Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti

Columnist

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist who has an opinion on just about everything. (“The best Old Dutch flavour is dill pickle, and everyone else is wrong.” See?)

Jen uses her thoughtful writing and observational wit to comment on the local issues of the day as well as larger trends in technology, media, pop culture, health, human rights, and feminism.

Jen spent the first decade of her career as a music writer, first joining the Free Press in that role in 2013. In addition to telling readers how concerts were, she interviewed nearly every musician who graced this city’s stages, from St. Vincent to John Fogerty.

After writing a bi-weekly column for the op-ed pages, Jen became a regular columnist for the paper in 2015.

A lifelong Winnipegger, Jen graduated from the Creative Communications program at Red River College in 2006. Prior to coming to the Free Press, Jen was the music editor at Uptown Magazine and freelanced for CBC, the Huffington Post, as well as a veritable graveyard of now-defunct Canadian music rags and websites. She is a former Polaris Music Prize juror, and was selected to be on the Grand Jury in Toronto in 2015.

As of 2021, Jen is the author of the newsletter, NEXT, a weekly look towards a post-pandemic future. NEXT arrives in inboxes every Wednesday.

Recent articles of Jen Zoratti

A Guiding light for generations of Winnipeg girls

Jen Zoratti 6 minute read Preview

A Guiding light for generations of Winnipeg girls

Jen Zoratti 6 minute read 6:00 AM CST

Those who knew and loved the feisty, big-hearted Dorothy Thom — and there were a great many who did — would have known her better as Dot. Or Dodo. Or, later, when her trio of beloved granddaughters were born, Bubbie.

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6:00 AM CST

Dorothy Thom (top left) and daughter Sharon (bottom centre). (Supplied)

Pathways to Performance helping RWB to support change and Black ballet creators

Jen Zoratti 7 minute read Preview

Pathways to Performance helping RWB to support change and Black ballet creators

Jen Zoratti 7 minute read Yesterday at 7:00 PM CST

When George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was brutally murdered by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020, the systemic racism that exists in predominantly white institutions was brought to the fore. And that includes ballet.

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Yesterday at 7:00 PM CST

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The hands-on approach afforded by Pathways to Performance is crucial, says choreographer Meredith Rainey.

What’s up: 5 things to do this week

Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Jen Zoratti, Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Preview

What’s up: 5 things to do this week

Eva Wasney, Alan Small, Jen Zoratti, Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Frostbyte @ Raw:Almond

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Sounds of Manitoba kickoff with Anthony OKS and The Søbr Market

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Rapper Anthony OKS will perform Friday at the Sounds of Music. (Mikaela Mackenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Women Talking evokes rage, humour and hope with its powerful script, brilliant acting

Shelley Cook, AV Kitching, Eva Wasney and Jen Zoratti 10 minute read Preview

Women Talking evokes rage, humour and hope with its powerful script, brilliant acting

Shelley Cook, AV Kitching, Eva Wasney and Jen Zoratti 10 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023

Difficult, harrowing, poignant, enraging, sometimes funny, maybe even hopeful: Women Talking, Sarah Polley’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of Miriam Toews’ 2018 novel of the same name, stirs a variety of emotions.

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Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023

Michael Gibson / Orion

The novel and the film are based on the true-life events of a Mennonite colony in Bolivia where the men were drugging and assaulting the women at night and then gaslighting them, saying it was ghosts, Satan, or wild female imagination.

Hopefuls audition to make the grand jeté into the RWB school’s professional division

Jen Zoratti 6 minute read Preview

Hopefuls audition to make the grand jeté into the RWB school’s professional division

Jen Zoratti 6 minute read Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

In the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s studios on Graham Avenue, in the very space where company dancers hone their craft and rehearse for the season’s performances at the Centennial Concert Hall, 18 students are hoping to make their dance dreams a reality.

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Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

ENT - RWB tryouts

Photo of student Scarlett Perry is No. 9 in black.

Ballett story on the Winnipeg auditions for the RWB School. Included in the story are 3 students trying out, Vice Principal - Kelly Bale and school director - StŽphane LŽonard.

Students: Kaya Jackson is No. 1 in red, Hailey Latigar is No. 3 in navy and Scarlett Perry is No. 9 in black.

Jen Zoratti's story.

Jan 23rd, 2023

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 4 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 4 minute read Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023

Veg Out with vegan comfort food 

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Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files

Wab Kinew

We can have ‘Little America’ and still support local

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Preview

We can have ‘Little America’ and still support local

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Monday, Jan. 16, 2023

According to a Seasons of Winnipeg retail leasing brochure making the rounds on social media, Winnipeg is getting a Krispy Kreme and an Arby’s along the Sterling Lyon strip — an area of the city I’ve long called ‘Little America.’

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Monday, Jan. 16, 2023

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS The media tour of the Outlet Collection Winnipeg, the new factory outlet mall under construction at Sterling Lyon Parkway and Kenaston Blvd. Thursday. The $200-million, 400,000square-foot outlet location is scheduled to open on May 3.¤ Murray McNeill story April 20 2017

I’ll just be over here in my Nothern Reflections cat T-shirt

Jen Zoratti 6 minute read Preview

I’ll just be over here in my Nothern Reflections cat T-shirt

Jen Zoratti 6 minute read Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023

I’ve never felt more like an Elder Millennial than when the Washington Post this week heralded the return of the “Going Out Top,” the top that defined the 2000s. The top of my formative years. The top of my youth.

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Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023

Kevin Winter/Washington Post

The cast of The O.C. attend a viewing party in their Going Out Tops circa 2003.

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

Valley of the Birdtail book launch

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Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

Phantom fan Gloria Dignazio is a subject in the 'Phantom of Winnipeg' documentary premiering in Montreal this week. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Dive into some promising debuts while awaiting return small-screen faves

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Preview

Dive into some promising debuts while awaiting return small-screen faves

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Monday, Jan. 9, 2023

Already, 2023 is shaping up to be a banner year for the small screen.

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Monday, Jan. 9, 2023

Nico Parker, left, and Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us, HBO's upcoming video-game adaptation. (HBO)

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

Snow sports and craft beers; Sookram’s Brewing Co. presents Star Wars - the Classic Trilogy; Gordie Tentrees lives in a Mean Old World; Tilda Swinton, a British cult classic, and ‘the greatest film’ ever

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Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

Kilter Brewing (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press Files)

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,.

It’s the end of the world as we know it and we feel… melty

Jen Zoratti 3 minute read Preview

It’s the end of the world as we know it and we feel… melty

Jen Zoratti 3 minute read Friday, Dec. 30, 2022

Year-end cultural comment is usually reserved for revelatory television shows or important books or transcendent albums.

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Friday, Dec. 30, 2022

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 4 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson 4 minute read Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022

New Year’s Eve gala dinner at Centro Caboto Centre

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Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022

MIKE SUDOMA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

New Year’s Eve fireworks at The Forks

Delayed gratification, spoilering and ‘squelching wetly’

Jen Zoratti 5 minute read Preview

Delayed gratification, spoilering and ‘squelching wetly’

Jen Zoratti 5 minute read Monday, Dec. 26, 2022

The year-end television list is usually just that, a list. Top this, best that, in increments of 10 or 15 or, in the case of this year, 22. Sometimes, it’s not just “top” or “best,” but rather “essential” or “important” or “defining” (which, wow, relax).

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Monday, Dec. 26, 2022

Netflix

This image released by Netflix shows, from left, Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers, and Eduardo Franco as Argyle in 'Stranger Things'; The series was nominated for 13 Emmy Awards including one for best drama series.

Christmas dance party is all it’s cracked up to be

Jen Zoratti 6 minute read Preview

Christmas dance party is all it’s cracked up to be

Jen Zoratti 6 minute read Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

Welcome to Jen Tries, a semi-regular feature in which Free Press columnist Jen Zoratti will try something new and report back. In this instalment, Jen Tries… being in Nutcracker.

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Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Nutcracker is set in 1913. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson 4 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson 4 minute read Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

Big Sugar gets Heated

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Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

Ian McCausland / Manitoba Museum

When the going got pandemic, Bob Stroh commited to Hallmark

Jen Zoratti 3 minute read Preview

When the going got pandemic, Bob Stroh commited to Hallmark

Jen Zoratti 3 minute read Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

When the pandemic started, Bob Stroh felt unmoored.

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Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

When COVID measures prevented Bob Stroh from driving his school bus, he turned to watching Hallmark movie. Aimee Teegarden, here in 2018’s Once Upon a Christmas Miracle, is his favourite actor of the genre. (Hallmark)

Kids bringing magic back to RWB’s 'Nutcracker'

Jen Zoratti 5 minute read Preview

Kids bringing magic back to RWB’s 'Nutcracker'

Jen Zoratti 5 minute read Monday, Dec. 19, 2022

A production of Nutcracker without children in it just doesn’t quite feel like Nutcracker.

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Monday, Dec. 19, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Bella Watkins as Clara with Nutcracker and Filbert the bear.

Streaming services offer up seasonal episodes aplenty to get your holiday fix

AV Kitching, Ben Sigurdson, Alan Small, Eva Wasney and Jen Zoratti 7 minute read Preview

Streaming services offer up seasonal episodes aplenty to get your holiday fix

AV Kitching, Ben Sigurdson, Alan Small, Eva Wasney and Jen Zoratti 7 minute read Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022

Most TV shows, especially the ones that defined the heyday of network television, do the Holiday Episode — a chance to get silly or sentimental against the backdrop of the December holidays, which are loaded with opportunities for tragedy and comedy, both.

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Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022

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.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a Hallmark movie

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Preview

It’s beginning to look a lot like a Hallmark movie

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022

Jen Zoratti ponders what A Very 2022 Christmas would look like through the lens of Hallmark Christmas movies.

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Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022

Someday, your prince will come… but probably not in our satirical Hallmark movies. (Hallmark)

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson and Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

What’s up

Eva Wasney and Alan Small and Jen Zoratti and Ben Sigurdson and Jill Wilson and Ben Waldman 5 minute read Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022

Free Press virtual movie night

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Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022