A Day in the Life of Performing in Northern Canada

You never know what challenges face you as you travel the world. In my home Province of Manitoba, I was invited to perform for the 100th Anniversary celebration of the northern remote”First Nation” community of Wasagamack, a few years ago. I have been there many times and had a wonderful time. However, sometimes during large events or special occasions things fall through the cracks. You just have to smile and get the job done. It’s usually no one single fault just communication errors that mount up. I was back again this year and we all had a wonderful time as usual.

The following is an extreme example but it happened like this.

I arrived in Island Lake / St. Theresa Island Airport and walk the quarter mile to the dock where you take boat to the communities across the lake. The airports (2) are on a separate island from the 3 different communities in the area. My equipment and luggage comes down a few minutes later by a Quad with a trailer. After waiting half an hour for the gentleman who is to meet me and who’s cell goes to voice mail, I negotiate a water Taxi ride in a motor boat which feels like a few centimeters bigger then a canoe.

My 100-pound box and I barely fit in. Fortunately it’s a gorgeous day and the lake is glass smooth for the 20-minute ride (INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL AREA). We get to the Wasagamack First Nation band office dock which was blown away by a recent storm. The boat driver and I man handle the box onto a rock, then go up a 75 degree hill with it. I’m already exhausted!

I finally get to the Band Office (huffing an puffing) and they look at me like I am from Mars. “Are you the Hypnotist?”, “No, I’m the Magician, I’m a lot funnier then the Hypnotist!” ( Sorry my entertainment brothers – it was a GREAT line).

I now meet the man put in charge of taking care of me. Because there are so many thing happening for the festival there is time to kill. We sit around watching the tech crew from Winnipeg assemble a multi part amazing copier, collator, and hole puncher thingy over the next 3 hours. I supply the ongoing coin and card tricks to kill the boredom and tearing through a book I brought, while the committees meet.

H1N1 Flu Virus has ravaged the Northern communities up here and people really need something to get their minds off the terrible tragedies that occurred during that time. After all the planning meetings, my host takes me to his home (No Hotels or Restaurants in the community), which fortunately has running water (sometimes an issue in small communities). I go to my room and practice while he leaves and goes back to continue work on the 100-year celebration.

At 7:30 he comes back to tell me the show isn’t until 8:00 ish – they call that Indian time :)

We go travel back the 15 minutes, over the rutted dirt road, to the Band office/celebration area and meet the Chief and Band Councilors.

The Chief and Council invite me to do a private impromptu show before we eat and so I use every object I can find as my equipment for the big show is still in the truck waiting to go to the Arena, where the show is eventually to be performed. I use watches, pencils, coins, paper, cigarette ashes and you name it.

The formal show will be after the celebration. At 9:00 pm we go over to the arena, which has been closed for sometime. They are just starting renovations, starting out by ripping out ALL the old plumbing. However there is an inch of water covering the entire arena. Some one decided that the floors were so dirty that they should have a water truck come in a spray it down to clean it. Unfortunately there are no drains in the hockey arena floor. It’s now 11:00 pm and events around the community are still ongoing so we push the show back even further. Back at the arena they have pushed most of the water out to dry the floor.

At 11:15 pm the arena suddenly fills up with people and it’s time to perform from 11:30 until 12:30 After the show’s pack up we get to bed at 1:30 am.

At 8:00 am the water taxi is waiting and they have the larger covered boat this time. Good thing, as it’s now pouring rain and there are white caps. The boat ride is fast and very bumpy.

We arrive at the airport but the flight is two hours late because of the weather!

Got back in time to shower, reload, unload and perform an 8:30 pm Corporate show at the Winnipeg Convention Centre – just in time!

Just a day in the magical life of a Corporate Event Entertainer :)

Brian Glow