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Let me check my social calendar…
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Let me check my social calendar…

Last month, an old friend was in town and we were reminiscing about our busy social lives — not those of two years ago, but rather 20 years ago.

I had recently unearthed some of my DayTimers from the ‘90s, along with a stack of calendars for the Royal Albert Arms and the Spectrum (now the Pyramid), which featured bands almost every night of the week, often for three-night stands. (Side note: these were designed by the lovely and talented Stu Reid, the man behind the posters for many a notable local gig. My colleague Alan Small wrote about his calendar project here.)

Supplied.

Flipping through the diaries, I was astounded by how many nights a week I went out. If it wasn’t a band at the Albert, it was a movie at Cinematheque or a social at the University of Winnipeg.

Of course, in recent years that pace had slowed, because A) I am older now and B) I have a lot of television to watch. But I also feel like the pandemic has also drained away my social impulses.

It’s not just an aversion to breathing in strangers’ air (although, boy oh boy, it is that). I’ve also built up a routine that I don’t feel quite ready to upend. It’s been keeping me safe and sane for the last many months, and tampering with it feels risky.

If I go to a late show, how will I wake up in time to do my Wordle, Quordle and Octordle puzzles before eating a healthy breakfast and going to the gym before work? What if I have a few drinks and forget my daily Duolingo French lesson, ruining my streak? Quel horreur!

These habits have become like talismans, little checkpoints guiding me through days that have been largely empty of other meaningful events. They’re life preservers, giving me structure and stability when the world has other plans.

But I’m shaking things up a bit, starting tonight, when I’m heading to Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre to see Calpurnia on the mainstage. Written by associate artistic director Audrey Dwyer, it’s the story of a Black writer who is attempting to pen a revised version of To Kill a Mockingbird, written from the perspective of the Finches’ maid, Calpurnia.

From left: Kwaku Adu-Poku as Mark Gordon, Rochelle Kives as Precy Cabigting, Arne MacPherson as James Thompson, Ellie Ellwand as Christine Charte and Ray Strachan as Lawrence Gordon in the play ’Calpurnia’. (Dylan Hewlett photos)

I’ve also got tickets for an upcoming much-cancelled-and-rebooked Dan Mangan show at the Park Theatre, and I really want to see the Mark Rylance film The Outfit on the big screen with a vat of popcorn.

We’ll see how I do. In the meantime, tell me what routines and distractions are getting you through the day, at jill.wilson@winnipegfreepress.com.

Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson

What’s up this week

It’s spring break next week, apparently (time has no meaning), and the Manitoba Museum and Planetarium will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from March 26 to April 3. There’s a new Planetarium show, Legends of the Northern Sky; the Northern Brassworks Quartet will perform in the Nonsuch Gallery at 2 p.m. on April 3; and there’s a daily scavenger hunt throughout the museum, as well as daily 3…2…1 Rockets! science demonstrations.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is featuring live performances March 30 to April 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the ground floor mainstage. Performers include Don Amero, Jessee Havey and the Banana Band, dancers from Ça Claque, the Summer Bear Dance Troupe and Hinode Taiko, magician Patrick Gregoire, acrobats from Momentum Dance and more.

There’s a macaroni bar with kid-friendly fixings available in the Bistro, Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A full schedule of events is available on the Museum’s website.

At the Winnipeg Art Gallery, there’s an encore screening of the 2021 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, featuring award-winning commercials from around the world. Screenings are at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; tickets are $15 at wag.ca.

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Finally, don’t let the fact that it’s no longer winter stop you from taking in Winterruption (on now and running to April 15). The annual festival is hosting dozens of ticketed and free events, including shows by the Lytics, Rich Aucoin, the NobleThiefs, Paper Machetes, Bobby Dove and many more, at venues including the West End Cultural Centre, Good Will Social Club, X-Cues Cafe & Lounge, The Handsome Daughter, and other locations around the city. For more info, see wecc.ca/winterruption2022.

The Lytics. (Supplied)

Recommended

Television: Everybody’s talking about the trio of shows focusing on imploding tech entrepreneurs right now: Apple TV Plus’s The Dropout (Theranos) and WeCrashed (WeWork) and Crave’s Super Pumped (Uber). (The Reveal breaks them down nicely.) While I’m always fascinated by the kind of characters who have the brass to pull off these brazen scams on smart people, I’m already familiar with the rise and fall of these real-life narcissists.

Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to Apple TV Plus’ Severance, a fictional drama about a mysterious tech company called Lumon set in an open-concept office. It stars Adam Scott as a worker who has chosen to undergo severance, that is having his work consciousness entirely split from his home life. When he leaves at night he remembers nothing about his work day; conversely, he arrives at the office without any inkling of who he is in the outside world.

The malevolent intent of the company, run by a founder who is worshipped with religious fervour, unfolds slowly but tantalizingly. It’s worth watching for the production design alone — the Lumon office is a wonder of retro futurism, looking like what people in the ‘70s imagined the 2000s would be like — and Patricia Arquette plays against type as a chilling Lumon middle manager.

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