Mise en Scene has hoppy new side hustle and WJO is back


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Snoop Dogg has his own red wine, Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd sells his own vodka brand and even Bob Dylan offers a series of high-end whiskies.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/10/2021 (524 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Snoop Dogg has his own red wine, Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd sells his own vodka brand and even Bob Dylan offers a series of high-end whiskies.

Add Manitoba garage rockers Mise en Scene to that growing booze scene.

The duo of Stefanie Johnson and Jodi Dunlop have teamed up with Winnipeg’s Torque Brewing to create their own beer. It’s called Winnipeg, California, and it’s named after their 2020 album that helped them earn Rock Artist of the Year at last week’s Western Canadian Music Awards.

Like the Mise en Scene album, the beer is a blend of growing up and living in Winnipeg while trying to make a mark in California. A press release from the band says it “combines the richness of the Hollywood sign with the bitterness of Garbage Hill.”

A sign similar to L.A.’s Hollywood sign — a far less famous one — adorns Winnipeg’s Garbage Hill, and it is among the many city landmarks and neighbourhoods shown in Mise en Scene’s video for its single Dollar Dreams, which was filmed here during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.

The beer is a California Common variety and uses Manitoba hops to build its flavour, which like the Mise en Scene album, is part Winnipeg and part SoCal.

“It’s so awesome. Stef and I are big beer lovers and it’s kind of a dream come true. It was so fun to go in and watch it being made. It was so cool,” Dunlop says. “It’s a little bit hoppy, but refreshing. It definitely has a personality.”

Mise en Scene won’t be performing, but Johnson and Dunlop will be at Torque Brewery at 830 King Edward St. tonight at 7 p.m. for the beer’s official launch. Presale tickets are $10 ($15 at the door), with proceeds going to the Manitoba Down Syndrome Society. The ticket includes a can of the new beer.

The WCMA honour and the beer hype are great, but the duo can’t wait to finally hit the road and play Winnipeg, California for its fans. The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in Mise en Scene’s plans to promote the record in North America and Europe, where they have a sizable fan base who dig their high-energy sound.

“Everyone in the publicity world was figuring themselves out. Touring and venues were figuring themselves out. Artists are figuring themselves and no one knows which way to go,” Johnson says. “We’re getting ready to start booking some stuff, but we’re also waiting to see how delta takes things down.

“That’s what’s been so difficult. Everyone wants to return to playing, but do you book a show and take the risk you might have to cancel?”

● ● ●

The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra will look back and move forward when it returns to the stage for its Welcome Back! concert Sunday at 2 p.m. at Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre.

The show will be the orchestra’s first mainstage show since Feb. 9, 2020, and it will launch a three-concert mainstage series to round out 2021 at the three-year-old, 526-seat auditorium at 711 Jefferson Ave.

On Sunday, the WJO will go back to its very beginning, in 1997, and perform the first song it played that day, Ecaroh, by jazz piano great Horace Silver.

The orchestra will also honour the memory of Lianne Fournier, who died Sept. 28 at 67. The Winnipeg singer-songwriter’s work crossed many musical genres and organizations in the city, including the WJO. Along with vocalist and Winnipeg Jets’ anthem singer Stacey Nattrass, the orchestra will perform Fournier’s song Aphrodite and her arrangement of the jazz standard They Can’t Take That Away From Me.

The show, which takes place at 2 p.m. at the 526-seat Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre (711 Jefferson Ave.) is also a step forward for the orchestra. Not only is it planning two more shows at Seven Oaks — Nov. 3 and Dec. 5 — the orchestra is holding “second stage” Wednesday night concerts at the West End Cultural Centre on Nov. 3 and Dec. 15, the latter being a holiday show: an encore presentation of the WJO’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, including Vince Guaraldi’s famous jazzy score.

Tickets cost $39, or $19 for students and those under 30; a household can stream the show for $22. Tickets are available at winnipegjazzorchestra.com. Like all concerts in Manitoba at the moment, attendees must provide proof of full vaccination, such as the Manitoba vaccination card, and masks are required except when drinking or eating.



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Alan Small

Alan Small

Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.

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