Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bieber's guitar strums for hunger

Will be auctioned off to help city food bank

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THE BIEBER EFFECT... Kenny Boyce, Winnipeg's host to the world's rich and famous, has done something for the poor and anonymous that's worth... well, we'll see what it's worth.

Last month, Boyce, whose more formal title at city hall is manager, film and special events, looked after the needs of Justin Bieber and girlfriend singer Selena Gomez before and after her concert last month at the MTS Centre.

So, as a way of saying thanks, Canada's own prince of pop gave him a guitar Bieber had with him, autographed with a large, but simple "Justin Bieber."

Then, earlier this month, Boyce saw a news item about Bieber's appearance on the Tonight Show, where the 17-year-old told Jay Leno how, when he was growing up in Stratford, Ont., his family used the House of Blessing food bank. Which is why Bieber has decided to raise money for that food bank, and various others, through sales of his first Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe. Coincidentally, Bieber's recalling that time in his childhood came a day after the release of a snapshot study of Canadian hunger that showed, during one month this year, more than 850,000 people relied on food handouts.

All of which gave Boyce an idea.

He decided to donate the Bieber-autographed guitar to Winnipeg Harvest, which plans to put it up for auction starting today at 9 a.m. on eBay.

It'll be interesting to see what a Bieber-signed guitar -- which comes with a certificate of authenticity -- is worth to his fans. Or, more probably, the holiday-shopping parents of his fans. Actually, Winnipeg Harvest has already decided. They're starting with a reserved bid of $500 and letting the bidding stay open 10 days.

Or, if you're so inclined, you can look for the "buy it now" button and purchase it outright online for $7,500.

Which answers the question about what Harvest believes the Bieber guitar can bring. Just go www.BieberGuitar.com and bid away.

Do I hear $1,000?

Or, maybe instead we can start with three cheers for Kenny Boyce.

-- -- --

OUR GUY, IN HIS WINNIPEG... Winnipeg's world-renowned avant-weird film director Guy Maddin seems to have been everywhere -- New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto -- since he left us after making My Winnipeg.

But these days, he's back here doing some fall sessional teaching at the University of Manitoba, which I chanced to learn Saturday night at McNally Robinson Booksellers, when I bumped into the internationally celebrated 55-year-old. Maddin -- who, as Randall King wrote Monday, has been rated by film critics on the website Metacritic (www.metacritic.com) as the third-best director of the 21st century -- was with his new wife, 38-year-old American Kim Morgan. The exotic-looking beauty is a film critic herself and a former Portland resident, who lists her homes now as Los Angeles and Winnipeg. Saturday night, just 48 hours after arriving, she appeared to be adjusting to the climate, if not her second home, wrapped in what appeared to be a faux-fur jacket and head scarf.

Morgan and Maddin married last Dec. 11, according to the Internet Movie Database. They met nearly five years ago after she caught the ever-sharp eye of Guy while subbing for Roger Ebert on Ebert & Roeper at the Movies. Since then, she's acted in a pair of Maddin movies. Maddin and Morgan have rented the upper two floors of a Fort Rouge house while they're here, which won't be all that long. By early spring, or even before, Maddin will be in Paris where he's going to try something really different, which sounds redundant, I know.

What he's plotting seems like a natural -- or should I say supernatural -- extension of Hauntings 1, an installation of 11 short films that appeared for a month earlier this fall at the Platform Gallery. In this incarnation, Maddin is conjuring up long-lost movies from the early 20th century by having actors appear to go into trances while playing out the plots.

"And then," he said, "I'm going to film them on a website so other people can hold seances with them."

Welcome home Guy. You too, Kim.

-- -- --

THE TALE END... So far as I know, police haven't disclosed how they came to target that $1.7-million marijuana grow operation in Linden Woods they busted last week, but this much I can tell you: Organized crime isn't as organized as one might expect.

Over the course of about a year, some neighbours who watched the goings-on at the house over about a year -- or maybe lack of goings-on is more like it -- became suspicious.

That can happen when the front grass is a metre high, there's no garbage being taken out, the blinds are all down and the lights are on timers.

Memo to big-time brainiac grow-opsters: If you're going to be growing great gobs of illegal grass inside the house, don't forget to the cut the stuff outside.

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2011 B1

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