Begonia – Lady in Mind (and on the Rise)

Alexa Dirks aka Begonia has cut her teeth in Winnipeg’s rich music scene for many years now.

She was a part of the harmonious a capella group turned alternative-rock outfit Chic Gamine and has now begun her solo venture under the moniker Begonia.

Begonia recently released her debut EP, Lady in Mind—an elegant five-song collection.

The lead track, “Juniper”, starts things off with a jolt. The music’s beat bounces in and Dirks’s vocals carry the track along nicely the rest of the way.

For the next four songs, she slows it right down and takes the listener on a saunter down her winding, soothing path of swelling synths and syncopating percussion.

This past week, Dirks performed with Royal Canoe at the red-carpet premiere for the motion picture Lovesick, which was composed by Royal Canoe’s Matthew Schellenberg.

Schellenberg wrote the soundtrack and featured great Winnipeg musicians in it, such as Matt Peters (Royal Canoe), John K. Samson (The Weakerthans), and Begonia.

Begonia performs with the Royal Canoe boys quite a bit and has written music with Schellenberg under the alias Courier News. Let’s hope some new material from them will surface soon.


Red River Risin’ – Music Runs in the Family

I believe nobody in our CreComm world knows about my dad’s songwriting talents.

In his musical career, he wrote for and played guitar on a children’s TV show and released a children’s gospel album named ‘Booster Shot’ (I might have some retro cassettes kicking around if you’re interested). He can also write astounding lyrics on the spot and is gathering some old recordings for a new release soon (hopefully).

I got most of my musical talents from him and I’m forever grateful. We have plans to collaborate more in the near future after I release some of my own music, but below is a throwback to a song of his that I contributed to. I tracked the drums for it, and it was really my first ever recording experience.

My dad wrote this song several years ago for Winnipeg and its annual flood-scare season. Enjoy…

p.s. I’ve also revealed my old Vimeo account… Don’t even try looking for incriminating clips. I’ve gone through all my old vlogs and changed the viewing privacy settings to ‘Only Me’. If you really want to watch goofy 18-year-old Manny’s travel videos, I guess you could ask me nicely. Although, I did upload a new video (my montage) on there for you to enjoy.


The Blue Man Group Speaks (the Pseudo Genre of Percussive Entertainment)

I’ll never forget the London Blue Man Group show my grade 12 class went to on our England trip in 2007. The moment when the blue trio crawled through the audience for the finale is embedded in my memory. Colourful streamers and large, inflated spheres rolled over each row in abundance.

As we were in awe, one Blue Man singled me out and plucked my favourite hat off of my head. He looked at me and I just knew what the look in his eyes meant: he ‘signed’ my hat with a blue thumbprint. I was livid. I couldn’t believe he’d mark my hat with paint.

After the show, I realized how ridiculous my reaction was and found the same Blue Man outside posing for photos with people. In his English accent, he reassured me the paint would come out in the wash. He could’ve been lying to me, but I believed him. The mark remains on my hat to this day. Maybe it was a good thing I acted out. I mean, I did get a Blue Man to actually speak to me in the end.


The Blue Man Group’s percussive show grasps the audience with visually stunning schticks and appealing choreography. Here’s a taste of what their show is like…

I’m happy to see the Blue Man Group still going strong today. Go see them if you get the chance. It’s a great show.

I’ll take this opportunity to ridicule my high school, Goldilocks self.

2007 Manny and the English Blue Man who spoke to me.

I’m sporting a classic tourist look: a Hockey Night in Canada shirt and a digital point-and-shoot camera case strapped underneath my rain jacket. You can see the blue thumb print on top of my hat as well.

I wonder what this man is doing today. I wonder if he’s still a Blue Man and still performs. I wonder if he still gives the same soul-piercing stare in every photo he poses in.

Cheers to the Blue Man Groups all over the world and cheers to humiliating decade-old pics.