Jan 072010

Hello, I’m Joe Winnipeg.

You know what grinds my gears? When the government gives money to the arts in Winnipeg. Money, jerkwads. To the arts. What the deuce is that? To that I say, look here assholes, I got a pothole in my back lane you could hide a German Shepherd in. The sewer backs up the first week in May.

I got problems, people. And the gov’ment’s just flippin’ around, spending my taxpayer dollars on some hoity-toit longhairs and their fingerpainting. It makes me sick.

And now, I get this damn missive from the Winnipeg Folk Festival. An arts organization, people. That gets my taxpayer dollars and spends it on music.

What is this garbage? Lemme tell ya. See, the Folk Fest folks emailed me to say that their last private fundraiser, the Winter Wassail in November, raised $40,000 for their community work. I ain’t got no problem with that, see. That there is private dollars.

But what I do got a problem with is the other facts they included in their email, like their economic impact report from 2008. We’re talking about the  government giving them my money to cover about 8% of their artsy-fartsy $3.8-million annual budget.  And I takes a big issue with that.

Okay, true, the Festival brings a few thousand Americans, and a thousand or so people from elsewhere in Canada, to Manitoba, where they spent about $4.1 million on hotel rooms and food and travel. But I can’t care about that. I also don’t give a hootenanny that the Festival was found to generate a net $9.7 million in gross domestic product for Manitoba or create 167 jobs per year.

Because I got problems, folks. I got a pothole. And unless these artsy-fartsy musicians wanna grind up their guitars to fill it in, I ain’t gonna change my mind about spending my tax dollars on the arts. Fah!

Sorry, Joe’s been bugging me for months for some space. The comment section of the Winnipeg Sun website wasn’t cutting it for him anymore. Now that he’s said his piece, back to your original programming.

+ For those who don’t know, the Winnipeg Arts Council Billboard is one of the most informative, useful mailing lists in the city, especially if you’re hoping to penetrate what can sometimes be an intimidating arts scene. Upcoming events, job postings, news bits and calls for submission from Manitoba and beyond.

+ As far as nightclubs go, I dig Mystique. Downtown nightclubs have had a rocky history, often punctuated by the threat (and, too often, reality) of violence. But the vibe at the former Desire is pretty clean, and a ton of fun. Now, I’m giving Mystique my new weekly award for best nightclub offering.

On Saturday, the club is debuting a new format for its I (Heart) Saturdays: “drums and keyboards versus turntables and hip-hop, with party rock.” I am entirely uncertain what that is going to end up sounding like, but I do know it sounds like the kind of mash-up of styles that I’ve been fruitlessly lobbying for for years in this city. I may, in fact, have to visit it on Saturday night to see if it’s as juicy as it sounds.

+ Just came back from a screening of Superbad Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist Juno Youth in Revolt, or, as my friend Josh so aptly put it, “that one where Michael Cera plays an awkward virgin.” Ah yes, that one. Now, I’m no Randall King - actually, nobody is Randall King, except Randall King. I’m serious. We in Winnipeg are lucky to have a locally-based movie reviewer as talented, and as prolific, as Mr. King. To quote my husband, circa summer 2008, “Who is this Randall King guy? He wrote the entire Thursday paper himself,” and anyway what was I saying?

Oh yes. I am no Randall King. But Youth in Revolt was a solid two hours of comedy. It doesn’t come close to Superbad — it gets maybe 3.5 stars to Superbad’s five — but plenty of good chuckles. If you’re bored this weekend, it won’t be a waste of $12.

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One Response to “Arts Funding? In My Winnipeg?”

  1. Jess Chapman says:

    Regardless of how much revenue Folk Fest generates (which is an absolutely ridiculous amount, considering the useful things the government could fund that would raise that much and then some), the principle of public arts funding is fundamentally bad. I rarely spend a dime on the arts out of pocket, so why should I have it taken from me? And this is coming from a 20-year-old who studies PR at a college in the Exchange District.

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