HAPPY TOGETHER LOVE FEST: The highlight of the Happy Together gang of '60s artists at McPhillips Station Casino Wednesday night was a grand finale where they came onstage, one after the other, and sang snippets of their greatest hits. The crowd jumped to their feet, clapping to the songs. "You could feel the love in the room," said one participant. Artists such as Gary Lewis from the Playboys did his 45 seconds, then Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Raiders, joined by Gary Puckett from the Union Gap, Chuck Negron from Three Dog Night, and Flo and Eddie of the Turtles. Spotted: Robert Shindleman from Shindico, businessman Al Golden and radio guru Jim Millican, who said of the stars in front of him, "I played every one of their 45s." Gary Lewis told a story onstage about being an older classic-rock entertainer. He said a girl, age 20, was interviewing him, and she said, "I just want to say to you that I really, really like your father's music, like Great Balls of Fire." Wah-wehhhh! (Gary is no relation to Jerry Lee; he's the son of legendary comedian Jerry Lewis.) Surprising fact from the show: Gary Puckett, who hails from Hibbing, Minn., said his big hit, Young Girl (Get Out of My Mind) sold 16 million copies for Columbia Records and was only dethroned by Michael Jackson's mega-hit, Beat It. Psychedelia pulsed from the backscreen throughout the show, interspersed with shots of people performing in the '60s, so you could see what they looked like back in the day. "åt was the most hits ever performed in one show," said Kelly Berehulka, who brings in the entertainment acts for the casino.
NIGHT STEPS: If the affable Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee can walk 5K in the dark, so can you. He will be walking in the Canadian National Institute for the Blind's first Night Steps fundraiser Sept. 6 at St. Vital Park, with his daughter, Maggie Lee Grant. Maggie is blind and a homemaker for son Philip Jr. and dentist hubby Alan Grant. Sister Malinda Lee of Computer Avenue on Dakota Street will be right beside her, walking ¨n support. The 5-K walk, which was a massive hit at the original event in London, Ont., last fall, is only one week away here in Winnipeg, but as of Thursday, only 95 people had signed up! Frankly, they need your help to make it a big success. You don't have to be blind or partially sighted to take part -- just willing to take pledges and help out by partying and walking to raise money for courses and resources for CNIB clients. Some Winnipeggers are really involved. Daya Gupta, an opthalmologist, and his wife, Chander, an obstetrician, have ponied up $15,000 to sponsor this first Night Steps event. You'll note the new CNIB building, at 1080 Portage Ave., is named for them because of their $1-million dollar gift. Watch for five-year-old client Skyler Ross, who will be the tiny star at the Night Steps event. He is partially sighted and no stranger to walking in a darkened situation in broad daylight. Skyler is easy to spot. He has already learned to walk with a white cane and will be accompanied by his mom, Brittany Ross. (There are closer end points in the walk for little people and those who can't do the whole distance.) CNIB board chairman Glenn Hildebrand is signed on to give it a whirl, as is former CNIB director Delcy-Ann Selymes, who's been going to fitness classes to train. The Night Steps walk starts in waning light at 7:45 p.m. at the Duck Pond. "But first, we're gathering at 5:30 p.m. for entertainment, face-painting and popcorn, and catering by upscale restaurant Ivory, doing Indian and North American items," says event organizer Wanda Mills. At sunset, people break out the glow-sticks and deck each other out head to toe. See website www.cnibnightsteps.ca to register or call 204-774-5421. Minimum pledge for adults $75, $25 for children 12 and under.
NO TIME TO LOSE: This is the last weekend of the 100 Masters paintings -- honest, says the Winnipeg Art Gallery. After postponing the end of the popular show several times, the 100 famous paintings from North America, Europe and ancient far-flung places will be locked and loaded after this long weekend, with the last show on Labour Day Monday, Sept. 2. Yours truly toured the multi-room exhibit Wednesday afternoon, and the third-floor gallery was packed. Last-minute art lovers who'd been away on summer holidays were running to catch the show. It's well-guarded -- looked like one security guard for every 10 people. Not surprising! The precious show is a feast for the eyes. You need at least an hour or so to properly take it in. Many people have come back for second viewings. Says Ari Driver, owner of Perfume Paradise, "I'm amazed at how close you can get to the paintings in Winnipeg. They are so accessible! In any other city, you'd be standing back behind ropes." Political types who took the tour this summer include the president of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugson, Premier Greg Selinger, Gov. Gen. David Johnston, MP Steven Fletcher, James Moore, minister of Canadian Culture and Official Languages, Sens. Maria Chaput and Janis Johnson and MP Joyce Bateman.
SO HOW HOT IS IT? It's so hot outdoor spray-painting artist Cliff Baldwin can't use his paint at The Forks until 5 p.m. because the spray hits the canvas and it's already dry. So he's that guy still working past 10 p.m. in the dark, with all his paintings spread out on the pavement. And he's fussy -- a tad over-qualified for street-artist work. "I have a four-year diploma from the Vancouver School of Art," he says, showing off his rendition of Starry Night. "Van Gogh's Starry Night sells for about $125 million, but mine costs $300." He also does free-hand portraits of Jim Morrison of the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Marilyn Monroe, plus outer-space and nature pieces. What does he do when it gets too cold and the paint freezes? "I used to starve and cry and feel sorry for myself," he says. "But I'm also a photographer, and now I have a business where I shoot interiors of homes that people want to sell." (Photo Art By Baldwin, 204-800-3791). "I have camera lenses that can shoot three walls of a room at once."
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., Winipeg , MB, R2X 3B6.