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ROSALIE GOLDSTEIN 'Queen of chutzpah' was innovative force at folk festival

ROSALIE GOLDSTEIN 'Queen of chutzpah' was innovative force at folk festivalThe arts community is mourning an organizational dynamo who proclaimed herself the "Queen of chutzpah" during her years at the helm of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Rosalie Goldstein died Saturday at Grace Hospital of complications from heart disease, her close friend and former colleague Mitch Podolak said. She was 73 and had been in failing health for several months.

The feisty Goldstein, known for her red hair and determination to make things happen, started working for the Birds Hill Park festival in 1979 and proved herself an unstoppable fundraiser, producer and planner.
"She understood the human dynamic (of the festival). That was the most important part," said Podolak, who affectionately called her by her surname. "Goldstein was one of a kind... I consider her one of the founders of the folk fest, even though she wasn't there for the first three or four years."

In 1981, Peter C. Newman wrote in Maclean's magazine that Goldstein could have organized the D-Day invasion. In 1986, she was chosen to succeed Podolak, the founding artistic director. At the time, it was unusual for a woman to run a large festival.

Goldstein helmed five ambitious and innovative editions of the July festival from 1987-91. She pleased some festival-goers and alienated others with her eclectic programming, which included genres such as world music, jazz, rock, R & B and ska. She is remembered as a colourful, fun-loving figure who would go barrelling through the festival site and even direct traffic in the parking lot.

The board ousted her in 1991, reportedly because she overspent on talent. Goldstein continued to enjoy the festival as a fan, Podolak said, and never had a bad word to say about it.

Goldstein went on to manage music acts, including Laura Smith and Twilight Hotel, do arts consulting, and in later years returned to practising as a pharmacist, her original career.

"She was fierce, strong-minded -- a super-catalyst for culture in Winnipeg," recalled filmmaker Noam Gonick, a pallbearer at Goldstein's funeral.

She was born in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and followed her parents into pharmacy. She met her husband, Winnipeg pediatrician Martin Weidman, while both were working at a Buffalo hospital. They moved here as newlyweds.

Goldstein got involved in arts administration at Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers before moving on to the folk festival. "Everything I did, I tried to do with 155 per cent of my energy," she told the Free Press as her festival tenure came to an end.

The longtime Tuxedo resident is survived by Weidman, her husband of 50 years, their children Sydney, Josh and Judith, and five grandchildren.

~ Read the entire article here from the Winnipeg Free Press.

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