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'Peg city rockers cook in Hogtown

Harlequin headlines Prairie showcase

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SONGS FROM WINNIPEG: Toronto enjoyed something unusual Saturday night -- a night of live music called Songs From Winnipeg. A combination of Winnipeggers, current and former, plus Toronto types, hit the Horseshoe Tavern on funky Queen Street in T.O. to play songs that were written and/or made popular by Winnipeggers. It was a Juno Concerts 2013 event, a fundraiser to help with music programs for schoolchildren.

Many stars performed, but an early highlight was the original Harlequin band lineup onstage: George Belanger, David Budzak, Ralph James, Glen Willows and Gary Golden. They were joined by current Harlequin guitarist Derrick Gottfried who flew in from Winnipeg to bolster the old gang. "We didn't suck!" said James triumphantly, from Toronto. That was what he was praying for, as they plowed through hits such as Sweet Things in Life, Innocence and Thinking of You. "We knew the songs-- it was like riding a bike -- but it was physically moving your fingers that hurt after years of not playing," moaned James.

Other singers who performed famous songs from Winnipeg included Danny Greaves, Ridley Bent, Damon Mitchell, Nikki Yanofsky, Danny Michel, Jeremy Fisher and Miranda Mulholland. Later in the show, Randy Bachman and guests pumped out some of BTO and the Guess Who's famous songs such as Takin' Care of Business and American Woman. And believe it or not, that old singalong kitty ditty, The Cat Came Back, written stateside by Harry S. Miller in 1893, and popularized last century by Fred Penner, filled the room. As the concert was ending, all the performers climbed on stage to sing Neil Young's Rockin' in the Free World. Then Del Barber closed out the evening with the Weakerthans song One Great City... better known as the "I hate Winnipeg" song.

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FREE SERENADES THIS WEEKEND: The SnowTones a capella Christmas carolling quartet is difficult to nail down. It used to be you had to station yourself weekend nights in a restaurant on Corydon Avenue and pray they'd drop by so you could impress your date. But now, yours truly has cleverly cracked the secret schedule. Tonight, soprano Sara Clefstad, altos Heather Quinn or Jodie Borlé, tenor Dan Peasgood and bass Bill Quinn of former recording act the Easy Ts don colourful tuques and scarves for their delicate musical necks. They start from Daly Burgers at 6:30 p.m., heading west down Corydon, ducking into shops and restaurants of Corydon, singing jazzy renditions of songs like Santa Baby, and Winter Wonderland. It takes two full hours of alternately freezing and singing to get down the north side of Corydon to Stafford and back up the south side to Daly Burgers again. Then the foursome can finally pig out on burgers and homestyle fries and repeat the whole thing 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

On Saturday afternoons, they assemble in Osborne Village at the Tea Story near Confusion Corner at 1:30 p.m. Then they're off down the east side of Osborne to the Second Cup, the cluster of River and Osborne shops, and then south down the west side of Osborne. Baked Expectations, the famous dating and mating café/bakery, gets tons of extra carolling attention. Why? "Because they give us such a big reception!" says Quinn.

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WINNIPEG YOGIS OFF TO MEXICAN SPA: Winnipeggers who happily sweat their way through winter at places such as Stafford Street Hot Yoga are signing up to fly off to a Mexican spa on a patch of sacred land beside a lake and a volcano. "It's actually open to anyone in the city, from yogis to beginners," says Amanda Ing, the Stafford studio owner and co-organizer of the two week-long trips Feb. 9-15 and 16-22. The luxury spa with a small hotel is called La Vital Bella Soul -- in the Monte Coxala Sanctuary overlooking Lake Chapala near Guadalajara.

Hot yoga is the rage in Winnipeg with studios full of students. But these Mexican spa trips are meant for "relaxation and vitalization" with healing pools, a shamanic lodge, massage and yoga activities on the beach. And of course, for diehards, there's a hot yoga glassed-in studio on-site. For trip info, call 204-918-11185.

 

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 13, 2013 B4

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