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This article was published 29/6/2021 (207 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There was finally some music to be heard to help drown out the cars revving and horns honking on Main Street Saturday night.
Son del Norte, an acoustic offshoot of Winnipeg group the Mariachi Ghost, were the first band to grace the stage of Blue Note Park, an outdoor nightclub that has taken over the space that was the Beer Can’s home in 2020.
John Scoles, the owner of the nearby Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club who heads the Blue Note Park venture, said Monday that the opening was a combination of excitement and relief. The Times Change(d) has been closed since last March, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he was keen to take over the vacant lot on Main Street after the Beer Can moved to outside the Granite Curling Club.
He then waited for two months for Winnipeg’s COVID-19 cases to drop far enough so the provincial government could let restaurants and patios open again.
"It opened in a very dignified and joyful fashion," he said of Saturday’s night’s debut, which had audience numbers wavering between 70 to 100 people spaced apart in the 4,000-square-foot space. "Everyone felt comfortable and that was really satisfying."
At first, Scoles planned to call the nightspot Times Change(d) Outside, but switched the name to Blue Note Park as an homage to one of his favourite clubs from Winnipeg’s past.
"The Blue Note Café was once at the very spot we are at now," Scoles said.
Blue Note Park’s hours are from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly. Food is provided by Modern Electric Lunch, another Main Street business located nearby.
On the weekend, it is open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Bands begin playing at 7 p.m., and virtually every night in July is booked with local performers, most of whom are longtime Times Change(d) favourites. Tonight has Franco-Manitoban and Métis singer Andrina Turenne onstage, while Andrew Neville and the Poor Choices, Bullrider, the Dirty Catfish Brass Band and the Gabriela Ocejo Band perform Wednesday to Saturday, respectively.
The Beer Can, meanwhile, begins its Thursday night concert series July 8 at 7:30 p.m. with singer-songwriter JP Hoe performing.
Joining the Blue Note, the Beer Can and the Cargo Bar at Assiniboine Park in the city’s pop-up patio scene is the Garden at 955 Portage Ave. It will open Thursday, Canada Day, at 3 p.m. in a lot next to the building that once housed La Bodega Imports.
It was scheduled to open for the Victoria Day long weekend but like all restaurants in Manitoba, the Garden had to put plans on hold until the province eased its pandemic restrictions on restaurants, pubs and patios.
Faouzia has been a hero to her growing legion of fans since hitting the charts back in 2018.
Chances are she’ll be an even bigger hero today when she releases her new single, Hero.
The 20-year-old pop singer from Carman has been among the busiest of performers since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March.
She released an EP, Stripped, last summer that included a streamed performance from the Burton Cummings Theatre, and in November she teamed up with superstar John Legend for the single Minefields, which earned her an appearance on NBC’s Today show in the U.S. and more than 36 million listens on Spotify.
There are rumours that Faouzia will release an album later in the year, but no release date has been set.
Dance fans have until Sunday to check out Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers’ final offering for its 2020-21 season.
YES / This Is My Math Dance is a shared program between former Winnipegger Linnea Swan and Toronto’s Sara Porter that is an online performance. A link to view the show can be purchased at Eventbrite.ca or directly at wfp.to/wcdyes.
Swan, who now lives in Calgary, began putting YES together in 2013 during a research period at Toronto Island, when she was creating a Facebook video every day during a period of isolation.
"It makes me quite nostalgic when I think about it considering our current reality of Instagram, TikTok, and of course our collective isolation this past year," she says.
Porter also looks back in This Is My Math Dance. The partly improvisational work hearkens back to her early days in university, when she earned a scholarship to study biochemistry.
"The piece plays with mathematical terms and terminology in a playful and absurdist manner. Not all the math is true," she says.
Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.