BACHMAN & TURNER IN KIWI HEAVEN: "Randy (Bachman) and Fred (Turner) have never experienced a more beautiful tour," says their Winnipeg-based manager, Gilles Paquin, who recently returned from New Zealand where he spent two weeks with the rockers and their crew. "It is summer there, so all the concerts were outdoors starting at 1 p.m., and sponsored by a winery, so everyone was sitting out front with bottles of wine." But, he added, the best part was the surprise touring of the exotic sites. "We were off every night by 6 (p.m.) and they took us everywhere." The 14-person Canadian group hit the best Kiwi restaurants, tourist sites, exotic golf courses, lakes and everything Hobbit-related.
New Zealand is where they made films like The Hobbit and Avatar. They were taken to the place where they make all the foam mock-ups of the characters in those movies.
Back in Canada, Bachman has just started his one-man national tour in Fredericton, N.B., where he sings his 12 most famous songs and talks about the origins of each one. "Randy is at his best when he is storytelling," says Paquin. Bachman brings the show to the Pantages Playhouse Theatre April 3.
While the singer-songwriter of early Guess Who fame lives on an island off the coast of B.C. these days, Turner still lives in Winnipeg. If you don't see him around in the next little while, it's because he's taking a post-New Zealand holiday in balmy Florida. It's a tough life being a rock star...
By the way, Buffy Sainte-Marie, also managed by Paquin Entertainment, was spotted around Winnipeg recently. Turns out she flew into town to see the same hush-hush massage guru who works on Bachman's painful neck and shoulder, which ache from holding heavy guitars for hours on end.
Bachman is flying in two days before his gig in Winnipeg to get some massage treatments.
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DO OR DIE: Ronald George Moore won Wednesday's round at Do or Die Comedy Death Match at the Pulse nightclub, judged to be the funniest by Charlie Onyske, Warren Persowich and special guest, comedian Don Burnstick.
Benjamin Feilberg, the runner-up, became a contender for the last-chance wild-card spot. Comedians included Neil McRae, who celebrated his 31st birthday sweating it out in the comedy contest, Heather Witherden of Tazzy's Angels fame, plus comics Kevin Dobbie, Derek Jones and Matt Moskal. The host was veteran comedian Chantel Marostica, who provided hilarious edgy schtick between performers. The contest's prime organizer was Rodney Dangerfield-wannabe Scott Porteous. Not for the faint of heart is this wild brand of sex-infused comedy -- it's definitely not your button-down corporate show -- but it's great to see a lot of newer Winnipeg talent. Over the scope of the Wednesday-night contest this spring, 56 amateur Winnipeg comedians are running off in groups of eight, competing to be the 2013 Do or Die Comedy Death Match winner.
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EXCHANGE BUZZ: Everybody's talking about the Purple Room at 318 Ross Ave, one of those magical Winnipeg cheap-to-rent arts venues that occasionally pop up. It's the brainchild of His Purpleness, Paul Little, well-known in cyberspace for ShowbizMonkeys.com, his world entertainment review website with celebrity podcasts. He's interviewed hot stars such as Loreena McKennitt, Andy Samberg, Kevin Pollack, Aziz Ansari and Loudon Wainwright III.
Tired of seven months cramped in his small art studio at the Frame Arts Warehouse, Little took a chance by renting the 1,700-square-foot venue on the main floor which has purple walls and pillars and can seat 50... an intimate theatre. "I wanted to do something interesting with it," he says. He wasn't kidding. Now he rents it out 18 hours of the day as a workshop centre, performance palace and rehearsal hall. "We even have Zumba class here now," he laughs. Regular renters pay as little as $10 a session. Little hosts the music nights, J.D. Renaud hosts standup comedy evenings, and the group Outside Joke hosts the improv nights. Check it out Sunday nights for the "Purple Room Showcase Series" that rotates music, standup comedy, improv and sketch comedy, film and spoken word.
This Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, so it has to be a spoken-word night. We of Irish background know how much we like the sound of our own voices.
The host is Paul Friesen and the show boasts well-known performance artists, many from the competitive slam poetry world. (In slam mode, you can croon, speak words, yell, cry or holler for your allotted minutes).
Competitors this week? Steve Currie, Steve Locke and Ronel Amata from the slam world, plus Stephanie Plaitin, an actress, writer and producer. Kya Dimaline of DIY improv will be there along with poets Dylan Mowatt, Aaron Simm and Luther Waschenfelder. Each artist will have eight to 10 minutes on stage. The show starts at 7 p.m.
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MOMONDAYS BASH: Motivational speakers can get a bad rap for "rah-rah."
But Stephanie Staples is a life coach with a Friday-night CJOB show Your Life Unlimited, and she doesn't care! She's started scheduling Mo(tivational) Mondays at Sam's Place (a bookstore and bistro on Henderson Highway) and it has sold out completely the first three times. Last Monday, she gave six different speakers 10 minutes each to inspire the crowd. To start people in an "up" mood, singer-songwriter Paul Scarnati sang his own amusing tunes. Guest speakers included Anna Echol, food blogger at Lunchfor1.com on how to lose weight without dieting. Then Art Alexander from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce spoke on being prepared for death, by telling people you love them before they're even sick. Susanne St. Ives, a School for the Deaf educator, spoke on watching one woman on a balcony in the Congo talk a group of soldiers out of killing four young men in the square below her hotel.
Calvin Edie of Edie Construction talked about jumping out of an airplane and facing his fears. Finally, Yours Truly spoke about taking on a series of daring challenges to raise your own self-esteem. Staples says there are now 18 MoMonday groups in North America, a fast-growing movement. The next meeting is April 22 with tickets available at Sam's Place.
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., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.