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Newbies discover acting talents

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WHO KNEW -- Clear 102.3 morning show host Kerri Salki shocked herself by taking home the giant Best Actor trophy from the So You Think You Can Act: Family Ties fundraiser Wednesday night at the Gas Station Theatre. "I was a ball of nerves offstage, but fine once I got on," Salki said. Any acting experience? "Not much. I was in a few musicals at Vincent Massey High School, but mostly I was dancing and singing," she said. The Sarasvati Productions event pitted local sports, media and music celebs against each other, doing short scenes with one real actor. Salki impressed the American Idol-style panel of judges -- Robb Paterson, Miriam Bernstein and Ryan Miller -- with her portrayal of the alcoholic black sheep of the family, in Daniel MacIvor's play Marion Bridge. Salki narrowly beat out big-band leader Ron Paley, who portrayed a stroke victim in a touching scene from playwright Rick Chafe's The Secret Mask, and nailed it. Comedian Jon Ljungberg surprised the audience with a sensitive take on the deadbeat Elvis impersonator from play Burnin' Love. Other fine performances came from Olympic medallist Desiree Scott, curling champion Jeff Stoughton, Breakfast TV's Jenna Khan and CBC's Marcy Markusa. MC Lee White of Crumbs improv was the madman fronting this unusual show. Spotted in the audience: politico Judy Wasylicia-Leis, Richard Beamish of Tapper Cuddy, novelist Armin Wiebe, CTV's Susan Tymofichuk, Stewart Chartered Accountants' Kevin Buckner and Jill Ritchot of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

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VINTAGE DREAM COME TRUE: Doug Shand of one-year-old vintage store Rhymes With Orange on Mcdermot Avenue is already expanding -- hammers are ringing over at 380 Donald St. next door to the Yellow Dog Tavern. He's reopening his former higher-end vintage clothing and accessories store Vintage Glory in a few weeks. Shand has discovered one thrill after another in this unusual renovation -- maple floors under multiple layers of tile and plywood, a tin roof four metres above that, which he has restored and painted. He's using fake steel girders inspired by the Eiffel Tower seen on his honeymoon trip with Lori Litz Shand. "And I found a vintage light from my old school, Daniel Mac. I walked under that light at Daniel 45 years ago. The phone is going in next week and all we need is a little more wiring and a final approval from the city. We'll be open probably mid-March." Rhymes with Orange is still going strong with moderately priced vintage clothing, accessories and kitchen objects from the '50s, with the Oh So Lovely blogging babes Erin Thiessen and Stefani Hiebert doing much of the operation.

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BEST FREEBIE IN TOWN: Yours truly caught a cavalcade of Winnipeg comedy stars at the Cheers Bar and Grill Wednesday night at 437 Stradbrook Ave. -- 11 performers in two hours at the weekly night-owl show starting at 10 p.m. Look sharp as you come in the door. It's hidden behind a black curtained-off area at the back. Host Ben Walker opened, followed by performers such as Mike Green, Andrew Lizotte, Tyler Penner, Aaron Pridham, Andy Noble, Matt Nightingale, Jordan Wellwood, J.D. Renaud, Ryan Ash and Paul Rabliauskas. Watch for Will Prince, a singing comic new to this scene, who inserted a sexy verse of Lean On Me into his routine. A new Barry White, and funny too?

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THE AMAZING RACE: Red River College teacher of television/media production Dean Cooper and his buddy Gio Tropea have submitted their pitch to The Amazing Race. "We had to submit a three-minute video with the two of us interacting on camera," said Cooper. "They wanted to know why we'd be a good team and how we'd get along with others." Visually, they're a Mutt-and-Jeff pair. Tropea is an actor -- tall, outgoing and charming. "I am short and cuddly and 5-3." says Cooper, who's also a comedy actor and singer. "We submitted our video last week and the deadline is Feb 28. Finalists go to Toronto for interviews," says Cooper. Tropea appeared in The Don Cherry Story and played in the biopic on Gordie Howe shot in Winnipeg that's soon to be released.

Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield c/o the Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 22, 2013 B2

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