frankenstein, based on the book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, with music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, is coming to Whitehorse.

Voices Across The Water

Voices Across the Water follows two master boat builders as they practice their art and find a way back to balance and healing.

Every January we’re Pivoting

Pivot Festival brings laughs sunshine, & much-needed break from the winter blues. 14th year of bringing the unexpected to Whitehorse.

How to pivot the Pivot Festival

As with every year, the 2021 Pivot Festival will bring Yukoners surprising work from both national and local performers. Due to COVID-19, the national talent – a comic duo called Folk Lordz – will participate online from wherever they are in Canada.

Dawson’s Thaw di Gras

Dawson celebrates almost spring, sort of end of winter, with a local event called Thaw di Gras. An obvious play on New Orleans’ Mardi Gras.

Spice up you January with some variety

If you feel a strong connection to the Yukon and you like variety and fun in your entertainment, or if you’d just like a good excuse to hire a baby-sitter and get together with friends on a cold January evening, you could check out Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival 2020.

An appetite for stories

The story you tell in a restaurant is going to be different than the story one tells on a bus. It is nice to get unconventional storytellers into the Pivot Festival and into unusual venues for performances.

Coming into the light

  It was in 2011 that the first ever Adäka Cultural Festival was held on the waterfront outside the Old Fire Hall. The festival has grown exponentially since then and is now recognized as the biggest Indigenous music, arts and culture festival in the North. The festival’s mission is to showcase and celebrate the Yukon’s unique …

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Focus on the funny folk

Tokyo-born comedian Aiko Tanaka is one of the visiting performers featured in this year’s Yukon Comedy Festival, in both Whitehorse and Haines Junction Ricard Eden makes no apology for putting the focus of the Yukon Comedy Festival on the performers as much as on the audience. “We obviously want to bring up talent that residents …

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The Junction and JAR (Junction Artist in Residence)

Landing in Whitehorse for the first time, Henry Navarro Delgado arrived in the Yukon knowing nothing about the place. Delgado wanted to remain as open-minded as possible when he settled into the coveted Junction Artist in Residence (JAR) Program in Haines Junction.

The Queer Songbook Orchestra

The Queer Songbook Orchestra is a Toronto-based 12-piece chamber pop ensemble making their Yukon debut on September 30. The group formed in 2014 and has been dedicated to exploring and elevating queer narrative in pop music. “I was at loose ends after several years freelancing in the indie pop music scene in Canada,” said Shaun …

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Serving laughs straight from the oven

The Whitehorse comedy scene is on a roll as of late. One of the events that has helped cultivate this resurgence has been Baked Laughs, the stand-up nights presented monthly at Baked Café.

Café des Voix at Cafe Balzam at the Takhini Hot Springs on Jan 31.

A funky little family

Café des Voix at Cafe Balzam at the Takhini Hot Springs on Jan 31. PHOTOS: courtesy of Elaine Schiman Café des Voix is always looking for new talent Yukon accompanist Grant Simpson helped found Café des Voix in 2016 as an extension of Jazz Yukon workshops that had been occurring since 2011 and as “a …

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The Winterlong Podcasting Co

On March 24th the Winterlong Brewing Co. will be slinging more than beer when they play host to two popular Los Angeles based podcasts.

A weekend of laughs

The Yukon stand-up comedy scene can be fickle. Some years comics will perform to packed houses that turn people away at the door. Other years, not so much. Whether it’s a lack of comics, audience, or both, northern life can bring a number of challenges that make live comedy difficult to maintain. Richard Eden, George …

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Stand up for Stephen McGovern

On March 9, Yukon comic Stephen McGovern will be gearing up to take the stage at the Just for Laughs Northwest comedy festival in Vancouver. The 10-day event beginning March 1 offers a wide variety of shows that highlight Canadian and international comedy. McGovern makes his Just for Laughs debut performing in The Outsiders Comedy show, which …

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Ten days to celebrate Pivot Festival’s 10th year

The Pivot Festival runs Jan. 24 to Feb. 3 with local and national acts Since Nakai Theatre launched the Pivot Festival in 2008, there have been some big names and unforgettable performances that have graced stages and pop-up theatre settings in Whitehorse. The festival has boasted bringing unconventional and award-winning shows from across Canada and …

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Debaters Bound

Whitehorse comedian Jenny Hamilton will be performing live on the CBC Radio One show The Debaters in North Vancouver on Nov. 22

Hidden Memories Revealed at Fringe Festival

Five years ago Hidden Memories started as a one-act play Lillian Nakamura Maguire drafted to improve her dialogue skills for a creative writing class. Now the full-length version will be featured in the Vancouver Fringe Festival’s Advance Theatre: New Works by Diverse Women on September 13. “It’s the first time Hidden Memories will be read …

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Canada Day

Make the Most of Your Canada Day!

Summer sun brings with it loads of visitors to the various Yukon campgrounds, especially on the long weekends. Those folks joining the campers for the Canada Day long weekend will be missing out! On July 1, Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday. The festivities, therefore, will be 150 times bigger than they have been in …

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Celebrate First Nations Culture

Take some time off work – that’s the only way you’ll be able to enjoy all the programming offered by the Adäka Cultural Festival this month. That’s the suggestion from Lynn Feasey, director of arts for Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, which hosts the festival each year. Feasey is joking, but, looking at …

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Arts, Culture and Creation

“Artists show the world unseen,” says Tahltan First Nation artist Rhoda Merkel. “Teachers show students a better form of themselves.” Merkel, who was raised in Whitehorse but lives in Atlin, combines both talents in her newest project, the Sam Johnston Storytelling Festival, which takes place Tuesday, March 7 in Teslin. The festival is a collaboration, …

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Triple Threat

The Pivot Theatre Festival – Nakai Theatre’s annual performance showcase – begins a seven-night run this weekend in multiple Whitehorse venues. In addition to smaller-scale offerings such as a theatrical pub walk, an evening of spoken word material and a “speed-friending” event called Stranger Connections, the festival will feature the three major pieces, including: A …

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Calling Aboriginal Artists!

The Yukon First Nation Culture and Tourism Association is looking for artists, artisans, musicians and performers from the Yukon and abroad to be part of the seventh annual Adäka Cultural Festival, which takes place at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre from June 30th to July 6th.   “We generally reach out to the well-established group …

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Resisting and Resurging

This year the Yukon Film Society (YFS) returns to the Adäka Cultural Festival with more First Nations programming. The collaboration between Adäka and YFS allows all the screenings to be free. Screenings run July 3 and 4 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre during the festival, which takes place July 1 to 7. Screenings begin …

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5 Must-See Pieces at Nuit Blanche

Back for a third year, the annual Whitehorse Nuit Blanche all-night arts festival brings together national and local artists for an unforgettable solstice weekend. Fancy yourself a night owl? Get ready for 12 hours of engaging and artsy fun as you wander downtown to see exhibits take over Whitehorse. You’d rather go to bed early …

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Follow Our Trails

Audience members with program “maps” in hand will be guided through the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for a unique performance adventure from Gwaandak Theatre, showcasing the spectacular riverfront and Yukon stories about who we are and where we come from. Gwaandak Theatre in association with the Yukon Arts Centre and Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre (KDCC) …

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I Know What You Did

In Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th century collection of novellas called The Decameron, seven young women and three young men entertain each other with stories for 10 days inside a secluded villa near Florence as they tried to escape the Black Death. More than 650 years later, Toronto playwright and multidisciplinary theatre maker Jordan Tannahill found himself …

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Major Funk

Big, Loud and Funky

Major Funk and the Employment is a big band with a big sound. It has some big changes since bassist Etienne Girard put the group together.

It’s Not All Greek

When you think of the Greek philosopher, Plato – if you think of him at all – the expression “party animal” might not come to mind. But Zuppa Theatre Co. would like to change that. The Halifax-based troupe has taken one of Plato’s best-known works, The Symposium, and re-cast it as a modern party – …

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Who’s Out There?

Don’t bother asking Damien Atkins whether or not he believes in UFOs. He won’t tell you. What the Toronto-based playwright and actor will do instead is talk about his one-person play, We Are Not Alone, which he’s bringing to Whitehorse next month as part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. “When I do interviews about …

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Life, Love and Trevor

Dogtown: the Musical, a story based on the life and fate of a local dog named Trevor, will be one of the many productions featured during the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, taking place June 9 to 18 Nakai Theatre and the Yukon Circus Society are the co-presenters of Dogtown: the Musical, which will be playing …

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The Next Act

Longtime Yukon teacher Mary Sloan and rapper Eminem have something in common. They both got their careers started in Detroit’s notorious 8-Mile district. However, Sloan’s teaching environment from the beginning to the end could not have been more different. Growing up in Michigan, Sloan was just 20 years old when she began her first teaching …

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National Theatre Festival Comes to Whitehorse

“It’s the only national theatre festival in Canada,” Selene Vakharia tells me. She, along with a handful of other local creatives, are working on the Yukon end of the traveling theatre festival: Magnetic North, based in Ottawa, which moves to a different Canadian town every second year. “This year they picked Whitehorse,” Vakharia says. With …

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Soul Migration band members

Frostbite is Back

Yukon’s winter music festival, Frostbite is back for 2016, finally. A small group of volunteers have been working hard to make this happen.

The Must-See Guide to the Pivot Theatre Festival

By La Compagnie L’Immédiat/Camille Boitel Jan. 27-29, 8 p.m., Yukon Arts Centre Co-presented with the Yukon Arts Centre, this European classic comes all the way from Paris, France. Perhaps more exciting than the distance travelled, or the point of origin, is that its Yukon debut will also be its North American premiere. Yukon audiences will be …

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Invitation for an Authentic Experience

Yukon First Nations are planning ways to offer authentic cultural experiences for visitors. The plan to bolster cultural tourism among the Yukon First Nations has been in the works for a while, but this week people from across the Yukon Territory are getting together for a conference in Whitehorse to discuss ways to strengthen this …

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Telling stories

Sharon Shorty and I first met back in 2005 when I worked at the Yukon College Library with her awesome husband, Derek Yap. Sharon was born and raised in Whitehorse and is a member of the Teslin Tlingit First Nation. She is a storyteller, beader, regalia maker, wife, playwright, mom, and actor. But what I …

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Pop-up Fashion

Jessica Vallenga has an eye for quality-made clothes; she is an artist trained in textiles, and she makes clothes. She turns embroidery into pendants and earrings, and she makes lingerie. As well as making clothing, Vallenga keeps her eyes peeled for second-hand finds wherever she goes. Most recently, it was Seattle, where she found a …

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Writing Across the Borders

An ambitious pan-Northern ensemble of seasoned musicians from all three territories will make its debut in Whitehorse next week as one of the performance highlights of the fifth annual Adäka Cultural Festival. The New North Collective will bring together the songwriting and performing talents of four Yukoners, two residents of the Northwest Territories, and a …

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Playing With Fire by Theo Fleury

I heard Theo Fleury speak at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse last summer during the Adäka Cultural Festival, but hadn’t had a chance to read his autobiography, Playing With Fire, until recently. I finished it quickly. He writes forcefully about his addictions and the abuse and neglect that underpinned them. Much of the …

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Ancestral Ways

Juanita Growing Thunder-Fogarty lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in the tiny community of North San Juan, on the same property her paternal ancestors settled during the California Gold Rush of 1849. But her heart is inextricably linked to the Great Plains territory of her Sioux and Assiniboine forebears, and the beading …

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Dan Mangan is Back in Town

Dan Mangan is almost as excited to see the Yukon again as Yukoners are to see him. In 2010, Mangan played both the Frostbite and Dawson City Music Festivals and was impressed by the local cultural scene. He says, “it seems to me like there’s a really good music community up there, a really strong arts …

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The Web of Family

Two distinctly different takes on the theme of family are among the highlights of this year’s Nakai Pivot Festival, which kicks off on Saturday, January 17 . Ralph + Lina is a two-handed “acrobatic comedy” performed by the husband and wife team of Dan Watson and Christina Serra, who first conceived the project while they …

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Makushan-maker

Florent Vollant’s first exposure to music was in his family’s cabin on a trapline in Labrador. After a successful caribou hunt, the family would celebrate with traditional songs and dances, in the Innu tradition of the makushan, or pow wow.  “I was four or five years old the first time I remember the sound of …

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Feels Like a Celebration

First, she says, it allows artists, performers and cultural sector workers “to come together once a year to share inspiration, to share ideas, to learn new skills, to inspire each other.” Alexander is a co-founder and executive producer of the four-year-old festival, which runs this year from Friday, June 27 through Thursday, July 3 at …

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Iskwé performs at the 2018 Frostbite Music Festival

Filling the Frostbite Void

For 35 years the Frostbite Music Festival has been bringing bands to Whitehorse to showcase new music to an appreciative audience. Year after year organizers chose acts that were a combination of emerging talent breaking onto the music scene in a big way, as well as established musicians and unknowns. Except not this year. They’re taking …

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An Invitation to Experience the Thrill and the Grit

The mix of open-flowing creativity, with a dash of fear, makes for a high that’s addictive for  theatre performers — and especially for playwrights who perform their own plays. Usually the audience goes home with ideas swimming around, but we’re not buzzing the same way. Next week we can come close. The Pivot Theatre Festival, …

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Clowns running amok at Yukon Arts Centre: Humour in the finest traditions of Bugs Bunny

Skating on wash buckets, pratfalls, explosions and fart jokes – Fart jokes! What can be better than fart jokes? – combine for a rollicking fun circus show. “It’s the funniest show I’ve seen on a Canadian stage in five years,” says Eric Epstein, the artistic director of the Yukon Arts Centre. He had heard good …

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Frostbite brings music from all over the world: It’s the Thrill on the Hill

Brenda Barnes knows that the best way to get rid of cold is to get lots of bed rest. But the Frostbite Music Festival begins Friday, Feb. 11, and she is its producer. But, two weeks ago, it was Day 12 of her cold and the list of her emails (the ones that arrived before …

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The Adäka Cultural Festival Aims to Include Everyone

The Adäka Cultural Festival will kick off for the third time in Whitehorse on Friday, June 21, which is also National Aboriginal Day. Adäka (pronounced Aw-daw-kah) means “coming into the light” in the Southern Tutchone language and each year this festival continues to expand, like the sun rising on a new day, spreading its light …

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Making New Tracks

In the past 10 years more and more First Nation dance groups have been popping up. People have decided it’s pretty cool to learn their traditional drumming, singing and dancing. Bracken Hanuse Corlett calls it de-colonization. Hanuse Corlett is an audio-visual artist with the group Skookum Sound System, which uses current technology and traditional sounds …

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Pelly Dancing

After their initial inception, the Selkirk Spirit Dancers had a hiatus, and some wondered if they would ever dance again. Started by Carmen Baker, the dance group is based in Pelly Crossing and is now comprised of 45 dancers. The large number in itself is enough to set the group apart, however what makes the …

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African, French and Japanese Groups Showcase Their Culture

They are not always featured in history books, but since the Klondike Gold Rush people of many ethnic backgrounds have called the Yukon home. On Sunday, June 23 the Adäka Cultural Festival will host the Sharing Our Spirit Community Celebration, a day of events bringing together the culture of these different groups that have put …

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Healing and Transformation: Ravenstail Weaving

“A woman needs to have an art form,” says Tlingit Tutchone master weaver Ann Smith. And she feels a responsibility to pass on the art of weaving to the next generation of First Nations women – which is exactly what she and Alaskan Tlingit Chilkat master weaver Clarissa Rizel will do during the Adäka Cultural …

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Keeping the Stories Alive

Tammy Lee Josie was literally pushed onto the stage at 14 years old. She was watching her grandmother, Edith Josie, perform her family’s Vuntut Gwitchin stories at the Yukon International Storytelling Festival in 1998 when festival coordinator Louise Profeit-Leblanc asked if Tammy Lee knew Edith’s tales. “Then my grandmother pointed at me and said ‘Your …

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From his Basement to the Stage

If you’ve had your ear to the Yukon ground in the past year, you’ve probably felt a vibration shaking from 86Heaven – they’re an informal conglomerate of Yukon hip hop artists headed by Warren Strand a.k.a. Abstract Original. Strand is of Southern Tutchone decent, representing the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and the majority of …

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Laughing at the unlaughable

Bruce Horak no longer needs the catharsis that his play, This is Cancer?, has been for him. But other people do and, so, he will continue accepting invitations to travel with the play he wrote and stars in. Indeed, having only just been here for one show this past winter for the Pivot Festival, Nakai …

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The Yukon flag

The Yukon is Not Just a Place

Naturally, I miss the Yukon. To be specific, it certainly wouldn’t be the weather (heh … sorry), but far more importantly, the people.

Provocative Fringe Theatre

When it comes to theatre, David Skelton says he believes Whitehorse audiences are “brave and sophisticated”. As Nakai Theatre’s artistic director, Skelton admits that last year’s Pivot Festival came with a small dose of controversy. However, he’s ready for another go this January when the avant-garde performance event hits the stage for its second run. …

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The many ‘faces’ of the Pivot Festival

When David Skelton discusses the upcoming Pivot Festival, he keeps coming back to the example of Joseph Tisiga. The young Yukon First Nations artist is ready to burst out and Skelton likes to think his Nakai Theatre helped him along the way. That is, after all, the purpose behind Nakai Theatre. “We develop local artists,” …

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Sasquatch Prom Date will have fun at Frostbite

The bearded man shrugged on his Carhartt jacket and then levelled a gaze at Genesee Keevil. She was sitting by the window, wearing a cover-your-eyes bright-pink wig, and her slightly too-loud voice only added to the spectacle. “Where are you playing?” came the unexpected question. “Frostbite, next weekend,” was the cheery answer from Keevil. “I’m …

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P-Wing: Not your daddy’s cover band

Pegasus Wing beckons listeners to recall the profound messages and blissful sounds made by artists whom (unbeknown to them at the time) stood at the 80s doorstep of strange musical wonder, having just come off a 70s classic rock high. André Gagné, Fiona Solon, Ken Hermanson, Micah Smith, and Mike Millar (with an “a”) collectively …

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Battling for the Right to Rock Main Stage

A staple of the Frostbite Music Festival will kick off this year’s event and showcase the multitude of young talent in the territory. The annual Battle of the Bands competition will take place Friday, February 15 in the Yukon College’s woodshed and will feature eight bands, six of whom will be competing for a coveted …

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Nina Arsenault talks about the pursuit of beauty and truth

Nina Arsenault warns me that she’s not about to tell the “typical” transsexual story to Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival audiences. You know the story, she says, “Her name is Barbara, she used to be Markus, she never felt right in her own body, she met a doctor and now she’s getting boobs. It’s the same …

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The 3rd annual Pivot Festival: Floating, swimming, flying

The Pivot Festival is upon us — and with it comes a huge ton of theatre. You have six shows you can see at multiple times, all wildly different, appealing to both broad and specific audiences. It’s like a carnival of mad, wonderful theatre taking over the town for a week. Feeling a bit like …

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Frostbite Festival Features

Strong singer-songwriters and high-energy techno-twist bands support this year’s Frostbite Festival, a celebration of diverse music. Artistic director Eric Epstein says this year’s festival is about presenting strong musicians and contrasting their strengths: “The lineup features quite a few bigger names, who have gotten quite popular throughout Canada. We like to balance the singer-songwriters with …

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Fragments of Belonging

What is it like to hear your own story told in your own words by a total stranger? Several Whitehorse residents will find out next week when Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival presents Tanya Marquardt’s work-in-progress called Fragments. The play is a pastiche of interviews Marquardt conducted with 25 local people in different locales over the …

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Adaka – A Festival for Sharing

The wild, infectious fiddling of Old Crow’s Boyd Benjamin rings through Shipyards Park, coaxing people to dance as he works his way through jigs, reels and duck dances with his band, Home Sweet Home. For Benjamin, performing at the National Aboriginal Day festivities in Whitehorse with fellow fiddler Keitha Clark and guitarist-songwriter Kate Weekes is …

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Winter Warmth from Bahamas

In the cold of February, Whitehorse is due for some well-deserved warmth from Bahamas. Not from a misdirected trade wind, but from the musical act of that name that’s blowing into town for this weekend’s Frostbite Music Festival. Bahamas is the brainchild of Toronto guitarist and singer Afie Jurvanen, who comes with solid credentials playing …

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Nomination Hat Trick

Les Walker had a particular goal in mind when he teamed up with guitarist Clancy McInnis in 2009 to form the band, Common Knowledge. He wanted to perform at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (CAMA) and have an album in nomination. When the alt-rock group’s debut album, Colour Blind, came out this May, it brought …

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Love, War and Brotherhood

When Randy Rutherford was 15, his mother realized she could no longer afford to take care of him. So she packed him onto a bus and sent him 3,000 miles from their Ohio home to Medford, Oregon, to live with an older step-brother he had never met. What happened after that is the stuff of …

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Old Cabin, New Gig

The Frostbite Music Festival has always been an important part of Jona Barr’s life. He grew up in a musical environment that included annual attendance of one of Whitehorse’s best-loved music festivals. But his involvement with Frostbite didn’t stop there; later he began to take an active role in making it happen, from co-organizing the …

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Band Off the menu

Band With a Plan

With plenty of gigs under their belts, Whitehorse band Off the Menu have high hopes for the 2012 FrostBYTE Battle of the Bands

MacHomer Erectus

Somewhere along the line, Rick Miller wandered from Moshe Safdie’s Legoland and the Bauhaus world of Walter Gropius to the raucous playground of William Shakespeare and …wait for it! … Homer Simpson. Miller is an actor, writer, singer, painter, comic and mynah bird capable of mimicking the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Meatloaf, Andrea …

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Syphilis Goes South

It sounds nasty. A small group of northerners is scheming to infect a major southern city with Syphilis next month. But there’s no need to alert public health officials. Ramshackle Theatre is merely hoping to spread an infectious dose of laughter to audiences at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, by means of Whitehorse playwright Peter …

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Blending Colours and Cultures

Later this month, the Adäka Cultural Festival will bring to the Whitehorse waterfront its second year of celebrating the diverse heritage of the Yukon. The festival has gathered an impressive lineup of First Nations musicians and artists from B.C., Yukon, NWT and Alaska to entertain and educate festivalgoers. One artist eager to return to the …

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Growing Up to Play Barbie

As a young boy, Nina Arsenault’s desire to be beautiful came from a “deep, deep place.” Now a full-fledged woman with the face and body of a Vegas showgirl, Arsenault makes a living from talking about her life experiences. Next Thursday at the Yukon Arts Centre, as part of the Nakai Theatre Pivot Festival, she’ll …

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Frostbite Festival

Frostbite has gone back to what works

“Frostbite used to see bands play … and then you would see them play on the world stage,” says Patrick Singh, Frostbite Festival’s new producer and general manager. Then he lists them: Sarah McLachlan, k.d. Lang, Feist, Moxy Fruvous. They all appeared before they became big names. “We used to have that reputation.” Since then, Frostbite …

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