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The Arts

Playwright immerses herself in Gabrielle Roy’s world to muse on warmest season

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Wednesday, May. 31, 2023

Not satisfied with taking a walk in Gabrielle Roy’s shoes, Marie-Ève Fontaine decided to sleep in the famed author’s bed.

The St. Boniface theatre artist was searching for inspiration five years ago when she was commissioned by Théâtre Cercle Molière to adapt Cet été qui chantait, an epistolary collection of naturalistic memories written by Roy in the evening hours of her literary heyday.

Compiled in 1972, released in English as The Summer That Sang, Cet été was inspired by the writer’s summertime writing enclave, a cabin in the Quebec town of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François.

From that cabin, Roy observed simple natural phenomena, capturing the drama and comedy of living creatures through a lens of youthful innocence and wonder, an experience Fontaine recreates in her hour-long puppet play, recommended for Grade 3 and up.

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Miller’s masterpiece at 28th Minute

Ben Waldman 6 minute read Preview

Miller’s masterpiece at 28th Minute

Ben Waldman 6 minute read Wednesday, May. 24, 2023

Long before he became a professor, writer and director in Winnipeg, George Toles was a 16-year-old in Hamburg, N.Y., whose passion for the stage was ignited when he read a play that managed to devastate, excite and enrage him in equal measure: Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.

It was a work upon which the playwright staked his entire career: after the flop of his first show, 1944’s The Man Who Had All the Luck, the shrewd Miller vowed that should his followup suffer a similar fate, he’d find himself a new career.

“What I did was decide that I would write a play which would satisfy me in every conceivable way,” he told an interviewer in 1995.

It certainly had that effect on Toles, who vowed to mount a production before all was said and done.

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Wednesday, May. 24, 2023

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Actor Kevin Ramberran (left) and director George Toles were both gripped by the power of playwright Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.

SiR’s ‘Macbeth’ awarded best feature at Welsh film festival

Ben Waldman 2 minute read Preview

SiR’s ‘Macbeth’ awarded best feature at Welsh film festival

Ben Waldman 2 minute read Wednesday, May. 24, 2023

The whisperings from abroad are far from foul: Shakespeare in the Ruins’ film adaptation of Macbeth was named the best feature at the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival in Wales.

Filmed in the fall of 2020, with contributions from more than 30 local stage actors, Macbeth was the first feature-length production in the local outdoor theatre company’s history. Co-directors Sarah Constible and Michelle Boulet, along with producer Lisa Nelson-Fries, accepted the honour at the annual festival in Llanelli, Wales, over the weekend.

Shot in black and white, the film stars Ray Strachan, Julie Lumsden, Cherissa Richards, Arne MacPherson, Debbie Patterson, Gabe Daniels, Tobias Hughes, Olaoluwa Fayokun, Andrea del Campo, Hera Nalam and Melissa Langdon.

The news of the victory comes with Shakespeare in the Ruins’ 2023 season less than two weeks away: on June 1, the company’s adaptation of the Bard’s Twelfth Night kicks off at the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park.

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Wednesday, May. 24, 2023

Supplied

Toil and trouble: From left, Melissa Langdon, Andrea del Campo and Hera Nalam in Macbeth.

In honour of fathers

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Preview

In honour of fathers

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Saturday, May. 20, 2023

The work of two late Manitoba visual artists, Robert Bruce (1911-1980) and Keith Wood (1944-2018), is being honoured in a duo exhibition currently on view at Soul Gallery, curated by gallery owner Julie Walsh.

Bruce and Wood were also fathers who are remembered by their daughters.

The work of Bruce featured in this exhibition includes monoprints, coloured inks and oil paintings from the 1950s to the 1970s. Scenes from the Canadian Shield figure prominently in this era.

“He just had a huge love for nature,” says his daughter, the visual artist Katharine Bruce, 75. “He was a canoeist, a skier, a hiker, and he was always out with a sketchbook in hand.”

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Saturday, May. 20, 2023

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Gallerist Julie Walsh with work from Keith Wood and Robert Bruce

WAG-Qaumajuq puts spotlight on KAMA finalists

Jen Zoratti 3 minute read Preview

WAG-Qaumajuq puts spotlight on KAMA finalists

Jen Zoratti 3 minute read Friday, May. 19, 2023

Stories tell us who we are in the world, says Marie-Anne Redhead, assistant curator of Indigenous and contemporary art at WAG-Qaumajuq. They also tell us how to survive, she adds.

It’s in that spirit Redhead curated Anaanatta Unikkaangit (Our Mother’s Stories), a new group exhibition at the downtown hub featuring the five shortlist finalists for the Inuit Art Foundation’s 2023 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award.

The biennial prize is presented in partnership with Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq and RBC Emerging Artists, seeking to support the continued development and career growth of established mid-career contemporary Inuit artists.

This year’s shortlist, announced Friday, includes: Billy Gauthier, a Kablunangajuit sculptor based in North West River, Nfld.; Maureen Gruben, an Inuvialuk installation, textile, performance artist and sculptor from Tuktuuyaqtuuq, N.W.T.; Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona, a multidisciplinary artist and ceramicist from Ottawa; Kablusiak, a mononymous Inuvialuk artist and curator based in Calgary; and Ningiukulu Teevee, a graphic artist and author from Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Nunavut.

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Friday, May. 19, 2023

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Marie-Anne Redhead curated a new group exhibition at WAG-Qaumajuq featuring the five shortlist finalists for the Inuit Art Foundation’s 2023 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award.

Theatre Projects Manitoba season includes first collaboration with RMTC

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Theatre Projects Manitoba season includes first collaboration with RMTC

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Thursday, May. 18, 2023

Teamwork was the word of the evening as Theatre Projects Manitoba unveiled plans for its 2023-2024 season to a giddy crowd at the Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club Wednesday night.

In her first season in charge of programming, Theatre Projects Manitoba’s artistic director Suzie Martin has mustered up collaborations with one of the province’s oldest theatre companies as well as one of its newest.

“This season is all about relationships,” Martin said.

For the first time in the independent company’s 33 years, it is partnering with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre on a co-production, bringing Governor General’s Award-winning playwright David Yee’s Among Men to the Tom Hendry Warehouse stage. It’s a major collaboration, called “a perfect marriage” by RMTC artistic director Kelly Thornton.

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Thursday, May. 18, 2023

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

End of the Line composer Duncan Cox performs a tune at the Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club on Wednesday.

Winnipeg Comedy Festival weekend lineup

2 minute read Preview

Winnipeg Comedy Festival weekend lineup

2 minute read Saturday, May. 6, 2023

TODAY’S LINEUP

Got Land?

First Nation, Inuit and Métis performers express solidarity via humour

Featuring: Host Janelle Niles with Gerry Barrett, Savannah Erasmus, Don Kelly, Nelson Mayer, Keith Nahanee and Clayton T. Stewart

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Saturday, May. 6, 2023

Cinematheque crowns King Hu as part of spotlight on Asian films

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Preview

Cinematheque crowns King Hu as part of spotlight on Asian films

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Saturday, May. 6, 2023

With the coronation of King Charles at the top of the news cycle, the Dave Barber Cinematheque will be celebrating a different royal figure this weekend as part of its Asian Heritage Month series: King Hu.

The film director is considered a master of the wuxia genre — a subgenre of Chinese cinema with a focus on balletic martial arts sequences — known for a series of epics released in the 1960s and 1970s, including 1967’s Dragon Inn. According to the movie’s Criterion Collection write-up, Dragon Inn was a blockbuster that “breathed new life into a classic formula and established Hu as one of Chinese cinema’s most audacious innovators.”

Five of Hu’s films, including a 4K restoration of Dragon Inn, are screening this month at the Cinematheque, says Winnipeg Film Group executive director Leslie Supnet, who sees Asian cinema as a vast universe that audiences should consider exploring for reasons both artistic and social.

“As a Filipino from the diaspora, Asian Heritage Month is an important time to recognize Asian contributions to culture and society as well as recognize the challenges we face such as the legacies of colonialism and racism,” says Supnet, writing by email from a film festival in Germany.

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Saturday, May. 6, 2023

Touch of Zen

Phung and games

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Preview

Phung and games

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Friday, May. 5, 2023

Andrew Phung has something to admit ahead of his hosting gig this weekend at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival: he’s never been to Winnipeg, and he knows next to nothing about this city.

“I’m very excited to go because (pro wrestler) Chris Jericho would always say he was from the mean streets of Winnipeg,” says Phung, best known for playing the lovable Kimchi on the CBC hit Kim’s Convenience. “I want to say that I’ve been to the mean streets of Winnipeg, too.”

Mean isn’t a word one would associate with Phung, who’s become one of Canadian television’s most reliable providers of laughs and/or smiles. Phung was so beloved on Kim’s that he won five Canadian Screen Awards as best supporting actor in a comedy. He turned that success into Run the Burbs, his own hit show on CBC, soon to enter its third season.

Don’t take it as a slight that the comic actor knows nothing about Winnipeg, because rest assured, the avowed sneakerhead — he owns more than 500 pairs — is doing his research: he plans to hit up Livestock, a Main Street sneaker hub, and the Collab Shop, an up-and-coming vintage sports gear and streetwear consignment shop, to see what he can add to his closet.

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Friday, May. 5, 2023

CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

On Saturday night, Andrew Phung will play host at the Burton Cummings Theatre for the Spill It! standup showcase.

Fear, loathing and a scramble to regain safe ground

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Preview

Fear, loathing and a scramble to regain safe ground

Ben Waldman 4 minute read Friday, May. 5, 2023

The campers are arriving in three hours and all is quiet at Camp Mazal: the calm before the swarm.

Three of the senior staffers are nowhere to be found, but the camp secretary, Ohbee (Ori Black, in a play on his own initials), is wide awake in the office. Where is Naphtali (Hershel Blatt)? Where is Saul (Tom Shoshani)? Where — for god’s sake — is Saint (Wayne Burns)?

“Wake up!” Ohbee screams over and over into the camp-wide sound system. “Wake up!”

It’s the first of many rude awakenings awaiting the four unlucky counsellors at Camp Mazal forced to contend with an ancient, insidious hatred rearing its ugly head in this Winnipeg Jewish Theatre production.

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Friday, May. 5, 2023

Leif Norman

Tom Shoshani plays one of four young camp counsellors forced to deal with the aftermath of hate in Summer of Semitism.

Winnipeg Comedy Festival lineup for Friday

2 minute read Preview

Winnipeg Comedy Festival lineup for Friday

2 minute read Friday, May. 5, 2023

More info and ticket links at winnipegcomedyfestival.com.

The Great Patio Showdown: A Comedy Game Show

Two teams of comedians compete in a series of games and trivia rounds.

Featuring: Host Erica Sigurdson with Mayce Galoni, Jackie Pirico, Aaron Pridham and Angie St. Mars

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Friday, May. 5, 2023

Thursday Winnipeg Comedy Festival lineup

2 minute read Preview

Thursday Winnipeg Comedy Festival lineup

2 minute read Thursday, May. 4, 2023

More information and ticket links at winnipegcomedyfestival.com

819.7 Free Comedy

Featuring: Host Angie St. Mars and Erica Sigurdson

Where: Millennium Library, 251 Donald St.

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Thursday, May. 4, 2023

Supplied

Your Hood’s a Joke host Danish Anwar

Wednesday Winnipeg Comedy Festival lineup

2 minute read Preview

Wednesday Winnipeg Comedy Festival lineup

2 minute read Wednesday, May. 3, 2023

For more information and ticket links, see winnipegcomedyfestival.com

819.7 Free Comedy

Featuring: Host Spencer Adamus with Rob Pue and the Lady Lumps

Where: Millennium Library, 251 Donald St.

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Wednesday, May. 3, 2023

Stéphanie Morin-Robert

Motivated by fear

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

Motivated by fear

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Friday, Apr. 28, 2023

He’d rather not experience it, but failure excites the experimental theatre artist David Gagnon Walker.

“I think a lot of the most interesting artists are interested in reframing failure, fear and quote-unquote negative experiences as opportunities for magic to happen,” says Gagnon Walker, the performer and writer behind This Is the Story of a Child Ruled by Fear, a Theatre Projects Manitoba show running this weekend at Théâtre Cercle Molière.

In 2017, Gagnon Walker confronted the fear of failure head-on when he conducted an experiment in a stranger’s apartment in Edmonton: for 72 hours, the writer was live on camera while going through the motions of his creative process, with a promise to perform whichever work he came up with once his time ran out.

Three days after sequestering himself into a self-imposed creative hermitage, he opened the door to an audience to share his experimental findings: a monologue that eventually turned into a communal piece of performance art.

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Friday, Apr. 28, 2023

Mat Simpson photo

Theatre Projects Manitoba This is the story of the child ruled by fear

Star bright, star bright, you’ve got the answers that I like

AV Kitching 3 minute read Preview

Star bright, star bright, you’ve got the answers that I like

AV Kitching 3 minute read Thursday, Apr. 27, 2023

When she’s onstage, Temeka Lawlor channels her three-year-old self in order to capture the wonder and magic of experiencing something for the first time.

Lawlor — who co-created Zooom, a 45-minute production by Australia’s Patch Theatre — also envisions herself as a mini-version of her artistic director, Geoff Cobham, to fully immerse herself in her role.

Zooom is a story of a lost star that finds itself in a girl’s bedroom. The two of them go on a journey together as the girl helps the star find its way back home.

The show opens Friday and runs to May 7 at Manitoba Theatre for Young People.

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Thursday, Apr. 27, 2023

MATT BYRNE PHOTO

Temeka Lawlor stars in and co-created Zooom, a 45-minute production by Australia’s Patch Theatre.

Elio Zarrillo’s Volare loads the deck with family fun AND family feuds

Ben Waldman 6 minute read Preview

Elio Zarrillo’s Volare loads the deck with family fun AND family feuds

Ben Waldman 6 minute read Thursday, Apr. 27, 2023

It’s an actor’s job, however briefly, to become a different person.

During a game of scopa, a highly competitive Italian card game, Elio Zarrillo becomes a potty-mouthed, trash-talking machine running on overdrive.

“I’ll be playing with my partner, the love of my life, and she’s calling me an (unprintable word) and I’m calling her a dirty (unprintable word),” laughs Zarrillo, a local performer and the playwright of the family comedy-drama Volare, making its world première today at Prairie Theatre Exchange.

For Zarrillo, the 40-card game, composed of four suits — coins, swords, clubs and cups — is more than just a competition. “It represents tension, and joy, and it’s a place where people can say the gnarliest things they wouldn’t say elsewhere, but everyone knows it’s all in good fun,” says Zarrillo (who uses they/them pronouns), shuffling the deck with experienced hands and sipping Italian coffee.

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Thursday, Apr. 27, 2023

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Elio Zarrillo, playwright of PTE’s world première Volare, which uses the Italian card game scopa as a metaphor for family life.

Grief goes to Burning Man

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

Grief goes to Burning Man

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 26, 2023

After a death in the family, there is no shortage of roads to take. In grief, some amble slowly along a nostalgic, roundabout path, cobbled with stones of bittersweet memories. Others hit the freeway and avoid glancing up at the rearview mirror.

A year after her husband died in 2010, Dorothy Ouchi got into an RV and drove to the Nevada desert for the world’s largest outdoor arts festival: Burning Man.

Playwright Mieko Ouchi was caught off guard by her then-60-something mom’s idea, to say the least.

“She’s the kind of person you’d meet at HomeSense or Tim Hortons,” says Ouchi, the Edmonton-based playwright of Burning Mom, on at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre mainstage from April 27 through May 20. “Nothing about her screams, ‘I have a yearning to go to Burning Man.’ So that was part of the charm of the decision. It was just so unexpected.”

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Wednesday, Apr. 26, 2023

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Speaking about the genesis of Burning Mom, playwright Mieko Ouchi says nothing about her mother ordinarily ‘screams, ‘I have a yearning to go to Burning Man.’ So that was part of the charm of the decision. It was just so unexpected.’

Fundraising concert keeps late drummer’s light shining

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

Fundraising concert keeps late drummer’s light shining

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Friday, Apr. 21, 2023

Ten Aprils ago, three members of a Winnipeg rock band called the Revival played the type of gig no band ever dreams of playing.

Cradling acoustic guitars on their laps, dressed in black, Jay Jensen, Eric Clefstad and Kevin Hogg strummed the chords to a pair of heart-wrenching rock ballads: Gravedigger by the Dave Matthews Band and Wish You Were Here, by Pink Floyd.

They then transitioned into a song of their own: Stuck in My Head.

“Maybe it’s the music that’s stuck in my head,” they sang to a thousand people, squeezed tightly into church pews. “Maybe it’s the people I’ll never forget.”

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Friday, Apr. 21, 2023

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Boris Danyliuk (from left) and musicians Kevin Hogg, Troy Taylor, Scott Beattie, Jay Jensen, Andrew Titley and Eric Clefstad will be at the Pyramid Cabaret for Keep Shining, a concert organized to remember Boris’s late son, drummer Alex Danyliuk.

Each play becomes a journey unto itself

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

Each play becomes a journey unto itself

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Thursday, Apr. 20, 2023

For MTYP artistic director Pablo Felices Luna, great theatre is all about the journey.

Sometimes, that journey is a physical one — transporting the audience into a new world, say, through an enchanted wardrobe. But always, the journey requires imagination, empathy and creative thinking — expanding our understanding of the world we live in while travelling into universes that have been lovingly crafted through the art of make-believe.

“You need to know where you come from before you understand what happens outside of that space,” says Felices Luna, now in his ninth season at MTYP’s helm.

If there’s one connective strand that unites the 2023-2024 season, announced Wednesday morning, it’s that: theatre as a transformative, transportative space for artists and audiences alike.

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Thursday, Apr. 20, 2023

SUPPLIED

The Pa’akai We Bring, produced by the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, introduces audiences to pa’akai (salt), a resource considered by Native Hawaiians to be food, medicine, a sacrament, and a treasured gift.

Finnish jazz ensemble pays homage to ABBA at WSO concert, gives audience the time of their lives

Holly Harris 4 minute read Preview

Finnish jazz ensemble pays homage to ABBA at WSO concert, gives audience the time of their lives

Holly Harris 4 minute read Sunday, Apr. 16, 2023

Mamma Mia! Finland’s Rajaton blew the roof off the Centennial Concert Hall Saturday night as they paid homage to Swedish super-group ABBA, making sure the jam-packed capacity crowd of 2,149 had the time of their lives.

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Sunday, Apr. 16, 2023

World-renowned Finnish jazz a-capella jazz ensemble Rajaton blew the roof off the Centennial Concert Hall Saturday night as they paid homage to Swedish super-group ABBA. (Colin Corneau / The Brandon Sun files)

Spinning support for vinyl venture

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Preview

Spinning support for vinyl venture

Ben Waldman 3 minute read Thursday, Apr. 6, 2023

Making an album ain’t cheap, says John Baron, a third of the brotherly trio FIINN.

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Thursday, Apr. 6, 2023

Buio Assis / BNB STUDIOS

‘This is the first time we’ve done an album fundraiser,” says John Baron (right) with brothers and FIINN bandmates Dan (left) and Matt.

Which voice is witch?

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Preview

Which voice is witch?

Ben Waldman 5 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2023

Baba Yaga is an elderly woman, trailed wherever she goes by a caravan of fraying hair and an aura of mystery. Her face curled into an impish, devilish smirk, the folkloric character of Slavic tradition typically lives in a chicken-footed hut in the middle of remote forests in countries like Slovenia, Bulgaria or Ukraine.

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Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2023

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Fearing she’d come on too strong when she ‘practically attacked a woman at G.J. Andrews on Academy Road when I noticed she had a Ukrainian accent,’ Marina Stephenson Kerr had better luck at The Bay, asking new friend Oksana to read lines that were to be spoken with a Ukrainian accent.

Riding Hokusai’s wave

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Preview

Riding Hokusai’s wave

Jen Zoratti 4 minute read Saturday, Mar. 25, 2023

You know that thing where once you notice something, you start noticing it everywhere?

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Saturday, Mar. 25, 2023

Eugene Hoshiko / The Associated Press

The Great Wave off Kanagawa, Katsushika Hokusai’s most well-known work, continues to be noticed.

Kidjo a headliner for Winnipeg jazz festival

2 minute read Preview

Kidjo a headliner for Winnipeg jazz festival

2 minute read Thursday, Mar. 9, 2023

Angélique Kidjo, the five-time Grammy Award winner whose music fuses African traditions with jazz, funk and R&B, will be one of the headliners for the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival.

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Thursday, Mar. 9, 2023

Angélique Kidjo, the five-time Grammy Award winner whose music fuses African traditions with jazz, funk and R&B, will be one of the headliners for the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival.

Tourism Winnipeg in on Jordan fun

Gabrielle Piché 2 minute read Preview

Tourism Winnipeg in on Jordan fun

Gabrielle Piché 2 minute read Saturday, Mar. 4, 2023

Michael B. Jordan’s quip about Winnipeg on late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! is T-shirt material for the city’s tourism industry.

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Saturday, Mar. 4, 2023

TOURISM WINNIPEG

Tourism Winnipeg’s Photoshopped T-shirt on actor Michael B. Jordan.

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