Winnipeg scenes

I have been lax in posting pics of my birth town. Here’s a taste of what it’s like.

First, the strawberry season (about two weeks long)


Louis Riel stands proud before the parliament buildings


An Exchange District art gallery
(one of many)

The Winnipeg cottonwoods, on the
grounds of the Rainbow Stage


It’s a long, straight road to Gimli and Lake Winnipeg

The long, straight road to Gimli


Stone, stone, stonework at the intersection of Portage and Main



The “illustrated bear” park


A downtown mural (one of many — i tell you, it’s an arts town)



And an open-air swing-band concert at the Lyric Theatre, Assiniboine Park

3-cornered fringe

Whew. Four hours of volunteering (parking duty, ugh) at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, followed by three plays, then an hour’s bus ride back to Mom’s place. The line-up tonight:

  • Skin Flick — three 20-somethings, all still living in their parents’ basements, get involved in making their first porno movie. Enthusiastic acting by young cast, fine comic timing, and beefy, witty writing by neophyte U of Winnipeg playwright Gonzalo Riede.
  • Inferno Sonata, written and acted by Scott Sharplin (right) — Wow, a tour de force of acting in this highly eccentric, classical one-man show. Both annoying and riveting, it unfolds like a piece of origami on black paper. Sit up front. Best set you’ll see on a Fringe production.
  • Old Growth — Had to see this one because it’s set in Haida Gwai — the demise of the Golden Spruce. Overly preachy, but a strong tale pulled, nay, dragged me through it. Alex Eddington wrote and stars, along with accomplished flautist Aura Giles (and i don’t even like flute). Passion! Drums! Nudity! Important Message! That’s what Fringe is all about, folks.

Okay, good night. It’s 12:16 a.m. and i have to get up at 7 to catch my 10-to-2 shift tomorrow morning — plus another couple of plays, of course!

Question: How come no older guys ‘n’ gals in the Fringe (so far)?

Fringe launch

Started today as a Fringe volunteer, and it was, er, somewhat less than inspiring. Parking, that’s me. I patrol the parking lane by the Old Market Square outdoor stage, and make sure only performers or vendors are parked there, and that they have the appropriate permit. You know what they say: give a little man a little power….

Nah, it wasn’t that bad. Just a bit boring. But i got to watch all the acts on the open stage — mostly aimed at kids, so a bit puerile.

But then came … the Fringe. Caught two plays after my shift:

  • Busty Rhymes and MC Hot Pink — a one- (Kiwi-)woman show about … mostly, her breasts. And the rest of her full figure. And problems with men. And Lots of energy, but the material didn’t seem fresh. I did learn the interesting fact that Auckland has 35,000 more single women than men. Hmm.
  • ‘Beth, which i went to because the timing was right and i could get a ticket, was an attempt at retelling Shakespeare’s Macbeth story in a modern, money-grubbing, doctor-the-will context. Didn’t quite work, but a brave effort. (I’m pulling punches here because i really admire Fringe performers’ guts — it’s naked theatre — and i cringe whenever i see a callously negative review.)

Both shows not terrific, but it’s inspiring to be surrounded by artistic energy. Theatre matters, and art matters, in this context.

La vida lento

Well, i’m just a-givin’ ‘er here in Winnipeg, living the fast, wild life of the retired octogenarian with my Mom in her 55-and-over retirement condo. This is the golden years that our parents worked their lives away for — what we ourselves have little hope of — and let me tell you, it ain’t bad. Apart from that can-only-end-in-the-grave aspect.

Mom's boot cast
Mom's boot cast

It has been an adjustment, slowing down to retirement pace, especially since Mom broke a bone in her foot and has to wear a temporary “boot cast” (you’ve seen the like in a Frankenstein movie, i’m sure) that i help her put on every morning. So it takes us (i timed it surreptitiously) 1.5 minutes to get from her apartment to the elevator, 1-2 minutes to get down to the parking garage, and 4-6 minutes to get to the car, depending on whether we check the mail and meet other people in the building. Add a good 30 seconds just to get into the car and you’ll see how damned impatient i really am, deep down.

On the plus side, there’s a whole city out there to explore. Not that i’ve strayed for from this computer, with its fast Internet connection and big, clear screen, in the past few days. But i got plans: Mountain Equipment Co-op lies downtown; the Fringe starts next week and i hope to volunteer; and the circus is in town.