Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/11/2010 (4040 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Brit Cafe, an English gastro pub on Portage Avenue, has just finished dragging everything across the side street between them into Dylan O'Connors Irish Pub -- to do business under the very same roof. Shocking, considering the historic rivalry! But, yours truly checked out these strange bedfellows Wednesday night and people were having a hoot playing darts and billiards and singing around a piano bar. "Now we're an Anglo-Irish pub," says Stewart Mann, who came from England with his wife, Sally, and four kids a decade ago and ended up running both businesses side-by-side. Not practical. So now The Brit Cafe is in the back with its own stage, and Dylan's is up front.
The Manns and their kids run the whole show, front to back. "I serve, manage -- and clean," laughs daughter, Amber, as do her parents and sister, Jamie. Her brother, Hadley, is behind the bar and youngest brother Cam, a truck driver, comes in to help when they're busy.
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Spotted at Al Andrusco's Wednesday-night piano bar singing event at Dylan O'Connors were: Keith Bolland, singing The Beatles' song Let it Be in his natural English accent; Marnie Bolland, doing Patsy Cline's Crazy; Noah Zacharko, celebrating his 31st birthday, singing Hey Jude with pub owner Stewart Mann from the bar behind; Patrick Belcher, with his Elvis-like voice, singing with backup singer Mary Jean Dresler; and Murray Ebner, doing a velvety rendition of After the Lovin'. Meanwhile, Travis Cool sang his signature Folsum Prison Blues, and the affable Andrusco sang Genesis and Tom Jones tunes between volunteers.
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Think they can dance? Want to experience an off-the-wall weekend treat? Check out Way Off Broadway, a wild, dance-off event created by the Manitoba Children's Museum gang. Daring and fun-loving groups of friends, families and/or co-workers provide a multi-act dance show on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Pantages Playhouse for the public -- with only 10 hours of professional coaching.
Plus, the dance groups themselves pledged at least $1,000 for the Children's Museum fundraiser. And you get to participate, making competitive noise for your dance-team favourites. Celeb judges are Ace Burpee (Hot103), Tracy Koga (Shaw TV) and myself, a.k.a. Miss Lonelyhearts. The teams are battling to be Way Off Broadway dance champions. Included in the roster of dance groups are: St. Anne's Sobeys, Price Wanna Dance Coopers, Canadian Wheat Board Prairie Rhythm Dancers, Thompson, Dorfman, Sweatman law group Called to the Barre, Charleston Stars (U of M social swing club), The Design-O-Matics of Grant Design Group, Chix with Kix, Mix Tape, MCM Children's arts group, and Freak Dance Crew from Freak Fitness. Tickets at the door or at ticketmaster.com ($19.50 adults, $13.50 kids, plus taxes).
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Jere Tetrault, the owner of Smart Cleaners, says he's kicking a 30-year habit with Super Mini Cigarettes, a brand of plastic cigarettes that run on tiny rechargeable batteries. The alternative cigarette has a brown filter and an end that lights up with a little red dot. "Nicotine oil burns inside the cartridge and you blow out the vapour," says Tetrault. "It feels real."
The most popular flavour is plain nicotine, but there are also flavours like cherry and chocolate. "Most people take from four to six weeks to get off smoking with this, as they decrease their nicotine intake," says Tetrault, who's on his fourth week of puffing on plastic. Stay tuned.
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Wendy Hart, of the newly invigorated Winnipeg Press Club, just picked up an invaluable stash of Beer and Skits political satire live musical shows, housed for years with longtime actor/skit director Don Comstock.
The recorded shows contain skits, front-of-curtain gags and musical numbers harpooning politicians and local celebs from as far back as 1952. Back then, the club was all men, so the female parts were played by men in dresses and wigs. The "brass rail" no-tell rule still applies to all these shows, but they will no doubt be dusted off for showings at the club, now sharing space with The Irish Club on Erin Street. A private acting group, split off from Winnipeg Press Club Beer and Skits called the BS Players, now do their own spring show continuing the tradition, headed up by Stan Michalak.
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Maureen Scurfield writes the Miss Lonelyhearts advice column.