MALCOLM GLADWELL BUZZ: Talk about a who's who at the Centrallia world and local business cross-pollination conference. Business types enjoyed a refreshingly informal booze, shmooz and tapas networking party at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Wednesday night. Then the audience of 1,500 fell completely silent as the keynote speaker took the podium. Original thinker Malcolm Gladwell, author of best-sellers Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw and The Tipping Point, delivered what he called a sermon. (It cost $150 a ticket for the general public to worship at the altar of Gladwell). People in three-piece suits, jeans, leather jackets, pantsuits and female power suits rushed the rush seating -- perfect for those competitive types. And philanthropist Gail Asper, Premier Greg Sellinger and Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce president Dave Angus spoke so quickly, it sounded like, dare we say, spirited energy.
Some people loved Gladwell, who spoke about the reasons it can be good to be an "underdog" city like Winnipeg. Hot 103 morning man Ace Burpee said after the show: "I love the guy. If he said five words, I'd still love him." Rolande Kirouac of Spadrole? Not so much. "Underdog wasn't a good word. I was trying not to think about the things I associate with that word. I belong to the chamber and We Believe Toastmasters Club because I really believe we have a great city."
Spotted: A lot of mentors with 20-somethings in tow, such as motherand-daughter team Rita Groleau, executive assistant at St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, and Daena Groleau. Daena, 29, is the owner/makeup artist for Fine Eyes Makeup Artists, who worked on the Jack Layton movie Smilin' Jack, Gordie Howe story Mr. Hockey, and the Casey Anthony film with Hollywood star Rob Lowe. "It was a good speech for me because I'm a small company and we ARE the underdogs," said Daena. "We don't have tons of money and we've got to be creative. I've been to big cities, and I like coming home to Winnipeg, where I'm greeted with smiles and friendliness." Also making the scene: University of Manitoba law professor Karen Busby, Winnipeg Humane Society's Aileen White, Exclusive Carpets president André Massicotte and La Liberté's Sylvie Laurencelle-Vermette.
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ZOMBIE BURLESQUE: This Sunday night, local burlesque dancer Miss La Muse will be beautifully "stitched up" as she hosts and performs in her multi-burly girly show at The Cheer (at Stradbrook and Osborne). "Expect to see zombie dancers and living-dead damsels of the night," she says. The show is called Night Of The Living Burlesque and features Lizzy La La, Scarlet Divine and Dulce De Ville. It starts at 8:45 p.m., but to get the audience in the mood, there's a screening of the season première of The Walking Dead, starting at 8 p.m. Zombies $5, humans $7.
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ZOMBIE PARADE WARNING: Check out the Zombie Parade Saturday night at 8 p.m., but stash your car way off Broadway. Last year, yours truly got stuck on the zombies' main shuffle route from the Oodena Circle at The Forks, down Broadway to the legislature. The "living dead," many with congealed head wounds and axes hanging out of them, saw an opportunity for fun. They stuck their grey-green faces on the windows, laughing BWA-AH-AH at my (mock) screams of horror and smeared the car with blood (raspberry jam and ketchup). Later, at a carwash, the bored attendant said: "What happened to you?" I said, "Zombies." To which he replied, "Oh, OK then. Here's your ticket."
Want to join the parade? Bring some food! The zombies, who are gathering at The Circle behind the Johnston Terminal, are bringing non-perishable goods and posing for pictures by Henry's photography for $2 to donate to Winnipeg Harvest. Photogs start taking shots at 6:30 p.m. until the parade stumbles off in the dark.
Insiders should know there's a two-storey zombie after-party happening at The Zoo and Ozzy's in the Osborne Village Inn. Bands include Zombie Assault, Untimely Demise, the Pinkslips, Dead Ranch, and Filthy Animals in the upstairs venue. Downstairs at Ozzy's there's the DJ-driven Ready Mix Zombie Dance Party. For $10, you can shuffle between both venues.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email to Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield, c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6