December 10, 2019

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Uplift: Funny and touching solo Fringe play about autism

Aidan Zeglinski has lived with autism his entire life — now he wants you to laugh and shed a tear while hearing about it.

Zeglinski, 18, has created, written, and will perform Quirky, a solo one hour performance, running from July 18 to 27 at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, touching on his autistic life in both a humorous way, but also one that will tug at the heart strings.

Aidan Zeglinski, 18, has created, written, and will perform Quirky at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. (Leif Norman photo)

Aidan Zeglinski, 18, has created, written, and will perform Quirky at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. (Leif Norman photo)

"It has been in one form of development or other up until the end of Grade 10, so the end of 2017," he said recently.

"I did a presentation to my class on living with autism and Asperger syndrome and someone from the audience said I should turn it into a Fringe show. So through Grade 11, I came up with a workshop version of it and all through Grade 12, I worked on it."

What Zeglinski came up with was something very different than his original school presentation at Seven Oaks School Division's Met School — and something for which he not only earned a school credit for all his hard work, but also the 2019 Western Inspirational Scholarship.

"It is a more humorous look at it," he said. "It is usually my own personal stories. Some parts have been changed to protect identities, but it's all from real life."

Take Zeglinski's first kiss.

"I talk about my first experience with romance and girlfriends. It took three times before we could kiss without me freaking out. And these three times were spread across a year."

Zeglinski comes to the arts almost genetically. His mother, Kim, has performed several Fringe shows as Kimmy Zee while his dad, Dave, is musician Steve Bell's longtime producer, engineer and business partner.

But it turns out Aidan isn't the only artist performing at this year's Fringe who lives with a disability.

Others include stroke survivors Diana Rising and Mitch Krohn in Strokes of Genius at Venue 23, Adam Schwartz from Autistic Productions in Anna and the Substitute Teacher at Venue 3, and Stephanie Morin-Robert, who has one eye, in Eye Candy at Venue 21.

There's so many they have banded together this year under the hashtag #disabilitywpgfringe

Overall, Zeglinski, who said he will be stepping away from performing arts for a time to concentrate on his university studies, hopes his play will do something else for his audience.

"I want people to have a good time, but I also want them to learn about somebody else's life with autism," he said.

"It's entertaining, heartwarming, touching — and it's all based on real experiences."

To catch Zeglinski's show, go to Venue 24, the Platform Centre, on the main floor of the Artspace Building, 100 Arthur St.

And yes — the venue is wheelchair accessible.

 — Kevin Rollason

Read more about Zeglinski here.


Local butchers producing winning wieners

  • Owner of Winnipeg Old Country Sausage Ken Werner stands with some of the 24,000

    Owner of Winnipeg Old Country Sausage Ken Werner stands with some of the 24,000 "world-famous wieners" the company produces daily at their facility in Dufferin. (Sasha Sefter / Free Press files) 190712 - Friday, July 12, 2019.

    Summer's here and the time is right — for eating hot dogs.

    Reporter Declan Schroeder took a look last week at two long-time family businesses producing tube steaks for Winnipeggers — Old Country Sausage and Miller's Super Value Meats.

    Old Country has been producing wieners since 1912 and owner Ken Werner says "we get a lot of people coming in, especially from Calgary, Vancouver.

    "They come in here, old Winnipeggers, you know. They come here and take the wieners back."

Holiday in space

  • Richard Branson’s space-tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, is planning to go public. (Matt Hartman / Associated Press files) (AP)

    Richard Branson’s space-tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, is planning to go public. (Matt Hartman / Associated Press files)

    Space may be the final frontier, but if you have ready cash you will soon be able to go there.

    During the week of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, Virgin Galactic became the latest company to announce it was getting ready to send its first customers into space within the year.

    While the company isn't planning to send people to the moon — Elon Musk's company, Space X, does have somebody who is lined up to fly around the moon — it will carry six passengers up more than 80 kilometres to experience several minutes of weightlessness for $US$250,000. And those are only two of the companies out there.

Bombers undefeated 

  • Nic Demsky catches a touchdown pass against the Argos at IG Field on Friday night. (Sasha Sefter / Free Press files)

    Nic Demsky catches a touchdown pass against the Argos at IG Field on Friday night. (Sasha Sefter / Free Press files)

    It's early in the season — the Grey Cup game is still months away — but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been getting the wins they need early in the season to get there.

    The Bombers defeated the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night 48-21 to remain undefeated with four wins. The team hasn't done that for 32 years and it's only the seventh season since 1939 they've done that.

    It also puts a target on the Bombers - they're the team to beat this year.

Heritage advocate celebrated 

  • David McDowell led the charge to protect the city's historic architectural landscape. (Joe Bryksa / Free Press files)

    David McDowell led the charge to protect the city's historic architectural landscape. (Joe Bryksa / Free Press files)

    David McDowell led the charge to protect the city's historic architectural landscape.

    McDowell, who died on June 18 and was profiled in the Free Press' weekly A Life's Story feature, was watching buildings going under the wrecking ball in the 1960s and 1970s when he decided to get involved.

    He picketed outside 389 Main St., saving the former CIBC building - now known as the Millennium Centre - and the neighbouring Hamilton Building, but he is also instrumental in restoring Dalnavert, the former home of Hugh John Macdonald, the son of Sir John A. Macdonald, and a Manitoban who was the province's eighth Premier, as well as a member of parliament and a federal cabinet minister.

Fried dough gets award 

  • Sharon and Gary Doornsbosch show off the sweet and the savoury Whales Tails. (Phil Hossack / Free Press files)

    Sharon and Gary Doornsbosch show off the sweet and the savoury Whales Tails. (Phil Hossack / Free Press files)

    It's a whale of a tail and now it has been awarded a Glass Banjo.

    The ingredients are only fried dough, butter, cinnamon and sugar, but Whales Tails have been a Winnipeg Folk Festival staple since they were accidentally created there at the last minute 40 years ago.

    Sharon Doornbosch, who bought Caravan Foods with her husband, Gary, 11 years ago, said the original owners couldn't find the ingredients they needed to make falafels and baklava, so they bought bread dough and just started frying it up, first calling them Elephant Ears, but after a trademark issue, Whales Tails. The Glass Banjo award is given annually by the festival to recognize those who have made an impact at the festival.

Your weekly squee

  • Chelsea Chmilowsky and shepherd cross rescue, Nika. (Phil Hossack / Free Press files)

    Chelsea Chmilowsky and shepherd cross rescue, Nika. (Phil Hossack / Free Press files)

    Nika, found barely surviving outdoors in a rural area near a northern community, is looking for her forever home.

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