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By REBECA KUROPATWA

Winnipeggers love the arts. Here are what four Winnipggers have been doing lately to earn recognition in various arts fields:

 

Reva Stone receives GG award
Born a Winnipegger, Reva Stone (70), was raised in Regina before returning to her hometown for university, earning a BA in sociology and psychology in 1966 and a BFA in 1985.
After marrying Harold Stone and having two children, Stone decided to go back to university to study art. She then went on to become a now-25-year-running professional electronic and digital media artist.
“As far back as I can remember, I was always interested in making art,” said Stone. “I thought I was going to become a painter, but that didn’t last long. I learned quickly that I love taking chances and am really comfortable trying things I have never done before.”
As she graduated from art school in her 40s, Stone recalled being told that “a woman her age” could not succeed in career in art. Yet since that time, Stone has been very successfully creating computer-assisted installations that explore the mutable space between human and machine.
“I always begin new work with a concept that I read about or an occurrence that I observed,” said Stone. “I develop my ideas through research and experimentation. This method has led to installations that explore the underlying social, technological, and cultural narratives that are being played out around the constantly changing technologies altering how we interact with the world.
“I use various forms of digital media to make artwork that comments on this changing nature of what it means to be human.”
Stone has received numerous research and production awards from the Canada Council of the Arts and the Major Arts Award from the Manitoba Arts Council, as well as the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts 2015.
In 2002, a robotic work, Carnevale 3.0, received an honorable mention from Life 5.0, Art & Artificial Life International Competition, Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain.
In 2009, Stone presented at the Super Human: Revolution of the Species Symposium organized by the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) in Melbourne, Australia. The proceedings were published in Second Nature: the International Journal of Creative Media.
Stone has two upcoming exhibitions – one at international symposium, ISEA 2015, which will take place in Vancouver, and another in Winnipeg at the Howard Gurevich Galley in September, called, “Bees, Beasts, and Binaries,” that includes works by her studio partners, Aganetha Dyck and Diana Thorneycroft.


Romi Mayes goes on tour
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Romi Mayes (née Rykiss) was a student at both Talmud Torah and Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate.
She got her start in music at the young age of 15, after a B’nai Brith Camp canoe trip in Lake of the Woods.
“My out-tripper, Leah Steele, played guitar and sang campfire songs and I thought she was the coolest person I ever met,” recalled Mayes. “When I got home from camp that summer, I begged my mom to buy me a guitar. I played and wrote songs consistently after that and started performing shortly after.”
Four years later, Mayes was satisfied with her 10 new songs, which are on her new album, “Devil on Both shoulders,” an album she kicked off in Winnipeg on May 8 (four days before the official release in North America on May 12).
“My publicist and I came up with the idea to have a pre-release in Winnipeg, something special for my favourite audience,” said Mayes. “I am so in love with Winnipeg and wanted to show them somehow.”
Mayes’ tour began in eastern Canada and then will move on to Vancouver in July. This will be followed by a tour south, to the U.S.A. and then Europe.
“The road is bittersweet for me, though,” said Mayes. “I love performing and traveling, and getting to see all the fans and friends around the world again, but leaving home and my now 15-year-old daughter for a few weeks is always hard on the heart strings, to say the least.
“Without the music community in Winnipeg and the fans and friends I have here, I wouldn’t at all be where I am today. Over the years, heavyweights in the music industry have tried to convince me to move to Vancouver, Toronto, New York, or L.A., but I know that being a small fish in a big sea is not the way to go for me.
“The high caliber of the talent here in Winnipeg has also pushed me to be a better musician. The non-competitive music scene and the constant encouragement here is incomparable.”


“The Secret Annex” comes to light
On May 21, Alix Sobler launched the publication of her play, The Secret Annex, at McNally Robinson, with about 60 people on hand. Sobler shared the reading with actress, Robin Slade.
The book is a publication of the play she wrote, which was originally produced in the winter of 2014 at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, (published by Scirroco Press).
Growing up in New York, Sobler attended Jewish day school and then public high school during which time she was very involved in U.S.Y.. She went to Brown University, where she majored in theatre.
“After college, I toured the Canadian Fringe circuit, which is where I met my future husband,” said Sobler. “I moved to Winnipeg in 2005 and livedethere until I came back to New York in August of 2014 to pursue my MFA in playwriting at Columbia.”
The Secret Annex is a telling of an alternative reality in which Anne Frank survives the war, moves to New York, and is trying to find someone to publish her book.
“I was interested in telling this story, because I have always been drawn to Anne Frank and her story,” said Sobler. “And, I have been interested in the way her legacy has unfolded. I wanted to use a famous victim of the Holocaust to explore the difficulty faced by survivors and how they are affected by post-traumatic stress.”
In September, The Secret Annex will have a reading at the Stratford Festival, and in the winter of 2016, there will be a production of it at the Segal Centre in Montreal.
“It was great to be back in Winnipeg to launch the book,” said Sobler. “I have always been incredibly supported by the Winnipeg community and am grateful for all the help and encouragement.”


Bringing Variety to back to its show biz roots
It was Jerry Maslowsky, Variety, the children’s charity’s current executive director’s goal when he returned to the organization, to reconnect the charity with its roots in show business.
Maslowsky’s connection to the charity began when he sang in the 1980s on the Variety telethon.
Later, he spent some time selling add space for the Jewish Post (today’s Jewish Post & News), also sold ad time for CJOB, then worked for about 15 years as the sales manager for the Blue Bombers.
“And then the opportunity with Variety came up,” said Maslowsky. “Through my career even while at CJOB I still worked closely with Variety. We did numerous events and promotions with them. And, as well, when I went to the Blue Bombers, we created a lot of programs for Variety that I was involved with on the Bombers side.”
Variety started in 1927 as an international children’s organization and it all really came out of the entertainment community in Pittsburgh, where there was a group called, the Variety Club, comprised of people in the entertainment business who owned theatres.
“One day, a young girl was left with a note in one of the theatres that said:`This is my daughter, Catherine. I have seven other children. I really can’t look after her, but I know people in entertainment and show business, you’ll be able to look after her,” explained Maslowsky.
“Well, this young girl was left in the theatre, and it was at the Sheraton Theatre. And, basically, all the businesspeople in the theatre business adopted her. And a bunch of entertainers came together to raise money and do shows for this Catherine. Catherine, herself, was later adopted.
“Variety’s mission statement is to meet the tangible needs of children with all abilities. And by that it means every child has an ability; some children’s abilities are different than others.”
Maslowsky decided to put together a gala that would bring out the kid in all of us, and he felt there was no better way than the circus. So, he gathered some local talent to donate their time and come together under the Big Top.
“Turning frowns upside down was the theme of the event that happened on May 9,” said Maslowsky. “I wanted us to get back to that circus, for it to be entertaining, and for people to come to an event where they could see it through the eyes of kids.”

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