HOT DATES IN COLD TEMPS: Date With a Star kicked off the spring gala fundraising season Wednesday night in bone-chilling -26 C temps with a wind chill making it feel like it was - 40. Ensconced in the warm Fort Garry Hotel Crystal Ballroom, groups of Winnipeg's who's-who attending the Learning Disabilities Association's unique party, downed appetizers, quaffed bubbly drinks and impatiently played the waiting game. Kerri Salki of 102.3 Clear FM worked the room like the standup comedian she once was, announcing arrivals and psyching everyone up for the pairings.
Hosts included magician Brian Glow, who flew in from his ongoing tour, and comedian Big Daddy Tazz who confessed he got married last summer to a lovely lady he met online. Burlesque queen Miss Robin Redbreast advised an attentive crowd her statuesque figure is maintained through teaching yoga. Singer-songwriter Heather Bishop was seen grooving to the music of Vanessa Kuzina of Oh My Darling and former Blue Bomber and Free Press columnist Doug Brown, looking slimmer now he's not required to be a refrigerator, wore his hair spiked. Other table hosts making the scene included CTV's Susan Tymofichuk; André Lewis, artistic director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; 92 Citi-FM's Dave Wheeler with sidekicks Philly and Rena; CTV newsman Gord Leclerc and many more. LDA's Marilyn MacKinnon talked about LDA's work with kids who are of average or above-average intelligence, but with "learning differences." Finally, a big screen lit up with celebrity faces, and M.C. Salki announced which Winnipeg celebs corporate groups were "dating" for the night and everybody jumped into their vehicles and drove to dinners provided as donations to LDA by the restaurants involved.
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OUR TEAM: The Winnipeg Free Press gang teamed with 99.9 Bob FM morning-show hosting duo Beau and Dez at the Keg on Garry Street for a crazy night of laughter and newspaper and radio stories. Along with yours truly (a.k.a. Miss Lonelyhearts) the Free Press table held associate editor Julie Carl, director of national sales Kim Warburton, graphic artist Leesa Dahl and associate editor digital news Wendy Sawatzky. Other guests included Pam Plaster, of Roy/Nat Capital and Cyber Love Muse author Nicole Alexander. Over a sumptuous four-course dinner, we learned Beau & Dez are actually Beau Fritzsche and Dez Wengrowich, their alarms go off at 3:30 a.m., they're not married to each other, yet they squabble like married folks and that Dez and husband Rudy have four children so she rarely gets to sleep, ever.
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WEN-DO FOR FREE: Jennifer Chochinov Thorsteinsson is one of Winnipeg's unsung heroes. She's making the city safer for women by teaching them choke, wrist and shoulder releases as part of the self-defence course, Wen-Do. Women can sign up for a free 12-hour course the weekend of Feb. 23-24 through the Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre (204-477-1123). "I've taught hundreds of women per year since 2000," says the 35-year-old instructor, whose day job is working as a behaviour analyst at St. Amant. After 12 hours with Thorsteinsson, look out.
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