Making MAGIC: Six-foot-nine basketball legend Earvin (Magic) Johnson told 1,500-plus diners at the Rady JCC Sports Dinner Thursday night he only gets called three things these days: "Earvin, Magic... and MR. JOHNSON." In the old days, he confided, people used to call him Young Buck and then just Buck. That's before he became a basketball superstar and millionaire business guru.
Johnson is full of confidence, constantly in motion, waving his famous long hands. He talked about his journey to stardom, his business coups and giving back through his charity work. "It's not about the amount of money you made, it's about the number of people you helped to succeed," he said. "My wife and I have 150 kids in university."
SPOTTED: Magician Darcy Oake, home from Britain's Got Talent; Red River College instructor Joanne Kelly, Mayor Sam Katz, Olympic curlers Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen, TSN 1290's Troy Westwood and events organizer Marnie Strath. Mayoral candidates were seen happily working the room, and heads of all Winnipeg's major sports teams were in the noisy crowd, not to mention a huge turnout from the business community.
SCHOOL-BUILDING PROJECT BIG SUCCESS: Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds was determined to build a school in Kenya through Free the Children, even though she's on leave from the newspaper battling brain cancer this year. That meant raising $10,000. No surprise to those who know her, she reached her goal and surpassed it Thursday night, with a little help from her friends. After a well-attended African-themed garden party at the Delta Winnipeg, excited co-organizer Louis Trepel said, "We're at $14,500 and still counting. Donations are still being accepted to buy school supplies."
The tropical decor and the drummer/storyteller Bola put everyone in a euphoric mood, to the point where people broke out dancing, with humour columnist Doug Speirs leading the way.
SPOTTED: Reynolds' husband Neil Dempsey and their family, Reynolds' close pal Cate Harrington, Free Press publisher Bob Cox, editor Paul Samyn, associate editor Julie Carl and reporters Kevin Rollason and Mary Agnes Welch. Winnipeg Harvest's David Northcott made the scene, as did newly retired Free Press books editor Morley Walker, writer/broadcaster Laurie Mustard and many other notables. To donate, go to www.buildaschool.ca.
WEST END BIZ: A tour tooted around the district on June 13, hitting unique restaurants, retail businesses and murals. Pied piper Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner, her Biz crew and special guests, such as Olympic gold medallist Cindy Klassen, who's now studying psychology in Calgary, and 103.1 Virgin Radio's Ace Burpee, were among those on hand.
SPOTTED: Heritage Winnipeg's Cindy Tugwell, Perfume Paradise owner Ari Driver, RBC Convention Centre's Joanne Bjornson, Four Points By Sheraton's Euvie Villapa±a and Tourisme Riel's Stephanie Ridley. And attending from Winnipeg's growing filmmaking world was Carole Vivier of Manitoba Film & Music and Monique Perro, film liaison for the City of Winnipeg.
GRAND OPENING: Lingerie store Gravity -- the words "Defy it!" hang in the window -- invited more than 100 people to its grand opening Thursday night at 252 Stafford St. (the former location of Peepers Swimwear). Co-owners Sherry Valentin and Judy Cheetham opened the door to a stream of people, including guest musicians such as folk/pop artist Cat Jahnke, guitarist Skender Sefa and cellist Natalie Dawe.
"We want it to be a warm community store, inviting, to be gentle," Valentin said. "Some women won't let you in the fitting room, so you give them the pointers before they go in." Not all bra stores are as discreet. Cheetham and Valentin vow they would never shout from the door, "You look like a 34G!"
WHAT BIG TEETH YOU HAVE! Filipino Journal publisher Ron Cantiveros left the Red River Ex with a funny look on his face after winning a polar bear so big he could hardly carry it out of the carnival. "I was just leaving and I had $5 left and decided to throw a few rings." At first he said he had nieces to give it to, but Cantiveros seems to be growing fond of the bear. Maybe the Hudson look-alike has found his forever home.
OVERHEARD: Tabitha Langel, owner of Tall Grass Prairie, says a great compliment filtered in from the streets of Chicago. A Winnipegger overheard two guys walking down the street in the Windy City. One said, "Where can you find the best cinnamon buns?" The other guy replied, "They're at Tall Grass Prairie, at a place called The Forks in Winnipeg. It's damn cold, but it's worth the trip."
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 Scene and Heard, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.