Grab Bag

I spent so much time this week researching trams — past and present — and electricity that I’ve had little time to do much else.

So I’m going to cheat and point you to some things other people have written or recorded that I think you might enjoy.



I had no idea who Brett “Hitman” Hart was when I tuned into the ninth (and final) episode of the Canadaland Commons “Dynasties” series.

I certainly didn’t know he belonged to what could be legitimately termed a Canadian wrestling dynasty:

The Harts are Canada’s first family of professional wrestling and one of the most famous dynasties the country has ever produced. And sure, wrestling is scripted. But what happens when reality begins to invade that fiction? The story of the Harts is one of triumph and tragedy that transcends the world of pro wrestling.

If you haven’t been following the Dynasties series, you really should listen to all nine episodes, but since each is self contained, starting with The Harts isn’t a bad idea.

The blurb is right, the story really does “transcend” the world of pro wrestling — it’s fascinating even to someone like me, who hasn’t paid attention to the sport since No Class Bobby Bass bowed out of the ring.


Hair Love

Two of things I want to recommend are related — one is the Oscar-winning animated short Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, which tells the story of an African American father struggling to do his daughter’s hair.

The film itself is lovely (as you may recall, I’m a big fan of animation) but the backstory really adds to its charm: Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver and funding for his film was crowdsourced via Kickstarter.

By some happy coincidence, Suzanne Rent’s Morning File for the Halifax Examiner Wednesday morning included a story on the same subject: Rent (whose writing I really enjoy) attended the The Black Hair-Story of Nova Scotia: What’s Your Hair Story? at the Sackville Public Library, part of African History month celebrations at the Halifax Public Libraries.

The event was hosted by Samantha Dixon Slawter, who:

…started her career when she was 19, learning from her aunt and uncle. She’s the first Black Nova Scotia to receive Red Seal certification in Hairdressing from the East Preston Church’s Empowerment Academy. She’s also one of several co-founders of The Black Beauty Culture Association, which was started in 2016 and whose goal is to fight the injustices, inequality, and inequity in the beauty industry in the province.

Rent’s account of the evening is really worth a read.


Locke & Key

This is embarrassing to admit, especially since elsewhere in this issue I take aim at the excesses of the Gilded Age, but I am a sucker for any film or television series set in one of those outrageous robber baron mansions. I think it started with the Peter Sellers film Being There, filmed on the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina:

Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate, North Carolina. (Photo by 24dupontchevy [CC BY-SA ( via Wikimedia Commons)

So when a series called Locke & Key showed up on Netflix, a series that featured just an ancestral pile, I was immediately intrigued, even though I had never read the comic books by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez that it’s based on.

Readers, I binged the whole thing this weekend — not even the discovery (mid-binge) that the house doesn’t actually exist, that it’s a mixture of CGI and sound stage work, slowed me down.

The story — which involves magic keys and dark secrets and edgy teenagers — is set in Massachusetts and from the opening shot of the town of “Matheson” I was struck by how similar Massachusetts is to Nova Scotia.

Then I found out that the Massachusetts of Lock & Key IS Nova Scotia — it’s filmed in Lunenburg! And boy, is Lunenburg ready for its closeup:

Lunenburg, Locke & Key, Netflix

Source: Netflix

It seems the show is already generating some good publicity for the town.

And there’s more to come: the series has been renewed for a second season.