SPOTTED: Rob Schneider, a comedian and Saturday Night Live alumnus who regularly appears in Adam Sandler movies, getting into Winnipeg's airport Wednesday at 9 p.m. -- too late for his first show at Rumor's. A handful of people met him, grabbed his baggage and whisked him off to the comedy club in time for the second show. Local comedian Matt Falk, who has toured the U.S., filled in during the first show. Schneider is sold out for 10 shows in Winnipeg. "He missed his connecting flight. We're hoping he will add another show for the people who missed him Wednesday night," said a sales representative. Schneider has been in movies such as You Don't Mess With The Zohan, The Benchwarmers, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, Little Nicky and, of course, Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo.
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BATTLE OF THE BANDS: Who'd have guessed the techno-geeks of the world create more than their share of hot musicians? About 450 information technology types, plus sponsors, co-workers, friends and families, came out to Techapalooza to see five IT bands play off against each other at McPhillips Station Casino on Feb 21. They actually surprised themselves by raising $35,000 for the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. "The IT mind goes with music!" says co-organizer Barb Spurway from Protegra, who co-chaired the event with Hal Ryckman of Solvera Solutions. The two big rules? Bands must be IT workers, current or retired, and each is allowed to have two ringers ("real" outside musicians). Some of the bands were big, like the Consultants of Swing, who had a whole horn section.
The winners of the fan choice award were the Barenaked Webslingers, who took home a silver and bronze guitar-shaped trophy made out of computer parts. "If you shut your eyes, you would have sworn you were listening to the early years of Barenaked Ladies!" adds Spurway. But this time the ladies were real -- singer-ringer Michelle English and Highway 59 frontwoman Yvonne Burman, a business analyst from Great-West Life. Greg Bolduc, a Health Sciences Centre software trainer, and Brent Scott, a web designer from Scott Media, sang and played guitar, while Greg Loeppky, Price Digital director of marketing, played bass, with Jon Lemer on drums.
Music celebs Steve Bell, John Einarson and Vince Fontaine chose SSRq60s-style group, Bill and Dave's Garage Band, as winners of the judges choice award. The band featured Hewlett Packard's Neil Sinnott on vocals and guitar with sons Tom and Erik Sinnott on drums and guitar, respectively, as the band's ringers. From Compugen they had singer Tom Wolstencroft. Brad Enns of Doris Daze and the Bank Robbers played bass, with HP's Napoleon Sansregret on guitar.
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BELIEVE IT OR NOT: Lee Major, the iconic CBC radio man, turned 75 this month. Don Percy, who co-costed TV show Two Grumpy Guys in the Kitchen with Major, tricked his compadre of 35 years into a surprise cocktail party in one of the large Fort Garry Hotel suites reputed to be haunted. "I convinced him that a guy from Toronto wanted to sign us on to a TV commercial and we had to meet him when we got the phone call," said Percy, a.k.a. the Master of the Morning, now on 100.7 The Breeze. When the duo arrived, piano man Al Andrusco was playing cocktail-lounge music, and a group of Winnipeg who's who trooped through the door to greet Major, now a part-time announcer on CJNU. Guests included UFO expert Chris Rutkowski, famed bassist Moose Jackson and lawyer Lyle Smordin. "At first Lee was really PO'd at me because there was going to be no TV commercial deal.. .and then he was quite touched," Percy says. Major started in radio in 1958.
The man who started radio in Yellowknife as Ivan LeMesurier couldn't avoid the legendary stories about him. He and other pranksters used to knock themselves out trying to crack up the totally unflappable CBC news announcer Bill Guest. First, they let a live chicken loose on his news desk. He kept right on reading. Another time, the guys lit his script on fire, so he ad-libbed the burning copy as fast as he could and signed off. Former CBC morning host Lesley Hughes told the story of Major running down to get his Autopac sticker at the very last minute with a bad hangover from a big party the night before. "He managed to kneel down on the icy parking lot and focus with some difficulty -- and get the sticker in exactly the right spot -- and then the car drove away! He'd put it on the wrong car."
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or write to Maureen Scurfield c/o the Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6.