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I ... kind of like ... Winnipeg

I'm in Winnipeg on summer family business, packing and moving a whole lot of boxes. The city is by turns charming, ugly, friendly, sad. I'm always glad to come, and usually ready to go.

Winnipeg is an up-front city -- citizens talk to you, yell at each other, tell you how they feel. The irony here is mostly about how pathetic things are. The Winnipeg Arcades Project show I went to last night highlights, among other things, a plan to improve local area businesses by pitting police-trained uniformed volunteers like the guys in the picture against streeters. The theme -- Isn't this ridiculous! -- is clear but never stated. The subtext is sadness and anger. The show is part of a series of unorganized art projects, a different one every few hours in a downtown space. (Think June weddings, rolling out the brides and grooms every hour of the weekend.) The show before the Arcades Project was all about preserving things -- from fruit and veg to memories. Overheard conversations can tell you a lot about a place. She's not my sister. She's a shoplifter! Get off me, Dad -- you're crushing my smokes! Why would I go home with you, a******? I live with you. No wonder John Sampson writes the refrain, I ... hate ... Winnipeg and calls the song "One Fine City." No wonder Guy Madden can't leave.


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