Exchange District on a First Friday

On Friday, I went with my husband and some friends to the Cre8ery in the Exchange District of Winnipeg. We didn’t plan this adventure in advance – it was more of a last minute decision because I actually knew nothing about First Fridays.

Then I read my friend Jackie’s blog post about the initiative:

Businesses open their doors and allow the public to participate in free art exhibitions, take advantage of discounted merchandise and to simply come together.

We were curious and wanted to check out what downtown had to offer, so, without being too sure what to expect, we headed over to the Cre8ery, an art studio/gallery right by Red River College’s downtown campus.

Once we figured out which building we were trying to get to, we climbed a flight of stairs and joined a small crowd of people milling around the studios. The first room we went into featured photographs around the walls. The photographs appeared to be of a trip that some art students took to a developing country.

In the middle of this room was a table filled with a whole bunch of food. I didn’t know what ANY of it was. Do you? Please tell me! I took a picture hoping someone would be able to satisfy my curiosity.

We wandered through a couple of hallways and into the next room. It appeared that the Classroom Studio was the only place displaying photographs; the rest of the artwork was various artists’ work in pastels, oils, paints, jewelry, and more. The other gallery room had some more Canadian-looking snacks, too.

I’m usually not a huge art or museum person, but this was a lot of fun. There was no pressure to buy anything (except one lady in her own little room who offered to give us a discounted reading, which I refused), and everything was open to us to explore.

There was a photographer who was circling around, taking photos of the crowd of people as they interacted, ate, and examined the pieces of art.

I was curious about who he was, and I hate not having an answer about something I’m curious about, so I went up to him and asked what he was taking pictures for.

He told me that he was documenting the showing for one of the artists. I told him I’m a blogger (I had a camera too) and we talked briefly about photography.

Then he added, “Want me to introduce you to her?” (Meaning the artist.) I didn’t know what I’d do if I met her, but I said yes, so a few minutes later I found myself shaking hands with Bronwyn Thorndycraft. Her business card says she’s a painter, illustrator, and neckwear designer (which is a creative way of saying necklace).

We chatted for a few minutes, I introduced her to my husband – which caused an outburst of disbelief over us being married so young (“You guys have made me believe in love again!”) – and she gave me her card. I hope to conduct a follow-up interview with her sometime soon, and provide it to you. This is the Art of Winnipeg, after all!

Have you ever been to an art gallery or showing? What do you enjoy or not like about them? They’re a whole new ball game for me so I’d love to hear what your experience has been.

By the way, if you love the Exchange District or if you’d like to learn more about it, check out Jackie’s blog! She’s an excellent writer and artist, and she’s focused on learning more about the core of our city. Pretty sweet stuff.

Please note that the quotes are from my memory. I’m capturing the essence of what was spoken and I am quoting the more memorable bits of what was said, but they still might not be verbatim. I did my best though!

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In 2 Months Rocks Cavern

Ryan Braun, bass guitarist and vocalist, plays during one of In 2 Months' final songs

Wow! It’s time to let you know about another exciting In 2 Months (I2M) concert I went to. It was several days ago already – the concert happened October 21.

The Cavern on Osborne was the location for the concert this time, and it was (again) a blast. The lack of a drunk, vulgar touring band was a welcome change, and I2M started the night off in a much better fashion.

Stevo, expressive lead singer for In 2 Months.

I really enjoyed the lighting at The Cavern; it allowed for some pretty sweet photos. I’m loving the opportunity to play around more with my camera.

It’s pretty busy with school and having the chance to further develop my skills is awesome. So here are some photos; the captions will let you know who’s who.

If you’re looking for more information about In 2 Months, there are some details on the band’s history in my previous post about them – I interviewed Ray Braun (electric guitar and vocals) about how In 2 Months has reached the point that it is today. There are also more details here.

So enjoy the pictures and let me know what you think! There’s another concert coming up on November 19 – check out the event page and write it into your schedule!

From left: Ray Braun, Scott Patterson, Ryan Braun, and Andy Funk play at In 2 Months' concert.

Scott Patterson owns the beat for In 2 Months

Andy Funk provides vocals along with his electric guitar skills.

Ray Braun rocks with his electric guitar.

Stevo belts out the lyrics to an In 2 Months song at their Oct 21 concert.

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Blogging: what, why, and HOW?

 Thinking about Blogging

Recently I’ve been doing some serious thinking about my blog.

I want it to be a valuable resource for people, and a busy school schedule combined with just a bit of uncertainty about what exactly I’m supposed to be doing has made that achievement seem difficult and somewhat unachieveable.

So today I did some research about the purpose and how-to’s of blogging, and I’m thinking there are some valuable things to take note of.

The Purpose of Blogging

There are a few reasons why someone might blog. There are blogs for sharing pictures, blogs that review movies, talk about sports teams and analyze successes or failures, political blogs, cooking blogs, creative writing, and many, many, MANY more.

Generally people write a blog for others to read. (Sometimes there are private blogs, more online journal than web log to share with others, but they are less common and often hidden.) If a blog is something that [ideally] interests others, it begs the question: what do people want to read about?

One resource I found says that people like reading blogs because they enjoy hearing what their peers (or other people who think like or unlike them) think. And it is fun to learn about others’ opinions. This would primarily apply to personal blogs (journal-style), although it could work for others types too (“I loved this recipe, and here it is!”).

That leads me to another reason someone might read a blog, and that is to learn. I love the cooking blogs that I find that include a recipe and pictures, so I know when I’m doing things right. The only time I didn’t like this was when I tried to make pitas and they wouldn’t puff up – I was staring between a beautiful picture of puffy pitas and my very flat wannabes. But that was just one time.

Are there other reasons people read blogs? I’d say so – keeping up with the news is another one – but I think that hearing opinions and learning skills are probably the two biggest ones.

Writing for Readers

Knowing why people read blogs is invaluable for you as you write your blog. Figure out your niche market. Some ways to do that include studying blogs that you’d like to emulate, creating a goal (mission statement), and determining your angle.

If you’re looking to make your blog more focused, or if you’re thinking about starting a blog or thinking about re-purposing the one you have, do some research. There are lots of resources online if you want to Set yourself up for success by planning a little ahead.

Select a catchy title, brainstorm your topic, narrow it down, and decide how often you’ll post so your blog will be consistent, sustainable, and interesting to you to write!

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In 2 Months Concert TONIGHT

If you don’t have something going on tonight, or maybe if you do, I think you want to work a concert into your schedule.

In 2 Months, which played in September (I wrote about how much I enjoyed their show, although I wasn’t a fan of the touring band), is hitting the stage once again!

Tonight the venue will be the Cavern, and the cost to you is only $5! (Which is half of what it was last time.) In 2 Months is playing first, so if you need to hit another party or get home early to get your beauty rest, you can still come out and experience their sound. Or of course you can stay for the entire show. Whatever works for you.

If you need more details, check it out on the event page. See you there!

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Fire near Louise Bridge

On Wednesday night, when I should have been working on my journalism assignment, I was out chasing a story.

I was driving with someone (interviewing her for my assignment, honest!), heading north on the Disraeli, when we smelled something burning. I looked out the window and saw a massive column of smoke with flames bursting up! When I got home I grabbed my camera and my husband and we took a drive to find out what was going on.So this was my first ‘real’ journalistic adventure! We were blocked off by police from getting too close but we went down Waterfront Drive and grabbed some photos and video. I also took some from a closer location.I was following the feeds on Twitter (I mentioned the fire first to my knowledge) and posted these photos as soon as I could. I also sent them to CTV, who appeared to like them. Check it out!So that was my adventure. I felt like a real reporter and it was really cool to see my photo used by CTV. I look forward to more experiences like this in the future!

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No Room for Art?

This week my class was required to hand in a short story, 500-4,000 words. I know, that’s quite the range. But it got done, and I realized something while I was working.

I really love writing. It’s great that I am forced to put together a piece, because it’s really hard to make time for creating art. Maybe I’m the only one, but somehow I don’t think so.

I could blame my lack of dedicated creative time on school, and it would be true. I am very busy, and a lot of that is due to my course load. But who else isn’t spending time doing what they love? Are all of you in school? Before I started studying, I found other ways to occupy my time.

And what about exercise? Most of us say it’s important, and some of us say we’d like to, but how many people actually get around to doing it?

I think balance is an art, and we have to be proactive about getting started. I need to make a plan for my time and stick to it. It’s not easy. But I don’t want to face the alternative: waking up in twenty years, or five year, or even one, and feeling like I wasted my time. I want to be effective and live fully, and at this time next year I definitely don’t want to realize that I’ve been wasting precious time that I won’t be getting back.

School work is important, and I want to give 100% to all my work. But part of that is the balance. I read somewhere that spending time planning how to use your time is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

What do you think about that? How do you manage your life balance? Do you find that you have time to do the things that you really want to do?

What are you going to do about it?

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Election Night Adventure

Tuesday night I added a few more things to my First Time Ever list … I went to a constituency office for an election, I attended as a journalist (and student) – so I had to meet certain requirements (like getting quotes), I watched firsthand as everyone yelled and shouted in celebration … oh, and I also interviewed the premier.

That’s right.

I’ll start at the beginning, though. For my Journalism 1 class we were required to go to one of the candidate headquarters (any candidate was fair game), stay until the results were in (unless it was a very close race), and write a story about it by 8 am the next day.

I chose to go to Jim Maloway’s (New Democratic Party) office for the sole reason of its closeness to my home. I got there about eight, met up with Brandon (my program-mate who’s in a different class than me), and waited for at least half an hour before they let us in. I wasn’t impressed by this.

Looking back, I think they waited to let us in until they knew they were going to win. Maybe they didn’t want to risk having us see the tears if they all lost their jobs, but I still think it was unprofessional. After (finally) inviting us in from our perch on the sidewalk out front, we were welcomed into the busy little office.

There were large posters on the wall, a calendar marking election day (and nothing else), and a map of Elmwood, divided into the poll numbers. As soon as results for a particular poll came in, they were written on the corresponding number on the poster boards.

I found the atmosphere similar to that of a football game: everyone staring at the screen, tense silence at a few moments, and lots of cheering and victorious yells. The NDP cleaned up in this election, so there was lots for them to celebrate. There was a large cooler of beer, Doritos and Orange Crush (an appropriately celebratory color), and lots of animated, excited people.

The first step back into my good books happened when the campaign manager, Darryl Livingstone, took a break from writing results on the wall to give us some quotes about how he was feeling. This was the first time I realized how human these people are. He said that there’s a baby on the way in his family – due in January – and he’s glad to still have a job.

I hadn’t realized that people lose their jobs on election night. When you vote, you’re deciding who’s doing good enough at their job to keep it.

Think about that for a bit and tell me your vote doesn’t matter!

Think about it and tell them that.

A huge shout – the biggest so far – erupted when Jim Maloway entered the building. The team welcomed their champion and there were congratulations, and more excitement.

The next step toward my good side was Maloway taking time from celebrating with his family and supporters to make sure we got our quotes (we would have failed the assignment, I think, if this had not happened). He answered our questions and didn’t rush us. I liked him. He treated us as if we were important, not just some students.

The last step that put Jim Maloway and his cohorts fully back into my good graces was the invitation. They said they were all going to the Convention Centre to celebrate with the rest of the NDP and that we should come – maybe we’d even get a chance to speak with the premier!

Well. That’s a pretty sweet offer.

Brandon and I looked at each other, weighing the journalistic benefit of going to this party with the disadvantage of getting even less sleep that night. We debated for a moment, then agreed that this wasn’t going to happen again anytime soon and therefore had to go for it.

The Convention Centre was bustling with smiling faces, TV crews of people who looked as if maybe they’d rather be at home in bed, and laughing people. There were NDP signs, shouts, clapping, flashes going off, handshakes, drinks, and lots and lots of smiles.

Greg Selinger was there, being chased and hounded and interviewed and congratulated. It was a bit crazy. Brandon and I went to try and talk with him, but got shuffled aside. He had a TV statement, and there was always someone talking to him. Apparently I’m not a good journalist quite yet.

But Kevin Maloway (Jim’s son), who we’d been talking and chatting with earlier at the office, encouraged us to try again. He said, “Go on, get in there!” And I suddenly got determined.

We pushed our way into the group of people, waited for whoever was talking with Selinger to finish, and stayed right there in front of him. And – gasp! – he stopped!!

We told him we were from Red River College, then we pushed our recording devices toward him and fired a couple of questions. There was a crew from CityTv there but we just went ahead and asked our questions. And – gasp again – he took the time to answer our questions before he moved on! (Very good PR.)

We cleared out pretty soon after that. We thanked the Maloway gentlemen and hurried out to get writing, but I was on a high for at least an hour. I couldn’t believe it. Did this make me a REAL JOURNALIST? It sure felt like it.

Going home to write the article was a little less prestigious, especially at 2:30 am when I was falling asleep on my desk. But it got written and handed in on time, and I interviewed the man who is currently the premier of Manitoba.

Get ready, world! Here comes another journalist!

Below please find a YouTube video with Jim Maloway. It doesn’t have to do with this election, but it does show you who he is! Enjoy (it’ll make you feel patriotic).

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