Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/9/2010 (2405 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Since I now have very own set of tarot cards, conjured into being by performance artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan -- with the help of illustrator Bonnie Marin -- I thought it was high time I had my own reading done. Obviously, being the size of a city, I couldn't fit into Dempsey's reading room at 611 Main St., so Dempsey agreed to meet me on my own turf -- the sidewalk outside. As my traffic streamed by and my weather flirted on the edge of rain, I cleared my throat (with the sound of a Harley) and gathered my thoughts.
1. WILL I EVER HAVE A RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM?
(The Knight of Lightning card turns up. It contains a painting of the Sunday Night Cruise -- flashy cars, buxom women... Dempsey gives me a wry smile).
"Sadly no. It looks like the automobile will reign supreme in Winnipeg for the time being. Look at the card... it's all cars. No bus, no bike... it's not looking good."
Oh well, my current mayor, who I've started to call Mr. Dithers, won't be around forever. Which brings up my next question.
2. WILL MY NEXT MAYOR BE MALE OR FEMALE?
(The Five of Floods is turned. The main figure is a female. But Dempsey rains on that parade.)
"It is a female figure, but notice that there are male hands controlling the floodway spigot. Her shoes are getting wet. She is in a moat of tears. And look at her despair. There will be an outpouring of support but she won't be successful this time. Men will still control things."
I have always been a bit insecure as a city. I want people to like me. I really do. So this next question has long weighed heavy on my mind.
3. DOES JOHN K. SAMSON OF THE WEAKERTHANS REALLY HATE ME?
(It's an Empress card, with a portrait of a beautiful, gracious lady sitting in the Assiniboine Park Conservatory.)
"I would say no. This is a major Arcana card - The Empress. She represents fertility. She is the type of person who does a lot of volunteering and works hard to make our community better. In John K. Samson's case, perhaps she represents the fertility of imagination. Everything she touches is successful. She embodies a lot of industry, sexuality and creativity. I would say that Winnipeg is his muse."
Well... I feel better already. That's a real shot in the metaphorical arm. This gives me the courage to ask my next question.
4. WHAT WILL I GET FIRST, A DECENT FOOTBALL STADIUM OR AN NHL TEAM?
(Ouch. There's the Nine of Blizzards. There is a poor waif of a girl gazing at one of those awful signs: Winnipeg -- One Great City. I have to admit, I have always been embarrassed by those signs. I mean, if I am a great city, can't people see that on their own? Does somebody have to point it out for them? But I digress...)
"She is at the Perimeter in the barrens in winter and she is improperly dressed. She is looking up at the sign in horror. I think the sign is telling us we could achieve our goal (of being One Great City), but not without difficulty and a lot of hard work. But there is another possible reading of this card. She is out at the Perimeter. And the new stadium is supposed to be at the University of Manitoba, which is near the Perimeter. Perhaps we will have a stadium first -- out near the Perimeter."
The image of the barrens gets me thinking about mosquitoes, and that leads me to one of my favourite minions.
5. WILL TAZ STUART EVER CUT HIS HAIR?
(Ha. It's The Fool card. I knew it.)
"The Fool represents the ultimate friendly Manitoban. Here he is standing high atop garbage hill, but if he falls, he doesn't have far to go. If you look closely at the figure, you can see he has short hair, and he is an older gentleman. So perhaps when Taz reaches his full maturity, he may have to get a new look. His kind of look is hard to pull off when you are older."
OK. And speaking of getting a new look...
6. I AM A BOMBER FAN. WHEN CAN I TAKE THE PAPER BAG OFF MY HEAD?
(Oh. Double ouch. It's the Page of Drought. Dempsey must see my streetscape droop because she quickly tries to reassure me.)
"But the picture on the card is of the Manitoba Social. It's a convivial scene. The people are having a fabulous time. But it IS the Drought card. I guess people going to a Bombers game will have a convivial time, but the drought will persist."
Yeah, the fans probably did have a good time at Friday night's game against Montreal. It was a good game. But still... a win would be the icing on the cake. And speaking of win... what about winter?
7. WILL I BLOW MY SNOWPLOW BUDGET THIS YEAR?
(C'mom. the Four of Blizzards. Seriously? Is this deck rigged?)
"Don't worry. It won't be as bad as we fear. This woman on the card is out for a stroll in open toed shoes. This is Winter City. Of course we are going to get snow. But I would say it won't be a heavy snowfall, based on her footwear. It won't be a bitter winter."
Dempsey senses that my inferiority complex has not been assuaged by any of the preceding answers, so she offers to turn a bonus card and asks the question herself.
BONUS QUESTION: WHAT DOES WINNIPEG'S FUTURE HOLD?
(And whaddya know, there's my lover, the Golden Boy.)
"It's a powerful symbol. Despite the weather and the difficulties with rapid transit and the Bombers, our future continues to be bright. The sun shines on our future," Dempsey tells me. And just then, the sun does break out for a moment. Of course, it was raining again by nightfall. Oh well... sometimes even I hate Winnipeg -- but never for long.
The Winnipeg tarot decks, complete with a witty interpretation booklet by Dempsey and Millan, are also for sale for $25 through the Winnipeg Arts Council. You can also visit winnipegtarotco.ca or fingerinthedyke.ca .