'A little bit churchy and a little bit beery" is what Kevin Walters wanted for his celebration of life, host Vanessa Macrae said Thursday night at a packed Burton Cummings Theatre.
The wake was a little bit teary, too. Walters, so beloved by the Winnipeg entertainment community, died of cancer June 23. Family, friends, musicians and film folks gathered to say goodbye to the much-loved entrepreneur and producer who helped new musicians and bands develop and brought to life countless large events in the city.
His famous scrunched-up straw cowboy hat sat on a table at the front.
The "churchy" part started with MadrigaØa, who sang Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, and Fred Penner doing the first blessing. Clarence and Barb Nepinak, and singer Clifford Spence sent up guidance for Walters' journey following the First Nations spiritual tradition.
Ginette Lavack Walters, Walters' beloved French-Canadian wife, spoke eloquently of the man she loved, ending with "Je t'aime, mon chéri."
Many others spoke about Walters, including friends Shelley Dufault, Perry Miller, Sam Baardman, Rick Fenton, Ian Low, Dean Zurowski and Dean Roney.
The "beery?" Harlequin blasted out tunes I Did It For Love, Innocence and Thinking of You. Band leader George Belanger warned everyone, "If you don't like the volume, better go stand at the back, because this is the way Kevin liked it!" And at the back of the theatre, a noisy Manitoba social-style reception finished off the night.
FRINGE PLAY: What would political types Bill Blaikie, Gary Filmon and veteran media men Gordon Sinclair Jr., Morley Walker, Ron Robinson and Roger Currie be doing in a fringe play? Actor/playwright and former CBC host Lesley Hughes has asked celebrity boomers to do one-night-stand cameos in Boomer Love, her play with John Stratton.
"The celebs play boomers who get hit on in a coffee shop," says Hughes. Filmon is quite interested, says Hughes, but still says he has to check his datebook.
The play revolves around characters Molly and Sean, sideswiped by love in their 60s.
"But she wants the Big L and he wants the Big F," says Hughes. Though they're soulmates, he wants to be free to pursue the perfect woman and the runners-up, 1960s-style.
Expect '60s music and a dance interlude choreographed by Laura Elliot of Encore Studios. This one-hour fringe play runs July 17-26 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and it's directed by actor Harry Nelken.
BLACKLI$T: A new clothing and apparel store for the hip 18-25 crowd opened with 40 people lining up outside 75 Albert St. last week and became a party that grew and spilled out onto the street with live hip-hop music booming.
"It's a chill environment, very welcoming," says 19-year-old entrepreneur and Virgin 103.1 DJ Peter Takis.
Takis has partnered with Michael Williams, 32, and Roger Beals, 22, in a store that sells vintage gear and customized clothing. Picture cropped, old basketball jerseys of famous teams with added fringe and leather patches sewn onto camouflage gear.
"Stores like this are popular in other cities, but this is the first one in Winnipeg," says Takis. Art director for the wild walls of the classy/funky-looking store is Brian Gasenzer.
Why the name Blackli$t? Because each of the trio has felt he was an outsider at one time. "In my case, I was just 17 when I became a DJ at Streetz FM and nobody thought I should have that job because I was so young," says Takis.
TV BURGER FAME: The Food Network Canada show You Gotta Eat Here parked its trucks in front of award-winning burger joint Nuburger in Osborne Village, formerly called Unburger.
Nuburger recently switched the first two letters of its name and changed its branding because too many people mistook them for a vegetarian eatery, explains co-owner Kyle Matheson. Some people thought there were no burgers involved at all. Not the case.
They say they serve "real food" without a load of additives and are vegan- and gluten-friendly.
The TV trucks meant Food Network Canada's genial host John Catucci had come to call. Catucci is on a cross-Canada search for the best comfort food in existence. Finding "great joints, greasy spoons and legendary restaurants" is his mission. Catucci and his gang talk to the chefs and try to pry out of them what makes their comfort food the best.
Matheson's work crew, out front to sweep rainwater off the street, could only describe Catucci as "nice, very nice to talk to."
By the way, should you explore the place, Matheson discloses their top three burgers are the Donald, Bison Blueberry and Shang-Awesome.
FREE CLOTHING: Winnipeg has its problems but there's no shortage of kindness and generosity in this city. Outreach Centre, at Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre, is holding an open clothing room today (Monday, July 7) from 1 to 2 p.m. at 104-3100 Pembina Hwy. "Come and access our clothing room and receive up to five free items," they say. For info call 204-477-1123. This is a women-only event and child care is available on request.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.