HONOURING A REBEL: It felt like an old-time demonstration -- not a book launch. Popular social activist Nick Ternette, the political rebel who died recently, would have loved seeing the gang singing We Shall Overcome at the launch of his book, Rebel Without a Pause. Old friend and famous children's musician Fred Penner led the chorus. Ternette's wife, Emily, was visibly touched by the huge gathering in the atrium at McNally Robinson Booksellers to honour her husband. She spoke affectionately, but frankly, of the many times she refused to write the book which Nick wanted to dictate to her. She reminded people of Nick's loud, clear voice and how he could "go on and on and on.'
Glenn Morison, who took on the job of helping write Nick's story, shared the secrets of the rebel's success as a lifelong advocate for social justice and the poor, and tried to help fix Winnipeg's problems. He attributed it to ideological consistency (stubborness), a very thick skin, and his inability to hold grudges against people he disagreed with. Ternette also taught that you must never be afraid to run for election and lose, if you have a cause. Ternette ran more than 20 times himself, five times for the mayor's seat. He may not be with us, but that book will keep his rebel spirit alive.
Spotted in the crowd: Nick's old friend, Donald Benham, who worked with him at Winnipeg Harvest most recently. Nick still volunteered after both his legs were amputated, former attorney general Roland Penner, Winnipeg Harvest executive director David Northcott, politicos Harvey Smith, Jenny Gerbasi, Cyril Keeper and Judy Wasylycia-Leis, plus Winnipeg Foundation's Lesley Weir, and Nick's longtime pal/ mediator Lawrie Cherniak, who nabbed Nick to teach a course in revolution at the first and only Free University 1968-late '70s with classes at the YMCA and St. Matthew's Maryland church.
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GREEK COMMUNITY OXI DAY 2013: On Saturday night, hundreds of Greek-Canadians converged on the Canad Inn Polo Park celebrating the day in 1940 when Greece said ''no'' to Mussolini who was demanding they give over parts of Greece. They entered the Second World War on Oct. 28, 1940. Plus, this night is a tribute to young people who win scholarships for Greek culture affirming academic work through their Canadian Chapter of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) which promotes hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, family and individual excellence. After the speeches and thousand of dollars of scholarships went out to university students, the little Greek band began, and immediately people were up on the dance floor holding hands and moving in multiple circles, with the more talented dancers stepping forward to do solo numbers, arms above their heads. While many of us have seen the Greek Folkorama pavilion, it's even more charming to see spontaneous circles and solos done at a Greek community fancy dress party.Yours truly spotted one confident fellow on the dance floor, perfectly balancing a drink on his head!
Spotted: Real estate developer and guest speaker Peter Anadranistakis, AHEPA president Perry Ginakes, Greek Community president Christos (Chris) Katopodis, plus Effie Avramidis, president of the Daughters of Penelope and Debby Vlahos, president of Ladies of Philoptohos. Younger folks in fancy dress included scholarship recipients Leyna Shnier, Andrea Doussis, Ann Ruta and Alexandra Moreau. Winnipeg AHEPA Family has awarded 88 scholarships and a total of $114,500 since 1990.
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STARS DROP FROM THE SKY: L.A. comedian and magician Justin Rivera and internationally known comedian buddy Ron Josol, who's playing Rumor's Comedy Club, dropped in for a surprise double act at The Cheer on Wednesday night. Host Ben Walker of Stand Up and Cheer, usually lines up eight local comics. But, Rivera had flown up from the States to hang with his pal Josol, and they hit the stage in Osborne Village one after the other, for a little comedy fun on the side.
Rivera did a slick, longer show, taking members of the audience onstage to use in magic tricks. The audience roared when he slipped an audience member into a two-person tuxedo costume, with Rivera in the back whispering lines for his unwitting participant to say into the microphone. Rivera's strongest suit? The magic tricks of his finale with metal restraints and locks and playing cards coming out of his bare arms. Josol, who writes and performs on the Much Music hit show Video on Trial, is a Filipino-Canadian who's known as one of the best Asian comics on the international scene. This naughty imp tickled the crowd, testing a list of his new jokes. Call Rumor's quickly at 204-488-4520 if you want the last tickets for tonight's late show. He's completely sold out Saturday.
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START YOUR HOLIDAY ENGINES: Want to check out the interior of a real honest-to-goodness mansion -- just like Downton Abbey -- and see how the other half lives? Here's the ticket: Today and Saturday, the University Women's Club is holding its annual Christmas Market at the Ralph Connor House at tony address 54 Westgate -- with picturesque grounds backing onto the river. It's possible to see most of the stately mansion's rooms as "almost the whole house is being used for all the crafts," says club member and former professor Bev Watts. At least 25 Manitoba crafters will have their handmade products for sale, plus there's a bakery and a unique treasure chest room. The dining room has to be seen -- so Victorian! It can sit 15-20 people around one stunning table of gleaming wood and can be rented out for special dinners, as can other rooms for events and receptions. The sale runs today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found at http://www.uwcwinnipeg.ca/Home/Christmas_Market.html . PSST! The third floor used to be servants' quarters and even has a fur closet for Milady's fur collection, though now it's a private residence for an elegant newlywed couple. We won't bother them!
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