Monday, December 03, 2007

2007 Geminis Puppets Skit

There has been lots of discussion about this clip from the Gemini awards in Regina a few weeks ago. The Jerome and Rusty puppets were retrieved from the CBC by the late Friendly Giant's family after this was aired. They were upset because the CBC did not ask for permission for their appearance in the video. They probably felt the integrity of the characters were disrespectfully portrayed. I can understand their displeasure, but I still laughed my ass off! Judge for yourself, I'm sure this was the highlight of the usual boring awards show.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blue And Green Going Grey

Grey Cup that is...! Yes, the match-up the league most feared, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The league was hoping for the East/West divisional leaders (and large market teams) to go head to head, but instead got the small market prairie rivals. You have to feel bad for the Toronto fans who had hoped for the hometown team to be in the big final...actually I take that back, Toronto..hahaha! I'm sure Bomber fans had a similar feeling last year when they hosted the Cup and failed to make the final, so it'll feel pretty good to have 60,000 fans on Sunday hating the Bombers.

This will be the first ever Grey Cup meeting between the Riders and the Bombers in this the 95th classic, you have to remember the Bombers were in the West division for most of those 95 years when Ottawa was in the league. This should be a great game, at least the parties will be during Grey Cup week, despite dull Toronto fans being in a mournful mood. I'm sure there'll be tons of tickets on eBay from Torontonians trying to dump their tickets they so proudly scooped up a year ago when they went on sale in anticipation of their teams participation. There will be just as many people from Winnipeg and Saskatchewan that will be desperately seeking these prized tickets. The fans from Sask and Winnipeg love to party and there will be lots of people trekking to T.O. last minute.

This year promises to be an interesting Cup because:
  • The Bombers lost Most Outstanding Player finalist QB Kevin Glenn with a broken arm suffered in the fourth quarter against the Argos.
  • Back-up Ryan Dinwiddie will make his first ever start in not only the Grey Cup, but the CFL!
  • Glenn is up against the Rider's QB, West MVP Kerry Joseph.
  • Rider pride! There was as many as 2,000 fans at the airport greeting the team when they returned from Vancouver...just how much green will be in the stands Sunday? Should be amazing, then again there are a lot of ex-Winnipeggers now living in Toronto, but Winnipegger's like to watch games on TV.
  • Will Milt Stegall win his first Cup? Would put a nice cap on an outstanding career.
  • Saskatchewan last won the Cup in 1989 in Toronto, one year later the Bombers won, neither have won since.
  • Riders vs Bombers-best rivalry in the league... priceless, I hope!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Church Of The Rock...Bottom

Though I don't take most of the stories in the Winnipeg Sun that seriously, this story caught my attention:

Kim Houle is still struggling to explain the harsh realities of discrimination to her children and grandchildren after their aboriginal dance group was turfed from a charity event's bill.

The 45-year-old mother of 10 moved into a Habitat for Humanity home in July and was asked to perform, along with eight of her kids and grandkids, at the organization's volunteer appreciation night, held Tuesday at the Church of the Rock in Fort Garry.

But as she was preparing to dress her kids and grandkids in traditional aboriginal garb Tuesday afternoon, Houle was informed they could not perform because their spiritual dance did not align with the church's policies.

"I was very angry, I was really hurt to have to explain to my kids that this prejudice is still going on," Houle said just hours after the invitation was abruptly revoked.

"Some people still think the old way, that we're basically dancing to the devil. That's what a lot of non-aboriginals thought and I guess still think our dance is about."

The Church of the Rock declined comment when contacted by Sun Media.


But Habitat for Humanity spokeswoman Michelle Nyhof confirmed Houle's invitation was "unfortunately" revoked at the demand of the church.

Nyhof said the organization regretted having to cancel the dance performance, but said not checking all performers with the church prior to the event was "an oversight" on Habitat's part.

Habitat signed an auditorium rental agreement allowing Church of the Rock first right of refusal on performers, and when it presented a performance list Tuesday afternoon, church administration said Houle's spiritual dance did not meet its policies.

Nyhof said administration did not elaborate on those policies, and confirmed Houle was the only performer slashed from the bill after Church of the Rock's review.

Houle does not fault Habitat. Instead, she says the church reminded her that aboriginal people are still not free from racism and prejudice -- and blames the church for forcing her to explain that to eight kids between one and 22 years old.

Habitat still invited Houle to attend the event, but she decided Tuesday night not to attend.

As the President of an organization whose mandate is human rights, I was particularly outraged when I read this. What exactly are the church's policies? Was it because they were aboriginal? Was it the spiritual dance itself, that perhaps it didn't share the same values and spiritual policies as the C.O.T.R.? Was it just a misunderstanding and scheduling conflict?

I suppose instead of jumping all over the church for it's actions, we should perhaps hear their side of the story. It never helps the situation when the accused declines comment, it immediately gives the impression they have something to hide or this in fact is the truth. I'm sure by tomorrow, the church's public relations staff will issue the standard damage control statements to defuse the situation. I browsed the Church Of The Rock's website earlier in the day, it said the usual inviting message of "we except all denomination's, multi-ethnic, all people....etc", but when I checked the link later around midnight (as I'm writing this) the site was down or removed...hmm.. sounds kind of suspicious, maybe they do have something to hide.

The church was created by pastor Mark Hughes and his wife and their church now occupies a large warehouse space in the McGillvary Industrial Park area of Winnipeg. A few weeks ago the University Of Manitoba used the church for their fall convocation during the worker's strike at the University. Are they sure the university weren't infringing on any of the church's policies for allowing any undesirables in their house of God or whatever. Last time I looked they allow aboriginals, gays and non-Christian's into university, so I'm surprised the Church didn't look over the graduate list for their "right to refusal". Any church that names itself after the wrestler Dwayne Johnson (aka: The Rock) can't be taken seriously, so in this day and age can this church be seriously that ignorant and racist....or at least until they tell us they're not.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Want Candy! Happy Halloween

Though I'm too old to go out for Halloween and I hate wearing costumes, I still do enjoy the idea of Halloween. I always buy way more candy than I'll give away and I'm sure to check out the half price sale on candy the day after. Since the kid's have finally outgrown going out, I now have to split the profits..I mean the left-overs. They used get enough junkfood to last them until at least Christmas and that's with them eating the stuff at school, after school and before school. Now they can be more selective and if they want more than what's left, they'll have to buy it themselves.

Oh well, I better turn off the lights and horde the rest!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Geoff Live @ NHD 9-23-07

This is the last of the Nikkei Heritage Day postings, thankfully I can move on to more recent activity after this. The afternoon concluded with a short set from me, I hadn't played anywhere for over a year so I was a little hesitant to perform in front of such a mixed audience (young and old). I was excited with the idea of trying out some new songs and a few recent ones that I have only played a couple of times. It felt pretty good, starting is always the hardest part and once you overcome nerves the rest will fall into place. My set was kind of cut short as you'll hear between track #7 and 8 when I was told "last song", I was able to squeeze in 3 Zamboni Joe hits. I'm hoping to find some gigs soon, hopefully to more of an appropriate crowd that will tolerate "depressing downer" songs and it would be great to reform the band. Let me know what you think.

1. Intro
2. Mayor Of Funtown
3. Do You Think I'm Angry?
4. Sliding Backwards (new)
5. Demise Of You
6. Remind Me To Kill Myself Again
7. Things To Say (new)
8. Cassie Says
9. Dead Hippies
10. Reminds Me Of Cathy

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shayna @NHD 9-23-07

Here are some songs that Shayna Paulicelli performed, a variety of covers that showcase her versatile vocal range. I only posted 4 of the 7 songs she performed as I didn't officially get her permission to post her live recording. Here's some news, I heard that Shayna is recording an album and it may be available before Christmas, if not, early 2008. Watch this blog for further details when they become available and again if you want a recording of the complete afternoon show, let me know in the comment section...remember I recorded this from my minidisc recorder, so don't expect multi-microphone/soundboard sound quality.

Another note: Shayna is singing karaoke-style. (her live vocals + pre-recorded music)

A Moment Like This (Kelly Clarkson)
Valentine (Martina McBride)
Heaven (Bryan Adams)
Broken Wind

Monday, October 01, 2007

Jesse live @ NHD Arts Fest 9-23-07

As promised I'm posting most of Jesse's set (all but the first song) from the Nikkei Heritage Arts Fest. If you want to listen, click and your computer media player will hopefully play the track, if you want to download the songs and store it on your hard-drive, right-click and save as...I will upload Shayna and my set as well, but if you want the complete show (all 3 acts!), leave your name in the comment section and I'll arrange to get you a copy, but first have a listen as it might not be your taste in music. Like it or hate it? Let me know.


JESSE MIKI "Manitoba Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre"
Winnipeg, Manitoba
September 23, 2007

Calling For (w/Alex)
Pathway To The Moon
Johnny Johnny Ooo Ooo
Wet Ground
Tragic Mirror

Nikkei Heritage Day Arts Festival... Last Week

Sorry to take so long to the report on Nikkei Heritage Day, it took place last Sunday, but I was busy compiling photos and editing sound samples. It was a fine turnout despite the gorgeous weather outside and I think that everyone that attended had a good time. The art was great, the music was eclectic and the snacks were exquisite.

Artists that displayed pieces were (let me know If I forget anyone); Brynne Takeuchi, Helen Miyata, Toki Orui, Misako Rothery, Karlene Stubbs, Miwako Hoppe, Shawne Collins, Geoff Miki, and Brandis Johnasson.

For entertainment, music was provided by Alex and Jesse Miki (vocals/solo electric guitar), Shayna Paulicelli (pop vocalist) and Geoff Miki (vocals/solo acoustic and electric guitar). Sumi Saito provided the amazing cake/cookies and Valerie Hoshizaki-Nordin prepared the veggy/cracker/cheese platers. Thank you to everyone that attended and contributed, I'm hopeful next year will be bigger and better. Actually next year will be the 20th anniversary of Redress, so communities across Canada are planning BIG celebrations to commemorate this historic date.

Tomorrow I will post some musical highlights from Jesse, Shayna and Geoff, so stay tuned!

Friday, September 21, 2007

N.H.D. Update

Just added to the entertainment festivities for Nikkei Heritage Day on Sunday is singer Shayna Paulicelli. You may remember Shayna from Folklorama at the Japanese Pavilion where she sang for 5 nights during the week. You will have the opportunity to hear her sing more than two songs and I'm betting they'll be in English, not Japanese. The afternoon music extravaganza will also feature solo sets from Jesse and myself. I haven't played anywhere for over a year, so it should be interesting. The last time I performed at the Manitoba Japanese Cultural Centre was with my band Zamboni Joe with Cheryl and David for "Art and Sushi " from November 2001.

Schedule: (times are tentative)
2:15 Jesse Miki
3:00 Shayna Paulicelli
3:45 Geoff Miki

The other component to the Art's Festival is the art show, contributions are still being received and the show will be set up early Sunday, if you want to put something into the show, drop it by the MJCCC on Saturday. My first passion is still art and I plan to submit a couple of pieces. In case you don't know, the only subject matter I have tackled in the past 10 years is hockey and in the past I have had a couple of shows featuring art that is hockey-related. I know I should spend more time on my art, but music and my computer addiction has prevented me from pursuing this activity. Anyways, hope to see lots of people come out on Sunday, there are many talented people in the arts in our community and you owe it to yourself to see who these people are. The art should be interesting and the music will be diverse and did I mention that Sumi will provide some desserts? Sounds tasty!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Come Celebrate Nikkei Heritage Day This Sunday!

Sorry for the lack of posts so far in September, I could provide you with a whole bunch of bull-shit excuses, but to be honest it is just laziness on my part. One event I'm gearing up for is Nikkei Heritage Day Arts Festival, this Sunday September 23rd at the Manitoba Japanese Cultural Centre from 2:00pm-4:30pm. Nikkei Heritage Day commemorates the date of the signing of the redress agreement on September 22, 1988, across Canada the JC communities host some kind of event on or around this date.

This year's Arts festival will feature paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, and live music. Should be a good time, Jesse Miki and myself will provide the live music and I'm even submitting some art. There must be other musicians or performers in our community besides us, so please let me know if your talent is wasted away in your bedroom or basement and you would like to's not too late! Besides the art, there will be a vast array of goodies for the palate such as cake, cookies, fruit and the usual non-licenced beverages (coffee, tea, cold drinks).

So if your not raking leaves or watching football on Sunday afternoon, stop by for a look and listen, it might be your last chance to hear me sing and you might find a great piece of art.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Year Down: Folklorama Epilogue

I can't believe it's been over a week since Folklorama ended, another year that is a faint memory which is bad for me as I try to recall the highlights for the week. It was stressful during the week leading up to Folkorama, but all the hardwork put forth by the dozens of volunteers paid off. Overall, the attendance increased slightly from the year before, the same can be said about the bar and food sales which also took in more cash than last year (we're talking only a few hundred dollars more). The overall mood and atmosphere this year seemed more in control with little problems, this could be in part because it was the second year at Sisler or maybe the planning was more efficient. The topic of Pavilion venue will of course come up in discussion, do you think we should stay at Sisler? Our numbers are down significantly from Tec Voc two years ago... is location a problem? Too far from other Pavilions, any chance we can return to Tec Voc or score a prime location in the St. Boniface area?....discuss!

Immediately after the doors of the Pavilion closed Saturday night (August 18th), the Volunteer party took shape. Food was prepared and catered to feed the volunteer's that stuck around for the evening, as well as delicious cakes wonderfully created by Pastry Chef extraordinaire, Sumi. It's become a tradition the last few years to entertain ourselves with a goofy session of karaoke. Technicalities prevented the sing-a-long from taking place, so as a consolation the stage lights were aimed at the floor for a dance. Continuous dance music with it's mix of disco, classic rock and everyone's favourite social tune, "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" played as a group of us jumped, hopped, spun and stumbled our way through 2 hours of non-stop sweaty wholesome fun. I must admit it was a hell of a lot of fun, I've never danced that long before, especially without the influence of many beers. We were caught on film (watch the video clip), so there's proof that I was dancing, though Sumi said that wasn't "dancing" I was doing.

If I summed up the week of Folklorama, I would say it wasn't too bad, in fact it was kind of enjoyable. It was a pain in the ass bolting from work straight to the Pavilion, but almost everyone that volunteered did, in reality I didn't have to do too much. I wasn't dancing, singing or playing taiko drums on stage, instead I stood around, sat around, got nervous sometimes, ate cheezies and had a great time being around the performers and seeing friends and family. I have it in my head I hate doing this, but when I really think about it, it's something you're brought up to do. I can't think of a year when I wasn't involved, be it as an Entertainment co-coordinator, stage light/soundman, security, ambassador or setup and take down. I remember those gruelling days back at the Buddhist Church basement in the 70's, Sargent Park arena in the 80's, the Cultural Centre tent and Tec Voc school. We have it lucky now, almost luxurious if you compare the conditions and the amount of work to make a hockey arena or a basement look Japanese.

Sumi and I discussed what we could have done differently or tweaked to make the entertainment more enjoyable and diverse. A few things came to mind for next year; modern dance, more visual for the singer possibly dancers or musicians, both dance groups (Kaede/Aurora) performing same night, a second singer? If you watched the show or were part of the show, your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Any ideas for next year? I know that there are already discussions about a Sushi bar for Thursday-Saturday after the late show with possibly some karaoke.
I guess that's it for Folklorama 2007, once the week started it was fun and I loved being there. I had little sleep all week, getting home by 11pm then writing on the computer until after 2:30am on some nights. I didn't care if I was tired and wired, it kept me interested and involved and that's what life is all about, right? I want to thank our wonderful performers, Hinode Taiko who played 3 shows a night for 7 days..Wow! The stunning Kaede and Aurora Dance groups who provided the beauty and colour to the show. The talented Shayna Paulicelli whose voice is amazing and the Judo and Kendo Martial arts groups that energized the pre-main stage shows with excitement and loud action.

Special thanks to my cohort Sumi Saito, who kept me in line (and from being a "lazy ass") and provided me with much inspiration throughout the week. Hidden behind her upbeat cute persona, she has a wickedly sarcastic sense of humour that is refreshing and hilarious. I'm looking forward to working alongside her again next year. Enjoy the rest of your Summer!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Last Night!

The final night of Folklorama is always bittersweet, on one hand it's finally done, the volunteers that have been here all week can now get on with their lives. Some people revolve their holiday time around Folklorama week while others work 8 hours at their paid job and 5 hours free at the Pavilion. I like to think of the last three days as the home-stretch, usually the most profitable for food, bar and attendance, but also the stage show is running smoothly without worry of any problems or glitches...well, almost.

Again, like the previous night during the dance (Kaede), the music cut out for a couple of seconds (Ha! I wasn't doing the sound), this time the music stopped and when it returned it continued from where it stopped, so it kind of screwed up the dancers. For some reason which we'll have to analyze, the attendance was the third lowest of the week. This is odd because the previous three years the attendance ranked 1st or 2nd for the week, by comparison there was at least 400-500 less people this Saturday than the last three. The same can be said for the bar and food sales which also ranked Saturday as it's third lowest for sales. I'll try to answer or at least theorize why the results were so disappointing this year in the "review" later this week, your opinions and input would be greatly appreciated.

Final Night Ramblings:
-We had duo-rookie emcee's tonight, Stacey Matsumoto hosted the first and second shows, while Jesse Miki did the third. I was more than pleased by both of their MC skills and this could be a preview of some of our new hosts for next year. Stacey seemed like a seasoned pro who was at ease with the microphone and was unfazed by the tongue-twister text written by Hinode Taiko. I really like Stacey's mannerisms and how she throws in a little extra tidbits. Jesse claims to be able to "wing it" and his improv skills definitely come in handy doing this kind of job, but the real skill he possesses is charm and charisma. He brings a much needed enthusiasm to the show and keeping the crowd attentive is his forte.

-I Noticed that Shig didn't perform the Taiko piece (the second song in their set) where he solos on the wood block, for the final show of the week. It was really too bad because I heard this was probably his last Folklorama...what! Shig retiring from Hinode? (Sumi, is this true?)

-Behind the scenes, food was being prepared for the after-Folklorama volunteer party. I heard a rumour that next year they might throw a party (social-style) a week or two later so everyone that volunteered can share in the fun, instead of just the people that volunteered Saturday. Might be a good idea, but do I want to think about Folklorama still in late August?

-Between the 2nd and 3rd shows, Sumi showed me how to cut a cake. Yeah, I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but it requires some skill and expertise...coool. It would be the equivalent of me showing her how to cut a double mat for picture framing, something that requires some talent, but for me is a piece of cake.

-Shayna was flawless again and Carol got her flowers.

Sorry for the slow post, I got home super late after the volunteer party on Saturday and I wasn't in the mood to think about Folklorama on Sunday. For the next post I'll include some pictures of the volunteer party and stay tuned for the "wrap-up" blog post for the week at a glance review...exciting isn't it?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

There's Nothing Better To Do On A Friday Night?

The week is winding down, but the attendance continues to climb with an increase everyday so far. Traditionally Friday and Saturday's are the best days for the amount of visitor's walking through our doors. Though the numbers aren't in yet, Friday's first two shows were very packed and I wouldn't be surprised if we had one of our best nights this year. I think the organizers have to be feeling pretty good about how smoothly things have gone because I haven't heard many complaints or horror stories from any of the volunteers, though I have avoided visiting the kitchen. Tons of credit must be heaped upon Hazel Saito who took on the "thankless" task of coordinating the food for the Pavilion. I haven't got the full story about the drama of the kitchen, but I know that sales have been great and she has managed to pull together a team of workers who have dedicated their days to cooking. I know Sumi has spend her days off volunteering in the kitchen and without others like her this Pavilion would have failed.

Friday's Random Gibberish:
-Last night for Aurora, does that mean the dancer's won't be at the volunteer party? Actually a lot of the dancers (Aurora and Kaeke) volunteer in other areas of the Pavilion. Lucy was presented with some flowers from her ladies, as predictable as it was that's always a classy gesture. Do you think Carol will receive a similar token of appreciation?

-I can't say enough about singer Shayna Paulicelli, it's great to have her sweet voice complimenting the visual beauty of the dance groups and the primal urgency of Hinode. Not only is she a gifted and accomplished vocalist, she is also one of the nicest persons I have met. As I said in an earlier post watch for her in the future!

-Hopefully no one noticed a difference, but I took the soundboard/lighting chair for the 9:45 show. Ryan who was substituting for Karel had to do sound for another Pavilion, he couldn't find anyone to cover for him so I was thrust into action. I wasn't too worried because I have some experience as I did this job for a couple years back at the tent (early 2000's?). The trick is to not confuse the soundboard with the light board and prevent any dead air, fortunately there are only four lights per side and only two sound channels being utilized. My only gaff was when my hand grazed a electrical cord plugged into the power bar and the sound cut out during one of Aurora's dances. I thought I hit the volume slider or hit the stop button on the CD player. After about 10 seconds of panic (and with Lucy breathing over my shoulder) I touched the cord again (loose plug?) and the sound magically returned. I was told after the dancers kept dancing and when the music returned they hadn't missed a beat. Other than that it was fun...and No, I don't want to do sound next year.

-Stay tuned for Saturday as we have a pair of unscheduled mystery emcee hosts. It's probably not a secret, but I'll tell you later.

-There's a possibility (depends when I get home) there won't be a report posted for Saturday until sometime Sunday ( if or when I get up), because of the volunteer party. The good news is that I'll attempt to take a lot of smile!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Media Circus

The Japanese Pavilion has definitely attracted a lot of media attention in the last few days. Yesterday it was the Winnipeg Free Press Folklorama report, today it was A-Channel and Global's turn. When I awoke this morning (7:30-ish, I only average about 5 hours of sleep) I turned on the TV, at the foot of my bed and who was on my screen, but Hinode's Shig Saito. He was demonstrating some drumming techniques to Adrienne Silver from A-Channel. I scrambled to find a blank VHS tape, but I was too late. I did have a chance to record the Kaede dancers as they gave a sample of a fan dance. All of this was filmed before Tuesday night's show as opposed to last year when all the Folklorama segments were filmed in-studio. It sure the hell beats going to the Fork's at 6:30 in the morning. I have yet to see Tracy Koga from Shaw TV, who is busy with more Folklorama spots that can't be seen on our television, because we subscribe to MTS TV.

Thurday's emcee for the show was Global Television's Connie Tamoto, which makes my job easier as Connie speaks into a microphone for a living and is very comfortable on stage. Global was also filming for their own Folklorama segment and Sumi was interviewed. I think she talked about Kimono dressing (?) and this will air on Friday's 6:00 and 10:30 pm news. Of course, I won't be home to watch it, but if you can figure out your VCR's timer, please record it for me and maybe I can post it.

Thursday's Random Observations:
-Tonight was the last night for Judo for the Martial Art's portion of the show. I spoke to a few people tonight who were happy they happened to come on the night Judo performed. Maybe next year Karate will return, I know they favoured the longer format so they could have time to demonstrate their moves.

-Anyone else notice how cool it is in the Gym and outside? This is about as ideal as it could be for the performers and I noticed Green tea sales are picking up...second thought, this might not be a good thing

-Kaede danced three consecutive dances (which includes the crowd participation ONDO) for all three shows. Is it too much dance? I think the show is more interesting when Shayna sings, it provides a better balance and more variety. Any ideas or suggestions for next year (I don't know if me or Sumi will be back) are always welcome.

Took my first peak into the Cultural display room and was amazed how crowded it was. If you're a guest, it's a good way to talk to some of the people involved in the different interest groups in the Japanese Canadian community. The small stage provides demonstrations for Kimono dressing, tea ceremony and flower arranging.

I've been eating a lot of cheezies for my supper break between shows. Don't get me wrong I love cheezies and they tasted pretty good dipped in stew gravy yesterday, but either all the volunteer food gets eaten quickly, someone's hoarding food (probably saving all the good stuff for Taiko) or my timing is really bad. I did fry up some perogies and eggs when I got home so all is good.

Only two more nights!!