Winnipeg is a very cultural town we love our arts and all types of entertainment. Last week I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the Van Gogh exhibit that is being held downtown at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. It was an immersive show that projected wall sized images of his works onto a variety of screens about the space.
As many of you know Vincent was a troubled soul and lived in virtual poverty. He eventually took his own life at the young age of 37. There is a theory that great art can only come from great personal pain. Without a doubt Van Gogh had both in great abundance. The last years of his short life were prolific in the extreme, it was mentioned that to compare Vincent to Shakespeare would be to say that Shakespeare would have had to written the bulk of his work in under 2 years. Now that is saying something.
So without further ado I give you the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh.
That is just a sample of the wonders of Van Gogh please join me again for Go, Go Van Gogh: People and faces.
Posted onMay 25, 2016|Comments Off on Gord Downie and what it means to be Canadian
I can’t even begin to try to count the good wishes and kind words since Tuesday morning and The Tragically Hip Management released a statement. Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. I know many of my world wide friends will not know his name or the band’s music but believe me when that announcement went live across Canada. It was like an arrow was shot into the collective hearts of a nation.
There are very few artists of any genre that capture the soul of a nation, Pierre Burton, Tom Thompson, Gordon Lightfoot captured the rough and tumble nature, angst of my father’s generation. Leonard Cohen encapsulated the Montreal vibe and took the 70’s not just here but in the heart of the New York jungle with his verses.
To try to understand The Tragically Hip in a few paragraphs is like trying to catch smoke in your bare hands. I don’t honesty believe that Canada has ever produced an artist quite like what he and the band are together. The often misused word synergy comes to mind, if you’ve seen them live or on youtube you’ll know what I mean. Watching Gord Downie on stage is like watching a force of nature dipped in gasoline, set on fire after a huge bong hit and energized by his rabid Canadian fans.
But I digress how does this speak to the nature of Canadians? Well every truly Canadian heart possesses a few key things to live on in the cold of winter and then live in perpetual exuberance in summer. We tend to be a quiet people, not prone to flag waving, but we are tough as hell. There is a reason why Logan aka Wolverine is Canadian. We will not stop, we earned the respect in every war Canada has been dragged into by other nations.
Canadians like Gord and The Hip have a very multifaceted soul, this country is not a Melting Pot, but rather a cultural mosaic. Very hard to get your head around at first but if you travel across the country by car or train you’ll see that every community is distinct. Some Metis French, some Quebec separatist, some Hutturite German. Across our breadbasket, Ukrainian, Finnish, Polish. Every little town and hamlet a different community, but tied together in this huge ides called Canada.
Somehow The Hip have managed to capture the Canadian ideal, the Wheat Field Soul. The hockey rink, that first love, the desperation of a man wrongly accused. The lyrics take Canadians home, but get us live at a Hip Show and you’ll see another animal all together. Gord riffing, ranting, begging, destroying and creating. His off course mid song sojourn from song to song. When he’s live you never ever see the same show twice.
And that I guess is the Canadian soul, rock steady, steeped in the traditions of many cultures. The resiliency that our climate brings, it melds people together expecially in the Prarie where the winter winds can kill in minutes and then in summer we celebrate.
These things the great Canadian artists understand. The things that make every part of Canada different but also make us great.
The power of Canada has never been in military force, but in uniting as a people when the chips are down on last call.
I think of the Fort McMurray fire, Terry Fox and his selfless run across Canada on one leg, and now to rally behind one of our poets and song writers in his family’s moment of need.
If nothing else speaks to the Canadian soul it’s our resilience. Our sports have months long playoffs where people regularly lose teeth, sometimes get an artery cut and almost bleed to death on the hockey ice. Football in fog, mud and the chill of a Canadian cold snap going down into -20c.
But we hardly bitch and moan. Lest to say it’s a dry cold.
These artists really get that Canadian enui, our cold silent nature. All the while giggling at anyone that doesn’t get us.
Comments Off on Gord Downie and what it means to be Canadian
Well, here we are again Winnipeg, mid-January with the cold and snow firmly entrenched and no end in sight. For those of you, like myself, unable to travel somewhere tropical, there is a reprieve in sight. The good folks in The Vatican came up with the idea of Lent a couple of centuries ago and wouldn’t you know it the industrious citizens of New Orléans know an opportunity to eat and carry on when they see it. Fat Tuesday, or Mardi-Gras to our Creole and Cajun friends to the South is just the excuse to let loose, eat and drink till you can’t do that no more.
Tom McGouran lampshade at the ready with Alix Michaels rocking out with an Aligator at Mardi Gras Media Night
Announcing the festivities for Mardi Gras at media night.
Friday, February 13th is Zombie Night. The living dead will be roaming the room at the RBC Convention Centre. Come dressed as one of the living impaired and join the Undead Newlyweds as they seek fun, dancing and brains!! Those who dress to impress the undead get free admission to the Friday the 13th event.
Tom McGouran better eat quick he’s being sized up for lunch by the Zombie Bride!
Don’t have a date or a mate to bring to Mardi Gras on Valentine’s Day Saturday, February the 14th? Don’t worry, you can wear your heart on your sleeve and maybe meet that special someone who will sweep you off your feet and rock the night away. Cut out hearts will be available at the door to pin to your outfit and mark yourself Looking for Love! I can personally attest to hearing some very heartfelt testimonials from people who were looking only to dance the night away and found that special someone to make the night magical.
Tom McGouran and Alix Michaels
Speaking of magic, back by popular demand, all the way from New Orléans, Louisiana is Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellrasisers. The perennial party band is a sweet treat for your ears and your feet. You’ll be jumping and shaking with music so good you’ll want to slap yo mama!
Even Country Girls like Mardi Gras. Leanne “The Boss Lady” Cater in full plumage at Mardi Gras Media Night
If that’s not enough for y’all, don’t forget The Lindsays will be performing throughout the night. Featuring Sword Swallowing, Juggling and feats that will amaze and surprise young and old alike! Showgirls and yes ladies Showboys will be on display for your roving eye. Of course we can’t forget Beads! Thank goodness it’s an adult party with no children to protect from the giving of Beads! Wink Wink Y’all!
Fresh shucked oysters
Now all that moving and shaking is going to be putting a fierce hunger in that belly. Why not try some of the flavours of Louisiana. The menu this year includes fan favourites such as Deep Fried Pickles and Sweet Potato Fries, screamingly fresh P.E.I Oysters, shucked just for you and of course Peel and Eat Shrimp. New to Winnipeg Mardi Gras, sample Authentic Alligator Fritters, be careful though these may bite back!
Freshly flambéed Shrimp with Pasta
Looking for something a little more hearty? Try the Louisiana Style Shrimp with Pasta, French Quarter Gumbo or Bourbon Street Creole Style Jambalaya! I’ve personally tried all the above and they are spectacular.
Jambalaya! Need I say More?
Gentlemen, why not treat your own zombie bride to be or Valentine date to a sweet treat. This year’s desert special is Basin Street Pudding with Bourbon Laced Caramel Sauce.
Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
With all of this activity y’all are going to have a mighty powerful thirst going on. Don’t worry, they have you covered. Major drink sponsors include Fireball Canadian Whiskey,Wine O’ Clock, Diabolica, Molson/Coors and Heineken. Naturally, you can’t have a party Louisiana style without Jack Daniel’s or Southern Comfort so they’ll be there as well!
Come visit Kristjana the Fireball Girl at Mardi Gras February 13th at the RBC Convention Centre.
I know that personally I can’t wait for the chance to shake off these winter blues and dance till my feet can’t dance no more. Come join us, it’s going to be one hell-raiser of a good time.
Media Celeberties laugh it up at Mardi Gras Media Night
Authors Note: I do have a few free passes to give away for both Friday and Saturday nights. So to win, leave a comment detailing what night you’d like and what you’ll do to get them. For example, if you want Zombie Night, tell me what your costume plans are. If Valentine’s Day is more your style tell me why you absolutely need to meet that special someone this year. Winnipeg and area only please, I will be in contact with the winners to arrange pick up of the tickets.
Winnipeg has always been a hotbed of musical innovation. From the 60’s community club scene that saw The Guess Who and Neil Young dominating the Rock and Roll charts. To smaller bands like The Jury who never quite got the big break they deserved. Some music scholars have theorized that it’s all part of the isolation Winnipeg enjoys geographically and meteorologically. Let’s face it although Winnipeg is in the center of the continent we’re in the middle of nowhere and our winters can be brutally extreme.
What this does to people is debatable but one thing is for sure it breeds creativity. The Real Love Music festival, happening June 6-8th, is proof of that in spades. Taking place at Gimli Motorsports Park in Gimli, Manitoba The Real Love Festival hopes to give people of all ages and backgrounds an affordable and memorable music experience.
As luck would have it the fates have smiled upon me once again and gifted me a set of passes to the Winnipeg première of Godzilla. I have high hopes that this incarnation of the giant fire-breathing lizard will be head and shoulders above the craptacular Mathew Broderick version of a few years ago.
From what I have seen so far from the trailers on-line there very well could be a battle royal between Big G and what appears to be a Rodan like creature. In any case I will have all the goodies in my head as of May 14th with a movie preview post on May 15th.
So grab your dinosaur slippers if you have them and stomp around to the musical madness of Blue Oyster Cult as they sing Godzilla!!