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Beaufort Delta

Open-mic fundraiser for Arctic Paws set to sell out


Inuvik talent will take centre stage this weekend at the Inuvik Comedy 2021 show, with all proceeds going toward Arctic Paws after February’s bingo mayhem.

NNSL first reported in late February that a comedy show to raise funds for the non-profit was in the works. Now the show is nearly sold out, with the majority of tickets gone just hours after sales opened.

The show takes place this Saturday at 9pm at the Midnight Sun Complex. It’ll be live-streamed on Facebook.

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Organizer Dez Loreen – an Inuvik filmmaker, comedian, pro wrestler, and town councillor – had been planning an open-mic night for some time.

He said the “kick in the pants” to get it going was a recent incident at a bingo fundraiser for Arctic Paws that led the non-profit to lose funds and swear off bingos entirely.

A misunderstanding about a number saw the atmosphere at that bingo event turn heated. Volunteers reported threats and refunds worth $500 were issued.

“It’s an organization here in town that’s very near and dear to my heart,” Loreen said. “I figured if we could get any income, any money thrown their way, I would do that.”

The evening is being sponsored by Northwind Industries. Six acts are on the show’s roster and performances will include stand-up comedy, poetry reading, live music, and storytelling. A “mature content” warning may be issued, Loreen added, as the performances won’t necessarily cater to a family audience the whole time.

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Loreen himself is headlining.

“I’m going to be telling some jokes, telling some stories,” he said, describing his act. “I’ve got my copy of Goosebumps: Monster Blood that I’m ready to read to the audience, if need be.”

On Wednesday, organizers received approval from the territory’s chief public health officer to have 50 audience members alongside up to eight performers at the venue, making this the largest indoor event the town has seen since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Approximately $1,000 has been raised so far through ticket sales. Loreen he hopes the final sum will increase through donations and other fundraisers.

“I’m going to try to bleed these people dry as hard as I can,” he said. “Just throw money at Arctic Paws. They’re great, and if I can use this stage to say that to a larger audience, then awesome.”

For those who missed out on tickets to attend in person, the show will be live-streamed on the Facebook page of Neverlow Studios (Loreen’s film production company). Loreen said there would be “just mild peer pressure to donate.”

“I definitely want to do this more often than just have this be a one-off,” he said.

“I want this to be a showcase of the community’s talents, different storytellers, different audiences.

“Arctic Paws is the first one of many organizations in the community, in the region that we can help out.”

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