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We're always happy to report on any new venue for live music in Vancouver, especially one as offbeat as the Chapel . Located at 304 Dunlevy Street, the new music and arts space is housed in the former Armstrong Funeral Chapel, in a building that was constructed in 1893, with an addition built in 1936.

Carpenter and designer Nathan Wiens , who built the interior of the nightclub Shine, is the Chapel's owner. He told the Straight that he has applied for a venue licence. Until that is granted, he must get a special-event permit each time the 150-seat space is used for a concert or other happening. To date, the Chapel has played host to events such as Skull Skates' 30th-anniversary celebration, a Vice magazine party, and a Barney Bentall show. Wiens said that he hopes to establish the Chapel as a regular venue for festivals, but he recognizes that he doesn't have the advantages of some other local arts centres. “It's a little different because it's private,” he said. “Everybody else is funded to the eyeballs. They pay no rent and they have operating grants for their staff. This is all private, so it's a bit challenging, for sure. It's not going to be a lucrative business for the first year, that's for sure.”

Upcoming events at the Chapel include a John Mann concert on March 23 and a show by Panurge, Bend Sinister, and the Clips on March 30, which is the kickoff event for a visual-art exhibition at the spot. Clips bassist Andrew Seeton , who has been in the Chapel a few times, told the Straight that the 114-year-old building's interior retains much of its original beauty, but that it has been augmented by a new sound system and lighting. As for the prospect of performing in a place that once hosted funerals, he said: “It really does have a lot of character in there, and you can go into the back room where they used to do the embalming of the bodies and that sort of thing. You can just picture somebody washing down and chopping up a dead body. It's kind of spooky.”

For more about the Chapel, visit .

> John Lucas

Billy Hopeless
has an announcement to make: “Everyone in Vancouver can celebrate,” he told the Straight in a telephone interview. “The Black Halos are finally History.” By that, the band's frontman means that the Halos have signed on with the new History Music label. Of course, it seems only natural that the Black Halos should land on the new imprint, given that it's a venture of the group's manager, Danny Cameo, and drummer, Rob Zgaljic.

This will be the third label for the black-clad local punks, who have previously released music through Sub Pop and Century Media. The latter company was a poor fit for the band, according to Hopeless, due to its focus on the metal scene and its poor knowledge of the Canadian market.

Look for a new, as-yet-untitled, Black Halos disc in the summer. In the meantime, the band—now featuring guitarist Johnny Stewart, formerly of Mico and Red Fisher—will be playing with the Dwarves at the Plaza tonight (March 1). Clearly, any reports of the band's demise have been greatly exaggerated. “We're like rock 'n' roll cockroaches,” Hopeless says. “We're not goin' nowhere.”

On a similar note, but from the other end of the musical spectrum, local indie-pop three-piece Bella has signed a deal with Mint Records to release its next album. Mint's Randy Iwata and Bill Baker apparently caught Bella fever when the band opened for the New Pornographers on the Vancouver stop of the Exclaim! Mint Roadshow back in October. Mint hasn't announced a release date for the new CD, which will be the follow-up to Bella's independently released 2004 disc, Pretty Mess .

> John Lucas