August 31, 2010

Into THIN AIR with Kelly Hughes

THIN AIR 2010, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, is being launched by a literary celebration at Aqua Books on Friday, September 3 at 7:00 p.m. 

Host Kelly Hughes will be interviewing writers Charlene Diehl, Ariel Gordon and Jordan Wheeler.  There'll also be music by classical guitarist Skender Sefa.

Charlene Diehl is the dynamo at the hub of the THIN AIR writers festival.  She is also a widely respected poet and the author of Out of Grief, Singing.

Ariel Gordon is the Winnipeg-based author of 2 chapbooks.  She is a regular contributor to the Winnipeg Free Press’ books section and is Blogger-in-Chief of HOT AIR, the official blog of THIN AIR.  Her first collection of poetry Hump, will be launched at the Edmonton Poetry Festival.

From the Charles Gordon First Nation, Jordan Wheeler has been writing professionally since 1982.  An author - Brothers In Arms, Just A Walk - and columnist, Wheeler’s focus since 1992 has been scriptwriting and story editing for television, including the award winning North of 60, The Rez and 
He’s been nominated for numerous awards, including 3 Geminis, and has received one Gemini.

Skender Sefa is a professional classical guitarist with 4 full length classical guitar CDs.  He teaches at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts, is a Director of the Winnipeg Music Festival and is the President of the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society.  Skender is also an active music adjudicator/clinician.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 30, 2010

Chandra Mayor's Forging the Muse

This Autumn, Aqua Books will be featuring Chandra Mayor's course Forging the Muse.

Classes will be on Wednesdays, starting September 15 till December 1, 
from 7:00 p. m. to 9:00 p. m.

Cost: $250 plus GST 
Register: or 943-7555 

This workshop is limited to 10 people. 
Bring a notebook and pen.

According to Chandra, This course will help us understand how each of us can transform images, ideas and emotions into words that truly communicate in our writing.  
We will focus on the craft of poetry and of language.  
We’ll learn why editing and workshopping is so important. 
We’ll explore personal mythologies, the worlds of publishing, performativity and whatever else seems interesting. 
The course will include lots of reading, discussion, writing and feedback.
We’ll play, take risks and create a community of writers.
We won’t always agree, but we’ll understand more about what we write, why we write, and how to get closer to the poems we want to write.  

Chandra Mayor’s writing has appeared in several anthologies, including Interruptions: 30 Women Tell the Truth about Motherhood; Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets, and Post-Prairie

Her first book, August Witch: poems, won the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book.  She received the 2004 John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Writer.  Her novel, Cherry, won the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award. 

Her most recent book, All the Pretty Girls (conundrum), won a Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Fiction.  The title story was shortlisted for a 2008 CBC Literary Award.  Mayor lives in Winnipeg.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 27, 2010

Aqua Books: Sell Yourself

Aqua Books owner Kelly Hughes will be leading a seminar, How to Sell Yourself Without Selling Out, on September 15,  from 7:00 p. m. to 9:00 p. m.

Cost: $30 
Register: or 943-7555

This is for anyone who wants to sell what they do without selling their soul. 

If you want to build your profile, this is for you. 
If you believe and care about something, this is for you. 

This seminar will give you the tools to reach people.  It is especially useful for those in creative endeavours: photographers, designers, writers, musicians, artists, indie business startups, etc.

Over the past decade, Kelly Hughes went from no retail experience to building one of Canada's most acclaimed bookstores.  He'll share how he did it.  And he'll teach you how you can sell yourself, your skills and your dream, without losing your self-respect or your friends.

Kelly Hughes has worked as an actor (Pacific Theatre), a pre-teen TV star (Let's Go!), an arts administrator (Winnipeg Cultural Alliance), and an operations manager (WHERE Winnipeg). 
He is the writer of This Week and the host of Kelly Hughes Live!

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 26, 2010

Aqua Books: Above the Empress of China

As part of Best of Fest 2010, the Winnipeg Fringe hit Above the Empress of China, starring Casey Shapira, Delf Gravert, and Cheryl Soluk, will be performed at Aqua Books on August 31.  

The play begins at 7:30 p. m. and runs to 8:30 p. m.
Tickets are $10.

Above the Empress of China, originally performed in 1994, had a warm reception at this year’s Fringe.  Uptown Magazine said it was "truly funny and intelligent throughout...  excellently acted... well worth seeing.”  Audiences agreed. 

The action takes place in an apartment above a Chinese restaurant, where a young woman tries to put her life back together after an auto accident strips her boyfriend of his memory.  

Written by Ross McMillan (Less Than Kind and The Saddest Music in the World) and Sharon Bajer (Molly’s Veil).  
Directed by Eileen Longfield.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 25, 2010

Karma Calling Screening

Okay... I know this blog is about everything Winnipeg.  But I do have out of town readers and Sarba's a pal, so I'm just letting you know that on August 28 at 7:00 p. m. Karma Calling will play at the Indian Film Festival of San Francisco, at Cole Hall, UCSF.

If you didn't have a chance to see the world premiere in San Francisco, it's not too late...Karma Calls Back! 

Please click here for tix/info. 

All proceeds from this screening go to the Asha for Education Charity

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg...  or San Francisco!

August 24, 2010

Kelly Hughes Live! On the Barge

As part of The Forks River Barge Festival, on Wednesday, August 25 and Thursday, August 26 at 3:00 p. m., Winnipeg's only live talk show, Kelly Hughes Live! will bring you everything you've come to expect from a television talk show: comedy, music and celebrities. 

The only difference is that  - with the exception of a few ringers like Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald and Hugo-nominated writer Nick DiChario - it's all local heroes.  

On Wednesday host Kelly Hughes will interview Vancouver comic Sam Easton, who has been doing movies and TV, including 5 episodes of The L Word.  There'll be music by Jaxon Haldane of the D.Rangers.

On Thursday Kelly will be bringing you Arts Ambassadors Michael Van Rooy and Debbie Patterson, with music by Ben Wytinck.  Michael Van Rooy has written 3 books in the critically acclaimed Monty Haaviko thriller series set in Winnipeg.  Debbie Patterson is a Winnipeg playwright, director, actor and a founding member of Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR).  Silky-voiced Ben Wytinck will play what he calls Bluegrazz (Bluegrass and Jazz). 

Other guests like Tina Keeper, Fred Penner, Al Simmons, Brian Glow, Margaret Sweatman and Robert Enright will be joined onstage by stellar Winnipeg musicians The Paperbacks, Todd Hunter, Ingrid Gatin and Rollin Penner and the Traveling Medicine Show. 

Bookstore Owner Kelly Hughes has worked as an actor (Pacific Theatre), a pre-teen TV star (Let's Go!), an arts administrator (Winnipeg Cultural Alliance), and an operations manager (WHERE Winnipeg). He founded Aqua Books a decade ago, and is writer of This Week at Aqua Books. 

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

The River Barge Festival

Check out the full festival schedule of The Forks River Barge Festival!!! 

Winnipeg has been designated 2010's Cultural Capital of Canada.  From August 25 to 29 The Forks will be hosting an enormous variety of live entertainment provided by the cream of Winnipeg's cultural community.

And it's all free!

The River Barge Festival Schedule

Aug 25 - Roots on the River
12:00       The Crooked Brothers
1:00         Jessee Havey and the Quirks
2:00         The D. Rangers
3:00         Kelly Hughes Live!
4:00         J.C. Campbell & Tracy Bone
5:00         Johnny Cajun
6:00         The Romi Mayes Band

Aug  26  -  New Sounds / Old Friends

12:00      Noma Sibanda & the Guerrillas of Soul
1:00        Matthew Contois
2:00        Christine Fellows
3:00        Kelly Hughes Live!
4:00        Flying Fox & the Hunter-Gatherers
5:00        Greg Lowe & Jack Semple
6:00        Trio Bembe

Aug 27 -  Gala Evening
Hosted by Marcy Markusa and Janet Stewart

6:00        Opening ceremonies / remarks
6:30        Papa Mambo
7:45        Chic Gamine
9:15        The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra & Sierra Noble

Aug 28 - Red River Gumbo

12:00      Manitoba Theatre Centre presents: The History of Manitoba from the Beginning of Time to the Present in 45 Minutes
1:30        Darrelyne Bickel
2:30        The Scarlet Union
3:30        Les Surveillantes
4:30        Greg MacPherson
5:30        Magnum K.I.
6:30        Imaginary Cities
8:00        Digging Roots
9:30        Luke Doucet and the White Falcon

Sunday, August 29 - Family Day
Hosted by:        Al Simmons
12:00      Manitoba Theatre Centre presents: The History of Manitoba from the Beginning of Time to the Present in 45 Minutes
1:30        Rocki Rolletti and the Junior Noodle Wave
2:45        Jazz On Wheels
4:00        Fred Penner

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 23, 2010

Aqua Books: BBQ/Garage Sale

Great news for students!

Burgers, fries, and 1000s of cheap books!!

The last BBQ/Garage Sale of the year!!!

On Saturday, September 4, from 11:00 a. m. to 5:00 p. m., Aqua Books's back lot turns into a classic Winnipeg garage sale.

There'll be thousands of books - including several hundred fresh rejects - at 3 for a buck!!  

And once again, EAT! throws away the menu for the day and serves BBQ food, including pulled pork sandwiches, burgers and fresh coleslaw.

The bookstore itself will also be open. 
Everything will shut down at 5:00 p. m., so our staff can enjoy the last long weekend of the summer.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 20, 2010

Aqua Books: High On Life

Come to Aqua Books on August 24 at 7:00 p. m. and take part in the launch of Nejeed Kassam's High On Life: Stories of Hope, Change and Leadership.

This is a book about change, inspiration and leadership. 
Based on the stories of 17 young leaders from 9 countries and 4 continents, this book is a beautiful medium in which incredible young people share their stories, wisdom and experiences. 

You’ll often find Nejeed Kassam with a smile on his face.  He loves his life!  Every morning, he gets to be a writer, speaker and an inspiring change-maker. 
Nejeed holds a BA (Hons) from McGill University and currently attends law school at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.  He is the founder of International NGO’s End Poverty Now and the Canadian non-profit organization Networks for Change. of which he is the Executive Director.  Nejeed is currently writing 2 books.

100% of the proceeds from High on Life are being donated to Networks for Change.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 18, 2010

The NEW Winnipeg is Better Than Chocolate

Welcome to the NEW Winnipeg is Better Than Chocolate!!!!

Last weekend was a bit hectic, so I didn't have time to post anything for I'm turning 60...


I missed you, too.

But, maybe it all turned out for the best.  

I was going to write a late post about turning 60 and, well, one thing led to another.  I browsed a few of the gadgets blogger has and decided to update my blogs.

Here on Winnipeg is Better Than Chocolate I've added cute animal and scenery pictures, tons of offers (coupons - hey, I'm 60, remember?), daily horoscopes, a way to send free e-gifts and e-cards, and monthly updated seasonal foods with recipes (okay, it's from Minnesota, but that's as close as I could get).  Click and enjoy. 

And on I'm turning 60... I've also added moon phases, a fish tank, a tetris game and a sudoku game.  

It's also easier to add your comments.  

Please let me know what you think.

Like, now.

August 16, 2010

Aqua Books: Beginners' Yoga Class

Curious about yoga, but don't want to shell out big bucks?

Come on down to Aqua Books and join certified Ashtanga yoga instructor Yarden Bourlas for a class suitable for all skills and shapes.

Class will be held on August 18 from 4:00 p. m. to 5:00 p. m.

Cost?  A mere $10.

Grab your mat and come on down.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 13, 2010

Aqua Books: Padre X

As part of 
Best of Fest 2010, the Winnipeg Fringe hit Padre X, starring Marc Moir, will be performed at Aqua Books on August 26.  

The play begins at 7:00 p. m. and runs to 8:30 p. m.
Tickets are $10.

Marc Moir's Padre X is the amazing true story of John Weir Foote, the only Canadian Army chaplain to win the Victoria Cross for valor during WWII.  The play begins in 1948 at a train station in Ontario.  While waiting for a delayed train, Foote recalls his years in the army, his experiences at Dieppe, and the three years he spent as a prisoner of war. 

This is a remarkable story of an extrordinary man. 
This is the first time his story has ever really been told.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 11, 2010

Spence Street Festival

Calling all artists and crafters!

Want to display and sell your wares at the Spence Street Festival on August 30 and 31? 
This will be a fantastic event with local bands, vendors, and graffiti demos, bringing people together at UW's beautiful Spence promenade. 

Email Katie Haig-Anderson at to take advantage of this opportunity. 
Tables will be provided free of charge.

Let's show off Winnipeg and its fantastic student talent!

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 9, 2010

Anita Daher Writes for YA

This Autumn, Aqua Books, 274 Garry Street, between Graham and Portage, will be featuring Through the Looking Glass: A YA fiction writing intensive with Anita Daher.

Tickle your muse and develop skills as Anita leads you on a journey into the world of writing picture books, children’s periodicals, middle grade and teen novels. 

Anita will share in-depth information on the genre, and the children’s writing and publishing industry in Canada.  There will be exercises, assignments, dynamic interaction, and at the end - a PARTY!

Cost: $225 plus GST ($200 plus GST before September 1) 
Register: or 943-7555 

Classes will be on 9 Thursdays, September 30 till December 2, 
from 7:00 p. m. to 9:00 p. m.

The workshop is limited to 12 people. Bring a notebook and pen.

Anita Daher has been a major presence in the book publishing industry for more than 15 years.  She feels “place” infuses her writing, and is grateful to have lived in communities like Summerside, PEI, Moose Jaw, SK, Churchill, MB, Baker Lake, NU, and Yellowknife, NT. 
Her short stories have appeared in Prairie Fire Magazine.  She is author of seven youth novels, including Arthur Ellis and MB Book Award finalist Spider’s Song (2006), and Arthur Ellis, Hackmatack and Diamond Willow finalist Racing for Diamonds (2006). 

Anita has led workshops across the country, and has been a popular presenter at conferences and festivals.  When not teaching, presenting, or working on her own stories, Anita edits teen novels for Great Plains Publications.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

August 6, 2010

Aqua Books: The Handmade and Vintage Sale

Not satisfied with the worlds of literature, theatre, film, storytelling and the world-famous Kelly Hughes Live! talk show, Aqua Books proudly announces their first foray into the wild and wonderful world of local handmade DIY craft.

Crafty Minions: The Handmade and Vintage Sale will happen at Aqua Books on Saturday, August 14, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  
Admission is free.

It's never too early to begin your holiday shopping.
It's never the wrong time to pick up something unique and beautiful for yourself.

Featuring Winnipeg's hottest crafty superstars such as Dizzy Dame, Marathon 1981, Echo Creations, Just the Goods, Head in the Oven Creations and more, this is a sale not to be missed. 

Banish all thoughts of crocheted slippers or washcloths or ponybead keychains.
Think of vintage-inspired handmade dresses, leather and ribbon wrist corsets, funky jewelry made of vintage silverware, tiny ceramic buildings and octopus tentacles, retro aprons hand-embroidered with sassy 80s pop lyrics, handmade natural skincare luxuries, wall-art created from bass strings and recycled children's books, silk-screened courier bags and babywear, weird and wonderful stuffed creations of all sorts, and much more. 

It's always the right time to support local artisans and crafters.

Have a great day.  How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!