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Record crowd of 50,000 turns out for pro-Israel Toronto event

By DAVE GORDON (June 11, 2024 / JNS) More than 50,000 pro-Israel people turned out for the UJA Walk with Israel in Toronto on Sunday, a record turnout for the event which is in its 55th year.
Adam Hummel, a lawyer in Toronto, told JNS that it was “remarkable and uplifting to see so many Jews come together” this year for the 5K walk (about 3 miles.)
“I was dumbstruck how many people were gathered and feeling the energy and community, especially when we have been struck by so much sorrow,” Hummel said.
Although it seemed in prior years that people attended out of inertia, this year was different, according to Hummel.
“It felt like people needed to be there,” he said. “Because of everything we have gone through as a community, and what Israelis went through, people needed to show up to stand with Israel.”
The event, a project of the UJA Federation of Toronto, moved from the heavily-Jewish neighborhood at the Bathurst Street corridor at Lawrence Avenue to the Federation’s Sherman Campus, which was rebuilt several years ago. 
Guidy Mamann also told JNS that this year’s event felt different.
“I’ve been to many, many walks for Israel since I was a kid,” the Toronto lawyer said. “Normally, people go because they want to have fun and see old faces, but I think this year it was driven by a need to go.”
“There was a sense of needing to go to this walk-a-thon because of the trauma we’ve been through together,” he said. “We needed to feel each other and see each other in large numbers. I think the community really needed that.”
Brendan Shanahan, president of the Maple Leafs, the Toronto hockey team, and the singer Montana Tucker, who sang the Israeli national anthem, were among the celebrities present.
“We are thrilled by the overwhelming support for the walk this year from our community and our friends and neighbors across Greater Toronto,” stated Jeff Rosenthal, chair of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. “To see a record-breaking turnout this year speaks volumes about our community’s pride, resilience and determination to show our city who we are and what we stand for.”
Exceptions for Jews
Michael Kerzner, the solicitor general of Ontario, and Melissa Lantsman, deputy leader of the Conservative Party, attended the event. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Olivia Chow, Toronto’s first Chinese-Canadian mayor, reportedly were not present.
Chow, who had skipped what she called a “divisive” annual Israeli flag raising at City Hall the prior month, said in an interview with a popular Toronto radio station on Monday morning that she had a prior commitment and couldn’t attend Sunday’s event.
“She wasn’t missed,” said David Burstein, a Toronto dentist.
“It was one of the most outstanding communal Jewish experiences of my life, and I’ve lived in Toronto my entire life. The energy was fantastic,” Burstein told JNS. “The fact that they got the four hostages out the day before, really helped morale and added to the joy of the day.”
Kevin Vuong, a federal politician of Chinese descent, told JNS that he was disappointed that Chow skipped the pro-Israel event, which she attended previously as a federal politician.
Vuong noted that Chow told the Jewish community that “you’re never alone” after a shooting at the Jewish girls’ elementary school Bais Chaya Mushka in Toronto in late May.
Chow’s statement implied that “she stood with Toronto’s Jewish community,” Vuong said. “She lied.”
“It’s clear that if it was any other community, she’d have been there. No mayor, nor prime minister for that matter, would skip an event attended by 50,000 Canadians,” Vuong added. “Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in the aftermath of Oct. 7, these so-called leaders make exceptions when it comes to Jews.”
Vuong and his wife attended the event “to show our support for Jews both here at home in Canada and abroad, and that meant walking the talk and walking the walk.”
‘I was shocked at the depravity’
The politician had harsh words for the hundreds of pro-Hamas demonstrators, who used bullhorns and loudspeakers to broadcast anti-Israel chants and Islamic prayers and who reportedly sought to enter a place where the event was taking place and had to be barred by law enforcement.
“One thing I couldn’t believe was that pro-Hamas supporters brought in speakers and blared the rocket sirens that go off when Israel is under attack,” Vuong told JNS. “I was shocked at the depravity that someone would think to do that in the hopes of triggering participants.”
“Sadly, I was not surprised when other counter-protesters gave up all pretenses and started cheering outright for Hamas,” he added.
Hummel, the Toronto lawyer, called the protesters “pathetic, paltry and sinister.”
“We celebrate life and they clearly do not. We were there in blue and white with our children, singing songs about life. There was a world of difference,” he told JNS. “They were wearing black and had their faces covered.”
“They stood with swastika signs. Repulsive and pathetic,” he added. “The visuals could not have been starker of what we’re fighting for, and what we are fighting against.”
Mamann, the other Toronto lawyer, told JNS that some of the protesters tailed Jewish community members after the event in a harassing way.
“These people come clear across town and out of town to disrupt us. The police were on our side. But at the end of the day, the protection doesn’t finish when the walk finishes,” he said. “There are thousands of people trying to make it home, and there is still work to do.”
Ali Siadatan was among the non-Jewish Canadians of Iranian descent who participated in the event to voice their support for the Jewish state.
“I stand with Israel because I wish to live in a free world. Israel is at the epicenter of a global ideological war,” Siadatan told JNS. “Israel’s victory will push back the forces of Islam and Marxism. Israel’s defeat would encourage these very forces to explode in the West and in Canada.”
“Even the future of Iran very much depends on the victory or defeat of Israel against the regional forces of Islamic militancy,” Siadatan added.
At the end of the walk, JNS caught up with the rapper Nissim Black, who performed at the festival, which also had kid-friendly activities and musical performances.
“Incredible energy,” Black told JNS. “It was so special seeing all those people together celebrating Eretz Hakodesh,” the Holy Land.

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Fringe show asks: Was giving the secret to the atomic bomb to the Russians morally justifiable?

left: Jem Rolls; right: Ted Hall

By BERNIE BELLAN When I took a look at at the Fringe Festival shows I was going to be previewing on this website (also in the print edition of the Jewish Post), one show intrigued me in a different way than the others: Jem Rolls’ one-man show: THE KID WAS A SPY.
In his blurb describing the show, Jem wrote:

The true story of Ted Hall.
Brooklyn, October 1944. The youngest physicist in the Manhattan project asks himself a very big question.
Will the world be safer after the war if he gives the bomb to the Russians?
And he does.
• Events take place in the world of OPPENHEIMER

This show takes the audience from the murky world of spies to the idyll of young love. From teenage friendship to stark treason. From big decision to deep consequence. From high idealism to extreme cynicism. And from pure science to Hiroshima and the electric chair.
The show also brings in the stories of Klaus Fuchs, the greatest atomic spy; and Ethel Rosenberg, executed yet innocent.
THE KID WAS A SPY is the third in Jem Rolls’ series of shows about Jewish Nuclear Physicists no-one has ever heard of.
Which is, to put it mildly, the niche of a niche of a niche.
One only realistically enterable in the unique world of Canadian Fringe.
Which most Canadians do not realize is unique.
The first two shows in the series, THE INVENTOR OF ALL THINGS, about Leo Szilard, and THE WALK IN THE SNOW, about Lise Meitner, have each seen multiple sellouts and five star reviews.

I’m sorry I hadn’t seen the first two shows in what must be one of the strangest series of Fringe shows (which itself extols “strange”), but when Jem Roll happened to contact me prior to this year’s Fringe Festival – which he had never done before, I thought to myself: “Now this is a show I’ve got to see.”
So, on the first night of the Fringe Festival I got on my bike and headed to the Fringe – of course ending up at the wrong venue – something I’ve done quite often before. I raced to the correct venue and, after taking a very creaky elevator to the 4th floor of a building in the Exchange District, arrived just in time to catch the beginning of what turned out be a fascinating 57-minute monologue.
I rather doubt that anyone else in the audience had heard of Ted Hall before this show either – but, after listening to Jem Rolls describe Hall, he certainly seemed a familiar enough character for anyone who knows their history. I had read quite a bit about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg – going back to when I was still in high school and I read a book called “The Implosion Conspiracy,” about the Rosenbergs, by lawyer Louis Nizer. I’ve read many articles about Soviet spies, but had never heard of Ted Hall prior to Jem Rolls’ show.
Several years ago I also read a terrific book by Canadian Ben Macintyre, titled “Agent Sonya,” about another Jewish spy for the Russians of whom I had not heard, whose full name was Ursula Kuczynski. (You can read my review of that book here: Agent Sonya)
So, when I read what Jem Rolls’ show was going to be about, I decided I wanted to make it the first Fringe show I would see this year.
Rather than simply telling what in and of itself is a fascinating story, Jem asks members of the audience to keep their minds open when it comes to assessing the morality of what Ted Hall did.
As Rolls explains – in his typically animated style, Hall was a precociously brilliant student who was tapped to be the youngest member of the Manhattan Project – made famous last summer with the release of the film, “Oppenheimer.”
Yet, amazingly – as Rolls goes on to note, Hall was an avowed Communist – something that should have excluded him right from the start from participating in a project that was shrouded in the utmost secrecy. In fact, Hall’s attempts to collaborate with the Russians were met with disbelief by the KGB at first; here was a pimply-faced kid offering to give them (and not sell them) the keys to the deadliest weapon ever devised by man to that point.
Without going into too much detail about how Rolls develops the story, he does say that he himself couldn’t figure out how it was that Hall was never arrested by the FBI, nor later by MI6 in Britain, which is to where he had moved later in his career.
Rolls concludes that Ted Hall’s brother, Ed, who was an even more brilliant scientist than Ted, must have intervened to save his brother’s skin. (In talking to him afterwards though, Rolls conceded that his conclusion is based on surmising; no one has been able to establish conclusively how Ted Hall was never arrested – although he was interrogated by both the FBI and MI6.)
Throughout the show Rolls reminds the audience how views of Soviet Russia changed over time – and how someone young and idealistic – as Ted Hall was, could have thought it was not only justifiable to give the secret to the atomic bomb to the Russians, given everything we know about how abominably the US has behaved in so many ways over the years, perhaps we should be treating him as a hero rather than a villain.
In fact, at the very end of the show, Rolls asks the audience to vote on that very question: Was Hall right to give the secret to the bomb to the Russians? I won’t tell you how the audience voted on opening night, but Rolls did say that the vote conformed with how other audiences have voted.
THE KID WAS A SPY is on at Venue 22, 245 McDermot Avenue, 4th floor, through July 28.

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PARIM Board forces out principled president-elect who called out Dr. Gem Newman for valedictory address to U of M med students

Dr. Matthew Bzura

By BECKY CHISICK Past Secretary and President-elect of the Professional Association of Residents and Interns of Manitoba (PARIM), Dr. Matthew Bzura, is a man of courage and admirable ethics. I spoke with Dr. Bzura and gained insight into what led him to voice his concerns and then file an official complaint against Dr. Gem Newman, valedictorian for the class of 2024 at the Max Rady School of Medicine.
Dr. Bzura detailed his time working with a senior internal medicine resident who asked him if he was Jewish (due to his “look”). When Dr. Bzura inquired why the senior resident asked that question, the response he received was “All Jews want to do internal medicine in Manitoba”, just one example of the many false assumptions made about Jews.
He explained to me that as the son of Roman Catholic immigrant parents from Poland, the feelings of discrimination, disrespect, and alienation resonated with him. He did not speak up at that time and said, “It still haunts me”. Dr. Bzura feels strongly that it is important to denounce voices that divide and alienate.

Gem Newman Facebook post

Anotber Gem Newman Facebook post

On May 23, 2024, Dr. Bzura spoke out on social media, expressing his disappointment over the valedictorian address at the Max Rady College of Medicine’s 2024 graduation ceremony, and exposing Dr. Gem Newman’s antisemitic social media posts – dating back to 2018. Dr, Bzura then lodged a formal complaint against Dr. Newman with the college’s office of professionalism.
While Dr. Bzura was flooded by supportive comments from the Jewish community, the weeks that followed became more and more concerning. Following Dr. Bzura’s complaint, a complaint was filed against him. The complaint came from Dr. Matthew Thiessen, president (now past president) of PARIM -the same colleague and friend that sent him messages encouraging Dr. Bzura to run for president of PARIM…. the same colleague who sent him supportive messages following his post on May 23!
Dr. Bzura’s decision to communicate via social media and written letters arose from his own will and interest, which resulted in many people reaching out to him, offering support.
He went on to note that “I then reached out to the Jewish community and spoke with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “They gave me the support I needed and some history of what the Jewish community has been going through. I was not aware of the magnitude of antisemitism right now. CIJA is well organized and equipped to assist in these circumstances.”

Dr. Bzura became the president-elect of PARIM in March 2024, effective July 1, 2024. In the June 24 board meeting called by PARIM leadership, the decision was passed to strip Dr. Bzura of his duties as secretary (his board position at that time). PARIM’s legal counsel was present, yet Dr. Bzura was denied the right to have his own counsel there. Paul Edwards, Dr. Bzura’s lawyer, said that “he was treated very poorly” and referred to PARIM’s actions as “a relentless effort to remove him”.
On July 9, 2024, Dr. Bzura wrote An Open Letter to PARIM Members and Stakeholders formally announcing his resignation as president and detailing the events that led to his decision.
I asked him why he chose to resign rather than fight the decision? Dr. Bzura said there were simply more important topics for PARIM to resolve, and dragging out the appeal process would have infringed on valuable time.
After a short nine days as president, there was no hint of resentment in his voice, which speaks to Dr. Bzura’s character. “If I made one resident in our (Manitoba residents and interns) community not feel alone, then I have done my job.”

Dr. Charles Bernstein, president of the newly created Jewish Physicians of Manitoba (JPAM), said, “Jewish and non-Jewish physicians are bewildered as to what evolved with Dr. Bzura and PARIM.” Dr Bernstein added that “actions taken by PARIM seem appalling and need to be addressed. As physicians it is our role to not make others feel uncomfortable”.
PARIM has done the opposite in this case – by not allowing Dr. Bzura the right to have his counsel present, and providing no credible explanation as to why he was being stripped of his duties as secretary – six days before his term was set to expire.

Following the valedictorian speech on May 16, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, in partnership with CIJA have been in communication with leadership at the University of Manitoba and the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.
“Earlier this year, we started working with Jewish physicians to support the launch of their organization (JPAM) and to elevate their advocacy efforts and reach. This is a sign that the community must get involved against rampant and systematic discrimination against our community and the Jewish values we embrace,” said Gustavo Zentner, Vice-President of CIJA, Manitoba & Saskatchewan.
Jeff Lieberman, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, stated, “The Jewish Federation and its advocacy agent, CIJA, are constantly engaged at all levels in fighting against Jew-hatred and the singling out of the state of Israel. Having launched the CIJA role five months ago, we are seeing pivotal support to community organizations and allies across Manitoba as we fulfill the federation’s mandate to protect Jewish life in Winnipeg.”

A joint release by CIJA and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg was emailed to the community on July 11 stating:

The Jewish community has a long history of building and contributing to the medical profession in Manitoba. This has been recorded in history and recognized by the government and medical institutions in Manitoba, across Canada, and around the world.

It is concerning to see that PARIM has allowed a process against someone taking a moral stand that highlighted how deeply divisive a speech like the one given was and how profoundly it affected a minority community.

We thank Dr. Bzura for his decision to stand up and speak out against such a one-sided speech.
Gustavo Zentner added, “There is hard work ahead of us. We are fighting an evil and organized global movement designed to single out and intimidate the Jewish community. This is the time to undertake meaningful actions and engage in open dialogue with people at work, school, and social circles. We are working with our governments, universities, business groups and allies to ensure we are well represented. We will not accept being boxed and shunned from living freely and expressing our Jewish identity in all aspects of life in Canada.”

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Jewish performers at upcoming Winnipeg Fringe Festival July 17-28

Alli Perlov: One Human Being Potentially Comedic Performance of The Nightmare Before Christmas

By BERNIE BELLAN As has been my long-time custom, I try to find Fringe shows that feature Jewish performers or playwrights – or, as is sometimes the case – plays that have a Jewish theme.
This year will see a very large number of Jewish performers, many of whom are repeat Fringe performers, but we will also have one play to be performed by one of the Fringe Festival’s most popular performers: Jem Rolls who, while he is not Jewish, has chosen for his theme this year a most unusual subject
(For information about venues and show times go to Winnipegfringe.com)

Alli Perlov: One Human Being Potentially Comedic Performance of The Nightmare Before Christmas
Alli Perlov has been a theatre kid her entire life. Her experiences include training at Manitoba Theatre for Young People, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg, and a brief career in film and television in her teens.
For the past 13 years, Perlov has been a performing arts teacher in Winnipeg, teaching courses in musical theatre, improv and drama to students from Grades 6 to 12. In an effort to continue practicing what she teaches, Alli Perlov has mounted three one-person Fringe plays starting in 2017 and brings her fourth to this year’s festival with a new work for her most favourite film, “A One Human Being, Potentially Comedic Performance of The Nightmare Before Christmas”.
Some teachers take the summer off to recharge, while others mount a one-person Fringe festival show. In a similar approach to her 2018/2023 show, Perlov tackles her favourite film of all time in,
“A One Human Being Potentially Comedic Performance of The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Local performing arts teacher Alli Perlov aims to leave the audience in stitches as she performs dozens of creepy characters from the iconic 1993 Tim Burton stop-motion film.  
In a musical parody full of charm and can-do spirit, Perlov tackles the task of making “try-hard” a compliment. Condensing the score to 50 minutes of music, and weaved with narrative, critiques and silly puns, everyone in the theatre is guaranteed a good time and a load of laughs. 

Melanie Gall (3 separate shows): FORBIDDEN CABARET, STITCH IN TIME, ROCKIN’ BLUEBIRD (kids’ show)
Melanie Gall has been a Fringe favourite for years. Last year she performed in 3 separate shows – and she’s back doing 3 shows again!

FORBIDDEN CABARET
Hidden in the back alley of a Broadway theatre is the grittiest, most decadent club in New York. The year is 1934. Unlicensed musical entertainment is prohibited and the Dirty Blues are banned. But not at Club Hirondelle – and when the midnight hour strikes, the forbidden cabaret begins with some of the naughtiest songs from (almost) 100 years ago.
Featuring a dozen (real!) banned hits, including: “Boobs,” “What Can You Buy a Nudist on His Birthday?” and the Yiddish Theatre hit, “Mein Butcher.”
Melanie Gall is the award-winning performer of sellout hits Ingenue (5 STARS), American Songbook Experience (5 STARS) and Toast to Prohibition (5 STARS).

STITCH IN TIME
Excitement! Drama! Romance! And…knitting? A scintillating cabaret featuring ‘lost’ knitting songs of World War I and World War II.
Bring your knitting (or crochet) and stitch along to these funny, toe-tapping, needle-clicking tunes. Come out and have a ball! Melanie Gall presents over a dozen quirky historic songs, including “More Power to Your Knitting, Nell!” and “The Knitting Itch.”
During the wars, millions of women knit for soldiers and dozens of knitting songs appeared. After the wars, these songs were close to disappearing forever. But now, this music — a clever, sweet and entertaining footnote in history — will live again.
FIVE STARS – Glam Adelaide, Southside Advertiser
“Divine voice, highly recommended” – Fringe Review UK
“Cute, charming and funny” – Plank Magazine

ROCKIN’ BLUEBIRD (kids’ show)
Bluebird Scraps has always wanted to be a rock star. She dreams of bright lights, a cool costume, and thunderous applause. But the other birds just don’t understand! All the robins and sparrows sing together in their trees, but Scraps has a squawk that just doesn’t fit. With your help, she’ll find her voice and rock the show!

LEAPIN’ LOUIE LICHTENSTEIN
We sent an email to a Fringe performer by the name of Louie Lichtenstein, asking him if he was Jewish. The answer was yes. Here’s what Louie sent back:

Hello hard working Manitoba Jewish Media folks,

Leapin’ Louie, the most explosive Lithuanian Jewish Cowboy Comedian to ever come out of Oregon, is on his way to Winnipeg Fringe.
It’s Kids Fringe but awesome for adults too. An environmental theme no less.
Fly Through Time
with Leapin’ Louie Lichtenstein
A cowboy comedy circus show about animals who fly
Kids Fringe Manitoba Theatre For Young People
Pay what you can
Leapin’ Louie uses circus, cowboy tricks, a six-foot unicycle, and lots of comedy to explore all those wild critters, including us, who fly.
In 400 million years five amazing groups of animals developed flight: Insects, pterosaurs, birds, bats and finally humans. Only 66 years after the Wright Brothers invented the airplane, —we landed on the moon. We’re moving so fast! Can we leave enough room for our amazing wild ecosystems as we jet into the future? It’s a biodiversity science education show that’s really fun for adults and kids.
Leapin’ Louie is a master of physical comedy, trick roping, whip cracking, and juggling. He has performed one-person Leapin’ Louie shows in 35 different countries around the world, including many tours of Europe, Japan and Australia. He is considered the most explosive Lithuanian Jewish Cowboy Comedian to ever come out of Oregon, USA. This is his first time at Winnipeg Fringe.

“‘Awesome’ is a terrible word, but there’s no shame using it – in the truest sense – to describe Leapin’ Louie” Broadway Baby ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

Keir Cutler: JOAN OF ARC ASCENDING
“Joan of Arc is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” Mark Twain
A new work, created and performed by Keir Cutler. For his 17th presentation at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Keir Cutler will perform a captivating world premiere show that invites audiences to rediscover the legendary true story of Joan of Arc. His portrayal defies contemporary doubt and invites wonder, probing Joan’s life through the lens of the miraculous.
The show also features live music by University of Manitoba musicology grad student, Manitoban Kyla Kelsey, and onstage original art work by Michael Cutler, Keir’s brother.

Montrealer Keir Cutler has been called “a masterful entertainer,” (Winnipeg Free Press) “a marvel to watch,” (Toronto Sun) and “a phenomenal performer!” (winnipegonstage.com)
Keir has a PhD in theatre from Wayne State University in Detroit, a playwriting diploma from the National Theatre School of Canada, He is the writer/performer of twelve solo works, and the author of multiple plays and books. He is a veteran of more than 100 fringe and theatre festivals.

Jem Rolls: THE KID WAS A SPY
The true story of Ted Hall.
Brooklyn, October 1944. The youngest physicist in the Manhattan project asks himself a very big question.
Will the world be safer after the war if he gives the bomb to the Russians?
And he does.
• Events take place in the world of OPPENHEIMER
• Jem Rolls has done more Fringes than anyone else on earth … [Except Alex Dallas.]

This show takes the audience from the murky world of spies to the idyll of young love. From teenage friendship to stark treason. From big decision to deep consequence. From high idealism to extreme cynicism. And from pure science to Hiroshima and the electric chair.

The show also brings in the stories of Klaus Fuchs, the greatest atomic spy; and Ethel Rosenberg, executed yet innocent.
THE KID WAS A SPY is the third in Jem Rolls’ series of shows about Jewish Nuclear Physicists no-one has ever heard of.
Which is, to put it mildly, the niche of a niche of a niche.
One only realistically enterable in the unique world of Canadian Fringe.
Which most Canadians do not realize is unique.

The first two shows in the series, THE INVENTOR OF ALL THINGS, about Leo Szilard, and THE WALK IN THE SNOW, about Lise Meitner, have each seen multiple sellouts and five star

reviews.

Randy Ross: TALES OF A RELUCTANT WORLD TRAVELER 
Novelist and Fringe veteran Randy Ross provides an unflinching look at world travel and the writing life, while bringing new meaning to suffering for one’s art.
 The Show: Tales of a Reluctant World Traveler is the story of how a Boston homebody turned a rotten, solo trip around the globe into a comedy novel and an acclaimed one-man play. The show is part travelogue, part performance, and part off-kilter author talk. A must-see for book lovers, writers, travelers, whiners, kvetches, and misanthropes. Please note: The show carries content warnings for gooey diseases, heartless publishers, and liquor made from cobras.
 The Performer: Randy Ross is a Boston-area novelist and story-teller. He has performed at more 30 fringe festivals around the U.S., Canada, and in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2007, Ross took a four-month, solo trip around the world and learned to say in three languages: “Speak English?” “Got Pepto-Bismol?” and “Is this the evacuation helicopter?” His shows and novel were inspired by the trip.

Adam Schwartz (producer): NEUROHILARITY EXPOSED
SHOWCASING INTERSECTIONAL COMEDY AT FRINGE FEST
Neuodivergent Cast of Winnipeg Comics Includes Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+, Asian, and Other Perspectives

About Neurohilarity
Neurohilarity is a non-profit organization created to give neurodivergent artists a stage to share their stories and promote a more positive representation of neurodiversity.
It was started in 2022 by Adam Schwartz.
Award-winning comedy showcase Neurohilarity is back again at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, but this year, it’s taking its mandate of amplifying underrepresented voices one step further with an ultra-diverse cast that highlights the intersectionality of neurodivergence.   
This is the third year that Autistic comedian and producer Adam Schwartz has brought Neurohilarity to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, and he’s excited to show how neurodivergent and disability-centric comedy can look so many different ways. At the crossroads of disability, race, gender, and sexuality, there is no shortage of weird things to laugh about.

The stellar lineup includes a few familiar faces from last year’s festival run—which earned the Jenny Revue Mind and Body: The Health and Wellness Award. Returning performers include Danielle Kayahara, whom the Winnipeg Free Press called “self-deprecating, sympathetic and downright adorable as she describes her compulsion to ‘overthink everything’ while pausing to second-guess her comments.”
This year’s newcomers to the Neurohilarity stage include up-and-comer Kaitlynn Brightnose (IndigE-Girl Comedy), and comedy veteran Rollin Penner (Yuk Yuk’s, CBC, Winnipeg Comedy Festival). The show will be hosted by ADHD dynamo Carole Cunningham, a regular host at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club who is often accompanied onstage by her chihuahua, Karen.

Willow Rosenberg: A LESBIAN IN A BEAR STORE
From new playwright Willow Rosenberg, comes a deeply personal, funny, and emotional journey through her mom’s Beanie Baby collection. “A Lesbian in a Bear Store” has something for everyone. Including adorable animals, all of the gay, some of the Jewish, and a special appearance by one of the most angsty teenage poems you’
Tickets are $12 in advance, or bring your favourite plushie for discounted $10 tickets at the door.

Jay Stoller: UBUNTU
Visiting musicians from South Africa join local drumming group
Local African drummer Jay Stoller is thrilled to announce the upcoming production of Ubuntu, an interactive performance that brings to life the power of working together as a community.  This exciting show is set to take place at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival from July 18 – 26.
 Ubuntu will be a highly unique production at this year’s Fringe.  Not only is it a collaboration of musicians from Winnipeg and South Africa, the audience will be fully participating in the show:  everyone in attendance will have an African djembe drum to play along with the musicians on stage.  Yes, there will be 200+ drums in the theatre!
 Jay and his local drum group members are excited to welcome drummer extraordinaire Tiny Modise and vocalist Nosipho Mtotoba, both from Soweto, South Africa.
Ubuntu is a Southern African philosophy that says ‘I am because we are’.  Through the interactive show, the power of drumming together will be demonstrated as Winnipeg’s Fringe community makes amazing music together.
(And yes, we asked Jay whether he’s related to any Stollers in Winnipeg, to which he replied, “Yes, we do have some family with the same last name, although probably second cousins.”) 

Benji Rothman: REVIEWING THE FREE PRESS

The Winnipeg Free Press has run amok, reviewing each and every Fringe show for decades, completely unabated and without recourse. Well now, it’s their turn.

In this brand new show, Benji Rothman takes the Winnipeg Free Press to task, diving deep into their history and casting judgement on their performance as Manitoba’s leading news outlet.

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