It came together during a quiet winter in 2012. There wasn’t much snow at the Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes, and a number of musicians were working in the rental shop, kitchen, and around the slopes. Emily Christie, the eldest daughter of the Christie/Hamilton family, who have owned the resort for the past twenty years, says, “It was a music saturated year. We had this tight group of musicians, and they would be jamming every night after work. Usually our busiest time at the ski hill is over winter break, but it was such bad snow, we couldn’t even open over Christmas. That was pretty devastating. We had all these staff lined up who were already out, so we came up with the idea to have a one day festival with an amazing line up of in-house talent. It was so fun and a ton of people came. We ended up doing it again the next year. Every year we would add on some little part.”Read More
The New Music Festival begins on January 27th, and on Sunday, January 28th, Winnipeg pianist Madeline Hildebrand will be taking the stage at the Centennial Concert Hall alongside international pianists Vicky Chow, Jenny Lin, Jonas Sen, and composer Philip Glass. The five will perform The Complete Piano Etudes, a set of twenty pieces composed by Glass. Each performer will take the stage twice to play a consecutive set of two etudes, and their performances will be preceded and followed by a panel discussion, alongside a showcase of new music installations in the lobbies during intermission.
A few weeks before the performance, I visit Madeline in the home she shares with her partner, Steve Ackerman, to talk more about her work with the Piano Etudes and the New Music Festival.Read More
It’s a crisp and overcast Saturday morning when I pull up to the house Lane Delmonico shares with her partner Ted Barker. His Oma and Opa once owned it, and now they rent it from Ted’s mom.
Lane welcomes me through the door, leading me to her kitchen for coffee. She’s laid out fruit on a platter for us, and I completely forget to help myself to it, even though I want to. I’m absorbed by our conversation instead. She asks if I’d like a plain cup of coffee or latte style and steams milk for me at a small espresso machine next to the fridge.
We sit in the sunroom. More than a dozen of the sparkly glazed studs Lane is known for are laid out on a heavy tile. We drink our coffees, chatting about teaching, and the time Lane spent in France, and how important creativity is to our sense of purpose, and so on.
Later, as I get my things together to leave, Lane thanks me for what must be the third time, and asks if I’m a hugger.
Yes. Yes, I am.Read More
Winter can get a bit of a bad rap when it comes to trying to dress yourself. Winter in Winnipeg generally can get a bit of a bad rap. And I get it, I do, it’s hard to feel cute or like yourself when every outfit and inch of exposed flesh either has to be bundled under a huge coat or subjected to an icy blast the moment you set food out the door.
But, like most things in life, good can come bundled in with the bad. My friend Amos calls winter “a time for contemplation,” when meticulously putting on each protective layer can feel like a meditative act, and removing them, a catharsis. Elsa adds, “It’s very acceptable to retreat within yourself in the winter time.”
And Winnipeg winters can afford us such opportunities: to bundle under an extra layer of soft fabric, or assemble new outfits by throwing together pieces we wouldn't pair otherwise. It's cold out there; sometimes you have to get creative. And so, on a chilly Sunday early in December, I’ve gathered a small group of people together at Modern Supply Co. to talk about their sense of style and self expression, and how winter plays into that.Read More
It's a chilly day in late October, and I'm standing outside Sara's apartment building in West Broadway, five minutes early for our interview. I kill the extra time playing "How would I take a picture of you?" in the courtyard -- a game which mostly consists of walking around objects without my camera, paying attention to light, and changing levels. At 11:32, I ring the buzzer.
Upstairs, Sara's apartment is bright, tidy, and warm. Her cat circles us as we sit down on the couch in front of the faux fire place; he's eager to make friends. We'll be chatting for a few minutes, and suddenly I'll realize he's directly behind my head, gently nosing my hair. We laugh, and Sara good-naturedly shoos him away -- I'm allergic. We continue talking about feminism and Sara's work while a sunbeam crawls across the couch, and the cat tries his luck once again.Read More
I don’t know how to explain what happened to me.
I first heard about Tonkiri when I interviewed Sarah Anne Johnson back in June about her work on festivals and mind-altering substances. After our interview, we continued chatting more generally about the benefits of altering consciousness. She began to tell me about her experiences with ayahuasca at Tonkiri, a learning and wellness centre near Sandilands Provincial Park, using ayahuasca ceremony to heal, learn, and inspire. When we parted ways, she promised me the contact information of the ayahuasca shaman who runs Tonkiri, Jim Sanders, warning me that if I wanted to write an article about Tonkiri, Jim would likely ask me to participate in a ceremony. I knew nothing about ayahuasca, but I was intrigued.
A few months later, I’m headed east on Highway 1 towards Tonkiri, riding with two people Jim asked me to pick up in the city. I still don’t know much about ayahuasca, having decided not to do any online research before the trip. I wanted to just let myself have the experience. But my curiosity gets the better of me in the car. My passengers respond to my questions by telling me a bit about the structure of the ceremony, but when I ask what it’s like to be on ayahuasca — what they call drinking the medicine — they tell me it’s hard to describe. It’s not like anything else, and everyone has their own experience with the medicine. By the time we get to Tonkiri, I’m nervous about what to expect.
We unload the car and Jim greets us as we walk toward the ceremony lodge. I’m introduced to a small group of people whose names I forget almost immediately. I’m happy to see that Sarah’s here. She and Jim’s helpers get me set up in the lodge where I’ll be sleeping for the night after the ceremony. I spend a bit of time orienting myself, relearning names, and chatting with people before ceremony starts.
After ceremony, I spent time talking with Sarah and Jim about how someone could possibly write about the experience of ayahuasca. As Sarah aptly put it to me, “How do you communicate your reverence?” And the truth is, I don’t know how or if I should write about it. My experience was profoundly personal: something just for me. And yet, I went out to Tonkiri with the purpose of writing about it. That sense of guilt, of owing my readers and Jim something in exchange for the experience of being out there, was something I thought through a lot during the ceremony.
Here’s what I will say about it to satisfy your natural human curiosity. Yes, I got mind-meltingly, life-altering high, but it was more than that. I was able to think about my life and the world and the barriers I’d constructed for myself about writing this article in a way that felt productive. The experience changed me for the better.
The day after the ceremony, Jim and I make time to talk more. We’re sitting in one of his favourite spots in the woods around Tonkiri with the wind rustling through the trees. I’m not quite myself yet, still reeling from the ceremony, but I feel ready for our conversation. Ayahuasca helped me sort out the questions I want to ask, and how I want to ask them.Read More
At seven, Matea Radic and her parents left their home in Sarajevo, fleeing the Yugoslav Wars. She and her mother boarded the last bus out of the city before the siege began in 1992, and her father escaped two years later to join them in Winnipeg.
Today, October 26th, Matea’s show 7 opens at the Graffiti Gallery. Her series of paintings and drawings examine “the effects displacement had on [her] as a child and a person.” As Matea talks about her memories of life before the war, grenades, the family that stayed behind, it’s clear this pain, decades old, is still fresh. That’s the funny thing about trauma; it can break the surface before you even know it’s there, won’t subside until it’s ready. It keeps its own time.
I chat and snap photos with Matea as she works on the focal piece of the show: a large mural where a four-legged black beast Matea calls a hole maker looms over an abundance of food, plants, animals, and household objects. The image, like each of the pieces in Matea’s show, is playful, childlike, and nightmarish.Read More
It’s the middle of September, and I’m bundling together a few warm layers, my windbreaker and tent, and my fuzziest sleeping socks to attend the Harvest Moon Festival. After a long ride through the rolling hills of the Pembina Valley, I throw down my heavy bags and begin to set up my tent in the field behind the Clearwater Memorial Hall. It’s drizzling, and it’s not about to stop. The rainy weekend has me huddled next to roaring outdoor fires, sipping whiskey out of thermoses passed along by friends, taking cover in the dry arena and community centre, and dancing my socks off in a throng of other warm bodies.
For many, Harvest Moon means what it meant to me, camping out in Clearwater with friends, listening to live music, maybe eating a fried perogy sold right on the dance floor. But the festival is just one branch of a much larger organization. The Harvest Moon Society also connects local farmers to urban communities through the Local Food Initiative, offers sustainability and agriculture workshops during the festival and throughout the year, coordinates programming for youth, and hosts students from the University of Manitoba all through the Harvest Moon Learning Centre. In part, the festival serves as a fundraiser for these activities.
Outgoing president of the Harvest Moon Local Food Initiative, Lisa Clouston, explains that the Initiative connects “Manitoba farmers to eaters in urban Manitoba who want to support local food producers.” Currently, they’re working with over a dozen local farms to source products like pastured chicken, pork, goat, lamb and beef, raw honey, grains, and organic vegetables.Read More