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Entertainment

Review: Misery

BY SHERI RADFORD

Apr. 2018

Andrew McNee and Lucia Frangione. Set design by Lauchlin Johnston, costume design by Stephanie Kong, and lighting design by Andrew Pye. Photo by David Cooper.

It’s hard to walk a mile in another person’s shoes. And when those shoes belong to an Oscar-winning powerhouse such as Kathy Bates, the challenge is multiplied. Fortunately, Lucia Frangione is more than up to the task. She slips into the part of “number one fan” Annie Wilkes with a crazed gleam in her eye and fully inhabits the role, making it her own without ever veering into creepy caricature. (more…)

Hot Entertainment

Entertainment_The-Sheepdogs

5 FOR MUSIC LOVERS
March 3, 4: 
St. Andrew’s United Church on Robie Street hosts Symphony Nova Scotia, as violinist and leader David Greenberg joins them for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

March 7: St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Argyle Street hosts the Kirk MacDonald & Harold Mabern Duo for an evening of jazz standards and original works.

March 10: The Cecilia Concert Series hosts the Ladom Ensemble: a young and passionate group of musicians from across Canada. See them at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts on Chebucto Road. 

March 16, 17: The Sheepdogs put on a lively old-school guitar-rock concert every time they visit Halifax. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs open the show.

March 23: The Brogue Saxophone Quartet goes well beyond what you’d expect from a traditional saxophone ensemble, constantly adding to their repertoire. The Dartmouth Community Concert Association features them at Woodlawn United Church.

 

Entertianment_Marlene-Creates

THE BEAUTY OF NATURE
Continuing through May 6

Newfoundland environmental artist and poet Marlene Creates has fought tirelessly to share the East Coast’s natural beauty and help preserve it. Places, Paths, and Pauses at Dalhousie Art Gallery offers a retrospective on her career.

 

Entertainment_Ahdri-Zhina-Mandiela

EXPLORING A DREAM *Editor’s Pick*
Continuing through March 18

Ahdri Zhina Mandiela directs as Neptune Theatre and the Black Theatre Workshop team up for The Mountaintop. Playwright Katori Hall reimagines Martin Luther King Jr.’s final hours as he confronts his destiny and legacy. Tristan D. Lalla plays the civil-rights leader.

 

Entertainment_Grafton-Street-Dinner-Theatre

DINNER & A SHOW
Continuing

Grafton Street Dinner Theatre pairs lively music and witty comedy with a three-course dinner and lots of audience participation. The current production, The Show Must Go On, is a murder mystery featuring pop hits from the 1960s to today.

 

Entertainment_Prime-Suspsects

THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Continuing

This month is your last chance to see Prime Suspects at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street. Award-winning cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon depicts Canada’s prime ministers in caricature with his trademark wit and incisive satire.

 

Entertainment_Chris-HadfieldEntertainment_Matthew-GoodEntertainment_Halifax-Mooseheads
Chris Hadfield Photo: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

MARCH
1st: Chris Hadfield
The first Canadian commander of the International Space Station shares an evening of stories, images, and songs at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

5th: Our Lady Peace & Matthew Good
Matthew Good and Our Lady Peace share the stage at Scotiabank Centre for an evening of high-octane rock.

14th: Halifax Mooseheads
The hometown major-junior hockey team hosts New Brunswick rivals Saint John in regular-season play at Scotiabank Centre.

Entertainment_Heather-RankinEntertainment_Halifax-HurricanesEntertainment_Bruce-Guthro

16th, 17th: Symphony Nova Scotia
Heather Rankin joins the orchestra for an evening of Irish and East Coast folk favourites.

22nd: Halifax Hurricanes
The Hurricanes host Moncton in minor-pro basketball action at Scotiabank Centre.

29th: Casino Nova Scotia
Bruce Guthro’s Songwriters’ Circle returns to the Schooner Showroom, exploring the art of song writing.

Things to do in Toronto This January

The Lorax

Next Stage Theatre Festival
Jan. 3–14
Next Stage is the winter cousin of the Toronto Fringe Festival. But where the Fringe is made up of both established and up-and-coming theatre artists chosen by lottery, Next Stage is a juried affair and consists of both new and remounted plays from past festivals. This year’s highlights include a new work by comedy troupe–puppeteers Sex T-Rex and Fringe vets Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesnelle.
Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St.

The Canadian Odyssey of Lord Milton
To Jan. 7
In 1862, English nobleman Viscount Milton and physician Walter Cheadle travelled across Canada, looking for a direct route to the Cariboo goldfield in British Columbia. The story of their trip was detailed in a book, illustrated by Cheadle, called The North-West Passage By Land. Visitors to the Gardiner Museum can view 13 pieces from both public and private collections of a commemorative tea set featuring hand-painted art inspired by the book’s drawings.
Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen’s Park

Monster Jam
Jan. 13 and 14
In terms of pure spectacle, a monster truck rally is already the automotive equivalent of professional wrestling. Monster Jam likes to take that combination of raw energy and technical expertise and turn it up a notch. The custom-designed trucks that compete for the Toronto Monster Jam championship at the Rogers Centre are an impressive 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide. They sit on 66-inch tires, weigh 10,000 pounds at minimum, and can drive off a ramp and land up to 130 feet away or bounce 35 feet into the air.
Rogers Centre, 1 Blue Jays Way

Toronto Light Fest

Toronto Light Fest
Starts Jan. 19
The Toronto Light Fest aims to combat winter’s dark days by illuminating at least one small pocket of the city. Spanning three months, the festival transforms the historic Distillery District into one of the largest open-air art galleries in the world, thanks to an estimated 750,000 artistically placed lights. The Distillery’s dozens of Victorian-era buildings are surrounded by—and incorporated into—a wide range of sculptures, light canopies and installations created by both local and international light artists.
Distillery District, 55 Mill St.

Arts of the East: Highlights of Islamic Art from the Bruschettini Collection
To Jan. 21
Lavish textiles, patterned carpets, paintings and inlaid metalwork from the 13th to 17th centuries are on display at the Aga Khan Museum in this debut exhibition of one of the most important private collections of Islamic art in the world.
Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr.

The Lorax
To Jan. 21
Few people realize beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss was an early supporter of the environmental movement. His 1971 book The Lorax directly addressed threats to nature poised by economic greed. This stage adaptation educates as much as it entertains—courtesy of a set design that will make you feel like you’re living in a Dr. Seuss book.
Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W.

Winterlicious
Starts Jan. 26
This citywide celebration of culinary excellence encompasses more than 200 restaurants, each with their own prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner. This year’s participants include Bar Buca, Canoe, Colette Grand Café, and The Carbon Bar among others. Spots fill up fast at so make sure to make reservations ahead of time.
Various locations

Christian Dior at the ROM

Christian Dior
To March 18
Christian Dior was one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century, known for his use of luxury textiles and gorgeous embroideries. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the House of Dior, the Royal Ontario Museum displays items from its rarely seen collection of haute couture pieces designed by Dior from 1947 to 1957.
Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park

Review: King Charles III

Ted Cole and Gwynyth Walsh in King Charles III. Photo by David Cooper.

“The queen is dead. Long live the king.”

Playwright Mike Bartlett imagines a not-so-distant future in which Queen Elizabeth II has died and Charles is crowned king. Shakespearean DNA runs through the very core of the play, from the regal themes to the script written in blank verse. Charles (played Ted Cole) evokes a sense of Hamlet, while Prince William (Oliver Rice) and Kate (Katherine Gauthier) seem to be channelling the power-hungry Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Prince Harry (Charlie Gallant) and his friends evoke Prince Hal and Falstaff’s merry antics. There’s even a ghost (of Diana, played by Lauren Bowler).

Though billed as a “jovial political satire,” the play seems more sombre than wittily satirical. Problematic pacing contributes to a run time of almost three hours, draining much energy from the actors’ performances. Tweaking and tightening might have made King Charles III live up to the Bard’s blueprint for entertainment that is simultaneously amusing and thought-provoking.

The sets, designed by Kevin McAllister, are a real standout.

The cast of King Charles III. Photo by David Cooper.

Costume designer Christopher David Gauthier also deserves special mention.

Lauren Bowler in King Charles III. Photo by David Cooper.

King Charles III runs to Nov. 19, 2017 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.

Ottawa the Bold: 2017 in the Nation’s Capital

By Joseph Mathieu

Summer in the capital always enchants, but this year will be truly spellbinding. Canada’s 150th birthday finds Ottawa exploding with red and white, cascading with culture and embracing the extraordinary. Artists and performers from afar will highlight their cultures while celebrating their ties with Canada, the downtown core will ignite with fiery, fantastical beasts completing a quest, and a rift in the space-time continuum will be discovered and explored underground. We are talking about an Ottawa awash in magic, wonder and revelry — a city breaking with tradition and showing off just what it can do. Why not? You only turn 150 once, right?

Kontinuum: An Underground Journey Through Time

Kontinuum (July 16 to Sept. 14)
This free, interactive, immersive experience built around the construction of the new light-rail train system in Ottawa is the brainchild of Moment Factory, the wizards behind more than 400 multi-media productions around the world. The company is proud “to tell stories in unusual environments,” says MF’s Marie-Claire Lynn. The Lyon Street transit station is a case in point. Kontinuum centres on city workers finding a “breach” in the space-time continuum while digging to erect the station. This tear in reality allows visitors to experience alternate dimensions and invisible frequencies – auditory, visual and vibrational. Guests traverse three floors of architectural anomalies and life-like panoramic projections, and have the opportunity to visualize their own, unique “frequency,” which then becomes part of Kontinuum’s ever-evolving visual and auditory DNA.

La Machine’s Long-Ma & La Princesse

La Machine (July 27-30)
Get ready for the streets, buildings, and trees of downtown Ottawa to become a stage for two towering beasts. “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, With Stolen Wings” stars a 20-metre-long spider named La Princesse and a 12-metre-high horse-dragon named Long-Ma. With skin and features of sculpted wood, the massive pair’s mechanical guts and skeletons of steel move with the help of 33 operators. The monumental, four-day play will be the first North American performance by La Machine, a French production company based in Nantes. “Every driver has one role, one function and all together [they] make the machines emotive as well as mobile,” says La Machine’s Frédette Lampé. “The link between the operators and the machines is not dissimilar to that of a marionnettiste to its marionette, but we call them architecture in movement.”

Inspiration Village on York Street

Ottawa Welcomes the World (March until December) lives up to its name. All year long, the capital’s embassies and high commissions are marking their country’s national celebrations at the Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park. Enjoy music, food and art from around the world — but no jet lag. For programming, visit Ottawa2017.ca. Meanwhile, Inspiration Village on York Street (May 20 until Sept. 4) is home to 20 sea containers converted into a multi-use space featuring 880 hours of programming. You’ll discover special exhibits, live performances showcasing our provinces and territories, and activities for kids such as a costume photo booth, and photo cutouts of popular Canadian animals.

Ottawa Welcomes the World

Ottawa Welcomes the World

The International Pavilion (June 27 to Dec. 8)
A new building at 7 Clarence Street welcomes various countries, including summer hosts like Germany, Ireland and Belgium to will showcase their culture and traditions, and promotes their ties to Canada. With inspiring stories from immigrants and ex-pats, examples of partnerships leading to innovation, interactive presentations, and dynamic storytelling, the pavilion will serve as a enjoyable way to see how other countries perceive our own. For programming, visit the National Capital Commission site.

Terre Mère at MOSAÏCANADA 150

MOSAÏCANADA 150 (June 30 to Oct. 15)
Mosaïculture is the intersection of tapestry and topiary, the latter of which is the pruning of hedges into recognizable shapes. In other words, it’s all about creating living artwork with plants. For 107 days, Jacques-Cartier Park will host the biggest horticultural event in Canada, with MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. The free exhibit’s themes will reflect on 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada through some 40 different organic wonders.

Cowboy for the Evening

By Where writers

Photo: Brewster Lake Louise Stables

Dinner is served – cowboy style! Photo: Brewster Lake Louise Stables

The Brewster family has offered trail rides and western cookouts for over 100 years. The tradition continues Wednesday evenings with a horse or wagon ride to the barn dance in Lake Louise. Star of the buffet is a 35-pound hip of beef roast that is barbecued, basted in its own juices, transported by pitchfork to the table and custom carved for each guest. Dance the night away to the country and rock band.

 

Festival fever

Halifax’s summer festival season heats up with food, culture, film, music, and more

By Janice Hudson

 

With warm weather and sunny skies upon us, Halifax pulses with new energy. Festivals and special events are happening throughout June, making summer a great time to learn about the vibrant cultures and the dynamic people that make this city so exciting. Here are top picks of what to see, do, and discover in the city this month.

June 1 to 4 is the 11th-annual Cedar Festival (page 45), a fun-filled weekend of entertainment, mouth-watering Lebanese cuisine, dance lessons, live performances, cultural demonstrations, plus a cooking competition and fashion show. Hosted by Our Lady of Lebanon Church on Joseph Howe Drive, this free festival includes plenty of activities for little ones, too, including a bouncy castle, magic show, carnival games, and face painting.

Now in its fifth year, Doors Open Halifax (page 45) lets you explore some of the city’s prominent buildings and landmarks. On June 3 and 4, over 30 venues representing Halifax’s history, culture, and industry will participate in this free event. New this year, see inside Canada Border Security Agency’s Marine Centre of Expertise on Marginal Road. Meet the people who search marine vessels and cargo containers for weapons, drugs, and contraband. Or stop by the Hope Blooms greenhouse and gardens on Brunswick Street, and meet the youth entrepreneurs who grow herbs for the successful line of salad dressings.

A 45-minute drive east of Halifax on Highway 7, Memory Lane Heritage Village (page EC9) hosts the fourth-annual Eastern Shore Cold Waters Seafood Festival (page 45) on June 3 and 4. Sample some of the tastiest seafood in the region, with fresh clams, lobsters, mussels, and haddock prepared numerous ways, plus historic foods like smoked fish and Solomon Gundy. Kids will love the on-site demos and activities, including dory rides, buoy painting, net knitting, and lobster-trap building.

Continuing through June 11, the Scotia Festival of Music (page 46) celebrates chamber music with 50 events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, and master classes. Halifax’s first family of classical music, the Djokic family take the stage on June 9. Parent musicians Philippe Djokic and Lynn Stodola perform with their talented children, violinist Marc Djokic and cellist Denise Djokic. For the closing gala on June 11, many top musicians will join forces, including pianist John Novacek, cellist Ani Aznavoorian, and violinists James Ehnes and Giora Schmidt.

Celebrating 31 years, Halifax Greek Fest returns to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcells Cove Road from June 8 to 11. Enjoy live music, traditional dancing, art and cultural exhibitions, language workshops, religious artifacts, and tasty Greek cuisine. While noshing on souvlaki, watch dancers take the stage with their high-energy moves. Kids will love the Olympic area that includes face painting, an inflatable ride, cool treats, and balloons.

Now in its sixth year, the OutEast Queer Film Festival (page 45) celebrates queer independent cinema from local, national, and international filmmakers. Happening June 15 to 17, the festival showcases a range of films, including documentary, fiction, and animation, that will challenge, educate, and entertain audiences. Venues include Halifax Central Library, the Museum of Natural History, and Good Robot Brewing.

On June 29 to July 3, Bedford Days has lots of spirited family fun, including two fireworks shows, a dog show, face painting, train rides, bicycle stunts, ice cream, and much more. At the Convoy Quay, Theodore Too (the tugboat replica of Theodore Tugboat based on the popular kids’ TV series), is back for free deck tours during the Kids’ Extravaganza on Wednesday, June 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Taking place June 29 to July 6, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. Known for its pomp, precision, and bag pipes, the event brings together military and civilian performers from around the world, including pipe and military bands, acrobats, trapeze artists, gymnasts, choirs, and more.

Here & Now: What To Do In Winnipeg in July and August

Our picks for must-see and do activities during your stay.

Credit Joey Senft

Credit Joey Senft

Folk Fun


July 6-9 – The revered Winnipeg Folk Festival gives the stage to local and big‑name talent (pictured). Camp out for the whole weekend or escape for a day and see shows by Feist, City and Colour, Barenaked Ladies, and Foy Vance. Eat, drink, shop and dance to live music at nine stages throughout the park. Free shuttle buses depart every 30 minutes from the bus stop at 389 Balmoral Ave, downtown Winnipeg. Birds Hill Provincial Park, visit winnipegfolkfestival.ca for tickets.

Fringe interest


July 19-30 – The 30th annual Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival takes over the Exchange District for two and a half weeks. The celebration of independent theatre boasts more than 180 creative and boundary-pushing shows from across Canada and the world. Old Market Square is the festival’s main gathering spot with live music and local vendors selling food and drinks. Tickets available at the door or with a 7 or 14-show pass. Various venues. 204‑943‑7464 or winnipegfringe.com for full schedule.

Movies on the beach

July 26-30 – Travel North of the city and join thousands of people at the 18th annual Gimli Film Festival. More than 100 dramas, documentaries and short films are screened at indoor venues or on the beach at sunset. See popular movies like American Graffiti and Footloose. Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to movie start time. Rush seating. Various locations. Tickets and festival passes available in advance at gimlifilm.com or at the door.

Go for gold

July 28-Aug 13 Get into the fast paced action this summer and watch young athletes compete for gold in 16 different sports at Canada Games. During the Games, The Forks will act as a central hub showcasing Canadian talent every night with headliners such as Ontario’s Kardinal Offishall, Quebec’s Coeur de Pirate, and Manitoba’s Sierra Noble. Various venues. For tickets and info visit 2017canadagames.ca


Cross the globe


Aug 6-19 Travel the world—no passports required—at Folklorama, the world’s largest and longest running multicultural festival. Enjoy entertainment, such as the flaming limbo at the Caribbean pavilion, and traditional meals, like perfectly pinched perogies and scratch made kolbassa at the Ukrainian show. With 41 pavilions to explore, take a VIP Tour to bypass line-ups and visit multiple pavilions in one night for the ultimate world tour. For information, visit folklorama.ca or call 204‑982‑6210.

My my, how can i resist you?


Aug 10-31 Watch as sunny and funny Mamma Mia! unfolds on a Greek island paradise. The jukebox musical tells the story of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads, all set to the tunes of ABBA. Rainbow Stage, Canada’s largest and longest‑running outdoor theatre tucked away in Kildonan Park is the setting for this hilarious musical show. 2021 Main St. For tickets, call 204‑989‑0888 or visit rainbowstage.ca

My kind of rodeo

Aug 18-20 Music festival Interstellar Rodeo pairs artists such as Beck and Father John Misty with gourmet beer and wine for a full VIP experience. Don’t miss the local food trucks on site. This outdoor celebration takes over The Forks, with weekend and single day attendees free to wander Winnipeg’s meeting place. The Forks, 1 Forks Market Rd. Visit interstellarrodeo.com for tickets and info.

Lots of laughs

Aug 24-27 The 3rd annual Oddblock Comedy Festival returns to South Osborne featuring more than 50 comedians. Catch acts from The Late Late Show writer Eliza Skinner and returning festival favourite Matt Braunger (pictured). Venue-hopping attendees can grab a bite from nearby restaurants and food trucks or relax at streetside beer gardens. Join in the fun during the free open mic nights on Friday and Saturday, 8 pm-12 am. Various locations. 204‑478‑7275 or oddblock.ca for tickets.

More Winnipeg Stories:

20 Free Things To Do in Winnipeg
Why You Need To Visit The Canadian Museum For Human Rights
5 Only in the ‘Peg Foods
5 Winnipeg Shopping Districts

Hot Art: March and April

Exhibits worth seeking out over your stay.

"Blood Clots" by Diana Kletke, courtesy of MB Craft Council

“Blood Clots” by Diana Kletke, courtesy of MB Craft Council

THINKING IN THREAD

MAR 3-31 What do a neuroscientist and a craftsperson have in common? It’s not a punchline; Neurocraft, an exhibit authored by the Manitoba Craft Council explores just that. The pieces on display, all inspired by the brain, are the result of a two year collaboration between nine neuroscientists and craft artists. The resulting work blends accessible media, like fibre art and sculpture, with the complex forms of the brain and intricate ideas behind contemporary scientific research. John Buhler Research Centre Atrium, 715 McDermot Ave, manitobacraft.ca

"This Fragile Dwelling-Place" by Janet Shaw-Russel, photo by Kevin Bertram

“This Fragile Dwelling-Place” by Janet Shaw-Russel, photo by Kevin Bertram

BODY TALK

MAR 10-APR 15 Janet Shaw-Russell’s series of drawings, prints, and sculpture, entitled Within, without, began with a medical booklet on lung cancer, a sewing pattern, and her graphite pencils. Exploring the body’s intricacy and fragility, the resulting juxtapositions at Martha Street Studio prompt the viewer to consider such issues as health, medicine, women’s rights, and the plight of garment workers. 11 Martha St, 204‑779‑6253, printmakers.mb.ca

OTHER EXHIBITS

Mar-Apr: A collection of portraits by Michel Saint-Hilaire observes and questions our social environment, showing that we all have a story to tell. La Galerie, Centre culturel franco-manitobain, 340 Provencher Blvd, 204‑233‑8972, ccfm.mb.ca
Mar-Apr: Nature Rearranged: A Century of The Still Life features Canadian and European art from the past century that depict images of flowers.Winnipeg Art Gallery, 300 Memorial Blvd, 204‑786‑6641, wag.ca
Mar-Apr: See Rodin’s The Thinker up close. Winnipeg Art Gallery, 300 Memorial Blvd, 204‑786‑6641, wag.ca
To Mar 11: Wally Dion blends traditional craft with modern technology, drawing connections between quilts and circuitboards.Urban Shaman, 203‑290 McDermot Ave, 204‑942‑2674, urbanshaman.org
To Mar 11: Barry Ace’s Niibwa Ndanwendaagan (My Relatives) is a suite of Anishnaabe bandolier bags (or ‘friendship bags’) adorned with electronic components and a tablet screening historical photographs and archival film of Indigenous peoples. Urban Shaman, 203‑290 McDermot Ave, 204‑942‑2674, urbanshaman.org
Mar 11-24: Object and Complement features three Winnipeg artists whose work explores the relationship between object, subject, and response. Cre8ery,2nd floor, 125 Adelaide St, 204-944-0809, cre8ery.com 
To Mar 17: This Must Be the Place is a collection of work inspired by Winnipeg. Lisa Kehler Art & Projects, 171 McDermot Ave, 204‑510‑0088, lkap.ca
To Mar 31: Station is a meditation on the situation of the radio operator, and the individual’s role as communicators, information gatherers, and distributors. Aceartinc, 290 McDermot Ave, 2nd floor, 204‑944‑9763, aceart.org
To Apr 13: The Frontier School Division Juried Art Show features a selection of artworks by students from Manitoba’s northern schools. Graffiti Gallery, 109 Higgins Ave, 204‑667‑9960, graffitigallery.ca
Mar 3-30: James Culleton exhibits drawings, watercolours, and sculptures from his residency at the nearly-century old McCanna House in North Dakota. Wayne Arthur Gallery,186 Provencher Blvd, 204‑477‑5249, waynearthurgallery.com 
Mar 10-Apr 15: Vital by Darian Gordon Stahl blends photographs and medical scans in a reflection on chronic illness and bodily perception. Martha Street Studio, 11 Martha St, 204‑779‑6253, printmakers.mb.ca
Mar 10-Apr 29: A Piece of Work centres around the scrap material assemblages of Seth Woodyard, while Timothy Joel Dyck’s Workday explores the banal components of work. Street art interventions are featured in Ulmeus Communitas/Elm Community, by Frank Livingston, with wheat pastes of trees in Winnipeg’s Wolseley neighbourhood. Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd, 204‑888‑6781, gallery.mennonitechurch.ca
Mar 24-26: The annual Over The Top Art Auction and Cupcake Party is the art scene’s sweetest event. Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, 611 Main St,
204‑949‑9490, mawa.ca
Mar 24-Apr 22: This Must Be the Place (Home Pt 2) features works by three Montreal based artists exploring ideas about home. Lisa Kehler Art & Projects, 171 McDermot Ave, 204‑510‑0088, lkap.ca
Apr 1-26: Coddiwomples by Helma Rogge Rehders takes inspiration from an Old English word meaning to travel purposefully toward a vague destination. The exhibit shows pieces that reflect two decades of work based around marsh and lake landscape. Wayne Arthur Gallery, 204‑477‑5249, waynearthurgallery.com
Mar 2-Apr 8: Cafeteria II is a collection of paintings, photographs, and mixed media sculptures by Elvira Finnegan and Lisa Wood that examines the culture of the University cafeteria. Gallery 1C03, 
1st floor, Centennial Hall, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Ave, 204-786‑9253, uwinnipeg.ca/art-gallery
Starts Apr 14: You Can Never Go Home Again features paintings by Matthew Gardiner. Aceartinc, 290 McDermot Ave, 2nd floor, 204‑944‑9763, aceart.org
Starts Apr 15: Performance artist Ray Fenwick waits behind a curtain for a visitor ready to have a conversation in A Greenhouse. The Valley. Never-Ending Evening.Plug In ICA, Unit 1-460 Portage Ave, 204‑942‑1043, plugin.org
Starts Apr 15: Patrick Cruz claims space and disorients the viewer with his series of maximal floor-to-ceiling paintings, awash in vibrant colour and bold use of line. Plug In ICA, Unit 1-460 Portage Ave, 204‑942‑1043, plugin.org
Starts Apr 20: Collective Voices features an eclectic group of Manitoba artists who vary in medium, style, and point of view. Cre8ery, 2nd floor, 125 Adelaide St, 204-944-0809, cre8ery.com

MORE THINGS TO DO IN WINNIPEG:

Best New Restaurants 2016: The Yearly Round Up of the City’s Hottest Dining
Here & Now: Must-See and Do Activities During Your Stay
Inside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Go Jets Go!

Winnipeg’s Drummer Boy

Sean Quigley has turned his viral internet success into an opportunity to change the world and explore his passion, one song at a time.

Photo courtesy Sean Quigley

Photo courtesy Sean Quigley

By Joelle Kidd

When asked, “why The Little Drummer Boy?”, a grin creeps over Sean Quigley’s face.

“Do you want the cheesy answer—or the real answer?”

The question, of course, refers to Quigley’s video of the same name, which as racked up almost 3.3 million views to date on YouTube. In it, the then 16-year-old, clad in shorts, a toque, and Hudson’s Bay Canada mittens, carries a drum through snowcapped scenes of a Winnipeg winter while an updated version of the carol—complete with buzzy guitar and a drum solo—plays. The video has resonated with a huge number of people, winning internet fame, and has had long lasting impact on many fans.

At the time, Quigley had not the faintest idea that his project would be so successful. “To be honest, I chose the song because of the Boney M Christmas album,” he says. “I just wanted to put my own spin on it.”

Armed with nothing but a borrowed video camera and a school computer covertly loaned by one of his High School teachers, the teenager set out to make a music video. The original plan was to shoot indoors, which turned up too dark on camera. Then, the morning of the planned shoot, Sean awoke to a dazzling snowfall. “I just knew, we can’t miss this,” he says. He and his sister formed a makeshift film crew, loading his drums into the back of her car and driving to his favourite spots around the city.

“I think people relate to its authenticity,” he says. The video was made on a whim, with DIY spirit, at next to no cost, by a young musician. For Quigley, the video’s story is one of searching and finding—a version of his own personal journey. “At the time, I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer the world except music,” he remembers. At the end of the video, the lone drummer stands, overlooking the city, playing his snare drum, his voice finally heard.

In the five years since The Little Drummer Boy was originally posted, Quigley has come a long way. The burst of success that followed his viral video sensation originally took him to Los Angeles, where he ended up on the edge of a quarter million dollar record contract.

But this record deal required compromising the authenticity that had won him fans in the first place. “I couldn’t do it—it didn’t feel right,” he says. “So I walked away.”

Quigley has never regretted turning down the offer. Instead, he has found purpose and the freedom to express himself here in his hometown of Winnipeg.

Online success opened the door to promoting charitable organizations. In one instance, he was offered a partnership deal with Hudsons Bay Company, after they saw the iconic Canada mittens featured in the Little Drummer Boy video. Like the rest of the video shoot, the mittens were chosen for practical reasons—Sean’s hands were cold and he grabbed some mitts out of the car. But he used his newfound clout to collect mittens for Winnipeg’s homeless, and held a special concert with proceeds going to local shelter Siloam Mission.

He has also worked with World Vision, and while travelling with the organization met fellow Winnipegger Karli Gerbrandt, who was working at a non-profit in Cambodia. The two musicians and world travellers reconnected when they returned home to Winnipeg, got married, and began playing music together.

Under the name Bold As Lions, the duo released a full studio album in 2014 called The Hope Movement, a collection of crisp harmonies, earworm hooks, and poignant lyrics. Another album is in the works to be released this year.

For this couple-turned-band, roots in this city go deep. “There’s something special about Winnipeg,” Sean says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world, but I never feel there’s anything I can’t do right here.”

Find concert schedule and music online at boldaslions.ca.

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Top 5 Restaurants with Live Music

Photo courtesy Prairie Ink Restaurant

Photo courtesy Prairie Ink Restaurant

Dining is not just about taste; get the other senses involved at these restaurants, which offer live music in harmony with mouth-watering flavour.

Prairie Ink Restaurant (pictured), inside McNally Robinson Booksellers, hosts sweet music every Friday and Saturday night. Acoustic crooners and jazz trios are the backdrop to healthful eats like kicky curried spaghetti squash. Reservations preferred. 1120 Grant Ave, 204‑975‑2659, mcnallyrobinson.com/restaurant

Hip venue The Good Will slings java during the day and sates late night cravings with slices from Little Pizza Heaven. Indie rock, jazz, and hip hop artists usually take the stage. 625 Portage Ave, 204-221-1577, thegoodwill.ca

Excellent pub grub, like indulgent pulled pork poutine, makes Le Garage the place to lounge. Consistent live shows range from local legends to open mics. 166 Provencher Blvd, 204‑237‑0737, garagecafe.ca

Expert musicians tickle the ivories at swanky Palm Lounge inside the Fort Garry Hotel while the kitchen plays with on seasonal, scratch-made fare. Jazz and classical piano is de-rigeur, often with a talented vocalist joining in. 222 Broadway, 204‑942‑8251, fortgarryhotel.com/dining

Winnipeg’s stellar jazz scene can be found at Nicolino’s every week at the Wednesday Night Hang. Budding musicians and seasoned pros share the stage, while diners sample rustic Italian cuisine. 2077 Pembina Hwy, 204‑269‑5004, nicolinosrestaurant.com

The Play’s The Thing

By Janice Tober

Winnipeg has long been known for its rich cultural scene, generating artists who dazzle the world with creativity in both the visual and performing arts. It is our theatre scene, however, that wins Winnipeg the cultural crown.

In a city home to the country’s oldest English regional theatre, as well as Canada’s longest-running French company, theatre is ingrained in the hearts of Winnipeggers who grow up experiencing thought-provoking plays produced by these venerated institutions. It is these early companies that have emboldened aspiring artists to create theatre groups of their own, in all shapes and sizes. WHERE Winnipeg offers a sneak peek of the plays that promise to be the most talked-about dramas, inspiring stories and laugh-out-loud comedies of the 2016/17 season.

RMTC

Royalty Lives Here

Winnipeggers often look to the city’s most prominent stage, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, to keep them entertained. It is the only theatre in Canada to receive royal designation, and is housed in a stunning Brutalist-style building in the Exchange District that commands respect. With a 58-year history, the company has a record of producing plays that hit the mark with audiences.

Steven Schipper, the company’s Artistic Director, states, “planning seasons is the only thing that I don’t delegate,” as he works to find plays that appeal to Winnipeg’s sophisticated artistic palate.

RMTC’s season opener, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (adapted by Simon Stephens), is a co-production with Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre. This Tony Award-winner, based on Mark Haddon’s bestseller of the same name, begins when fifteen-year-old Christopher is accused of killing his neighbour’s dog. The story follows Christopher, diagnosed with autism, as he works to clear his name and solve the mystery on his own. A strong and stimulating choice, this coming-of-age tale exposes Christopher’s vulnerabilities as well as his strengths with insight and humour. The show runs from Oct 20 to Nov 12.

Just down the street from RMTC is its second stage, the Tom Hendry Warehouse. With its own full season curated by Schipper, the Warehouse focuses on works that are more provocative and controversial than those seen on the mainstage.

The season begins with another play based on a novel: My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok. Running Oct 13-29, Aaron Posner’s stage adaptation is a thoughtful meditation on how an artist and his or her work can be driven by a compulsion that threatens both family and tenets once held dear. This co-production with Montreal’s Segal Centre is well-suited to the Warehouse’s smaller space where theatregoers are close to the drama unfolding in front of them. “It’s a perfect play for our intimate Hendry Theatre,” says Schipper. “Audiences embrace work that touches, challenges, and entertains, while asking important questions about how we may best live our lives.”

Courtesy Theatre Cercle Moliere

Courtesy Theatre Cercle Moliere

Multiculti Stages

Winnipeg’s multicultural makeup is mirrored in the city’s arts groups. In St Boniface, signs and snippets of conversation en français are reminders that French voyageurs settled here, and it is Théâtre Cercle Molière—the oldest French theatre in Canada—that best reflects this distinct Francophone community.

Geneviève Pelletier, Cercle Molière’s Artistic and General Director, chose to open the season with Et que ça saute!, an original piece by Winnipeg playwright, Danielle Séguin-Tétreault. Pelletier says she wanted to “kick off the season with a real side splitter,” and, with a title that translates to mean, “And make it snappy!” expect fast-paced dialogue and quick comedic timing. Centred around five people in an apartment building who are all searching for something in their lives, the play takes the audience through what Pelletier calls “the twists and turns of a day gone wrong.” The play opens on Oct 13 and runs until Oct 29 with simultaneous translation on certain dates.

In the late 19th- and early-20th centuries Winnipeg welcomed many Jewish immigrants and settlers to the city, many of whom helped create its arts institutions. The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre had its inaugural season in 1987 and has a history of showcasing original plays by some of Canada’s top playwrights—such as work by Winnipeg-born Vern Thiessen, recipient of the Governor General’s award for his moving drama, Einstein’s Gift—that highlight and lay bare the Jewish experience with emotion, comedy and accrued insight.

Running from Oct 27-Nov 6, the 2016 season opener is the Canadian premiere of Another Way Home by Anna Ziegler. Set in the summer during visiting day at Camp Kickapoo, on the surface Another Way Home is simply a witty story that catches parents in the midst of escalating conflict with their son, Joey. But amidst the barbs, the play examines what it means to be a family desperately trying to deal with a troubled son.

Courtesy Soul Pepper Theatre Company

Courtesy Soul Pepper Theatre Company

Bring the Kids

Manitoba Theatre for Young People evolved from Actor’s Showcase, an amateur theatre group that offered training for local talent, and grew with a new mandate to become one of the most respected stages in Canada for its creative, built-from-scratch productions and innovative children’s programming. Since its beginnings in 1982, the company has never rested on its laurels, winning its first award in 1992—the Canadian Institute of the Arts for Young Audiences Award—before earning a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Production in the Theatre for Young Audiences category in 2007.

The 2016 season opens with Alligator Pie (running Oct 26-Nov 6), an original Dora Award-winning production by Toronto’s Soulpepper company. “The whole play is built around the beloved poems of Dennis Lee,” comments Pablo Felices-Luna, the company’s new Artistic Director, “so all of our fun is made possible through the work of an outstanding Canadian poet. And that’s how we wanted to launch, [with] all of the wildness you can experience at our theatre.” The play is full of infectious musical numbers and theatrical zaniness, but underlying the high-energy production is a message about the importance of friendship.

Courtesy Prairie Theatre Exchange

Courtesy Prairie Theatre Exchange

Go Grassroots

Since opening its doors in a ramshackle building in the Exchange District, Prairie Theatre Exchange has always been a small company rooted in the community. The theatre offered its rehearsal space to amateur groups and allowed them to perform on its stage between its own shows. Today, PTE is found in a downtown shopping centre, and it still belongs to Winnipeggers: in 2007 it opened its Playwrights Unit, where experienced and new local playwrights are provided with an office, the resources needed to put on a live reading or workshop, and input from fellow auteurs.

PTE continues its focus on work by Manitoban and Canadian artists with the play The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, penned by Canadian playwright, Beth Graham. Running from Oct 12-30, the play centres on Bernice’s daughter, Iris, as her Mom calls the family together to announce that she has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The emotionally heavy story can be challenging for audiences, but when asked about this selection for the 2016/17 season, Artistic Director Robert Metcalfe explains, “This play was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 2015, and I love it because of its fundamental honesty and heart in addressing some very serious subject matter—including the unique relationship between mothers and daughters—and the choices we make, both in parenting and in life.” Metcalfe has no need to shy away from difficult work, knowing that the city’s erudite audience is up for the challenge.

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