Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman

Reporter

Ben Waldman appreciates a good story. Here’s his.

Ben was born in Winnipeg in 1995 to parents who inspired in him a love of learning, a sense of curiosity, and above all, a commitment to do the right thing. It took until he wrote the previous sentence for him to realize it, but in retrospect, a career in journalism has always made perfect sense.

Raised on McAdam Avenue, he could be seen drawing cartoons, doing silly impersonations, shooting — and occasionally swishing — jump shots in the back lane, and playing soccer for the Sinclair Park Falcons with a huge chip on his shoulder.

His education came from school, but he learned most of what he needed to know about the world at Camp Massad, where he spent nine summers as a camper and five as a counsellor. At camp, Ben channeled his creative energy, writing epic plays with his friends, discovering the value of schtick, and learning a lesson that his mom — an early childhood educator — would have appreciated: there is more to every kid, and therefore every person, than what shows on the surface.

That idea is a driving force in Ben’s idea of journalism, and he put it into practice at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, from which he graduated in 2018 with the gold medal and a number of other awards his classmates deserved more.

While a student at Ryerson, he wrote and edited for The Eyeopener and was a managing editor for the Ryerson Review of Journalism. He sent three clips of his work in The Eyeopener to the Winnipeg Free Press in November 2016, leading to his first internship at his hometown paper.

The next two summers, he interned again. In September 2018, he began a year-long freelancing journey, publishing work in Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Toronto Life, Sharp Magazine, the United Church Observer, and the Globe and Mail, while also writing local news and long-form journalism for the Free Press.

In October 2019, he joined the Free Press full time.

That’s his story. He’s sticking to it.

Recent articles of Ben Waldman

Raitt gives Grammy thanks to Bros. Landreth

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

Raitt gives Grammy thanks to Bros. Landreth

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Monday, Feb. 6, 2023

When Bonnie Raitt walked on stage Sunday to accept her Grammy for Americana performance of the year, the iconic artist had two brothers from Manitoba on her mind.

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Monday, Feb. 6, 2023

One-person emancipation proclamation

Ben Waldman 7 minute read Preview

One-person emancipation proclamation

Ben Waldman 7 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers: it’s a long title because it’s a long story, and to explain it in full would take Makambe K. Simamba far longer than one hour.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Supplied

‘It feels wild to be like, “I want to reclaim the hoodie,” but I wanted to try to reclaim it for his sake and ours,’ Makambe K. Simamba says about her one-person play, which is inspired by ‘the life and death of Trayvon Martin.’

Playwright Jessica B. Hill creates an otherworldly, life-affirming theatre experience in 'Pandora'

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

Playwright Jessica B. Hill creates an otherworldly, life-affirming theatre experience in 'Pandora'

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023

Jessica B. Hill’s Pandora begins each night with an astral projection, and what ensues is an out-of-body experience that has never happened before and never will happen again after.

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Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023

JOEY SENFT PHOTO

At the centre of the Pandora set is a box that lights up and beckons like a piece of forbidden fruit.

Michigan-born Chell Osuntade is following his post-punk passion in Winnipeg

Ben Waldman 6 minute read Preview

Michigan-born Chell Osuntade is following his post-punk passion in Winnipeg

Ben Waldman 6 minute read Monday, Jan. 30, 2023

Chell Osuntade is not from around here. To reach his hometown, you would need to take a 15-hour drive across the American border, through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, until you arrived in the village of Berrien Springs, Mich. It’s the type of place with lots of cows, lots of corn and lots of Saturday mornings spent reading bible verses.

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Monday, Jan. 30, 2023

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

With his post-punk band Fold Paper, bassist and frequent backing player Chell Osuntade is finally a frontman.

The town with no Towne

Ben Waldman 8 minute read Preview

The town with no Towne

Ben Waldman 8 minute read Monday, Jan. 30, 2023

Yellow triangles, lime green rhombuses, red rectangles and sharp black lines criss-cross the dark blue carpet on the floor of Towne Cinema 8, the first standalone multiplex to open in Winnipeg and the latest to close its doors forever.

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Monday, Jan. 30, 2023

‘The hills are alive!’ at Royal MTC

Ben Waldman 7 minute read Preview

‘The hills are alive!’ at Royal MTC

Ben Waldman 7 minute read Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

Riding the momentum of its current production of Into the Woods, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre announced Friday the lineup of programming for its 2023-24 season.

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Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

David Hou

‘The Sound of Music is in our bones,’ says RMTC artistic director Kelly Thornton. ‘But it’s also a story of resisting the rise of nationalism.’

Add this Winterruption to your social calendar

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Add this Winterruption to your social calendar

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023

Some people view the coldest months of the year as a hibernation period for music festivals and concerts in Manitoba. Winterruption (Jan. 20-29) is out to wake those people up.

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Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023

Matt Mac will perform at the West End Cultural Centre on Jan. 28. (Supplied)

This metaphor is a window into the art of science

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

This metaphor is a window into the art of science

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023

When she lowers herself to the ground, Jessica B. Hill takes the form of a human pretzel, tying her legs one over the other and wrapping her loping fingers through the looped arm of her coffee mug.

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Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023

Jessica B. Hill stars in Pandora, a one-woman play that examines how our brains respond to tragedy. (Leif Norman photo)

Out of a stressful visit to the dentist comes laughter, empathy in absurdist play Le Soulier

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Out of a stressful visit to the dentist comes laughter, empathy in absurdist play Le Soulier

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Friday, Jan. 20, 2023

Nine out of 10 kids hate going to the dentist.

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Friday, Jan. 20, 2023

Gaetan Nerincx photo

Joey Lespérance gives Félix Beauchamp a checkup in David Paquet’s Le Soulier, which runs until Feb. 4 at Théâtre Cercle Molière.

Playful invitation into world of feeling like an outsider

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Playful invitation into world of feeling like an outsider

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Friday, Jan. 20, 2023

Jim Morrow grew up in Newfoundland, so he says he knows what it feels like to be different.

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Friday, Jan. 20, 2023

SUPPLIED

It’s OK to Be Different is one of a handful of stories by American children’s lit author Todd Parr that Mermaid Theatre has adapted for the stage.

Shoestring Players put new spin on play

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Shoestring Players put new spin on play

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023

Like the actors in London Suite, Trinity Sigurdson will play multiple roles when directing the third, and most forgotten, segment of playwright Neil Simon’s hotel trilogy for Winnipeg’s Shoestring Players.

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Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Trinity Sigurdson, front, director of the upcoming staging of Neil Simon’s London Suite, with members of the Shoestring Players, from left, Ruth Osemeke, Marlon Goolcharan, Merri-lou Paterson, Joan Wilton, Bernard Boland, Rick Scherger and Brent Bruchanski, after rehearsal at St. Peter’s Church.

Deal set to take city’s Farpoint Films to next level

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Preview

Deal set to take city’s Farpoint Films to next level

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023

Winnipeg-based production company Farpoint Films has inked a deal to produce 150 hours of scripted and unscripted television programming this year for Super Channel, a national television network operating on a subscription model.

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Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023

Winnipeg-based production company Farpoint Films has inked a deal to produce 150 hours of scripted and unscripted television programming this year for Super Channel, a national television network operating on a subscription model.

Local singer-songwriter is unapologetic in his embrace of his home

Ben Waldman 6 minute read Preview

Local singer-songwriter is unapologetic in his embrace of his home

Ben Waldman 6 minute read Monday, Jan. 16, 2023

Jacob Brodovsky is sitting in a West Broadway diner, sipping cheap coffee, talking about music. He is not shy about the artists who make his world turn around, and he lists a few that he just can’t quit, not that he’d ever want to: Death Cab for Cutie, Neil Young, Charlotte Cornfield, the Saskatoon songwriter Ellen Froese, a personal friend to Brodovsky, who he calls one of the best songwriters he knows.

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Monday, Jan. 16, 2023

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Jacob Brodovsky finds inspiration in little nuggets of life.

Award-winning musical contains too many lessons to count

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Award-winning musical contains too many lessons to count

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023

Jack is just a young boy. He makes little mistakes. He stumbles over his words, and he questions himself constantly. He loves his mother, and he loves his dairy cow, Milky White.

But regardless of Jack’s (Chase Winnicky, with innocence) belief that Milky White is the greatest ungulate to ever chew its cud, his bovine friend, with her emaciated utters, can’t do her one job on the farm. So Jack’s mother (Mariam Bernstein, with reality in mind) sends her boy into the woods to sell the calf.

In a capitalist society, every beast of burden can be had in exchange for the right pile of magic beans. Buyer and seller beware.

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Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023

LEIF NORMAN PHOTO

Rochelle Kives, Laura Olafson, Rhea Rodych-Rasidescu and Melanie Whyte in Into the Woods.

Setting the stage

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Setting the stage

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023

Gary Plouffe can lift an enchanted forest into the sky.

And he does it without the assistance of magic, just by virtue of his access to a few classical tools of engineering: levers, pulleys, counterweights and every single muscle in his upper body.

Plouffe is the house stagehand at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, and as such, plays a key role in the constant transformation of the setting during any production at the mainstage.

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Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

House stagehand Gary Plouffe is known as the flyman at RMTC. He is in charge of raising and lowering setpieces to the stage during productions.

Winnipegger’s costumes speak volumes in Women Talking

Ben Waldman 9 minute read Preview

Winnipegger’s costumes speak volumes in Women Talking

Ben Waldman 9 minute read Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

When the film Women Talking opens here, two Manitoba-raised artists will be vaulted into the bright lights of Hollywood, their names attached to a film destined to draw both Oscar consideration and provincial intrigue.

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Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Quita Alfred, the wardrobe co-ordinator for Women Talking, was the ‘weirdo wearing vintage dresses’ as a teenager in St. Vital.

Zambonis, Whistle Dogs and banana meatloaf

AV Kitching, Ben Sigurdson, Alan Small, Ben Waldman, Eva Wasney, Jen Zoratti 9 minute read Preview

Zambonis, Whistle Dogs and banana meatloaf

AV Kitching, Ben Sigurdson, Alan Small, Ben Waldman, Eva Wasney, Jen Zoratti 9 minute read Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022

Time flies when you’re writing hundreds of stories on tight deadlines. The Free Press arts and life team wrote a lot of words about a whole lot of things in 2022. Before we turn the page on another year, we wanted to revisit some of our favourite stories from the last 365 days.

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Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

From left: Tina Keeper, producer and actor; Amber-Sekowan Daniels, co-creator and co-show runner; Gabriel Daniels, actor; Paul Rabliauskas, creator, writer and actor; and Roseanne Supernault, actor, goof around at the viewing party for the pilot of Rabliauskas’s sitcom Acting Good,.

Cold cuts, cheese cubes and cinematic inspiration

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Cold cuts, cheese cubes and cinematic inspiration

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Friday, Dec. 30, 2022

Tavis Putnam was 17 when he lost his social virginity.

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Friday, Dec. 30, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

With A Social, director and star Tavis Putnam wanted to create a comedy that felt personal while poking fun at a Manitoba tradition.

An artist thrives in a precious, temporary gallery space in the increasingly unaffordable art heart of the city

Ben Waldman 10 minute read Preview

An artist thrives in a precious, temporary gallery space in the increasingly unaffordable art heart of the city

Ben Waldman 10 minute read Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022

Jedrick Thorassie sits cross-legged on 123-year-old floorboards, surrounded by paintbrushes, finished works, and dozens upon dozens of sketchbooks, each page filled with the pictures he’s seen and the ones he’s created.

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Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The struggle to create is Jedrick Thorassie’s calling. Finding a place to make and sell it alongside other artists is getting tougher. He found a precious temporary reprieve in a gallery space on Arthur St. and hopes he can find a way to stay in the neighbourhood.

What Manitoba Sounded Like in 2022

Ben Waldman 7 minute read Preview

What Manitoba Sounded Like in 2022

Ben Waldman 7 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Local act Taylor Janzen kicked things off Thursday night at the WInnipeg Folk Festival- - July 11, 2019.

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Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022

We'll Never Have Sex by Leith Ross.

Manitoba musicians captured the many moods of 2022

Ben Waldman and Alan Small 11 minute read Preview

Manitoba musicians captured the many moods of 2022

Ben Waldman and Alan Small 11 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022

As every year comes to an end, we think about the things that carried us from January to December. For us, more often than not, they’re songs.

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Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022

FACEBOOK PHOTO

Doing time with John Paizs

Ben Waldman 9 minute read Preview

Doing time with John Paizs

Ben Waldman 9 minute read Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

John Paizs thought his career was over.

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Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg director John Paizs in Middle Gate, where he made his debut feature film, Crime Wave, in 1985.

Christmas playlist has highs and Lows

AV Kitching, Ben Sigurdson, Alan Small, Ben Waldman, Eva Wasney and Jen Zoratti 8 minute read Preview

Christmas playlist has highs and Lows

AV Kitching, Ben Sigurdson, Alan Small, Ben Waldman, Eva Wasney and Jen Zoratti 8 minute read Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

No one would dispute that Mariah Carey’s juggernaut All I Want For Christmas Is You is at the zenith of holiday jams, but there are many other seasonal songs worthy of a place in heavy rotation.

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Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS JP Hoe poes for a portrait in his studio before his 10th annual JP Hoe Hoe Hoe holiday show, which has grown massively over the years, in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Winnipeg Free Press 2018.

Winnipeg theatre stage legend Brownstone dies at 100

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Preview

Winnipeg theatre stage legend Brownstone dies at 100

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

The grand dame of Winnipeg theatre has taken her final bow.

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Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

JEFF DE BOOY / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Doreen Brownstone, the country’s oldest professional actor, died Friday morning at age 100.