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A modicum of apricity
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A modicum of apricity

It’s a long-standing joke in my family to say, “The sun’s got some heat to it,” usually at moments when that is empirically false, say, on Jan. 5.

The phrase comes from my British-born father, who never really acclimatized to the extremes of weather in his adopted home and often seemed to be stretching for a glass-half-full mindset on frigid but bright winter days.

Last week, a co-worker mentioned a word she’d read for the first time: apricity, meaning the warmth of the winter sun.

This was a new term to me, too, and in the way these things often happen, the Winnipeg Public Library featured “apricity” as one of its “Nerd Words” on Instagram the next day, after which it popped up in a novel I was reading.

And pleasingly, the weather followed suit: as I write this, I’m… well, I wouldn’t say “basking,” but there is a bit of heat detectable where a sunbeam is hitting my arm through the window. However feeble those rays are, we should bundle up and head out to soak up whatever we can (see my colleague Eva Wasney’s helpful guide for some outdoorsy suggestions). 

It’s cold comfort (literally and figuratively) to someone (me) who was supposed to be in Barbados this week, but if the pandemic has taught me anything, it's to embrace fresh air whenever I can. Hey, I think the sun’s got some heat to it!

What’s on (and off) this week:

If a modicum of apricity isn’t enough to get you outside, here are a couple of indoor arts activities from organizations that are pivoting to online once again.

Folklorama is bringing back its virtual programming with a series of Friday-night workshops on everything from Irish dancing to playing steel pan drums. The programming runs until March 18, with at-home kits available (for a small fee) for the origami (Feb. 11), acrylic painting (March 4) and Métis beading (March 11) workshops. Sign up for a spot here

As part of its Chautauqua: The Interlake Trail program, Theatre Projects has launched The Recipes That Made Us, a series of three 20-minute cooking videos created and hosted by Joshua Banman that focuses on recipes from the Interlake. Learn about the history and the community while you make bannock, celery sauce and vínarterta with local cooks. 

And while this newsletter is not intended to be a grim list of cancellations and postponements, here are a couple of noteworthy changes to the arts schedule:

The production of Sonja and Richard, a new work by local playwright Steven Ratzlaff that will inaugurate the Gargoyle Theatre at 586 Ellice Ave., has shifted its opening from Jan. 26-30 to Feb. 9-12 at 8 p.m., with 1 p.m. matinees on Feb. 12 and 13. The play, a production of Untimely Theatre, stars Ratzlaff and Marina Stephenson Kerr and is directed by Bill Kerr. Tickets are $20 at thegargoyletheatre.com.

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is postponing its Winnipeg New Music Festival, originally set for this weekend, to Jan. 25, 26 and 28, featuring composers such as Harry Stafylakis, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Nicole Lizée, Eliot Britton, Michael Oesterle and more, plus a tribute to legendary composer Sofia Gubaidulina. Three live, in-person concerts will be presented at the Centennial Concert Hall; capacity will be limited to 50 per cent, up to a maximum of 250 patrons. All performances will also be available as a livestream option on My WSO TV.

The Manitoba Museum will remain closed until Feb. 3.

B.C. singer-songwriter Frazey Ford’s concert at the Park Theatre has been postponed until further notice.

Urban Shaman is now closed to the public, but its current exhibition Buffy Sainte-Marie: Pathfinder will be available soon via a virtual gallery at urbanshaman.org.

Know of virtual arts events, streaming concerts or underused words? Share them with me at jill.wilson@winnipegfreepress.com.

Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson

Recommended

Podcasts: You Must Remember This: Polly Platt, Invisible Woman. A friend recommended this season of this “forgotten Hollywood history” podcast from Karina Longworth, which tells the story the Oscar-nominated production designer, screenwriter, producer and executive who put her stamp on some of the best films of the 1970s and ‘80s – including Paper Moon, Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News — but who toiled largely in the shadows of a sexist industry. Peter Bogdanavich’s death last week has made it even more relevant; Platt was the director’s wife (he left her his The Last Picture Show star Cybill Shepherd) and his longtime uncredited artistic collaborator.

Games: The simple joy of Wordle — an online word game that’s kind of a cross between Boggle and Mastermind — cannot be overstated. Nothing to download, nothing to buy: just head to the website, make your six guesses and feel quietly smug in your success or shake your fist briefly at the heavens and move on. It’s impossible to binge and therefore impossible to make yourself feel guilty for overplaying it. It’s a small pleasure, much like apricity, that makes the day minutely better.

How Wordle works: you get six guesses to figure out the five-letter word du jour, which is different each day. (Screenshot)

Movies: Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, is anything but a simple joy. Adapted from Elena Ferrante’s novel of the same name, it’s an intensely internal story about motherhood, middle age and regret that is insistently unsettling, featuring can’t-take-your-eyes-off-them performances by Olivia Colman as a prickly academic vacationing solo in Greece and Jessie Buckley as her younger self. Now streaming on Netflix.

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